Reduction of Mysticism as a new Paradigm Shift in Cosmic Thinking

Well guys, the thirteenth bak’tun is coming to a close. Guess it’s curtains time for all us folks. Spiritual Yuppies are gathering en mass in Mexico right now to meditate together because they think tomorrow everyone will have some magical spirit internet that links everybody’s brains together telepathically.

There’s so much pseudo-science and cult-like belief in a “spiritual new age” that people are blind to what’s really being achieved by decades of scientific research.

Did I mention we have a robot on Mars, DNA sequencing in thumb drives, cars that can drive themselves?

Bottom line, we are in a new age; but hopefully one where mysticism is not going to be the primary method of inquiry. Education in the second and third world have increased drastically with the advent of wireless networks and availability of electronics.

So, let me first show you the fruits of my labor. It’s what I’ve come to refer to as the “Mandala” Map. I made this initially as a typical software model diagram, but saw the film Samsara where I was inspired to take the shape of the mandala as a basis; and why not, per wikipedia, the “mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the universe from the human perspective.” Fantastic! That’s what I’m trying to model!

Much of this diagram should speak for itself. The principle idea to keep in mind is that everything in there is based on “Schrodinger’s cat” and the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. To say it simply: the world only creates enough detail required for the immediate observer to see it. The rest of reality still exists as an abstraction, and can procedurally generate content based on probabilistic vectors.

For example, imagine pre-internet, pre-telephone society. You know people that live in you town, you know family members in other towns, you know celebrities and politicians; but do you know every single person in the town next door? If you don’t, then those people do not need to be rendered for you (the observer) to exist. Instead, the whole other town gets rendered as a chunk, and if you decided to visit, individual people appear based on the cultural traits that define that town.

This “shortcut” isn’t necessarily true in real life. It’s just a way of thinking about ways to compute deep artificial intelligence and agent-driven behavior for every single person who has ever lived on this planet… Without needing all of the computational power in the world to make it happen. For more information on how powerful procedural generation is, be sure to read my last post on the idea, or just google it for 20 minutes.

I’ll cut this post off here, I first just want to tell you about the community I’m building to support these ideas and create a discussion about them!

Soon after posting my last blog post I created this Sub-Reddit, /r/Simulate. The people I have attracted in that community are incredible! I’ve started conversations on such a broad range of topics; anything from the mesolithic to neolithic transition; the use of JSON to feed between software modules. It’s a mix of programming, anthropology, applied math, and computer gaming. Could anything be more interesting? Again, everybody in that community is such a great person to talk to and work with! Thanks guys, you know who you are!

Of course, and idea this big doesn’t pop out of nowhere. In 2007 I was tasked to create an art project concept for fifty years in the future. The result was called “The Frontier Project.”

The project was for a course in the “Digital and Experimental Arts” program at the University of Washington. (I ended up in physics/astronomy but the experience here was worth it.) So for the final, we were tasked to imagine an art project 50 years in the future and then make a presentation about it. I choose to build a website instead of use powerpoint.

Anyway, at the start of this I was a big Civ IV addict and kind of knew I wanted to take this direction. Then, while I was drinking some beer working on this, a streaming radio talk show came on. Streaming radio was new back then, so it was called dizzler or something. Anyway, the song had ended and been silent for some time so the set must have ran out. Suddenly this talk show started though.

I could not find which window it was playing from but it was interesting so I just kept listening.
What happened was mindblowing. They started talking about Kurzweil’s law of accelerating returns. I looked up the man, the idea, and the book. Got “The Singularity is Near” shortly after.

In class, we started talking about cybernetics and Marvin Minsky. Some deep part of my brain made a connection to my uncle on the east coast. It turned out my uncle and Kurzweil both got PhD’s under Minsky. Wow, what a small world. I don’t know my uncle very well, and still don’t, but I called him for this occasion. He explained to me automated agents and emotional reasoning in computers. (He had a procedural music project in 1995 called “WOLFGANG.”)

So… with that in mind, I worked on this project. At the time I was working at Smith and Hawken (a gardening store) and doing finals. So it was quite a few late nights to teach myself css, website templates, etc, and hatch this out. But between the alcohol, caffeine and late nights I managed to pull it off.

Now I’m off to binge drink my stress away from the week! Happy Solstice boys and girls!

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