JD Bernal

From: Jeff Davis (jdavis@socketscience.com)
Date: Wed Feb 28 2001 - 12:13:22 MST


I stumbled upon the work of a rather remarkable fellow. One JD Bernal.
Out of the Dyson sphere business I discovered that Dyson had gotten his
inspiration from Olaf Stapeldon, and on looking further I learned that
Stapledon had gotten his from Bernal.

You'll find Bernal's work,

The World, the Flesh & the Devil
An Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul

at: http://www.santafe.edu/~shalizi/Bernal/

What I find most interesting is that he wrote this in 1929, despite which
he seems to have anticipated much of modern science and future science
including: Matrishka brains/Dyson spheres, nanotech (he was an x-ray
crystallographer and beat Feynman to the importance of 'small' by thirty
years), and human-directed evolution (transhumanism).

He also deals very astutely with the inescapable challenge of
uncertainty/indeterminacy re attempting to predict the future.

Good read. Very extropian. With one exception,...which I'll leave you to
discover on your own--a small surprise.

This guy's too extropian for you all not to have heard of him before. I'm
way behind the curve, right?

                        Best, Jeff Davis

           "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                                        Ray Charles

                  The progress of the future depends no longer on
                     physiological evolution but on the reaction of
                         intelligence on a material universe.
                                                                  JD Bernal

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