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Blind Boy Apollo
and the All-White Astronauts

New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Friday, April 27

NewAge++ Redux

In response to my previous post, a longtime reader wrote: "I think you're on to something big. How the hell to get there, or what to do when you arrive, I can barely begin to imagine."

When I started the research for this (gods willing) book-to-be, I could barely begin to imagine, myself, where it was headed. My hunch was that there is something in the water, metaphorically speaking, that is causing people these latter days to be like, you know, real weird. The resultant weirdness I labeled NewAge++. The "++" bit was intended to signal two things:

  1. a sort of kinship (if only suggestive) with the C++ programming language, and by extension, the entire range of so-called high technologies, perhaps especially as they may have influenced various contemporary notions about psychotherapy; and
  2. the existence of a distinct (if still fuzzy) social class quite a bit larger than what we usually think of as "New Agers."

On the heels of my foregoing ruminations here about cognitive science, and on the theory that a picture is worth 1000 words, perhaps this book cover graphic will begin to bring us full circle.

Now for starters, there are three things you need to know about Ray Kurzweil:

  1. he's crazy as a shithouse rat
  2. (and closely related to the above) he wrote -- previous to the book pictured supra -- another book titled The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence; and
  3. he most recently wrote The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.
Nearly two years ago (in Technology and Superstition) I wrote about Are We Spiritual Machines?: "Proving that you don't need to be into angels or astrology to be a modern-day soothsayer, Ray Kurzweil weighs in again on his favorite subject" -- his favorite subject being The Singularity. Quoting from that page...
Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity -- technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.


So here's my next-installment hypothesis about another slice of the NewAge++ demographic, to wit: that hare-brained hallucinations like Kurzweil's -- and the AI/CogSci fever-dreams it springs from -- are essentially New Religious Movements, no different in kind from A Course in Miracles, UFO cults, and The Urantia Book.

every picture tells
a story don't it

~ rod stewart