The Cosmic Conscious Life

The Cosmic Conscious Life
A man standing next to the Milky Way galaxy


How The Cosmic Conscious Life spread across the universe? How might humanity transform over millions of generations? The powers to alter our physical and mental capabilities already exist, albeit in embryonic form. 

Whether we embrace these emerging technologies or fear them, their eventual use may be a near inevitability. Many are resistant to what is termed “transhumanism.”

There is a very real and legitimate fear that in altering human nature we risk losing something of great value, perhaps without even realizing it has occurred.

An extreme example is that humanity, The Cosmic Conscious Life might be succeeded by artificial intelligence, superior in many cognitive dimensions, and yet should these beings lack consciousness, a capacity for experience; we would effectively lose the possibility of value itself.

Transhumanism Relinquishing our Consciousness

Trans-humanism however does not necessitate relinquishing our consciousness or our humanity. It is highly likely that our descendants will acquire the means to radically upgrade existing human traits; intelligence, concentration, compassion, imagination, and memory into The Cosmic Conscious Life.

These enhancements, as Toby Ord points out, (quote) …could make possible entirely new forms of human culture and cognition. New games, dances, stories, new integrations of thoughts and emotion, new forms of art. And we will have millions of years, maybe billions or trillions, to go much further, to explore the most distant reaches of what can be known, felt, created and understood.” (End quote).

Levels and Regions of Consciousness

It is the potential of our descendants to inhabit levels and regions of consciousness barely glimpsed in the peaks of current human experience.

The philosopher David Pearce believes that advanced minds might entirely eliminate experiences of pain and suffering and re-engineer their mental architecture around information-sensitive gradients of bliss; transcendent of anything we can presently conceive.

But what of human nature in The Cosmic Conscious Life? Should we transcend our evolutionary idiosyncrasies or pridefully preserve them in perpetuity? If we recognize consciousness as the domain of all value, we should also recognize that the human mind can glimpse only a tiny fraction of this space.

There is an immense ocean of possible conscious experiences in The Cosmic Conscious Life, of which present day humans are only dimly aware. Indeed, the vastness of the potential value in consciousness mirrors the vastness of the universe a near limitless possibility space that we have scarcely begun to explore

Indeed, the vastness of the potential value in consciousness mirrors the vastness of the universe a near limitless possibility space that we have scarcely begun to explore.

Self, a Kind of Illusion

Current thoughts in the philosophy of identity in some ways mirrors that of ancient mystics, that what we typically think of as the self is in fact a kind of illusion. Instead, the single common factor of all of our experiences is consciousness itself, and it is this quality of consciousness that should be considered the proper carrier of identity in the vast expense of The Cosmic Conscious Life.

This perspective has been called Open Individualism. Only an identity based in consciousness provides sufficient consideration of the distant future and the beings that will inhabit it, that in whatever ways we might evolve or seek to alter human nature.

Whatever physical forms our descendants might assume biological or silicon, to preserve our true value and potential we must preserve consciousness even in The Cosmic Conscious Life. Might such an insight eventually dawn on all sufficiently advanced minds in the universe?  We often think of ethics and morality in human evolutionary terms but is it possible that the development of consciousness eventually converges on ethical precepts that are universal to all sufficiently advanced conscious minds?

Evolution and Preservation of Consciousness

It seems likely that when directly focused on the evolution and preservation of consciousness, it will always be preferable to cultivate rather than stifle creativity that cooperation will always be preferable to conflict, compassion will always be preferable to cruelty, and knowledge will always be preferable to ignorance. 

Could it be that none of these values are characteristically human, but instead relate as all values necessarily do, to consciousness and its evolution in The Cosmic Conscious Life; wherever it might be occurring in the universe. There may be a great diversity of minds in the universe, with very different evolutionary histories, cultures and cosmologies, and yet the highest values towards which their cultures tend may well be closely aligned.

In such a view there is the hope that war, hatred, and slavery are but strategies of diminishing value, to be overcome in time, relics of a history of tribalism that we will not carry with us to the stars.  If advanced beings converge on consciousness as their identity, they would see themselves in all conscious beings they encounter  and as real centers of moral and ethical concern, and should we finally meet other, intelligent conscious minds in The Cosmic Conscious Life; we might see each other as extensions of ourselves  — on the same journey with the same goals.

Venture Beyond Solar System 

The philosopher David Pearce believes that such an ethical convergence may in fact be what impels our descendants to voyage to the stars into The Cosmic Conscious Life. For Pearce, our impetus to venture beyond the solar system may well be, in effect, a rescue mission. Wherein to fully discharge our ethical duties to other beings in the universe, we must seek them out and do what we can to alleviate their suffering.

In his writing Pearce pays particular attention  to the suffering entailed by Darwinian evolution. For Pearce, advanced conscious intelligences  may think very carefully before seeding other worlds with life. And should they decide to do  so, they might attempt it in ways that are more compassionate than nature herself has implemented  on Earth.

Perhaps even eliminating predation and suffering altogether. If such a biosphere could really be engineered, it would no doubt look very different to that of Earth. We can only guess how future minds might perceive their world or what they might believe  about the nature of reality. Will they view mind’s significance as singular and pervasive? Might they view the universe as essentially alive?

Forefront of Human Generations

Today we stand at the forefront of 10 000 human generations in The Cosmic Conscious Life. Now in our lifetime, their every sacrifice, every stroke of insight, every hard-won achievement, hangs in the balance.

Emerging technologies could both annihilate us or catalyze an astonishing odyssey to the stars. There could be hundreds of millions of future generations to come, and yet our present historical moment may well be the most significant; when it could all have been over before it barely began.

In this time of “The Precipice,” the unfathomable value of our future potential depends on the relatively tiny number of humans now alive today. In this sense we live in a time of true cosmic significance.

We know of very few limits that truly constrain what conscious intelligent life could eventually author on the cosmic stage in The Cosmic Conscious Life, if only we can survive to do so.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *