Having Invented the Gods, Perhaps we can Turn into Them

Jason Silva
December 16th 2010

My name is Jason Silva. I've spent the last 5 years hosting and producing a tv show on Al Gore's Emmy-winning Current TV network and I'm a fellow at the Hybrid Realities Institute exploring human/technology co-evolution. My goal is to inspire you by acting as an ambassador of ideas.  Here we go.

Marshall McLuhan famously said, "First we build the tools, then they build us;" Stewart Brand said, "we are as gods and might as well get good at it;"  Philosophers David Chalmers and Andy Clark have said that our electronic devices are rapidly becoming extensions of our minds.   Synthetic Aesthetics, a project run by the University of Edinburgh and Stanford University, is bringing together synthetic biologists, designers, artists, and out-of-the-box thinkers, to find convergent approaches to designing with the canvas of life.

David Pearce, author of the Hedonistic Imperative, proposes that human beings become "paradise engineers" and converge our utopian dreams with biotechnological and nanotechnological realities.   Renowned physicist Freeman Dyson recently stated that, "In the future a new generation of artists will write genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses."

It doesn't take much of a stretch to see a pattern rapidly emerging.  The exponential acceleration of technology and the imminent convergence of mind and machine, science and art, poetry and computation is leading us to a New Age of Wonder.

TURNING INTO GODS is a documentary concept that will attempt to make sense of the aesthetic and philosophical implications of our accelerating human/technology co-evolution. It will explore mankind's journey to 'play jazz with the universe'... it is a story of our ultimate potential, the reach of our intelligence, and the scope of our scientific and engineering abilities.

Thinking, feeling, striving, man is what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called "the ascending arrow of the great biological synthesis."...Psychedelics and technology activist Timothy Leary proposed hacking the human brain and liberating the human nervous system so it may roam the cosmos-- then cyberspace came along and Leary was quick to refer to it and the computer as "the lsd of the 90's".

One of my favorite thinkers, futurist Mac Tonnies, beautifully wrote in Sentience and Circuitry:

"As the human race migrates to custom-engineered realities, the definitions that now serve to separate "tool" from "user" will become increasingly meaningless. When the fragile meat-matrix of contemporary carbon-based humanity is abandoned in favor of lush new frontiers of our own devising, the genetic code (and its inherent instabilities and weaknesses) will fade into obsolescence, as all primitive devices eventually do. If we use DNA at all, it will be to truly create, the biological world our obedient and abiding molecular canvas....

...Intelligence is not a phenomenon. It's an information-impregnated pattern, as reproducible in its own way as a photocopy or the unruly lines that divide a shag carpeting. There is no reason my self-pattern cannot be synthesized, reconstituted, modified, relayed through space in the form of modulated radio waves or laser pulses, hacked, distributed as freeware to denizens of some future Internet, or uploaded to artificial bodies that may or may not resemble my present meatware incarnation.

Electronic communications activists proclaim that 'information wants to be free'.  So do I."

I couldn't agree more.   Mankind can ponder the infinite yet finds himself in a heart pumping, breath gasping, decaying body. As Ernest Becker wrote in The Denial of Death, "we are godly, yet creaturely."

Yet, as Alan Harrington ferociously wrote in The Immortalist, "we must never forget we are cosmic revolutionaries, not stooges conscripted to advance a natural order that kills everybody." This is what should be fueling and inspiring us as the symbiosis between man and machine accelerates exponentially.  Lets make sure every day of our lives advances this plot.  We owe it to ourselves to engineer all of reality into our masterpiece; a universe-as-designer-art.

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Matt C
Posted 21/01/2011 – 00:12

So says someone with such little faith in our own potential. Just because you were brainwashed from birth to believe that there is some kind of God and we are all lesser beings designed for the soul purpose of serving and worshipping, doesn't mean everyone else has to believe that we are inferior and cannot attain Godlike status. Everything you believe is just preconditioned anyway, it isn't as if your opinions are even truly original.

Savannah
Posted 15/01/2011 – 10:35

You guys were great on current! This is what the world needs to recognize, you're on the right path. I wish MTV never ruined that network

Ozzy104
Posted 14/01/2011 – 16:12

Alot of psycho-babble and emotional language with no real substance. There is no 'plot' to advance, nothing happens for a reason. We create personal reasons but they cannot extend beyond our own subjective, contingent existence. In an infinite plane of existence, the 'order' that we label intelligence is all but inevitable. 500 years after copernicus and we still feel drawn toward the self-indulgent fantasy that the universe revolves around us.

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