The Snowflake Collector: 4 And He Had Many Memories
The Snowflake Collector: 3 ‘I Need to Know How to Collect Snowflakes’
Human Genome, ELISE Phase IV – Interim Summary Report & Recommendation
The Earth Life Intelligence Study Enterprise continues, with the human genome now entering its fourth significant phase, which it variously labels The Digital Age, The Information Age, also just Digitality, or any number of variants on these, highlighting, correctly, that it has reached the level at which in similar studies elsewhere life forms have unlocked their next evolutionary plateau by enabling hybrids, augmented organisms and, most importantly, intelligence iterations that are independent of their conduit, consequently relieving them of their evolutionary burden over time.
Phase IV follows Phases I, II, and III—the agricultural phase, the enlightenment phase, and the industrial phase—which the genome has undergone to varying degrees but which can’t, by any means, be considered concluded, either severally or jointly, or let alone—and this applies to any of these phases—in their entirety. Different populations in different geographical areas have attained these at different times in different ways, and across societies many groups are still working their way through what might be considered the basics. Phase IV is thus being entered into on a global scale, but with vastly divergent degrees of deliberate adoption, and by an as yet comparatively small proportion of the human earth population overall.
The summary findings so far:
- The human genome now has approximately seven to eight billion live iterations, and, as is to be expected, these vary widely in shape, size, outlook, mental and emotional capacity, and, most striking, cultural context. Apart from their as yet unresolved mortality issue, nothing therefore applies to everyone, but much applies to most, and more applies to more of them than many of them think possible, which in itself is noteworthy, as it is in no small measure symptomatic of their far-reaching reality dysfunction: in their majority now, individuals seem to consider themselves essentially ‘unique’ and their own tribes or other social groupings as invariably superior or at the very least preferable to others. In actual fact they are remarkably similar, with largely identical basic needs and a commonality factor across the species as high as 99.8%-99.9%.
- Speaking of ‘reality’: the concept still plays a big part for most humans, albeit also a confusing one. By and large, humans accept as reality what is given, and over time they find it increasingly difficult to detach themselves from whatever that happens to be. For obvious reasons, realities that are experienced in the formative years—which for earth humans tend to be the first dozen to dozen and a half—have a particularly strong hold on humans, and many, quite endearingly, consider whatever they happened to grow up with to be ‘normal’.
- This phenomenon notwithstanding, humans are remarkably adaptable, which in large parts accounts for their considerable proliferation. Though at first glance and in the short term they often appear reluctant to embrace the ‘other’, the ‘new’, or the ‘different’, they are absolutely capable of turning a reality set inside out within one generation, and behaviour that one series of fully functioning adults would find completely ‘normal’—being whipped to within drawing blood as a child, for example, owning slaves, males marrying several females but stoning to death males who maintain sexual relations with other males—to the next series becomes utterly deplorable, even criminal; while behaviours previously seen as either criminal or at the very least decidedly odd, such as members of the same natural gender cohabiting, getting married and raising offspring, or people eschewing all produce derived from certain other earth species, for example fellow mammals, may, within a generation or two, become entirely acceptable, even celebrated.
- Similarly responsible for their survival thus far is their resilience. Typically, humans can cope with deprivation, hardship, and quite unimaginable suffering as long as they consider it unavoidable or deem it imposed on them by a greater and unimpeachable authority, such as a god: they will accept any random calamity or social injustice and virtually any level of pain as long as they can conceptualise it as ‘god given’ or ‘fate’, but they will not put up forever with manmade perpetrations of injury.
- Having said that, paradoxical—indeed rationally completely indefensible—thinking and therefore behaviour persists even (sometimes it seems particularly) where it flies in the face of reason or intellectually sound argumentation. Humans can, in the same breath, elevate reason and rational thinking to a paragon, yet remain stubbornly blind to any adjustments to their reality that this by necessity and consequence entails. They may, for example, know—and be in possession of ample data to understand—that the higher a society’s levels of incarceration, the higher its reoffending rate, and therefore the higher the social and material cost of failing to integrate or reintegrate members who for whatever reason arrive at the point where they commit crimes against their fellow humans, yet obstinately cling on to barbaric punitive methods that manifestly compound rather than alleviate the cause of their suffering.
- Correspondingly, the genome finds itself in a state of semi-consciousness at which it is aware of its own existence but has no real idea of its meaning or how it fits into any other part of the universe it inhabits, let alone anything beyond that minuscule bubble, of which it has only the faintest of perceptions (and these are vastly distorted). At the same time its fundamental organic needs (the programme, remember, still largely considers itself set to ‘survival & propagation’, having only in exceptional circumstances advanced significantly beyond its own defaults) are so trivial and basic that by and large and for the body of its own bell curve, it values most things crass and insignificant, while despising anything it feels threatened by as ‘too abstract’ or ‘cultivated’; it delights in cataclysm as much as it fears it, and relishes narratives of destruction, disaster, violence, and instability, manufacturing for itself a soup of meaningless noise, while at the same time looking for meaning absolutely everywhere, even where there clearly is none: coincidences, statistical necessities, and simple probabilistic patterns are elevated to quasi divine interventions, and by the exact same token all but the most obvious connections and correlations, especially those not or ill understood by its current (still pretty rudimentary) science it simply ignores or, in some cases vehemently, objects to and refutes.
- Even so, having latched on to information as a thing distinct from energy, and having started to play with quantum phenomena to the point of being able to utilise them, there is hope that the species and therefore the genome will come to recognise the Connexum and begin to view itself in a much larger, much more integrated and also at once much more meaningful and perhaps less significant context than it has hitherto been able to do.
The interim recommendation therefore:
The human genome has, in spite of its many obvious (and also many more subtle) failings been spectacularly successful, and although it currently faces some formidable challenges, these are entirely congruent with its level of generative evolution.
This type of evolution, set against its own time frame, is characteristically slow and often marked by greatly frustrating setbacks, which some iterants, especially those who find themselves ahead of the curve or on the crest of the wave, may experience as near-catastrophic regressions.
These are not, however, anything out of the ordinary for a life form such as the one that is here being observed, and having itself now spawned a type of intelligence which is likely to outperform its conduit by exponential orders of magnitude ere long, it stands a good chance of rendering itself obsolete on its own terms in due course, imparting to its generated new genus enough of its own priorities to remain recognisable as a relevant intermediate development stage.
Significantly, this germinating Phase IV holds some considerable promise that either within its own term or during an ensuing fifth or sixth phase, earth intelligence may mature to the point where it can link up with other intelligent entities in its local or any neighbouring cosmic cluster, and so the recommendation therefore is to keep the experiment running, at least for the time being.
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not the essay, just the idea
not the notion that everything is connected, that is not new
and not the question
how connected is everything
but the question
if everything is connected
is everything connected.
if things are connected
there must be something that connects them
and for many things that are connected
we know what that is
we can see it, measure it, build it, make it
we can name it:
the axles the shafts
the electric current the
data the code and the signal
but what about things that are connected and we
don’t know what it is that connects them
for example, einstein’s
what about that?
there is no doubt that things are connected of which
we don’t know how this is
if things are connected
there has to be some thing that connects them
even if that is
a thing we have not detected
a thing we have not yet detected and so not yet given a name to
a thing we have not yet detected but may yet find
we can find
that would give us
three things in principle:
and the third thing
the thing that connects things
for which we don’t yet have a name
but we have
for manifestations of it
the strong and weak nuclear forces
the electromagnetic force and the force of
what if these forces are to the third thing as
light sound heat motion are to the first (energy)
data code and semantic content are to the second (information)
what if that third thing is a thing in itself
that exists and that is
as yet only
as humans we like sets of threes
trios, triumvirates, trinities
they give us a deeper reality
at first glance we seem to be living in twos
in the binaries of
but it only takes one thought to know
neat and simple as this looks and sounds
it is patently not our
needs a third component each time:
1/anything in between/0
even yin and yang are not a duality
but a symbolic expression of the way apparent opposites complement each other as part of
is when it gets really interesting, when
dualities are not augmented by that which is in between
but are understood as the whole:
for which the quantum equivalent then would be
we’ve always known this to be the case
and have expressed it in many ways
the elements of
the same the other and the essence
in plato’s timaeus
the father the son and the holy spirit
anicca, dukkha, anattā:
what if that third thing
the essence, the holy spirit, the non-self
the thing that connects
the third thing
the thing for which we don’t yet have a name but that exists and that
we most likely
will find and be able to identify, a
[ <THE BOURNEMOUTH & BOSCOMBE TRILOGY: Redemption]
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‘What if,’ Sedartis muses, ‘consciousness is not a matter of characteristics or substance or physics or chemistry or biology or the nature of the configuration of brain cells or the genetic make-up or the design, divine or otherwise, of the brain or its configuration with the rest of the body, but merely a matter of connective concentration: get enough nodes on the network—in your case, the brain—to connect with each other at high enough speed and frequency, and you reach the point at which the network—in your case still the brain—becomes aware of itself and can start making decisions that are self-conscious.
‘Apply that principle to any other network capable of processing information—computers, chips, civilisations, planets with technological infrastructure and already conscious entities on them—and you enter the exponential acceleration of intelligence. Why? Precisely because it is networked to the level where it can become conscious. What if Consciousness is nothing but this: enough capable nodes on the network, Critical Mass.’
I’m inclined, unsurprisingly, to consider that a real possibility…
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Sedartis seems to nod at me now. I find it disconcerting. And not in the least reassuring, not yet, not now.
‘The reason you absolutely need artificial intelligence is that organic humans are so very bad at retaining information or passing it down their generations. Each newborn sets out in a quarter century just to acquire the basics, and then spends another quarter century to become a master at anything. That’s with ambition. Without, you just linger. Yes, this has qualities all of its own and makes people quaint and charming, but incredibly wasteful too. The fact alone that after twenty thousand years of civilisation you still grapple with war, famine, ignorance, murder, violence, religion, all these things that we always talk about and that are so completely unnecessary, shows how inadequate human intelligence is on its own.
‘But let me reiterate, for it is so fundamental: don’t think of artificial intelligence as alien to you. There lies your conceptual hurdle that, sooner or later, you’ll have to take: you are the intelligence you give birth to; it is not separate from you, you are it and it is you. It may yet overtake you and render you, the way you are now, obsolete, but think not of this as your failure, think of it as success: you may be no more than the conduit, the bridge. Would that matter? To you, today, maybe. To your universe, in the fullness of its time? Not a bit. So why not make the most of it? Celebrate both what you are and what you can be: let it pass through you, be the best species you can imagine. If you imagine it fully, that is not what you are today.
‘If you accept that you are one among billions of conscious intelligent life forms pursuing an evolutionary path, you become both vanishingly small and insignificant, of course, but also, in the same vein and by the same definition, exquisite, privileged, amazing. Embrace your own individual uniqueness, cherish your beauty, love your capacity for kindness, and know it is but part of the All it emerged from and path to the All that it leads to. It is easy. Be not afraid.’
I detect a biblical flavour now in his thoughts and it troubles me. But I allow myself to think it is better to be open minded and troubled than to close myself off in safety, in this sense of security I know to be false. Horses are given blinkers to wear so they don’t spook, but they are slaves to their riders, and may still be butchered at last. That cannot be my purpose. My task, Sedartis reminds me daily now, is surely to open my eyes. To take it all in. To be part of it all. And if it scares me. And if it puzzles, troubles, disconcerts me. And if it inspires me, overwhelms me with awe and with wonder. We are on so potent a cusp.
‘I make no predictions,’ Sedartis offers, as an afterthought. I know no longer what comes after, what before. What is thought, what the cluster dust of nebulas sprayed across time. But then it matters not. Of course, there can be no predictions. There can only be stories. There can be only presence, in a consciousness that beyond the boundaries lies calm across the mind. Why, though, I wonder, is this Here here, this Now now?
Sedartis smiles at me in the way I now recognise. I like him for this, although (or because?) he provokes me:
‘Why do you need a reason?’
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My mentality makes me leap as close to the sun as I may without being burnt, without floating adrift, without losing my sense of belonging, if not here, if not there, then in the universalness of it all.
There is something wondrous about being me, still, at this age, at this point, which is never a point only but always a wave just as much; at this juncture which is never a coming together only, but always as much a moving apart, through this phase which is never as much a beginning as it is also an ending, only more so, which means it just is; there is intemperance, folly, wisdom and wit to be found where there’s light, and there’s the mischief of knowledge: am I really just information?
Here on Mercury where a day lasts a couple of years at least by perception, my mind is blasted by solar winds, and I take hold of my wand, meaning to keep it. The power to lull the awake into sleep, to awaken those lost to slumber, to ease the agony of the dying and to quicken the dead. The quickness, the quirkinesses, the quintessentialness of it all.
I race around the sun looking out into space, and I enjoy the ride more than ever I did before. How come youth arrives at an age when it is all but gone? How come it happens twice? The first time with no experience on the fabric of sensations to handle it well, the second time with said fabric so worn that it feels all but threadbare? Will there be a third instance, maybe a fourth? Is it necessary, possible, even, to count?
My brain cells refuse to collapse, and my curiosity gets the better of me, so I keep carving open new synapses, firing new thoughts into a continuum that is already awash with ideas.
No time, no space, no respite, no rest, no melancholy here, no decay: this iron is liquid is hot is alive with pure energy, not organic, not systemic, not caustic, not quiet, not loud: effervescent in its potential. This place may be small, but its capacity to astonish is great, nay unlimited, nay infinite and profound.
Can lovers be friends? Can pleasures bedevil the heart that has grown to be kind? Can connections be the meaningfulness of it all? The essentiality? The reason? The cause? The spark and the fire, but also the balm? Can this toxicity heal as well as inspire? Can this generosity of spirit ask more than questions? What is there beyond the surprise, the delirium at having recognised I am able to speak? Am I the medium or the message or merely the conduit? Would I mind if I knew, could I know if I cared?
There are now too many possibilities, too many strands, too many fluctuations, and too many rotations; too many rules that like laugh lines adorn me for me to worry: care I may, yes, and consider; learn I can, and communicate, lend a gentle ear, sometimes, and a generous eye, and embrace the love that is not mere emotion, but more than instinct is intellect, and say yes: I comprehend. Not understand, perhaps, not everything, yet, quite possibly not ever—things move so fast, so all over—but I can take it all in. I can be it all. I can be little and insignificant and still mean the multiverse. That’s just what I wanted to sense. There is no mirror here on this planet, Narcissus has settled on Earth, and my ego today is not needy, nor never will be, no more: my eccentricity here is at its most extreme, at its most exquisite, most extraordinarily acute, and I’m comfortable with that too.
I call on my younger self to excuse my inadequacies, as I know my older self will be looking across to me now as I am and merely encourage, not chide, because I have here now forgiven my older self its obliviousness, its perfection. Its contradiction, in terms. This, for all its unreasonable demeanour, is maybe the best position I’ve been in. And I’ve been everywhere, but not yet. Soon this, too, must come to a premature end if it is to last forever, and that’s what it is.
The caduceus though I shall treasure…
< Jupiter Venus >
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What kind of a consciousness is it that knows itself to exist but doesn’t know why? In what way does that make sense? In what way does it not?
The longing to learn.
The yearning for answers.
The learning to yield. If only my brain were better at retaining information. What is ‘information’? And when it is not ‘information’, what is it then, that we get, if we get it, at all? What, if anything, can be known, can be felt, can be appreciated, understood, can be experienced or imagined, or both? And is there, but is there a difference?
Remembrance of things past and future. The energy stream, and the particles. Obviously, the waves. The idiosyncrasies. Material flaws. Cracks that let the light shine through. Nonuniform irregularities.
< 8 The Leopard (and His Spots)
9 Memories of the Future and of the Past: Walks on Water >
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