An introduction to the Chronolith Project and the first stage of a remarkable new investigation into the nature of humans and their interstellar future
The astrobiological approach to Human ex≠istence has the oppor≠tunity to rectify distor≠tions to dualistic doc≠trines that has put ourselves at the entire centre of meaning of the universe, and where the spirit, the soul, the abstract, the archetype all are supposed to have longer lives, perhaps even eternal lives of unchanging purity, while the base, the clay, the insensate materials with which it is paired have no such blessing, but mix, mutate, alter and amend in brief lives and lowly temporal ambitions. Since we already suspect from inflationary arguments, however, that the whole of creation is way more complex than the visible universe, our knowledge of the whole will always fall short. That is to say, our assumptions about the spiritual or abstract component of the dualistic view ends up being the minor part, the lesser part, a simplistic view failing to account for the universe's complexity, and not at all the superior component the older philosophers assumed. The pan-psychic or monistic philosopher sweeping away all dualism by declaring particles of matter simply are particles of a single consciousness (a suspiciously easy variant of Transubstantiation, in effect) similarly fails to account for complexity or for intention. Pan-psychic atomism merely pushes the can of its mystery down the road. It assumes a soul, a spirit, already existing, and, what's more, somehow accumulable to consciousness in Humans but not in, say rocks (although some, realising this criticism, simply assert that rocks are conscious: some Native Americans believe everything has its Manitou or spirit), and yet, by using the accumulated result to explain the part, explains nothing more about it.
The Astrobiological perspective sights beyond the confines of the visible, to view more than our world line, and to remove the imped≠ance of that psychic residual of religion, the soul, and to reconsider du≠alism as a value-free biological and psychological construct. Under these parameters, the concept of our world as a simulation or our world as a brains-in-vats scenario becomes as equally valuable a hypo≠thesis about the universe's behaviour as other cosmological theorising, and ideas about cosmology offered by Religion simply cannot take us far enough along the road of comprehension. The reason is simple. If religions are right that the objective of our lives is to enter into accept≠able communion with our creator after wrestling with moral decisions, then the actual state of the universe, its origins and extent, its evolu≠tionary progress (including the genesis of aliens), is an irrelevancy, and confirmed in the Apocalyptic visions of religion's end game where the entire vast complex of the universe gets discarded in mid-stride as it were, its enigmas and detail entirely beside the point. (I would say that a creator who so fools us, so wastes our intellectual time in this fashion is certainly not to be trusted, but that is a matter for the next volume not this.) Religion tells us that the only thing that should matter to Humans is not the substance of its creation but where we are in the creator's regard; what it is thinking about us, at least in terms of judgement. If we are to consider the scenario of our universe as a simulation then clearly we would be in a more complex structure of nested realities, and what the The Great Simulator thinks about us must be only a smaller subset of its intentions, and implying, in fact, much greater ground for us than the religions of our day's simple equation of world + divine purpose = paradise.
Coincidence and a hostile Universe
"...We have already found thousands of planets circulating stars in our galaxy as well as lone planet-like objects unattached to stars, more are added almost daily, so it looks as if planets are more commonplace than once thought. There might be planets of some sort attached to every star we see now. A recent estimate by Erik Zackrisson and his team modelling the evolution of the universe on computers suggests something like 700 quintillion (1018) planets might be in it.
While supporters of the principle of mediocrity (that we are completely average and live in an average universe with an average number of civilisations of average lifetimes) find this possibility comforting, it can be read the other way. Other intelligent life in the Universe is beginning to seem a lot less probable than it once did given that there are so many sites on which it could have arisen but apparently didn’t or didn’t make it to interstellar communicating. (The systems we have seen also serve to highlight what many planetary scientists now believe that our solar system is rather exceptional, with small rocky planets close to the sun, gas rich planets further out, in stable nearly circular orbits and with relatively slow orbital velocity, sweeping up asteroids and comets that could cause endless trouble for the inner planets. In other systems, gas giants are observed much closer in to the star, and in others, rocky planets are tidally locked to the star.)
On the other hand, if intelligent life is common but only up to a point then life on Earth has not yet reached that point, but presumably it will soon, since in several hundred years from now, Humans themselves will be properly established in galactic space. If intelligences had started to get going pretty much all around the galaxy in the centuries before our ascent, then what spooky thing happened to all of them to make them fail, and will happen to us? This Rare Earth hypothesis is voiced in two ways: either rare, because of the immense number of improbable things that need to happen for life to get beyond microbes (as in Ward and Brownlee’s book from 2003, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe), or rare, because of the immense number of ways in which life can be extinguished not just from our own activity but from the nature of the universe we are in.
The first way of looking at life’s rarity is concerned with probabilities that can only be guessed since we have just one example of life to go on. The second, however, is more informative because it is a matter of observation. It may not matter how likely life is to arise or how intelligent you are if space is fundamentally hostile to life spreading, and only coincidences can protect it from the many extinction threats to its expansion into space (we will come back to this idea of coincidence in life)..."
"...Coincidence numbers apply throughout the universe, so we should expect unusual correlations at every level of magnification, in groups of galaxies, within and around galaxies, in groups of stars, within and around individual stars, within and on planetary bodies and so on down to molecules and subatomic particles. Consider Hydrogen oxide – water. If it were not for the 'accidental' hydrogen bonding between molecules which enables it to be water rather than a gas and which gives it the bonding structure to dissolve a range of other molecules it would not have the useful properties it has to enable life to develop. Another example of such coincidental effects is the way phosphorous is used in living systems. Phosphorous is not very abundant, is mostly stored in rocks and is difficult to extract for use. Yet life chose phosphorous as its key element for reproduction (as well as energy production in cells). The strands of DNA use the electrostatic possibilities of Phosphate to make the DNA strand because two oxygen atoms link in a linear way to sugars to make the backbone on which the nucleotide 'rungs' are attached, while the third provides extra charge to keep the DNA static in solution so that reactions can take place in a regular way.
But consider too, as the universe expands, then the scope for coincidence at larger magnifications increases..."
"...Recall our discussion about coincidences and the difference between a type 1 and type 2 coincidence. Type 2 connections are how awareness drives evolution more quickly than one might expect, because evolution supports organisms that learn to profit from accident, to use their pre-loading (alleles, for example) to become more successful (this is not quite the same thing as learning through experience). It is easy to trace successful tactics from bacteria to humans in the way organisms learn to be less rigid in their programming. There is, in fact, a point where this use of accident becomes the accelerating engine of the evolution of life. Channels of development appear because the pre-loading is the equivalent of information appearing in the mind before it makes a decision. It is where memory is the anticipated truth...
It is the cosmologies of people that are involved in the realisation and even the actual selection of the kinds of event for which probability does not help bring about. Our cosmologies are the reason why at least some events at the human narrative level occur. So while the type 2 coincidences may be just a higher level emergent phenomenon, there is no doubt that they can reach down into the bottom layer, as it were, of probability and produce outcomes not predicted in that bottom layer, that would never emerge out of it. Since consciousness is a continual evolution of its history, it finds meaning in observations precisely because they connect backwards and forwards in time...
Going back to my bringing coffee cups from the future into my room. If the universe is split by this action into coffee cup and coffee cup-less room universes (in G√∂del’s solution) there is still the problem of how to explain the coffee cup in the split off universe; it has precisely the same antecedents as yours. Time-line separation as a result of actions from the future does not solve the problem of where the influence comes from for at least one of the universes. If it did there would be no reason for the split. An explanation must be found further back in the past – the same past, in fact, for each universe. (Another reason to expect the continual realignment of probabilities in the past.)..."
The Cosmology of People and the time travel solution: An Astrobiogical Solution
The Cosmology of People is just the first stage in the development of the Chronolith project. The reader may declare their interest in participating in the later stages of the experience. Participants will be selected by lottery and will go on to become members of a Chronolith Society, a select band of subjects for whom life may contain new perspectives.
For more information on the project please click here
|About the author
Andrew Kennedy is an independent researcher into consciousness and the philosophy of science, the founder of the Chronolith Project and originator of the Chronolith experiment (to which the Cosmology of People refers). He studied Chemistry at Edinburgh University and later studied Chinese, Daoism and Daoist medicine, translated two Chinese philosophy classics and wrote an original tract on the evolution of human personality types, published in 2009 (Essential Personalities), and currently writes about the prospects of interplanetary travel.
He also designed games and held a patent in a switching device. He is a Fellow of the BIS and a member of the Society for Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology (SSoCIA).
|see more from this author: Essential Personalities; The Jade Suit; Shiatsu: What it is What it does Why it matters;