quinta-feira, 29 de outubro de 2009

Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse





THE FUTURE HAS NEVER LOOKED BRIGHTER OR MORE BLEAK. NEVER BEFORE IN human history has there been so much cause for both hope and alarm.

We are living in a world of increasing uncertainty, and each day brings new reasons for both celebration and concern. Are we headed toward a glistening new world of technological marvels and wonders or our own extinction?

We are facing a looming environmental crisis and an incalculable loss of biodiversity, as well as threats from AIDS and new antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Recent terror attacks left many Americans alarmed by the specter of more terrorism and war and concerned about the fate of their vanishing constitutional rights.

At the same time, new technological advances and scientific breakthroughs offer hope bordering on the miraculous—the Internet, genetic engineering, stem cell research, advances in neuroscience, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanotechnology promise to end poverty and eliminate disease, provide society with cheap, pollution-free energy, and predict a future so fantastic it staggers the imagination.

In these pages you’ll find in-depth conversations with cutting-edge visionaries that explore the future evolution of the human race and the mystery of consciousness, from scientific, philosophical, and spiritual perspectives.

Some of the world’s most brilliant (and entertaining) minds—world-class experts in genetics, neuroscience, language, artificial intelligence, robotics, space flight, science fiction, comedy, magic, visionary art, and Eastern philosophy—discuss life’s most ancient and compelling philosophical puzzles, such as the origin of human consciousness and the notion of teleology in evolution. Reflecting on these timeless mysteries creates fertile ground from which to contemplate important questions regarding humanity’s future.

The human species is headed down a path that could very well lead to its own destruction. This book was inspired by the hope that in viewing our precarious situation from a larger, more evolutionary perspective, we may be able to glean some valuable insights and, possibly, some enlightening proposals for our potential future.

As with my two previous interview books, Mavericks of the Mind and Voices from the Edge, the people I chose to interview are some of the most creative and controversial thinkers on the intellectual frontiers of science and art—the mavericks, those who have stepped outside the boundaries of consensus thought.

These are experts from various fields who have seen beyond the traditional and conventional view, who dare to question authority and think for themselves.

It is often the capacity for independent thought in these remarkable individuals that lies at the heart of their exceptional abilities and accomplishments. In questioning old belief systems and traveling beyond the edges of the established horizons to find their answers, they have gained revolutionary insights into the nature of consciousness, and they offer some unique solutions to the problems that are facing modern day society.

I chose people who were not only courageous and controversial, but largely people whose work has influenced one another. The interviews are designed not only to be interdisciplinary, but also to connect with each other, by exploring what the interviewees think about some of the same questions as well as about one another’s ideas.

For example, controversial areas of science—such as the study of psychic phenomena or the alien abduction phenomena—are debated in the following pages by having the interviewees respond to one another’s work and comments.

Giving the interviewees an opportunity to discuss one another’s opinions helps to create a lively, more interactive debate as well as a larger, more holistic point of view. By running common threads through the conversations and interlinking the interviews, the very format of this book also helps to demonstrate one of its primary themes: that the world is a deeply interconnected place.

What emerges from these interviews—as a whole—is far more than one might expect from viewing them separately. No single person has the answers to the Big Questions. But when we put our best minds together a collective vision begins to form, a meta-intelligence is created that transcends that of any individual. We start to see a balance between perspectives—such as rational analysis and intuition, serious thought and playful humor, practical application and imaginative speculation.

Like the social insects that cooperate in highly coordinated ways to form complex hives and colonies, we too seem capable of a type of group intelligence that transcends our limitations as individuals and behaves in a manner akin to that of a single organism. Each one of us holds a piece to the puzzle, and the pieces begin to come together when our best minds explore the frontiers of thought together.

Some of the questions that I will be discussing with the extraordinary individuals

I interviewed for this book have grand implications. Will the human species survive, or is it doomed to destroy itself? How will our current political trends affect the future? How is technology affecting the biosphere, our chances of survival, and the evolution of human consciousness? What happens to consciousness after death? What is God? Is there any teleology in evolution or intelligent design in nature? Are psychic phenomena real? Do intelligent extraterrestrials exist? Can science and spirituality be compatible? If we do survive, what does the future evolution of the human race hold in store? Speculating on these important questions can help us to understand ourselves better and to chart the course of our future—if, indeed, we have one. Let’s take a look at some of these questions more closely.


Introduction
David Jay Brown

Interviews

Chemistry and the Mind Field - Kary Mullis

Language, Politics, and Propaganda - Noam Chomsky

Molecules of Mind and Body - Candace B. Pert

From Outer Space to Inner Space and Beyond - Edgar D. Mitchell

Experiments That Could Change the World  - Rupert Sheldrake

Science and Psychic Phenomena  - Dean Radin

Alien Encounter Therapy - John E. Mack

Designing Higher Intelligence - Ray Kurzweil

Robots and Children of the Mind  - Hans Moravec

Strange Brains and Mathematical Games - Clifford Pickover

Future Cultures and Subcultures - Bruce Sterling

Bio-Media Theory - Douglas Rushkoff

Quantum Sociology and Neuropolitics - Robert Anton Wilson

Napalm, Silly Putty, and Human Nature - George Carlin

Realist and Surrealist - Paul Krassner

Raising the IQ of the Global Brain - Peter Russell

Quantum Spirituality - Deepak Chopra

Here, Now, and Tomorrow - Ram Dass

Medical Freedom and Cannabis Consciousness - Valerie Corral

Magic, Magick, and Shamanism - Jeff McBride

Sacred Reflections and Transfigurations - Alex Grey

Glossary
Internet Resources
About the Author
Photo Credits


Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse [ Download ]
Contemplating the Future with Noam Chomsky, George Carlin,Deepak Chopra, Rupert Sheldrake,
and Others - David Jay Brown