Giulio Prisco’s incoming book examines Sex and the Art of Cosmic Governance (Part 1)
Our dear friend, Giulio Prisco, is writing a book entitled, tentatively, Tales of The Turing Church, and sent us this draft chapter, “Sex and the Art of Cosmic Governance,” that includes recollections of his many interactions with VenusPlusX Co-founder Dan Massey. (This post continues in Part 2 and Part 3.)
Giulio is a physicist and computer scientist, and former senior manager in the European space administration. Giulio works as a consultant and contributes to several science and technology magazines. In 2002-2008 he served on the Board of Directors of Humanity Plus, of which he was Executive Director, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Italian Transhumanist Association. He is often in Hungary, Italy and Spain. You can find more about Giulio at Turing Church and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET).
Dan Massey, a Renaissance man interested in everything under the stars, a visionary thinker, a relentless social activist, a scientist, a teacher, and a friend, passed away on January 28, 2012. He was persuaded that death is not the end, and expected to go on an eternal, infinite journey after death. I hope the eternal cosmic winds will be fair and wonderful to Dan, and I hope to see him again out there.
I first met Dan and his life partner Alison Gardner at Transvision, an itinerant transhumanist conference that I organized in Milan in October 2010. We became good friends and met often after the conference, both online and face to face.
I guess Dan’s talk at the conference shocked many people, used to the often aseptic tone of transhumanist talks. Here was a white-haired hippie, with a New Age messianic look, a benevolent guru of times gone by and times yet to come, proposing a new spirituality founded on transhumanist science and unbounded love including, of all things, sexual love! Quite a shock for “conventional” transhumanists from the straight and narrow path of science and engineering! Dan was an engineer himself, an MIT and Harvard graduate with a distinguished scientific career, but he didn’t walk straight and narrow paths. He and Alison founded an activist organization to create a New Age of liberty, freedom, justice, and equality for all people, centered on the intrinsic value of sex and gender expression, of personal erotic freedom, to replace millennia of unreasoned ignorance, fear, and hatred with the true joy of Love.
Here is the summary of Dan’s talk at Transvision 2010. Thanks to wonderful communication age that his work helped to come into being, the full talk is available online.
“There necessarily exists a divinely determined order throughout the universe. This order pervades and defines three levels of experiential existence – the spiritual, the mental/emotional, and the physical/sensory. The failure of humans and human associations to recognize the love of god pervasive in the sensory level of experience is the principal obstacle to individual and collective human progress, which is essential to the realization of our diverse ambitions for increasing human happiness.
This situation can be corrected by inspiring and educating all humanity to appreciate sex and gender freedom and equality as sacred gifts of god and by training individuals to appreciate the joy of their own freedom of sex and gender, enabling them to inspire, educate, and train others. The power of divine love, expressed through the physical and sensory, is sufficient to seduce humanity into a new way of living, loving, and being that will open wide the doors to our true planetary future.
We are now beginning public discussion of how life is lived in this new age, through all levels and in all areas of inspiration, education, and training. From these discussions a spiritual vision, a social agenda, and a technological program will be established to fashion a transhuman future on which we can begin work today to bring truth, beauty, goodness, and love to our worldwide life experience, building towards the full future fruition of a broad human commitment to universal freedom, justice, equality, and liberty.
The specific issue to be briefly examined is the necessary and sufficient requirements for an artificial object, one created by human vision, thought, and deed, to support the hosting of a human identity equivalent to, but apart from a human body. Even if everyone agrees that the new me is just like the old me, how do I know that I will continue to experience a continuous personal sense of consciousness as the new me?
The answer is that, as a biological human, I know that ‘I am’ by virtue of knowing that I have a personal relationship to god, though I may not consciously admit that I know this. Our bodies and brains evolved to enable this connection, which is what makes us a potentially permanent part of the universe. We can know god and know that god also knows us. While we have rational evidence of human spiritual immortality extending beyond physical life, the creation of physical immortality by artificial means requires an artifice that can, in effect, talk to god. Our brains and bodies are finite and can be fully modeled as finite-state systems; therefore, the creation of such an artifice could be possible. That does not mean it will be easy. This is something we will eventually achieve if we work on it long and hard enough, but when it comes it will surely be the crowning final achievement of human artifice. Our universe will hail this accomplishment, so great will it be, for any people that can build a machine able to know god will have finally taken up the reins of creation itself.”
Part 2 continues with a follow-up letter after this conference, and others, and Part 3 covers Dan’s related presentation to the Mormon Transhumanist Association.