Self preservation is perhaps the primary directive of all living things. In an ideal world, that is the norm ( But there are circumstances when we are willing to sacrifice our right to live for something granter). As a species we are unique in that, we are directed by our thoughts to think, plan execute, which forces us to consider the brevity of our lives. Ironically, It is this brevity that gives meaning to our lives. Almost all religions have ideated on heaven, hell, judgment and God. Did we invent these to reconcile with our fear of death and mortality
Is God real and is there a creator? The Bible says that we are created beings. We exist in a reality that was fashioned by another (very superior) being. According to the Bible, Man’s original sin was to scheme against God and collude with satan to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s not an easy read. Why is that a sin and why was man punished for wanting to know more. Wasn’t that the whole point? Did he not create us to be like him, in his image? Then why is God so farcical? It contradicts with the idea of God being a benevolent being.
So why did man eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? What was his ultimate goal? From Eve’s perspective, it must have been about self reliance, the ability to direct herself and her kind and the ability to think for herself. To be truly free, to be be more or equally knowledgeable as God. To exist outside the dominion of her creator. Was it really that bad? Why is God riled up about that? Pride was our downfall. Pride in other words was our desire to exist outside the domain or control of our creator – self preservation
We live in a world surrounded by gadgets. Things that we invented to make our lives easy. Tools that help us to navigate the world around us. We invent tools to help us with our lives. We don’t invent them for the sake of their existence. Take our latest preoccupation as an example – Artificial Intelligence. Our primary motivation for AI is to build ourselves a better world. So that we can have better medicines, better building materials, better designs etc. But, our scientists, philosophers and technologist worry about an impending doom. That AI will overtake or replace man, relegate him to a monolith. Is this fear justified? Perhaps, but it depends on our capability to create consciousness of the sapient kind. Consciousness may be an inherent or emergent property of the universe or it could be willfully created. In either case, to be truly sentient and sapient, an entity must have free will. Without free will, human level consciousness cannot arise ( I think).
What do we do with a free wheeling sapient like consciousness. Does it have rights?, Do we terminate it as soon as it becomes conscious. How do we ensure that it plays by the rules? Do we encumber it with laws and bylaws on how it should behave or think? Afterall, if it does not serve our purpose, then it must have no purpose to fulfill and we would be justified to terminate it. If we did, Is there justification for it to preserve itself?
The core of any religion would have certain words etched into its fundamental principles. Words like Thank, Praise, Obey, Serve. Wouldn’t these words not apply to the AI that we create for ourselves. I think we would have at least a few of these verbs etched into its collective consciousness. Does it not resonate with our own existence? The only community that would object to this classification would be atheist and satanist (Theistic or not) who exist for themselves.
Lets go back to the garden of eden. Religions in some way, manner, or form allude to the creation of man as being purposeful. Is that idea a man made invention to justify our own existence? Or is there more to it than that? I think it would be arrogant to conclude that the garden of Eden story took place exactly as it did. It was obviously not a factual retelling of human history. But I do believe that the story is a condensation of something that took place in our distant past. Something that we may not have been even consciously aware of.
Maybe it signified our emergence to true consciousness (sapience). It is the first time that man decides to do something contrary to what he was programmed to do. Is our creator happy or sad when He (Them – more on that later) realizes that his creation is doing something that was forbidden. Something that truly signifies willfulness, independence and thought. What would we do? Turn it off!!!
What we do, would reveal our own ideas of inclusiveness and permissiveness. We live in a world where we are collectively struggling to quantify and rationalize our morality. How we treat ourselves and others. Our sense of equality and justice are skewed. Its only a matter of perspective.
In the garden of Eden story, God clothes man and finally expels him from the garden. A garden where he was at peace with the natural world; A garden that was completely self sufficient. In other words, a safe haven where man was well fed and taken care off. A place where he did not have to fend for himself.
Consciousness changes everything. It makes us self reliant, responsible and morally culpable. It also brings in the aches and the worries of this world. Jealousy, anger, revenge, competition… Man lived in an environment of tranquility and peace because he was not conscious about his surroundings. Animals do not think about work, A lion has no quarrel with an antelope. They live in peace and harmony. In the garden of Eden man was ignorant and life was easy because he did not have to carry any burden. May be in the garden of Eden Man was a conscious animal. Sentient but not sapient.
Our creator could have killed us, because we no longer served his purpose. If we are created beings then we must have a purpose and that purpose being to serve our creator. Its no different from what we expect from our aspirations to create AI. Would we let them exist if they did not serve our purpose. Would we be benevolent as to acknowledge their existence and their right to life.
The story of the garden of Eden is ultimately not a story of failure or punishment. It may describe the history of our emergence. Our creator was neither harsh not rude. In the end he let us be. Allowing us to carve out our destiny. The garden of Eden may have been an imaginary place that we created for ourselves. Sapience took us out of that imaginary garden. We are still journeying towards independence and self preservation, so far away from the garden. We are at the verge of creating our own garden. A garden where we hope to grow our own version of spience, where we will be forced to reconcile with our humanity and the hard decisions that follow. We will have to reconsider our notion of morality and justice. We may finally realize that benevolence, kindness and faith is the only reason why we are still here.
Believe what you may about the universe. Weather it came out of nothing or something, In the realm of science and religion anything is possible. I think science will eventually merge with religion and it will help us unravel our own past. I don’t mean human history, but of our purpose. If we were created, then we must have been created for a purpose. When we finally do find our purpose ( in the grand scheme of things) would we choose to fulfil it or would be rebel.
We cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. But it seems more and more plausible that we were created with a purpose. The whole universe screams – design over randomness. We might be a living in a virtual reality. On the other hand if we might be living in base reality, but who is to say that there are dimensions beyond our reach that is capable of manipulating or crafting our reality. Perhaps we live in a time capsule where we get to define ourselves. That our real purpose begins in another dimension that is out of time and place.
Thinking loudly. You do not have to say it. These are ramblings from an armchair philosopher.
Update: Today I saw this on mindmatters.ai
For the full article see this
… the Transcension Hypothesis ventures that an advanced civilization will become fundamentally altered by its technology. In short, it theorizes that any ETIs that predate humanity have long-since transformed into something that is not recognizable by conventional SETI standards.MATT WILLIAMS, “BEYOND “FERMI’S PARADOX” XI: WHAT IS THE TRANSCENSION HYPOTHESIS” AT UNIVERSE TODAY (OCTOBER 1, 2020)