Thursday, October 27, 2005

Aliens, Angels, & Artificial Intelligence

A fun, fascinating and thought-provoking conversation with Ron Stephens, host of the AwareTek Podcast. We explore the connections between the supernatural, scientific and extraterrestrial phenomena.


InsytWorks said...

Great interview Ron and Leif.

I really enjoyed "listening" in on your conversation. First an explanation of my framework and then a few of my thoughts.

I believe our literal, modern, thinking, rational, concrete world only looks at and is aware of only half of the playing field. The other half exists beyond the "veil" but is equally as important in our lives, but is certainly not of the concrete, material, rational, senses, nor thinking. It is of the spirit, feeling, immaterial, figurative, symbolic and the unconscious.

With that said, (whew),

Artificial Intelligence - I do believe we will be able to create a machine with artificial intelligence, but we will not be able to create artificial consciousness (for a very long time anyway) because consciousness requires an awareness of what lies beyond the veil. Any machine created in the material world will be limited in its concrete-ness and existance in the material world.

Symbolic Language - Yardsticks from the world of matter don't work in the world beyond the veil. Words can only approach and circle the symbols and energies of the other world. I'm not saying words won't work; I'm just saying words, languages, symbols from the material world will be limited and constrained in their ability to describe what lies beyond the veil. I believe that's why poetry and art can convey a power greater than the sum of the words. They convey the power of the immaterial world to the world of matter through more than just the marble, paint, or words of this world.

Profound psychological and religious experiences - I believe these occur when energies from the immaterial world move us in our unconscious and these forces splatter through the veil into the material world where we try to explain them in a scientific fashion that defies our yardsticks. Science depends on our physical senses to describe the world. When things happen in the non-physical world, science has a very hard time describing them or even allowing that they exist. I'm convinced that they do.

Zim - Zum - God dies to create the universe - I believe that when we are created, we split from God. Before we are we, we are one with the Other. We don't and can't recognize that is "I" and "the Other." We have to split from the other to be "I" and to recognize that there is an "Other." This I becomes the ego which exists in the conscious, concrete world. The "I" has an unconscious portion that exists closer to the ego as the personal unconsious and stretches through the collective uncounscious reaching all the way back to the "Other." We are never completely separate, but just stretched far enough away to be able to look back and see that there is the "Other." I believe when we recognize the limitations of the ego and the concrete world, we begin to move back toward the "Other" to be re-integrated and become fully "One."

I can't wait to hear the rest of the podcast. Great stuff. As you can see, it stirred many thoughts in me.

tailwinds, Robin

Leifh said...


All I can say is a big "Amen!" of agreement to each of your comments. I agree with each bite of feedback you gave and love how succintly (yes) you have described things.

Symbolic yardsticks. Nice image!

The zim zum comment I need to chew on some, as the question of our seperateness/connection from/to God is one I am really working through right now.

Thanks Ron!

I'll try and get the rest of the dialogue out is busy though. (;

Daryl said...

Robin -

I think you make some good points but your points rely on mysticism. Like, "veil", "yardsticks", "religious experiences" ... what does that mean? Nobody really knows and therefore how can it be used as proof of or against anything.

Maybe we all want there to be a greater meaning and it just isn't there. I find myself looking for that same great meaning, but I think it might entirely be possible that a silicon/carbon based system will transcend us as we know ourselves to be today. In fact in many ways it seems to make sense. I won't go into any great explanations and refer you to a book that Ron has mentioned a few times, "The Singularity is near" by Ray Kurzweil.

Keep the faith though... I could be wrong. :)

- daryl

Leifh said...

Hi Daryl,

Thanks for your comments.

I think what Robin means is that we fool ourselves in thinking that all of life can be quantified in the sense that science pretends it can be.

Think of the concept of pi, and how we use it and take advantage of it in so many of ways --any yet outside of the symbol of pi, we have never come to a final decimal place. It is probably an infinite sequence. Agularity is only one aspect of reality, if it even exists. This nudges me, and others, to believe that life ultimately has the curve, the shape, of grace.

Daryl said...

Leif -

Hmmm.. I think science generally proposes a theory and then uses basic principles and tests to prove that theory. This is the great thing about science. Mystics on the other hand like to use abstract terminology and wonderings and strange events of how one person recounts an experience. The fabulous thing about science is it does not say that a higher power, etc exists or doesn't exist. They prefer to say they don't know. I don't know either. Then a scientific mind says, "He who proposes shall have the burden of proof."

I spent many many many years searching for that indescribable thing, that feeling, connection, etc.. I have come to decide that this is something left over from our evolution. I wish that I could believe sometimes. It sure can make you feel better. I still pray ... but I am not sure what my prayers are other than a mental gesture to wish one well.

Just my thoughts... I could be wrong. :)

- daryl

Leifh said...

Hi Daryl,

I hear your desire to have proof of things before believing. Certainly there should at least be some supporting 'evidence'.

Have you seen the movie Contact, based on Carl Sagan's book, where the new-agey priest guy asks Ellie if her father loved her? She says something like of course. THen he says "prove it". This gets at the type of problem I have with "seeing before believing".

daryl said...

I love that movie. Yes. It is true that Love is hard to prove and I think it is exactly like the belief in a higher power. It makes you feel good so you believe. Chemicals flood the brain that give you a calming sensation. I believe that through an MRI you can see the parts of the brain that are activated when someone is in love. When we have the technology to map every neuron in the brain then this might be solved as well. Or maybe the computer will just fall in Love with its owner or maybe the toaster. :)

BTW, when is the third part to the interview coming out? :)

Leifh said...

I sometimes think that kind of logic is so funny, sorry.
Its like when MRI's recently showed in some study that certain regions of the brain demonstrated increased activity when meditators/prayers claimed they were having spiritual experiences.
Duh! (Sorry)

We have hunger, because we are
*meant* to eat food.

Putting a magnifying glass to life and therefore being able to describe it in more detail, explain some of the processes, etc has nothing to do with *why* it is there in the first place.

Why does it make us "feel good to believe?"

Dayl, I feel sorry for you if you really think that life will be "solved" one day, like some mathematical formula. What a boring and sad day that will be, for those who fall under that illusion. Yet I am happy to say that it will never happen, the biggest super-computer in the universe will spend eternity trying to solve the question "What is the experience of blue?" or "Why would a human go against its self-interest?" or jokingly asks "Why did the chicken cross the road?" it's best response will be to dig into an archive of ancient human humor.

But it will never quite get the joke.

We will increasingly understand much, but always end up understanding even more. (If humility, standing-under, has any part in it)

daryl said...


Now, dont be condescending by saying that "You feel sorry for me." There is no reason at all for you to feel sorry for me? What will happen if I would be a full blown atheist? What will happen to me if I feel that we will all be gods some day? Besides, do you really know what I really believe? You are missing one of the greatest qualities of being human. Why have you missed it? Because you have to believe and I am open. Now that is funny.

daryl said...

Oh yeah. I also said that we will map the human brain. I didnt say we would be solved by a mathematical formula. What does that mean? All I am advocating (and Ray Kurzweil and many other scientist as well) is that we will map the human brain, that our technology will be able to surpass the power of a human brain and that it will create a conscious and aware entity. The big question will be what will happen at that moment.

Leifh said...

Hi Daryl,

I must have been in a hurried, foul mood when I wrote. I reread it after hearing your reply --and you are totally right, I was a condescending jerk. Sorry about that. I feel really stupid and bad...please forgive my hastiness.

As for other things that you said, I'm not sure what you meant by
"you have to believe and I am open"

If you mean, I have to commit to a certain belief (in this case about their being a transcendent, non-quanitifiable aspect to ultimate reality) while you remain "open", I'm not sure if thats true. I definately feel a desire/need to believe --but I am open to that changing, as it has many times. I try to base my beliefs (my hopes, trusts, intellectual leanings, etc) on what seems to have the most supporting evidence.

I think my main proint/problem with a purely scientific reductionist worldview (which I *think* you are purporting) is that it seems to be a little bit too, um, 'religious'.
I think its an epistemological danger to only believe/know things through one kind of 'knowing'.

Rational/logical/scientific reasonging is one way we know...

Trusting someone who we trust is another...

Trusting in the writings/inspired or just "time-tried" is another...(similar to the above, but not personally known)

Intuition is another...

Revelation is another...

Knowing from personal experience is another...

I think it wisest to pay attention and listen to all these modes to draw our conclusions.

I'm trying to do this in my life, but I'm sure I'm falling short.

With a 2-year-old on my lap, and geting late at night, I need to sign off...but hopefully I've answered more respectfully and relevantly.


daryl said...

Leif -

No worries. Its tough to have a heated debate or maybe semi heated because it was never that heated in my opinion.

Well I guess what I meant is that I am open to not believe in anything, although I must say its hard. But I could and most of the time feel as if I am a blank slate without thinking that there must be something greater. Oh yeah. I dont want science to get to the point where it is irreverent to question. As a matter of fact if I ever decide on the religion that could fit me I wouldn't want it to be irreverent to question that religion.

As I think I said before. Keep the Faith. I like thinking like an atheist, although I must admit its hard to say that I am an atheist. So maybe there is something still nagging at me from deep within. I do think that we might have intelligent machines that will also insist that they are conscious and that they believe. They will probably 'think' that I am crazy not to believe in a higher power. Wouldn't that be a trip.

Leifh said...

Hehe, Love it! (;

Thanks for accepting my apology Daryl, and I look forward to some more dialogue.