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Joseph Kaufman
Los Angeles, US
Immortal since Jan 23, 2007
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  • Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    Many people have lived long enough on this planet to notice a distinct change in the nature of human consciousness since they were born and now. What is the change, how has this taken place, and what might we speculate about the implications in consciousness change for the future?

    The distance in time between the day a typical Baby Boomer was born and now is more or less equivalent to the distance between the day the Boomer was born and Nikola Tesla’s invention of the AC motor and transformer. Also the introduction of the automobile run by internal combustion, the zipper, the roller coaster and rubber soles for shoes.

    So much can change within even a partial span of a human life.

    How then has consciousness changed? A certain area of the brain that is non-linear is in general use now that wasn’t in the 1943 to 1964 era when the Boomers were born.

    Certainly brains worked in a non-linear way before, but now the “out of space, out of time” quality of non-linearity has assumed a central role it never had before.

    The direct connection between technology and this change in consciousness is in the now-common household object, the personal computer. Young adults now in their early twenties have grown up with the computer always in their lives; for the generations before them it was a matter of mental adjustment to something really new. Most haven’t done so badly, really.

    The computer and its child, the Internet have an essential non-linear nature whereby neither distance nor time have quite the sway and hold over our psyches they did before.

    This has been a gradual process. The first invention to collapse space so that one could communicate beyond what signals could be seen by sight (reported to be 20 miles at most, in the form of signals by mirror, semaphore flag, or smoke) was the telegraph. In 1844 Samuel Morse sent the message “What hath God wrought?” from Washington to Baltimore. In 1866 a transatlantic telegraph cable was laid. All this allowed a revolutionary collapsing of space, in which communication could take place virtually simultaneously over great distances.
    Image: The machine that collapsed space.

    The telephone, radio and television were extensions of this revolutionary breakthrough, which, we can surmise, altered in some essential way the consciousness of people living in those times.

    However all this required that someone be there to hear it as the signal went by, so the timeless quality was yet lacking. That has been answered by the database-nature of the Internet, as well as digital recording and playback devices like DVDs and DVRs, which allow near immediate playback of any piece of information or entertainment one requires. This is a major alteration in the hold time has over us – time is much more “at it’s own pace” now than before.

    This follows the change from Newtonian physics to Einsteinian, from a clockwork universe to a relative one. It took us a while to catch up to Einstein, but that catch-up is now firmly in place in the psyches and consciousness of humans.

    Which suggests that the next major advance in science (likely an overturning of something elemental in our current notions) will lead to yet another alteration, or even a mutation of our human consciousness in a manner we cannot predict. However it is just about certain that the brain is prewired for this “new feature” to be turned on when the moment arises.

    (Difference Engine photograph by Andrew Dunn)
    Fri, Jan 26, 2007  Permanent link

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