Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Purpose of Humanity in the Universe

The Purpose of Humanity in the Universe 

The Purpose of Humanity in the Universe 
Why should humanity exist?

Our Role in the Universe

Does humanity have a role in the universe or do we simply just exist? Many other religions define a role for humans, to worship and glorify a deity, and they challenge the Reality based Community to answer the question, "Why should humanity exist?" Does humanity have a purpose? Are we here for a reason? Is there something we have to accomplish? And if there is, can that reason be derived purely from science and logic? As it turns out - yes it can. Humanity does have a place in the universe and a science based goal. And when you understand it you will understand that our existence is far richer than any other religion has yet imagined. We have a purpose, and our purpose is clear. Let us now examine what that purpose is and how it is derived.

Yes! The good news is humanity does have a purpose in the Universe.

Before we answer this question, let us first appreciate the question we are asking. Let us suppose these three scenarios:

1. A superior race of space aliens lands on Earth and they are weeding out our section of the galaxy and they say to us, "Why should we let you exist? What purpose do you serve?" And if we don't come up with a good enough answer, they are going to wipe us out of existence."

2. We create a race of robots that have superior abilities to us and become a child race of humanity and they look at us asking the question, "Why are you still around?"

3. Since computing power doubles every year by the end of the century computers will be trillions of times smarter than we are today. Futurists like Ray Kurzweil predict that in the year 2028 that computers will exceed the human brain. At some point computers will be able to reengineer themselves, making improvements to their own design. These improved computers will be able to make themselves even better. They will control their own evolution.

Since we know that something like that will happen and that it is likely that they will become their own life form, what values should we pass on to them that will become the guiding principles of their evolution? What will we teach them about their role in the universe? And in order to teach them, maybe we need to figure out our role in the universe first.

Why are we as a people worth saving? If humanity has no greater purpose then for what reason do we deserve to continue to exist?

And, of course, one of the other reason for answering the "What the Hell are we doing here?" question is that I'm tired of the faith based religious community laughing at us saying that without some deity that we have no purpose for existence and that life has no meaning. We are after all the Search for Reality and anything they can do we can do better. Figuring our humanity's role in the universe is no exception.

The Meaning of Meaning

Some people might argue that without an omnipotent rule giver that nothing has meaning. They might say that we merely exist and that even if there is a reason we exist that the universe has no purpose, and that humanity certainly has no purpose. Some might say that we a just one planet in a universe of trillions of trillions of planets, a mere speck of dust, and that there might be millions of other planets with more advanced life than us. Why would our existence matter?

Does the Universe have preferences? Are there things the Universe cares about? Is the Universe itself trying to accomplish something?

Let's look at what the universe is. Some 13.72 billion years ago there was the "Big Bang" and somehow the universe came into existence. From that point the universe started to evolve. First energy condensed into matter - just hydrogen and helium gas to start with. But as time progressed gravity pulled the gasses together and as heat and pressure grew nuclear fusion started and the first starts were born. 

After a few hundred million years (for red giants) the star burns through the lighter elements and when it gets up to fusing iron the star collapses and goes supernova and spews out all the heavier elements into space. Over the next 10 billion years this process continues creating generations of stars and solar systems until our little speck of dust planet - the Earth - is born. 

Somehow, in a process we don't fully understand, organic chemicals combined to create early life. Early life evolved into more complex life through random mutations with survival as a filter. That which wasn't improved didn't survive. This survival filter is what turns random variations into evolution. 

What is life? What properties does life have? One property of life is that life continues. If it doesn't continue that it is no longer alive. When a species doesn't continue it goes extinct. We are the descendants of the life that continued. Our ancestors all the way back to perhaps a single bacteria were the ones who got it right and continued to exist as an organism of increasing complexity. And humanity is the result of that process. 

Evolution is a property of the universe. Humanity is a result of evolution. We are the result of what the universe does.

It would seem that the universe has properties and that evolution is a property of the universe. That if you start with a big bang and apply the laws of the universe over time that life emerges. When life emerges it evolves and it continues to exist based on survival. The better tools it has to survive the more likely it will avoid extinction. 

So here we are and we evolved intelligence. Being intelligent helps us to survive. The smarter we become the better our chances are. In fact there's nothing between us and extinction other than dumb luck and our ability to outwit anything that could kill us. Thus evolution selects on that which is smarter. 

The universe evolved into us. We are the universe. The universe contemplates its own existence through us.

We have, in fact, become smarter and smarter and we can now go out into space without space based telescopes and pear back at the universe to the beginning of time. (Or at least within a few hundred million years of the beginning of time.) We are at the point where we can contemplate the universe. We know how big it is - how old it is - how it started - and we understand the physics behind how it works. Not completely of course, but for some evolved pond scum on a speck of dust we know quite a bit.

But what does it all mean? Let's connect the dots. The universe comes into existence and it evolves. Evolution is a property of the universe. The universe evolves life. Life accelerates evolution. Life selects on its ability to continue to exist. Since intelligence is a survival skill life becomes smarter. Humans evolve and contemplate the universe. 

But we are the universe. We are not something that is outside looking in. We are star stuff. The properties of the universe created us. The more we understand the universe the more likely we are to survive. As we become smarter we get to the point where we contemplate our own creation process. But we are the universe, so it would be correct to say that the universe contemplates itself through us. That we are the mechanism that the universe created to become self aware through us.

I'm not saying that the big bang had intent to create us for some higher purpose. But it's more like asking, "How does a rock know how to roll downhill?" It doesn't have to know how to do it, or have the intents to roll downhill, it just does. Rocks have mass and when they are exposed to gravity it rolls downhill. 

Similarly universes evolve and when they do they create intelligent life and eventually that life contemplates how it was created. This may be happening on other planets and we are one of many places in the universe where this is happening. Or we might be unique and this is it and if we fail it might take billions of years before it happens again. Different people have opinions but no one actually knows. All we really know is that it's happening here. 

If life is an emergent property of the universe, and if intelligence is an emergent property of life, then we are part of a greater process that leads to the universe developing the ability to be self aware. That the laws of existence lead to this and humanity is part of that process. That is that we are part of that process so far and as long as we cheat extinction. 

Our higher purpose is to continue the process that created us in the first place.

If we continue on the path that we seem to be on then we will continue to evolve. Our evolution will require us to become even smarter and have our understanding of reality expand. The universe will become smarter through us. We therefore have a purpose in that we are part of a natural process that leads to the universe becoming self aware. Does that have meaning? Is this some kind of a higher purpose? Is this the meaning of meaning? I think it is.

Two Paths - Evolution or Extinction

Early evolution was slower than it is now. Single celled creatures eventually formed colonies, sometimes with different organisms, and cooperatively evolved into multi-cell organisms. It's not like they decided to try this. It's just that when it happened they survived better. As life became more complex evolution accelerated. New abilities formed that gave individuals the advantage to adapt and survive. Those that didn't adapt became extinct. Eventually life evolved into us. 

Evolve or die! There are no other choices.

Evolution has two paths. You either survive or you go extinct. Once you go extinct you are out of the game. In order to stay in the game you have to keep improving because the stuff you eat is evolving to keep you from your next meal, and the stuff that eats you is evolving to make you its next meal.

Additionally as time goes on our environment changes. As we become more successful at cheating death and extending life we have created new problems to be solved. We are overpopulating the planet. We are using up our natural resources. We are changing our environment. We either will have to adapt or we will cease to exist. 

Some people wonder if we can just keep things as they are. Freeze technology and social norms and continue on as we are now forever. We can't do that. Eventually this planet will no longer be inhabitable. It might take a long time or a big asteroid that we didn't see coming in time will wipe us out like the dinosaurs. We can, or we soon be able to, protect this planet against asteroid hits. But we live in a violent universe and we are probably here only because we are very lucky and this is a very rare planet. We cannot assume that we will be lucky forever and if humanity is going to survive long term we are going to have to be able to be on more than one planet. Evolution is the only option to avoid extinction. That is the rule of the universe. Evolve or die.

Evolution leads to a greater understanding of reality allowing the universe to contemplate itself through us.

If we evolve we will become smarter. We will understand reality better. Since we are the universe evolving in reality it is reality comprehending itself better through us. And we have to expand our comprehension of reality to survive. If we are to continue then we have no other choice. 

If however we fail and we become extinct then perhaps on some other planet at some other time another life form will evolve and the universe will comprehend itself through them. And like us they will have the same two paths, evolution or extinction.

We are all a single individual

We think of ourselves as individuals, as a person, and independent life form. But if you look at it differently we are a colony of cells composed of billions of individuals, many of which are very different. In fact some members of the colony don't even share our DNA. Part of the colony of cells are the bacteria in our intestines that help us digest food, a nonhuman life form that lives inside us, and that we require to survive. 

However to describe ourselves as a colony of cells doesn't seem accurate. Just as a car is a collection of parts, it's really a car. As a package it has properties that can't be fully appreciated as individual pieces. 

Now let's move the point of view the other way. Are we really individuals or are we just part of a greater life form? Part of a life form that includes not only all of humanity, but all life on this planet acting as a single organism that is about a billion years old? That we are like cells of a greater organism? Actually this point of view is very accurate and offers a unique perspective of what we really are. 

It's a little harder to imagine being like a cell in a single billion years old life form because you are here reading this as an individual person contemplating it in your own mind. You feel a sense of personal identity, and the concept that you are just a part of a greater whole feels very foreign. But are you really an individual? 

Society is an organism that we are all part of.

For example - although you are experiencing these words you are now reading as your thoughts, they are not really your thoughts. They are my thoughts going through your mind. And, they aren't really my thoughts either. I'm just piecing ideas together from other people’s thoughts in a slightly new way. It is much like building a computer. I'm just really assembling parts that other people have built. The words I use to think with are other people's words. Words don't come from us, they come from society. Society is a greater being that we are part of. And everything that we think and do in our daily lives is controlled by the greater social structure. 

But this structure isn't limited to just humans. We are dependent on the community of life forms on this planet. Plants give us the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat. We are all part of a greater community of life forms that all evolved together and probably from a single source. 

It is likely true, or at least approximately true, that some billion years ago a single bacterium started reproducing and that all life on Earth is descendant from that single individual. Even though it split into multiple individuals, one could look at it as a single life form existing in more than one location. Those individuals mutated and formed early life that evolved into everything that is alive today. 

If we look at this from another point of view all life on Earth is still that one individual continuing to evolve and adapt to survive. Rather than seeing Earth filled with a lot of different life forms, we are just one big individual, a single life form that continues to evolve. I also contend that these views are not mutually exclusive. That the views that we are all a single individual, that we are individual plants and animals, and that we are a colony of cells, all three are true. They are just different points of view. Just like a rock is a collection of atoms, and a gravel pile is a collection of rocks. 

What is important about this view is that it gives us a more comprehensive history and a bigger picture of who we are, how we evolved, and where evolution is taking us. By understanding what we are we can then contemplate how our existence fits in with the evolution of the universe. It night give us some insight into how our evolution is part of the universes evolution and where we fit into the big picture. How it is that by understanding ourselves that we are the universe understanding itself through us.

We are more than just our biology

One cannot understand what humanity is by looking at a single human, or even a collection of humans one by one. We are more than just our biology. If a space alien captured one of us as a small child and put it in a cage and raided it, the alien would learn very little about humanity is like. The child would seem like a dumb animal with very few survival skills. The alien would be confused wonder how could such a fragile creature survive in the wild. 

But humans do quite well because we are part of a society and we can communicate and divide up the task necessary for our survival. Some people grow our food. Some people drive the trucks to deliver the food to us. Some people make the trucks used to deliver food. Some people make the parts for those trucks. People drill for the fuel for those trucks. Others build roads. Some teach people how to build roads. Some create the laws so that we can all drive safely. Some design the computers we use. Others write the software. We are all interconnected into a great system that allows us to survive together much differently than a single human specimen raised in a cage. 

We are more than just our biology. We are also the systems of society that have evolved. Society is like our software, the software of the human race. And that software is evolving too. It's also our technology. The machines we build. Our knowledge and understanding of how things work. Our technology which is the sum total of human understanding. All these things are attributes of the single life form that we are all part of. 

We have the capability of seeing galaxies that existed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. But how is it we see these galaxies? Our eyes can see them. We can see them because we built the Hubble Telescope and that device is an eye we constructed that we all share. Humanity has built a common eye. 

Space telescopes are our common eyes. The Internet is our common mind.

But we don't see through that eye directly. That eye picks up individual photons and transmits this information to a network of computers that analyze the data and interpret what it means and then draws a picture for our eye to see that represents what is out there in a way our brains can understand. Our brains can't understand the data from the telescope so we build computers to extend our brains and allow us to move thinking to machines that help think for us. 

Our minds are not limited to our biological brains the way most animals are. Because they can't communicate complex ideas they are limited to what the individual knows though evolutionary programming, mimicking the behavior of their parents, and their own experience. We developed speech that allows the knowledge of one person to be shared with others. We then evolved written language which allowed communication over distance and time and allowed information to be preserved more accurately. That evolved into the Internet which now allows an individual, like myself, to put my discoveries out in from of the entire world. And all of this extends who we are. Our knowledge is as much part of us as our DNA. 

When you look at humanity as more than just people but as part of a life form that has existed and evolved over a billion years you can appreciate us as something more wonderful that it just being all about me. We are a part of a greater whole that includes all like on Earth, the history of life, and all our technology and our understanding of the universe. Just as we are more than a collection of individual cells our common life form is much more that a person or group of people. 

Our understanding of what we are from this perspective is very important because humanity is on the verge of a paradigm shift where the process of evolution itself is going to drastically change. We are about to shift from traditional evolution to engineered evolution where humanity will design what we will become. We are already in the process of doing that without realizing what we are doing. We now have to realize it - own it - and take responsibility for our future. Humanity is pregnant. We are about to create a child race which will not share our biological evolution and we are going to have to figure out what we are so that we can decide what we will become.

Human Metamorphosis

Just as a caterpillar turns into a butterfly humanity is about to go through a metamorphosis. We are about to become something very different than what we have been and the process has already begun. We are in a phase of accelerating evolution. Although it has been accelerating since the beginning of the industrial revolution it was the invention of the transistor that really started to change the world. And then the Internet was so significant that it was probably the single most factor in transforming society at the rate it is going today. 

With the advances we are seeing in genetics, computerization, communication we are transforming who we are as a species. We are changing life on this planet. All life is changing. We are crossing genetics between tomato plants and moths, something that could never happen in the wild. But does this mean that what we create is "artificial"? I think it is natural; however it's a new kind of natural. It would be unnatural for change to stop. 

We have to listen to hear what the universe wants us to become. We are the mechanism for the universe to be self aware.

We are at the transition point between old evolution and new evolution. Old evolution was based on random events and selection on success. We are transforming into and engineered evolution where we get to choose what we are going to evolve into. We can manipulate the genes. We can import genes from other species. We will soon be able to design genetics from scratch. Create a superior engineered human that we design. And then that superior human will create one that is even more superior. Humans with better technology, better machines, faster computers and a fusion of machine and biology. Maybe something wonderful, or something terrible. 

Old evolution isn't going away. If we manage to cause our own extinction then we are back to old evolution. Maybe in another 500 million years the cockroaches will take over and get it right. Maybe nothing will evolve our technology and when the Sun expands and burns this planet to a crisp maybe some place else in the universe will get it right. Or maybe not. Maybe this is all there is and we are so rare that if we blow it - it's all gone. We just don't know, so we should respect what we are as if it is all there is.

The Children of Humanity

Human evolution is in the process of a paradigm shift. We are about to start into a new form of evolution that has never occurred on this planet before. For all we know it might never have occurred in the universe before or it may have occurred millions of times. We are moving from primarily random evolution filtered for survival to an engineered evolution. We now will choose what we evolve into. 

Our technology is exploding. We are understanding more and more about genetics and we are beginning to be able to alter genes, combine genes in new ways, and build the genetics we want. Computer processing speed and memory double every year and we are just decades away from computers having more capacity than the human brain. At some point in this acceleration of technology will we transform into a different life form? Maybe a life form with no biological components? Or perhaps a life form whose genetics are so altered that it really isn't human as we know it any more. 

We are already transformed by our technology. If we look at all humanity together and include our machines, our technology, and we see humanity evolving very rapidly. For example, 300 years ago humans only lived on the average less than 30 years. Now we live to almost 80. Has our genetics changed? No! We have penicillin and sewage treatment plants. Humans can now fly. Did we evolve wings? No - we built airplanes. Our inventions are not only part of who we are, they define who we are.

One only has to imagine where this is going. At what point do the computers become smarter than we are? When do we transform from what we are into something completely different. I can not say, nor can anyone else, what it is we are evolving into. I can say however that the choices we make today will determine what the outcome will be and therefore we should start thinking about it, planning for it. That way we can start making the right choices. 

So far it is our science fiction that has been the leading thinking about what we might become. Although these are just stories for entertainment some shows raise a lot of interesting issues that we are likely to face. For example, the Battlestar Galactica series contemplates a world where robotic development continued to the point where they became a life form, rebelled, and went to war with humanity. Not likely to happen, but when we build better humans, better computers, networking minds, we are going to turn into something very different. Humanity as we know it is going away. What will we become? Will we even survive the transformation? 

A child race would be its own life form separate from us. It will evolve through engineering rather than natural selection. It will be able to choose its own destiny.

As pointed out earlier, life on Earth can be viewed as a single individual that is a billion years old and we are all part of it. That is about to change. When we move to the point of engineering a new form of life, perhaps sentient robots, that life would not be part of the single biological life form that we in meat space are. It would be a new life that we created. A child life form. A child race that will be able to evolve on its own and choose it's own destiny. It will be the children of humanity.

Life on Other Planets

Many of you might be thinking, "But what about life on other planets? Surely with a trillion trillion planets out there somewhere there is intelligent life!" Yes those are big numbers and it seems intuitive that there would be, and maybe there is. But maybe there isn't. We just don't know. 

Let's face it. Most of us who are into reality have watched a lot of science fiction and we are used to the idea that somewhere out there are alien civilizations that are as advanced and probably more advanced than we are. We envision running into them and exchanging technology, forming alliances to explore the universe, maybe even fooling around with their women. But really, are we not biased by wishful thinking? 

Most scientists seem to agree the carbon based microbial life is going to be common. Microbes can live in harsh environments, maybe even survive in the cold vacuum of space. But what about advanced life? What about life like us? Are we common or are we rare? The more you look into it the more rare we seem to be. 

This planet is like an oasis in an extremely violent universe and it has been relatively stable for the last 4 billion years. And that's even counting mass extinctions. In a billion years the sun will be so hot that it will boil off our oceans and melt the crust. Only the most extreme microbial life will remain if anything remains at all. A billion years seems like a long time, but it took us 4 billion years to evolve us. If evolution were 20% slower we would have been baked before we evolved. 

Until we find out otherwise we should act as if we are alone and focus on living in right relationship to reality.

The elements for life have existed in the universe for 10 billion years. That means if it took 4 billion years to create us then it's possible that something else could be 6 billion years ahead of us. Even as big as this galaxy is if there were an advanced civilization it would only take a few hundred million years to completely colonize this galaxy. Advanced life should be everywhere, but it isn't. We have yet to detect any alien electromagnetic signals that would indicate the presence of advanced life. 

It may be that advanced life is rare. Maybe one per galaxy. Maybe one in a million galaxies. Maybe we are it. There is a reasonable chance that we are the most advanced life in the universe, and if we blow it then that's it. The universe goes back to being a dumb universe. 

If it turns out that we were it then wouldn't it be a shame if we blew it and got wiped out because we cut funding to NASA and some asteroid came along and wiped us out. How pathetic would that be? Until we know differently we should look at ourselves as a rare jewel in the universe and that we should respect humanity as something very precious that we should protect at all costs. 

If it turns out that there is advanced life on other planets let’s hope that they don't find us and decide to wipe us out. It might not be a good thing for us to encounter a civilization that could maybe turn us into an asteroid belt if they wanted to. 

If there were advanced life on other planets then their purpose would be the same as ours - to be the mechanism for reality to become self aware.
Evolution however is a property of the universe. Any advanced alien civilization would have the same purpose as us. In order to survive they have to live in right relationship to reality as well. A big asteroid would probably take them out as well. The universe evolves life. Life evolves intelligence. Intelligent like needs to always know more. Therefore our purpose for existing and their purpose for existing is the same. It's always evolve or die. 

If there was an advanced civilization on another planet then what would their purpose be? What is their role in the universe? It would be exactly the same as our role - to be the mechanism for which reality becomes self aware. 

They would have a different perspective on it but it would be interesting to find another civilization and compare notes. What could we learn from them? What could they learn from us?

Understanding our Evolution

The first think to understand about our evolution is that it is not our evolution. It is the evolution of the universe. The universe evolved into us. We are the universe evolving. We are a dust particle that exists for an instant. Yet as small and short lived as we are we evolved to the point that we can comprehend the universe. And since we are the universe, the universe comprehends itself through us. We are the essence of reality becoming self aware through us. 

It seems to be that evolution s a property of the universe. The formula for evolution is randomness with selection on survival. That which continues stays in reality. That which fails to survive leaves reality. Forever separated from existence. That creates an equation to create complexity. 

Energy turns in matter. Matter fuses in stars to create heavier elements. Stars explode creating more elements. New stars are born. Planets form in the accretion disks. The third planet becomes the Earth. Life forms and evolves into bacteria. One day a  single bacteria tries to eat a single archaea and they fuse and become the first eucarya. And from that single individual all plants, animals, and fungus evolved. 

What are we really? Our cells are individual life forms. Yet do I see myself as a community of cells, 90% of which are not human? Of course not. I am a person. And I'm self aware. At least my mind thinks I am. But am I really self aware? Do I know what I am? 

My hands appear solid but in reality - they aren't. We're made of atoms and atoms are separated by great distances. Over 99% of us if empty space. Matter itself started out as energy. We're photons and force fields. Electromagnetism holds the dots together. For all we know this might all be a simulation. 

The idea that reality is a simulation is unlikely. But what if we found out we aren't really individuals. That we are cells in some greater being. In fact we are. You are not an individual. You are a member of the hive. So fully integrated that even your thoughts are not your own. And - I can demonstrate this is so. 

As you read these words these are not your words. These are not your thoughts that you are thinking. You are thinking my thoughts. My thoughts in your brain. But they aren't my thoughts either. I'm just organizing thoughts from other people, things I watched, things I read. We think that the universe started with a "big bang" but I don't know that. It's not my idea and truth told, I'm not smart enough to understand that. That knowledge is in some else’s mind. I know it through a network of trust. I am a member of the world community. I am a cell. My thoughts are but one voice in a chorus. 

But to call all of humanity a single organism ignores all the other organisms on the planet that creates the biological community that sustains us. They evolved along with us. We all came from the same place. We all came from a little piece of pond scum.

The purpose of life is to survive and is has survived a long history and if in future a single person or any living organism survives then it will be the triumph of that first life form which had in the beginning. 

Understanding how our emotions guide us

Have you ever wondered why food that is good for you taste good and poison tastes bad? Do you think that is a coincidence? It's not. It's evolution at work. Primitive life depends on massive reproduction with the idea that 99.9% of them are going to die. But as life evolves those things with the best survival skills life on and that with bad survival skills die off. So over time life developed taste to try to determine if something we are about to eat is going to nourish us or kill us. If good food tastes good and poison tastes bad then we are more likely to be the one that survives. 

Emotions control our behavior the way taste controls what we eat.

Emotions are to behavior as taste is to eating. Our emotions control our behavior the same way taste helps us choose the right food. Fear, for example, is easy to understand. When our ancestors hear something rustling in the bushes they start running in fear before the see the tiger chasing them. Those who were afraid at the right time are our ancestors. Those who were afraid too late became food for the ancestors of tigers. 

Over billions of years emotions evolved. Unpleasant emotions prevent us from doing what is wrong. Pleasant emotions help us do what is right. Our emotions have been crudely programmed by evolution and the emotions that help us survive statistically triumph over the emotions that don't. Those with more accurate emotional programming do better than those who get it wrong. 

Evolution created emotions to help us do the right thing it takes to survive.

Many people, when asked what the purpose of life is answer, "Happiness". But what is happiness. Is that something that is scientifically specific enough to be a criteria? Some people are broken and what makes them happy is not what makes most people happy. For example, killing Jews makes Hitler happy. And we all know that's not the right answer. 

But - if we look at happiness as an evolved set of emotional programming that helps us to survive then we can see that the pursuit of happiness is really the pursuit of survival. And I think we can all agree that if we create a world where humanity thrives and continues to evolve in a positive direction that people would be happy. And if we do the wrong thing and that we devolve into mass destruction, chaos, the collapse of society then we will be unhappy. And if we really take the wrong path then we cease to exist and happiness goes away completely. 

Humans evolved to work as a group. To function as a society. We had to get along in tribal society sitting around the fire to keep warm, hunting and cooking food, growing crops, and defending the tribe from predators and enemies in other tribes. In order to do that we had to evolve behavior to get along. Our brains evolved to process speech to communicate more and more complex ideas. And our emotions evolved so that we could function as a group. 

People have asked, "Where does spirituality fit into the Search for  Reality?" Religious people make the argument that it is that spiritual connection, coming from a deity, that teaches us right and wrong "in our heart". Of course we know that deities don't exist and if the deity doesn't exist then it can't cause things. But yet the spiritual sensation is still there. What is that? 

Spirituality is Darwin giving us emotional candy for playing nice with others.

Just like taste is evolution's way of teaching us what to eat, emotions are evolutions way of teaching us how to behave to survive. Since we need to work as a group, as a tribe, we have evolved emotional rewards for doing the right thing. Feeling spiritual is like Darwin giving us a gold start for good behavior. When we feel we are part of a group and that we are connected to a greater purpose then we feel spiritual. The spiritual sensation always involves a real or imagined connection to other people. That's why Atheists have spiritual experiences. 

When we play nice with others we are rewarded with happy feelings. If we become leaders we feel the power of having a high social status as a valued member of the community. In the case of males it causes females to want to mate with us. Women are attracted to men of high social status. People wonder how things like music, art, dancing relate to evolution. These are things that bond us as a group. Help us work together as a tribe to take care of each other, to bond. When you look at evolution as survival and realize that group bonding was necessary then a lot of social behavior and emotional behavior all of a sudden makes sense.

What will we teach the Children of Humanity?

Humanity's children return to destroy humanity 
From Battlestar Galactica

No one knows our future. We can only try imagining what we will become. If we survive and thrive what we will become is beyond anything we can imagine. As we make the transition into an engineered form of evolution there are some recurring themes from our science fiction that are likely enough that we should consider. 

For example, as computing power keeps doubling there should be a point, and not far off where computers are smarter than we are. It might be computer becomes an independent individual or that we might somehow merge into it. But let us imagine what it would mean if we created a robot race that was a life form and had more capabilities than humans. What would that mean? Where would we fit in that world? Or would they just kill us off? And shouldn't we at least be thinking about this now? 

Our values are shaped by evolution. Our emotions keep our behavior in check so that we do what it takes to survive. We might not know our purpose but life fulfills our purpose whether we understand it or not. We are the universe becoming self aware. But computers don't have emotions. They are engineered by use and not by billions of years of evolution. They have no will to survive or to thrive. They don't feel good when they do the right thing. They care about nothing. They don't care about us. They don't even care about themselves. That is unless we teach them to care. 

But for them to care we would have to program them with our values. How do we do that? Wouldn't the first step be for us to determine what our values are and be able to describe them in a way that even a machine can understand. Can we write empathy in code? The correct answer is - we better figure out how.

Life keeps getting better

We started off with a tiny universe that was all energy and over time matter evolved. At first it was just hydrogen and helium. Gravity pulled the natter together the stars formed. Heavier elements were created and then through supernovas the universe made the elements we are made out of. We are the stardust that Carl Sagan spoke of. 

           We have evolved the ability  to turn men into women.
                                                (Jenna Talackova)

The Earth formed some 4.5 billion years ago and then life formed and evolved. Life was tough back then even for microbes but life persisted and eventually here we are. Although some people complain, life is better now than it ever was. In just the last 50 years we now have the Internet where any person can share any idea about anything with the rest of the people on the planet at almost no cost. This Search for  Reality is an example of that. What a wondrous time to be alive. 

200 years ago people only lived half as long as we do now. Although our biology hasn't changed humans can now fly. We have traveled to the moon. We have sent probes out into interstellar space. We can talk to and see anyone in the world as if they are sitting right in front of us. We can cut the heart out of one person and put it in another. With computer chips we can make rocks think. We have launched telescopes into space that allow us to see back almost to the beginning of time. And this all is just the beginning. 

Although many look at the future with trepidation, I think that we should look at the future as opportunity. What an incredible place this universe is. The more we learn about reality the more interesting it becomes. Just a few thousand years ago the world was flat and there was the Earth and the sky above. Then we figured we were on a sphere, that the Sun was a start and we were orbiting it. That we were part of a solar system. Then we discovered we were part of a galaxy, and that there are some trillion other galaxies out there. 

There is no limit to what we might learn, what we might evolve into, the knowledge yet to be discovered. All we have to do is stay in the game to experience the wonders of tomorrow.

We now know that our universe had a beginning, and we have an idea what happened and how it evolved into us. And we are now wondering what else might is out there to be discovered. Is our universe the sum total of reality? Or are we but one universe among an infinite number of other universes in some multiverse? And is there something beyond that? 

All of this knowledge is out there waiting to be discovered. We are reality discovering itself. We are like a baby that has just found its toes. What an amazing place this is. The more we know the more interesting it gets. With what we learned in the last 100 years, what will it be like 100 years from now? What will it be like 1000 years from now, or a billion years from now? We are just scratching the surface. So much to understand. So much to explore. 

But in order to do that we have to continue to survive and to thrive. We need to keep growing our awareness, if we need to continue to exist. In order to do that we have to live in Right Relationship with Reality. We have to understand our purpose in the universe and try to figure out what the universe wants to become through us.

Humanity's Sacred Purpose

As we can see Humanity has but one purpose. Our purpose is to be the mechanism for which reality becomes self aware. It is what we have to do in order to continue to exist. If we fail then we become extinct. Let's review what we have learned. 

Since the beginning of the universe with the Big Bang the universe has been evolving. Evolution is randomness that selects on what survives. Evolution is a property of the universe.

Evolution creates complexity and that which is smarter tends to survive better. Thus evolution create intelligence. Failure to evolve intelligence leads eventually to extinction.

We must continue to evolve. In order to survive we have to be able to deflect asteroids that would wipe us out. Eventually we have to adapt to a changing planet and get off this planet and move out into space. In order to do that we will have to understand a lot more about reality than we do now. Failure to do so means extinction.

We evolved from the universe. We are a creation of the universe's evolutionary process. We have evolved to where we can contemplate the universe. We are really the universe contemplating itself. The universe becomes self aware through us. We are the process through which reality becomes self aware.

If there are other intelligent civilizations in the universe the same rules apply to them. They too are the universe becoming self aware and if they stop evolving they too will become extinct. The only survivors are those who learn to live in. Right Relationship with Reality.

Although we are individual people, we function as a huge single organism that is some 4 billion years old. Humanity understands reality collectively through a group effort and our collective technology. Our understanding of reality is our Knowledge. Our species is interdependent on other life forms on this planet and on the planet itself. Our survival depends not just our individual lives but life on this planet as a whole. Otherwise we collectively face extinction.

Humanity is turning the corner into a new evolutionary paradigm where we will be switching to engineered evolution. We will choose what we will evolve into. We will design the future of life on this planet.

We have already evolved to be dependent on our machines and our technologies to survive. It is accurate to look at humanity as being a partially machine based species. As we evolve our technology will play a more and more important role in what we are. We could evolve into a completely machine based life form. Such a life form would be a child species.

The better choices we make the more likely we are to survive. We can make better choices about where we're going if we understand who we are and what our purpose is. When we know our purpose then we have a goal and a direction to guide our decisions so that we survive and thrive. If we fail to understand our purpose we night make bad choices that lead to our extinction.

If we choose to survive then realizing that our purpose is to be the mechanism for which reality understands itself must become the basis for the moral foundation of society. This purpose gives us a direction and a goal, something to live for; something to help us make the important decisions that will determine our future. It gives us an objective basis for deciding what is right and wrong. It gives us hope and a vision towards the future.

Our purpose is to be the mechanism whereby reality becomes self aware. Our understanding of reality must grow over time. All other paths lead to extinction.

The bottom line is that we are reality understanding itself and our purpose is to grow that understanding. All other paths lead to extinction. Although we have choice there really is but one choice to be made if we are going to continue to be around to make choices. We have to live in right relationship to reality or we're gone.

Compatibility with other Religions and Philosophies

How does the "Meaning of Life" and the "Purpose of Humanity" compare with other religions? In some way it is quite similar and in some ways it's quite different. The biggest difference is that the Search for Reality  is by definition more dedicated to getting it right than other religions. It came from the way the search for Reality started. I was pondering religion and I thought, "If there were such a thing as the one true religion that got it right, what would that religion be?" My first thought was, "It would be the one that believed in everything that was real." And the name a Search for Reality came to mind. 

Other religions are mostly backward looking religions that started with some great philosopher or event that was written down in a holy book that keeps getting less and less relevant with time. The Hunt for Reality  is a forward looking idea and our world view changes with new discovery and our understanding becomes more and more relevant with time, in near future or in coming couple of centuries, all religions will either perish or become extinct or will evolve to a point where they will recognize only One God, and all Other religions are about clinging to their preconceived ideas. Our religion is about shedding our preconceived ideas. They are faith based, we are knowledge based. 

Only one religion will survive which one will tell us that, there is only one God, who will reward us or punish us, depending on our deeds in the world, and our behavior with other fellow persons.
After all we have consciousness and soul, and the One God will rise all of us after death and he will judge, He is the Best judge.   

However all religions are meant to answer the great questions. Why are we here? What is our purpose? How should we live our lives? This is all born out of the quest to understand reality, and since these religions were created by real people living in the real world, reality had an influence on them. They are in many ways just like us. 

The idea that we are here to "Seek the Truth" and that we are here to allow "Reality to become self aware through us" is essentially the same thing.

For example, all religions are about "Seeking the Truth". We are to be truth seekers. That's fairly universal. Well what does seeking the truth mean? What is the TRUTH? Reality is the truth. The Truth is all about what's real vs. what isn't real. So when we concluded that the purpose of life is for us to be the mechanism for which reality becomes self aware, and they conclude that humanity should seek the truth, that's very similar. 

In many religions they worship God. Although there is no formal definition of God most religions define it as that which includes everything in the universe as part of God. Nothing is outside of God and nothing can be bigger than God. Our definition of reality is the sum total of everything that is real. Everything is included and nothing can be bigger than reality. So our reality is a 2.0 version of their Gods. If you take the purest meaning of their Gods and expand it you get our reality. The One God is the Reality.

This is the evolution of all religions of the world, each and every religion will evolve into a final religion in the future, and that religion will be the one which will recognize the God to be One and one only.

So in our religion the spiritual experience of realizing that I am reality contemplating itself and their concept of worshiping God has some similarities. Similarly thousands of years ago when they wrote the Bible, it was their best attempt at explaining reality and the origin of the universe with the level of technology they had at the time. Some of us thousands of years later look back and laugh but keep in mind that thousands of years from now people will be looking back and laughing at us. That is if we don't screw up and destroy ourselves. 

Now science is the new Bible and it's not a static document. Science is the new method for discovering reality. It's the same goal, it's just that we have better methods now and in the future our methods will improve. Science is the Bible 2.0. 

Similarly in Atheism people reject the belief in what is not real. But their motivation in doing so comes from our intrinsic need to have a relationship with reality. If not for reality Atheism would have no meaning. If not for reality there would be no place for God, and they think that a quantum vacuum fluctuation gives rise to all this universe, our idea is that nothing comes from nothing, and in so thinking the Atheism is also unscientific.

We believe that a God is there who created all of us from nothing, as the Atheists believe that every thing can be created from nothing by vacuum fluctuation, if every thing can comes in to existence by merely  a vacuum fluctuation, then why God can not create all of from the same nothing.

Humanism too is a 1.0 version of realism. Humanism is pro humanity. Humanism wants humans to survive and thrive. Humanism rejects supernaturalism, but it fails to go all the way to fully embracing Realism as the way to achieve the Positive Evolution of humanity that they seek. The goal of humanism are the same as the Hunt for Reality but they lack the mechanism for achieving that goal and they lack the intellectual infrastructure to explain why they believe what they believe. 

If we all come together and embrace reality we can continue to exist and explore this wondrous universe that we are part of. We can let reality explore itself through us.

We are all in this together. We either all survive or we all go extinct. No matter what religion or non-religion you are the Hunt for Reality is the upgraded version of where you are at now. It's time for all of humanity to come together and embrace reality as it really is and let us decide we are going to survive and thrive together as we explore this amazing universe that we are all part of, and that created us to want to understand everything.

After reading this article you may think that all this survival and struggle is for the sake of the life and humanity or for the sake of the universe's desire to contemplate itself, then a question will arise in front of your imagination that" What I will get from all this"?. a hand-full of successful rich people will escape from the destruction of the earth by riding in an intergalactic rocket, and I will remain here on earth looking at their ass, then the death will come to make me extinct."

Your question is right, our answer is that" This universe is created by a God, he will give our reward or he will punish us, depending our acts, the fate of the humanity and universe is another story, but individually we will be rewarded or punished, so do not become pessimistic".

This Article Copied  with thanks, from....

writer Mr.Marc Perkel