You might recall that yesterday I blogged about the latest transhumanist fantasies about the "Spatial web", and about my concerns that what was really being talked about was yet another dystopian ideology of the collective, in this case, a kind of transhumanist "Borg" collective. In a nutshell, my concern was that in the rush to get everyone "connected", we are creating a system that is supremely anti-human, where one's "interior conversation" is open to everyone else, and vice versa, such that there is no more conversation, but only an unending noise and babble, where no individual voices can be singled out and heard, a kind of Tower of Babble.
In that regard, many people spotted this story and shared it (thank you to all who did so), and it should - I think - be viewed in the context of yesterday's blog about "the Spatial Web":
Notice what's going on here:
Each group set out to test its own techniques on how to "interview" people without waking them up, using the bizarre phenomenon of lucid dreaming as a doorway into the dream world. During regular dreams, we typically have no idea that we're dreaming, simply accepting the strange situations we're placed in without critical judgement. Lucid dreaming, a "notoriously rare phenomenon," is a state where the sleeper is aware that they're dreaming, and sometimes capable of steering their experience.
The researchers took one group of experienced lucid dreamers, another of regular folk that they had trained in the art of lucid dreaming, and one patient with narcolepsy who frequently drifted in and out of lucid dream states – and found they were able to have two-way exchanges with members of all three groups.
Across 158 attempts to communicate with lucid dreamers across all teams, the researchers got correct responses 18.4% of the time, incorrect responses 3.2% of the time, inconclusive answers 17.7% of the time and no response 60.1% of the time.
The research establishes that under certain circumstances, it's possible to send messages into somebody's dream, and for them to listen, calculate an answer and reply. Subjects were able to remember pre-sleep instructions on how to answer questions, and to correctly answer questions about their waking life like "do you speak Spanish?"
Where to from here? The researchers say this "interactive dreaming" research should open up a whole bunch of new research avenues, including testing out the ability to steer the content of somebody's dream from the outside. This might include dreams "curated in accordance with an individual's objectives, such as to practice a musical or athletic skill," or therapeutic dreams to "lessen the impact of emotional trauma," with real-time feedback from the subject.
By parity of reasoning, if it is possible to "steer the content of somebody's dream from the outside," then put that into the context of what I blogged about yesterday in connection to the "Spatial Web," where everyone "hears" everyone else's interior conversations, including their dreams. Recall that what was being advocated yesterday was a kind of "Borg collective," with an endless noise and babble of such conversations, and an openness of "everyone" to "everyone" as a means to rid ourselves of pesky things like "egocentrism" in order to be more "world-centric," "equitable," "inclusive" and "holistic," as if such things were the new cardinal virtues replacing prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Indeed, to refer to things like prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance is now viewed by many people advocating such things as "ethnocentrism."
But consider something else, by way of a little high octane speculation. The article at the center of yesterday's blog was arguing that, by hooking everyone up to such a network, a new kind of "digital consensus" could be built and checked against reality. What remained unexplained was how a new consensus could be checked against any sort of "reality." But when one considers adding dreams to the mix, then that "new consensus" might end up being nothing but a state of sonambulism, of an "inclusive" collective of sleep-walking hypno-zombies living out some sort of shared fantasy at the beck and call of whoever manages to end up "running" such a dystopian system.
It will indeed manage to be "world-centric," "equitable," "inclusive," and "holistic".
And it will be inhuman and anti-human.
But it will have little of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance, because those virtues depend on human selves exercising and practicing them.
See you on the flip side...