Sometimes I fear for the future. Not necessarily because I am concerned about some pending apocalypse or am worried about the moral decay of our younger generations. I think it is mainly a fear of the vast, dark unknown.
See, I have two young children. At the exponential growth rate of life-changing technologies, what will life be like for them in 20 years? 40 years? Suffice to say there is almost no way of knowing. This year virtual reality has finally gone mainstream with consumer models projected for the fourth quarter. Internet headlines warn of the dangers of Artificial Intelligence. Google is working on the cure for aging.
Will our humanity dry up as we become more technologically advanced, as we become more… god-like? Will we destroy ourselves before that happens with weapons of mass destruction, society-crushing EMPs or SkyNet android wars? Or is this the inevitable evolution cycle from Unity to fractured matter to crude biology to non-corporeal consciousness and back to Unity?
This weekend, my wife and I got around to watching “Lucy (2014),” wherein a young woman (through a series of unfortunate events) increases the usage of her brain from 10% to 100%. All of the science fiction and action sequences aside, this is a profoundly deep film that deals with the nature of human potential, time, evolution and consciousness. And though it is a fictional account, it actually helped alleviate some of my anxieties on these matters.
Two things, in particular, stood out. (POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD)
First, I noticed that the more Lucy came into her fullness, the more her “humanity” - as we know it - seemed to dissipate. Human life and survival wasn’t as desperately CLUNG TO as it was previously. Interestingly, that manifested as a lack of empathy toward other humans, an indifference to pain and a nonchalance about death.
Pierre Del Rio: [During the high-speed car ride through Paris with Lucy driving] I'd rather be late than dead.
Lucy: We never really die.
Perhaps with a fully realized “cosmic consciousness” we understand that our individualized ego and body aren’t as real as we imagined, that the whole of the universe is connected and that there’s no point in clinging to our earthly life. Sound familiar? Ya, like every damn spiritual teacher since the dawn of civilization.
Secondly, there was this:
Lucy: Ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge.
Here we directly tackle my fears for the future. The more we uncover, the further we evolve, the more conscious we become, the less we actually have to be afraid of. Evolution is scary because it’s unfamiliar but that doesn’t mean that - for instance - I should be concerned about what my children’s lives will be like when they’re 50 years old.
Will it be unlike anything I can possibly imagine? You bet. Should I be concerned? Maybe… but at least for the moment, I’m going to trust that knowledge isn’t the harbinger of chaos and destruction - but rather unity, power, connectedness, and a more complete understanding of who we are and what we’re doing here.
With this in mind, I’m going to begin to be a little more optimistic about where we're headed and how we're evolving. There will certainly be hiccups along the way and this is not to say that all technological progress is positive or useful. But this is the direction we're headed no matter HOW we think of it - and it has the potential to not only be arbitrarily positive, but an intelligent consciousness' intentional culmination of billions of years of evolution.
By Trevor, The Edge of Spirit