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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    Fresh from the Pulp -The Aesthetic singularity or “Turning into Gods”- a documentary by Jason Silva
    Project: Polytopia
    "We are as gods, and we might as well get good at it."
    Stewart Brand

    There is much to be said for the concept of living in the moment, a beautiful and liberating concept, no doubt. Some of these moments we cherish, some of these moments are a pure delight and extend the very meaning of our lives into an aesthetic experience of the greatness of existence, and yet these moments in order to be experienced need be embodied, at present that is.
    Therein lies the crux of the matter; embodiment requires, well, a body, and our bodies, marvelous as they are, highly complex experiential machines, have a tendency to deteriorate, to decline with age and to weaken the very experience of the moment that made this life of ours worthwhile living in the first place.

    The Darwinian evolutionary principle that brought us to this place of self reflection, where and when we consider the magnificence of being alive, couldn’t care less if our conscious desire to extend the moments of pleasure and experiential satisfaction beyond its needs of procreation via natural selection, contradicts its timing for our annihilation, our so-called, natural end, as sentient creatures.



    And yet it is our desire and probably our duty to deny our biological ‘end-all time stop’ and extend the moments of pleasure of beingness into a longer state of existence, a state that will not be plagued by old age and illness, a state that will allow us to take our evolutionary destiny in our hands.
    There are many reasons why we should want to extend our lives, to actually slow or even reverse the entropy of our bodies and the most natural may be because, it is simply the highest form of beauty we can conceive of.

    To my eyes longevity and eventually immortality can and should be conceived as a canvas upon which we will paint our own masterpiece, a design of such grand proportions and ambition that to work it out demands time, lots of time, and hence a large canvas is needed, an immense all encompassing canvas, upon which we will brightly color our expansion into the universe.

    Whether the announcement this week that a genuine "elixir of life" that can hold death at bay will prove to work on humans as well as it works on mice is practically irrelevant if for no other reason that the research into longevity and eventual immortality is proceeding at high velocity (SENS). At the same time, we may well amplify our brainpower through better interactive holographics and very soon your heart may get its own IP address, see - Body organs can send status updates to your cellphone).

    But fighting the debilitating effects of Alzheimer or Diabetes, expanding our minds via chemicals or bionics, becoming part machine part bio-organism or even genetically enhancing our own genome is not the issue, all these point to the how? And the when? The main issue is the very old question of why?

    Enter Jason Silva coming documentary 'Turning into Gods’.

    TURNING INTO GODS - 'Concept Teaser' from jason silva on Vimeo.

    They say that the best thing in every noble dream is the dreamer and in this case the noble dreamer is Jason Silva.

    With the fabulous piece by Belgian composer Wim Mertens ‘often a bird’ starts the trailer for the coming documentary by Jason Silva “turning into Gods”.

    Bursting with optimism, few will match, the Turning into Gods trailer, can be said to be a possible symphony of noble dreams and pragmatic techno optimism but as Marcel Proust once said:” If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time”.
    The love bursting from Jason is contagious and it will not tear you apart it will invigorate you.
    It appears at first as a rhapsody of mindfulness, finding advantage and magnificence in each moment, and the possibility of transcendence and yet listening to Jason, we can readily accept his view that the future is a challenge to the impossible.
    Describing himself as a child without superstitions in poetic fashion Jason allows the creative impulse of the author of the heart to carry him across the waters into the magic of love.



    Richard Feynman was fond of saying that: “A paradox is not a conflict within reality. It is a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality should be like” and Jason’s overflowing sexiness embeds this statement with new meaning, an aesthetic meaning. In that I think Jason might be successful where others may meet resistance, for his take on the singularity carries a profound sense of love of life, a love we all share, a love that overturns the apparent paradoxes by supercharging our feelings of what reality should be like.
    There is a generosity to his aesthetic enthusiasm that correlates deeply to my own sense of the future of aesthetics and our eventual redesign of our bodies and minds and indeed the world we inhabit.

    In:”Some thoughts on Art + Inspiration, Love, Apotheosis and Engineering Divinity” Jason enthusiastically speaks about the Singularity idea that has been called a form of neo-psychedelia; a kind of engineered transcendence....
    Ecstatic mind-states and techno-immortality are promised; a world created entirely by our minds; where we all become imagineers
    watch it:

    Some thoughts on Art + Inspiration, Love, Apotheosis and Engineering Divinity from jason silva on Vimeo.


    As a basic premise I do not think that desiring extreme longevity or immortality is an escapist perspective meant to entice us to escape our ‘fate’, nor is it a view that proclaims ‘carpe diem’ and therefore implies a complete disregard to all times past and future implications.
    No, desiring immortality is a deeply ingrained almost mythical yearning to have enough time to unravel that which we are and may yet become.
    Therein lies the great poetic beauty of immortality, a longing for time and in a sense timelessness, a passion driven to its limits of exploratory power.

    And yet the beauty of immortality is not as straightforward as it may appear I therefore asked Jason to give me some descriptions to the question: “why is immortality beautiful”

    Jason Silva: "Alan De Botton said that one of the reasons that sublime beauty makes us a little sad is because we implicitly realize that what it hints at is the exception. We see that beauty is transient and therefore we are moved not so much by its rapture but by the contrast of that rapture against its fleeting nature. We realize, in the shadow of the ideal, that everything is transient and we become hyper-aware of mortality, of entropy, of endings.
    Everything dissolves in irony when we zoom out far enough... the only solution is to rebel against this condition- to insist on eternalizing the ideal. Immortality is a beautiful idea because it makes us all poems without end. Alan Harrington said "we must never forget we are cosmic revolutionaries, not stooges conscripted to advance a natural order that kills everybody" The goal of humanity is to transcend death. The goal of humanity is for poetry, art, aesthetics, love and knowledge to be the only constants. Death and disease, mediocrity and limitations, should be phased out.

    Immortality is beautiful because when you're moved by almost indescribable incandescent beauty and love and inspiration is welling up inside you and you tell yourself that this moment will last forever, you won't be lying.

    I asked Jason to elaborate his views concerning the role of art and design in creating the world we envisage, especially in light of my own views on the matter expounded in a short essay I wrote a while back “Beauty is a restless entity

    Jason Silva:" I absolutely adored "Beauty is a Restless Entity"... particularly this line: "If, as I hold, beauty is that which gives knowledge its pleasure, the subject matter of aesthetics then is the pleasure of knowledge (as intelligence amplification) resulting when beauty is acknowledged, grasped and experienced."... I believe aesthetics are very much what you said- a sort of transcendent, emergent effect resulting from the dance between the observer's inner world, and the stimuli entering his consciousness. Aesthetic arrest is what happens when "all of my desires are abolished by the plenitude of their satisfaction" as Roland Barthes says. Revelatory ecstasy is when compounding, appreciative realizations cascade on each other in our minds in response to an experience that combines visceral, emotional and intellectual pleasure... Moreover, I believe these experiences can be designed and engineered... we are lucky in that we can hack the mind to make this happen.. Good art hacks the mind. The more variables we control the better. Pick the music, pick the visuals, set the conditions, watch an experience of aesthetic arrest emerge. "

    There is a deep correlation between the ‘Turning into Gods’ documentary and Space Collective

    Jason Silva: "Turning Into Gods will explore the aesthetics and philosophical implications of the singularity. I would say there is definitely inspiration from Space Collective, because you are the only website on the internet that explores these ideas with the kind of visual and linguistic flair they deserve. In my mind, The singularity can be seen as a metaphor for the most beatific unfolding of human flourishing: a sort of orgiastic apotheosis of technology, science and art, an utterly transcendent epochal-shift; beautifully articulated by people like you in your frequent postings! "



    You may wish to listen to Jason talking about the documentary in this podcast: Let Your Ideas Be Noble, Poetic and Beautiful
















    We are at present accessing a universe in which the ballad that is the body will be turned into a grand symphony.

    There is nothing natural, moral or ethical about dying of old age, nay, there is something totally unnatural about endings, about pain and suffering. The elimination of death, of pain and suffering is perhaps the most important human endeavor we have ever undertaken.
    The reason as Jason Silva will have it, and I concur, is an aesthetic one, we need time to explore beauty, we need time to love, we need time for art and music and dance, in other words, time enough for becoming aesthetically pleasing beings.

    I have no doubt that the drama of our sense thought reflections is about to turn into an explosion of senses, a revealing of almost magical proportions, turning us into enthused Gods indeed.
    The basic code of life having been unlocked we are now pressing hard into a future in which our genetic heritage and evolution has become an active choreography, a new mastery of life.
    The aesthetic singularity is to my eyes an underappreciated aspect of the technological singularity that deserves its own posthuman studies, for whist the biotechnological revolution profoundly alters our immediate and future lives, the aesthetic revolution will redefine and update the reason why.
    In fact our deep appreciation for that which we are as species appears to metamorphose our thirst for life, for beauty, for freedom, with these we will change not only ourselves but the world in which we live.

    Yes some of these ideas are way ahead of the curve; yes some of the possible implications are at the forefront of human ingenuity and yes our futures are as yet unknown but of course nothing happens unless first we dream.







    Additional links, interviews and coverage of the “Turning into Gods “ trailer:

    At Artinfo
    NANOMODERNITY Revisited – JASON SILVA on Art & Design in Science

    At motherboard
    We Are All Imagineers: a Manifesto for the Future

    At singularity blog
    Jason Silva on Singularity Podcast: Let Your Ideas Be Noble, Poetic and Beautiful

    And at singularity hub:
    ‘Turning Into Gods’ – Jason Silva’s Documentary on the Singularity (Trailer)


    notes:
    second image in text: Tib by Karena Karras

    Sat, Oct 16, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: Jason Silva, Immortality, Turning into gods, Aesthetics,
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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