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520: States and Stages

Dr. Carole Griggs and Ted Strauss are the co-founders of iConscious, a project intended "to create a world in which it is normal for all human beings to awaken their whole being, bring their unique genius into the world, and live together in deeply attuned, collective consciousness." In the conversation, we consider the relationship of consciousness to human brains and how humans might awake more fully to transcendent consciousness with the help of artificial intelligence. Carole and Ted not only hope to help foster friendly AI, they're aiming for "loving AI." Toward the end of the conversation, the consider the possibility that psychedelics might have a role to play in the project of full human flourishing.

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1 Comment

  1. Jim Dempsey on March 29, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Others on the road this morning got to witness me reacting to this episode with random shouting and angry screams.

    I’m not going to slam these two on their field of expertise, since I know nothing of it. But their appropriation and complete bastardization of terms? I beg for that to stop, for the sake of our ability to communicate.

    Take “evolve.” That word specifically comes from astronomy: given a mass of a given size, gravity and other forces will trigger changes; these changes will evolve the mass through various stages. Keep in mind that this word is very specific as to what follows, just like the turns on a jack-in-the-box produce a specific result.

    Now, I will give the pair credit, since Herbert Spencer, a friend of Charles Darwin, bastardized the word first, using “evolve” (and the more general “evolution”) to refer to Darwin’s Natural Selection theory. Darwin *hated* evolution as applied to his theory, since nothing “unfolded in a predetermined manner” under a proper reading of his theory. Rather, stuff was random. But Spencer was a proper Victorian English stuffed shirt bigot right at home believing his was the best of all possible worlds and all that.

    (Darwin did grudgingly credit Spencer for coining the phrase “survival of the fittest”; though it also ignored key precepts in his theory, it was way catchier than anything he had come up with.)

    As the interviewed pair use “evolve”, it sounds Spencerian. Which makes me shout “Wrong!” while driving. Hitler was into Spencer’s reading of Darwin, not Darwin’s. (Like Hitler, Spencer was also into social Darwinism; Charles definitely was not.)

    And don’t get me started with “growth.” Once you are fully developed as an adult, any further growth leads either to obesity or cancer. Full. Stop. Their constant reference to mental “growth” as a Spencerian unfolding of potential completely ignores little details, like *how the brain works*.

    I’ll stop now. I might dip a toe into their theory later, no matter what infuriating violence they do to English in describing it.

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