Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chat with R. Geraci on transhumanism, religion and cosmic engineers in VR

I had the honor and the pleasure of being interviewed by Robert Geraci for his new book about the ways in which Virtual Worlds operate as sacred spaces for many people (a growing number), also dealing with various religious ideas and groups operative in Second Life to discuss how those might affect conventional religious life. Robert is the author of a Survey on Second Life and Religious Thought/Practice. I invited him to the beautiful Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi in Second Life, which provided an inspiring setting for an inspiring chat. Seeing the frescos, Robert pointed me to the book Pearly gates of cyberspace, which I definitely must read.

We talked of transhumanism, religion, the relevance and impact of virtual worlds for both, the many transhumanist organizations (too many? No. I am for let many flowers bloom, small is beautiful, and I am very much against all kinds of centralization, so I certainly do not think there are too many transhumanist organizations). We discussed many transhumanist organizations and in particular the Society for Universal Immortalism, the Mormon Transhumanist Association and, of course, the Order of Cosmic Engineers, and discussed our plans for the growth of the Order of Cosmic Engineers once it goes out of stealth mode in a few weeks. I told him that, in my opinion, the Order's program makes a lot of sense as a cosmic engineering program for the future, but also as a memetic engineering program for here and now: showing people how to find again a sense of wonder, a feeling of happiness and a vision of one's own place in a universe-wide cosmic engineering project, that used to be offered by traditional religions, but without renouncing reason and science.