Privacy

Something I have not touched on very much is the idea of privacy. Privacy is strongly connected to identity and individuality, and as such will be disappearing slowly as we approach the singularity, and then incredibly fast afterward. no one is excited by the loss of privacy except for the people on top who are observing, but I want to explain to you why you need not fear this loss.

Many have noted the inverse relationship between technological advancement and privacy. Major cities around the world are adopting a huge array of video cameras (especially London) and the military is constantly looking into ways to hear and see what is going on inside buildings. It’s hard to grow weed because helicopters fly above our towns looking for infrared signatures indicating hot grow rooms in residential buildings. We can’t reverse technological advancement, so we must adapt, and realize what it means to lose our privacy. I’m not sure how to express this except to relate an experience within my latest mushroom trip:

Io and I took a moderate dose and headed to the woods. It was quite wet and early in spring, so we decided to go to higher ground. We sat down on a large rock on top of a hill overlooking the woods, next to a path which leads down the hill. Io could not get comfortable here. A major aspect of this is that we were coming up, which is always tough, but the other thing was that we were sitting near a place where people walk by, people who don’t understand psychedelic use and may judge us for it. When tripping, sober people can really suck. They are judgemental, and their actions seem to be manipulative and harmful. One of the worst experiences possible on a trip (in my opinion) is to have others be uncomfortable with the fact that you’re tripping. This is usually not a problem, because a person who is tripping looks entirely normal unless in extreme conditions.

I was not nervous like Io was, but I suggested we move to alleviate her insecurity. However, there was nowhere we could go that she felt free from eyes. She felt that she needed to be indoors, so we went indoors. I was extremely uncomfortable with an indoor environment at this time, however, so it was decided that we should split up for a bit and do our own thing, me outside and Io in her room.

After we separated I walked about for a bit and thought about Io’s fear of judgemental eyes. An image kept on popping up in my head of a girl dancing alone in her room, and then finding out someone is watching and being embarrassed. This thought amused me quite a bit and every time it came back I laughed out loud.  As I thought about it, I realized that there is no reason for that girl to be embarrassed in the way she is delighting in her existence, and on the contrary she should be proud of her ability to find joy in her body.

My thoughts reverted back to the singularity, and I imagined two conscious blobs meeting in space: blob 1 and blob 2. blob 1 seems to be staying still, not appearing to be doing anything, and blob 2 does everything in its power to find out about this entity, peering beneath its skin, and even into its thoughts. at the core of blob 1, beneath all of it’s layers of membranes and skeleton, at the center of blob 1’s mind, is a girl dancing alone in a room. This girl gets upset when she discovers that blob 2 has gotten past her defenses, but once again, why should she be?

But of course there are other things we want to hide besides the ways we choose to delight in existence, and reasons we have to hide our preferences. I personally have to hide my drug use from people because we live in a society which generally does not accept the use of recreational drugs. There are other aspects of us that we would rather not share, such as absurd sexual fetishes, some dark secret about past behavior, a weird habit, and so on. The thing about all of these embarrassing traits is that they are human, and when we become post-human, we will only look back and laugh at the way we used to think, and we will say things like, “wasn’t that hilarious when I had those strong masochistic urges?”

I mentioned in the beginning that the loss of privacy is only exciting to those who are observing, those on top. When We’ve all formed a superconsciousness, we will all be the observers and the observed, the leaders and the followers. Furthermore, our observations of each other will become more and more necessary as technology such as nuclear power becomes common. It is said that “an honest man has nothing to hide,” a saying which annoys me as a member of psychedelic culture. I think it would be true and it will be true when we understand our values better, and realize that we shouldn’t prohibit people from doing what they want to themselves as long as it’s not harmful to others.

Inside all of us, at the core of our being is a little girl dancing alone in her room to music that other people find cheesy or emotional. We should all tell our little girl that it’s a beautiful thing to dance, and that she should take as much joy from her existence as she can, even if someone else is watching.

-Prometheus

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About Prometheus

I write about the coming technological singularity and its implications for our sense of identity, individuality, meaning, and existence. I argue that the most significant aspect of the singularity is the convergence of our consciousnesses into one superconsciousness, and that we should be very happy about this.

Posted on May 12, 2011, in Ethics, Technological Singularity, Values and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Mike McCausland

    Love your blogs and thinking!

    One thought that you mention regularly in your blogs that i wonder about. You say that everyone should be able to do what they want as long as its not harmful to others. What are your thoughts on my comments below.

    I believe we are all connected at the quantum energy level, we are all part of one another. We are all part of a collective consciousness and we are growing more connected every day.

    I also believe there are things i can do that are harmful to me. On the top of the list would be things like bad thinking that can eventually lead to bad actions and bad things happening to me.

    Here is my pondering. If i can harm myself, am i not harming others just by the fact that we are all connected? Now i’m definitely not into rules and regulations. I’m also not into controlling other peoples actions. But at the same time, if i see perceive that someone is harming themselves, not others, should i try to help them. How would one help? Is there any “obligation” to help or even care?

    Interested in your thoughts!

    PS – I have no problem with your shrooms! Having children and traveling the world, i do see a lot of people that are self destructive in some of their thinking and behavior and wonder how to help. We are one. Their self inflicted pain is my pain. Or should it be?

    • yes, this is often the argument presented against the use of pot, that it harmful to yourself and therefore society, that it slows you down and therefore everyone. we certainly have an obligation to help those in need, but we can only do that if they agree that they need help. You can send a heroin addict to rehab but you can’t make him take the methadone (well you can, but you shouldn’t). when we feel that we know better than others, and we have a responsibility to uplift and enlighten even against their will, then we are colonizing them; a violent action which will come around to harm us.

      good thoughts.

  2. Mike McCausland

    Totally agree that we cant help anyone unless they want it. I’m even a bit hesitant about helping people when they want it because if they dont want it bad enough, then they blame you for their failure! And i definitely dont want to judge or think i know better. But there are times when this is really needed. i.e. do you let your kids play in the traffic to learn its harmful. do you let children eat junk food and sugar all day because they like it? Sure I’m talking about kids, but there are some adults who never grow up! Are we colonizing our kids or very immature adults if we try to help. It is a difficult quandary. I guess the answer lies in the needs of the moment and the motive of your heart?

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