A while back I introduced my new web site, transistorBuddha. One of the central issues I have been working on resolving is identifying the best software platform to host transistorBuddha. Of course I need to have a vision of where I’m going before I can select the best technology to get there. I now have a clearer vision of where I want to take transistorBuddha and how to get there.
I was joking with my brother Tim and told him I wanted to create a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Future. Ironically, Douglas Adam’s did a four part series for the BBC by that name. transistorBuddha is about a totality that embraces spirituality, science, technology and the future. It is a continuation of the work in Renaissance Universal I and others joined in the mid seventies. Renaissance Universal was founded in 1958 by P.R. Sarkar and its motto is “Art and Science for service and self-realization”. This site is inspired by books like Be Here Now, The Tao of Physics, The Dancing Wu-Li Masters and Cosmic Trigger; magazines like Omni, Mondo 2000 and Wired as well as countless science fiction books and movies.
The Whole Earth Catalog is a particularly good example of what I want to do now. Stewart Brand was editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, founded The WELL and the Long Now Foundation. Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog. The Whole Earth Catalog dissolved the boundaries between spirituality, science, technology, wellness, art, advertisement and culture. As a single book it was an anthropological marvel that captured much of our civilization and provided the basic blueprints for a diverse number of alternative futures. Both Brand and Kelly have embraced the Web as the Whole Earth Catalog’s natural successor.So how does one design and manage the future? In Star Trek: Enterprise the protectors of the timeline for the 31st century can holographicly project an image of what the different flows of the time stream look like. We aren’t advanced enough to need to worry about time loops and paradoxes. For us the future is a vast intertwining and ever expanding tree of possibilities flowing from the single trunk of our collective history. This is reflected in our mythological cosmologies. Yggdrasil, the World Tree, from Norse mythology, joins the nine realms or homeworlds. Anyone who watched Stargate: SG-1 knows that the Asgardian gods were actually transhumanists.Many different ancient cultures have the idea of some physical expression of all possible metaphysical realities and a connecting superstructure. For the Norse the nine homeworlds represented the different expressions of existence for sentient beings connected by Yggdrasil. The Tantric Buddhist have beautiful paintings of mandalas representing the multitude of different realms the sentient beings can experience from the lower six realms to the different higher Buddha realms or fields. For the yogis it is the thousand petaled lotus flower at the crown of the head. For cosmologist one option is the Big Bang as just the latest creation of a new branch in the fractal tree of the Multiverse. One reason we might not have detected advanced extra-terrestrial civilizations may simply not be very concerned about having a significant physical presence in our universe. “Designer universes” may be the cool place to hang out as advanced civilizations learn to hack the laws of physics.It is reflected across many cultures as the axis mundi or the cosmic axis. The yogis say that it is reflected into our very being as the sushumna nadi, the “central river”, at the center of the spinal column that runs from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Jack climbs the magic bean stalk, the yogi climbs the ladder of consciousness by raising the kundalini or Primorial Life Force through the different chakras. This is a spiritual process that involves both meditation and moral struggle as the individual actualizes their more expansive worldview through the concrete decisions of daily life.The ancient yogis were old skool transhumanists. The ultimate evolutionary and technological product is the software upgrade. The yogis discovered you didn’t have to wait thousands of years to implement physical technology in order to facilitate evolution, you could just sit down and meditate. You could evolve through transcending and then rewriting your own neurological software. As early discovers they explored and created maps of reality that I feel are more valuable today than ever. As a planetary civilization we can cherish the unique wisdom, lessons and knowledge that our different cultures contribute without choosing to be bound by our earlier limitations and misunderstandings. We can design a future that not only preserves our biosphere but preserves the subtle cultural fruits of our diverse heritages and wisdom traditions.The yogis say that everything is Cosmic Consciousness, a Cosmic Dream; just ripples, waves and patterns in the ocean of consciousness. At the same time the paradigm in modern physics is that everything is ultimately information and that observation is inseparable from the object being observed. Since everything is information or patterns of consciousness ultimately there can be no fundamental difference between the computer and the software running in the computer, there can be no true boundary. This means that the possibly exists for the software to hack the computer it is running in and for intelligent beings to be able to hack the very laws of physics. There are many amazing stories of great yogis and other spiritual masters who have seemingly defied the laws of physics and reality. I believe that it is through mechanisms such as this that the paranormal operate.The issue of reprogramming the Universe brings us back to the current software tools available at hand to instigate change. MediaWiki seems particularly worthy for a number of reasons.
- Quality software. The WikiPedia runs on MediaWiki and so it is extensively tested.
- Great usability. Vast number of people have used MediaWiki as WikiPedia editors.
- Scalability. Due to WikiPedia’s size, MediaWiki runs well on server farms.
- Open source data. The compatibility with WikiPedia’s open source data provides a ready source for a vast amount of seed data for the project. While the focus of transistorBuddha is providing new content, the information from WikiPedia is license in a manner to readily and legally support creative mash-ups from WikiPedia material. Instead of documenting the lives of Buddha and Jesus from scratch, WikiPedia pages could serve as the seeds for new article. The intent of transistorBuddha is to not just provide data, but to provide useful data filters and structures through which to view and interact with the data in a stylistic and artistic manner.
- Trees, catalogs and the semantic web. Yggdrasil is a great metaphor for the branching and intertwined tree of future timelines. Many fiction authors explore regions of the noösphere. Stephen King’s Dark Tower storyline encompassed the all the other universes of this other works of fiction. In Robert Heinlein later works his characters explored the different timelines of his story’s multiverse. Jack Chalker’s Soul Rider’s, Roger Zelazny’s Amber and the Wachowski brothers’ Matrix are all attempts to chart the depths of the noösphere. Russian dolls containing smaller Russian dolls and so on. Fortunately MediaWiki has extensions that support the Semantic Web and the creation and visualization of catalogs which are treelike structures.
- Monitization. I can use Google’s AdSense to develop an income stream. Craig’s List is an inspiration in web sites that well serve their users and are not greedy. transistorBuddha should not only pay for itself, but should provide a path for right livelihood.
- Crowd sourced. By using MediaWiki I can crowd source the web site. transistorBuddha can provide a haven in space and a region of timelines for people to document predictions, scenarios and science fiction.