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GR's Big Idea & Thy Image of the FRS 
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As mentioned in my "Anyone Into Extrapolating Alien Tech?" thread, The Big Idea, Singularity & Mankind is God discussion that started there seems to be a very significant building block of the FRS, even if it doesn't directly find its way into the pages, and something I think I need to understand a little better to play in the FRS sandbox or at least appreciate it more fully.

To avoid derailing that thread, I've copied Aridas' initial postings on the subject here to discuss it further and maybe give it the exclusive attention it deserves. It's some pretty fascinating stuff and probably something that everyone who's as behind the curve as I am would want to understand better. I know elements of this were in the original Timeline page at FRS Prime and within a number of other threads, but I don't think I understood enough at the time to make sense of it all, so would like to try and do so now.

If there's a comprehensive discussion on this elsewhere already, please let me know. Otherwise, see below. I plan to post some questions myself later today if all goes well.

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18 Nov 2011 15:15
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aridas wrote:
In my mind, all the "preserver" races that supposedly seeded the humanoid form through the galaxy (and beyond?) are post-Singularity humans that have transcended the bonds of space and time. They have planted the seeds from the one planet with intelligent life all over the place, at many different points in time. They have adapted planets and they have adapted genomes. They can see past their universe and use others, some to populate with terran life, some to prompt alien life, some to leave barren, some to leave alone. In the universes with TOS, Terran lizard genomes were installed and adapted to the Gorn planet sometime in its past. Perhaps to live in an alien ecosystem or perhaps to live in an engineered biome designed to resemble old Earth.


aridas wrote:
In my mind it is the best way to deal with what I take to be Gene Roddenberry's final word on the Star Trek universe. I take TMP to be his final, unvarnished view-- the one where he went to the wall with everyone to get what he wanted on film. And damn, even though it might not have been the most entertaining thing, it was his BIG IDEA. And that idea? That Man is God. The notion from The God Thing-- that God is an alien-- has morphed via In Thy Image into Mankind is God. We are the Creator. It's 2001 turned on its head and if it had been done a little better, Wise's film would be remembered as even more profound than Kubrick's film.

So, if that is what Trek is all about in its ultimate, most developed, final form, the themes winding their way through the stories should relate to that Big Idea. The notion that the 21st century humanity that fathers our 23rd century Heroes resists its destiny by spurning Singularity and making AI and human enhancememts Verboten, but then has to repeatedly deal with what the humans that disagree with them have gone and done... that's cool and Frankensteinian and contemporary all at the same time. That Losira and Sargon and the Metrons and Organians etc all owe their existence to this fact logically follows. In Trek, Man is God. And while weird shit like Melkotian rock people and Horta and flying vomit might be Truly Alien, they only exist because our Singularity brothers set it up that way.

So it makes sense there would be intelligent cats and pigs and even lizards. Man has always wanted to talk to his fellow creatures. In this universe, he can.

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18 Nov 2011 15:16
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I'll be happy to answer anyone's questions about this. It has always been in the background because I thought it would be controversial, and the one time I presented the whole idea at the earlier FRS forum it nearly caused a riot. It prompted me to peel alot of that stuff off into my own "Star Bound" universe. But it is definitely rooted in my reading of TMP and the evolution of that movie, and Roddenberry's Humanism and fascination with God. In TOS we see it play out in other cultures like Val's people and for humans via Apollo in "Who Mourns..." It reappears several times in TAS, most pointedly in the episode where they journey to the center of the Galaxy-- "The Magicks of Megas 2", IIRC. But nowhere is it so obvious and yet so subtle as in TMP. It is at the heart of the story-- Spock comes to terms with his humanity via this thing created by mankind and blown to mythic proportions-- but retaining at its core its essential human seed of curiosity and the need to be complete. It is hard to see so dramatic an event, fulfiing Spock's arc that begins at "The Cage", and not read it back onto other aspects of the series. After all, it is through Spock's eyes that we see ourselves.

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18 Nov 2011 16:27
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aridas wrote:
In my mind, all the "preserver" races that supposedly seeded the humanoid form through the galaxy (and beyond?) are post-Singularity humans that have transcended the bonds of space and time.


OK let's start there. Transcending the bonds of space and time in this manner makes warping space and transporting consciousness seem pretty rudimentary. Do you have a rough outline of how bonding with computers (I presume) accomplishes a feat that massive in so short a time? I can buy the idea that a pre-Singularity mind like mine isn't capable of predicting or comprehending the sort of thoughts, ideas and 'awareness' that a super-intelligence would be able to conceive of, but that still sounds like a massive leap. (Please note any tone of skepticism is unintentional, I just seem to be having a hard time wording my questions without them sounding that way.)

By "(and beyond?)" I assume you're implying the Kelvins?

Got to hit the road home for now. More to follow.

Mark

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18 Nov 2011 18:52
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or would post-singularity tech evolve biological organisms to the point where they could access higher orders of realities ?

implying that the transcendent nature of their activities were somehow implicit in the structures of spacetime... ; )

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18 Nov 2011 19:15
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Ahkyahnan wrote:
aridas wrote:
In my mind, all the "preserver" races that supposedly seeded the humanoid form through the galaxy (and beyond?) are post-Singularity humans that have transcended the bonds of space and time.


OK let's start there. Transcending the bonds of space and time in this manner makes warping space and transporting consciousness seem pretty rudimentary. Do you have a rough outline of how bonding with computers (I presume) accomplishes a feat that massive in so short a time? I can buy the idea that a pre-Singularity mind like mine isn't capable of predicting or comprehending the sort of thoughts, ideas and 'awareness' that a super-intelligence would be able to conceive of, but that still sounds like a massive leap. (Please note any tone of skepticism is unintentional, I just seem to be having a hard time wording my questions without them sounding that way.)


Your skepticism and desire to know more is entirely natural. It would be crazy for anyone unfamiliar with the mathematics behind these off the wall claims to think otherwise. Moore's Law -- the observation made by one of Intel's founders that computational power doubles every 18 months -- is an observation that has been the underpinning of every successful technology company's planning for decades. Plot that on a graph and see where the exponential growth goes. It is worth reading about Moore's Law here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law

And then to read about the relation between that growth in computational capacity and its eventual passing of first the capacity of an individual human, and then of all humans:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prediction ... y_Kurzweil

I looked at this scenario many years ago -- back in the 1990s -- and quickly surmised that in the TOS context two things stood out -- the repeated instances of reaction against computers managing humanoid societies, and the faux backstory of human reaction against messing with the human form. It didn't take much to combine the two and figure out that a society that had reacted violently against war waged by eugenic supermen would be even more violent in its opposition to the technological singularity. And yet... the Singularity would happen. It would have to happen. So, where did those post-human "Singularitans" go? Again, following the example provided by TOS, where the eugenic supermen headed for the stars, I postulated these Singularitans would do the same. Faced with simply wiping Earth clean and using it for their own purposes or heading out among the stars (and eventually the multiverse) these rapidly advancing post-humans would leave. But they'd leave the Earth to the feeble Luddites that had resisted change to continue the process of organic evolution and provide a seed bed should anything happen to them. And to be their entertainment. And all this fit well with Trek -- the story of the multiple early 21st century wars mentioned in canon and fandom -- the Mind Control Revolts, Colonel Green's War, the Clone Wars, etc. The story of early 21st century economic collapse and social division (as processing moves from the IC paradigm to whatever comes next?). The story of numerous superhumans encountered, organic but even more often energy based, almost always telling the story of how they "had once been like us". The story from the TMP novelization of humanity being divided between "New Humans" and the "throwbacks" that were the ones that usually went exploring because New Humans too often went "native".

The various pieces -- Moore's Law, Kurzweil's predictions based on the law and human computational capacity, the TOS pieces -- came together in my mind to describe a 21st century where humanity had faced the Singularity and survived in essentially unchanged form because the Singularitans left. And if the Singularitans had left, and presumably continued to advance because of Moore's Law, they'd be so unimaginably advanced by the 23rd century to possibly be running not only the whole universe but the infinite multiverse as well. The thought that Kirk et al encountered them seemed a no brainer. The thought they had actually transcended time and space to rig the Trek universe to have humanoid forms all over the place... that was my twist. As we know, humanoids weren't going to appear naturally. Someone would have intervened to make it happen. From everything we know we can conclude the humanoid form evolved here, on Earth. Who do you think went around in the distant past seeding our form on other worlds to eventually meet us at just about the same tech development at the same time?

And that, in a nutshell, is my reasoning for making it a foundational pillar of my revisting of this material. As part of revisiting it, you'd think I'd look at things a bit deeper and possibly discover more and then have to decide whether to include what I'd found. That's what I did in this case.

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19 Nov 2011 05:58
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Now I seem to remember that Star Trek II was going to have Khan in a more minor role. That there were "The Two" a male-female relationship with two superbeings who were once human. The names looked like they came from Fimation fare..something Moray.

I figured this was Decker and Ilya from the first movie. I agree that the TMP costumes were the most futuristic and clean-as advanced as pre-ascended humans could be.


19 Nov 2011 17:05
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For all the tech we see the UFP/Starfleet embracing, there is a lot of stuff they seem to be rejecting.

No AI (M-5 is tried and we know how that turned out), in fact we never really see any robots natice to the UFP. And most of the robots/androids/AIs we see from alien cultures need to be defeated and/or confused to death so the day can be saved.

There is a deepseated aversion to genetic engineering stretching all the way back to the 1990s.

There are probably more xamples, but this is just off the top of my head. but in general we see people doing a lot of stuff that by all rights (given the apparant level of technical sophistication at work in ST's 23rd century) should be done by a machine.

Maybe things are different in the New Human Movement, but it seems like the last thing that the humans running Starfleet want is Kurzweil's singularity.

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20 Nov 2011 01:15
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Maybe things are different in the New Human Movement, but it seems like the last thing that the humans running Starfleet want is Kurzweil's singularity


Yep. Precisely my point. The human culture that creates Starfleet is positively phobic about AI and eugenics. They are adamant about retaining their "human-ness".

This is a culture that has been through something really big and traumatic in its past to result in such extreme feelings. We know they came face to face with the product of eugenic engineering. Maybe they faced the Singularity as well. And if so, where did all the Singularitans go?

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20 Nov 2011 10:24
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In the Phase II/TMP materials, Roddenberry seems to imply that the new human movement has taken hold on Earth. I don't think this is the case based on what we see of Earth and the people from it on-screen. there may be some small NH communities (IIRC, Will Decker has had exposure to it, and I think Severin's people in The Way to Eden might be some manifestation of the movement), but the throwbacks are in charge of the asylum in my opinion.

Perhaps the New humans packed their bags and just left. The same way that the Vulcan/Romulan split happened. They have just taken their party and moved out to the fringes of explored space to do their own thing their own way. Think of the westward expansion in North America. Of course, Starfleet is out there trying to expand in a lot of the same places. Hilarity ensues, and story ideas abound.

In the TNG era, there seems to be more of a new human flavored influence on Human/UFP culture. Maybe between the last time we see Kirk's era, and the first time we see Picard's there has been some sort of reconciliation. (I know e're not too concerned with this time period here, I'm just spitballing.

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20 Nov 2011 13:58
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