Bound for Glory

17 Apr

Like many people who contemplate the future of humanity and the universe, I tend to think of consciousness (the discernible manifestation of the soul) as just being along for the ride. However, when I take into account what consciousness must be and what it must be capable of, I realize that is a mistake.

When cosmologists imagine the future of our universe, they tend to make their projections without any consideration of anthropomorphic input. In other words, they imagine its evolution taking place while humans are merely along for the ride. Some recent futurists, of which Ray Kurzweil is a prime example, have begun to recognize that humans may have an influence on how the universe evolves. This is not an unreasonable idea. Earth scientists have begun to recognize that the evolution of the earth must now take into account the influence of humans, and they have even coined the term “Anthropocene”. Futurists, who are beginning to include the influence of humans on the evolution of the universe, recognize that humans may find ways to overcome some apparent physical laws and begin to restructure the universe in ways that are to their own liking. Some have introduced the idea of the universe being transformed into “computronium” and becoming one giant computer.

Similar to how scientists have tended to imagine humans being in a completely passive role when contemplating the future of the universe, I have long tended to imagine human consciousness as being in a passive role. I have come to realize that may be a mistake.

In past essays, I proposed theories for what consciousness may be and how it may work. What I have described, in essence, is an extra-physical phenomenon that traces the path of the universe and selects its course by choosing from a menu of possible variations that result from quantum events:

Consciousness, A Simple Model

However, this is only one interpretation of the phenomenon. Another interpretation is that consciousness is somehow able to influence the outcome of wave-function collapse. Whichever interpretation is closer to the truth, the result is essentially the same. Consciousness gives the appearance of being able to change the outcome of physical events.

It appears that consciousness is able to do this only in a limited way in a limited region of our brains. In this way, it appears to be able to influence our decision processes and direct our thinking. However, what if this ability to influence the immediate environment of our brain was somehow expanded? What if consciousness was able to influence a larger region of our brain and ultimately regions of space beyond our brain?

It is not clear what sort of change to our physiology might result in this kind of amplification of consciousness, but I strongly suspect that two changes may result in this. The first is that we are able to increase our natural intelligence. The second is that we are able to live much longer lives. A question I have raised in other essays is why God would have created the universe so that we are able to develop technology. The answer I arrived at was that doing so made it possible for us to fulfill his promise of creating a better place for us to live. This place is typically referred to as “heaven”. Like I argued, it made no sense for God to create a universe that would eventually accommodate technology, especially so much technology and such advanced technology, if his intention was to peanut butter over it and implement heaven himself:

Where We Are Headed

It seems inevitable that human technology will play a role in creating heaven. However, how will this occur?

It appears that physical laws will prohibit humans from travelling to the furthest regions of the universe. Already, parts of the universe are expanding away faster than the speed of light and it appears that it will always be impossible for any physical object to exceed the speed of light. If humans cannot “get out there” and change things, they will not be able to “rein the universe in” and transform it into heaven. The universe will eventually expand into nothing and die a slow heat death. However, consciousness (the soul) appears to not be restricted by the physical laws of the universe. It is apparently capable of overcoming Bell’s theorem and influencing the outcome of quantum events. It also appears to be capable of instantaneously spanning space and time.

So , we have two characteristics of the universe that have to be considered together if we are to anticipate the “plan” to create heaven. Technology is apparently essential, but the only aspect of the universe that could possibly rein the universe in to create heaven is some kind of super consciousness. This suggests that technology must play a role in ultimately amplifying consciousness.

How can technology be exploited to amplify consciousness?

It seems unlikely that technology will be able to directly amplify consciousness, but it is not unreasonable that it may create an environment where consciousness can expand on its own. The only ways that seem available for it to do this are for it to make human brains that survive longer and are able to consider bigger ideas. If brains are more powerful, it seems that conscious may ultimately expand into them and find new powers. However, the evidence from living experience is that if consciousness is capable of expanding, it is capable of doing this only very slowly. Therefore the expansion must take quite a bit of time. I am guessing something on the order of thousands of years, if not millions of years. This means that we must find technological ways to expand our brains and keep our brains, along with our bodies, alive for thousands or millions of years.

What I am suggesting is that we will ultimately find ways to keep our brains youthful and growing in the sense that they grow in the early stages of life for a much longer period of time than is currently the case. One may ask why this has not happened naturally, but there are definite constraints imposed by the processes that have brought human life about. Evolution can do only so much and it has a somewhat limited agenda. Evolution only acts to propagate the species and ensure its survival. It is mostly interested in reproduction rates and the overall survival of the species. Long lives serve no purpose in its overall plan. Also, the path by which humans have evolved has greatly limited the kinds of people that can be born. A woman’s narrow birth canal and the requirements of rearing children are both very limiting.

With technological advancements, it will be possible to extend what evolution has accomplished. It will be possible to give humans longer lives and artificially cause their brains to continue to grow. It will be possible to erase the effects of senescence and make people’s brains youthful and resilient again.

I tend to doubt that completely artificial augmentations like Elon Musk’s Neuralink will ultimately be the way forward. For a variety of reasons, I strongly suspect that consciousness cannot expand into such completely artificial machinery. Somehow, it must be possible to assist the growth of our natural brains so that more work is being done by real neurons. This may require that humans have somewhat larger heads. I suspect that the necessary expansion of cranial size will not seem particularly significant from a morphological point of view. The result will not be humans that look particularly odd. Probably, no one will be able to distinguish a person with a braincase that is, say, 20% larger. When the volume of an object is increased by this amount, its profile does not greatly change. However, if the expansion takes place only in the regions that are amenable to consciousness, a 20% increase in overall brain size should result in humans that have fantastically powerful consciousnesses.

Such people should be able to influence the behavior of materials outside of their brains. In doing so, their consciousness may be able to “occupy” to some extent objects beyond their brains. People with considerable experience may be able to leave their bodies entirely and move about the universe without needing any kind of humanoid body at all. Ultimately, they may be able to move through the matter and energy of the universe as pure spirit. They may be able to do this at superluminal speeds and reach the furthest corners of the universe. In the process, they may learn to expand further and gain further control of matter and space until they are able to reorganize the universe at its most fundamental level. They may be able to restructure the universe so that it no longer expands (or contracts) in an uncontrolled manner.

In this way, humans will create a universe that is perfectly suited to incorporeal beings that increasingly are not limited by any physical constraints.

Such beings will be able to detect souls that have passed on so that those souls can be reattached to the physical universe and grow along with the souls that have pioneered this new manner of existence. They will bring back every human, dog, mouse, worm or microbe that has lived before and give them the opportunity to grow and expand into their full potential.

Together, these purely spiritual beings may reach out to parallel universes that may be inhospitable to corporeal beings. They may find vast endless dimensions of possibilities to explore and reshape. They may explore spaces, not only of the physical, but of the emotional and sensual. I suspect that God has prepared quite a playground for the purely spiritual beings of the future to explore. This playground is undoubtedly more diverse and dynamic than any contemporary person is capable of grasping.

We will learn that Christmas, ostensibly the celebration of the winter solstice and the return of spring or the birth of a savior god, is actually the celebration of humanity coming out of the dark and entering the light of the vast and inexhaustible universe God has prepared for us.

Humans will never touch God. That, alas, is beyond even a purely spiritual being. But they will be increasingly certain of God’s existence. They will grasp that the nature of the universe they are expanding into is not an accident. It is rapidly becoming evident that the universe we inhabit could not be an accident, but the purely spiritual beings we will become will have no doubt of this.

We will experience the deep emotional bliss of the Christmas season with reverence and sincerity that no child looking into the light’s of a Christmas tree or the moon over new fallen snow has ever dreamt of. It will be glorious.

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