SATURDAY, NOV 7, 2015

Postscript

Notes from the ether

Eric Lee, A-SOCIATED PRESS

TOPICS: FUTURE VISIONS , FROM THE WIRES, TRANSHUMANS, HUGH

TUCSON (A-P) — I might add that no one has used the Contact button, apart from a few hopefuls selling SEO services, but that would be banal. What merits a postscript is that someone has used it. I got a short email, "So you're unstuck in time too? I have visions, actually I've had two visions, but they seem similar to yours. I was wondering if you also have had visions of the future, as you don't seem to be just making stuff up?"

To speak of "similar" implies he/she read something, maybe several offerings. If I was hearing from an actual reader a reply seemed appropriate. So I replied, "I envision possible futures, and some may be likely, which doesn't quite qualify as having visions. But I'd be interested in hearing about yours."

I received a rather complete reply, so I didn't respond. I suspect no response was expected. The text:

I suppose I should say I've had one vision that included two. I was in a room that looked like a lecture hall and I was the only one in it. It seemed very 21st century and I could hear faint traffic sounds, so I felt I knew when I was, but not where. I felt no inclination to get out, so I just took in my surroundings. I walked up to and stood behind the lectern. It seemed I should say something, but as I had nothing to say, I asked, "Does anyone have any questions?"

There were no questions, of course, but turn about being fair play, I imagined someone saying, "Do you have any questions?" There was a long silence. Then I heard myself saying, "If I could go back in time a hundred years, and assuming I was still inside, what would I see if I went outside?"

I recall that that is exactly what I said, then I went on to ask if there was any local historians present, as a detailed story could be put together such that if I could really go back in time and step outside, I wouldn't be greatly surprised and would know quite a bit about what I was seeing. As for the past, there is only one, and some knowledge of it survives allowing a likely story to be formulated. But as to the future, there may be only one too, yet we have no knowledge of it; we can only project our understanding of the past with broad brushstrokes, and so any story we may tell is uncertain. I said something of the sort and then asked if there were any futurists in the room.

There was actually a room full of futurists as everyone has some image or expectation of it, even if it remains unthought about in any detail. I then said matter of factly that I had just gone into the future, one hundred years, and as time travel involves no time, that I was back. I said that in the future I was in a room too, but it was entirely different. I looked for something that looked like a door. Cobwebs had to be walked through, the hinges were rusted, but I managed to force the door open.

Before me was a forest that obscured the ruins. There was blue sky above. A deer was browsing on what may have been a street and looked at me. It had that deer-in-the-headlights look and I was the headlight. It had never seen a human before. It didn't move and neither did I. When the shock subsided it ran off, disturbing a jay who protested squawkingly. The greenery was punctuated by flowers and busy bugs. There was no sound of traffic or other human sound, but only the sound pines make when no wind blows. I knew, or rather could feel, that there were no longer humans on the planet. I turned, came back to where I had been, and returned to stand before you.

The audience was dead silent as if stunned in horror by my vision, but the silence was not surprising as there was no audience. Still, had the room been filled with humans, I realized that a near future without them, or at least without their grandchildren and great grandchildren in it, would be intolerable, and was, perhaps, nerologically unthinkable beyond partially parsing the words "humans" and "no longer." My vision was literally unbelievable.

I told them that once again I had gone and just returned. I had gone into the future, again one hundred years, but that this time all was different. The room had become a vast expanse, it was that huge. There were humans everywhere, doing many things, some were flying without visible means of support, but there were no trees and no sky above. The people gave no notice of me other than to get out of my way if I got in their way. I seemed to merit no interest.

I heard someone say, "We are Hugh, may I be of service?" He seemed human, but was festooned with technology and may have been an android of the Hugh model.

I asked, "Where am I?" He walked about me saying, "Level 0, terminal SW144." He then added, "Without implants, and as you have not been connected, when are you from?" It was as if time travel was commonplace, so I said, "2015."

"Of course," he added, "so you have nothing of value to add to our essence." There seemed no place for me, but before returning I asked Hugh many questions. He was complacent and tolerant as if he had nothing better to do. I came to realize he was virtually immortal, so he had time enough. I came to piece together the story of his future.

I mentioned the surprised deer future and he offered that it was an alternative future, one in which Free Fusion had not been developed. In his future it had been and so energy was available to all and for all. It was free as in too cheap to meter.

Level 0 was the original surface of Earth. There were 83 levels above and 46 levels below that had been carved out of Earth's mantle. I asked about the ocean and he confessed that it had not yet been built under, but that it supported shore to shore development floating 1 to 2 kilometers in height. I asked about wildlife. He paused as if needing to access new information, then said that it still existed as its genome had been fully assimilated into the Database.

I returned, told this story, and they were thrilled to know of humanity's success, of their immense wealth and power. My first vision was dismissed as a faux pas. One asked how many people there were. I said, on Earth 57 billion, but in the solar system 834 billion. He smiled and mumbled, "I knew it."

It was clear to me that no humans, existent or nonexistent, had the ability to grasp either future without having it beaten into them. It was obvious that they imagined the seemingly prosperous future (for humans) to be one in which their great grandchildren had traded in their headsets and iPhones for Bigger/Better Tech in a wonderful future where the More had More. The more did have more, but to me it seemed they should be disowned.

So I raised my voice, telling them that their progeny were no longer human, but transhuman. There had been, as Hugh admitted, humans who had resisted the transformation, the coming of the Trans. They had attempted to ridicule the Trans by calling them Borg, but the Trans responded in character by insisting that resistance was futile, that the atrans would be assimilated, and they were. I yelled, "Your spawn are the Borg!"

I realized that when I was addressing normal pro-growth humans I needed to add—quietly, pointlessly— "because you too are Borg in the making" and if they had heard me they would have thought that if I wasn't complimenting them, that I should be. To be normal is to be self-affirming.

I realized all of this started when I had failed to keep my mouth shut and had attempted to say something. So I said nothing more. I left the lectern and was heading for a door when a nice young man in a clean white coat came in and asked me how I had gotten in. I said I didn't know and asked where I was. He said I wasn't supposed to be in the Bellevue Auditorium and needed to go to my room. I was leaving anyway, so I left with him.

Visions, perhaps, happen for a reason. My vision served to pose the obvious question that otherwise would not be asked: "Of the two futures, assuming there are only two possible futures, which is the preferred? Which is the more prosperous?

Not surprisingly, there was no answer from outside the privacy of my mind and I, all alone in my room, thought of the deer.

 

 


Nor is there much satisfaction in contemplating the world with nothing left to the spontaneous activity of nature; with every rood of land brought into cultivation, which is capable of growing food for human beings; every flowery waste or natural pasture ploughed up, all quadrupeds or birds which are not domesticated for man’s use exterminated as his rivals for food, every hedgerow or superfluous tree rooted out, and scarcely a place left where a wild shrub or flower could grow without being eradicated as a weed in the name of improved agriculture. If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population would extirpate from it, for the mere purpose of enabling it to support a larger, but not a better or happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compels them to it. — J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy, 1848


 

A fact: 99.999999±9% of humans do not know what I have to say about stuff I think matters.

If all were forced to consider what I have to say, 99.999 to 99.999999 odd percent would conclude I was mistaken. If forced to specify, they would say I was mistaken about things that matter to them (politics, religion, economics, morality, social values, norms, traditions, all deeply held beliefs). If I, as an abeliever, were right about some details, it wouldn't matter.

Of those who would differ, 87% (a guess) would not be so polite as to say I was mistaken, but would say that I was "batshit fucking crazy" or some such choice of words. They would say this because if asked to point to an error, they wouldn't be able to, so asserting a strongly held opinion would be their only option. Of the remaining 13%, some effort would be made to argue I was mistaken. But only a small percentage of those begging to differ would endeavor to be cogent and cite evidence to support their claims. If I failed to be convinced by their arguments, they would judge me stupid as well as mistaken. Bottom line is 99.999+ percent would be dismissive because if I'm not mistaken (et al.), they would have to consider the possibility that they are, which would be clinically unthinkable for most.

To repeat: I'd like to be wrong about everything. May all my concerns be unwarranted. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I'm not free to believe what I want to and therefore am not normal. I'm willing to be abnormal, however, and even to go so far as to suggest others consider being abnormal abelievers too. Not an easy sell as no buyers will buy the unsellable vision. Only non-buyers need apply (themselves).


 

On November 17, 2187, the United Federation of Watersheds adopted their anthem:

Imagine

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one


                    — John Lennon



Imagine: no other world, only sky above, people living for today, no countries, nothing to kill or die for, no belief-based religion, people living in peace, no vehement claims to possessions, no need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man, people sharing all the world....with other organisms. Perhaps this world should end before the world does.


True words are not pleasing. Pleasing words are not true. — Lao Tzu


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