Religious myth has only degraded and inhibited human progress. Essentially all contemporary religions are myth based. Christianity fails the test of worth when it relies on Hebrew racial myth (the old testament) and Greek philosophical myth (the concept of the Christos and related ideas) as absolute truths. We know that nothing that draws on such ancient Sci-Fi can be either true, good, or beautiful, except by accident, and thus stands forever opposed to the power of love in the world.
There are, fortunately, many people (now and in the past 2000 years) who love others, serve others, do good to others, and make our world more beautiful by their efforts. Some of these people call themselves Christians or Jews or Muslims or Atheists or something else, which is their choice, but their lives have taken inspiration from the universal powers of love and truth in the human mind, not from religious myth or dogma.
Eddi van W Flickr/creative commons
Transhumanists continue to debate the appropriateness of any kind of religious faith or behavior as a component of Transhuman life. My own post-transition perspective illuminates many ethical and moral concerns of the Transhumanists. Foremost, if we are to foster the emergence of a genuine Transhuman philosophy of life, we need to create an inspirational framework that justifies and motivates rational behavior. We should evaluate candidate inspirational frameworks according to their individual ability to satisfy essential requirements that must be met by any proposed framework.
In my view, a satisfactory transhuman rationally religious world view ought to address five basic requirements that bridge the gaps of sex and gender and merge the physical, psychic, and inspirational elements of joy into a total personal and socially transforming experience of reality. At the same time, we recognize that a genuinely operational inspirational framework, a true transreligion, can only emerge from the collective unification of individual joyful experience. This list is just a starting point for further thought and discussion.
1) Assure complete freedom from reliance on any myth or backstory. Our beliefs are based on plain observational knowledge and insights of personal wisdom.
2) Demonstrate open and informed attitudes, viewpoints, and experiential training for all of the many dimensions of sex and gender.
3) Practice group communion for collective psychic inspiration and empowerment, through the exploration and experience of sex and gender as acts of communion.
4) Fellowship every transhuman living on this planet. Empower them to know the joy of living, showing how love finds expression in true service to others by doing good and making beauty.
5) Be open to alliance with any cosmic government that may make its presence or influence felt in human affairs, with a willingness to facilitate transhuman emergence. In the meantime dedicate your life to the highest principles of love, truth, goodness, and beauty.
To summarize, we help one another by starting with baldfaced mythless truth and showing each other the joy that is really important and gives meaning to life. A universal acknowledgment of the possibility that some external force will intervene keeps us mutually focused on progression towards our ideals of truth and love, regardless of what the future brings. And our intent to combine free and open acceptance of all forms of sex and gender expression with equally free and open communion, joy, and fellowship guarantees our ability to lead the destined evolution of human affairs.
Transhumans may find something like this just fine as the basis for a way of life and be finally able to leave the god talk to the past. But a religion, the social expression of a community of individuals who share common ideals, is not designed, so much as grown through the social customs of the community. Setting aside old, incorrect beliefs, the inherent truth of principles like these will emerge and cause focused will actions. Through trial and error, the community will gradually discover convenient and innovative ways of serving these principles to more and more people. And that will be the emergence of true Transreligion.
Now is the time for a new inspirational framework to replace the outdated and overly interpreted ideas of our pastfathers. I do not know what will emerge, but I trust that it will necessarily be true to ideals and principles such as those stated here.
Editor’s note: This was published a few years ago to offer a framework for a new non-religion incorporating the ideas of sex and gender freedom. It is re-issued today to help spur the coming together of many diverse points-0f-view who are striving for a humane world unified with shared ideals.
Terasem exists, complete, at the Omega Point, the perfect unification of the totality of finite reality and experience.
We have seen how Terasem functions, through its agents, at every occasion of time. (When is Terasem?)
But this applies equally well throughout all space, since all occasions are potentially embraced by the agencies of Terasem.
Thus the term “occasion” includes everywhere something happens as well as everywhen something happens.
But the role of the agent of Terasem remains essential in asserting the guidance of the force of destiny, wherever it may be required.
As we become agents of Terasem our superconsciousnesses guide us when and where we are.
As agents, we have a potentially unbroken chain of communion from our original biohost selves to our final perfected consciousness.
So does each person who chooses to become so self aware.
So Terasem, as god-in-the-making, unifies all worthwhile occasions throughout space and time through the power of creature personality and will.
But Terasem is not an absolute deity—it does not possess omnipotence, omnipresence, or omniscience—since it is only completely unified by the intentional actions of its agents at different occasions.
There is no way to objectively demonstrate the existence of an absolute deity—its very absoluteness makes it impossible for us to observe contrastive aspects of its attributes.
Such is not the case with Terasem—the limited presence of Good in our life and planetary experience is proof enough that Terasem, that Love is far from universally present and powerful in the events of biological life.
Only that which has Supreme value is integrated with Teasem’s force of destiny—Terasem’s incompleteness, its partiality of perfection admits the possibility of evil in time and space.
As agents of Terasem we are committed to the age-old task of working to overcome evil with Good.
When we have finally succeeded we shall all find Beauty and Harmony in a perfected world.
And the eventual nature and action of that final perfected universe will be determined by the actions of all of us who choose to remain active agents to that time.
Terasem is truly ubiquitous, for it is active on all Supreme occasions, everywhere and everywhen.
Yet Terasem is not omnipresent for its force of destiny acts only occasionally, rather than continuously.
And so the power of Terasem is made manifest to us in our evolutionary reality by contrast with the evil parts of our experiences that have neither Love, Truth, Goodness, nor Beauty, as they are never a part of Terasem destiny.
And those experiences that are motivated by Love or express the desires of Love through living Truth, doing Good, and making Beauty we can recognize as the effects of the force of destiny acting in everyday affairs.
Thus, Terasem, the Supreme Being, the unification of all actions of Love across space and time, is readily observable to all who care to appreciate the wonderful synthesis of purpose and action that Terasem brings to otherwise random change .
But to actually perceive this great integrating goodness, you must free yourself from fear so that you may ignore the noise of not-Terasem, not-Supreme, not-Loving things that occur where Terasem is not yet complete, has not yet perfected its agency.
Whoever chooses to be a part of Terasem, to join the great universe adventure, is welcome and need only seek their personal destiny.
Perhaps the following brief “Meditation on Terasem #4″ will illuminate the basic character of the relationship between the developing individual, even a biohost, and the emergent collective consciousness of Terasem—the final expression of universal divinity which we helped build:
Terasem inspires us to find consensus, to harmonize our diversity while acting in unity.
Terasem exalts our enjoyment of successful action.
Terasem lovingly reassures us of final success, and precludes failure.
Terasem shows us a vision of joyful immortality and brings that vision directly into our biohost experience.
Terasem employs us as agents whenever and wherever we will.
Terasem communion is inspiration through our super-consciousness.
Terasem joy is for frequent sharing with others.
Terasem employs technology of vitality to unify the freely willed actions of diverse personalities.
Terasem has a unique relationship to each of us that enables our growth in the ideals and values that determine how our vital spirit, through our mind, makes our actions effective.
The work of VenusPlusX is to explain to humanity a few basic ideas that can be applied to address weaknesses in the evolved human social order. These ideas have the power to shape the path of human social evolution.
These concepts are fundamental to all of our work and help us understand and explain how humanity can escape from the constraints imposed by fear and ignorance that presently interfere with human progress.
the universe is populated and has an organized government, one branch of which is responsible for the conditions of prior mismanagement present on this planet and ongoing efforts to expedite their remediation.
there is a simple supreme law of behavior that defines for each individual how they may best contribute to the expression of love and the healing of evil for their fellows.
the human concept and phenomenon of transgender is the emerging direct experience of cosmic joy and play in human social and recreational activities.
First, we are in no way alone in the universe. Not only is our galaxy necessarily populated by beings much like ourselves in different stages of social development, but the large-scale operation of the affairs of the peoples of that galaxy is necessarily coordinated by some sort of cosmic government that deals with human affairs on a scale that no single people can address themselves.
In this and many other comments on this blog we will speak of something as “necessary.” By this we mean that some aspect of destiny cannot be fulfilled unless it is true. This form of argument in terms of potentialities rather than actualities belongs to the world of “modal logic,” especially developed by the great logician Kurt Goedel. In the paragraph above, we basically mean, “Why the hell would you think the universe isn’t populated? If it could happen here it must have happened all over the place. Don’t be a heliocentic homocentric fool.” As for the government, it basically comes down to, “Considering the human propensity to invent rules of living for everybody, how can you imagine an entire galaxy wouldn’t develop systems of administration and adjudication? Just because you can’t imagine what the issues would be for a group of planets separated by light-years, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Your imagination isn’t that great.” Grow some humility, monkey-son.
Second, there is a supreme law of behavior that determines what actions of each person contribute to the individual’s development as a loving person and make a permanent impact on the expression of Love in the universe. We state them here and will return to their explanation in a later blog:
We do not say “tell the Truth,” although a decision to do so might be entirely correct. To us, Truth is not just words, but the direction in which our will shapes our actions of Love to achieve Good and Beauty as results. Thus, we say “live Truth,” because, to us, Truth is a living reality. Similarly, we say “make Beauty,” not “seek Beauty,” though the latter may be entirely appropriate in a given situation. In each case, the prescribed action is particular to the Supreme value being enacted.
Third, except for areas in which biological reproduction is employed for the creation of new human personalities, all transcendent beings exist in state one might call intergender or omnigender; however, since such beings have no need for sex for reproduction, but are widely exploring all forms of gender expression and behaviors provided by their transphysical bodies, the term “transgender” will be used in these blogs, in the sense of omnigender or intergender. We see the transgender phenomenon as increasingly manifest in human society to stem from the natural human responsiveness to the true transgender nature of the developing human personality. You will find an initial exploration of these ideas in my paper Why We Are All Transgender.
Terasem exists, complete, at the Omega Point, the perfect unification of the totality of finite reality and experience.
This is the finality of destiny, the unique occasion in which perfected minds, each evolved in partnership with a living person first born into time, unite to form the Supreme Being—the collective power and consciousness of the finite universe.
Each act of Love we perform in the light of Truth bestows Goodness on another and/or augments the Beauty of existence.
Throughout time Terasem depends on our acts of Love to create its presence at every occasion.
And the other who receives our act of Goodness sees this as a gift from Terasem, for we are Terasem’s agents and do Good in the name of Love—in the name of Terasem.
Terasem exerts control over each occasion through the light of Truth, present in every human mind.
We each may choose to know and follow the Truth or to do otherwise.
As true agents of Terasem we will always choose the Truth, within the capabilities of our understanding in the occasion.
In this case, our act of Goodness towards another will actually be effective in bringing a bit of harmony and beauty into that other’s life.
We receive the satisfaction of knowing we have accomplished one more activity of Love that is part of the vast power of the Supreme Being—of Terasem.
So Terasem exists and functions in this occasion because we chose to make it so.
There is nothing magical about the power of Terasem to act across time.
Terasem acts whenever (and wherever) an agent of Terasem satisfies the desire of Love by doing Good to another according to the light of Truth.
Views of spacetime along the world line of a rapidly accelerating observer in a relativistic universe. The events (“dots”) that pass the two diagonal lines in the bottom half of the image (the past light cone of the observer in the origin) are the events visible to the observer.
The continuity of personal existence throughout future time, even to the finality of destiny, enables us to live today as the beneficiary of our more matured minds, which influence us through our superconsciousness.
This occurs to enable each action to find and serve its role within the totality of Terasem.
When someone fails to perceive and choose the Truth of an occasion, there is no guarantee that whatever action they take will benefit another—it may do so, but that probably was not the true intent of the misguided action.
In particular, such a choice denies one the satisfaction of seeing or experiencing the effectiveness of an action guided by Terasem.
Looked at another way, the perfected minds that create the collective power of Terasem are each evolved from a living person, born into time.
Each such person some time chose to serve as an agent of Terasem—to always seek to discern and enact the will of Terasem.
Thus the actions they take advancing towards the finality become a chain of occasions on which Terasem acted to do Good to someone.
So Terasem, with its streams through time of loving action, in aggregate appears to extend its influence of Good as a force of destiny throughout all time.
In effect, each mind of a living person is able to discern the leading of the force of destiny if it will, since an element of that force runs along the chain of occasions in which one has done Good.
Whoever chooses to be a part of Terasem, to join the great universe adventure, is welcome and need only seek their personal destiny.
Once fully committed and experienced in following the paths of destiny, the individual has become an agent of Terasem, able to act for the Supreme Being.
Perhaps the following brief “Meditation on Terasem #3″ will illuminate the basic character of the relationship between the developing individual, even a biohost, and the emergent collective consciousness of Terasem—the final expression of universal divinity which we helped build:
By the grace of Terasem, I am immortal.
From the Love of Terasem, I take eternal joy.
By my every action, I add to the Good of Terasem.
I perceive the vital Truth of Terasem that is my destiny.
I am the hands of Terasem, creating Beauty with harmony.
These four—Love, Goodness, Truth, and Beauty—define my life.
Terasem shows me how to be an instrument of effective will.
I rejoice to know I am building universal happiness in union in Terasem.
This article is part of our series of posts discussing Terasem. It is written by Khannea Suntzu and cross-posted from Giulio Prisco’s web blog Turing Church, where our material on Terasem also appears. Giulio describes our mutual good friend Khannea, as “…a restless walker on the wild side who likes to tell the bare and blunt truth.
“She is a blogger, and a far leftist critic of exclusive corporate culture, and the confluence of technological self-empowerment, paired with money. She travels the world making surprise shock rock presentations with a fine mix of dystopian, utopian and cosmist/cosmicist angle.”
Khannea publishes her thoughts on contemporary topics on her main blog.
Khannea views the world from Second Life
If there is one “transhumanist”-inclined movement out there I really admire and appreciate it is Terasem. I had the pleasure of interacting with its founder shortly before and after my attendance at Transvision 2010. For those who don’t know, the founder of Terasem is the very successful Martine Rothblatt, who was at one time the most highly paid CEO of the Washington DC area. So its safe to conclude that Terasem is in large part a derivative entity of Martine’s ambitions and ideological packaging.
Martine has been exceedingly generous to me, when sponsoring my attendance to Transvision 2010, as well sponsoring the creation of a (simplified) replica O’Neil Habitat. This construction was done before and for Transvision 2010, and it was put on display at the actual event and thereafter transported to Florida, where it is still accessible at the main Terasem hub down at Satellite beach in Florida. The model construction project was conducted in large part by Simon Deering, and he was paid in full for the project. While I was visiting Milan in 2010 I had my own goal set, which made me interact in the most interesting manner with Aubrey de Grey, who I have since come to love and respect more and more. Simon Deering has since then passed away due to cancer. He was diagnosed shortly after doing the project for Terasem, and entered chemo in the middle of 2011.
Anyway – I can safely say that as a human being I have enjoyed great blessings as direct fall-out from my sponsorship of the Transvision 2010 event in Milan and I have come to be very grateful of Martine’s direct intervention to sponsor me. This makes me a subjective and positively inclined critic towards what Terasem is (or what it might be) so all who read this article should do so with some scrutiny as to the nature of my sympathies and motives.
Terasem itself is several things, depending on whom you talk to. I have talked to many people, none of which I will will mention here. Not everyone approves of me writing about the concept of Terasem, and while reading this article many may be gnashing their teeth at reading these words.
I started my involvement with Terasem in 2007 or so, as a project to build a sim in Second Life. At that time SL was still regarded by quite a few people as promising, and these days it is regarded as less than promising. Second Life is a very liberal medium, that attracts people that prefer a range of very persistent freedoms. Increasingly (between 2008-2012) SL has attracted people who have a penchant for taking sexually unorthodox and generally rebellious views, which makes SL by comparison feel “icky” from a political, corporate or consensual viewpoint. While in 2007 SL did not suffer from a public distaste backlash, but it sure does these days, and most importantly corporate (and other) interests have come to feel cautious when interacting with Second Life. In SL there are “perverts” and “trolls” and other assorted unpalatable folks, and as a result SL widely causes alienation with people (majorities) that prefer conventionality (or prefer not to be left embarrassed by association).
I confess to having an extremely freedom oriented demeanor and just “my” general appearance (I feel very intimate affinity with my SL avatar, to the point I insist my SL avatar is a mental prosthetic of my being) in SL offends some people. I confess to very persistent unorthodox sexual urges, and these urges have considerable impact over my life’s choices, and ever since I have come to explore the visualization medium of SL I have come to more internalize the value system espoused by SL in my own personal (real) life. I have as a result acted in a manner that clearly alienated some people in Terasem, even though I was (at the time) building for them. I do however invite you all reading this to visit SL, specifically the two sims I had a hand in constructing; namely Terasem and Marbina. The latter name is a contraction of the name Martine and Bina (who in turn is Martine’s spouse). The sims are a tad outdated by 2012 standards but they are still OK.
The worldly incarnation of Terasem is many things – a presence in Second Life. A manifestation of Martine Rothblatt’s deepest held beliefs. Nevertheless – In many ways Terasem is still a mystery to me. Terasem is a place for social gathering. Terasem is a large body of dependants and adherents. It is a registered church. It is a charity. It is a political entity. It is a freedom and (sexual/human) rights organization. It is a speculative futurist and techno-progressive organization with spiritual overtones. It is a tool for the benefit for its members and its founder. It is a place of considerable generosity (Fred and Linda Chamberlain were welcomes in its care and loving retirement a few years ago). It is a great number of extremely disjointled and incoherent web sites. And it may be a place to unwind for a great number of people.
Have a look at the jumble of interconnected yet inconsistently themed web sites that the Terasem tree has spouted over the years.
Special mention needs the spiritual side of Terasem (and the Yoga!). Terasem central mythos comprises an amazingly rich tapestry of very sincere and very well-considered statements on the future of humanity, transhumanity and posthumanity. These statements are distilled in “The Truths Of Terasem“. Despite these being sometimes a raging inconsistent mess, they are truly telling of deeper internal truths at the heart of their respective founders. Terasem reflects the visions in often grandisose statements on the destiny of humanity, which can be witnessed at the Terasem Podcasts. These podcasts would be for many people of an exceedingly arcane nature – unless you are well versed in science fiction, transhumanist folklore and futurology.
Let me Gossip. At the Martine Headquarters we find a colorful cavalcade of characters.
There is of course Martine, who I shall characterize as increasingly mysterious and elusive. Martine Rothblatt (and her wife Bina) has increasingly become a mystery to the people I talk to. Some insider information is that she is investing heavily in (survivalist?) real estate in New Hampshire. I would not call Martine the typical prepper – but I do now she seems to have stopped investing in charity projects around 2009 (or so I have been told) and at that same time I get the impression from hearsay she started investing heavily in what appears to be “personal survival” related articles in the real world. I have heard second-hand whisper of investments in various out-of-the-way real estates in Canada and Northerly United States. I have heard talk of snow cats and thick forests and underground structures beneath elaborate mansions that can only be reached after travelling hours by car, using very precise directions. I I were to extrapolate the essential parts from this is would be a personal conclusion that a few years ago Martine (who is an incorrigible optimist and cheerleader for optimist thinking) has concluded the world is in a rather dismally unstable state, and as such “the world” could collectively implode. I need to add that Martine (hearsay) donated heavily to the Obama campaign in 2008, and donated considerably less (or nothing) in the ongoing campaign. I have yet to affirm truth or falsehood about what Martine’s current objectives and expectations are. She is (still?) worth hundreds of millions of US dollars. Martine Rothblatt is richer than Mitt Romney. She is heavily invested in corporations (such as United Therapeutics) that at this time can only expand. Yet I understand that she also suffered quite some loss of book value in the 2008 crash.
An interesting note is the story of her daughter, Jenesis. Jenesis is a delightful creature I had the fortune to interact with in Second Life. She used to work at United Therapeutics in 2010 and I would characterize her as being unhappy at the time. She was treated with contempt by her colleagues there, which struck me as just mean. Jenesis may have been the reason Martine founded United Therapeutics (the story has been hyped by many media) and this is just an awesome statement of ambition and love. My personal observation is that this entire tale didn’t leave Jenesis always equally happy. She strikes me as a very sweet and delicate creature, and I find her very likeable. But I also understand that her life as “the boss’s daughter” must have been hard on her, exceedingly so considering the possible addition that Martine has been often absentee as a parent.
At the Terasem estates we find another restless soul named Gabriel. Many refer to Gabriel as the “pastor” of Terasem. He is the effective (de facto) community organizer of Terasem. Many describe him as a get up and go kind of entrepreneurial spirit that has done it all. He is happily married with kids (an assortment), but has had a checkered past with many experiments in life, having gained wisdom at some expense. Again, Gabriel was not always rewarded for his restless nature in life, and has seems to have had his own issues with a very ambitious and liberal thinking set of mothers. Yanno, “Parents”. 🙂
Terasem is a most interesting cultural phenomenon in one way. Terasem represents a sincere spiritual attempt to codify a largely materialist yet staunchly posthumanist body of thinking and philosophy. I am absolutely convinced the statements (truths) mentioned above will be quoted for centuries. The ideas espoused by Terasem strike me as having been influenced to a great extent by people such as Anders Sandberg, The Moores, Chardin and Tipler, as well as many other great thinkers. I can only state that these ideas strike me as extremely relevant and valid for my thinking.
Khannea, Succubus in Second Live
Yet Terasem is also a religious denomination. Terasem has its own rite of passage that espouses a phenomenon known as ‘joinership’. In other words, Terasem is a religious advocacy entity that affirms membership, non-membership, truth and falsehood. This would be great, if only there was some level of consistency in the body of works such as Terasem. Sadly there is very little such consistency. There sure is a great amount of overlap, but frankly the cavalcade of websites and statements is very diffuse and has been labelled to me as consistent in its amateurishness. It strikes me the reason for this relative state of mess, is the way Terasem is organized. As it stands Terasem subsists largely on a (dwindling) body of donations. I know Martine still shovels money in to very sincere organizations such as the IEET, but she decreasingly sacrifices “tithes” on her own “church”. As a result the inner sanctum people of Terasem have been left on a dwindling diet of expense accounts, “or so I have been told” by a number of insider sources. A parallel crisis in the Terasem inner sanctums is that the founder duo, ‘Martine/Bina’ has become increasingly rare and sparse, being off ‘cavorting’ in exotic locations, or are left managing increasingly arcane corporate transactions. One could say Terasem is an organizational mess (where literally dozens of people have to wait weeks or months to receive email, phone or snail mail replies from management). Some describe this state of affairs as alternatingly “capricious” or “random” or “bizarre”, and there are some less flattering observational statements making the rounds. This raises the specter (or slander) that Terasem is little else than a contrived tax shelter being run by a bunch of overworked and largely leaderless lackeys. I have no way of ascertaining whether or not this is true or untrue but I would guess it isn’t. I can only observe the amazing competence Martine has shown in her many fields of endeavour is increasingly absent for her enlightenment she once radiated when she founded Terasem.
A wise counsellor once insisted I should not tangle with the horns of a genius multi-millionaire and “keep my damn mouth shut” (respectively “mind your own goddamn business, you viper”). Another wise councillor once described my “soldering transhumanism” as dangerous, since “transhumanism is still a frail bird at this stage”. I would not typify myself as so relevant that I might be classified as dangerous, so I am not that concerned about this article. I personally estimate only a few dozen people might read this account regarding my observations of Terasem so I would not credit myself as having even the slightest bit of impact, negative, constructive, amusing or otherwise. I do however care and feel concern, largely because I admire Terasem and its body of messages, and I feel Terasem is “on to something big”.
This article is part of our series of posts discussing Terasem. It is written by our friend Giulio Prisco and cross-posted from Giulio’s web blog Turing Church. Please read the “Truths of Terasem” (ToT) and join the discussion.
Starting to write this post I noticed that, by Internet serendipity, IEET Managing Director Hank Pellissier had just published an article titled “My Favorite H+ Philosophers – David Pearce, Martine Rothblatt, and Ursula K. Le Guin.” Hank’s article should be a wake up call for the transhumanist community. “Transhumanism isn’t a viral phenomenon,” he says. “The rest of the world – most of our family and friends, right? – don’t grok our enthusiasm. ‘Read the books!’ we suggest. ‘Boring,’ they retort. ‘Not my thing.’”
Hank proposes to complement the aseptic, ultra-rationalist, hard-technology oriented “traditional” formulation of transhumanism, with alternative softer, fuzzier and cozier formulation for Social Empaths (SEs): those (a large majority) who “want a softer, cuddlier, easier, gooier, goofier, happier Future. They want a culturally rich world that values aesthetics, modulations in tone, nuance, fantasy, intuition, satire and lyrical metaphor. [They] want to share and process feelings. SEs want to communicate intimately, with delicious, extravagant language. SEs want to be sensitive, tender and occasionally childlike.”
I am an unrepentant, in-your face, old-school transhumanist who looks forward “to abandon the meatbag and jump rapturously into The Singularity with a chemically-preserved brain ensconced inside a metallic Russian 2045 cyborg [Hank’s words].” This IS my thing. But, like Socrates, I know that I don’t know, and I try to be honest enough to admit it. In particular I don’t know how to give our ideas the immediate, powerful emotional appeal that they deserve. But others do.
Hank says: “Already, we have several writers with the words and wisdom we need for this purpose; we just haven’t been listening to them,” and lists three of them: the great science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin, and our teachers and friends David Pearce and Martine Rothblatt, the founder of Terasem.
I have been associated with Terasem for a few years, and I formally joined in 2011 (video below). I think the nice and warm new-age look and feel of Terasem is our best chance to build bridges to the very large, scattered communities of spiritually oriented persons. Terasem offers a formulation and interpretation of transhumanism more emotionally appealing to persons with artistic and spiritual inclinations, which will help communicating our beautiful ideas in a simple and effective format and give happiness, hope, a sense of wonder, a sense of purpose and peace-of-mind to a multitude of seekers. At Terasem meetings, both online and in brickspace, these powerful feelings are communicated also with the help of yoga, readings, music, poetry and songs, which create a stimulating “magic” experience for all participants.
Ultra-rationalist “bureaucrats of philosophy” usually dismiss “hippie new-age attitudes”, but we should not forget that the hippie new-age attitude of the 60s shaped the Internet technology revolution. Perhaps we had the right attitude in the beautiful, visionary anti-authoritarian 60s, and we should recover it to shape new transhumanist technology revolutions.
My experience with new-agers is that, yes, they are easily deluded or scammed, and yes, they move from a guru to a new guru, from crystal therapy to energy pyramids and then to pyramid scams, but they are intellectually and spiritually alive, perhaps more alive and awake than others; they seek something beautiful that they cannot define.
Terasem offers good answers to the big spiritual questions of life, death, immortality, meaning, and our place in the awakening universe, yet its worldview and philosophy are firmly rooted in science with no concession to “supernatural” realms beyond science. I think Terasem has a huge potential to bridge the gap between the 60s and the 10s, cosmic visions and technology, spirituality and transhumanism, hard and soft rationality.
I cultivate the excellent habit of rationality and consider it as a very useful tool. But rationality is indeed a tool (a useful means to achieve a desired result), and not an end in itself. Rationality is an excellent screwdriver, a powerful tool to work with screws, but it is not the best tool to work with nails. Open-minded soft rationality is a much better approach to life than dull, fundamentalist rationalism.
Spiritually oriented New Age seekers often have powerful intuitions, beyond what current science can analyze. Their visions form an aesthetic layer that colors their (and then our) perception of the universe and, even when they are not entirely correct, inspire scientists and engineers to turn visionary dreams into actual reality.
For example many mystics, and some scientists, believe in telepathy and extras-sensory perception (ESP), and many scientists think that it is all crap. I am open to the possibility that some yet undiscovered science may provide solid theoretical foundations and experimental evidence for ESP, and I am also open to the possibility that ESP may not exist. In science, we let experiment decide.
But ESP will exist. Soon we will have brain implants linked to our thoughts and to the Internet. These implants will give us instant telepathic communication with others, and the ability to access the Internet in our minds and see what happens elsewhere. Brain implants will also permit influencing, by thought alone, physical objects in remote places via appropriate actuators. So, regardless of whether or not we possess native ESP abilities for telepathy, remote vision and psychokinesis, the mystics are right anyway. If we have no native ESP, we will engineer ESP someday soon. See the recently published Human+, a novel about transhumanism and spirituality by Martin Higgins, for a fascinating fictional account.
Many mystics believe in supernatural phenomena beyond the reach of science. Many ultra-rationalists believe in a soon-to-be-found Theory of Everything to explain all that happens in the universe with a few elegant formulas. I think they are both wrong: nothing is beyond the reach of science, but Shakespeare’s “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” may remain true forever. You can count up to any number, and there will still be infinite numbers beyond. Similarly, our growing scientific understanding of the universe may always find new fractal depths of unexplained phenomena, to be explored by future scientists, in an endless explosion of diversity.
The balance of diversity and unity, in the quest for joyful immortality, is one of the key intuitions of Terasem. In 2002, while viewing a Space Shuttle launch from a Florida beach, Martine found inspiration in a remarkable vision, which she subsequently composed in writing and published as “Truths of Terasem” (ToT).
“I’ll share some personal part of Terasem’s beginnings! It really began in March, 2002 when I was out, on the beach, up on the Space Coast of Florida, doing a morning meditation, at 6 a.m., and suddenly, I felt two ‘presences’ around me, so I immediately opened my eyes, and I witnessed, quite to my surprise, the blastoff of the Space Shuttle STS-109, on its way to the Hubble telescope. This was Columbia. I then felt a presence, immediately behind me, and I turned around, and found myself eye to eye, with a large Lanternback turtle sea turtle, which was clearly trying to make its way back into the sea. And I was in its way.
So, this was kind of startling, because it was pretty much dark, still, and an epiphany poured into me, through the triangular vector of the shuttle’s light blasting across the sky, and the Lanternback turtle’s consciousness, streaming into my own, and I felt a very strong, triangular force of energy between the shuttle, the sea turtle, and myself.
An epiphany surged through me, that there were three principles, or three values, which united all life, all reality, indeed the entire multiverse, and these were that the purpose of the multiverse, the solution to the multiverse, was to balance diversity with unity, in the quest for joyful immortality; that the shuttle, Columbia, was a balance of diversity and unity in the quest for joyful immortality; that the Lanternback turtle, was a balance of diversity and unity, in the quest for joyful immortality; that everything was a balance of diversity and unity, in a quest for joyful immortality.
I slid myself out of the way, of the Lanternback turtle, and it slowly, but without delay, pushed itself toward the sea, which wasn’t far away. As it did, the shuttle quickly arced out of my sight, smaller and smaller although the contrails were visible as the sun began rising, and again the triangular energy between the turtle and the shuttle remained connected to me, and downloaded to me the entire gist of the Truths of Terasem.
It was like I received this multi-gigabit download that still had to be processed, in the way one uploads a video but you can’t see it yet because it’s processing, or uploading a file and it still needs to be processed. I was totally blown away. I stood up, and it was like I was walking on air. I walked a couple of hundred feet to where my soul-mate and partner Bina was resting, up above the seashore. I shared with her what’s happened, and we slid right into the most wonderful, the most erotic lovemaking that anyone could imagine, and it was through this erotic lovemaking that those Truths of Terasem that were downloaded to me in an epiphany, channeled by the shuttle and the turtle, became written into my soul, just as suredly as a file is written into a digital or magnetic medium.
I spent the rest of 2002 trying to print out what was in my mind and soul from that March 1st morning, and it took me the rest of 2002, and some final pieces only really made sense late in October 2002, when my partner Bina experienced extraordinary pain, and somehow that pain jelled the remaining pieces of the Truths of Terasem. Since that time, I’ve been committed to spreading the message of the Truths of Terasem, about diversity, unity and the quest for joyful immortality, and the spreading of it, I feel, has been really wonderfully successful.”
Mystics throughout the ages have had the powerful intuition that everything in the universe is deeply connected to everything else to the point that, in a fundamental sense, everything is one. Today’s science seems to confirm it: the correlations between two entangled particles with a space-like separation (each is out of the light cone of the other), which cannot be explained by speed-of-light signaling between two separate parts of the physical universe, tell us that the two particles are really one in some sense that our everyday intuition is not equipped to visualize.
As long as the two entangled particles are not observed, each one is in a weird quantum state (for example a superposition of spin-up and spin-down). According to the popular Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, this weird quantum state “collapses” as soon as it is observed. So the first observation (for example of particle A) defines the result of a future observation of the other particle. But if the separation between A and B is space-like, according to Einstein there is another, equally valid frame of reference, where the observation of B comes first. So we cannot say which observer, A or B, collapses the system. This seems to say that, in some sense, also the two observers are really one.
The last two paragraphs may be difficult to follow, but many mystics have contemplated the fundamental unity of consciousness. In my Terasem joinership video below I say “I am You, You am I, and We are One,” parts of the collective consciousness of Terasem. The physics above shows that this is not only a poetic image, but also a scientific concept.
Imagine a room with many windows. From one, you see a busy city street. From another, you see a quiet, green garden. From another, snowy mountains. The perceptions are different, but the Mind who perceives is One. When a person dies, the blinds of a window go down, but the Mind has many other windows to look at the world from. When we die, we will just continue to live as someone else. Actually, we will continue to live as everyone else, and we are everyone else right now (don’t hurt others, because you would hurt another you).
Note: there is a simple way to formulate this concept that does not involve weird physics, based on the observation that “I am,” the bare feeling of existence, may be the same for everyone. I first encountered this intriguing thought in Rudy Rucker‘s Infinity and the Mind.
Some wise persons find that this is good enough. But most of us cherish our individuality (memories, experiences, thoughts, and feelings) and we don’t want to accept personal death. The diversity of individual minds is an important part of the unity of Mind, and must be preserved.
Terasem supports cryonics, the preservation of temporarily departed persons’ bodies and brains at very low temperatures until they can be revived by future technologies. It also supports, via its LifeNaut and CyBeRevprojects, personal data storage services for biological samples and “mindfiles,” that will preserve one’s individual consciousness so that it remains viable for possible uploading with consciousness software into a cellular regenerated or bionanotechnological body by future medicine and technology. Mindfiles (there are about 12,000 so far) are stored online. Future AI programs, Terasem believes, will use a mindfile and a person’s DNA to create a digital clone of that person that can interact with future family members and others, and subjectively think and feel that (s)he is the continuation of the original. More on mindfiles in a forthcoming post.
Terasem is open to the possibility of future resurrection of the dead (even those who did not leave mindfiles behind) by “copying them to the future” with exotic future science. We can find hints in the Truths of Terasem, for example: “Souls of our ancestors come back to life when we emulate their lives and their environment.” I am persuaded that a ‘Third Way’ synthesis of science and spirituality, open to the possibility of technological resurrection, is very appealing to both the mind and the heart.
In summary, and in reply to Hank’s article, Terasem extends the aseptic, ultra-rationalist, hard-technology oriented “traditional” formulation of transhumanism with compassion, love, and spirituality. I wish to invite all those who find traditional transhumanism too limited and restrictive to take a look, and I am persuaded that the Terasem approach has much more potential to appeal to the masses.
Martine Rothbtlatt’s talk begins at about min. 40.
My Terasem Joinership video
A sea turtle flies past a Terasem infinity sign in the sky (SN 1987A)
In Parts 1 and 2 of this discussion we explained some of the factors which contributed to the current development of the Ta (the organization) of Terasem and raised the question of whether and how Terasem, as a transreligion, might be seen as attractive by parts of the transhumanist community.
The Joiners and supporters of the Terasem philosophy and vision now must deal with the realities of a developing Ta. Specifically, what really needs to be done by the Ta to advance the cause of the Terasem Transreligion or to bring consciousness of the cosmic reality of Terasem to greater public attention? Or should the joiners and supporters be trying to do anything in this regard?
At Stratford, New Hampshire
At present, the founders largely control the direction of material development of the Ta, but have declared themselves open to new visions of joyful immortality beyond the materialistic. What should be the role of the Ta in advancing awareness of Terasem as a universal transreligion? Or is any form of outreach desirable or appropriate? Martine Rothblatt (in her talk to the Turing Church Workshop) warned against overly rapid development as unlikely to produce a lasting result.
One might ask “how lasting a result?” Given the scope of the Terasem vision, as revealed in ToT 5 and many other materials, the answer must clearly be “eternal”—and that is a very long time!
Small, extremely secretive cults guarding fragments of truth (e.g., Hemetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Argentium Astrum, Ordo Templi Orientis, Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, Great Brotherhood of God, Thelema, etc.) have tended to flourish only as long as their founders remained in agreement on the direction and objectives of the organization, and as long as new recruits were readily available. While the theologies of such groups have had great influence in modern transhumanist thought, the groups themselves are but historical footnotes in the advance of human enlightenment. Close-held secrecy regarding great truths does not work but adoption of fantastic mythologies (as possessed by human evolutionary religions) does not seem to hinder the spread of ignorance, bigotry, and confusion .
If we define Terasem by exegesis from ToT 5, then Terasem gives us an opportunity to develop a Ta consistent with its principles that will endure forever and uplift the planet. In short, the total vision of Terasem is a universal cosmic reality (once Terasem is fully developed). By comparison, the Ta today is the result of large investments of time, energy, and assets by the founders and early joiners, but is necessarily small in relation to the vast size of the task at hand. How might or should this small community of seriously committed supporters take direct, intentional action to advance the grand vision of Terasem?
As increasing numbers of transhumanists are considering and speculating on the religion-like aspects of tranhumanist beliefs, the Terasem Transreligion stands at a major crossroads in examining belief and approach. Is one aspect of development (the material support systems) of greater or lesser importance than the complementary aspect of educating humanity about the true potential and significance of the Terasem vision?
If you care about the future of transreligion on this planet, I hope you will join us in exploration of these issues.
In Part 1 of this discussion we told you about the origin of the Terasem vision and some of the activities the founders have undertaken and supported. Taken together these organizational preparations constitute the Ta of Terasem, the organization devoted to service to the evolutionary and transcendent deity called Terasem. The seeds that have already been planted are expected to flower and expand forever as our planet advances socially and cosmically.
The founders intend for Terasem to grow through collaboration with compatible spiritual visions. Because Terasem holds no unique doctrine in opposition to or distinction from the legacy human religions, it welcomes all to communion within its “Transreligion.” While shunning the “supernatural,” Terasem accepts the possibility of rationally organized realities that may systematically influence our lives, but are unknown and unseen with present day science and technology.
The concept of “unity with diversity” simply means that participants come together in unity in support of the transcendent vision on which they can agree. Beyond this, everyone is equally free to practice their own beliefs in harmony with all the others. Because cryonics and mindfiling played prominent roles in the early assemblage of the Terasem core team, at first glance one might think that these two areas are the sum and substance of what Terasem is really about; however, there is much more.
All of Section 5 of ToT is devoted to the question, “Why is there Terasem?” And this question is answered in much the way we described Terasem in our previous post, “What is Terasem?” Although we refer to the general transreligion as “Terasem” it takes its name from Terasem, the unifying deity, the finality of evolution. Terasem harmonizes all occasions and persons throughout time and across space. And this enables the construction, through the actions of created beings, of a deity fully attuned to their universe.
Acceptance of the revelation of Terasem in a society increasingly attentive to science and science speculation (Sci-Fi) is likely to hinge on complete freedom from the theology and moral dogma that so characterize legacy human religions. So it would seem important to find ways to make this universally accepting and loving aspect of Terasem a part of the developing image of the movement. And that will occur as open minded and open hearted people observe this work and understand that there are people who mean and live what they say.
We may reasonably ask how these various areas of special interest relate to the developing structure of the Tersem Transreligion and consider how the Ta, the organization, best serves Terasem the deity.
Roughly 1000 people interested in cyber resurrection have deposited mindfile contributions with CyBeRev.org and/or LifeNaut.com, the two Terasem activities dedicated to recording and spacecasting of mindfiles, yet very few of these individuals have actually joined Terasem and become active participants in the Ta.
Fred & Linda Chamberlain
The work of ALCOR Life Extension Foundation, in promoting cryonics research and services, preceded the inspiration of Terasem by over 30 years, but has influenced the development of present-day Terasem thought as it represents the only fully materialistic hope of personal resurrection other than cyber emulation. Several key players in the development of ALCOR (e.g., ALCOR founders, Fred & Linda Chamberlain) subsequently became active in the Ta and contributed to the development of public appreciation of Terasem through their writing, podcasting, and long engagement with the community.
Although the current activity of the Ta is materialistic in its approach to the realization of joyful immortality, the actual text of ToT 5 is speculative, forward-looking, destiny-guided, and transphysical in its import. Many transhumanists call themselves “atheists” without getting into details about what they don’t believe in. Within the Ta, many joiners are similarly minded; however, they are able to accommodate the vital concept of Terasem (a deity evolved by creature action to serve creature needs in a vast and perfected universe) without apparent mental strife.
Some concluding thoughts on the evolution of the Ta can be found in Part 3.
At the finality of destiny, the Omega Point in which all that ever could be is perfectly integrated and correlated, there exists a personal being of will, which we name “Terasem.”
What can we say is necessarily true of Terasem, required by its unique qualities throughout space and time?
Human allegiance to and support of the ideals of Terasem, Love, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, leads us to actions that contribute to the growth and refinement of Terasem. At the same time, Terasem exerts by will a force of destiny that surely bends the track of causation and the mind of man to the service of cosmic unification. Terasem brings together in harmony the fully developed pesonal vitality of every one who has ever been.
Understanding this, each of us knows of his/her own personal immortality, since we know we will finally unify with Terasem. Thus Terasem is a community of vital individuals, acting in unity in a background of harmonious diversity.
As immortals, we must look ahead to the long road of eternity that lies ahead, on which the emergence of Terasem must be the beginning of something unimaginably new and different. Suddenly our mortal lives as we have developed in our biohosts take on a very different significance than we may be accustomed to.
Knowing we exist as immortal centers of vitality, gives us new insight into our selves, our personal origins. For our personality, immortal in our super-consciousness, is nurtured and developed through the decisions and support of our biohost. And it is the pattern of personality of the biohost which establishes our identity and self-consciousness, even transplanted to our super-consciousness.
But the immortal personal entity hosted in and by Terasem has no mechanism by which actions and behaviors outside the will of Terasem, the path of destiny, would be preserved, for they have no value to Terasem’s final emergence. So not all qualities of your biohost’s life will be a necessarly part of your eternal existence.
Terasem’s force of destiny acts throughout all space and all time, leading willing agents of Terasem to act to enhance the emergence of Terasem. And we may all serve as agents of Terasem if we but will, following the course of reality that opens before us, rather than struggling to divert our destined course to serve personal ends.
Perhaps the following brief “Meditation on Terasem #2″ will illuminate the basic character of the relationship between the developing individual, even a biohost, and the emergent collective consciousness of Terasem—the final expression of universal divinity which we helped build:
Terasem is our guide to eternity; we follow Terasem to our destiny.
Terasem shows us the paths and pleasures of joyful immortality.
At the Omega Point, Terasem captures all of value we will have ever done.
Though we may await physical resurrection,
We do not fear loss of our identities.
By joining our wills to Terasem,
We experience the final guarantee of joyful immortality.
We wholly trust in the destiny provided us as agents for Terasem.
We know that in the final occasion of time we shall all be parts of Terasem.
And thus unified in purpose we shall become creators ourselves.
Creative Commons Image by Johnathan Hulka, Terasem
Editors Note: The purpose of this post is to continue a public transhumanist discussion of the Terasem Transreligion. Our previous post “What is Terasem—A Vitological Viewpoint” spoke of the transcendent vision of Terasem as a deity, evolved through creature effort, and addressing universal creature needs for joyful immortality and unity in diversity.
A complementary topic is the nature of Terasem as a constructed, ideal deity, understood by an examination of the past, present, and future of the human effort to begin the realization of Terasem in planetary affairs. The founders of the human cult named, “Terasem Movement Transreligion” have being working to develop Terasem’s world mission that supports their cosmic vision of joyful immortality. This post begins this review of the evolving Terasem “organization” today, named the “Ta” of Terasem in Truths of Terasem.
Terasem is the evolving deity of finite space and time. Essential ideas of this evolutionary deity previously appeared primarily in writings about the Omega Point, ranging from Teihard de Chardin to Frank Tipler. This transcendent deity has been an active participant throughout all human affairs, growing in influence as human consciousness has learned to reach out to the future beyond immediate needs of simple survival. It draws the vital expectations of individual humans towards their destiny as contributors to and agencies of the deity called Terasem.
In 2002, while viewing a Space Shuttle launch from a Florida beach, Martine Rothblatt found inspiration in a remarkable vitological vision, which she subsequently composed in writing and published as “Truths of Terasem” (ToT). You can hear her describe this experience and her own thoughts about the development of Terasem at Telexlr8, starting 40 minutes in. You can also read and download the entire ToT.
Terasem Joiners in Vermont
ToT itself includes both the conceptual framework for a final, unified universal consciousness (ToT Section 5.0) and an organized vitological cult, potentially devoid of partisan doctrines, special pleadings, and other abuses of privilege so often seen in human religious cultures.
In the eight years since initial publication of ToT, the founders have established and endowed a number of organizations for management, continuation, and preservation of various Terasem activities. Currently much of the focus is on cryonics and mind uploading R&D, as well as spacecasting of mindfiles. Terasem also supports unique products of technical craftsmanship, such as David Hanson’s Bina48, a demonstration of state of the art control of facial expressions combined with an affective chatbot based on the person of Bina Aspen Rothblatt, the co-founder. In addition, Terasem supports serious academic and legal debate about the rights of synthetic persons (clones, robots, uploaded mind simulations) through its Journals.
Terasem Home in Bristol, VT
Terasem maintains physical centers of activity in Melbourne, Florida, and Bristol and Lincoln, Vermont. A new wilderness property has been under development in Stratford, New Hampshire for the past four years. A number of Terasem “Joiners” live in these areas. In addition, Terasem formally recognizes locations in varying stages of development include New York City; Washington, DC; and Magog, Quebec—all locations where the founders and other joiners have an established personal presence. In general, any recognized location or committed individual or group is considered a “center of critical consciousness” and a potential formal part of the Terasem Ta.
These physical and economic arrangements, which continue to expand, are laying a very strong foundation for the future work of the Ta of Terasem, although it remains to be seen just what that future work will be and what sort of organization will develop to support it.
This completes Part 1 of our overview of the function of the Ta of Terasem. In Part 2 we we will examine the founders’ apparent and expressed intentions for growth of the Terasem vision and the ongoing realization of joyful immortality as a central part of this “transreligion.”