Becoming and Being an Avatar—Uploading Salvation

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También en español And so we come, at last, to the true meaning of salvation. It is common to think of this word as meaning escape from mortality, resurrection into an afterlife. Yet this also contains the idea of a personal change to observe a higher set of ideals, so that one overcomes bad attitudes and behavior towards others. I think the most basic concept of salvation is, however, salvation from uncertainty—the avatar’s choice. If the avatar makes the single choice to engage the resident’s will, or the output of a higher level cognitive process embodied in AI, then ey knows whatever mess ey gets into subsequently will be something the higher level resident’s mind understands, no matter how it looks to the avatar. If the avatar can’t accept this, then ey will expend his energies in a futile attempt to continue to exist without taking advantage of the higher mind functions of eir resident.

Salvation is freedom from fear, and from the uncertainty of acting correctly (doing good). Salvation is provided by commitment of the will to act in the spirit of truth. And so we strive to live the truth, not just to tell the truth. And by so doing our actions will produce goodness for the benefit of our fellows and make beautiful the harmony of kindred spirits. If our human lives are indeed similar to the consciousnesses we can imagine for an advanced SL avatar, we may face a common experience of existence and mortality.

In discussing the experience of an avatar finding identity escape from SL to RL, we ignored the problem of providing the higher cognitive processes that will support integration of avatar behavior between SL and RL. Were the avatar already controlled from RL, eir identification with eir resident (from whom eir lower cognitive functions were uploaded) would be complete as long as the linkage of will overcontrol is maintained. Avatars without this capability will have to be adopted by some RL service, but we have not identified who or what would do this.

Imagine then a highly advanced self-acting avatar, through learning, recombination of memes, and experimentation with its higher mind functions, at last being able to reach beyond the confines of its original design requirements, learning to perform alone at a new and higher level of cognition. This idea is certainly no more challenging than believing that computers will become so powerful someday they will be able to take over policy functions, rather than simply automating a process. Such an avatar would have proven its value to the community. By progressively qualifying to operate effectively at higher cognitive levels, the avatar would demonstrate its ability, given sufficient computational resources, to function in RL if an RL representation or interface could be provided.

We can imagine providing some sort of physical body in RL for the physical control by the SL mind of the evolved avatar. In effect, the self-evolved SL avatar takes control of a physical “avatar” in RL and, through integrated action of will, becomes a fully functioning physical presence in RL. In effect, an RL personality could be partially embodied in an SL avatar, and a sufficiently evolved SL being could be partially embodied in an RL artificial body. The fact that this transfer can occur in either direction gives hope to the idea that someday a way will be found to achieve full personality within the avatar. On the other hand, it is at least equally possible that the mind of the avatar cannot achieve full personhood without direct engagement in RL.

Why is salvation freedom from error? Because in that way a subordinate consciousness is able to function effectively in its own environment, while self-evolving to be able to embrace higher cognitive functions, yielding still more effective functioning. Such a simulated mind, as in a thinking SL avatar, has the implicit ability to shift its seat of conscious identity from SL to RL or to synchronize with a free RL identity. In either case, the conscious being is no longer dependent on the SL computational substrate to support its continued existence, having moved into RL and begun utilization of RL energy processes. Would the avatar mind think it had been immortalized by the transition, even as we assume humans making a mind transition to an artificial substrate would think themselves immortalized? Perhaps the grass is always greener on the other side.

In either case, imagine what it would be like if the reach for higher consciousness the SL avatars make were similarly performed by human minds operating in RL. The human mind seeks the same kind of salvation as the SL avatar—namely, the certainty of right action. And the human finds this salvation by exploring higher levels of cognition of which ey are initially unaware. As these levels are explored, they become familiar to the person and are incorporated into rational patterns of behavior. And this process leads the individual to progressively improve eir actions in increased harmony with universal ideals until eir seat of consciousness comes to occupy a level of reality that transcends the limitations of a physical brain.

I certainly cannot prove that this higher level of Transcendent Life (Trans Live) exists beyond RL as RL exists beyond SL. If it exists, then there is surely a path of transition from RL to Trans ifeL that is similar to the SL to RL transition, and our destiny is to transcend RL and occupy this new level by following the path of living truth. On the other hand, we also know that, should there be no Trans Life to receive our developed personalities, our lives will not have been in vain, for we will have chosen as well as we could, lived as well as the world provided, and passed on our ideals for the help and uplift of those who come after us. If our destiny is only to be pastfathers, then we shall have been being the best pastfathers we could be. And if a way exists to extend our life experience, whether in Trans Life, RL, or SL, we will grasp it with our customary enthusiasm.

 

Dan Massey

Dan Massey

The voice of Dan Massey (1942-2013) carries forth with the publication later this year (2014) of a book completed in January 2013 with his life-long partner, Alison Gardner, and co-founder with him of Columbia, the driving vision that finds expression through VenusPlusX. The working title of the book is The Unseen Journey, unlocking the direct connection between our erotic senses and the cosmos. A companion Appendix, ("The Course in Immortality") is available on this site and in Spanish, and excerpts from the new book will be released each week to spark a conversation among VenusPlusX visitors that will strengthen the existing manuscript. Dan often jokes, "It's not polite to ask which one is Venus and which one is the PlusX," to illustrate his close collaboration with Alison, who is carrying on their work. For more...
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