Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Turing Church of transhumanist spirituality, online in virtual reality for people and pets

The Turing Church Online Workshop 1, on Saturday November 20 2010 in Teleplace, explored transhumanist spirituality and “Religion 2.0″ as a coordination-oriented summit of persons, groups and organizations active in this area. See my report with pictures and videos.

Here I prefer to show this picture of three participants with their pets before the formal start of the workshop. On the left video screen I am holding my sweet little Sacha, who is NOT a cat like the other two pets but a Shih-Tzu doggy with her own Facebook page. En passant, last week we webcast Sacha's 12th birthday party on Facebook via Livestream, see the picture below and the video on YouTube.

Back to the Turing Church Online Workshop 1. Topics and issues discussed:

- To discover parallels and similarities between different organizations and to agree on common interests, agendas, strategies, outreach plans etc.
- To discuss whether it makes sense to establish a umbrella organization, or to consider one of the existing organizations as such.
- To develop the idea of scientific resurrection: our descendants and mind children will develop “magic science and technology” in the sense of Clarke’s third law, and may be able to do grand spacetime engineering and even resurrect the dead by “copying them to the future“. Of course this a hope and not a certainty, but I am persuaded that this concept is scientifically founded and could become the “missing link” between transhumanists and religious and spiritual communities.
- And of course, how to make our our beautiful ideas available, understandable and appealing to billions of seekers.

The workshop made evident that the participants, persons and groups, share very similar, overlapping and compatible ideas. It is also evident that there are different approaches to transhumanist spirituality, each with its own focus and priorities. Some participants observed that, since all of the spiritual transhumanist groups represented at the workshop are inclusive, it makes sense joining all (I am a member of all the groups represented at the workshop which have a formal concept of membership, and I consider myself a member of the others as well). The idea of establishing a umbrella organizations for spiritually inclined transhumanists was discussed. An alternative is one of the existing groups, or perhaps Humanity+ (subject to their interest of course) as umbrella organization. The MTA and Terasem reported significant growth.

My own presentation was very similar to my talk on The Cosmic Visions of the Turing Church at the Transhumanism and Spirituality Conference 2010, with some new elements. In particular I added a few references to Possibilianism, a middle, exploratory ground between religion and atheism first defined by neuroscientist David Eagleman in relation to his book of fiction Sum. Eagleman: "I call myself a Possibilian: I'm open to ideas that we don't have any way of testing right now... Our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism, and yet we know too much to commit to a particular religion… with Possibilianism I'm hoping to define a new position -- one that emphasizes the exploration of new, unconsidered possibilities. Possibilianism is comfortable holding multiple ideas in mind; it is not interested in committing to any particular story." This makes a lot of sense to me, and I consider myself as a Possibilianist and a Cosmist. Our universe is a very big place with lots of undiscovered and unimagined "things in heaven and earth" which science will uncover someday, and perhaps in this mysterious and beautiful complexity there will be room for the old promises of religion.

This was a great workshop of 4 very intense hours and a lot of interesting things were said. I don't have the time to write a full report, please watch the videos.