Progress so Far

I think it is high time for an update on how far we have progressed towards the initial vision of this website, that is towards an epoch-marking fusion of advanced technology and human communication that would make a new internationalism possible at last. The vision was of a society, around the year 2025, that had achieved an enlightened world peace, in which cultures and regions had become more important than countries and advanced technology, though still amazing, had become utterly commonplace. Wrist-watch computers that can project holographic presentations of any knowledge shared by mankind, vehicles that move silently, causing no pollution, shared virtual reality experiences as an entertaining fusion of films, theatre and reality TV are all just over the horizon. We can’t quite envision them clearly as of yet, but suggestive echoes of such a possible future are already reaching us now.

I feel that it may be easier to evaluate the ‘small picture’, my on experience of life on Earth right now, than the ‘big picture’ of life as a whole, as it is so hard to obtain clear and unbiased information, even on a supposedly free internet. From what I can make out, it is a situation of progress interrupted. Whilst a truly millennial culture is encompassing the globe as never before, helped by new sharing and communicative technologies to do so, national identities that will need to greatly soften to facilitate a truly international phase have tended to harden. War and revolution have scoured the near East, the sheer horror of which gripping headlines and news media generally, making it hard to effectively see if this is a process of freeing these essential areas from generations of shackles, or just chaotic turbulence with no real direction. The middle and near East being an essential area of prophecy, it remains to be seen if the much-vaunted ‘Arab Spring’ will bring the rational organisation of such lands that they so sorely need. Viewed faithfully, though, peace, freedom and an authentic integration with the rest of the world can be the only ultimate results of this progressive process, whatever conflicts emerge in the shorter term.

Meanwhile, technology has spread across the world like wildfire and the so-called ‘Web 2’ of personal interaction, the interaction that this site holds to be indicative of true and lasting freedom from centralised and impersonal authority, seems to have taken hold across societies and across national boundaries like never before. Thanks not only to email, but now to social networking sites like Facebook and Mixy, amongst others, instant and shared interaction is possible at any time. The onus of such communication being formalised has been overcome through microblogging sites such as Twitter, which allow for frank and personal exchanges without the delay of formulating an in-depth response. That is, they facilitate nearly direct communication, a true extension of one’s social sphere into virtual space, space that is very quickly being discovered, though is wrongly thought of as being created. Such space has its own boundaries and continents, not only in the technologies facilitating it.

One of the greatest movements of our time and one that will make certain advances feasible, even inevitable, is the rise and spread of visual sharing. Digital cameras (or scanned analogue images, to be complete) and the internet to spread them on allow for the sharing of experiences in a way harder to accomplish with words. A picture in a sense really does contain a thousand words, though of course these are all words to apply to it, but it brings the scene directly to the viewer. As higher bandwidth has become possible, a more visual internet has come too, with ever-increasing resolution, which despite the marketing fluff associated with this, means for a more lifelike presentation and so a more satisfying one. Photos are not the end of this, as high-definition video and beyond makes its appearance, something that previously was only possible with expensive cameras, can now be accomplished with smart-phones, which have become media-creation devices as much as ones to experience the internet on.

The next phase, though, will presumably take many generations of technology to accomplish. It will involve entering the internet, perhaps in the guise of an avatar, to interact personally with other people from around the world, almost as if you were really with them, not only in real-world environments, but in ultra-realistic simulations created by the finest artists. You will scuba^dive in seas filled with imaginary fish, walk in gardens filled with trees that cycle through their seasons whilst you watch, travel together with others virtually, yet with all the smells, sounds and sensations of the places, almost like magic. Almost, as it will be a flowering of technology that facilitates it, not an active imagination alone, something which has restricted such experiences to the few all through history.

Just to give some pointers as to what technologies may help bring this about over the next few years or even decades, we have the move to ever-greater resolutions in video, from HD to full HD, then to the data-intensive 4k and 8k varieties, along with ever-advancing screens on which to view them. This, along with glasses-free 3D, will make for a more lifelike and immersive experience. New generations of camera will capture full 3D representations of things, allowing not just for a visual stereo playback, but truly holographic presentations. Ultra high-bandwidth internet will be able to support various people entering such simulations in a kind of lifelike video conference together. It will indeed be something like the Star Trek Holodeck or ‘virtual reality’, yet without the big drama associated with those presentations. In fact, it will be an everyday thing, like meeting a friend for a coffee after work.It won’t even be radically different in any essential way. But it will be the way society of the future interacts, spending its vastly increased free time and economic resources. It may not really be different, but it will be more enlightened, overcoming the differences that separate people in the most time-tested way of all, through natural, warm and unforced communication.

When the Lion Lies Down With the Lamb

 6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

(Isaiah 11:6-9)

Will the lion (or wolf, as it actually states) ever lie down with the lamb? That evocative image of a dreamlike impossibility from Isaiah forms the frontispiece of the United Nations entrance, but it would seem to be as far from Earthly realisation as ever. Or is it? It speaks of a time when the weak and strong will be able to dwell together, with the gentle lamb having nothing to fear from the lion. It may not yet be upon us, but several changes happening to society will make this possible at last.

One thing is the rise of a technological equality that previous societies couldn’t even have imagined. That is, through the medium of technology, democratically distributed, there are spaces and forums to which anyone can have access, pretty much regardless of background. Already, millions around the world have access to the internet in some way or another. When the next generation of interactive internet emerges, it will be an even greater part of our lives. It doesn’t mean everyone will be absolutely equal in their worldly status, the flattening affect won’t go that far. Personal development and effort will go a long way to defining people then as now, yet background will have a lot less sway. The society we presently live in is comparatively feudal in the emphasis paid to birthplace and parents. This will be increasingly unsustainable in the future.

The reason why the lamb will be able to lie with the lion is from having nothing to fear anymore from his bite. The lion, seeing clearly the benefits of the trusting and gentle ways of the lamb will likewise be freed from the primitive aggression he once felt towards those weaker than him, in a system so devoted to physical survival. Although self-restraint is currently urged upon the strong, in a world where such strength is seen as one of many attributes and not necessarily the most important one, mutual respect will make such consideration natural.

The words are held to refer both to nations and to individuals. The prophecy states that there will be a ‘healing of nations’ making this possible. This suggests reconciliation and forgiveness, though not necessarily forgetfulness. The memories will be shared as a heritage of primitive times that have long passed, ‘long’ referring to cultural distance and developmental progress, not just Earthly years. They won’t be angrily brought up, as the sense of reconciliation will have made such resentment impossible. The same will be in the personal space. Inner reconciliation will be the theme, not only forgiving in this way those that have wronged us, but more deeply reconciling the ‘strong’ and ‘gentle’ parts of ourselves, so that they healthily co-exist. Whilst much of history has been the story of bullies and their victims, the strong and the weak, a new chapter of humanity will open in which these roles are rendered redundant.

Technological advances will play their part in this, with the brightest designers fully aware of their millennial achievements. The technology will reflect the advances in thought and identity, not bringing such essential progress in itself. A society will emerge finding much more time and pleasure in enlightened learning, yet will appreciate the small features of daily life all the more as well, seeing them as just as much a part of the whole as larger issues.. As our hearts pulse more nearly as one in this peaceful unity, means to share experience with no delay, immediately even, will be fully developed. ‘computers’ will no more be the PCs we use now, though there may be data centers of a sort holding and backing up the great stores of information accumulated, just as there are now. Yet the usual ‘computer’ will be a light, wrist-watch like device capable of holographic projections to produce a whole field of interaction. The somewhat ‘ghostly’ nature of 3D as we now experience it will be far richer and more involving, and in fact will involve projections viewable from any angle, yet subtly different from matter all the same.

Although much of the arts will be digitised to be presented in such a manner, this won’t mean an abandonment of the analogue realm, as in many cases tools that create directly into the digital space will for a long time be far cruder and unexpressive than their analogue equivalents, which themselves evolved over centuries. It will still be easier to digitise a very sensitively produced analogue work than to improve a simplistic digital creation, for example digitising a marble sculpture rather than trying to achieve the same level of depth and feeling in CG. What digital will bring along with the greater convenience are its virtues of easy accessibility and near-infinite reproduction. In fact, in the wake of such great advanced in both the analogue and digital realms, a new field will open up before us like never before, but need even more careful guardianship; the genetic phase, in which life itself is created, modified and attempts are made to improve.

End of the World

Many have been drawn by the Mayan calendar ending this December, with the more sensational commentary reducing this to a possible physical end of the world. Yet the very definition of world need not refer to our physical habitation. There is the other use of the term, which means the human world, the one we make and maintain, though once we live in it, a place that seems just as slid and unchangeable as our natural environment. Yet as we all know, this world can and does change, evolving as we do, after all it is we ourselves who build and maintain it.

In this sense the Mayans may be seen to have a remarkable intuitive wisdom, as that world, as we know it, in the process of a very deep transformation, which is experiencing sudden shifts as we speak. Just staying for the moment with the well-publicised world events that are covered by international media, there has been a revolution of sorts just in this year. The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ has gained momentum and though the final political-social arrangements are still unclear, we can hope that liberal democracy rises above the temptation to retreat into an ethnocentric, ‘Islamic’ set of dictatorships not too different from what went before.

Meanwhile, the American right-wing, stung by a crushing defeat in the presidential elections, may well never again field a candidate with some of the horrifically prejudiced policies offered. The possibility of an increasingly optimistic and liberal-minded America is increasingly likely. Gay marriage and other civil liberties seem to be receiving more support than ever before and with them a civil-rights oriented ethos we haven’t seen for some time.

Seeing the world more broadly in time, the last few decades have given us a more united Europe ever less likely to erupt in war, the end of the cold war with Russia and the gradual opening up of China, with only a few states such as North Korea still in a state of ideological antagonism with Western democracy. The world may well not be entirely safe, but it does indeed seem safer from such possibilities of total destruction as offered by the cold war’s nuclear stand-off.

Of all of this is interpretation, analysis and possibly just wishful thinking, one can feel a certain hope in the air. That the cruel ages of man, with all their prejudice, exploitation and even slavery are giving way to a more enlightened age, where the rights and value of the individual are held in high regard and the world itself, freed from poisonous extremes of hatred, is a safer place to dwell in. Such a process may well take time and even generations of effort, education and the will to make a better, fairer and kinder world. One can smell catch a whiff of its fragrance in the air, though… Such a kinder world is coming, as we ourselves will soon settle for nothing less, as we evolve within, so will the world we collectively make reflect this.

Letter to America

The Milky Way- The final frontier beckons as never before.

Some would say it takes a lot of audacity to write a letter to a nation. Who would read it? What effect would it have and just who do I think I am by writing it in the first place? My answer to all this is: who am I, inspired to do so as I am, not to write this very necessary, important and medicinal letter? Thus, let us create our future together, guided by the pinpoints of light that shine above us, 50 of which appear on this great nation’s flag.

America is at a crossroads. Before it stand the twin possibilities of regression and advance, progress and regress, hope and the despair of inertia. The light of hope is indeed in progress, anything less is indeed despair on a number of levels. Life goes forward, in evolutionary terms, there is no standing still. Yet human evolution, as distinct from what is known of the survival instincts inherent in animal evolution, continues into the growth of civilization, developing interest in human dignity and the intelligent future of humankind.

America has been blessed with a unique and inspiring constitution, one that has surely guided her over many generations, even into the modern age, in which she stands triumphant as the greatest and most prosperous power ever to have existed on the face of the Earth. Yet, new demands and even more so new opportunities should lead us to question whether amendments may yet be made to reflect a growing realisation that the society of early colonies that it first spoke to have changed immensely into the great nation that stands before us now. A nation that by its very position leads the world, as only it can. A nation composed first and foremost of all the other nations. Only by savouring this deep fact can we have a grasp of the actual reality we encounter here, so often rendered hazy by the specific concerns of economics, politics, or military matters. Only by seeing the meaning behind events can we see the truth guiding them.

Fist of all we need to realise that America has indeed evolved the institutions vital to her future. Her future, multifaceted though it may be, lies in the education of her children. Here we see that some wonderful institutions have arisen- the PBS network, the Discovery Channel and various radio stations that devote themselves to uncovering the latent creativity in the humans they speak to. This, more than anything, is a measure of America and her children’s level of advancement, civilisation, decency. This decency is at the core of any nation, real or imagined, present, past or future. These core values are what we must hold most dear, what we should realise that, despite the mists of confusion around us, we do indeed hold most dear. Already, we are talking in terms unfamiliar to the mainstream media that sets itself the task of informing, guiding, protecting the innocence of the nation. Already we are talking in terms that feel true, rather than offer the kind of ideological correctness that competing political visions addict themselves to. Already we are talking in humanly real terms rather than theoretical, pseudo-scientific ones.

And we should indeed be wary of pseudoscience. Science, like art or religion, is a definite pillar of civilisation. Without it, we are lost, condemned to primitive life, to greater toil and superstition. Science, like these other limbs of mankind, is what we shall use to walk to our true freedom as a species, freedom from need and fear, a freedom to create as never before.

So I hereby propose, offer, even, a new clause in the constitution to go with the provisions for freedom of religion, important and ever-relevant though that might be. We need a corollary freedom of science, freedom to respect and recognise scientific achievement as objective progress in the outer realm, just as the freedom to advance in our inner realm is guaranteed in the freedom of religion. For what is religion if not a path to guide us in the inner realm of subjective understandings of higher truth, personal salvation and the holding of values that whilst they may be objectively unprovable, nevertheless have inestimable value to those who hold them dear. Without inner truth, life would be a desert of limitation, so let us water in the oasis of the wonderful and miraculous, whilst simultaneously realising that it may well only be so wonderful and miraculous for we ourselves.

Maintaining the freedom of science is to protect it from the assaults of religion, or the state, just as religion and the state are guaranteed separation from one another. There may be no national religion as such, just as the nation may not favour or oppress any one religion. Likewise, the religion may not seek to dominate the state and throw it away from its constitutional commitment to rational enterprise in a competitive world, filled though it may be with as yet unrealised opportunities.Science too need to be freed to fulfill its guiding function, through a far greater respect being given to the learned authorities of the great scientific institutions, institutions that had far from found their current form when the nation itself was first founded.

Emerging problems such as global warming, the invention of ever-more effective weapons of mass destruction, possibilities unleashed by greater understandings of DNA, and the still-emerging race to exploit the opportunities offered by space need nothing more than ethical, reasonable guidance. This guidance cannot be supplied solely by political bodies, or politically-minded people. Nor, need it be said, can it be effectively regulated by the dictates of ever-aging religious moral understandings. Yet still, it surely needs guidance, understanding and a voice to proclaim it&s findings in a binding and respectable form.

With this in mind, the new additions to the constitution will enshrine the position of authority in worldly matter sot the union of concerned scientists, or some other as yet uncreated body that is able and willing to assume this lofty position. The results of failing to do this in a timely manner could be disastrous, or even catastrophic. Luckily, we still yet have time, but it makes sense to briefly outline the manner in which this should be done.

The Scientific Authorities

The power and position of these authorities are part of a new division of power, one that will emerge first in the USA and later in the emerging world state, now presently and however vaguely organized by the United Nations, a deeply corrupt, yet equally necessary institution that aims, at the very least, to save us from ourselves and restrain the natural egotism and hyper-competition that has caused so much destruction to our beautiful world and so much needless pain to our human family living upon it.

It is vital that the important avenues of science are not politicised, belittled with intent to ‘wish them away’, or made subject to the growing threat of superstition and big business concerns that see such information as a barrier to ever-greater profits, whatever the risks involved.

Also, education should be freed from belittling superstition that might render it compromised beyond recognition. Evolution, for example, happened, happens and will happen, whether we like it or not. No, evolutionary science has no mandate to organise society along survivalist or other lines, nor do its findings need to replace conventional morality with one assuming (wrongly), that since we are descended from animals and in particular a certain species that resembled closely modern-day lemurs, that by process of reduction we are in fact nothing more and the law of the jungle should apply to us, too. We should be freed, once and for all from such stupidity and the clearest and most concise way to ensure this is quite simply the constitutional path of amendment for present conditions, the path laid down by our forefathers and still, ever the relevant one today.

Only with this change can necessary progress be achieved in areas of the environment, transport, economics and health. The scientificising of these vital social endeavours should not be stopped, though it should simultaneously be made clear that this process in no way should impinge on the pursuit of happiness, religious conceptions of heaven or enlightenment, or service to their conceptions of the divine. The fact science has and always will be unable to locate God doesn’t mean belief necessarily should be mindlessly ridiculed away. This goes for people’s interior discussions on such matters as much as it does for their outer iterations.

These three branches of government, inner, (religion), social (politics) and outer (science) should respect one another, grow and intertwine one another, but always be seen as separate and distinct as far as undue influence goes. Hence we can have the rational pursuit of inner, subjective goals we have always dreamed of. The foundation or recognition of Academies of the sciences and formalised branches of government, though with no political power of their own, will be a great boon to progress and the building of a country that ever-more recognises the unique dignity of humankind on this planet, extending courtesies to other life within it and even beyond its atmospheric sphere into space. The possibilities are staggering.

Thank you for your time.

Gideon

Dreamscape

The future is a very strange country. Every peek I take of it surprises me afterwards with it’s Philip K Dick-like bizarreness. Why so? Well, it’s actually quite simple- we humans have a multitude of needs, some obvious, some hidden and come what may we will seek to satisfy them. Just look at the actual content on the internet today compared to how the original academics intended for it to be used and you’ll see the pattern. Judge harshly, or even blink too long and you’ll miss the picture of humanity reflecting itself through its creations. Hence any perfect future as linear as much science fantasy would expect is quite simply unbelievable, partly for it’s boring predictability. No, one who would see the future will experience a much more remarkable place…

I dreamt of being a miner in some future, off-world colony. To assist me in operating my massive machinery and perhaps also to keep me company in the inhospitable zone, I had two android helpers- one Chinese-looking, one German. The Chinese one was technically very adapt, efficient and aggressive at getting things done. The German one was, by comparison, recalcitrant, even dreamy. The AI was an introvert, obsessed with ethical issues, which it would contemplate inwardly, mumouring musings in 17th century German from time to time, which neither of us could understands, but had a poetic ring to it.

At one point, the conflict between them, which I was bizarrely adjudicating like a teacher in a nursery school, came to a head. Looking skywards and mumbling some have-intelligible contemplation about the relationship between man (or even machine) and God, the German, who was known as a ‘Protestant’ model, failed to respond to a need to make some technical adjustments. The Chinese one was robotically furious, accusing him of disloyalty to me and the mission, a charge I felt unfair, considering his personality, robotic or otherwise. The Chinese one reached ore within a welding torch and threatened to melt the synthetic skin on the Protestant&s feet. Meanwhile, the Protestant, dressed in what seemed to be some amalgamation of a scientist&s white uniform and a sackcloth, looked skywards and mumbled what I can only suppose to be a condemnation of violence on intensely ethical grounds, as incompatible with the very essence of sentient intelligence, a pious objection that seemed to infuriate the Chinese robot all the more.

At this, I stepped in, scolding them in equal measure, as best I could. ‘There are many intelligences in the world, you have to respect each other. Protestant, I know your musings are holy and pure and I support them, but you need to pay attention to the task at hand when needed. As for you, violence is wrong, show some more tolerance. What would your maker think, seeing you behave this way to a fellow being?’

Unfortunately for the continuation of the dream, at this point I woke up, though at least this meant that I could remember what happened. I was left with a lot of strange and uncomfortable feelings, but there was inly one logical conclusion. It was that as technology solves the very real problems of creating enough computing power to feign intelligence and create the suggestion of personality, at that point it will all be a matter of taste what we invent. Our taste will ultimately reflect our humanity rather than our lust for achievements for their own sake.

We need more than anything to develop our compassion. It is almost as if God commands it, or knows it is best for us, to be more truly like Him, our compassion and tolerance growing in equal measure to our ability to effect the world around us, our power if you like, bringing responsibility with it. So it is only natural we will create beings that continue our own ethical debates about efficiency vs human rights and also beings that will require our concern and intervention as much as they help look after our needs. That is, our emotional needs will be met by robots as much as our physical ones, which includes the desire to look after others.

Hence my bizarre situation playing babysitter to the robots doing such crucial woke for me on a distant star system. Only with their seeming flaws could I stay sane, evolving inwardly as is so important for me. The seeming nostalgic, reverent recreation if the ‘Protestant’ embodies this. It is not so much that technologies will take over our humanity from here, as that they will reflect and aid their makers in more ways than are now obvious. Leading to a bizarre and wonderful future, rather than a predictable one, in which ‘Siri’ is just the first in a whole host of intelligences we will be interacting with.

Farewell to Steve Jobs

Today it is almost as if the technological world I follow so closely has come full circle. The man with the vision that practically started it all and certainly helped keep on its self-perfecting course has passed away, leaving a rich legacy of devices that have not only changed the way we interact, but what we expect from that amorphous concept ‘technology’. Whilst for many years there has been an esoteric air around Apple products, which seemed so stylish but could do so little for the uninitiated, they have risen to prominence by either adopting common standards or creating them anew. For me, Apple’s greatest breakthrough was the iPod- as it brought their love of simplified interfaces and artistic design to ‘the masses’, saving them financially and giving them the very platform that expanded into the iPhone and iPads. There are many dreamers, inventors and daydreamers, but it takes a true poet to bring all these concepts together and make a household name out of them. Steve Jobs was that man.

Just think that only ten years ago, the first iPod emerged. Being expensive, I of course bought into the competition, in this case Creative’s Zen, but if it hadn’t been for Jobs, the entire idea wouldn’t have come to life. Now, there were digital music players, but they were clunky and undesirable by comparison, just as the early smart-phones or tablet computers failed to catch on. I personally love Apple for all they have achieved, but as with any company, there are things to resent as well as love (in fact there was the time they dissed Jobs, for one), so I’ll leave that aside for now, but the fact that they could become the world’s number one tech company under Jobs says a lot about him. Jobs embodied the technological boom we are living through, the great liberal ideas and progressive grasp of the realities of our world and through this made it possible to literally have some of the greatest technologies man can make in the palm of our hands.

Steve is known as an expert in the fields of design, technology and business leadership, but to my mind the depths of his inspiration lie in something deeper. In fact, it is all an expression of his genius, his tapping into something far greater than himself, to share it with the world as a whole. Apple, devices, presentations are all just ‘devices’ or ‘apps’ in them-self. The vision behind them comes from his appreciation that there is more to this life than we casually see. In short, Steve must be remembered as a master- a master who like other masters spent time travelling in India and immersing himself in the great mysteries of the East, emerging from this in his own particular way adapted for his own particular generation. In our time and for our purposes it was the birth of personal communication devices to help create an international, networked culture in which there would be a measure of digital equality such as the world has never experienced in other fields- a natural and instantaneous technology that would be more fun to use than cumbersome. To my mind, to this point, it has culminated in the ever-evolving iPad. Sure, there will be similar devices by others, even better ones in certain respects. But they will be iPads more than ‘tablets’ if they are to succeed. They will be personal, cosy, usable and attractive . For Jobs wasn’t dreaming of consumer devices. He was dreaming of devices to help the average consumer, even to do things they had never thought of doing before. It was an expression of great wisdom and compassion, of a dedication far beyond the norm.

For this, he will be timeless and is, from the Perfect Futures perspective, undoubtedly continuing his existence on other spheres as we speak, his work here done to perfection. Just think of the success, not, I may add the success in the face of competition, as in many ways he helped to create the very field in which the competition took place! People have personal computers, laptops, iPods, smart phones, iPads. In many of these areas, right now, the most attractive options to many people are in Apple’s stable, as evinced by sales. Even when seemingly cheaper options exist. Now, in the world of the PC this is more complex, as I really can’t say that Apple’s options are always the best value and in the world of the smartphone there are already a lot of other attractive options. but Apple, through Jobs, managed to be number one. That’s saying something, that’s saying a lot. Not so much about Steve Jobs himself, but more about whatever it is he tapped into, the great universal energy, or the spirit of liberal progress in humanity. I’m not sure exactly. But we shouldn’t turn this occasion into ego-worship of a man who had clearly to a great extent left his personal ego behind. We should celebrate the wonder of creation and our incredible capacity to co-create within it. We are no longer cavemen and to a great extent, this is thanks to what Steve Jobs showed us we can do. Any of us… if we just put our mind to it.

RIP, Steve Jobs, though I am sure you are, or will be, creating ever greater things, wherever you find yourself. If anyone helped to bring about a Perfect Future in their lifetime, it was you.

Towards a New Humanity

It is quite clear to us here that the only solution to the challenges posed by this moment is to press forward with the most important change of all- a change to ourselves. Whilst personal transformation has been a theme for centuries, the potential for humanity to evolve as one has only recently been seen as a possibility. At this point, we hold, it is in fact a necessity for the continued survival of the human race. Our technology has reached a point of no return.

It has reached the point where we either use it to transform our way of interacting with our planet, to make it both post-industrial and harmonious with the ecosystems surrounding us, that we have realised with increasing clarity we are dependent upon- or use it to wipe our sorry asses off the face of the planet before we become a danger to the planets surrounding ours. In this there is a failsafe to nuclear technology; only a peaceful, harmonious society can hope to survive the advent of a nuclear age. One overcome by self-centeredness and blinkered enslavement to special interests will quite simply self-destruct, before it spreads.

Looking at the challenges that face us, we would be well-advised to remember this central and well-designed truism of universe existence. The path to having god-like power is also the path to god-like responsibility and the consideration of others this brings, and in this context I include not only humans, but the rich variety of life with whom we share our planetary existence.

Everything that has happened thus far can be seen as a warning shot, a shot above the bows, fired by no external enemy, but by us, towards us, warning ourselves of the responsibilities to ourselves and the planet we hold. There was once a time to record history, there was once a time to speak of history’s own unfoldment, yet now has come a sudden rush of something that can only be called consciousness, not only the consciousness of a few individuals, but one on a planetary level.

Let us look at the year, look at the calendar and we will see how little time is left, mere moments of this illusion we call time. In these moments, we have to learn new ways, ways in keeping with our enlarged sense of selfhood, fired by our ascendant technology. A world on the verge of discoveries of deep space travel, time travel and on the cusp of computing power that could peer into the very structure of this mathematically-designed universe itself, must awake to itself, must awake to it’s own internal unity; it’s various members being parts of one body, a body that is waking into consciousness of itself and it’s place in the universe.

In many ways, this is the last year before the great beginning. This is a time of great and dramatic change, a sudden unfoldment of evolution, by the end of which former things will be no more. A natural, sustainable world in terms of energy, politics, human inter-relations is the only way forward and it is becoming clearer and clearer all the time. As our dreams, both personal and collective, come closer to fruition, we will all the more strongly reject that which is not in accord with them. For we are not so much being remade by some hypothetical outside force, as remaking ourselves, being ultimately the arbiters of our own destinies, the co-creators of ourselves. A process we are all the more conscious of, as the moment dawns when we can stand upright in mind and heart, as well as merely in bipedal form. A moment in which we will be in touch as never before with who we are, aware as never before of that divine spark burning brightly within us and ready as never before to resume contact with our ancestors, who have cared so lovingly for us for all these years.

Perfect Futures

Now that I have refreshed my sites, it comes a time when I have to look again at why I am doing all of this. The inspiration for this blog is a vision I have had, a vision of a future much better and well-adjusted than the world we live in now. I call this he vision of the Perfect Future, for the future is not destined, or inevitable as it might seem. No, on the contrary, it is something we actively choose, whether it be collectively or as individuals. In fact, I personally hold that there are many possible, potential, even likely futures, all waiting to be chosen by us in this free-will universe we inhabit. Knowing this, I seek to actively promote, pursue and otherwise help ‘produce’ as perfect a one as I can envision.

In a universe of parallel realities, multiple dimensions and seemingly endless choice, there must be many possible presents, pasts and futures, all existing simultaneously. This isn’t just a metaphysical observation, it is an opportunity to choose. Also, though we only really exist in the present, mentally we are always in the realm of the images we have of our past, of memories projected onto the world around us, at least not until we are enlightened enough to inhabit that now, that eternal now. What exists for us, in the world of thought is the past, an endlessly murmuring past and it is out of this that we construct our chosen future. Yet, some of us, who have broken free of certain constraints on our consciousness, have managed not only to tune into the past, but the future as well, and thus find a way to enrich the present with the great and glorious light of our possible future.

Yet even this is not the same as making this future, as choosing it. It is something, indeed, we cannot do alone. The perfect future comes from within us all. Our whole society, especially since the modern times of the enlightenment, is geared towards the conscious pursuit of it. We may be living in the present, but if we are conscious at all, it is in the hope of a better future.

What are the elements of this perfect future? One essential one is tolerance; no, more, a loving acceptance of one another, despite superficial differences, which are celebrated rather than scorned, as the source of humanity’s riches. Another is the discovery and embracing of clean sources of energy. I don’t personally know for sure what in their entirety these are, but surely renewables such as tides, wind and sun will play a large part, alongside possibly extremely safe, microscopic technologies (fission?). We need to dream and dream together. What we see around us, or a mere projection of that isn’t enough. We need indeed to see deep within us and find what we really want for this world of ours; with this, will come the way to it. Where there is a dream, there is the realisation of that dream. This is the way reality works, if we but see it clearly.

Hopeful Signs

Japan seems more stable right now. Let’s pray it stays that way and can get on with the gentle process of rebuilding.

New Start

Things really seem to be coming back to normal around here. I went off to Otakanomori, via a small, free bus service and the whole mall was open. Hearing the music, seeing people looking around the shops and stopping off for a coffee at ‘Zoka’ made me feel that the strange period we had may well be over. It was nice to relax with a cappuchino, have all the friendly staff be pleased to see me and get some ‘omiyage’ for my family, as I’d do for any other Spring trip home. Walking through Toyoshiki, that too seemed like it had sprung back to life. People were riding around on bicycles, stopping to chat to one another, mothers were pushing their babies, all the restaurants were open and wselcoming.

On the walk back from Otakanomori, I noticed a big, beautiful house, with a large painting of ume in the window, the walls lined with traditional screen doors. Thinking it might be a temple or something, I walked into the gate and admired the Japanese garden, with a small stream, fragrant flowers and traditional style. Someone came out and said ‘hello’ and I found out it was actually his house. He was very friendly and we talked about the shock of the earthquake and I found out his house had been there for 100 years or so.  His English was very good, as when he was younger he’d done a home-stay in Canterbury.He showed me around inside, where he had a small shrine for his ancestors. There were pictures of his mother and father, who are still living and his grandfather, who died on the day of the Tsunami. Apparently, he was 95 and it was old age, in the early morning. He’d driven down to see him for the last time, when on the way back, the ground started shaking so much he had to stop. From a bridge in Chochi, he suddenly saw the refinery catch fire, burning fiercely, something like he’d never seen before. Even so, he was calm and good humoured about the whole thing, giving me a lucky ornament from Sensoji Temple’s (in Asakusa) main festival. representing the seven gods of happiness. His oldest daughter, in her 20’s runs a small monja shop there, in the backstreets, so he goes a lot.

He then invited me next door, to meet his family in his main house (that one being a kind of historical-styled one that his father had made). I met his lovely daughters, wife and dogs and I sat down with them for a nice cup of tea. They were all so warm and welcoming, I felt like this was just what I had originally come to Japan for, but had to an extent forgot along the way, being caught up in business and missing the human element. They were so happy to hear I was doing well and was about to visit my family, and was able to get them some gifts before I went.

There was possibly going to be a rolling power cut, so I thought I’d better get going home, also to prepare for tomorrow. Probably they would have invited me for dinner, but I already have some food to finish, so I got up to go. Everyone got up together to wish me a good trip and hope I’d come around again when I got back. They got the little miniature dachshund to say ‘bye-bye’ by waving his paw, saying ‘tanoshi, ne!’, as he had enjoyed sitting on my lap, licking my nose and being petted. It was nice to meet such wonderful neighbours and to know I would have more local people to see again when I got back. Bidding farewell, I made my way home, discovering that the power cut had never materialised after all.

Straight, No Chaser.

A Traditional Photography Blog - dehk © 2016

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