Oh, life-altering realizations, how I adore thee:
I realized something today. And that is that I believe in something. Completely and honestly. At least for a little while.
First let me explain (in short) a bit why this is such a big deal to me.
I grew up under the assumption that you can change the world. That Great Things must be Done. I think this mostly has to do with my father being an organizer against the Vietnam War and an activist in general.
But to do Great Things, you must have Conviction. And to have Conviction, you must have Belief.
At first, I found that belief in Catholicism. I went to All Saints Private Catholic School from Kindergarten to eighth grade. I believed so strongly, so blindly in god then. Not so any longer, for reasons that are too extensive to get into here.
At any rate, that Belief was gone. And there was nothing True enough, Big enough, Meaningful enough for me to Believe in again.
Cue my introduction to a certain Community
When Corey and I started dating, living together, etc, I met his friends. I was taken into a Community. I didn’t know exactly what everything was about, but I enjoyed the generality of it. I liked the sharing of information. I liked the ideals. I liked the aesthetics. I liked the discussions and the possibilities. But as much as I liked it, I didn’t understand it. I picked up a few of Corey’s books on cybernetics on occasion to flip through.
Lately I’ve been reading more on the subject. Lately I’ve had amazing conversations with Matt about it. Listened in on Geeking between Matt and Corey. And I started to understand. I started, just a little, to Believe.
I have this class: Religion, Ethics, and Medicine. And we’ve spent the last week and will spend next week on Transhumanism. We just sit, and talk, for two hours twice a week about our views. And through these discussions I realized something:
I’m not regurgitating what I’ve heard on the subject. I’m taking the (far too) limited knowledge I have and applying it to what I Believe about it. When my viewpoints are challenged, I all ready know the response. It all makes Sense.
This is where my thoughts become a bit more scattered, as they are still forming.
We will be able to live forever, if we so choose. Eventually. I hope Matt is right that it will happen in our lifetime. I think everyone should have the choice of whether to be human, transhuman (what I associate with still being a Human body, but replaceable organs, use of external technology, etc), or posthuman (upload into a fully cybernetic body, foglets, what have you). Please forgive me if my terms are off, I’m reading everything I can get my hands on, but school work still takes precedence. I don’t believe in having children, but if someone chooses to do so, that child will have to reach adult hood as a human before having the option to Alter themselves. I believe in Freedom of Information and Singularity. I believe in never going hungry again, massive social change, autonomy, group consciousness.
We were talking about possibile discrimination in the workplace, education systems, etc. And this is where I realized I Believed in this. “If, theoretically, and only speaking for myself, I upload into a cybernetic body, what need do I have to compete with you? I don’t have to eat, own a home, etc. My only purpose is to learn. I have no reason to interact in that context with you. What is the competition in that? The only discrimination I have to worry about is what would come from you.”
I do not personally believe in god, but if there is one as the Christian ideal, he/she/it is offering a state of the Garden before the Fall from Grace. And I’m happy to argue my case from your viewpoint, if that will help.
This is the point in class where it dawned on me that I believe in this enough to have Conviction.
We were discussing a return to Grace through technology. The loss of the Tree of Life when the Tree of Knowledge was tasted from, etc. (I can fill out details on this if you’d like).
And I turned around to the class, and I asked.
“You, as Christians, strive for a return to Grace. An immortality without your body, a symbol and cause of sin. As created co-creators, we are achieving the possibility of this. It will, I believe, be offered to YOU, in THIS lifetime.” I held up a piece of paper. “Here. This. What you’ve been looking for. What you’ve always wanted. What your religion has taught you to strive for. All the guilt you’ve had to carry for generations has paid off. Your promised reward. H.E.R.E. You can have it. Will you take it?”
The room sat in silence for a few minutes. One gentleman raised his hand. “If I believed it was the Will of God, I would.” Another: “If I believe strongly enough in the idea of a created co-creator. Which I don’t. I need Jesus to tell me I’m saved. Spiritually.” Most people who responded at all were uncertain.
I’m confounded that I Believe so much in something again.
I feel like I have Purpose.
I’m all ready going to law school for communication law to help out the CBLDF. I’m not giving that up, because that’s part of who I am. But I’m also something more now. And I’ll do everything I can to support this movement. Because I Believe it’s the Future. However irrational it may be, however long this may last for me, for now..
It’s my Belief, and my Conviction, and my Future.
Feed back is appreciated, but if it’s to be a discussion I would much prefer face-to-face. As always.