Up the Technium

Increasing competency in creation spurs humanity to become more loving, more encompassing, and more wise. Technology is thus inherently good; this novelty is an expression of divinity and essential for improving any aspect of our lives. Technology lifts life above limitations and brings freedom to fruition.

This is a rare view, but an essential one to move us forward. Thankfully, a leading edge of thinkers is offering this beacon of hope amid a seeming void of entropy. Ken Wilber and Kevin Kelly are two thinkers on this edge who are passionate about bringing technology and spirit to the fore of our discussions. In an exciting and compelling dialog, titled “Exploring the Technium: Technology, Evolution, and God“, the two have come together to unreservedly share their profound understanding of the importance of technology, the very structure of the Kosmos and what it means to be part of an evolution that involves technology implicitly.

Kevin Kelly has been producing, in his blog The Technium, a body of work that frames technology as the newest leap in a vast movement of extropy that works against the winding down of the universe. His eloquent entries flesh out a vision of inherently spiritual directionality at work through life and the technology that emerges through it. Optimism of this sort is exciting and certainly uncommon, but apparently more true and more practical than the pessimistic and reductionistic views of technology as merely neutral or evil that prevail in many minds. At the very least, Kelly’s vision is a compelling and satisfying presentation of our role in the universe, as is clear in entries such as “Cosmic Origins of Extropy“.

Technology is the visible extension of an archaic force which runs up in time while the universe runs down.

Technology is the latest chapter in a continuous story that builds up order, structure, freedom, possibilities and good against the inescapable black drain of entropy. While the universe cools and dies, the spreading differential of life (and technology) warms up a greater portion of cosmic coldness.

This rising flow, called extropy, enlivens our current technology on earth but was first birthed in the unlikely genesis of the universe 12 billion years ago. In that way all machines trace their origins to the big bang; Technology is a cosmic force.

As primeval matter swirled into galaxies, extropy rose as stuff gathered into life and finally unleashed its full power as self-consciousness mindfulness. Extropy is now unfolding the technium – the autonomous planetary technological system created by our minds. It is this awakening sphere of technology which is so altering our planet, shaping our history, and disturbing the universe.

Kevin Kelly, “Cosmic Origins of Extropy

The discussion begins with talk of The Technium, but moves into a look at Ken Wilber’s AQAL theory as it applies to technology and spirituality. And from this spiritual stream the topic of Kelly’s spiritual experiences emerges. A mystic event of conversion to Christianity informs his work as a futurist and a technologist in a rich way. A merging of spiritual and scientific understanding enriches the work of both men and creates an abundance of enthusiasm and greatness.

Thanks to the information age, people now have unprecedented access to all the world’s knowledge, wisdom, and culture. Never before has the world been so small—and yet, considering the absolutely massive amount of data now at our fingertips, the world has also never been so unfathomably huge. We are drowning in zeros and ones, the digital reflections of our outer and inner worlds flooding our senses faster than any of us can metabolize. Only a genuinely Integral approach can make sense of this deluge of information, an approach that acknowledges and situates the established methodologies of phenomenology, structuralism, empiricism, hermeneutics, systems theory, etc., without ever confusing the territory of one methodology with the authority of another. In this sense, both Kevin Kelly and Ken Wilber are truly 21st-century pioneers, both of whom share an irrepressible drive to synthesize and integrate a truly staggering body of knowledge. Their work represents a new way of seeing the world, of relating to the world, and of being in the world. They strive to identify the very real patterns in our universe, patterns that connect everything to everything else, and in so doing, helping to clear a path for the future of evolution in this lonely pocket of the universe.

Listen to Exploring the Technium: Technology, Evolution, and God for free from Integral Life.

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