The Singularity is Within You: The Hero’s Journey Beyond Thought

What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Herbert Simon

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21

The accelerating state of technological change has led many commentators to declare an incipient “singularity” wherein technological intelligence supersedes the capacities of human thought and humans are left behind in the double time march of Lamarckian techno-evolution. While these commentators have focused their analysis primarily on the material world of technological innovation,  they have paid less attention to the subjective experience of this rapid technological evolution. Recent research in neuroscience supports the testimony of mystics over the millenia who have testified that our subjective experience offers an ecstatic fourth state of consciousness beyond waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep activated by the disciplined focus of subjective attention: Turiya. This talk argues that the near term singularity on the horizon is the collective and highly distrbuted re-discovery of the capacities of human attention currently strained beyond its evolved capacities by the ongoing radical infoquake. This time, the Hero’s Hourney is evolutionary: In the crosshairs of ever proliferating information and finite attention, the mind, in attentional crisis, finds that it can no longer rely on the ego and its avatar, the “I”, and gropes toward the long neglected subjective experience of human beings, a very real but seldom explored domain “beyond thought” to which the Hero’s journey has always implicitly pointed. Here practices and technologies of the singularity within that leverage neuroplasticity and the exploration of the vast space of subjective awareness become both necessary and sufficient to heroic survival on an informatic planet in ecosystemic distress. Techniques for provoking a runaway process toward the singularity within will be discussed.

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