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Archive for the ‘science fiction’ Category

After several years of sustainability work through technology and advocacy, I am researching a mostly undiscovered and far more subtle strategy to shift consciousness, art and entertainment.

I am the currently using photography and computer imaging to develop visions of a potential dystopian and utopian futures that would help generate the story.

In addition to my work sustainability science and technology I plan to grow this cli-fi art work into a future sci-fi film that will entertain the public while raising environmental consciousness.

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484208_137805016368941_551799004_nI wonder how an alien species would feel about our passion for finding life beyond earth considering the danger that we pose to most of the species with which we share the planet species. Such aliens would have to have a similar disregard and low consciousness about non-human life.

I hope we never have to meet such dangerous aliens, for our own good. I am sorry I did not even consider the safety of the other terrestrial life forms. How selfish of me to forget about our fellow earthlings whom we owe so much!

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Anyone would think this is a scene from a sci-fi or James Bond film but the scary thing about it is that this gentleman is no actor and he represents a growing fundamentalist movement called trans-humanism set to harness human evolution through technology to ultimately become God. This particular character is very serious about his plan to become God. He says “if you’re going to interfere with me becoming God, we’ll have big trouble. Then we’ll have warfare”.

I think the threat posed by this new religious worship and absolute belief in the almighty power of technology is more serious and far greater than global terrorism, global warming or global financial meltdown. We are dealing with what is after all a religious fanaticism far more dangerous than any militant religious extremist group or ideology.  What makes this extreme faction of the so called  trans-humanism movement such a concern is the very acceptance of the movement – even its radical elements. Such acceptance is won because modern society sees trans-humanism as mere science and that is enough to make it legitimate and unlikely to be questioned.  So much for Homeland Security when we have such a threat well rooted inside our borders brainwashing our very own populations. Their technique is extremely powerful and subtle: to hook the public with luring promises such as human perfection and eternal youth.

Let’s examine where this techno-dogma comes from. The mission of trans-humanism’s is the development of the next stage of human evolution called post-human or neo-human. Writer and globalization expert Carl Teichrib describes the premises of trans-humanism:

“1. DNA: Now that we are unlocking the secrets of DNA, we can alter our genetic makeup to augment desirable traits and block negative characteristics. It’s hoped such a move will bring longevity and eradicate diseases. Other possible outcomes include the production of designer babies in the womb, and even introducing DNA from other species into the human code; thus building a ‘Human Plus’ equipped with advanced physical and cognitive traits. Such a trans-human/hybrid would be ‘transgenic’, in other words a human Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) just like corn or soy.

“2. Computer Interfacing and AI: As the secrets of the brain are discovered, it is anticipated that a time will arrive when the mind is efficiently interfaced with cyber-space. It is believed that in such a scenario the brain, once ‘plugged-in,’ could allow the mind to surf the network, download and upload from the web, receive memory upgrades, and converge with a global mind-to-machine-to mind community—forming a type of cyber-hive. Or, according to some cybernetic purists, to allow one’s consciousness to completely leave the bounds of flesh and enter cyber-space as an electronic entity. After all the brain, it’s argued, is an electrochemical organ. This mind uploading, it’s believed, could culminate in what the Catholic mystic, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called the noosphere: the emergence of a living, global consciousness. The web would thus ‘come alive’.”

The objectives stated above have been used by sci-fi literature and films to warn us about the potential for the future to become a horrible nightmare, but guess what? I am wide awake and by looking at the news I can only realize the plan for this nightmarish future is already under way, and apparently with no one willing or able to stop it. Despite the risks and horrific consequences the misuse of technology can bring such as that  posed by Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) destabilizing the fragile balance of natural ecosystems, I take comfort in the fact that the core believes held by transhumanists are false. We humans are not machines and consciousness is not a computer algorythm.

Those two facts alone make the trans-humanist agenda a childish fantasy which nonetheless can cause great irreversible damage to humans and planet. Thus the activities of these people still need to be closely monitored and controlled. Alongside the supervision by those institutions whose role is to enforce bioethics and safety on the use of technology, we need to counter trans-humanism with a new humanism driven by core timeless human values. It is the removal of values from science that has allowed science to run unchecked, unquestioned and ironically become the greatest threat to civilization and the planet, despite all the benefits it has also brought to humanity. Deep ecology illustrates the true nature of human beings and the life honoring values which were upheld by our indigenous ancestors and that we urgently need to restore.

I am not against progress. Man must not give up on his inherent nature to develop science and technology. It is his right and duty. However after  four centuries of reckless exploitation of planet and people in the name of science and progress, man needs to retake responsibility for his power by re-infusing  science and technology as well as all his activities and his very own perception of reality with the mentioned human values and overall sensibility. We must contain our human progress within the domain the human of human values and ensuring we will not disrupt the fragile order of the natural world who we are not even close to fully understand due to its enormous complexity and the limitations of our scientific knowledge.

Let’s continue honoring our inherently human ambition for growing human knowledge and bringing progress, but let’s ensure we do it in a responsible, safe and ultimate sustainable manner.

 

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A scene from the 1982 sci-fi classic 'Blade Runner'

It’s imperative we do justice to the Sci-Fi genre and we make an effort to distance ourselves from the Hollywood video-flick phenomena. It is very sad to see how Sci-Fi has become another form of modern day fast entertainment administered to the masses. In fact most current sci-fi are little more than action video games adapted to the big screen. No wonder how few people do justice taking Sci-Fi seriously.

I am fully aware of the difference between books and films. I have been told ‘Are you serious about Sci-Fi? How many books have you read?’ My answer is that in today’s wired and frantic world, most folks see the films or plays videos rather than reading Sci-Fi the books. Our shrinking schedules combined with our sensory addiction prevent most of us from reading.

I place significant importance on Sci-Fi as I see it as the most fertile ground for ideas destined to materialize human knowledge and science. Let me go even further and assert that Sci-Fi allows us to reflect upon the world we, humans live in, our past and future. By simulating the future we are studying the effects of our current (industrial) paradigm. This action indirectly forces us to evaluate, judge and question our present state of affairs, while at the same time, it permits us to prepare and eventually shape the future as we conceive different scenarios for it.  Sci-Fi becomes a great modeling tool, very similar to the computer-based tools used by engineers to predict product life and failure modes.

Another important mission of Science Fiction is its very artistic function displaying the dreams and fears held in our collective subconscious and the fears within it. Such fears are bottled inside every one of us and locked deep in our psyches. As much as we may want to hide it, all of us are concerned about the uncertainty behind peak oil, global warming, environmental degradation and all the other perils industrial age science and technology may create. Knowing the existence of such fears may play a paramount role in either manipulating or empowering humans in our shared voyage into of the future.

I say let’s leave the comfort of our cozy harbor paradigm, open the sails of our minds wide open and ride the vast ocean of the future with Confidence and Freedom!

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