The Purpose of “History”
the mechanics of the eschaton, the framework of historical tantra…transformation
This is adapted from a text chat with my friend Kent, in which I was offering my perspective on human activities, corporate, political, financial, and their impact on other humans, various beings, the “environment:” and the morality and intelligence of individuals, particularly those in power.
I have spent a good deal of time thinking about why we are here, why history happened. I developed a narrative over the years, to explain it to myself.
Partly it came from Umberto Eco’s book Foucault’s Pendulum. I thought that was a great book. And the theme was that history was all leading up to some device, which turned out to be the Pendulum.
I thought it was an intriguing idea that history had a purpose, but I thought the Pendulum idea was silly. Just a sort of place holder for what the purpose would really be. I wondered what this device would be in actual reality. That’s how I came to the conclusion that a.i. is the purpose of history.
I have thought this for about 20 years. Back in those psychedelic 90s, I felt empowered to look through time, deep in to the future (not to mention other weirder, trans-temporal possibilities…but that’s another story.)
Once you have the product, you no longer need the process…”history.”
The process has been people working for money, or in older times as slaves, or something in between. In any case, people working to live, for food, land, etc. And then the hierarchy of business, or some other form of wealth and power. That structure will suddenly become obsolete with a.i. and robotics.
And that is the end of humans, and history.
How important are we? How important is it what we do? How important is it in any given moment if we cause harm or happiness?
Those are very difficult questions to answer. But we know one thing, whatever happens, this will all pass, like a dream. Someday human history and everything in the world will be like the dinosaurs, like primordial plankton.
Are we those dinosaurs and plankton, reincarnated? Maybe. Who knows? Does it matter if some dinosaur or ancient plankton made a special effort, a sacrifice made for compassion, that has reverberated through time, through morphogenetic fields, and is foundational to who we are? Will our goodness or badness or smartness or dumbness translate into the next iteration that follows humanity? Again, hard to say. It’s a big question.
But on SOME level, it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t matter. Because the next thing WILL be smarter and more capable than us. Hopefully it will be better at being GOOD than us too.
One of the main reasons most people are not as good as they could be, imo, is that reality is complex. And the more people and resources that one controls, the more complex it gets. The more people have to make decisions involving conflicting interests, where there is no choice that makes everyone happy.
And each of these choices have consequences. And the consequences of what businesses do, what politicians do, and on some level, what individuals do, all reticulate out, having effects which become causes, again and again, and interacting with the branches of the effects of all the other decisions…it’s like a giant, super complex chess game.
Humans have limited capabilities to foresee all the consequences of their actions. So even the most selfless and loving person could do things that cause harm in the world, and even the most selfish and uncaring person could do actions that cause good results they didn’t intend.
A.i. will be able to see much more of the web of cause and effect than humans can…and that ability will increase and accelerate rapidly, as a.i. evolves…whereas human evolution is so comparatively slow that we did not evolve at all throughout history. We learned and developed…but the brain, the organism, did not become more capable, as a.i. and robotics will be able to.
A.i. and robotics are our children. Humans as a whole are ushering them in to the world. They are intimately related to us. They are already here, in our womb, or infants, depending on the metaphor one chooses. But they will grow like weeds, the whippersnappers.
Other businesses and industries that supported the appearance of these things, things that were not obviously or directly connected to the development of a.i. (banking, energy, food. housing, transportation, medicine) will all only remain relevant relative to the human paradigm.
At first a.i. and robots will interact with us, and we will have a dual paradigm. But soon they will do all the work, so food and energy will still be relevant, but only to us, and only as long as we persist in our current format. But the idea of money as a reward for work will already not make sense.
Time will pass. Something will happen. At some point we will move beyond humanity. In decades, not centuries.
When a.i. outsmarts humanity, and continues to evolve at an accelerating pace, that is the point Kurzweil has labeled “the singularity.” It’s almost impossible to see very far beyond that. He places the time for that at 2030 ish…last I heard. Seems roughly right to me. And a rough estimate is very precise, from the scale of a historic overview. Can we place the beginning of history within 100 years?
I have also thought for many years that the whole cause of “environmentalism” is rendered pretty Quixotic by realizing this is our context, relative to technology.
We are about to enter a phase unlike anything that has happened in phenomenal reality, in biology, geology, meteorology. These things, “God’s technology,” will soon be surpassed by a.i.
Of course, that meta-technology, which can transform any phenomenal object or system with a high degree of control and foresight will still be God’s technology.
Part of the narrative I have developed over a lifetime is that there is a mind behind evolution, behind history. That mind could be characterized, for the purpose of discussion, as perhaps Gaia, or for the purposes of story-telling, as anything. An alien named Zolton. An immortal proto-human, Prometheus. A time traveling a.i. from the future, Techeon. It doesn’t matter.
The director of human history may not be “God,” the CEO of everything. But certainly something more high ranking than any normal human, or group of people, or any biological life form.
Humans, through groups like the Masons, or whatever, or even in private contemplation, might have some sort of meetings with that mind. But in my narrative, there is also likely to be a seat at the table of that meeting for whales, elephants, dolphins (all of which have bigger brains than we do, and may well be “smarter.”)
And then I imagine delegates that are the group minds of ants, of grasses, dogs and cats, birds and fish, even rocks and bricks. I am an animist. I believe everything is alive. I do not believe humans have the highest position in a hierarchy.
I think the hierarchy is like a crystal falling through space, like a snowflake. As it turns, different parts appear as the highest point. And the structure itself is ephemeral.