Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The World Is Pregnant: (2/3) Sex and Knowledge

Part 2 of our series catches human sex and knowledge in the act of a major paradigm shift.

Evolution of Sex:
Everything evolves, including our reproduction methods. Reproduction started off asexual. One cell would simply divide into two, and so on. For a very long time not much happened, until multicellular life forms exploded on the scene and introduced sexual reproduction. Now, it took two beings of opposite sex, of the same species to donate random bits of information (in the form of DNA) to create offspring. This new form of reproduction allowed for evolution to occur at a much faster rate.

While it hasn't been observed yet, the obvious next evolution of sex would be for all of that species, or at least a large proportion of that species to merge together, input what they deem appropriate “DNA” (in the form of knowledge), and produce something greater than all of them. Likely what would emerge would be them reborn as a collective consciousness. This new form of mass copulation (merging) would cause a paradigm shift as immense as the rise of multicellular life. We imagine this would be the final evolution of sex, as from there on out it would probably be pure merging of intergalactic conscious entities. For human beings this step is being aided by technology (most notably the internet), because it has to be. The rate of technological evolution is occurring faster than people are reproducing and biologically evolving.

"A collective consciousness would have all of it's knowledge so readily available that the retrieval process itself would disappear."
Epochs of Knowledge:
Knowledge started on this planet even before humans arrived, and has went through many stages. In a nod to Ray Kurzweil’s Six Epochs we will describe these as The Seven Epochs of Knowledge.

It started in Epoch 1: Memory/Learning. Even goldfish, contrary to popular belief, have a memory and can learn to do basic tricks. This is the foundation of all knowledge.

via: sharpbrains
The 2nd Epoch of Knowledge is Crude Communication. Territorial marking, body language, and squawking to alert others of danger are a few examples of crude communication. This allowed for basic alerts to be expressed, but no complicated concepts could be expressed this way.

The 3rd Epoch is Drawing. This allowed early man to realize his memories or imagination as images on cave walls. Some images were just portrayals of animals and situations he/she encountered and remembered, but the most magnificent images are those of Therianthropes and abstract patterns and lines. These findings clearly show advanced imagination started at a early time in human evolution.

The 4th Epoch of Knowledge is Spoken Language. This invention of humans could convey complex information, but can be very easily corrupted, as memory and interpretation can vary. Certainly many great legends were lost due to lack of a written language.

Which brings us to the Epoch 5: Writing Systems. Information could now be easily kept intact much longer than spoken word. Today we store information in various ways from paper to hard drives, from written text to video footage. In the future we may have full immersion virtual reality, yet still one aspect won't fully be conveyed; the subjective experience.

via: Exper Chaotic Flow
Epoch 6: The Home Of Knowledge. When these writing systems were applied to portable material, such as the book, they directly led to “homes” for the knowledge, most commonly known as a Library. Today, this epoch appears to have reached its' peak in the form of the internet. Here information is digitally available globally, and instantly, from anywhere our smart phones get a signal. The information is linked to similar information by hyperlinks. A.I. further links us to other relevant information via genetic algorithms, and even basis relevance by previous users.

We are so close to our knowledge now that the only foreseeable Epoch would be complete merger of consciousness with all of the world's knowledge in Epoch 7: A Collective Consciousness. A collective consciousness would have all of it's knowledge so readily available that the retrieval process itself would disappear. Perhaps we can compare it to having all of your information always stored in quick access ram memory. Epoch 7 would require a mass merger of human consciousness described in The World Is Pregnant Part 1 and would coincide with the end of sexual reproduction as we know it.

Second Thoughts:
With the evolution from asexual to sexual reproduction one could argue death also arose, which is the biggest problem we face today. And while that is partially true, something much greater arose out of it; consciousness and knowledge. It is technology (from knowledge) which has escalated so much that we are living longer and in greater peace. Its is bringing us closer and closer together. The transhumanists' ultimate goal is often portrayed as achieving radical life extension/immortality though technology, thus solving a problem we have been dealing with since sexual reproduction introduced it.

Artwork by John Volanin

Jeremiah Bilas

(part 3 Facebook is Our Baby)

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