Transcendence

Yoga. Emergence. Evolution.

I would like your help: your thoughts on something I have been thinking, feeling, and experiencing for decades.

Transcendence.

To borrow a line from Genesis’ Carpet Crawlers, “We’ve got to get in to get out,” and my corollary “we’ve got to get out to get in,” some of you have heard me surmise that “there are two paths you can go by” with respect to transcendence. There is the inner path by which we connect with the self beyond ego. Many of you know I have written many poems about this. There is the outer path by which we connect beyond the bodily aspects of ego with the greater community. Those of you who have read my technical writing or have taken a class with me may have seen hints of this.

Yet those of you who have listened or read closely to me, or have similar beliefs, know that I do not believe in a strict polar dichotomy of two paths, but a vast variety of hybrids—an ocean of seemingly infinite possibilities to transcendence in its many flavors, facets, and concentrations. What I have not typically expressed literally is some of the stories of my dreams. When I first saw the films “The Terminator” and “The Matrix”, one of two thoughts I had was “finally, someone produced a rendering of that vision I have had too many times in my recurring dreams/nightmares.” Based on my repeated frame-by-frame analysis of the trailers for the upcoming “Transcendence,” it may be déjà vu all over again. I should clarify: these films and my own visions have always significant differences. The second thought I always have? “Why do they always have to make these stories depicted in the films so violent? That’s not the way it has been in my dreams.” This is especially true for my own hundreds of self-tellings of Transcendence-like episodes.

I am sure that at least a few of you have had dreams or perhaps daydreams like this. I have been having dreams like this one since my teenage years. Two of my favorite books that I eagerly read as soon as they came out are “The Adolescence of P-1” (Thomas J. Ryan, 1977, as film “Hide and Seek”, 1984) and “Engines of Creation” (K. Eric Drexler, 1986). Don’t get me started on Kurzweil and all the others I have run across since then. Yet we all have imaginations. Even without these books, we cook up these things, right? Since around 1977 at least, the recurring dreams of either me (the dreamer) or one of my other dream characters has been in a hospital bed in some sort of coma-like state and connected first with the machines in the hospital, then working the way out into the other computer and communications networks, then beyond computers into superstrings and the subquantum “levels” of physical reality. You know the drill. Even if you don’t have these thoughts on your own, recent science fiction in the past few decades has been building up to this. Beside the dramatic megalomania and violence and such, a key distinction between this film and my dreams is that in the film, the characters Evelyn and Max argue about whether to upload/transfer Will’s consciousness to the net and ultimately Evelyn makes that choice and action, whereas in my dreams it has always been the main character themself finding ways to connect with the world (initially) via electronic connections and devices. The main character and network pull it off together without any need for other characters to support the transition.

A few years ago, I started writing short stories, novels, and scripts for some of my tales. Certainly since they are as yet unpublished and I am generally uncomfortable talking/writing about this before they’re done, I haven’t been ready to discuss. However, on the eve of Transcendence, so to speak, I thought I would try to transcend my hesitation. For example, in some of my stories are characters who can “connect both ways” – bivalents – who connect (a) inward to spirit and back out to the world, and (b) outward through the world then back into spirit (and loop). If you don’t know what I’m referring to, feel free to ask!

So here is my question. Would you like to read or see stories with themes of human-network-human and/or human-network-computer interaction without so much violence, or are you satisfied with the state of the art? Secondly, if you don’t feel you have anything to share on the first question, what do you think of “transcendence” or “transference” or the questions posed on the “Transcendence” film site? Please discuss. Either here, or feel free to send me your thoughts, opinions, and dreams via private message or email. Thank you!

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About Brad Werner

Technical Evangelist
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2 Responses to Transcendence

  1. I love action stories. Action stories normally have violence. Once such story I read, along the line of what you posted about, is Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. Very good book, I think you’d like it. (this is not a plug. I don’t have any affiliation with the author or book.) Lots of violence, but it also was a love story and a tale with a message about friends and good winning out over evil. At the same time, it was an alternate reality.
    That being said, I don’t need to have a story with action or violence. What it needs is a hook. Something that intrigues me. Keeps me reading so I can find out what happens next. So my answer is this; It doesn’t have to be violent, just interesting with an occasional laugh and a plot.
    When you are finished with your book, I hope you post about it. I would love to read it!

    Like

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