We're working on new logos... which do you like best?
Futurism is a loose term. Many self-proclaim the title. The vague umbrella—overtly recognized or not—includes forward thinking scientists, engineers, science-fiction writers, mystic receivers of futuristic revelation, artists, filmmakers, and even marketing consultants.
Ironically, those who claim to be the most rational, skeptic, and scientific may be the most dangerous. In this article I'll explore—in a totally biased semi-fictional narrative—the dichotomous futuristic visions presented by materialist techno-optimists vs. the more spiritually openminded.
In the last century, science began to understand the true foundations of matter. Humans mined the quantum realm, presenting scientific theories that stirred the mystic's age-old fantasy of becoming one with everything. Our power to manipulate the physical world to our own ends reached its pinnacle. We've successfully engineered ecosystems (not always for the better), towering cities, global transportation and international commerce. We also create, on a different scale, with microchips and the processing power they make available. Indeed, when we conceive of technology now, we often think of software, the internet and its world of information.
The various data—personal, social, and commercial—accrues at a furious rate as processing power improves exponentially. Singularity is near.
Meanwhile, despite this exciting realm of pure information, the environment plunges deeper into crisis, and our inoculated environmentalism falls deeper into one of those too-long naps it shouldn't have taken late mid-afternoon.
Even our techno-optimist seeks an escape from the mountain of exterior knowledge he downloads daily, juggles, and regurgitates. However, he seeks his rapture not away from, but through, technology. He fantasizes about merging with the machine, uploading his mind onto a computer. He believes technology can and will solve everything.
This brand of futurist sees the quantum realm, but through Google goggles. Though he's read up on all the quantum physics discoveries of the last century, the information just doesn't quite settle in. The quantum fields smudge on his screen, becoming particles. He sees the world as physical chunks, not waves. It's easier that way.
Now that our pragmatist has found his particle, he can get back to what he really cares about—what he might build with it. Computers, microscopic video cameras, fast cars, speedboats, rocket ships; virtual reality video games, prescription methamphetamine for the modern businessman. Reality is starting to look like his techno-fantastic dreams.
The everyday world is stale compared to the vastness of the imagination, stale even in comparison to the 3D gesture-sensing entertainment future-minded individuals prefer to consume.
Exploring ways to continually fix reality, active participation in one's own evolution becomes necessary. Possible solutions include DNA manipulation and cyborg add-ons.
But alas, this fellow has been polluting that which he sought to fix for quite a while now. Thus, we have no other choice but to label him the Bad Futurist.
His building block understanding of the world may be the only thing that needs fixing.
To this point, some dare not venture. Though quantum physics discoveries and a growing list of scientific experiments offer ample evidence of non-local consciousness—a non-material field from which human awareness finds its source—whole communities of supposedly forward-thinking individuals turn a blind eye to the facts. Our Bad Futurist is one of them.
She's a cultural engineer, a visionary seeker who embraces technology, but also history, and our greatest heritage: Planet Earth. She sees nature as something technology should mimic, not fix. Furthermore, she questions the idea of progress, while recognizing those culturally and technologically advanced cultures of the past. Frankly, she finds our modern culture, economics, and politics to be savage in many ways.
She knows that an internet-like system has been available for aeons to those who venture to meditate and to learn the mechanics of consciousness-based healing. The human body, human mind, and human spirit make up the most advanced mobile device the world has ever seen. Current technologies, like b-day reminding iPhones and wifi, merely imitate the inherent technologies of the mind-body-spirit. Yes, I'm talking about psi phenomenon—telepathy, remote viewing, and the vastly altered states offered up by meditation, yoga, and dream practice.
He seeks ever higher states of consciousness brought on by intellectual stimulation, entertainment, adventure, power, and maybe even drugs. He seeks virtual realities that will free him from the mundane body and stressful physical world. He attains weightlessness during trips to outer space that cost him $250,000.
Like his counterpart, he also sees his body and brain as technology—albeit hardware, not spiritual software. Accordingly, he seeks an upgrade.
The spiritualist has an interest in immortality as well, but it's different. Evidence of reincarnation suggests immortality is already ours. Meditation makes the eternal realm more tangible in the here and now. In addition, the Good Futurist may live a perversely long and vigorous life due to a moderate diet and emotional well-being.
The alternate life-extension method is DNA manipulation and cyborg add-ons to the human body. As we look a little deeper, it becomes clear that extreme techno-optimists seek a prize more illusive than the modern health-conscious alchemist's—physical immortality.
If vampiric plans for physical immortality fail, there's plan B—uploading the human mind into the body of a robot avatar. Alternatively, we might hook ourselves up to a computer and mentally travel into a sphere of purely digital existence, like Tron or The Matrix. And let's not forget manipulation of the cellular atomic core to attain a state of pure electro-magnetic frequency. If we can manipulate the nuclear core of matter, we can, by all means, manipulate our body's matter to reach a higher state. (I once heard a futurist and professional media figure actually propose this.)
Meanwhile, the Good Futurist says, "I'm already there." And she got there without DNA manipulation, prescription drugs, or cyborg add-ons.
To the Good Futurist, humanity's next step is a world of creativity, spiritual exploration, expanded consciousness, communal living, healthy ecosystems, fair and just economics, real-time democracy, and long life through natural means. With a dash of automation, rapid worldwide transportation, and tasteful gadgetry.
The alternate future entails continual domination of the biosphere, manipulation of natural systems and the human genome, science for profit (not the advancement of mankind), and manic states brought on by pharmaceutical drugs without bothering to recognize the tried and true power of consciousness. Oh, and vampire-like immortality, cyborg add-ons, and robot avatars. Sexy.
Whose future sounds more crazy?
The mind is not limited to your physical body— consciousness is the essence of all things. This understanding is in direct opposition to the materialist’s worldview.
Now scientists are confirming what mystics have known for millennia.
The findings of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research explain it well:“[T]here exists a much deeper and more extensive source of reality, which is largely insulated from direct human experience, representation, or even comprehension.”
They call this domain the “Source.”
As stated in the resultant Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research book Filters and Reflections-
"We reject the popular presumption that all modes of human information processing are completely executed within the physiological brain, and that all experiential sensations are epiphenomena of the biophysical and biochemical states thereof. Rather, we … regard the brain as a neurologically localized utility that serves a much more extended “mind,” or “psyche,” or “consciousness” that far transcends the brain in its capacity, range, endurance, and subtlety of operation, and that is far more sophisticated than a mere antenna for information acquisition or a silo for its storage. In fact, we … contend that it [extended mind, psyche, consciousness] is the ultimate organizing principle of the universe, creating reality through its ongoing dialogue with the unstructured potentiality of the Source. In short, we subscribe to the assertion of [astrophysicist] Arthur Eddington nearly a century ago: “Not once in the dim past, but continuously, by conscious mind is the miracle of the Creation wrought.”
The curse of the human ability to articulate, without understanding the implications
of, the question, “Who are you?” rests at the very heart of humanity’s existential crisis.
I asked Las Vegas, “Who are you?”
It answered, “Streets of neon lights; debauchery, sex, and gambling; night
life; the freedom to express the human draw toward heathenism; the crime scene of
Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing; Hunter S. Thompson’s playground.”
Then Las Vegas asked me, “Who are you?”
And I answered, “A heathen; an obsessive traveler with horrible social
anxiety; a masochist; Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday twin; a homebody.”
The question, “Who are you?” is not to be confused with the subtext that often
nonverbally communicates, “Please tell me you’re whoever I want you to be.”
So I asked Las Vegas, “Who do you want me to be?”
And it answered, “The female Hunter S. Thompson with slightly more
And Las Vegas asked me, “Who do you want me to be?”
I answered, “Free from the corruption of money and greed.”
And when the answer to, “Who are you?” is incongruent with the answer to “Who do
you want me to be?” we must then ask what needs to change and why, in order to
challenge the integrity of who we really think we are or want to be.
So finally, I asked Las Vegas, “What would you change about me and why?
And Las Vegas answered, “I would throw out your intuition and give your
a set of balls; I would rid you of your fear of going too far; I would rid you of your
fear…because I would like to see you loosen the fuck up and learn that fun does not
always lead to tragedy. I would like you to be less focused on the appearance of our
city and more focused on what our city, and any city, has to offer to artistic, creative,
hedonistic minds like yours.”
Then Las Vegas asked me, “What would you change about me and why?”
And I answered, “The neon lights; the overstimulation; the pathetic
attempt to mask the misery of debt and addiction…because I would like to see less
corruption and more love. I would like Las Vegas to cater to a people focused less
on partying for partying’s sake and more on transforming a culture of excess into a
culture of free, artistic expression.”
But the only valid answer I have found to the question, “Who are you?” is, “I am
whoever I want to be, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing.”