August 31, 2006

Will Technology be a means to Moksha?

Posted in philosophy of mind, religion, science, soup at 1:07 am by Jerry

I just listened to an interview led by Robert Wright discussing with Daniel Dennett various topics, and ending with the hot topic of the day, which is consciousness.

My own interpretation of the conflicting views of consciousness (especially after watching this interview) is that it is a question of whether we can actually BE another person.

Dennett, if I understand him correctly, does believe we will be able to BE another person when our technology is so advanced that we are able to download all information from within another person. Others, in opposition to Dennett, believe that knowing all the collected information of another’s inner self cannot equate with sharing that person’s experience of one’s self.

Dennett’s philosophy intrigues me. Because, if he is right, in the future we will have the technology to download everyone’s self into ourselves. Therefore, we could become everyone. Does that freak you out? It’s not that new of an idea. The eastern philosophy, Hinduism, runs along much of the same lines here. The “Atman” is the Hindu understanding of the self. And the “Brahman” is the Hindu understanding of a God that is Ultimate Reality, everything else. And the path of Hindu enlightenment is to actually experience the Atman becoming the Brahman.

Now, based on what I’ve mentioned above, this western perspective of Brahman would only include the Ultimate Reality of all human beings. But if technology were able to take it to the farthest level, I suppose Brahman could include all other information available in the universe. And by that logic, we would be able to become ALL. And if the downloaded information was interchangeable, eventually, “we” wouldn’t exist. Our former selves would be gone. Which, if I understand it correctly, is the equivalent to the ultimate goal for Hindus, called “Moksha”.

Technology would have made religious monism a reality.

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2 Comments »

  1. Eric said,

    Hey Jerry, cool topic…
    “But if technology were able to take it to the farthest level, I suppose Brahman could include all other information available in the universe. And by that logic, we would be able to become ALL.”
    Is this not becoming God also? Like the Nth degree of man creating God out of himself in some way? Would we all be Gods then if we could all ‘become ALL’ Echoes of infinity…

    Reminds me of a great sci-fi series by the late great Frank Herbert and co-wrote with Bill Ransom, ‘The Jesus Incident’, ‘The Lazarus Effect’ and the ‘Acsension Factor’

    Have a great long week-end

  2. Jerry said,

    Hey Eric,

    Yep, you got it. We would become some sort of God. Only, this type of divinity is an impersonal one. When the information of ourselves intermingle, “ourselves” will exist no more. The personal would be extinguished. There would be no relationship between “persons”.

    Thanks for mentioning the books. I’ll add them to the list. I’ll be working the long weekend. Have a great one too.


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