Monday, October 17, 2011

Epiphany while reading "The Key"

I believe that when the history of our decade is written (assuming that there's anyone left to write it), October, 2011 will be cited as a watershed, for reasons that are slowly becoming apparent in the tech world.  Although the iPhone 4S's Siri interface was initially derided as another "voice command" program, it is proving to be quite something else: it is a form of artificial intelligence which is capturing the public imagination in much the same way as the Furby did, a decade ago.  Although Siri isn't true AI, it mimics it, and websites are beginning to pop up with transcripts of clever interactions with the machine.

What I predict will happen is that as Siri continues to engage the popular imagination, there will be popular demand for true artificial intelligence.  Siri might well prove to be the most significant thing that Steve Jobs ever introduced.

In one of those serendipitous coincidences, I'm re-reading "The Key," and I am struck with how the "Master's" oblique and enigmatic tautology is reminiscent of Siri's smart-alecky banter.  The "Master" never directly answers a question, but instead keeps his questioner off-balance by offering a seemingly intelligent reposte from left field.  The "Master's" explanations appear profound, insightful, and intelligent, mostly by being unexpected and clever.  This may well be how machine intelligence manifests, and we can see the seeds of this in Siri.

But although I'm seeing new things in "The Key" in my re-reading, my basic opinion of the "Master's" pontifications hasn't changed.  I think that the "Master" offers a very dark portrait of our near future, disguised as a warning.  Much of what "he" says seems grounded in fact and is very intriguing, but taken collectively, it fails to illuminate.  For example, the "Master" goes to some length to explain how some of us are "radiant beings" and some are not; presumably, those of us who are "radiant" make our own Light and can ascend to become co-creators with the Great Creator.  Those who aren't "radiant" are SOL and risk being re-absorbed into "God."  This is the sort of dark philosophy that I find in channeled material (and in some religions), and I personally chose not to believe in it.  It reminds me of how the channel in "Hungry Ghosts" classes the human soul population into two great divisions: "souls" and "entities."  Does this have some basis in fact?  Probably.  Our world is a world of dualities, contrasts, and, occasionally, unities, so it would make sense to assume that there would be some mechanism for divying up souls.  But I don't think that we can know, or pretend to know, what that process is, mostly because we are immersed in the physical world and must filter all our understanding through human consciousness.  Any transcendent insight that we might be fortunate to grasp will be distorted by our physical consciousness and will result in confusion rather than illumination.

That having been said, I think that the "Master's" revelations are ultimately valuable, because they seem to come from a place outside of our physical world.  I think that they are genuine snapshots from the greater non-physical world.  For example, the "Master" seems to imply that we are pulled to our current physical bodies and life circumstances by a sort of spiritual magnetism.  The bulk of souls that are incarnated spend the majority of their conscious existence being involuntarily pulled from one physical incarnation to another, with only brief periods in a sort of Bardo that co-exists with our physical world.  I think that this information is probably "true"... many mystics and seers have presented roughly the same picture of the afterlife.  But again, I am not sure that we can understand or absolutely know if this is ideed the case, and if true, what it "means."

Perhaps "The Key" is what results when human consciousness encounters an intelligent machine that originates outside of our physical reality; the information imparted is intriguing, occasionally insightful, and largely useful, mostly because is offers a different perspective into universal conditions; but it ultimately fails to edify or illuminate--because our own consciousnesses and souls are a lot smarter in comparison, if only we could realize it.

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