Volume 2, February 2005
an international and interdisciplinary journal
of postmodern cultural sound, text and image
1. It is now clear that humans are no longer the most important things in the universe. This is something the humanists have yet to accept.
2. All technological progress of human society is geared towards the transformation of the human species as we currently know it.
3. In the posthuman era many beliefs become redundant not least the belief in human beings.
4. Human beings, like gods, only exist inasmuch as we believe them to exist.
5. The future never arrives.
6. All humans are not born equal, but it is too dangerous not to pretend that they are.
7. In the posthuman era, machines will no longer be machines.
8. It is a deficiency of humans that they require others to tell them what they already know. It is only then they will believe it.
9. Posthumanists do not fall into the trap of imagining a society where everything works well. Economic and political theories are as futile as long-range weather predictions.
10. Surf or die. You cant control a wave, but you can ride it.
11. We now realise that human knowledge, creativity and intelligence are ultimately limited.
12. Complex machines are an emerging form of life.
13. A complex machine is a machine whose workings we do not fully understand or control.
14. As computers develop to be more like humans, so humans develop to like computers more.
15. If we can think of machines then machines can think; if we can think of machines that think, then machines can think of us.
If consciousness is a property that emerges from a specific set of conditions, in order to synthesise it we do not need to re-model it from the top-down. We only need to recreate the conditions from which it might emerge. This requires an understanding of what those conditions are.
1. Consciousness is not exclusively restricted to the brain.
2. Consciousness is the function of an organism, not an organ.
3. One does not understand consciousness by studying the brain alone.
4. The mind and the body act together to produce consciousness. If one is absent consciousness ceases. There is no pure thought isolated from a body. In order to function the brain must be connected to a body, even if the body is artificial. Consciousness is an effect that arises through the co-operation of a brain and body; we think with our whole body.
5. Consciousness can only be considered as an emergent property. In this sense it is like boiling: given sufficient heat, gravity and air pressure the water in a kettle will start to boil. We can see what boiling is, we can recognise it as something to which we give a name, we do not consider it mysterious, yet we cannot isolate it from the conditions which produced it. Likewise, consciousness is a property that emerges from a given set of conditions.
6. To say that conscious thought is not exclusively a function of the brain does not deny that the brain has a significant part to play.
7. Human bodies have no boundaries.
8. No finite division can be drawn between the environment, the body and the brain. The human is identifiable, but not definable.
9. Consciousness (mind) and the environment (reality) cannot be separated; they are continuous.
10. There is nothing external to a human, because the extent of a human cannot be fixed.
11. If we accept that the mind and body cannot be absolutely separated, and that the body and the environment cannot be absolutely separated, then we are left with the apparently absurd yet logically consistent conclusion that consciousness and the environment cannot be absolutely separated.
12. First we had God, humans and nature. The rationalists dispensed with God, leaving humans in perpetual conflict with nature. The posthumanists dispense with humans leaving only nature. The distinctions between God, nature and humanity does not represent any eternal truth about the human condition. It merely reflects the prejudices of the societies that maintained the distinctions.
13. Idealistic and materialistic philosophical views both assume a division between the thing that thinks and the thing that is thought about between the internal mind (brain) and external reality (environment). Remove this division and both views become redundant.
14. The idealists think that the only things that exist are ideas; the materialists think that the only thing that exists is matter. It must be remembered that ideas are not independent of matter and that matter is just an idea.
15. Most philosophical problems are debates about language. They arise because of the mistaken assumptions a. that language is consistent and b. that because a word exists there must exist a thing that it represents and c. that the things that are represented should, in themselves, be consistent.
16. Logic is an illusion of human imagination. Truth and falsity do not exist in nature other than in human thought.
1. Science will never achieve its aim of comprehending the ultimate nature of reality. It is a futile quest, although many scientists do not acknowledge this yet. The universe(s) will always be more complex than we will ever understand.
2. The posthuman abandons the search for the ultimate nature of the universe and its origin (thus saving a lot of money in the process).
3. The posthuman realises that the ultimate questions about existence and being do not require answers. The answer to the question Why are we here? is that there is no answer.
4. To know the ultimate nature of the universe would require knowing everything about the universe, everything that has happened and everything that will happen. If one thing were not known it would imply that all knowledge of the universe is partial, potentially incomplete and, therefore, not ultimate
5. No scientific model can ever be complete, but will always be partial and contingent. For any model to be complete it would have to take all influential factors into account, no matter how insignificant. Since this is impossible the scientist must make an arbitrary decision about which ones to ignore. Having ignored some factors their model is incomplete, although this does not mean it isnt useful.
6. The posthuman accepts that humans have a finite capacity to understand and control nature.
7. All origins are ends and all ends are origins. Chaos theory has often been illustrated with the image of a butterflys wing-flap causing a thunderstorm on the opposite side of the globe. Whilst this might illustrate the sensitivity of systems to initial states, it does not take into account what caused the butterfly to flap its wings a gust of wind?
8. Logic that seems consistent at the human scale cannot necessarily be applied to the microcosmic or the macrocosmic scale.
9. Our knowledge about the universe is constrained by the level of resolution with which we are able to view it. Knowledge is contingent on data data varies with resolution.
10. Scientists give privile
ge to order over disorder on the assumption that they are gradually discovering the essential laws of nature. This is a fundamental error; nature is neither essentially ordered or disordered. What we perceive as regular, patterned information we classify as order; what we perceive as irregular, unpatterned information we classify as disorder. The appearance of order and disorder implies more about the way in which we process information than the intrinsic presence of order or disorder in nature.
11. Science works on the basis of an intrinsic universal order. It assumes that all phenomena are subject to physical laws and that some of those laws are well understood, some partially understood, and some unknown. The posthuman accepts that laws are not things that are intrinsic to nature, nor are they things which arise purely in the mind and are imposed on nature. This would reinforce the division between the mind and reality which we have already abandoned. The order that we commonly perceive around us, as well as the disorder, is not a function exclusively of either the universe or our consciousness, but a combination of both, since they cannot really be separated.
12. Everything that exists anywhere is energy. Beside the fact that all material processes are energetically driven, energy has two major properties:
a. It manifests in an infinite variety of ways
b. It perpetually transforms
13. The appearance of matter is an illusion generated by interactions among energetic systems at the human level of resolution.
14. Humans and the environment are different expressions of energy; the only difference between them is the form that energy takes.
15. The posthuman is entirely open to ideas of paranormality, immateriality, the supernatural, and the occult. The posthuman does not accept that faith in scientific methods is superior to faith in other belief systems.
1. Order and disorder are relative, not absolute, qualities. The proof that order and disorder are relative qualities lies in the fact that they define each other.
2. Anything we perceive can be considered to contain different degrees of order and disorder. The perception of order and disorder in something is contingent on the level of resolution from which it is viewed.
3. What we perceive as ordered and disordered is often culturally determined. Logicians will assert that there are mathematical ways of defining disorder, entropy and complexity ways that are independent of human subjectivity. Whilst these definitions may be useful in certain applications they remain open to relativistic interpretation.
4. In posthuman terms, the apparent distinctions between things are not the result of innate divisions within the structure of the universe, but rather are jointly a product of:
a. the way in which the sensual processes in living entities operate.
b. the variety of ways in which energy is manifested in the universe.
5. The ways in which energy manifestations are perceived by an observer can always be described with two simple qualities continuity and discontinuity. Continuity is non-interruption of space-time. Discontinuity is a rupture in space-time. Both qualities can be discerned in all events depending upon how they are viewed. More importantly, they are both experienced simultaneously.
6. Energy manifestations should not be thought of as intrinsically continuous or discontinuous; that is, there are no absolute qualities of energy. Energetic states will appear as either continuous or discontinuous to an observer depending upon their viewing position. The quality of (dis)continuity is context sensitive.
7. What distinguishes things from one another is the perceived dis-continuities they display. The difference in manifestations of energy between a philosopher and a chair allows them each to be distinguished.
8. The level of complexity in a system cannot be defined in objective (that is, absolute) terms. Complexity is a function of human cognition, not an intrinsic property of anything we might look at.
As long as models about how the brain might work are defective (being based on fallacious assumptions), the creation of a synthetic consciousness will be impractical.
1. Human thought is something that occurs in co-operation with the human body. It is not necessary to identify precisely where it occurs because it does not occur precisely in any part.
2. It is tempting to think of thoughts as blocks of data in the brain. This would be a mistake since it reinforces a static view of mental activity. A thought is a path through the cognitive medium. Think of it like this: taking the London Underground map as an analogy of how the mind works, some people would say, Each of the stations on the map represents one of our thoughts and the lines represent the links between them. The lines are what enable us to get from thought to thought. The posthuman argues A thought is not a station on the map but the route from one station to another. That is, a thought is actuated in the process of traveling, rather than being a particular destination.
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