When two quixotic quests intersect
A little under a year ago, I began a quixotic exploration of the metaverse with the thought that:
The story of the metaverse is the story of many other M’s: myths, minds, metaphysics, mathematics, many with a long history such as the metaverse of thought in China, where it manifested as correlative thought.
Since then I am even more convinced that computing will swallow everything, and as that happens, the science and technology behind computing (which is what we think of as computing today) will be slowly replaced by the new worlds that are opened up by it. Just as the two language technologies that preceded it: writing and printing. How many people think about the technologies behind the written and printed word (pens, paper, movable type etc) and how many people just write?
Tech is a finger but it’s the moon we should be looking at.
In parallel, I began I another quixotic quest: an exploration of how the planet is the constant backdrop of all human activity:
Nothing in society makes sense except in the light of the planet
Solidarity has to go beyond it current human bubble and reach out to all the other beings who inhabit the earth. What will that mean for politics? For governance?
These two aren’t separate quests: they are both explorations of worlds, and what it is to be in one.
One view of the world centers the human. That I call the ‘Globe.’ Another view of the world has no center, or one for each being who inhabits our world. That I call the ‘Earth.’ Both the globe and the earth are illuminated by webs of information.
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Think about it this way: let's say you have built a house one way and then you realize the architecture is flawed and you need to design a new house on the same plot. The idea is to shift from house 1 to house 2 while keeping the roof stable throughout. The shift we want to encourage is from the universe to worlds.
Cosmos → Universe → Worlds
At the time of Copernicus, we had a fully fleshed out cosmos, i.e., the divinely revealed heavenly firmament. In contrast, the universe was barely visible - it was a genuine surprise when the moons of Jupiter were discovered. Now we have a fully fleshed out universe - stretching from quarks to quasars. We want to suggest a shift from the universe to worlds.
The universe is dead. Long live the universe! May the world arise out of its ruins.
It doesn’t matter what we see or read or create: everything can be given a worldly twist. Indian Independence Struggle: read Tagore and Gandhi as planetary thinkers. Future of money: combine crypto and carbon into the currency of the future. Disgusted with politics: peer into the minds of animals and express solidarity with all living beings.
The world is full of possibilities.