“God” As Computer

Giulio Prisco comes down to the core of the argument regarding “God” and ‘Evil” and Life itself in the brilliant article below.

Here is the very beautiful core of his argument. I am highlighting those points I find most interesting:

“If reality is a computation, it is probably an incompressible computation with no shortcuts: the only way to know what happens at time t, is to run the computation until time t. Besides some very simple initial configurations, the Game of Life is incompressible: if you want to know what happens at time step t, you must run the program through all intermediate time steps.”

IOW, in order to know what’s going to happen, you must run the program.-Ralph

It makes sense to assume that reality is an incompressible computation, and the universe is the fastest computer that can compute itself. In other words, a 100% complete and accurate prediction of tomorrow’s weather cannot be done in less than 24 hours, and the only way to predict the future with complete accuracy is waiting for the future to happen.

This assumption makes sense because the existence of a faster-than-the-universe computer within the universe would lead to logical contradictions. Suppose you could compute the state of the universe tomorrow faster than the universe itself. The results of the computation will include the color of the shirt that you will wear tomorrow. Then you can invalidate the prediction by simply wearing, tomorrow, a shirt of another color.”

Here is the core of an argument I presented earlier, regarding the “superorganism”:

“That is the hierarchical order of forces that make us as humans part of a “superorganism” composed of a neural net that contributes to our part as a “massive learning machine”. But as Bloom illustrates, both good and evil go into this process, and we are wrong to assume that we can “amputate” evil by organizing into larger units that represent ideals. It is these ideals, in fact, as shown from several sources that contribute to the greatest evils.”

It is likely that the problem with “selfishness” has occurred because each leap in the development of the superorganism has created a corresponding step backwards. As Howard Bloom writes in Global Mind:

“As Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan point out in their brilliant book, Microcosm, multi-celled organisms lost the rapid fire external information exchange, quick-paced inventiveness, and global data sharing of bacteria. With their newly developed nervous systems and brains, multi-celled creatures made awesome contributions to the elaboration of cell-to-cell communication. And with the elaborate facilities in their nuclei, they giant stepped the powers of genetic memory. But their data was now stuck inside the body.”

The early bacteria were the processing centers, single celled, possessing an “identity” of their own. As they began to form more complex multi-celled organisms, they still obviously operated at their own level of information exchange, becoming our “inner circuitry”. The collaboration of these multicelled systems inside our own body operate below our level of consciousness. The brain did not evolved, apparently, to direct this action but to simply be aware that such actions are occurring. While the brain is a “make aware” agent, the interconnections of the tiny systems in our body are “make happen’ agents. We know by “awareness” when they aren’t working right.

It is likely that this awareness functions largely by the operation of memory. The brain “remembers” a state of “normal”, and when change occurs, memory is upset, making the brain “aware”.

Bloom writes:

“Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Lab are convinced that sometime before 200 million B.C., a knowledge accumulator gene called DCREB2 harnessed cyclic AMP for a new purpose–rapid data storage….A multicelled creature could quickly store experience in a nervous system’s circuitry. This opened the way for a swift reprogrammer zoologist Richard Dawkins calls the meme–a habit, a technique, a twist of feeling, a sense of things, which easily flips from brain to brain”.

From this ability “flip from brain to brain” comes a concept called “mirror neurons”. These neurons in the brain see a behavior from a person(or another animal), and draw instant conclusions based on the behavior of that animal. In this “mirror” experience of the neuron, there is essentially no difference between another person performing the act and ourselves performing the act. The behavior is copied on to the brain so completely that we experience “other’ behavior as if it were our own.

How do we know the difference? Because of sensitivity to our external environment. For example, if we see another, as an infant, perform an act such as splashing water on his arm, we may experience that act in our brain as if we actually did it. However, we know it never happened to us, because there is no sensation of water on our arm or body, so it did not happen. In time, we learn to differentiate between internal “mirror neurons” and the external stimuli that tell us it never happened to us.

Since each of us carry the same internal “computers’ inside our system, this is a way in which communal or social signals are quickly internalized for future relations with others. We are naturally social animals.

The problem occurs, and intensifies, when we fail to realize that our “internal circuitry”, that circuitry which develops as a result of mirroring others, is not the only possible reality. Just as the bacteria lost a bit of rapid adaptive ability when becoming part of multicelled systems such as “us”, we have lost part of our adaptability as individuals by being necessarily dependent on others for our social cues and meanings. This is further complicated by the fact that the brain is not a “make happen” agent, but a “make aware’ agent. It functions largely on data storage and memory of what is the normal state, and what decisions should be made to maintain that normalcy. That is, it will make decisions that seek equilibrium with its environment, just as the genes made the same decisions as they formed cartels to create ‘Us”. The brain as creation of this combination, represents a kind of “rest state” of the cooperative workings, and signals the body when something is no longer in equilibrium.

The brain, therefore, seeks a state of equilibrium, of rest, and will make decisions to resist change in those circumstances. This leads to the recent recognition that all disease comes from unanticipated change or stress resulting from such changes. What we call “illness” is basically the body’s “all out” response to change which threatens the integrity of the system. The brain will begin accessing its memory and try to restore equilibrium by tried and tested methods.

Recently, in the field of epigenetics, it has been discovered that nature has found ways to store memory for the defense against future invaders. Dr. Sharon Moalem in the book Survival Of The Sickest, points out that:

“….a large portion of our noncoding DNA is made up of jumping genes–as much as half of it. But the bigger surprise was this–those jumping genes look an awful lot like a very special type of virus–a huge percentage of DNA is related to viruses”.

This in the past has been called “junk DNA” but is more regarded now as a storage of viruses that once perhaps infected our bodies, only to be retained for future reference and combinations should new mutant strains emerge. Even more interesting, in relation to the newborn brain of an infant. Jumping genes, writes Dr. Moalem:

“…are very active in the early stages of brain development, inserting genetic material all over the developing brain…Every time one of those jumper inserts or changes genetic material in brain cells, it’s technically a mutation, and all of the genetic jumping around may have have a very important purpose–it may help to create the variety and individuality that make every brain unique. The developmental frenzy of genetic copy and paste only happens in the brain, because that’s where we benefit from individuality”.

In the March 2006 issue of Discover Magazine is an article about a discovery of the “mimivirus”, a large virus that may have been the precursor of all viral forms on earth. As the article states, new thinking about the virus is that:

“Viruses, long thought to be biology’s hitchhikers, turn out to have been biology’s formative force….All of them lead scientists to the same conclusion: evolution’s archvillain looks more and more like its vital formative force”.

And further:

“If this is true…then we are all basically descended from viruses”.

The virus not only acted to inform, to “cut and paste” genetic DNA across species, but it is also the “jumping genes’ within our own bodies, stored in reserve for future action against viral DNA mutations, and selected apparently by the body to form defenses against future attacks.

But, as I said earlier, the brain formed when the genes could not contain all necessary information. The brain was largely an “awareness” agent, and became a kid of general decision-maker for behaviors that would help ensure survival in the future, such as the command to “run !” when confronting a Tyrannosaurus. The brain acted as a kid of unifier, a nd it made us aware of changes, internally and externally.

However, we should realize, as Dr. Moalem points out:

“The neural network in your brain isn’t the only complex system that welcomes diversity–your immune system does too. In fact, your immune system employs what has got to be the most diverse workforce in history…scientists from Johns Hopkins have linked the immune system’s antibody production mechanism to the behavior of jumping genes”.

The brain, therefore, makes us aware of normal states, because it actions are linked to the function of the immune system. Dr Moalem writes:

“Jumping genes are beginning to look like Mother nature’s version of on-the-fly genetic engineering. The more we understand how they work, the more they may reveal about ow our very genetic structure responds to environmental stress”.

In terms of Giulio’s essay above, we have to conclude that our “internal circuitry” is composed of a biological system that must interact with other biological systems constantly, at a level we cannot consciously fathom. But we are also part of a “universal computer’ that works at a certain speed, and we can’t get faster than the computer to know absolute “good” from ‘bad”. W are biological systems, adapting to change both internally and externally, and we live in a larger system that runs a certain speed and no faster. There simply is no collective process by which we can organize ourselves and know what will happen either biologically or universally before the program, in all its complexity, has run the program.

More Of The Root Of All Evil

From Babylon came Persia in conquest, the Greece, then Rome. In each successive empire, money became “etherialized” from gold and silver coins, to which were added bronze and cheaper metals by Greece, until Rome realized that coin of any metal, with Caesar’s image in it, would serve as “money”.

It is interesting that this concept was recorded in Daniel, chapter two, where King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a great image that troubled him. The head of the great image was of gold, its chest and shoulders of silver. waist and thighs of brass, and legs of iron blending into ten toes of iron and clay mixed.

The king called Daniel, a young Jew well educated in the Babylonian system, who told him that the head was Nebuchadnezzar, the chest and shoulders of silver would represent the next successive kingdom, and brass the one after that. With each emerging empire, the metal cheapened, until it was no more than sand.

With each “etherialization” of money, the power of the empire grew, but it also gained in complexity. While Persia was incredibly massive and powerful, the same etherialization of the alphabetic text that had created mobility of the military class also furnished the competing systems that would overthrow each empire. Babylon had been overthrown by the “barbarian” hordes of Persia, and Persia, in turn, was overthrown by the disdainful “barbarians” of Greece.

The mobility and simplicity by which the alphabet offered education and training to the people was also fueled by the parallel “etherialization of money, which as it became cheaper and cheaper, allowed for greater and diversity, along with greater central control of the system by taxation.

Greece, deeply infected by the alphabet and its linear focus, as we discussed earlier, developed geometry and sciences of reason and logic that propelled it along the path of civilization. With Greece, men began developing the “machinery of thought”, the syllogisms of logic, the linear power of geometry, and the power to connect thoughts in this linear fashion accommodated by mathematics.
As Howard Bloom points out:

“…Rome’s rise was part of the world’s inexorable march to higher levels of form. By force–sometimes sadistic force–she brought an unprecedented mass of squabbling city-states and tribes together. In the process, she allowed an exchange of ideas and goods that radically quickened the pace of progress.”

The superorganism was growing, but it was growing by a more rapid exchange of ideas, cultures, religions, every possible combination offered by a ranging civilization. In the midst of all this, still absorbed as a kind of virus within all the cultures, acting as an adaptive sub-culture, cutting and pasting the developments of civilization with its own Mishna, were the Jews. Rome, writes Bloom, introduced pluralism, an easygoing attitude that allowed diverse cultures to live side by side. Rome further developed the concept of a republic, the form of government later claimed by the United States. As McLuhan pointed out, the Roman soldier became the labor that provided the factories that became the later model of the Western world.

About this same time, as Rome rose to its peak, came the collision of ideas at various levels, including the clash of ideas from Jews who arrived in Israel, coming from the Hellenists of Greece, the orthodox of Jewish faith from other countries, all looking for the kingdom of God that was expected after the fourth empire, and Rome was the fourth empire described in Daniel.

During the peak of this symbolism, of money and ideas, came Jesus, who challenged not only Rome, but the leading legal authorities among the Jews; the Pharisees. The culminating recognition of this symbolism and its effects came when the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar.

Jesus asked for a coin and when one was produced, asked “Whose image is on this coin?” By that question, the Pharisees knew instantly that Jesus referred to the second commandment, in which they Jews were forbidden to make or bow down to any image of any kind on heaven or earth. Roman soldiers and citizens would not have noticed this answer, but the Pharisees k new its implications, They were NOT to pay taxes to Caesar.

It was at this point in history that a direct challenge came to the superorganism, which, until that time, was allowed to grow and conquer. Jesus had directly challenged the organizing symbolism of both money and state in its rapid growth.

While it is argued that Rome killed Jesus, and not the Jews, or that Jews killed Jesus, and he started his church at Rome, the fact is, he challenged a force that had been developing for centuries, proclaiming that Jews were to pay taxes to no one, that the law even demanded only that tithes be paid voluntarily.

During this growth of world history, the Jews had been busy cutting and pasting, organizing, building toward their view of the kingdom of God as their only duty on earth. Yet Jesus, himself a Jew, challenged the authority of their leading experts in law and religion, and his message was about true individual freedom, not the claptrap later invented by Constantine.

“God” And The “Root Of All Evil”

As we have seen in the development of history, civilizations as part of an overall superorganism, develop more streamined methods of organization. The historian Toynbee, as pointed out by McLuhan, called it “etherialization”, and Buckminster Fuller called it “ephemeralization“, which simply means “doing more and more with less and less“.

Thomas Greco introduced this idea in his first book, Money And Debt: A Solution To The Global Crisis. In that book, he pointed out the process of etherialization, and also intrioduced the idea of “executive and formulative information” as developed by Mark Kinney. He further pointed out that “money validates knowledge”, a quote attributed to me.

In general, cultures and civilizations form around “formulative” information, and then begin to operate according to “executive’ information, that is, the form of information that helps them ‘execute’ functions in the process of organization and maintenance. In the process of this maintenance, money will tend to validate the knowledge presented to extend the system. Those who contribute best and most to maintenance of the system tend to get more money.

Money, as a medium of exchange, developed later than the alphabetic texts that allowed for greater integration of systems. By that, I am referring to the process by which money became an integrative force in parallel with those developing systems.

It is one thing for any system to learn how to exist according to its own inner symbolic circuitry, but what of exchanges with other systems that possess commodities which the system needs?

In Babylon, two basic forms of written and text communications had competed, with the Jews developing the one that proved to be the more effective later. But in terms of money, Babylon had a very poor system for adjusting and exchanging differences with its neighbors. Babylon, much like Israel, had a system of weights and balances for its money. Historians have pointed out that Babylon, even with its simpler text, also had a priestly caste that valued gold, and used the services of temple prostitutes to lure gold from men traveling through the area. This is referenced by the “whores of Babylon” biblically. While this collection of gold served as value for Babylon, the whole process depended on exchange by the use of “shekels” or weight systems that were divided into larger and smaller portions for exchange.

As trade and influence increased with neighboring cultures, this form of currency proved to be less and less integrative to accompany the development of world trade by those Jews who were working with laws of commerce. This, in fact, has reference biblically in what is called the “handwriting on the wall”, in which the Babylonian king, shortly before the nation’s collapse, is told “you are weighed in the balance and found wanting”. While today we would see it as the “scales of justice”, in that time, weighing in the balance was their form of exchange. the equal balance of value.

If the transition from cuneiform to alphabet had provided for an “etherialization” of communication, with resultant concepts reduced to the interchangeable linearity of the alphabet, a parallel etherialization would be need for money. This, as most all technologies in the superorganism, was introduced and spread by war.

Persia, which would conquer Babylon once and for all, was far more massively organized over time, but their advance and integration was aided by something that accelerated the exchange process: the use of coinage, developed in ancient Lydia.
Coins were pre-weighed. They had been measured in advance, and their use and value was simplified, since travelers could simply carry them in their clothing or purses. This value for value exchange was greatly simplified and accelerated, allowing for Persia’s much greater expansion and organization. The representative value of money, as pre-weighed, controlled by standardization, was quite useful to the state, who quickly saw the relation between the state and control of coinage.

By the use of coinage, money could be recognized as an iconic symbol of value, but the control of issuance was necessary, giving expansive power to the state for standardization and regulation.

While money in ancient cultures was a commodity such as whales teeth, or tobacco in the Virginia colony, or “wampum” for indians, it developed a symbolic value as coinage, along with the development of the alphabet as symbolic internal communication. The use of symbol in alphabet, and the use of symbol with coinage, became iconic, a corporate “sum’ of all community values, accumulated by different persons. Hierarchies of wealth. Money was “corporate”, or even better, a “corporeal” representative that , as a system of symbols, would be subject to future manipulations.

The problem with the Jews, however, is that they were forbidden to use such iconic symbols of value and make, bow down to, or worship in any fashion.(Second Commandment).

As McLuhan writes:

“Money, like writing, has the power to specialize and to rechannel human energies and to separate functions, just as it translates and reduces one kind of work to another. Even in the electronic age it has lost none of its power”.

Money, as pre-weighed coinage in the form of gold and silver, had value everywhere, and allowed for trade worldwide with very few restrictions except the demand that its weight was constant. Putting the state in charge of it, however, allowed greedy men to “shave” coins from time to time, and demand that the same value of exchange be used for coins of less metallic value.

This, of course, is well documented by a number of writers who point out that the reduction of money to purely symbolic value(pictures of presidents on paper, and digital currencies manipulated by computers) can be manipulated virtually any way a state wishes. The “superorganism” can alter itself almost at a whim, while the people have no way of grasping the implications of these changes.

The “etherialization” of money from commodity to “pure symbol” means that virtually any social process can be given “currency” by iconic means. That is, we can create the “corporate image” of most any project, and expand it by using the symbolic value of money. This, in fact, is precisely the thing the Jews were forbidden to do by the second commandment.

The issue of creating social, corporate images by iconic methods is part and parcel with the electronic age, where both money and information become one single process. As Michael Linton pointed out, “Money is the information by which we deploy our productive efforts”.

In the mechanical age which followed the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, money was the form of currency that developed parallel to the needs of mechanical functions, such as expansion of empire, and THEN the use for other forms of wealth creation.

As print, with introduction of the Gutenberg Bible, had introduced the social stress on linearity, uniformity, and standardization, so money had become the same process, via coinage of standardization, and repitition, which was not only a key element in the development and control of wealth, but also was a basic component of the genetic strategy: replication and standardization. The alphabet, printing press, and money, became the focal point by which the “genetic replicative algorithm” expressed itself.

McLuhan points out, in regard to money, that:

“It is action at a distance, both in space and in time, In a highly literate, fragmented society, ‘Time is money’, and money is the store of other people’s time and effort”.

Whoever controls the issuance of money, therefore, controls the values of society. It takes no special genius to recognize the connection. The problem we face now, however, is that money as mechanical store of value and control of issuance to support mechanical functions, is facing the same crisis that was faced when Babylon collapsed with its weights and balances system. Money as a store of value for labor is being replaced by automation, which is electronic and does not represent physical work as much as it represents programmed knowledge.

McLuhan writes:

“As work is replaced by the sheer movement of information, , money as a store of work merges with the informational forms of credit and credit card. From coin to paper currency, and from currency to credit card there is a steady progression toward commercial exchange as the movement of information itself. This…approaches once more the character of tribal money. For tribal society, not knowing the specialties of jobs or work, does not specialize money either. Its money can be eaten, drunk, or worn…Today, electric technology puts the very concept of money in jeopardy, as the new dynamics of human interdependence shift from fragmenting media such as the printing press to inclusive or mass media like the telegraph(or television).”

Until very recently, language based on the alphabet and print technology acted as a storehouse of information that was standardized and controlled by the issuers. Words and knowledge controlled by publishers, money controlled by banks for the same specialist functions in parallel with printed word. When technologies shifted from print to telegraph to radio and then TV, the iconic form and image took precedence, and power shifted to those who controlled the iconic form.

In all this, however, language has acted as a store of perception and experience, and as transmitter of perceptions from one generation to another. Language, as spoken word, requires the whole brain, as Shlain pointed out, and therefore represents the need for the ‘gestalt” of human experience. Religion has maintained contact with this by the use of spoken “sermons” and “preaching’ to small groups, trying to maintain the full value of the human condition and awareness.

The idea of “separation of church and state”, therefore, is merely a separation of different forms of communication: the gestalt of the spoken or articulated word, and the single left-brain dominant focus of the organized government.

When this separation is extended, as we shall see, the government extends itself and the “superorganism” becomes purely mechanical and oppressive over the people.