RE: Progress: What does it mean to you?

From: Leonardo Gonzalez (
Date: Sun May 27 2001 - 02:48:00 MDT

> When we think of progress, we remember the Enlightenment. When we look
> back at Transhumanity, we will think of the progress of progress. What
> does this mean to you?

To me, the progress of progess means the adaptation of nonlinear models of
development. The Englightenment, and mostly the Industrial Revolution,
pursued the quest of "faster, stronger, cheaper, more" for its processes.
This was the result of a Newtonian-Cartesian perspective of the world based
on mechanistic reductionism. With the advent of complex systems theory, a
new perspective sprung from concepts like integration, interactions,
networks, and chaos. Progress then embodies not a linear path, but an
expansive exploration of interrelated systems.

It seems there is much progress of both types underway. Linear progress of
engineering methods lends itself to immediate applicability. Non-linear
progress at the basic science level, however, opens the way to a paradigm
shift with more far-reaching consequences.

One obvious area for non-linear progress to be made in cognitive
neuroscience. This is not about making something smaller, faster, or
better. It's about understanding the complex networks of structure and
function underlying our conscious experience.

Another exciting area for paradigmatic progress is the understanding of the
fundamental nature of the Universe. I believe Superstring/Hyperstring (can
anyone tell me if these are the same, or how they differ?) theory, is an
example of a current paradigm shift in this realm. Recent evidence showed
us to be lacking a complete understanding of the mechanics of gravity (let
alone its nature).

-- Leonardo

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