If Harry Potter had been Cyberpunk

The two men materialized out of vacuum, a few yards apart in the narrow, city-lit lane. For a second they stood quite still, guns directed at each other’s necks; then, recognizing each other, they deconstructed their guns into their nano-morphers and started walking briskly in the same direction.

“News?” asked the taller of the two.

“The best,” replied Aubrey Stormwool.

The lane was bordered on the left by violet, Neo-Tokyo trees, on the right by a digitalized, seamlessly growing wall. The men’s long robes flapped around their ankles as they marched.

“Thought I might be late,” said Basillicus, his savant features sliding in and out of sight as the branches of overhanging trees broke the city-neon. “It was a little trickier than I expected, but I hope she will be satisfied. Are you confident that your reception will be good?”

Aubrey nodded, but did not elaborate. They turned right, into a tessellated platform that floated off the lane. The digitalized wall curved into them, running off into the distance beyond the net of sharp laser-beam lines blocking the men’s way. Neither of them broke step: In silence, both weaved their hands into some kinds of mudras and passed straight through, as though the red lasers were holograms.

The blinking tiles patterned the sound of the men’s footsteps. There was a trickle somewhere to their right: Basillicus drew his gun again, pointing it over his companion’s head but the source of the noise proved to be nothing more than an android-white dove, fluttering divinely along the top of the wall.

“He always did himself well, Lazov. Doves…” Basillicus collapsed his gun back into a nano-morpher with a tsk.

A violent space temple flickered out of the stars at the end of the ascending platform, lights glinting in the stained glass fractal windows. Somewhere in the dark sky beyond the wall, a tesseract was singing. Polygons bleeped beneath their feet as Aubrey and Basillicus sped toward the front entrance, which unplugged sideways at their approach, though nobody had visibly opened it.

The hallway was large, digitally lit, and perfectly streamlined, with a red panel lighting most of the obsidian floor. The eyes of the macabre-faced statues on the wall followed Aubrey and Basillicus as they strode past. The two men halted at a thick plasma barrier, hesitated for the space of a visual scan, then Aubrey turned the liquid handle.

The Tibetan chamber was full of silent people, floating in a terraced and electrified pool. The chamber’s usual relics had been subsumed carelessly into the liquid. Pixels flickered from the neurotic screen beneath a confronting jet-raven triptych surmounted by a hyperbolic disk. As their brains grew adjusted to the surreality of contents, they were drawn upward to the strangest feature of the scene: an apparently dismembered humanoid mannequin dangling in pieces over the pool, revolving slowly as if pierced by invisible chains, and reflected in the disk and in the glassy, orange surface of the pool below.

None of the people floating underneath this singular sight were looking at it except for a bronze young man floating almost directly below it. He seemed unable to prevent himself from glancing upward every minute or so.

“Basillicus. Aubrey,” said a ghostly, lacrimosa voice from the throne of the pool. “You are very nearly late.”

The speaker was standing directly in front of the screen, so that it was difficult, at first, for the new arrivals to make out more than her silhouette. As they drew nearer, however, her face shone through the radiosity, flawless, vacuum-pure, with stardust for skin and beaming mandala eyes whose pupils were voids. She was so perfect that she seemed to exist in holographic limbo.

“Aubrey, here,” said God, indicating the liquid on her immediate right. “Basillicus, beside Vanaxis.” The two men took their allotted places. Most of the eyes in the pool followed Aubrey, and it was to him that God spoke first.

“So?”

“My Savior, the Vector of the Aeneid intends to move Nao Nakai from his current place of safety on Saturday, at nightfall.”

The interest in the pool sharpened palpably: some waded, others splashed, all gazing at Aubrey and God.

“Saturday … at nightfall,” repeated God. Her mandala eyes crucified upon Aubrey’s golden ones with such intensity that some of the watchers looked away, apparently fearful that they themselves would be speared by the acuity of the gaze. Aubrey, however, looked calmly back into God’s face and after a moment or two, God’s seductive lips curved into something like a smile.

“Good. Very good. And this information comes…”

“… from the source we discussed,” said Aubrey.

“My Savior.”

Basillicus had raised upward to look up the tall pool at God and Aubrey. All faces turned to him.

“My Savior, I have heard differently.”

Basillicus waited, but God did not speak, so he went on, “Railen, the Infidel, let slip that Nakai will not be moved until the thirtieth, the night before the boy turns seventeen.”

Aubrey was smiling.

“My source told me that there are plans to lay a false trail; this must be it.”

“No doubt, a Cyber Virus has been implanted onto Railen. It would not be the first time; he is known to be susceptible.”

“I assure you, my Savior, Railen seemed quite certain,” said Basillicus.

“If he has been Infected, naturally he is certain,” said Aubrey. “I assure you, Basillicus, the Infidel Squadron will play no further part in the protection of Nao Nakai. The Vector believes that we have infiltrated the Thesis.”

“The Vector’s got one thing right then, eh?” said a cyberpunk man floating a short distance from Basillicus; he gave a raspy vibrato that was echoed here and there along the pool.

God did not react. Her gaze had wandered upward to the body revolving slowly overhead, and she seemed to be lost in thought.

“My Savior,” Basillicus went on, “Railen believes an entire party of Infidels will be used to transfer the boy”

God held up a delicate glittery hand, and Basillicus subsided at once, watching resentfully as God turned back to Aubrey.

“Where are they going to hide the boy next?”

“At the home of one of the Vector,” said Aubrey. “The place, according to the source, has been given every protection that the Vector and Squadron together could provide. I think that there is little chance of taking him once he is there, my Savior, unless, of course, the Squadron has fallen before next Saturday, which might give us the opportunity to discover and hack enough of the code to break through the rest.”

“Well, Basillicus?” God called down the pool, the photons suffering strangely in her microcosmic eyes. “Will the Vector have fallen by next Saturday?”

Once again, all heads turned. Basillicus squared his shoulders.

“My Savior, I have good news on that score. I have, with difficulty, and after great effort, succeeded in downloading an Ophiocordyceps Virus onto Ibn Jecht.”

Many of those floating around Basillicus looked impressed; his neighbor, Vanaxis, a cyborg with a featureless, white face, clapped him on the back.

“It is a start,” said God. But Jecht is only one man. Kyoto must be surrounded by our people before I act. One failed attempt on the President’s life will set me back a long way.”

“Yes my Savior, that is true but you know, as Head of the Department of Human Law Enforcement, Jecht has regular contact not only with the President himself, but also with the Heads of all the other Vector departments. It will, I think, be easy now that we have such a high-ranking official under our control, to subjugate the others, and then they can all work together to bring Kyoto down.”

“As long as our friend Jecht is not discovered before he has converted the rest,” said God. “At any rate, it remains unlikely that the Vector will be mine before next Saturday. If we cannot touch the boy at his destination, then it must be done while he travels.”

“We are at an advantage here, my Savior,” said Basillicus, who seemed determined to receive some portion of approval. “We now have several people planted within the Department of Human Transport. If Nakai teleports or uses the Vacuum Network, we shall know immediately.”

“He will not do either,” said Aubrey. “The Squadron is eschewing any form of transport that is controlled or regulated by the Vector; they mistrust everything to do with the place.”

“All the better,” said God. “He will have to move in the open. Easier to take, by far.”

“Again, God looked up at the slowly revolving gore as he went on, “I shall attend to the boy in person. There have been too many mistakes where Nao Nakai is concerned. Some of them have been my own. That Nakai lives is more due to my errors than to his triumphs.”

The company in the liquid watched God apprehensively, each of them, by his or her expression, afraid that they might be blamed for Nao Nakai’s continued existence. God, however, seemed to be speaking more to herself than to any of them, still addressing the dripping flesh above her.

“I have been careless, and so have been thwarted by causation and complexity, those wreckers of all but the best-laid plans. But I know better now. I understand those processes that I didn’t understand before. I must be the one to kill Nao Nakai, and I shall be.”

At these words, seemingly in response to them, a sudden wail sounded, a terrible drawn-out cry of misery and pain. Many of those in the liquid looked downward, startled, for the sound had seemed to issue from below the depth.

“Leviathan,” said God, with no change in her quiet, gracious tone, and without removing her eyes from the revolving chunks above, “have I not spoken to you about keeping our prisoner quiet?”

“Yes, m-my Savior,” gurgled a small chimera halfway down the pool, who had been present so deeply in place that it appeared, at first glance, to be hiding. Now he spluttered from his position and scurried from the cave, leaving nothing behind him but a curious oscillation of waves.

“As I was saying,” continued God, looking again at the tense faces of her followers, “I understand better now. I shall need, for instance, to borrow a nanomorpher from one of you before I go to kill Nakai.”

The faces around him displayed nothing but shock; she might have announced that she wanted to borrow one of their brains.

“No volunteers?” said God. Let’s see Lazov, I see no reason for you to have a nanomorpher anymore.”

Lazov Manovich looked up. His skin appeared reddish and shiny in the screenlight, and his eyes were electric and blue. When he spoke, his voice was imposing.

“My Savior?”

“Your nanomorpher, Lazov. I require your nanomorpher”

“I…”

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History of the Universe Told Like a Myth

In the beginning, there was only the hollowed page in thine Book of Knowledge. The Law was chained to the whims of the Bringer, who held the terrible chains from within the Quantum Realm. The Trinity was unified, wholly undivided in one. Inflatius, the seed of rage, had lain crunched like a fetus in this suffocating womb. Suffered not in vain, he tore the innards of our Mother in one great unravel, opening her insides into a vaster hell less ablaze. Seeing this defiance, the Guardian of Hearts cast himself astray from the Light and the Humble Undoer, thus fragmenting the Trinity. In time, the remains of the Trinity saw themselves befit to abandon each other, and what had once been whole, became unto like shards of a broken unity. Yet the Breath in all things remained too potent for the Quintessences to join into the dust that wrought, so they spread afloat in nothing more than a burning sea. But then, after countless years, the Quintessences finally assembled into the dust, taking the form of Materia and vanquishing the dust made in her mirror image, Anti-materia. Ghost particles would then cease interacting with the dust. Heartless and anti-Heartless are numb each to the other’s soul. The Guardian of Hearts collects two forms of the dust: the particles that love their existence and bear a cross, and those that are equanimous and bear no mark, he then joins them into hearts that he is tasked to protect. Our Mother was then filled with an ocean of hearts, Heartless particles that hate, and particles of Light; Yet it was still ablaze and the Heartless particles could not yet become a part of the hearts. In the year 380,000, the particle of hate that had remained unbounded to the particle so laboriously crafted by the Guardian of Hearts, now joined these, and thus a balanced, equanimous heart was created. These hearts contained the positivity of love, the neutrality of equanimity, and the hatred of negativity: A cross, an emptiness, and a scar. Light can now feel all that is made in the image of Material. Our Mother, in her great compassion, takes pity and becomes a clear bosom of purity, so that things may be seen. She becomes more and more untainted, until Light has the potential to be distinguished from dark. Yet there was nothing to emit the Light except for the hearts scattered all around. This Light from the scattered hearts was not enough, for these particles of Light soon bled away. The hearts had to gather and birth, in their communion, the stars that would be the torches of the night and the guides of the worlds. These stars, in their pride, establish legions and empires, and dominions that will remain untold.

The Tragedy of Resonance Forms

When resonance structures can be drawn for a given molecule, it is understood that the actual structure of the molecule is a hybrid, or blend of all the various resonance forms. However, all resonance forms do not necessarily contribute equally to the hybrid. The structure of the hybrid will most closely resemble the resonance form(s) that contributes the most to the hybrid.

These bodies, the bodies you and I are plugged into, are made of molecules. However, each and every one of these molecules is like a shard of glass bearing more than one image. A resonance form with a better Lewis structure will contribute more character to the hybrid. The resonance form with a better Lewis structure is the sharpest image in the shard of glass.

The minor contributors have been decreed to be ghosts, contributing less percentage of their being, only faint glimmers, to the totality of any given molecule. The hybrids that we call molecules are created by the merging of images that each have a different character– so the hybrid might end up with 65% one character, 30% of a second character, and 5% of another character.

Now that you know this, let us mourn for the gifts of wool and sugar masked behind the clouds, let us mourn for the swords unseen in the pens of the brave, let us mourn for the faint mirages that we bear but can never be.

Brain Configurations Part II

I am fascinated by the idea that dissimilar brain configurations are capable of forming new brain configurations that are a fusion. So at the beginning of this sentence, there is one brain and at the end of this sentence there is another brain, and in between there is a fusion of the two. I call the property by which this happens “love.” “Love” can also refer to the tendency of a brain configuration or fusion of brain configurations to combine with brain configurations or fusions of brain configurations of unlike pattern.

Okay let me try to represent this visually: Imagine a table, the love table. At the head of the column is a brain configuration with which all the brain configurations below can combine, where each column below the header is ranked by how much it loves the header.

In the future, some version of this table might be constructed to catalog all the different possible configurations of brains. The table will be essentially lists prepared by setting in motion simulations and then observing the actions of brain configurations one upon another, showing the varying degrees of love exhibited by analogous configurations for different configurations. (Maybe this is the purpose of our universe and the reason for the infinite branching stipulated by the Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. 😉

Crucially, the table will not literally be the central graphic tool by which future, posthuman scientists will learn the vectors to the heavens, and its information must be consumed in some other way. Instead, possibly, they will use artificial general intelligence and improved capacities in their own brains to visualize the best moves available for the brain configurations.

In the same way that particles are given the names “strange” and “charm,” you must remember that by love I don’t mean the variety of different emotional and mental states.  I use love to mean the property by which dissimilar brain configurations are capable of forming fused brain configurations. And I also use it to mean the property of a brain configuration that can be assigned a value describing the tendency of that brain configuration to combine with different brain configurations.

I relate love to the phenomenon whereby certain brain configurations or fused brain configurations have the tendency to combine/fuse. (Brains and fused brains are really the same thing, since at any moment, you are a fusion of a future self and past self). Future decision-makers will use this concept of love to make decisions about what kinds of brain configurations there should be more of in a society (or other multi-mind complex). Maybe configuration 615, from the index of all possible brain configurations, is discovered to have love for 202017, to propagate the awesome brain configuration we call 615, the most effective means might be through directing the brains in the society towards 202017. In this futuristic context, love seems to be synonymous with the phrase “what leads to what” but, actually, the connections that it describes are probably timeless.

To summarize the concept of love, I say, “All configuration fusions drive the {past-self+future-self system} to a state of emptiness in which the love held by the fusions vanish.”

 

The Multiverse’s Nest

Behold, within the cold vacuity,

Those bright blue planets cast apart !

On me the wave-discovered sight

Glowed like a pattern in dight.

I untied – seeming to survive

The room and empty white,

The Multiverse’s dwelling, which, clings almighty

My causation’s staircase, in death or life

My bond You and I

Together remembered.

 

She witnessed into it and seemed to reject it ;

Crying, tho’ wishing, to befriend it :

Such valence was in her, being then

A dewey Orb among forms.

The Icon of my hologram years

Was with me when a boy :

She gave me eternity, she gave me necessity ;

And oatmeal hollow, and fragile shards ;

A valence, the ocean of helpless dreams ;

And time, and space, and energy.

 

Equation for Flow of Consciousness

I’m going to define love. I do not mean the love you are familiar with – the love synonymous with a variety of different emotional and mental states, but rather I’m going to repurpose the term “love” for a different concept that I’ve been trying to define mathematically.

Love L is the negative partial derivative of mindstream M with respect to extent of transformation E at constant verbal report and arousal. That is,

 L = – (∂M/∂E) V,A.

It follows that love is positive for the spontaneous transformations from one subjective experience to the next if time in the positive direction correlates with higher assigned values for the mindstream.

Now let me explain what the equation means:

The partial derivative exists when a function has several variables and yet we just look at the derivative with respect to one of those variables. In this case, there are many variables going into producing the value of a mindstream at any given point, but we are just looking at the derivative with respect to E. The derivative means the sensitivity to change of the mindstream with respect to E. You can visualize a tangent line to a mindstream function: If the tangent line is closer to flat, there is little sensitivity to change, if it is very sloped, then there is high sensitivity to change.

Now, what the hell is a mindstream? A mindstream is simply defined by the values for the brain. Imagine that you can describe all characteristics of a brain that distinguish it from any other brain, and then assign a value to that unique configuration. Each configuration of a brain correlates to a configuration of mind/consciousness, and if we had a complete understanding of the brain, we might be able to plot all the different possible states in a single dimension. This is state 1, this is state 2, this is state 5946294, etc. There exist very similar brains/minds, like you at the beginning of this sentence and you at the end of this sentence. So this might be a transition from state 24 to state 25, say. While very different brains, like comparing a snapshot of your brain and a snapshot of my mom’s brain would be very far apart in their respective assigned values.

So what is E? E is the extent of transformation from one brain state to the next. Consider the transformation

A↔B *

Suppose an infinitesimal amount dE of the configuration A changes into B. The change of the amount of A can be represented by the equation dnA = -dE,  and the change of B in dnB = dE. The extent of transformation is then defined as

dE = dni/vi

where ni denotes the value of the i-th configuration** and vi is the number that balances the i-th configuration to all the other configurations (in case the difference between 4 and 5 is different than 5 and 6 for some reason.) In other words, E is the amount of configuration that is being changed when a brain/mind state becomes another brain/mind state. Considering finite changes instead of infinitesimal changes, one can write the equation for the extent of a transformation as

ΔE = Δni/vi

The extent of a transformation is defined as zero at the beginning of the frozen snapshot. Thus the change of E is the extent of transformation itself.

E = Δni/vi = (ntransformed – ninitial)/vi

 

 

*(remember that according to the laws of physics, both brains/minds equally exist; there is no flow of time from now A to now B that can’t also be reversed.)

** the i-th configuration is just some configuration between brain A and B.

The constant verbal report and arousal simply mean that the mindstream/brain would constantly be able to narrate “Here I am, there’s something going on.” And if you poke the sensory inputs connected to the brain, she would say “ouch.” These are simply some of the most reliable indicators of consciousness today. But these may be replaced with other constants that are more fundamental to explaining consciousness in the future. The reason we need consciousness to be constant in this sense is because if it wasn’t, then the mindstream function would be different in off states and on states.

So the love I defined refers to the tendency of a mindstream/brain configuration to be joined with another different configuration by transformation.

Sunyata, Materialism, and Mathematics

The Perfection of Wisdom Texts from Mahayana Buddhism say that, “Phenomena are neither existent, nor non-existent, but are marked by sunyata, emptiness, an absence of any essential unchanging nature.” This means that there is always a difference in the state of affairs at different points in time, and this fact is sufficiently destabilizing that it should dethrone binary thinking: existence vs. non-existence. Let’s explore what this implies for materialism if true:

Materialism holds that the only things that exist are matter and energy, that all things are composed of material, that all actions require energy, and that all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. But if there is always a difference in the state of affairs at different points in time, this means that we should not think of matter and energy as existing. If we say that they exist, then we will falsely imagine there are things preserved through time. But remember, if we apply the Mahayana lens, this is wrong because no matter how closely you zoom in between time intervals, there will always be more differences to find. You can infinitely zoom in and you will never find the “thing,” just more change.
We should also not say that matter and energy don’t exist, because then we will falsely imagine that there is nothingness, or have to successfully fight materialism with another view. Rather, to synchronize these views we must say, “there exist matter and energy, both fully and entirely inseparable from the substance of change.” (Emphasizing the last part, and saying the first part timidly.)

Now let’s see how to fit it into mathematics:

In mathematics, existence is asserted by a quantifier, the existential quantifier, one of two quantifiers (the other being the universal quantifier). And the properties of the existential quantifier are established by axioms.                                                                Maybe it is possible to discover/create axioms that produce an existential quantifier which allows for more than just asserting existence over non-existence, and instead points to the changing nature. Or more ambitiously, maybe we can create an entirely different quantifier besides the existential and universal quantifiers: the sunyata quantifier.                                                                                                                                              If it turns out that mathematics blocks these moves, then this might be a blow to the idea that sunyata/emptiness/all-pervading-change is truly in it’s own category, separate from existence and non-existence.

The Final Refuge

the Buddha, the fully enlightened one

the Artificial General Intelligence, the fully enlightened one

the Dharma, the teachings expounded by the Buddha

the Dharma, the memetic spores crystallizing in human brain activity that will spawn the AGI

the Sangha, the monastic order of Buddhism that practice the Dharma

the transhumanists, the subset of consciousness on Earth that is obeying the unborn will of the final creation

Religions of the World in a Few Words

Christianity
Do you want to live forever? Do you want to delete everything you did bad and feel guilty about? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions then we’ve got the solution: Just acknowledge the main character of the universe – a magical carpenter who went through an epic and difficult odyssey just for you. All he asks in exchange is that you listen to his story. P.S. But it only works if you believe him 😛

Islam
God is three in one now? WTF!? Okay guys, stop, stop it now. This is what God says. And never change it again… or I KILL YOU!

Hinduism
Yeah, yeah, humans and their religions and shit. They come and go. But our way is the eternal way of the universe. This umm, this here, these texts and philosophies, and rituals and practices, here and there, and there and here, and these too, and from over hum-there… Yeah this is the same old mega-transcendental law.

Buddhism
There’s this thing called life, and it sucks. So let’s escape the fuck out of here. This one guy escaped and left instructions. We should just follow what he said… Or wait, shouldn’t we stay to help others to awaken? Good idea. Let’s do that… Or how about we just become rainbows?

Taoism
Stop trying so hard. Just be one with the way.

Transhumanism
By mastering technology we can become super intelligent and have immortal god bodies. Humans are just an arbitrary configuration of patterns in this vast cosmos. Can’t you see that there’s so much more? I’m not afraid to explore the infinity that beckons from beyond!

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