“I live my life in widening circles That reach out across the world.”
- Rilke. The Book of Hours
“We say we want freedom yet true freedom is just as frightening to us as truth itself. For the most part we are kept animals and as distasteful as this may be to our sensitive egos we like it this way.” 1
Click play to hear a brain balancing audio enhancement as you read.
This alarming quote sits within an article called An Inconvenient Truth — The Truth Shall Not Set Us Free, authored by someone who calls himself Cognitive Dissonance. You’ll find the link below if you wish to read the full expose.
The author continues with a personal recollection: “Many years ago I overheard one woman tell another that ‘Children like it when we set boundaries and rules for them.’ I agree. Very young children want, in fact need, to know they are safe in a world that is capricious and unfathomable. So it makes sense that externally imposed rules and boundaries would give children an artificially implanted sense of order and predictability, at least until their own conditioning is complete and they can maintain their own illusion of personal safety through denial. The same applies to us as adults. We all want our freedom just as long as it comes with a reasonably clear set of rules that thankfully keeps us from straying too far into personal accountability and responsibility.” 2
In the last blog we began an exploration of what futurist Ray Kurzweil is predicting about technically enhanced human abilities that could make us more God-like. The article where Kurzweil is quoted offers further promises: “… we are learning how to enhance our brains, albeit not with nanobots. Researchers have already successfully sent a message from one human brain to another, by stimulating the brains from the outside using electromagnetic induction. In another study, similar brain stimulation made people learn math faster. And in a recent U.S. government study, a few dozen people who were given brain implants that delivered targeted shocks to their brain scored better on memory tests.” 3
One must feel excited about the possibilities here, both to discover the new and remember the old, that is, an inner version in consciousness of what is now being discovered and developed through technology. The article continues: “We’re already implanting thousands of humans with brain chips, such as Parkinson’s patients who have a brain chip that enables better motor control and deaf people who have a cochlear implant, which enables hearing. But when it comes to enhancing brains without disabilities and for nonmedical purposes, ethical and safety concerns arise. And according to a survey last year, 72 percent of Americans are not interested in a brain implant that could improve memory or mental capacity.” 4
Why not? What’s the resistance to that kind of improvement? We could put it down to a basic Luddite reaction, that is, the fear of technology. After all, we’ve all seen enough dystopian nightmares at the cinema, like Terminator, to need little convincing of the threat: “Newsflash: Robots replace humans!” But I’d like to imagine our hesitation arises from a more poetic source.
Life, ultimately, is not a binary equation. Meaning and fulfillment cannot be manufactured. And love will never be logical. Success for humans is not about getting everything under control so that life can become more secure. The worst form of incarceration is called Maximum Security for a reason. Much as we say we would like it, we don’t when we get it. Those sci-fi films often begin with an orderly society where everything runs like clockwork. No conflict. No wars. Everyone happy.
And… there are always rebels. Someone is always trying to overthrow that perfect system. Why? Because it‘s fundamentally flawed. It’s disconnected from the wonderfully uncontrollable real world of nature and God and who we sense we really are. Life, we deeply know, will always be a mystery to enjoy, not a problem to solve.
The “personal accountability and responsibility” spoken of earlier points to a radically different future, one where we dare to explore this mystery of life through deepening our connection with the world we live in right now, rather than ignoring it in favor of a future substitute we can manufacture with our cleverness. It takes courage to find our place in this world, the one we call “natural” that has become so alien. But here is where we belong and will always belong. What might a deeper exploration reveal?
Perhaps the great service that Kurzweil and other leading edge explorers are providing is to open up the realm of possibilities, to blow our minds, to explode our limiting concepts. It’s doubtful that they or any of us can really see through the haze of future uncertainties to know what will take shape but sensing possibilities is enlivening. What wonders will consciousness produce within our lifetimes?
We’ll continue our journey in the next blog.
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