Cargo Cult. On what came down our chimney
Santa Claus is alive and well, but he has traded in his reindeer for a Zero Point Energy propulsion system. Uncle Sam has now reverse engineered the chariots of the gods, but the oil companies are keeping them hidden in Hangar 18 so that the Cartel may continue to raise our gas prices.
No, Virginia, I don’t believe this, despite the evidence of the rapidly rising gas prices. Worse than this, I don’t even believe in the Galactic Federation that is supposed to be our benefactor. Heck, Virginia, I don’t even believe in galaxies, but never mind.
It’s not that I don’t believe in a free lunch. It’s just that I happen to believe in the Big Free Lunch in the sky. Yes, Virginia, I believe in Creation. And as a residual protestant I don’t think we should accept gifts from strangers dressed in funny clothes claiming to be intercessors of God from Zeta Reticuli. I think we are meant to exercise our own powers of ratiocination. It behooves us to consider the Source.
Instead of heaven we are being asked to believe in a technological utopia in the sky. In the scientific context this does seem like a better bet than the happy hunting ground. But does it make sense? Does it fit the data?
There is one premise with which I agree: at a certain point of our development we can no longer be excluded from cosmic society. If we have not already reached that point, it is inevitable and probably imminent, unless, as some suggest, we are the products of a bad seed and due for eradication.
On the other hand there are problems with this picture. How far can technology be carried before it turns its technicians into magicians or even gods? Are there physical limits on technology? Could not technology create virtual worlds of virtually any description? Is it not then more likely that we are the products of such a creation than just accidental products of nature?
How do we distinguish imagineering from imagination, ultimately? Is there such a thing as mind and how do its ultimate powers relate to those of technology? Is not technology leading us to the inevitable conclusion of mind over matter? Or are the philosophers and mystics correct that the refractoriness of matter to mind is just a temporary illusion, along with the technology that partakes of this illusion.
Physicists are accepting the fact that there is nothing to prevent the existence of infinitely many worlds mediated by every conceivable set of physical principles. If this were the case, and knowing that mind is possible in at least one of those worlds, would there never arise a world that was predominantly mental, or that was a construct of mind? If even one such world were possible, then why not every one?
We have been supposing that mind can arise only as a product of physics. The presumption used to be that physics is simpler than mind and so is more likely to be spontaneously generated. Progress in physics continues in the direction of increased complexity and abstraction at the most fundamental level of phenomena. This trend continues to erode the belief in a natural prohibition against a foundational role for the mind?
Darwin, however, has made it more difficult to assign more than an epiphenomenal role to mind. The fossil record clearly lays before us a story of biological rather than mental evolution. The fossil record is backed up by the celestial appearance of a deep space and time devoid of any other evidence of mind. It has become very difficult for us then to imagine the reverse of the apparently lopsided predominance of matter seen in this universe. If mind were fundamental then the universe ought to be awash in sentience.
Unless…unless our universe is the product of a mind which has special intentions for us. If our world is a creation, it is a creation that has put us in a special isolation chamber: isolated from other intelligent creatures and from the creator. It would have to be a very special creation that does not also have the appearance of a special creation. Who would bet that the creator might not be so talented and so inclined?
I suggest that the creator need not be profligate with creation. Creation is not a hit and miss operation. One puts almost all one’s eggs in one basket and then watches the basket carefully. Yes, on this one globe we have the appearance of redundancy and profligacy, but if this were the only such globe, creation might seem exceedingly parsimonious.
The evidence suggests other realms with other intelligences, and one can easily imagine special roles for such realms. The emphasis here, however, seems to be on a more ‘natural’ diversity. It has been said that ours is the only planet of choice. The choices here are great indeed. The guidance is minimal. Is there anything that has not been tried at least once? Is there any thought that has not been entertained? We are a kind of compost heap radiating much heat.
Is there any reason why the creator might stop with a single compost heap? Let me suggest that this realm is the root of creation, also the route of creation. We are on the royal road to creatordom. What is the matter with two such paths converging? We already have 10^10 such paths converging right here. Our isolation and the possibility of our uniqueness seem on the verge of gaining us a very hard won solidarity. Would the creator jeopardize that vital solidarity with an eleventh hour revelation of our expendability? I suggest that our very isolated globe defines a ‘natural’ optimum of redundancy. In as much as the creator has been revealed to us, that revelation is couched in the strongest terms of singularity. Is this not the whole point of monotheism? Reversion now to polytheism and poly-everything else would seem to be swimming against the strong current of history, besides being utterly pointless.
What has finally come down our chimney at this most crucial of junctures is not a grab bag of gadgetry. It is something more rapturous, more singular. It is our ticket to ride, not the rocket, but the glory train. The Archons have been called off. The coast is clear. This compost heap is deemed ready for its transmorgification. There is no intention for us to tarry. Our allotted Millennium is but an eye blink. Our one measly gadget now is this little Internet. It is sufficient unto this Day of days.
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