Consciousness was Re: This is SL4. This is SL4 on drugs. Any questions?

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 05:12:34 MDT

On Tuesday 10 September 2002 02:05, Ben wrote:

> I stick by my intuition that psychedelics can provide an alternate way of
> looking at the universe, a perspective outside the normal states of
> consciousness .. a glimpse of something *beyond* the human mind. They can
> also be used just to get one's jollies, to do nasty things to other
> peoples' minds, etc. etc.

It is not just an intuition of course. Psychedelics are one way of
experiencing other states of consciousness I think we make the world
artificially small if we assumed that altered states are all pathological or
worthless or irrelevant to Singularity. Few states could be more "altered"
than being uploaded. :-)

> The Singularity is going to be far further beyond the ordinary human
> mind-state than psychedelics permit, of course. But that doesn't mean the
> psychedelic experience can't give us some clues.
> One concrete point I'll make in this direction has to do with what I used
> to call "the melting of the self." Way back before I ever heard of Vinge
> or his Singularity notion, it occurred to me that technological advance was
> likely to lead to the dissolution of the psychological structure we call
> the self. Post-Singularity, individuality as we know it may become very
> uncommon. A large percentage of our individuality is tied to our
> embodiment. When you have access to sensors over a very wide swath of
> physical reality -- in many cases sharing these sensors with other minds --
> your sense of individuation may cease to exist altogether.

The current self-image/personality/ego structure is indeed quite likely to
dissolve when much of its ground of being changes significantly. Some
traditions, such as Buddhism, have long held that what we normally see as
"self" is an illusion Meditators and others who have done much
self-examination often have a good understanding for how much the self is a
construct, not the true self or center of consciousness (the observer) and so

When *you* are not an advanced primate biological lifeform any longer then
much that is derived from that previous state will be superflous. When
scarcity largely is no more then all kinds of beliefs, assumptions, habits of
mind will need serious overhaul. When we perhaps can choose to make the
boundaries between our minds more porous selectively even the notion of
ourselves as individual might come under modification.

If we have the powers and abilities that we believe will be possible in
future states then we also have great need to adjust and modify our
emotional/reactive natures, to re-integrate on a quite different basis than

For all of these reasons and many more I believe that work on consciousness,
on understanding and also on shifting and modifying states of consciousness,
is quite crucial to Singularity.

> In my experience with LSD, way back when, I had direct experience of
> a) existing & thinking in the absence of the "individual self"
> psychological construct
> b) directly observing (probably with immense distortion) many aspects of my
> mental process that were normally opaque to me
> I'm NOT claiming that psychedelics allowed me to see into the
> post-Singularity mode of being. However, I'm suggesting that they *did* at
> least allow me to dip into some interesting parts of the domain of
> not-ordinary-human-consciousness. And this gave me a MUCH better intuitive
> feel than I'd had previously, for the arbitrary and limited nature of the
> ordinary human mind & state of mind...


- samantha

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