I’m moving on from my role as Executive Director, and I wanted to mark my departure by giving my sense of the broader Consciousness Hacking space after 2.5 years of involvement. If you’re reading this and are unaware of Consciousness Hacking the organisation, we’re a global community HQ’d in San Francisco, operational in >50 cities and focused on the intersection of technology and human flourishing. For the purposes of this piece, I’ll be speaking to the broader Consciousness Hacking ecosystem rather than the organisation itself. My intention is to summarise key learnings and themes from my experience at the heart of the ecosystem and highlight the premises, promises and pitfalls I see in the space. The analysis was written in conversation with Mikey Siegel (founder), and will look first at my own personal journey, followed by an examination of how we build our tools, and subsequently what kind of tools are being, and I believe should be, built. …
Metaphysics is recovering in the West after a prolonged intellectual dormancy. Our baseline ontologies are again being questioned given advancements in quantum mechanics, theoretical physics and the re-emerging philosophical understanding of the importance of questions of ultimate concern. Though the 20th century was largely defined by a science that espoused a metaphysics of materialism, more recent developments (and lack thereof) point to the insufficiency of a substance-based, physicalist ontology to explain the nature of reality. The ‘hard’ problem of consciousness shows no signs of abating, while quantum phenomena such as the observer effect are continuing to demonstrate that mind and matter are fundamentally connected (Barad, 2007; Radin, 2006). Consequently, ontological conjectures hitherto dismissed are being given extra layers of texture, and validity, from scientific inquiry. This essay will evaluate the revival of some of these conjectures within a scientific world, and propose a suggested route forward for the re-integration of metaphysics into broader discourse. To set the context, I will begin by outlining the centuries-old decline of Western metaphysics and demonstrate why physicalism has failed in its attempts to fill our ontological void. I will then proceed to evaluate alternative ontologies to physicalism — panpsychism, relational ontologies and monistic idealism. I will argue that although a step in the right direction, panpsychism’s position as a quasi-materialist ontology cannot overcome its combination problem, while relational ontologies fail on the account of what I refer to as pragmatic metaphysics. …
Buddhists name it the law of impermanence.
Physicists describe it as simple entropy.
Historians see it in the fall of empires.
All are getting at the same point:
Nothing in the universe lasts.
In our technologically-enhanced 21st century, with our exponential inventions and sci-fi aspirations, we assume we have transcended the fate of time. We suppose that we have outgrown the laws of nature and surpassed the end of history. …
Why Technology Spells The End Of Capitalism (As We Know It)
A great paradox of capitalism is emerging, and that is that its very success is leading to its own endgame. In a capitalist market, sellers seek to increase productivity to allow them to sell products cheaper than their competitors. Technological advancement allows for such efficiency gains, leading to lower marginal costs of production. What few people consider is that such marginal costs could actually fall to zero.
The consequences? Goods and services become priceless. ‘Stuff’ becomes free. In the capitalistic mechanism’s pursuit of profit, businesses irreparably undermine their own margins. …