/ Interfaith dialog
Transcendental Transhumanism as the Probable Future of Humankind
Swami Vishnudevananda Giri Ji Maharaj, Mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara order of Hindu monks. Yoga master. Speech at the GF2045 Congress, February 18, 2012, Moscow.
Good afternoon! Apart from the fact I am a religious practitioner and a monk I also work in the field of transhumanism. Around the years of 2001-2005 I wrote several articles on the philosophy of transhumanism. In my articles I reflected on what sort of transhumanism we need. This is how my idea of transcendental transhumanism was born.
At that time I suggested the idea that, broadly speaking, the future of humanity will be tied to the transition from humans to neo-humans and post-humans. And this transition will not be just technological and technocratic, it will be linked to the creation of the new meta-ethic, new culture. It will also be linked to spiritual practices, to harmonious integration of spiritual practices and spiritual worldviews which exist in the traditional religious systems of thought, coupled with the new understanding and application that science can afford us. I am glad to see that this Congress has taken place and that there is an interaction between scientists and religious practitioners. So in some ways my predictions that I made 10 years ago are being validated.
The idea of transcendental transhumanism is simple: the future of humanity depends on people continuing the evolutionary process, overcoming their limited organic nature. Enough of death and birth, the same acts that animals – cats, dogs, monkeys are subjected to. Enough of aging, enough of eating in the old way. We need to reach a higher state of existing. We need to change our life in all its aspects including overcoming the limitations of our physical bodies. But we should be doing this by relying not just on science and new technologies but also on the body of ethics and culture created through the centuries by religious faiths. We must simply integrate the two in a harmonious manner.
Contemporary humanity lacks an understanding of the evolutionary paradigm. Yes, the development of certain vital technologies and branches of science is taking place. Bud don’t we see what most people on the planet are interested in? Unfortunately, the questions of evolution, of evolutionary strategy are of interest to a minority of people.
My dream is that the transition to neo-humanity, the attainment of immortality would become goals number one on the agenda of The United Nations. That the leaders of G20 and G8 would come together and say: “Let’s accept that as long as people remain mortal, as long as death is inevitable, as long as we have not achieved immortality, it makes sense for us to think and solve this problem”. We don’t really need cars that much if we remain mortal.
If we remain mortal do we really need all those devices or some other machines? If we die in the end all those things become useless. This means, that the question of mortality, of overcoming and transcending mortality, the transition to immortality is in fact the most important question in the life of a person.
Religious practitioners understand this professionally so to say, as they grapple with these questions all their lives. Often, however, because we live in the context of a consumer society, a culture that entices us to want and acquire devices for fulfilling our wishes, makes us desire more and more, makes us indulge various whimsical wants, often such a culture weakens our ability to think, to deliberately contemplate the meaning of our life, to forge the right values, to set the right goals in life and achieve these goals through right actions.
I think therefore that it is not a problem of technologies. The technology involved in the project “Avatar”, the transference of human consciousness into an alternative non-protein body, which was discussed here, will surely emerge. It is only a question of efforts on the part of the scientific community and investments. I think, first of all we should declare that it is time for humanity to create a new paradigm for life, new paradigm of existence, new meanings, new values and goals. We should declare these things as much as possible and from the highest possible platform.
If we do not create such a culture of the new life and there is no political will to implement it, there is not going to be a social demand for all these achievements and there is not going be resources for their implementation. If we do create such a culture, if we create the desire for evolutionary development, for realisation of immortality in as many people on Earth, as possible this will surely create social demand. And any social demand creates a response in the form of political will, prompts investments and research, and therefore makes research create results. I see a big challenge here. And the aim of this forum is to create such a new paradigm, to create this new culture.
What is the future of humanity? I am not a scientist, I have been following the Advaita Vedanta tradition for more than 25 years and I have been learning the sacred texts of this tradition. So I am saying here is informed by the teachings of this traditions. The evolution of a person is imbedded in the spiritual Vedanta tradition. The human is a transient being. Under no conditions he is the pinnacle of creation or the king of nature. In many ways the human is an imperfect being. However he or she is imbued with the ability to develop and evolve. The Vedanta philosophy deliberates such a possibility of evolutionary development. The human must become a perfect being. And this perfect being, sooner or later, should become divine being.
What does it say in the text called “Mokshadharma”? This is a part of a famous epos called Mahabharata. “Neither death, frightening in its might, nor suffering, oh Tsar, have no power over the splendid yogi. Having multiplied his entity many thousand times, in all these bodies, the yogi wonders the Earth, he, who has attained perfection. In one of those he can use the objects of feelings, in another perform mortifications of the flesh, he can collect himself in one entity again as the Sun collects all its rays.”
I also want to quote a famous Russian scientist Vladimir Vernadsky: “The Biological structures of Man, first of all, the structure of human brain will radically change and this organism will leave the confines of the Earth and the Solar System. The man of the future will free himself from the slave-like dependency on the plant and animal world, that cause him, in his struggle for sustenance, so many hardships and often result in his premature death from hunger and illness. Man will defeat death in himself, he will potentially become immortal.”
So how does the evolution of humanity and the evolution of every person look? According to the yogi teaching it looks more or less like this: the person becomes immortal. More than that, instead of one body he or she acquires the possibility to live in different bodies. While developing, the person will necessarily become multi-bodied, his or her consciousness acquires a choice in which carrier to be and trough which carrier to act. Next important point: the outer universe becomes subjective, from the outer reality the person emerges in what the scientists call amniktive reality. The outer universe become the subjective controllable reality.
The future of every person and the future of humanity as a whole are connected to the transition to the divine, to God-like beings. If now, we declare the intention to create a distinct paradigm for our further evolution for the third millennium, and we declare, that yes, the scientists recommend that all the world leaders, all the politicians, all the government officials who are sitting at The United Nations think seriously about human evolution and that this evolution should lead us towards becoming God-like, toward immortality, ability to inhabit different bodies, to live in various realities.... If we create such an intention now and start developing technologies that would allow us to realise this intention, it will create a turning point in the life of humanity.
In my thoughts I would like to support and join the “Movement 2045’, as in fact it expresses a lot of values and meanings that many of us are contemplating.
In our tradition there is a long heritage line of thinking about a principal possibility of the transference of consciousness into another carrier. Such techniques are called “Parakaya Vidiya’ in Sanskrit, and ‘Tron Dzhuk’ in Tibetan. What does this mean? It means that a yogi who has achieved a certain level in his practice has already realised the techniques of transference into an alternative body that the scientists are talking about nowadays. A yogi can leave his physical body and enter someone else’s body. This he can do, potentially, indefinitely, as long as there is a suitable carrier.
I have personally known an Indian great saint Mahasiddha Pilot Baba. Pilot Baba on many occasions performed the various techniques of separating consciousness from physical body and transferring of consciousness to another body. His fellow yogis did the same. When they got old and frail, they continued their lives by finding another ready body, and if that body was vacant, they could transfer their consciousness in that body. So in fact the technologies of immortality, the technology of consciousness transference are already realised in some cultures, in some ancient traditions. However they are ignored by the scientific community. And if the scientific community takes a close look at the existence of such technologies and tries to use them it will make them accessible not just to those people who are engaged in spiritual practice but make it a common technology that will benefit the whole of humanity.
/ About us
Founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the participation of leading Russian specialists in the field of neural interfaces, robotics, artificial organs and systems.
The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies.
The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.
A large-scale transformation of humanity, comparable to some of the major spiritual and sci-tech revolutions in history, will require a new strategy. We believe this to be necessary to overcome existing crises, which threaten our planetary habitat and the continued existence of humanity as a species. With the 2045 Initiative, we hope to realize a new strategy for humanity's development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling, and satisfying future.
The "2045" team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.
An annual congress "The Global Future 2045" is organized by the Initiative to give platform for discussing mankind's evolutionary strategy based on technologies of cybernetic immortality as well as the possible impact of such technologies on global society, politics and economies of the future.
Future prospects of "2045" Initiative for society
The emergence and widespread use of affordable android "avatars" controlled by a "brain-computer" interface. Coupled with related technologies “avatars’ will give people a number of new features: ability to work in dangerous environments, perform rescue operations, travel in extreme situations etc.
Avatar components will be used in medicine for the rehabilitation of fully or partially disabled patients giving them prosthetic limbs or recover lost senses.
Creation of an autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot, ‘avatar’, will save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged. Any patient with an intact brain will be able to return to a fully functioning bodily life. Such technologies will greatly enlarge the possibility of hybrid bio-electronic devices, thus creating a new IT revolution and will make all kinds of superimpositions of electronic and biological systems possible.
Creation of a computer model of the brain and human consciousness with the subsequent development of means to transfer individual consciousness onto an artificial carrier. This development will profoundly change the world, it will not only give everyone the possibility of cybernetic immortality but will also create a friendly artificial intelligence, expand human capabilities and provide opportunities for ordinary people to restore or modify their own brain multiple times. The final result at this stage can be a real revolution in the understanding of human nature that will completely change the human and technical prospects for humanity.
This is the time when substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive! Changes will occur in all spheres of human activity – energy generation, transportation, politics, medicine, psychology, sciences, and so on.
Today it is hard to imagine a future when bodies consisting of nanorobots will become affordable and capable of taking any form. It is also hard to imagine body holograms featuring controlled matter. One thing is clear however: humanity, for the first time in its history, will make a fully managed evolutionary transition and eventually become a new species. Moreover, prerequisites for a large-scale expansion into outer space will be created as well.
Key elements of the project in the future
• International social movement
• social network immortal.me
• charitable foundation "Global Future 2045" (Foundation 2045)
• scientific research centre "Immortality"
• business incubator
• University of "Immortality"
• annual award for contribution to the realization of the project of "Immortality”.