Is Google Turning Us Into Cyborgs

Talent Names - (l-r) Tricia Helfer, Grace Park

 

[Latest search on Google that took someone to my blog: “free children.sex.com”]

I’m missing something from my life. My life feels empty. If I only had..If I could only get…If I only knew…and if I can’t get it all then…

The human body and mind are insufficient, are too small, to satisfy that incompleteness. So we created a bigger brain, and we spread it throughout the world.  Now it’s too big so we need to create a memory to retrieve neurons buried under trillions of “pages” so we call our new mechanical memory, “GOOGLE”.

We only search when we are unsatisfied, incomplete, missing. We need one more piece of information, we need one more picture, one more fact that can fulfill us and make us more complete, smarter, better, ultra-human, cyber-human

(Google and the Internet brings us one step towards being like the above Cylons from Battlestar Galactica)

I watch my stats for my blog religiously in realtime. I see what people search. In general, people are not happy. They want those missing holes filled. They want to be happy but they can only be if….

Just now, someone from Mountain View (ironically, home of Google, Inc.) using a Nokia phone, searched “free children.sex.com”. Why was he searching that at 6am, maybe stuck in traffic in the criss-crossing Silicon Valley freeways, on the way perhaps…to Google HQ?

He ended up at this post:  Perhaps the photo of a young Mitt Romney is enough to make the leap into the category searched. Or the fact that I recommend sex every day to newlyweds. But the cobwebs in our cyber memory twist it briefly into the wrong purpose. The visitor waited three seconds before he clicked away.

(the original name of “Google” was “Backrub”. See also, “10 Unusual Things I Didn’t Know About Google”)

What else is missing in our lives? What else do we need to search for until life is complete?  I will tell you because I’m watching the searches right now.  It’s like watching an ongoing diary of the unfulfilled, the sad, the need to feel justified. The ongoing diary of what society needs this very second.

The next search I got:

 “Top ten reasons Not to apply to Harvard” , which took our friend to this post:  10 Reasons Parents Should Not Send Their Kids to College.

Let’s guess: his parents want him to apply to Harvard. But maybe he doesn’t want to go. Or he’s afraid he won’t get in. Or his girlfriend is going to Ohio State and he wants to go there with her. Or he doesn’t want to be a student at all. He wants to be an artist. The pressures of society weigh hard on the head of a 17 year old and he needs the help of the societal Borg consciousness of the Internet to help him justify not applying to Harvard (not just any school, but HARVARD).

The very next search, one minute later:

“Will the shareholders of Facebook make money?”  which took another reader to this post:

Jealousy perhaps? Please god, I’ve worked hard all my life and now some janitor at Facebook will make $200 million and will never have to work again, will find the monetary equivalent of enlightenment and freedom.  I need to know, he searches, how much money they will make. What I am missing? What have I missed out on? More justifications for proving my life is unfulfilled and now where I wanted it to be. Google will help!

Next search:

“Porn Art” which takes the searcher to this post I wrote where I interviewed the porn star-turned-painter, Ben Banks.

A few months ago Ben had to ask me to take the post down for awhile as it confused the potential buyers of his art but more recently he said I could return it to “Visible” status.  Power to him. And power to someone who decided to breed “porn” and “art” in a search because art is often about the fulfillment of desire. And who wouldn’t want to watch the beautiful motion of two bodies having sex under the intellectual umbrella of “art”?

Next search:

“i didnt go to college. am i stupid”

Which also took him to the same post as the Harvard search above.

My baby, I wish I could reach through my blog and talk to you even more directly. No no no NO! You are not stupid.

A)     You got a 5 year head start on all of your ivory peers.

B)      You are not in debt. In the NY Times this weekend one woman who dropped out of Bowling Green College said she was $70,000 in debt and that “it will take the rest of her life to pay that back”.  Our 22 year olds have gone from inventors and creators to indentured slaves, paying back (who else?) the US government because the government needs to leech off and hypnotize whoever it can to keep on spending to “protect our way of life”.

C)      Many of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, writers, creators did not go to college. Please don’t think you are stupid. You are perhaps the smartest of all. I only feel bad you had to reach into our collective cyber-consciousness to find that out, my beautiful friend. That nobody was around you to let you know that you are not stupid, that you are perhaps the bravest and most human of all.

And of course, I get this search 30-50 times a day including one minute ago: “I Want to Die” .

Because life is never a straight line upwards like we were taught to believe. Our child brains are told: school, job, marriage, success, retirement, relax, in that order and unless you are “screwed up” your life will just be leaps from success to success.

But it NEVER turns out that way and there’s always that moment when you miss the next mountain top and you start to fall and you pick up speed and it only looks like a dark abyss below and it will hurt bad so the thought occurs to you but nobody ever taught you how and nobody ever taught you the consequences or the bodies and hearts you would leave behind so you want help help HELP and you type, “I Want to Die” looking for the last answers you might ever get. Or making the last scream of PLEASE, and you end up at this post.

If only we had a search engine for our deeper consciousness. A search engine that takes us inside instead of outside, a search engine that goes below the constant seething of thoughts, angers, anxieties, worries, feeling, failures, into a deeper level where everything is still and back to a period before our childlike minds started to grasp onto the concepts of what society would call failure, success, desire, depravity, despair.

Long before Search. Before I could even read. My dad and I filled up one of those rockets powered by water. The neighborhood kids came over. We launched it into the sky. I looked and it must’ve gone 100 feet up but it felt like 10,000 feet up, and in my imagination it went into space, it went into worlds that would only exist in my dreams, and I was happy and my friends were happy and my dad was happy. In that single moment I never needed anything else ever again. Everything was complete and, for perhaps the last time, I was fully satisfied.

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  • RD

     Hi James,

    I look forward to reading your blog everyday.  Your honesty and writing style is refreshing.  This post was interesting since I was a professional search engine marketer for a number of years, though I was going to write this comment to you regardless of what you posted today.

  • Harsh Thakkar

    True – completeness is within :)

  • Rob Hunsicker

    Looking at the top picture, I feel like “Six or Eight?” would be a pretty good question on a personality test. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       Haha, you’re right.

  • http://twitter.com/NoahLampert NoahLampert

    Nice post James. 
    I like to think of Meditation as the search engine that allows us to go inside. Either that or we could try to access Akashic records, although I haven’t been able to do that successfully just yet.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       Yes, that’s a good way to put it. Meditation is that search engine. Or at least “practice” for accessing that internal search engine throughout the day.

  • http://twitter.com/kamalravikant Kamal Ravikant

    Beautiful ending to the piece.

    Slightly related, here’s Louis CK on using Facebook:
    “I killed my facebook page years ago because time clicking around is just dead time. Your brain isn’t resting and it isn’t doing. I think people have to get their heads around this thing. All this unmitigated input is hurting folks.”

    http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/tmlnp/louis_ck_reddit/

  • IrmaSDean
  • The B

    My take has always been that the singularity and other such cyborg moments will come gradually. People are already adopting more and more advanced prosthetics. Computers are already pushing the limits (and in some cases exceeding) human abilities. 

    I believe we’ll continue getting more and more dependent on technology and technology will continue to get more seamlessly integrated into our lives until we’re something that a modern human would confidently call a cyborg.

    The real question is, would someone from 30s or 40s see us as cyborgs already? 

  • c martin

    Funny story – I found your blog back in April of 2011 when I got frustrated at work and typed “I hate my fucking job” into a google search. It’s been one of the best things I’ve done though, ive always been passionate about technology and entrepreneurship and I think your blogs is awesome. No, I haven’t quit yet, those student loans need to get paid somehow. Keep up the great work!

  • Thomas Lin

    So, your secret is to write about something a lot of people are googling for. Well, you’re doing it very well. Your posts are not more of the same. You have a interesting point of view of the world. Keep going.

  • Jesse Farrell

    Suddenly the “foam rubber latex Batman” search that drives people to my site on a seemingly daily basis seems much less troubling…

    “Our child brains are told: school, job, marriage, success, retirement,
    relax, in that order and unless you are “screwed up” your life will just
    be leaps from success to success.”

    Glad to know it’s not just me who felt that way. Lately I cared less about how I’ve deviated from the program and been content just to still be on the stage.

  • http://jacxu.com/ Jac Xu

    Interesting thought, James. Google wants to cover everything to everybody (http://www.jacxu.com/1/post/2012/03/google-will-cover-everything-to-everyone-how-about-china.html), but people are more emotional, sophisticated creature.  Google is only a tool for our reference, but can not direct our life, thoughts, emotion, and strategy.  We appreciated now our life has Google for convenience, but our lives do not totally depend on Google.  

  • Robin Heinen

    That’s a lot of suicidal-ish people every day. on my blog many people are searching for cats/dogs and fear, llama’s, success kid and many others. hopefully you can help these people and save their lives. good job. it’s so hard to see people struggle, just because of society’s view of success ( while all of us are struggling(or 95%), this picture still exists, weird). why are we all so affraid to make mistakes…?

    • http://mefrain.blogspot.com/ Efrain

      lol people get to my blog by searching “how to make my teacher cry.” I guess kids hate their teachers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1296301372 Wil Stahl

    Another great post James.

  • Tim

    James, I came across your blog out of desperation , regret (that was the google search word ) was tearing me up as I had messed up on the marriage part of the life order mentioned in your post. Reading and living your advice has been transformative. I owe you. Thankyou.

  • AvidConfidentialReader

    As great as all this technology is, it is changing our brains in damaging ways. All this searching, the immediate gratification, the lack of stillness is creating that feeling of discontent and emptiness. It’s too compelling for most people to manage healthily.

  • http://www.therawness.com/ T. AKA Ricky Raw

    I’m one of those people curious about whether Facebook shareholders will make any money, but it isn’t because of any of those reasons you state. I don’t think most people doing that search are worried about the Facebook janitor. I’m guessing they want to know whether Facebook has any chance of continuing to grow years down the line the way Google did. The average person can’t take part in the initial Facebook IPO, but later in the process the average person WILL be able to buy shares, although at a far more expensive price probably. Many just want to know whether that far more expensive price will be a ripoff in case the company is overvalued and has already hit its peak. Remember, after all these bubbles in the past 15 years many people are worried about jumping into anything with too much hype surrounding it (not enough people worry about this, but definitely more than before).

    My point is, I don’t think you should always make the most negative assumptions behind every search query. It could indeed be what you say, but it’s not the only likely motivation.

  • Michael

    nice James. Great post.

  • http://planetoplano.blogspot.com/ Leonardo

    Hello,
    in your last post you said you didn’t have a great memory, but you remember very well that moment with your dad when you launched the water rocket, even if it happened a long time ago. I think we remember very well those moments when everything comes together in an instant of “perfection”, which is perfect because it’s outside of time and can last forever on its own.

  • http://justfeltlikeblogging.wordpress.com/ Laszlo

    James, Excellent way to capture a moment and pass it on to the readers…

    “Long before Search. Before I could even read. My dad and I filled up one of those rockets powered by water. The neighborhood kids came over. We launched it into the sky. I looked and it must’ve gone 100 feet up but it felt like 10,000 feet up, and in my imagination it went into space, it went into worlds that would only exist in my dreams, and I was happy and my friends were happy and my dad was happy. In that single moment I never needed anything else ever again. Everything was complete and, for perhaps the last time, I was fully satisfied.”

  • husseinghouleh

    Someone told me once…

    We learn how to live life to its fullest extent, only when we learn how to play “Like children’

    • Rick

       …but didn’t we all know how to play “like children” when we were actually children?  How did we forget?

      • husseinghouleh

        there are many reasons why we ‘forget’ the child within us, whether it is traditions, ego, denial, and many social aspects surrounding our lives that direct us to behave in an order that is known to be for adults… not saying that it is wrong, just pointing out that we hide behind many masks.

        the only reflection from children that many would like to see in today’s people is the purity of a child, their sensitivity towards their surroundings and the appreciation of the importance of such sensitivity…
             

  • Matthew Lambert

    Hopefully those who read your “I want to die” post – or the one that they find stick around to read it.  I recommended it to a friend once when they seemed like they were ‘on the floor’.

    Personally I found your blog when you guest posted on Freakonomics and now read regularly.  I’m often one of those who comes back with a “James Altucher” Google search.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.lovett Tracy Lovett

    Have no idea if Google is turning us into cyborgs, BUT I have serious doubts about what Pinterest does.  I do it, lots of people do.  But from the first hesitant moments when I was setting up my account (crap, do I really want to DEAL with another frickin’ online social thingie?), I felt like it was all about people WANTING WANTING WANTING STUFF….yeah, there are cool things there.  Yeah, great way to share things visually, and I am a visual-spatial person.   Inspiration can be found there, but also infinite ways to feel like you do not have enough. Infinite ways to distract yourself from the quiet, and after all, what is scarier than just….quiet?   As in all things, I suppose moderation is the key.  Going outdoors now, to breathe air.  No rockets, but lots of air.

  • http://stocksonwallstreet.net/ James Hartje

    LOL right!

  • Guest

    I think maybe the search engine for our deeper consciousness is… Buddhist meditation? Haven’t tried it.

  • parallelB

    “If only we had a search engine for our deeper consciousness…”
    Here it is:
    1 – http://www.sacred-texts.com
    2 – Google: YouTube Hamlet Gonashvili
    3 – Google: YouTube Persian Dance

    And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before The Tavern shouted- “Open then the Door! You know how little while we have to stay, And, once departed, may return no more.”

    Come dance with me, my friend…

  • http://www.hamptonvictorygarden.wordpress.com/ Julie-Ann Baumer

    Eventually, no one will read anything anymore.  Until that day, keep writing Mr. Altucher.  You’re witty and passionate.  You encourage people to DO and not SEARCH.  You encouraged me.  Carry on.

    • Fubar

       Our evolutionary ancestors depended on social bonding rituals for survival (as well as shared learning, which is shy we have “big brains”). Prayer and contemplation, altruism, are far more deep in out natures than “reading”, or any other advanced communication technologies. Human beings will try to implant memory chips, etc., in their brains. Instant Google. Instant infinite memory. Zero, or near-zero wisdom or insight will arise from that alone.

      John Ralston Saul  “Voltaire’s Bastards”

      http://www.scottlondon.com/reviews/saul.html

      excerpt:

      Saul’s central message can be summed up as follows. Voltaire and his
      contemporaries believed that reason was the best defense against the
      arbitrary power of monarchs and the superstitions of religious dogma. It
      was the key not only to challenging the powers of kings and
      aristocracies but also to creating a more just and humane civilization.
      While the emphasis on reason has become one of the hallmarks of modern
      thought, today’s rational society bears little resemblance to the
      visions of the great 17th and 18th century humanist thinkers, according
      to Saul. Our ruling elites justify themselves in the name of reason, but
      all too often their power and their methodology is based on specialized
      knowledge and the manipulation of rational “structures” rather than
      reason. Today the link between reason and justice has been severed and
      our decision-makers, bereft of a viable ethical framework, have turned
      rational calculation into something short-sighed and self-serving. The
      result, Saul observes, is that we live in a society fixated on rational
      solutions, management, expertise, and professionalism in almost all
      areas, from politics and economics to education and cultural affairs.

      The cult of expertise is one of the defining characteristics of
      today’s rational elites, as Saul sees it. “Among the illusions which
      have invested our civilization is an absolute belief that the solutions
      to our problems must be a more determined application of rationally
      organized expertise,” he writes. “The reality is that our problems are
      largely the product of that application.”

      • Fubar

         cont.

        http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/saul.html

        London: What you are really out to attack, I gather, is the corruption — or you might say the bastardization — of reason.

        Saul: Well, you could put it that way. But what I’m really attacking is the isolation of reason. In other words, the obsession we have in the West with this idea that reason is the great
        quality. We’ve replaced God the father with reason, basically. Reason
        is a wonderful human quality, but it’s just one of the human qualities,
        and it’s by putting it up on the throne all by itself that we’ve cause
        it to do the opposite of what it ought to be doing. We’ve turned it into
        unreason.

        So we haven’t actually corrupted it. By putting any human
        quality in power in isolation, you automatically make it do the opposite
        of what it’s intended to do, because it isn’t supposed to be in
        isolation, because we aren’t people of only one quality — any more than
        in our normal lives. We don’t have orgasms every three seconds. So you
        can’t build a life around orgasms. We don’t brush our teeth every three
        seconds. Well, why would we design our whole life around life around one
        single intellectual concept when there are lots of others?

        London: Such as?

        Saul: It seems to me we have about six qualities which are: common sense, creativity, ethics, intuition, memory, and reason.

        London: So reason is just one of many faculties?

        Saul: Yes. You’ll notice that I gave them to you in
        alphabetical order, because I don’t think that any one of them is any
        more important than any other. This number six seems to fit. I can’t
        think of anything else that belongs there. There are lots of other
        things that are important, but it seems to me that they are the results
        of those qualities. People say, “what about compassion?” But compassion
        is really what comes out of the proper balancing of these qualities.

        London: What’s the difference between the sort of reason Voltaire spoke of and the sort we’re advancing today?

        Saul: Well, I think that Voltaire and all his friends
        were caught up in a very close battle, and it was a battle against
        arbitrary power and superstition — the king and the Church. We have
        misinterpreted what they were saying. They weren’t saying, “Go out there
        and build a society based on reason.” They were saying, “Go out there
        and build a humanist society — but you have a couple of weapons that are
        particularly good for a public fight.” There are a lot of weapons that
        are kind of hard to use in a public fight, whereas reason is something
        that you can walk out the door with everyday — you can pull it out of
        its scabbard and stab people with it. It’s very, very effective. You can
        knock down archbishops and popes with reason and they can’t figure out
        what to do. The trouble is, they can knock you down with reason too.
        This is what people like Voltaire forgot.

  • Guest

    I don’t like his name ‘altucher’. I often mistakenly pronounce it in my head as ‘alchuter’, and it’s an odd name, I’ve never known of anybody else with that name, it doesn’t flow right of the tongue in my head. I hate that about him. I think he should change his name. It trips me up. I don’t even know how to pronounce it. What country is it from? Is he a foreigner? Two consonants right next to each other for the second and third letters. Makes me mad. Just have a normal name like everyone else. I wish there was a firefox add on where I could block his last name. And then he’d just be ‘James’, my good blogger friend. But his last name really pisses me off. I hate it. Is it possible to love someone’s writing but wish his name wasn’t weird? 

    • Fubar

      James Altucher is from a Jewish family. “Altucher” most likely is of German/Russian origin, or similar. It is an easy name to remember compared to many that are far more complicated. Good News is: Altucher has received far worse insults from far more evil people.

  • Driel

    Porn Art is a book by a French photographer featuring the very lovely, and surprisingly naughty, Chloe Des Lysses, aka Nathalie Boet.  

  • dubld

    You are way off base this time James.  We are the most complex beings in a universe which, according to Google, is about 14 billion years old.  According to Wikipedia we are perhaps the first and only known beings in it capable of moving and manipulating matter in a manner distinct from the prevailing cosmic forces.  Six million search results confirm that we are the only known beings who can document events, order them chronologically, and give them meaning, context, and the recognition that validates and independently confirms their occurrence.  We represent a new consciousness in the universe separate from any that existed before us.  A quick search of archeological investigation assures me that no intelligent beings ever inhabited or visited this planet before we evolved.

    So it is imperative that we validate our own existence by memorizing the same homogenous set of facts.  That we endeavor most of our productive in an office chair making iGadgets and trading them for small pieces of paper (after all, these gadgets take pictures of the world around us and share them to affirm that everyone has the exact same experiences). That we medicate ourselves into singular patterns of behavior, wants, needs, and acceptance of consensus ‘truths’.  And that we create plain white pages in electronic space to upload redundant soundbites, photographs and ‘thumbs’ to affirm for ourselves and the world that we have achieved a level of homogeneity commensurate with our uniqueness, rarity, creativity, and impossibility.

    Google is our gateway to all of these things.  How else will we know what to eat without a place to access the divine food pyramid?  How else will we know what drug to take to cure the thoughts and feelings we are afflicted with?  How else will we know who to vote for without  endless discussions to guide our decision between one of two people?  How else can we pick our American Idol without the requisite amount of opinions and photographs needed to make an informed choice?   How else will we know the answer to questions of science like “What is gravity?”, “How do magnets work?”,  “What is space made of?”, or “How is mental illness diagnosed?”, without a programmed robot to tell us what the accepted answers are?  We need Google to realize our full potential as a singular mass of identical pieces.  The universe is counting on us to validate it in this way.  We cannot let things like feelings, appreciation of art, individualist thinking, creativity, self realization, love, human contact, spirituality, and curiosity stray us from this course.  Are you really suggesting that we should spend our lives validating ourselves and seeking fulfillment of this most rare and unique opportunity in all known existence that we have been given?  That’s just silly…

    • Fubar

       re: “According to Wikipedia we are perhaps the first and only known beings in
      it capable of moving and manipulating matter in a manner distinct from
      the prevailing cosmic forces.”

      I am not aware of any rational, scientific evidence of anything like that.

      Everything we are comes from stardust. All of our science reflects a shadow of the creation of the universe, and is not “outside” that universe.

      Our consciousness (minds) and spirituality is unfolding and evolving from the same universe. The best mystics of the past understood the endless unfolding, and described it as best as they could given the limits of their cultures and linguistics.

      Example:

      The Names . . . have existed from all eternity: these Names are
      designated as “Lords” (Arbab), who often have all the appearance of
      hypostases though they cannot strictly be defined as such. We know them
      only by our knowledge of ourselves (that is the basic maxim). God
      describes Himself to us through ourselves. Which means that the divine
      Names are essentially relative to the beings who name them, since these
      beings discover and experience them in their own mode of being. . . .
      Thus the divine Names have meaning and full reality only through and
      for beings . . . in which they are manifested. Likewise from all
      eternity, these forms, substrate of the divine Names, have existed in
      the divine Essence (A ‘yan thabita). And it is these latent
      individualities who from all eternity have aspired to concrete being in
      actu. Their aspiration is itself nothing other than the nostalgia of
      the divine Names yearning to be revealed. And this nostalgia of the
      divine Names is nothing other than the sadness of the unrevealed God,
      the anguish He experiences in His unknownness and occultation.
      Ibn al-‘Arabi (1165 – 1240)
       
      The
      Image is not outside him, but within his being; better still, it is
      his very being, the form of the divine Name which he himself brought
      with him in coming into being. And the circle of the dialectic of love
      closes on this fundamental experience: “Love is closer to the lover
      than is his jugular vein.” So excessive is this nearness that it acts
      at first as a veil. That is why the inexperienced novice, though
      dominated by the Image which invests his whole inner being, goes
      looking for it outside of himself, in a desperate search from form to
      form of the sensible world, until he returns to the sanctuary of his
      soul and perceives that the real Beloved is deep within his own being;
      and, from that moment on, he seeks the Beloved only through the Beloved
      . . . the active subject within him remains the inner image of unreal
      Beauty, a vestige of the transcendent or celestial counterpart of his
      being. . . .
       
      Ibn al-‘Arabi
      Source: Corbin, Henry. Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn `Arabi, 1969. p. 156-7

  • Uncle R.

    James:
                 Perhaps your best ever.  So perceptive – so wise. Thanks for your writing and kudos to you.

  • ngage

    Inquisitive minds search for answers they have not. Just like Iron sharpening iron, likewise Man sharpens the man..

  • Fubar

    http://www.clarewgraves.com/theory_content/quotes.html

     The Never Ending Quest 

    “At each stage of human existence the adult man is
    off on his quest of his holy grail, the way of life he seeks by
    which to live. At his first level he is on a quest for automatic
    physiological satisfaction. At the second level he seeks a safe
    mode of living, and this is followed in turn, by a search for
    heroic status, for power and glory, by a search for ultimate
    peace; a search for material pleasure, a search for affectionate
    relations, a search for respect of self, and a search for peace
    in an incomprehensible world. And, when he finds he will not
    find that peace, he will be off on his ninth level quest. As he
    sets off on each quest, he believes he will find the answer to
    his existence. Yet, much to his surprise and much to his dismay,
    he finds at every stage that the solution to existence is not
    the solution he has come to find. Every stage he reaches leaves
    him disconcerted and perplexed. It is simply that as he solves
    one set of human problems he finds a new set in their place. The
    quest he finds is never ending.”
    — Dr. Clare W. Graves

  • Fubar

    Human beings are slightly evolved from chimpanzees. Evolutionary theory tells us that we are unlikely to transcend our tribal DNA, our superb ability to SOCIALLY IMITATE via “shared learning”. 100,000+ years of evolution allows a few human beings to transcend the chaos of Chimpworld for brief periods of time, but AS A COLLECTIVE, it seems hopeless. We will never be able to “scale” our tribal DNA enough to create world peace or anything remotely resembling it.

    Unless something like DNA modification is mastered.

    All of the great spiritual traditions are anchored in, and limited by, the cultures from within which they have developed.

    For the last 100 years or so, some of the most enlightened people on the planet have been trying to develop a “meta theory” of consciousness and spirituality that will be “free” of those cultural limits, and consistent with the new evolutionary sciences of the brain.

    Here are some examples:

    http://www.raimon-panikkar.org/english/opere.html

     “I started as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without having ceased to be a Christian”  — Raimon Panikkar

    http://integrallife.com/member/balder/blog/raimon-panikkar-vs-new-atheists-ultimate-smackdown

    excerpt:

    … This is not to say that the insights and
    criticisms of atheists and secularists are without value, or that they
    do not, in fact, serve a powerful corrective function, helping to
    dismantle mythic-level fixations and compensatory beliefs.  Panikkar
    himself refers to the secular movement as a sacred one:  he finds great
    value in the secular critique of traditional religions, agreeing with
    their diagnosis that these traditions have tended historically to
    exacerbate human alienation, fragmentation, and pathology. 
    Theologically, as well, he believes the West took a wrong turn when it
    identified God, the depth dimension of reality, with a particular
    personality or entity.  Panikkar’s theology moves in the direction of
    non-theism, or what Wilber would call evolutionary panentheism.  As
    Gerard Hall writes, “The mistake of Western thought was to begin with
    identifying God as the Supreme Being (monotheism) which resulted in God
    being turned into a human projection (atheism). Panikkar moves beyond
    God-talk to speak of the divine mystery now identified in non-theistic
    terms as infinitude, freedom and nothingness…” 
    (If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of what Panikkar means by God, see Nine Ways Not to Talk About God,
    published in Crosscurrents.  And a good overview of his theory of
    multi-faith dialogue and interculturality, which includes a discussion
    of the Cosmotheandric Vision which informs his approach to postmodern,
    postmetaphysical spirituality, can be found here:  Multi-Faith Dialogue in Conversation with Raimon Panikkar.)

    Nine Ways Not to Talk About God:

    http://www.crosscurrents.org/panikkar.htm

    Multi-Faith Dialogue in Conversation with Raimon Panikkar:http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/staffhome/gehall/Hall_Panikkar.htm

    • Fubar

       re:”For the last 100 years or so, some of the most enlightened people on the
      planet have been trying to develop a “meta theory” of consciousness and
      spirituality that will be “free” of those cultural limits, and
      consistent with the new evolutionary sciences of the brain.

      Another example:

      Holistic “meta theory” as it relates to religion and politics:

      http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2289

      excerpt:

      Shambhala Sun | July 1999 Liberalism and Religion – We Should Talk
      By: Ken Wilber

      The way it is now, the modern world really is divided into two major and
      warring camps, science and liberalism on the one hand, and religion and
      conservatism on the other. And the key to getting these two camps
      together is first, to get religion past science, and then second, to get
      religion past liberalism, because both science and liberalism are
      deeply anti-spiritual. And it must occur in that order, because
      liberalism won’t even listen to spirituality unless it has first passed
      the scientific test.

      In one sense, of course, science and
      liberalism are right to be anti-spiritual, because most of what has
      historically served as spirituality is now prerational, magic or mythic,
      implicitly ethnocentric, fundamentalist dogma. Liberalism traditionally
      came into existence to fight the tyranny of prerational myth and that
      is one of its enduring and noble strengths (the freedom, liberty, and
      equality of individuals in the face of the often hostile or coercive
      collective). And this is why liberalism was always allied with science
      against fundamentalist, mythic, prerational religion (and the
      conservative politics that hung on to that religion).


         for the first time, the possibility of a postliberal
      spirituality, which combines the strengths of conservatism and
      liberalism but moves beyond both in a transrational, transpersonal
      integration. The trick is to take the best of both, individual rights
      plus a spiritual orientation, and to do so by finding liberal humanistic
      values plugged into a transrational, not prerational, Spirit. This
      spirituality is transliberal, evolutionary and progressive, not
      preliberal, reactionary and regressive. It is also political, in the
      very broadest sense, in that its single major motivation, compassion, is
      pressed into social action. However, a postconservative, postliberal
      spirituality is not pressed into service as public policy, transrational
      spirituality preserves the rational separation of church and state, as
      well as the liberal demand that the state will neither protect nor
      promote a favorite version of the good life. Those who would transform
      the world by having all of us embrace their new paradigm, or particular
      God or Goddess, or their version of Gaia, or their favorite mythology,
      these are all, by definition, reactionary and regressive in the worst of
      ways: preliberal, not transliberal, and thus their particular versions
      of the witch hunt are never far removed from their global agenda. A
      truly transliberal spirituality exists instead as a cultural
      encouragement, a background context that neither prevents nor coerces,
      but rather allows genuine spirituality to arise.

      Unless spirituality can pass through the gate of science, then of
      liberalism, it will never be a significant force in the modern world,
      but will remain merely as the organizing power for the prerational
      levels of development around the world.Material
      in this column appears in One Taste: The Journals of Ken Wilber, from
      Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston. © Ken Wilber, 1998.

  • Fubar
  • Fubar

    Disrupting College
    How Disruptive Innovation Can Deliver Quality
    and Affordability to Postsecondary Education
    Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, Louis Caldera, Louis Soares
    February 2011

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/02/disrupting_college.html

    excerpts:

    … there is a growing acknowledgement that many American universities’
    prestige came not from being the best at educating, but from being the
    best at research and from being selective and accepting the best and
    brightest—which all institutions have mimicked.

    The theory of disruptive innovation has significant explanatory power
    in thinking through the challenges and changes confronting higher
    education. Disruptive innovation is the process by which a sector that
    has previously served only a limited few because its products and
    services were complicated, expensive, and inaccessible, is transformed
    into one whose products and services are simple, affordable, and
    convenient and serves many no matter their wealth or expertise. The new
    innovation does so by redefining quality in a simple and often
    disparaged application at first and then gradually improves such that it
    takes more and more market share over time as it becomes able to tackle
    more complicated problems.

    A disruptive innovation has a couple key elements or enablers that
    are particularly salient to the future of higher education. The first is
    a technology enabler. This allows the innovation, which starts in a
    simple application and competes first against nonconsumption—by serving
    people who were not able to be served or were not desirable to serve—to
    be “upwardly scalable” and improve year over year without replicating
    the cost structure of the old products and services it gradually
    replaces.

    Online learning appears to be this technology enabler for higher education.

    The second element of a disruptive innovation is a business model
    innovation. Disruptive innovations are plugged into new models, which
    allow organizations to serve a job to be done in the lives of customers
    at this new lower price point or in this new, far more convenient
    fashion without extra cost. Plugging a disruptive innovation into an
    existing business model never results in transformation of the model;
    instead, the existing model co-opts the innovation to sustain how it
    operates.

    Furthermore, what we see when we examine the existing institutions of
    higher education through this lens is that for decades now they have
    offered multiple value propositions around knowledge creation
    (research), knowledge proliferation and learning (teaching), and
    preparation for life and careers. They have as a result become
    conflations of the three generic types of business models—solution
    shops, value-adding process businesses, and facilitated user networks.
    This has resulted in extraordinarily complex—some might say
    confused—institutions where there are significant coordinative overhead
    costs that take resources away from research and teaching.

    A typical state university today is the equivalent of having merged
    consulting firm McKinsey with Whirlpool’s manufacturing operations and
    Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company: three fundamentally
    different and incompatible business models all housed within the same
    organization. Using online learning in a new business model focused
    exclusively on teaching and learning, not research—and focused on highly
    structured programs targeted at preparation for careers—has meanwhile
    given several organizations a significant cost advantage and allowed
    them to grow rapidly.

    This emerging disruptive innovation also presents an opportunity to
    rethink many of the age-old assumptions about higher education—its
    processes, where it happens, and what its goals are—and to use the
    disruptive start-up organizations to create institutions that operate
    very differently and more appropriately to address the country’s
    challenges.

    Also see:

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/02/waiting_period.html

     

  • http://jacxu.com/ Jac Xu

    Just read CNN news this morning, Google revamps search, tries to think more like a person http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/16/tech/web/google-search-knowledge-graph/index.html, Is Google really turning us into Cyborgs?