Sounding Circle - Category: Futurism

Saturday, January 28, 2006day link 

 Quotes from "Megatrends 2010"0 comments
28 Jan 2006 @ 17:50
This is from Patricia Aburdene the auther of Megatrends.

Quotes from "Megatrends 2010":

The seven new Megatrends:

1. The Power of Spirituality
2. The Dawn of Conscious Capitalism
3. Leading From the Middle
4. Spirituality in Business
5. The Values-Driven Consumer
6. The Wave of Conscious Solutions
7. The Socially Responsible Investment Boom

"Megatrends 2010 explores the quest for morals and meaning in
business within the legal confines of modern capitalism, a world
where public firms are bound by law to maximize shareholder return.
What is both remarkable and largely unheralded, however, is that
corporate morality often correlates with superior performance. In
other words, plenty of `good guys' are trouncing the Standard &
Poors (S&P) 500!" (p. xxiii)

"Business does not possess the power to prevent people from
transforming. Yet there's little wonder why we think it does! The
business world often portrayed on CNBC and in `The Wall Street
Journal' boasts, not just a single-minded passion for turning a
buck, but unmatched devotion to assassinating any high-minded ideal
that might get in the way.
"Well, guess what? Mainstream business is under siege, from
activists and regulators, as expected, but even from investors. And
all the barricades in the world cannot prevent it. Because the most
dangerous adversary of all ­ a transformed individual ­ lies within
and we are IT. Whether spiritual CEO, activist middle manager or
visionary entrepreneur, we've opened our minds and expanded our
hearts and there is no shutting either of them down." (p. 3)

"What business leaders need more than anything else is exactly what
Spirit offers: The power of self-mastery. Self-knowledge and
personal mastery, the fruits of spiritual practice, are also key to
the worldly pursuits of leadership, high performance, power. Yet,
self-mastery is sorely missing in business (not to mention
politics). The failure of self-mastery is often the downfall of
leadership. And the most reliable route to self-mastery is personal
spiritual discipline ­ reflection, journaling, meditation ­ the sort
of activity designed to force busy, stressed-out, Type A people to
sit still and simple be. True, spiritual practice will lift your
consciousness and bring you closer to the Divine ­ but there's a
mundane benefit as well: the clear thinking it nurtures will prevent
you from making costly mistakes!" (p. 131)

Patricia Aburdene is a world-renown speaker, best-selling author and
passionate advocate of corporate transformation. Coauthor of four
previous Megatrends books, Patricia has addressed business audiences
throughout the world. Her 25-year career in business journalism
began at Forbes magazine. In recognition for Megatrends for Women,
she was appointed public policy fellow at Radcliff College, where
she explored emerging models of leadership. Patricia later embarked
on new studies integrating business research and spirituality. She
now inspires audiences with a concrete blueprint of how values,
consciousness and leadership will heal modern capitalism. Patricia
holds three honorary doctorates and received the Medal of Italy in
1990 for her interpretation of global trends. She resides in
Cambridge, Massachusetts and Telluride, Colorado.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004day link 

 The Prophecies of the Hopi People4 comments
7 Jan 2004 @ 00:10
The Prophecies of the Hopi People

As you wind your way through the prophecies on this site and those you may find elsewhere, you would do well to pay particular attention to the accuracy of those of the Hopi People. Their prophecies are not written in obscure, archaic language, hidden away in dusty tomes. Hopi Elders pass these warnings to the next generations through word of mouth and with reference to ancient rock drawings and tablets, keeping track of those that have been fulfilled and paying close attention to warning signs.

The following portion is from The Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters. This tidbit of Hopi prophecy, probably the only portion shared with whites at the time, has been reproduced many, many times and is usually the first glimpse of Hopi Prophecy that one encounters when researching the subject.  More >

Friday, October 17, 2003day link 

 Bioneering Into the Future0 comments
17 Oct 2003 @ 08:48
Bioneering Into the Future
Matt Wheeland, AlterNet
October 16, 2003
Viewed on October 17, 2003

For the next five days, Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area will be overrun by leading lights in environmental activism and progressive politics. The 13th annual Bioneers Conference will once again showcase inspiring solutions to the world's pressing problems.

Where else but at Bioneers could you meet a man who uses mushrooms to clean up hazardous waste; hear a 24-year-old supermodel and a tree-sitter turned environmental spokeswoman discuss youth activism; and learn how urban areas are turning abandoned city blocks into abundant garden plots?

Founded in 1990 by Kenny Ausubel, Bioneers is an organization that can hold many such ideas under its umbrella. And because the group is focused primarily on solutions, Bioneers conferences are inspiring, joy-filled occasions to learn about progress on social and environmental issues, as well as meet other forward-thinkers who are making change happen in their communities.

Brahm Ahmadi, a co-founder of the People's Grocery in West Oakland, Calif., has been attending the Bioneers conference for several years. This year, he will be part of a panel discussing how urban agriculture can revitalize urban areas economically and ecologically. "The main benefits we get from Bioneers are continued contact with and inspiration from the work of others," Ahmadi said.

Those contacts have played a key role in furthering Ahmadi's work. Thanks to people and ideas encountered at Bioneers, the People's Grocery has begun work on bioremediation for polluted areas of West Oakland.

The idea of bioremediation is simple: Use nature's various tools to clean up humanity's messes. Some of this year's Bioneers presenters have spent their lives developing bioremediation techniques. John Todd, president of Ocean Arks International, has created methods of using contained ecosystems like fish and coral to purify sewage and wastewater. John Stamets has pioneered the field of mycoremediation, using mushrooms to break down industrial and chemical spills.

While bioremediation is still in its infancy, the Bioneers conference allowed residents of West Oakland to access information that would otherwise not be available to them. The primary methods for bioremediation involve going through the EPA, which requires large-scale and capital intensive projects unavailable to low-income areas and nonprofit groups.

"Bioneers has the potential for democratizing this sort of information," Ahmadi says. Thanks to the conference, his organization is able to learn about low- and no-cost methods to expand their work. With each new year of growth, Bioneers is able to reach more communities and stimulate more change.

Bioneers founder Kenny Ausubel anticipates even faster growth in coming years. "The prospects for growth are limitless and global," Ausubel says. "Bioneers is an elegant model because what it does is tie into and support local organizing efforts."

One key aspect of Bioneers' expansion is the Beaming Bioneers program, now in its second year. The first Beaming Bioneers program reached four locations around the U.S. and one in Toronto. This year's conference will be broadcast to 12 locations.

These satellite conferences promoted local organizing and allowed groups that couldn't travel to Marin to interact with conference attendees. Already, three countries have asked to participate in future conferences, and more sites in North America will surely come online.

Among the many highlights of this year's sold-out conference include "What is Socially Responsible Business" with Paul Hawken, Ben Cohen and Susan Davis; "Mitigating Global Warming" with Jared Blumenfeld and Elisa Lynch; "Genetic Engineering: Giving Biology the Business" with Lawrence Bohlen, Percy Schmeiser, Andrew Kimbrell and Ronnie Cummins; and "Reining In the Power of Giant Corporations" with Kevin Danaher, Jeff Milchen, and Ilyse Hogue.

Sunday, June 1, 2003day link 

 Scientists Consider Posthuman Possibilities0 comments
picture 1 Jun 2003 @ 20:47
Orgoborgs, GEborgs, Cyborgs, Symborgs & Technoborgs

Scientists Consider Posthuman Possibilities and Radical Scenarios for Humanity's Evolution

Better Humans 5-25-03

Popular culture is abuzz with new terminology. Genetic engineering. Cyborgs. Artificial intelligence. Consciousness uploading. Singularity. Posthumanism.

The term " posthuman " in particular seems to be gaining more and more currency with each passing year -- especially in the media and academia, and among the techno-intelligentsia.

Futurists such as Alvin Toffler suggest that the world is moving fast towards a "fourth wave" in which humans will transition themselves into posthumans, thanks to multiple and simultaneous advances of technology. Such a change has been described by some experts as analogous to when apes evolved into humans.

Yet, as futurists make these grand prognostications -- as we casually toss the term "posthuman" back and forth -- do we really know what's in store for Homo sapiens? Just how will we "improve" ourselves? What do we really mean when we refer to the posthuman physical condition? Just what, exactly, is the grand potential for intelligent life? What does advanced intelligence look like?

Speculations On Posthuman Organisms

As we begin to ride the wave into human redesign, the destination is still largely unknown. But despite all the unanswered questions, we have a number of clues that can help us speculate as to what we truly mean by the posthuman organism -- including the striking acknowledgement that in all likelihood not just one type of posthuman awaits us, but several.

We will re-engineer our biological constitutions, and introduce silicon, steel and microchips into ourselves. Some may choose to reside in computers as conscious wave patterns, while others will convert themselves into durable robots and venture out into space.

Simultaneously, we will create entirely new forms of life, including artificial intelligence and perhaps even a global consciousness.

Humanity's monopoly as the only advanced sentient life-form on the planet will soon come to an end, supplemented by a number of posthuman incarnations. Moreover, how we re-engineer ourselves could fundamentally change the ways in which our society functions, and raise crucial questions about our identities and moral status as human beings.

Advancing Technologies, Advancing Possibilities

New developments in science and technology are occurring so fast that some might begin to overwhelm our capacities to adapt to change. Personal computers did not exist 30 years ago, cell phones did not exist 20 years ago and the World Wide Web did not exist 10 years ago.

In the biological sciences, similar achievements have been made since the discovery of DNA's structure in 1953, including new medicines, bioengineering and cloning technologies.

Additionally, in 2002, a living creature -- the polio virus -- was assembled piece by piece with several biochemicals by scientists at New York State University. We built life in the lab.

With the mapping of the human genome, cloning, and the creation of life in a laboratory now crossed off biologists' to-do lists, we are beginning to ponder future possibilities. Today, such things as nanotechnology and cryonics seem more plausible than ever.

The pace of change is not only very fast but it also accelerating. Some experts such as Ray Kurzweil speculate about a coming " singularity ," in which artificial intelligence and artificial life-forms will overtake human intelligence and human life. Slow biological evolution seems to be fast approaching a dead end: Our species will continue changing not through old and slow biological evolution, but through new, fast and directed technological evolution.

Already today many boundaries are blurring. Boundaries between birth and death, between virtual and real, between morality and immorality, between truth and falsity, between inner and outer worlds, between me and "non" me, between life and "non" life, even between natural and "non" natural. What is life? What is death? What is "non" life? What is natural life? What is "non" natural life? What is artificial life?

These are all deep questions for the new and profound world of transhumanism and subsequent posthumanism. The answers are complicated. And they might be as difficult for us to comprehend as many of our current problems might seem to monkeys, or even to ants.

From Transhuman To Posthuman

As the possibility for conscious human redesign has emerged, so too has a philosophical movement that considers the implications. This approach to future-oriented thinking, known as transhumanism, works on the premise that the human species does not represent the end of human evolution but, rather, its beginning. Its proponents believe that what is required to manage the process is an interdisciplinary approach to assist us in understanding and evaluating the possibilities for overcoming biological limitations through scientific progress.

Ultimately, transhumanists hope to see technological opportunities expanded for people, so that they may live longer and healthier lives and enhance their intellectual, physical and emotional capacities.

Transhumanism emphasizes that we have the potential not just to "be" but to "become." Not only can we use rational means to improve the human condition and the external world, but we can also use them to improve ourselves, namely the human organism. And we are not limited only to the methods, such as education, which humanism (its philosophical precursor) normally espouses.

Rather, transhumanists argue, we will have the means that will eventually enable us to move beyond what most would describe as human. Transhumanists believe that, through the accelerating pace of technological development and scientific understanding, we are entering a whole new stage in human history. Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, bioengineering, cloning, cryonics, nanotechnology, new energies, mind uploading , dietary interventions, "designer babies," cyborgs , molecular chemistry, telecommunications, space exploration, immortality and virtual reality will lead to substantial physical and mental augmentation, possibly converging at a "singularity" point.

Still, the historical human desire to transcend bodily and mental limitations is deeply intertwined with a human fascination with new knowledge, which might be both inspiring and frightening. How these technologies are used could fundamentally change the character of our society, and irrevocably alter the definitions of ourselves and how we have assessed our place in the larger scheme of things.

Emerging Species

If we believe that biological evolution has reached a limit, what will come next?

Finnish engineer Pentti Malaska tried to answer this question in 1997 during a speech in Brisbane, Australia, while he was president of the World Futures Studies Federation. Malaska speculates about several bioengineered nonhuman generations in the pipeline of evolution. Specifically, he describes the emergence of what he calls Bio-orgs, Cyborgs, Silorgs, Symborgs and the Global Brain.

Bio-orgs, namely Homo sapiens, are protein-coded bio-organisms whose earthly infrastructure is their "natural" surrounding. Cyborgs, short for "cybernetic organisms," are biological and mechanical hybrids that in addition to traditional environments use the "near space."

Silicon organisms are also likely to emerge, known as Silorgs. This species, claims Malaska, will be humanlike nonhumans, fashioned by coding artificial DNA onto silicon compounds with ammonium as a solvent and intended basically for living in outer space.

Symborgs, a "symbolic organism," will be self-reflective, self-reproducing, self-conscious, "living programs" living within the Internet as their "natural" infrastructure and using advanced interfaces to function with other species. Also known as avatars, these organisms may essentially reside in supercomputers as uploaded consciousnesses.

Finally, speculated Malaska, there will be the "Grandparent Internet" -- a global mind with superior intelligence and wisdom. Such an intellect could very well be a Quantum Global Brain.

Australian economist Paul Wildman, also an active member of the WFSF and of the Millennium Project (of the American Council for the United Nations University), further talks about alternate Forms Of Life. Wildman uses the concept "borg" in its historical and generic sense to identify a Bionic "ORGanism," and defines five such terrestrial borgs: Orgoborgs, GEborgs, Cyborgs, Symborgs and Technoborgs.

Wildman describes Orgoborgs as organic Forms Of Life, including Humborgs (humans) and new and hybrid bioengineered Bioborgs. GEborgs are genetically engineered organisms, while Cyborgs, Siliborgs, and Symborgs are essentially as Malaska describes them. Wildman also described the Technoborg, a Form Of Life with an external skeleton, much like an insect.

According to Wildman, some of these new life-forms already exist in a technical sense, since 12% of the current USA population could be considered incipient "cyborgs" that use electronic pacemakers, artificial joints, drug implant systems, implanted corneal lenses and artificial skin. All the Forms Of Life are our creations and will be populating our world and remaking us genetically and mechanically and thereby changing our consciousness forever.

Moral Implications

While humanity will undoubtedly express itself in a number of different incarnations, it will subsequently give birth to an entirely new form of life: Artificial intelligence. The future will be populated by several different forms of intelligent life, and humanity is already attempting to reconcile the implications, particularly those in the moral realm.

The word "robot" was created in 1921 by the Czech playwright Karel Capek in his book RUR (Rossum's Universal Robots). It was immortalized in 1950 by Isaac Asimov in his book I, Robot.

Throughout his fiction, Asimov addressed the integration of robots into society. To this end, he developed the famous Three Laws of Robotics:

1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Asimov eventually improved his system and extrapolated the Zeroth Law: A robot may not injure humanity or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. He also modified the other Three Laws accordingly.

On a separate front, futurist Phil McNally and Pakistani futurist Sohail Inayatullah wrote "The Rights of Robots" in 1987, and feminist Donna Haraway published "A Cyborg Manifesto" in 1984. Both are important documents that defend robots and cyborgs on their own right.

Robotics expert Hans Moravec authored two books addressing the rise of robots and the resultant implications on the future, Mind Children in 1988 and Robot in 1999. Moravec argues that robots will be our rightful descendants and he explains several ways to "upload" a mind into a robot.

Similarly, Marvin Minsky, one of the fathers of artificial intelligence at MIT, wrote his very famous 1994 article "Will robots inherit the Earth?" in Scientific American. Here, he concludes: "Yes, but they will be our children."

As these authors and thinkers suggest, we need to start preparing ourselves for the coming robot and artificial intelligence realities. To ease the transition into a posthuman condition, we must ready ourselves for the distinct possibility that Earth will be inherited by not one, but several forms of highly intelligent and sentient life-forms.

The Human Seed

The human body is a good beginning, but we can certainly improve it, upgrade it and transcend it.

Evolution through natural selection may be ending, but technological evolution has only started accelerating noticeably very recently. Technology, which started to exhibit some dominance over biological processes for the first time some 100,000 years ago, is finally overtaking biology as the science of life.

As fuzzy logic theorist Bart Kosko has said: "Biology is not destiny. It was never more than tendency. It was just nature's first quick and dirty way to compute with meat. Chips are destiny." (And photo-qubits might come soon after standard silicon-based chips, but even they are only an intermediate means for eternal intelligent life in the universe.)

In the way to becoming permanent rational "demiurge" of space and time, it is vital to be aware that even more important than to create is to not destroy. As US author David Zindell has written: "What is a human being, then? A seed. A seed? An acorn that is unafraid to destroy itself in growing into a tree."

José Cordeiro studied engineering at MIT, economics at Georgetown University and finance at INSEAD in France. He is president of the World Future Society (Venezuela) and cofounder of the Venezuelan Transhumanist Association. He has also worked for NASA and UNIDO, and has written several books about different aspects of the future of Latin America.

Saturday, March 1, 2003day link 

 The School Of Heartbreak2 comments
picture1 Mar 2003 @ 11:44
My aquaintance Daniel Foster from the invisible Theater sent me this recently.

It's a long read, yet well thought out. The author, Evan Hodkins has an intriguing take on the perversions of (average) community -- and the possibilities of what Hodkins calls "communitas".


By Evan Hodkins

Community, even when intently devoted to harmony, routinely degenerates into a splintered collection of untamed egos, each ardently peddling their precious agendas in the form of dogmas, goals or style.

The ego specializes in divisiveness-it is angered when expectations go unmet, or sulky and self-piteous when slighted. As C. S. Lewis observed, the true slogan of hell is-- "I have my rights!" There are casualties within groups. Discord is the soup of the day. Paradise gets fractured. And, sooner or later--just wait your turn--everybody will be stabbed in the back, slandered, demeaned! Community is guaranteed heartbreak.

Jung likened democracy, the very heartbeat of American society, to a chronically sublimated battle, or prolonged civil war. It was, he thought, a modest attempt to add a dash of creativity to the circus of political aggression. Politics, more than anything, is the enshrinement of the ego on a collective scale. Power, employed capriciously, can ruthlessly slice the gizzard out of any cooperative enterprise.

Community intensifies frictional entanglements and fosters the proliferation of peevishness. It exponentially amplifies karmic misfortunes. It's a magic theater, replete with endless reflectivity, wherein the undigested aspects of our personal shadow is conveniently deposited, as if by dreaming, upon an unsuspecting other. Meanwhile, one projection engenders a counter-projection, as the favor is returned in kind. Prickly, jagged, reprehensible stuff--you won't get this kind of unpalatable feed-back just anywhere!

Colliding egos eventually cancel each other out. The rancor of one member insures the annihilation of another. Once crushed, however, we all sneak sullenly away from the School of Heartbreak, into the Wasteland of Despair, to pout in isolation and lick our wounds. Community handily scores another fatality as we fatefully resign ourselves to terminal hermit-hood.

How will we ever, in the words of W. H. Auden, learn "to love our crooked neighbor with our crooked heart?" Speaking esoterically--community is the unwitting instrument of the ego's demise, the agent of un-selfing, the slaughter-house for narcissistic agendas, providing an efficient means for the thorough pulverization of any residual conceits. Ironically, it is precisely our justifiable abhorrence of community that, in fact, awakens our considerable craving for something more. Once magnificently splayed by the banal bickerings and petty acrimony of your average community, we are then rendered perfectly heart-broken candidates for true communitas.

Click "more" for rest of article.  More >

Thursday, February 27, 2003day link 

 Palindromatic Systems0 comments
picture27 Feb 2003 @ 14:16
So here's a thought. Maybe, and I say maybe, 'cause I think It's All made up anyway, all self organizing systems, i.e. Life, is a three dimensional palindrome, where everything meets in the middle, the center, the still point where all things are born and all things return.

A Palindrome is a word, phrase, verse, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward. Like "Damn! I, Agassi, miss again! Mad!"

Letecia sent me this really fun site, since she knows I love palindromes. Not that I ever make them up, but I am fascinated by the concept and how it might apply to consciousness.  More >

Wednesday, February 26, 2003day link 

 Prophets Conference2 comments
picture26 Feb 2003 @ 08:03
Well honestly I've never been to one of these conferences, however, I do support the vision of a coming together of multi-disciplinary minds,hearts and bodies to see whatform organizes itself out of the chaos.

Here's the latest info. and schedule on the Prophets Conference. Maybe someone who has been to one has more to say.


Now, more than ever, we need to join together with others of like mind and find ways of navigating ourselves through these radical times of uncertainty.

Coming together in the Florida Keys is an exceptional group of committed souls faculty members and a community of delegates coming from as far as the UK to the east and Hawaii to the west, to ferret out possible solutions to our current personal and global challenges.

If you are not able to join this exceptional gathering in the Florida Keys, we encourage you to show up somewhere, in your community of kindred spirits, and share your voices. Make a difference. Strengthen your spirit. We need to come together now.

The tropical warmth and beauty of the Florida Keys, coupled with the significant energy and information, has the potential to make an impact in our personal and collective consciousness.

There are many ways to join this gathering for the full weekend, one day or days (one-day passes) or individual presentations (single presentation tickets). Or tapes, following the conference. Tickets will be available at the door. We all need to show up somewhere, in someway. Now.

If you have the ability to join the Florida Keys conference, please come and be part of this gathering. Inexpensive lodging is available in the nearby areas of Islamorada, Marathon and Key Largo. Your voice and spirit matter.

Full information is linked for you at Great Mystery.

A few low cost early registration incentives are still available for the Sedona, Stanford, and Oxford conferences. Early Registration Discount.

Schedule of speakers is on the next page.  More >

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