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.

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

Straight, No Chaser.

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