Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)

Self-Control Seizure, Panic, Desperation


Self-Control Seizure. 1

Successfully crashing the control-system.. 1

Cybernetics & consciousness. 5

Entheogens and Fear of Death. 6

Film review of A.I.: "cybernetic psychosis" 8

Radical freedom w/ radical unfreedom.. 11


Self-Control Seizure

Self-control seizure is of utmost importance for the ego death experiential insight.  Persephone is suddenly snatched away by Hades; the Eagle of Zeus suddenly swoops down from the heavens to carry off one's child-self.  This empire with its egoic controller/governor archons is unstable and cannot stand; the new era of the new empire is stable and divinely approved and will stand endlessly; will not fall.

Ideally I would blast out a fresh writeup here.  But first I need to check whether a great description is already at my Web site.  My fresh writeups are usually clearer and more on-topic than the verbiage at my website.  Sometimes I can hardly find decent writeups of basic concepts at my site, though I think and assume and feel like they are there, but I can't find any such.

The nature of self-control seizure is largely though not ideally spelled out at http://www.egodeath.com/intro.htm in the sections

The Instability of Self-Control Cybernetics, the Control Vortex, and Self-Cancelling Control

The Pre-set Stream of Injected Thoughts, Puppethood, and the Inability to Control Future Actions

Self-Distrust, Self-Violation of Personal Control, and Needing a Higher-Level Controller

Or at http://www.egodeath.com/#MainTheory in the sections

Self-Control Cybernetics

The Strange Loop of Personal Control

Dissociative Destabilization of Self-Control Cybernetics

Inability to Restrain: Transcendence of Guidance Systems

Dissociative Loss of Self-Control Cognition

Successfully crashing the control-system

Mark wrote:

>my disagreement with your whole ego-death philosophy. ... a grand attempt at rationalizing a bad trip into something divine. Your multiple uses of oxymorons like "divine madness" and "divine psychosis" are dead giveaways.

You think you can wave aside Dionysian madness so easily, empowered by modern psychology.

>pain's only gift is to teach us how to avoid its repetition.

There are different kinds of pain.  Dead and resurrected mystery-religion gods brought a kind of pain and a kind of transcendence of it.  Many people in many circumstances can relate to some types of pain.

>... your machinations as mostly obsessions with pain. You only describe a bad trip. ... your position could easily be emanating from inside a clinical disorder.

Szasz would question the validity of that category, "clinical disorder".

>A true psychotic would feel similarly about the nature of pain and bad trips.

Would he?  Read Louis Sass' book Madness and Modernism, as well as Szasz.  We should have some respect for some of the insights brought by psychosis and more or less psychotomimetic states of consciousness.

>That is the nature of clinical psychosis: its obsession/attraction to dysfunctional pain.

Perhaps.  I have not seen clinical psychosis characterized as fixation on dysfunctional pain.

>Did you suffer a violent or abusive childhood?

If I did not, your argument collapses; you are on unsteady ground in terms of debate.

>If you are clinically schizo ...

>pain is not a necessary component of ecstasy.

What is this "pain" you speak of?  Do you think we should best characterize the dying-and-rising gods of the mystery-religions as representing this sort of "pain"?  You would as soon dismiss love if it involves pain.  

We can define the term "pain", or "suffering", to include the humiliation experienced during initiation when the ordinarily assumed sense of being a power-wielding control-agent is deeply called into question. 

This is the real meaning of the "suffering" the mystery-savior undergoes during the dissociative state -- the suffering of watching one's assumed power evaporate, as one's former conception of oneself is abducted to the land of the no-longer-living.

>Pain may be initially unavoidable en route to it, but the/its point is to dissolve it.

You assert that among all types or definitions of pain, the only possible goal of the pain is to eliminate the pain.  That is too rigid and dogmatic of a view.  Some kinds of mystic "suffering" have long been associated with enlightenment and transcendence. 

You declare the dark night of the soul to be a mere psychological dysfunction, something we should only seek to avoid.

>Pain is just a teaching tool of negative reinforcement;

Is that its only potential?  The mystery-religions have a higher way of thinking: mystic suffering, loss, humiliation, and defeat.

>its only value is to point us in the direction of its opposite. Trouble is, sometimes it is so intense that it leaves a scar of confusion.

Such a simple, black-and-white doctrine -- "all suffering is pain, bad, undesirable, dysfunction; pleasure is good".  What do you think about bondage sex-play, which claims that pain and pleasure can be interestingly intermingled?  Have you only read modern psychology books? 

Your rigid reasoning would hold that melancholy poetry is dysfunction, as well.  We should always seek the positive, because every negative experience can only hold mere dysfunction.

Michael wrote:

>>Ecstasy is not simply bliss, confidence and power -- it may be a delusion of power, disproved.

Mark wrote:

>But then it would not be so ecstatic, would it? Do you think this is my situation?

Michael wrote:

>>Go ahead, expect power and control,

Mark wrote:

>No. That is not part of the technique. It happens to be an end product, but is not a route.

Michael wrote:

>but don't be surprised if control evades control and cancels itself out.  Such a result is one of the classic discoveries delivered by plant teachers.

Mark wrote:

>There is a criteria by which one can judge validity: if the "loss of control" is unpleasant, the "control" was what you describe (more fear-based than anything). There is no more "control" here than a wish to fulfill a desire. If that's your "control", call me a "control freak" if you must.

>Obviously, if your situation transpired, something went wrong. And that would be something other than what I am describing (likely the opposite), regarding my experience and technique. I think I am familiar with your experience-related advice; I have had plenty of similar ones. It is not a successful experience.

Yes, the egoic mental model or egoic operating system, which is shot through with buggy logic, went wrong and successfully crashed, as it is designed and destined to do.  This control-crash is the successful location of the doorway to developing a more coherent mental model of oneself as controller moving through time. 

To reach transcendent maturity, you must experience this egoic control-crash.  If you have not, then you are an innocent virgin and have not yet undergone the sacred marriage ceremony which culminates in the climax of the self-cancellation of control-power.


>>Ecstasy is optimal mental health, psychosis is a tragic mental disorder, so what is ecstatic psychosis, or Dionysian divine madness?


>Well, I'm not sure, but if it's painful, I fear it is true clinical insanity.

You seem an expert on clinical insanity, yet you know nothing about the religion of Dionysus.  There is more to human potential than the 20th-century humanistic psychology fathoms.  The philosopher who strives for relevance must broaden his vocabulary beyond that of his local time and town.


>>If you have optimal mental health, all the more likely you will discover divine psychosis.


>And I fear that would be the typical wording of a sufferer of one of the acute or chronic mental disorders: to make pain divine, worship & obsess with it.

I don't know what books give you that view of mental disorder as worshipping pain.  Great books such as Louis Sass' Madness and Modernism paint a more richly detailed and complex view of madness.


>>Tragedy was observed in the genre of Greek Attic Tragedy, in which the person's power was experienced as nullified by Fate and inevitability -- a favorite sacred theme of the ancient Greeks.


>Yes, well the dysfunctional obsession with pain has been with us for a very long time. As a species, survival has been a violent experience and we carry that with us. It is, in better wording, an attraction to pain because of its familiarity.

So, your theory of Greek Attic Tragedy is that it was just a dysfunctional obsession with pain.  That is not a very compelling explanation.  Scholars, if not humanists, are less hasty at dismissing the origins of our Western culture.


>>Ecstasy is life supporting, while psychosis is harmful. But more relevantly, what is life supporting is to be willing to do anything, be willing to think anything, be willing to will anything, and yet act constructively rather than destructively. Be willing to destroy, yet be committed to life-protecting constructiveness.


>I might need some rewording of all that. For example: give an example - "destroy" what? You almost sound like you might be describing a propensity for violence.

The transcendent mind attains full control over the will, proven by willingness to destroy oneself *as* an agent who is in control of the will -- willingness to be crucified *as* a sovereign, free, self-commanding moral agent.

If we truly are intent upon gaining full control over the mind, this means gaining full and confident control over the will.  The way to prove and manifest full and confident control over the will is to practice moving it in all directions. 

The ultimate proof of mastery over the will, the ultimate self-control empowerment, is to wield the will against itself, throwing off the accustomed mental restraints on the will, including self-preservation, and thus gaining full control over the will, full mastery of it. 

This means being able to will actions that are the opposite of one's accustomed, conventional goals and restraints, while refraining from carrying out those actions. 

Only such masterful control over the will, over one's own train of thought, can secure casual, peaceful, blissful altered-state experiencing.  As long as we fear what our will and thoughts will come up with next, there is not relaxation.

The mystery-religion gods represent mystic violence. 

o  Jesus is betrayed, humiliated, suffers, is crucified, and dies. 

o  Dionysus is playing with his toys (related to pine cones and dolls) when he is suddenly surprised and abducted and torn to pieces by the Titans. 

o  Attis is driven insane, castrated, and buried in a tree trunk. 

o  Prometheus is chained to a jagged black rock, where an eagle descends from Zeus and eats his liver each day again. 

o  Osirus is torn to pieces and every piece is regathered except the phallus. 

So you can see that I keep famous company in the mystic, mythic realm.

What has more wisdom, the ancient entheogenic mystery religions, or 20th-century clinical psychology?


>>Schizophrenia includes delusions, misinterpretations, and audio command hallucinations. Entheogenic psychosis includes delusions, misinterpretations, and uncontrollable command ideas, and audio distortions,


>Well, you might be correct, but I suppose that depends on your definition of the oxymoron, "Entheogenic psychosis". I reject the whole concept.

I do not call into question entheogenic psychosis, I only seek to understand this reported phenomenon and enable people to successfully experience this peak experience in a relatively safe and positive way. 

The mind while in loose cognition can adopt unreasonable views of the world, meaning, and allusions -- systematic misinterpretation can be sustained by inadvertent thought-feedback. 

Such misinterpretation is caused by entheogens and by psychosis.  Psychosis may be chronic excessive release of DMT by the brain.  Entheogenic cognition shares this in common with schizophrenia, psychosis, madness: loose cognition; loose associative binding of mental constructs. 

Loose binding can give rise to psychosis, whether that loose binding what triggered by ingesting entheogens or by the brain's internal generation of entheogenic chemicals.  So there is nothing preventing us from talking of entheogenic psychosis, though entheogens generally do not cause "hallucinations" in the clinical sense.


>>but not audio hallucinations such as commanding voices heard as though actually spoken by other people.

>>In that sense, research has concluded that schizophrenia involves genuine hallucinations, while the common psychedelics do not.


>Small consolation, since both are apparently so much alike with so much accordant pain.


>>It is said that the ego can be overwhelmed by psychic forces beyond its apparent control. More exactly, the ego can be overwhelmed by its own nature, as control struggles increasingly to control control's ever-increasing power, until control seizes into a death-grip like a noose.


>Sounds like one personality struggling against another.

No, it is different time-slices of the person struggling against each other: specifically, the current time-slice of the person struggling to reach into the near-future to exert self-control on the near-future time-slices.

The multiple-personalities theory of mental disorder has been disproved.


>look into your ideas a little closer and make sure they are not actually some remnant of a shell-shock experience or a bad childhood.  It's a prison we are all trying to get free of; some just see the bars and past them a little farther.

That's such a Freudian-psychotherapy style of analysis.  You would explain mystic suffering and ego-death in terms of a dysfunctional childhood -- thus missing the chance to encounter self-transcendence as control-agents.


>>We could only avoid the encounter with the control singularity vortex by having the luck to accidentally preventing the onset of any anxiety -- as though we can hope that the problem of fending off this seemingly free-floating fear might never arise at all.

>>Yet if it had not arisen, we would not discover the most fascinating thing in the world: the ego-death control-seizure vortex and how to stimulate the control-center to the point of control-orgasm.

Cybernetics & consciousness

>From: Norman

>I just came across your great website and so have read

>only a small fraction of it.  However, I have some familiarity with

>cybernetic control theory (a la William T. Powers--a noted

>cybernetician).  I also have experimented widely in the area of

>consciousness.  The model I have found most helpful involves the

>hierarchical control structures or processes of the brain, and hence of

>consciousness--not that consciousness is JUST brain function.  So, to

>transcend is to ascend the hierarchy.  In my view, this happens in the

>brain and in the mind, which is closely linked to, but not identical

>with the brain.  When I last had contact with Bill Powers, he only knew

>about ascending to the hierarchic level  where one experiences silence

>and non-verbality.


>that's not the top of the

>heap, where the boundaries of individuality loosen and unity occurs.  I

>could go on further, but let me first know if what I've written agrees

>or disagrees with your model.

Ken Wilber (http://wilber.shambhala.com) also has written alot about

hierarchical transcendence.  I think mystery religions took the psyche from 1)

naive freewill egoic thinking, to 2) an entheogenic discovery of cosmic

determinism, then to 3) some sort of transcendence of determinism which is a

kind of justified make-believe.

1. The naive mind considers egoic freewill the locus of control and power.

2. During initiation, the mind reconceives the worldmodel to identify the

Ground of Being as the locus of control and power.

3. During later initiation, the mind may urgently need to form a new, wholly

transcendent worldmodel that many would call unspeakable, transrational, or

paradoxical, in which the mind identifies that which transcends cosmic

determinism as the locus of control and power.  The latter doesn't necessarily

make sense, but it is justified such as through the principle of compassion

(high morality).

Entheogens and Fear of Death

>My idea of god and heaven is becoming more and more universal/generic, where I feel that some points of other relions are quite valid and that maybe they are all connected an worshipping the same entity at the end of the day.

Yes, essentially a universalistic understanding of each religion is clearly the direction the more advanced people go.  No way can Truth be tribal.  It's a fact that "Jesus is the only way to be saved and enter the kingdom of God", but facts are nothing without definitions of terms, and the advanced religionist defines the terms differently than the beginner. 

I equate "Jesus" in the above with "timeless determinism" -- experiencing and understanding timeless determinism such that ego as sovereign dies, is the only way to enlightenment and being aware of the Ground's true sovereignty over us its product.  The newspaper front page the other day contained the phrase "Jesus is the lord of all things" -- which I agree with in a high fashion; that which gives rise to all things at all points in timeless spacetime logically also gives rise to my own thoughts and actions. 

The Ground of Being is the hidden sovereign that produces my every decision and action.  Jesus is the Lord of all, yes; ego is the lord of nothing, considering ego as a purported controller and prime mover that is metaphysically free to create its own future stream of thoughts and actions.

>I felt I was confronted by God/Jesus himself, where he seemed to take over the bodies of my friends one at a time. I was transfixed on the eyes of my partner when I thought he was Jesus. I was staring straight into the centre of the eye, and it looked just like the 'God I' picture in the photo folder for this group.

He was either the sleeping Jesus/Buddha or the awakened Jesus/Buddha.  You may have been an awakened Jesus seeing the sleeping Jesus in the friend.

>I knew how to get out of it this time...

Prayer to the mystery-religion savior of one's choice, and sacrifice of one's ego as false claimant to metaphysical sovereignty.  Everyone is eager to embrace "no-separate-self", they say, but they don't understand this means embracing "no-free-will": embracing "no-control" of the accustomed type.

>but I felt so guilty

Timeless block-universe determinism is the secret owner of all guilt, and finally returns from its adventures to reclaim its throne.  All sin and guilt properly belongs to the true hidden controller and creator of all thoughts, and personal ego is not that controller and creator, but only was made to be fooled into thinking as much.

>for ending up in that state in the first place. I think I am developing a fear of death, or I feel like part of me has died, or is damaged.

You are a limping king, a bird with broken wing, fatally wounded but not dead yet.

Luther was terrified of death, motivated by a strange, abnormally morbid and perverse fear of death, according to a wonderful biography I've been reading.

>I never really considered death very much before when I was a strong Christian. Now I have this feeling of doom and gloom, and I even felt like I was slipping away a couple of days ago when I was sitting at my desk at work...I just happened to think about death and my mind wandered to point where I was trying to imagine what that moment must feel like.

>As my eyes closed, I felt a surge in my brain and a numbness all over my body, and a slight disconnection with consciousness as I know it. It was actually a 'micro-sleep', where the brain lapses due to lack of sleep (I had a few late nights!). But what remained was a fear, because when it happened I really did think for a moment that I was dying.

>This has happened occasionally over that last couple of years (even before I first took acid), when I have been trying to get to sleep in bed, and I expreience a short microsleep. When I microsleep, I notice that I don't breath or move very much at the time. I suppose this might be why it feels more like a death.

>I'm now feeling scared of death because I realise I could die at any minute. Along with some doubts about an after life, I'd hate to find that nothing is after death....what happens to consciousness as we know it? Our sense of time? Where does it go? How might it feel? Do we see black or white? Do we just reappear a moment later as a new born baby on the other side of the planet?

I can't understand why anyone would fear mundane bodily death.  Bodily death is a mere metaphor for the death that really matters: ego death and rebirth, or resurrection, in life.

>...helped me to see more clearly (even to Psychic levels ... ), but I think I've over-done it, abused it, and I might be reaping the consequences - it's opened up my mind too much, to the point where I am becoming aware of things beyond the limits of our awareness.  It's great to feel at one with the universe but I'd like to stay human.

>Can there be proof that ego death is separate from the fear of the bodily death?

>You count on psychedelic experiences but somebody else may count on other experiences, like primals.

I don't know what "primals" refers to.

Some people seem to have an innate fear of bodily death, and others are unconcerned.

James Arthur has been working on a theory of DMT release during literal birth and death.



DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences

by Rick Strassman MD


Film review of A.I.: "cybernetic psychosis"

This movie review mentions the "cybernetic psychosis" of HAL.  However, the most interesting psychosis is the healthy type, of Dionysus, in which one's own control agency is virtually killed, with the conscious and deliberate assent of one's will, during mature ego death and transcendence.

I would like instruct David in the cybernetic theory of ego death and discuss the lyrics of The Body Electric with him -- a religious discussion.  A problem is, how can David ingest a cognitive loosening agent like Delysid?  The AI circuitry may have a protected mode in which cybernetic self-cancellation becomes possible, thus providing a religious-experience mode.  The control-agency subsystem would then be designed to crash.

========== movie review from the net ==========


Spielberg catches Kubrick's Baton: A Review of "AI"

by Raymond Kurzweil

The androids and other intelligent machines in "A.I." represent well-grounded science futurism, says AI pioneer Raymond Kurzweil.

Stanley Kubrick developed his ideas for a movie to be called "A.I." for over ten years, passing the baton to Steven Spielberg upon his untimely death. As was his working style, Kubrick did not write a screenplay, but kept copious notebooks of ideas. The task of carrying Kubrick's conception to fruition presented Spielberg with a singular opportunity, but also unique challenges, the most obvious being how to meld Kubrick's dark visions with his own affirming perspective.

Both filmmakers capture the intricate dualities of life, but Kubrick tends to wallow in the enigmatic crevices of humankind's ardors, from Strangelovian underground sanctuaries to, well, cybernetic psychosis. While Kubrick is likely to reveal the madness that lurks beneath a façade of normalcy, Spielberg's capacity is to show us the humanity that survives human madness. Even in Schindler's List, we are continually able to gain a measure of comfort from the passionate portrayal of one man's exercise of heroism that carries us through to the last moving scene.

So one question I had going into the advance screening of "A.I." was whether we would hear both voices, whether this remarkable and unusual collaboration would preserve the seemingly disparate outlooks of two legendary artists.

My other salient question was whether this portrayal of a world of "strong" AI would reflect what I would regard as well-grounded science futurism, or if it would devolve to the usual facile dystopianism or sentimental utopianism.

I am pleased to say that the movie succeeds in both of these key dimensions. Spielberg fans will certainly be pleased with the beautiful cinematography, imaginative effects, and the continual surprises of the story line. We see allusions to many former Spielberg movies from the story of the intelligent but not altogether human hero's desire to call (and to go) home to the "Close Encounters"-like portrayal of the far-into-the-future nonbiological intelligences.

But putting on my hat as Kubrick fan, I was also quite satisfied as we encounter Clockwork Orange-like dreamscapes and Kubrick's vintage brooding colors. As in 2001, the most human characters are the machines, with the sole exception of David's "adopted" mother.

In A.I., the AI's are neither evil nor particularly destructive. Indeed our sympathies are usually with them, at least mine were. It's the humans who express the base emotions of destructive jealousy as they taunt and ultimately destroy the stray androids in the Coliseum-like spectacle of the "Flesh Fair." Here Spielberg has the opportunity to present the key issues of the movie and, indeed, of the 21st century. Are the independent robots who rummage through junk yards searching for usable spare parts to enhance their lot a threat to humanity? Are they becoming "too smart, too many, too fast," as their human tormentors claim?

Spielberg makes the point that it's not the machine-like quality of the machines that is threatening, as we have become quite comfortable with machine-like machines. It's the potential for amplifying our human nature that is the most menacing, at least those aspects of human nature displayed by many of the humans in the film: the cruelty of the purveyor of the Flesh Fair, the betrayal by the human who frames the Gigolo Joe android for murder, and the greed of the William Hurt character who creates David but attempts to rob him of his individuality.

The Flesh Fair scene also presents the important issue of cruelty to machines. In my lectures I often point out that we don't worry much today about causing pain and suffering to our computer programs, a line which is usually good for a few laughs (at least for an after-dinner audience). Spielberg applies the power of the cinema to show us just how compelling an issue this will actually become.

We meet three generations of AI's in the movie, with the last generation far in the future. Even the first generation we meet is sufficiently human, in the positive sense of the term, to fear their capture and to help protect each other from the angry prejudices of threatened and threatening "real" humans.

David is presented as a more advanced android, one that has the capacity to learn to love. David will become a "real boy" when he becomes capable of this higher emotion. I'd have to say that this matches my own perspective, that we will come to accept nonbiological entities as "human" when they are capable of understanding and expressing our most subtle emotions.

What do emotions have to do with intelligence? In my view, our emotional capacity represents the most intelligent thing we do. It's the cutting edge of human intelligence, and as the film portrays, it will be the last exclusive province of biological humanity, one that machines will ultimately master as well. By the way, if David wishing to become "a real boy" sounds like a familiar fairy tale, the movie makes the allusion and metaphor of Pinocchio explicit. Even early in his development, David is sufficiently appealing that he wins the sympathies of the Flesh Fair spectators, much to the dismay of the master of ceremonies, who implores the audience to "not be fooled by the talent of this artistry."

In the third conception of machines that the movie presents, we see entities that are supremely sublime. I've always maintained that we will ultimately change our notion of what it is to be a machine. We now regard a machine as something profoundly inferior to a human. But that's only because all the machines we've encountered are still a million times simpler than ourselves. But that gap is shrinking at an exponential rate, and the movie examines what I believe will be the last frontier: mastering our most noble emotions, a capability displayed by only one human in the movie and sought by at least one machine. I won't give away the movie's ending by revealing whether David is successful in his quest, but I will say that at one point he does display a decidedly inhuman degree of patience.

It was also my feeling that the very advanced entities we meet later in the movie are displaying a noble character that is life-affirming in the Spielbergian sense. I have also maintained that future AI's will appreciate that they are derivative of the human-machine civilization, and will thereby revere their biological ancestors. This view is supported in Spielberg's conception of the most advanced machines that we meet in the film.

David seeks to learn to love in order to be acceptable to his mother. But the film is neither maudlin nor predictable, since it takes many unexpected turns not only in the plot line but in our understanding of the parameters of David's world. This allows Spielberg to display his playful imagination, which I'm sure kept many graphics scientists busy creating the inventive effects. In the movie's sole exploration of virtual reality, we meet Dr. Know, a hyperactive Einstein-like holographic projection who seeks to guide David and his intelligent stuffed bear, both of whom have since teamed up with Gigolo Joe.

At first, Dr. Know seems too literal, as if he were a contemporary search engine, but we ultimately discover that Dr. Know does understand David's plight and gives him some critical hints. The interaction with Dr. Know also illustrates another keen insight about the future, that the only thing of value is information and knowledge.

The movie accurately portrays erotic applications as at least one vital driving force pushing the technology forward. As Gigolo Joe points out to one of his clients, "Once you've had sex with Mecca, you'll never want a 'real' man again." Mecca, as in "mechanical," is the movie's clever designation for machines. One gets the sense that it was the machines in the movie who came up with this label.

The language used and the depiction of the sexual situations should be comfortable for parents and their young teenage children, in keeping with the PG-13 rating that a film such as this must have. Discussions on Internet lists indicate there was some struggle with the film rating board about the rating. Could it be that like the anxious humans in the movie, the members of the rating board find the very idea of sex with machines to be unduly provocative?

Is this science futurism or idle science fantasy? I believe that the androids and other intelligent machines that we meet in the movie, although imaginative, do represent well-grounded science futurism. We will indeed meet nonbiological entities with the range of intelligence that we encounter in "A.I." We already have hundreds of contemporary examples of "narrow" AI, that is, machines that can perform well defined tasks that we regard as examples of intelligent behavior when performed by humans, ranging from diagnosing blood cells and electrocardiograms, guiding cruise missiles, solving mathematical theorems, playing master-level games, making financial investment decisions, and many others.

It is true that machines today do not yet have the subtlety or range of intelligence that humans display. However, within thirty years, we will have completed the scanning and reverse engineering of the human brain and will be able to instantiate the templates of intelligence that we discover through this endeavor in nonbiological thinking substrates. Some of the "strong" AI's that result will be manifest in human-appearing robots such as those we meet in the movie, while others will take other forms.

One could certainly nit-pick anyone's detailed imagining of the future. For example, in my conception, we'll have images written directly to our retinas so we won't need flat panel displays, let alone paper books; roads won't need visible markers; and circuits won't be etched on printed circuit boards. The future will, in my view, include more virtual reality and more embedded intelligence in everyday objects.

But on the important questions, I feel that Spielberg, armed with Kubrick's decade of notes, got it right, particularly in the idea of the mastery of our higher order emotions as the defining challenge of AI, and the ultimate definition of humanness.

-- Raymond Kurzweil

========== end of movie review from the net ==========

Very comparable to Blade Runner, it suggests the question, can we live up to our own standards of what makes a creature a valued entity?

The nature of the creatures at the end also raises questions about what it means to propagate humanity: what "counts" as survival of humanity, when you allow the idea of evolution? 

Can we say that humanity has ended, if its AIs remain, sustainably, in 2000 years?  Maybe these visions of the wise outsiders are from our own descendents in the future, but more of our "spiritual" descendents, so to speak, than our biological descendents.

The movie was an adult consideration of the fairy tale of cybernetic Pinnochio.  I consider the ego as a fairy tale suited only for children.  The ego is a puppet, an unreal product of mental craftsmanship. 

The ego wants, above all, to be real, to be a king in power, to be a serious and unconquerable sovereign.  But in the mystic altered state, it meets the Blue Fairy, who brings the mind to maturity about the equations. 

After we work through the equations, it is as difficult to still believe in the ego as it is to believe in the Historical Jesus.

The old ego then becomes unbelievable and dies along with belief in the historical Jesus, and is replaced by Christ-consciousness, which is a changed cybernetic operating system/control model that is emphatically contrasted with the egoic operating system/control model.

The bear is a venerable totem animal.  The bear's memory took in all that the boy did, and carries some other kind of structural memory as well.

'Bear' is the nickname of Augustus Owsley Stanley III, a sure candidate for Michael the Archangel.  This kind of bear is often sighted around shakedown street.

There was a bit of religion in the movie for humans, but unfortunately the question was not raised, do Mechs have any business in church?  The boy did ask the Mary statue above the church, "Are you the blue fairy [who can turn me into a real boy and make my mother love me]?"

The poor soul during ego-death initiation may similarly look to a mystery-religion savior and ask, "Are you the savior who can turn me back into the convincing semblance of a viable free, stable, self- controlling agent again?  Can you free my abducted child and buy them back out of slavery?"

HAL's "cybernetic psychosis" is named in the book as a "Mobius- Hofstadter loop".  He was told "Priority 1 is, don't jeopardize the mission to the giant monolith satellite."  HAL "secured" the mission against jeopardy by exterminating the humans.  However, the concepts of "cybernetic psychosis" and "Mobius-Hofstadter loop" sound way overblown, overcomplex, as descriptions of HAL's mere bungled priority-programming.

The quasi-psychosis of loosecog ego death is a matter of "study control to increase control, at all costs", until control hangs and seizes like a noose, a Wattsian trap.  The more the mind investigates personal control (now with increasing alarm and desperation), the more problematic cross-time personal control becomes.

The only kind of control there is is the virtual, quasi, as-if type of control such as we've always had, which, when seen from a timeless metaphysical point of view, is pretty much absent in certain aspects or dimensions.

We "real people" are like the android wishing to be a "real person", like wishing our stolen-away child to spring back to life, or like the Tin Man wishing for a heart.  What you have is what is possible to be had.

Here is all the freedom it is possible to have.  Theoretically we don't know anything about our freedom with certainty, but viewing freedom from the loosecog metaphysical perspective, it becomes as difficult to believe in the ego as to believe in our ability to levitate.

At this point, it would take a miracle to restore the child back to life, to restore the confident delusion of the ego illusion back to power, reigning once more on its throne, undisturbed and confident about its position and nature.

Radical freedom w/ radical unfreedom

Radical, even excessive *practical* freedom is discovered and experienced together with radical loss of the sense of metaphysical freedom.

Word networks have two meanings or modes.  Thus we can paradoxically or ironically talk about a transition from unfreedom to freedom as the mental model transforms from a freewill model to the no-free-will model (timeless block-universe determinism).

The peak window of the mystic altered state is experienced as frighteningly or chaotically unchained freedom even as the new threatening monster of block-universe determinism and puppethood rears its terrifying death-head.  This radically loosened cognitive state is an overwhelming, unaccustomed amount of freedom of a certain type, which is at the same time a new discovery of metaphysical-level unfreedom. 

All at the same time there is more freedom than ever, an insane amount of freedom of the mind -- a freedom of a certain kind, called existential freedom and practical freedom -- and no freedom whatsoever as the *source* of the mind's thoughts is seen to be out of control and injected into the mind forcefully by the Ground of Being. 

The Ground of Being is (with respect to Time) the perpendicular cause, originator, or author of all thoughts.  Block universe determinism is perpendicular causality or level causality as opposed to temporal-chain causality.  Conventional determinism is a series of causes moving forward along the time axis; the cause is prior in time to the effect, and that effect then acts as a cause for the next effect. 

Block-universe determinism looks at causality moving not along time, but instead, from the hidden metaphysical level to the visible experienced level of mental constructs, at each point in time; the whole universe including all points in time is created all at one timeless permanent moment, "before time" or "under time" rather than "at the beginning of time".

We usually feel a single muddled sense of freedom.  In the loose-cog mystic altered state, this splits "paradoxically" into simultaneous omnipotence and impotence, or extreme freedom and extreme unfreedom, as described in Louis Sass' book Madness and Modernism.  The mind becomes an insanely free helpless puppet.


The uninitiated have not learned to make these distinctions that require transcendent mastery of semantics, and are only able to ask oversimplistic yes or no questions: is freedom real or not? is the ego real or false? is religion true or false?  This fault of thinking is inherent in the child mind, which is the uninitiated mind.  From the hellenistic point of view, a barbarian is an adult that still thinks in this childish simplistic way."


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