Friday, December 3, 2010

The Singularity Already Happened?

Once in a while, the Daily Dish has an especially interesting link. This one makes a case that the Singularity has already happened.

Oddly/interestingly enough, the 19th century on through right around WWI is that Golden Age in human history Miss Rand waxed so poetically about. Hell, come the early 1900s, the USA may well have been on the verge of utopia. Then, the assholes took over. I'm speaking, of course, of "progressive" pragmatists who had no answer to, or embraced, the fucking socialists (who'd already been chewed up and spit out by Mises, but his book was in German and so the readership was limited for a time). Having no answer to socialism, and facing economic crises, pragmatic experimentation with the American people's liberties set in. The results have been - seeing as the consequence has been a mixed economy (the legacy of pragmatism) - shall we say, mixed.

Just imagine extrapolating the 19th century onward. Where would we be now? Economic analysis - the competent capitalist stuff, not the incompetent or dishonest socialist stuff, or the pathologically-agnostic pragmatist stuff - says that we'd be way richer by now. One academic-style myth we should do away with, is this idea that human history is evolving toward something not all that capitalistic but rather some hybrid of capitalism and government controls. That myth is a legacy of pragmatism, which has this pathological tendency towards mixing, compromising, and reconciling. (When pragmatism dispenses with an accessible, stable, underlying causal reality and settles for "overlapping consensus" and other such buzzwords, the only result is a mixing of what's true and what's not true.) But let's just envision a world in which 40 percent of the country's resources aren't directed by fucking politicians, bureaucrats, public employees unions, and the rest of the pro-forced-stagnation crowd.

Now, it's a completely dishonest Marxist myth that prior to Big Government, America was having it pretty bad. One need only look at the progression between the Declaration of Independence to Henry Ford's assembly line to see the improvements for all classes of economic actors. What this says is that we shouldn't let the fucking Marxists dictate history to the rest of us - which is exactly what happened when those fucking Marxists took over the History (and other) departments. That has cost us decades of progress. So much for the "progressive," i.e., pragmatist-liberal, strategy of embracing A (freedom) and not-A (socialism) at the same time.

Now, my thesis is that the Singularity has begun, and that it began here. I have advertised this very blog as your headquarters for the Singularity. So what's all this stuff about a past Singularity? First off, Ray Kurzweil's concept of the Singularity centers around technology - and it's rather evident that we are headed into a true space-age of technology in the coming decades. I don't think it's relevant that this coming space-age is only a continuation of trends we've already had; the fact is that the past trends produced major technological advancement that had not reached the space-age tipping point that Kurzweil is talking about. What Kurzweil is talking about is such an advance over what we've seen already - given a geometric progression - that we can hardly imagine what humanity would look like a few generations from now.

So what's this business about the Singularity beginning here? Well, tying back into the 19th-century growth period, we have a record of the awesome success of the capitalistic system. The "new" Singularity is a return to that model. But going back to that model would merely be a consequence of a more fundamental underlying cause: a philosophical revolution. Kurzweil's prediction concerns technology; my conception of the Singularity is more all-encompassing and fundamentals-oriented than that. What we are looking at is an intellectual revolution.

We've had intellectual revolutions before, but not of the kind I'm talking about. Kant, for instance, initiated an intellectual revolution. Christianity represented an intellectual revolution. Marxism represented an intellectual revolution. Aquinas (i.e., Aristotle) represented an intellectual revolution. Aquinas aside, these revolutions were a false start, a fuck-up, a diversion, a regression, what have you. (Absolutely I consider the Christian era until Aquinas a regression compared to the ancient Greek era. I'd go so far as to say that because of the horrendous psycho-epistemology involved - the astonishing levels of denigration of the intellect - the West suffered roughly 1,500 lost years. Of course, with the denigration of this-worldly concerns involved, these Lost Years don't and shouldn't really matter to the medievalist mystics. Nice going, anti-reason assholes!) Now, with the help of Ayn Rand's philosophy - namely her theory of concepts and general methodology - we finally have a chance to get it right.

We are now at a tipping point, intellectually. We are now finally on the verge of getting our epistemological house in order. We are finally at a point, given our historical progression of fits and starts, of reaching intellectual maturity. Kurzweil's conception of the Singularity is one of technological maturity. Technology, however, is deadly in the hands of those empowered by a deadly worldview. With the intellectual maturity, we also get a moral maturity.

Given the history of human evolution, consider humanity's intellectual and moral maturation a matter of moving beyond a lesser stage of development or maturation. Religion is like the product of a child-level epistemology, one of dependence on authority, before a more critical or questioning stage comes about. That critical or questioning stage - analogous to adolescence in an individual - began some 2,500 years ago with the advent of Philosophy. The child-epistemology religion-attachment stays around during this period until the conflict is worked out; that working out is the onset or maturation or adulthood. (David L. Norton refers to the stage of maturation in an individual as eudaimonia.) The course of history, all the way from the primordial ooze up through the present day, is ample demonstration of this development.

I mean, isn't it obvious once you think about it?

The only issue now is how much ultimately-futile opposition, denial, sneering, fear-mongering, etc. is going to get in the way of this progress toward full maturation.

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