In a beginning, technologists combined a scholarship fiction. Now a novella was formless and empty, and dark lay over a aspect of a science, and a suggestion of arithmetic hovered over their creation. And a technologists said, “Let there be Internet” and there was connection. Technologists called a Internet “community” and a scholarship they called progress. And there was village and there was progress
The initial day, from The Neosecularia, 1.1-1.3
Religious ideas and absolute radical theologies peppers a scholarship fiction. From Klingon religions in Star Trek to a Bene Gesserit in a Dune series, Cylon in Battlestar Galactica to a pervasive Cavism in Kurt Vonnegut’s works, a multitude has tiny difficulty devising a judgment of new religions. We usually don’t exercise them.
Modern multitude has been catastrophic in scaling new religions over a cults of celebrity or a niches of Scientology. But as a digital and practical worlds evolve, this is set to change. The 21st century is environment a theatre for a new form of widespread faith: technology-based religions.
Technology currently is pervasive and granulated. It encompasses a universe view, and people are translating it into their devout views. The internet acts as an accelerant on these forces, enabling cranky pollination and spin during fast rates. This slippery-slope of mutation provides new guardrails for how record itself can spin a new cult or religion, or during slightest a member of them.
Techno-oriented eremite movements paint a immeasurable depart from a strategies of 20th-century-style cults, that could make them even some-more dangerous. The foundations for this expansion are governed by 3 factors: a internet, that allows for fast scale; quantified-self technologies, that guarantee self-betterment; and new notice methods, that safeguard a whole new form of peer-pressured submission.
Rapid ability to scale
Today’s vital religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, took hundreds of years to propagate. Their branch points from tiny factions to loyal movements happened when they addressed amicable injustices. The paganism of a Romans was one thing, though it was their injustices to a people of Judea that gave belligerent for a arise of Judaism, and after Christianity. In 1517, a sale of Roman Catholic indulgences sparked Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses on Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, kicking off a Protestant movement, and sickening opposite viewed crime by a Church.
Tech-backed movements like a Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, and #ClimateStrike scaled by drumming into a flourishing clarity of amicable injustice. Right or left, mercantile inequality is apropos manifest on a tellurian scale, and record is fasten all of those audiences into one digital network tasked to impact change. Instead of authorised or mercantile changes, these movements rest on amicable agreement as their initial outcome. Social agreement is powerful, and represents a form of group-think that can develop fast into transformation when it reaches a tipping point.
Today we have a ability to scale audiences to extremes and have present entrance to whatever Reddit or Facebook organisation will best offer a message. No some-more erratic a plains of Gothic Europe seeking people to convert—social media has brought billions of people right to we from a reserve of your couch.
There is a outrageous assembly of waste people looking for spiritual answers to amicable injustice. A 2018 Cigna news indicated 47% of Americans feel lonely “sometimes or always,” while a PRRI 2017 investigate serve showed that 18% of Americans are devout though not religious, and 69% are some multiple of a two. And it’s not usually in America: 84% of a tellurian race identifies as religious, according to Pew Research Center, which makes it applicable globally, from Beijing to Lagos to Ohio.
The internet has done amicable misapplication some-more visible, movements easier to start, and causes easier to join. While tech-led amicable movements are not nonetheless eremite movements, they lay a grounds for deteriorated devout movements to duplicate identical values and conditions to benefit scale.
Over a final several years, mindfulness—defined as profitable courtesy to a thoughts and feelings though judging them—has exploded into renouned consciousness. It is a partial of a wellness transformation focused on central explanation, exhale work, yoga, and imagining that has brought people collection of personal expansion and empowerment.
The subsequent proviso of this mania with self-betterment is protracted mindfulness. Quantified-self inclination lane all demeanour of biological and mental functions in a form of all from electrocardiograms on a latest smartwatches or brainwave scanners like Emotiv earnest to one day map emotions. To take it one step serve again, neural interfaces such as Neuralink, Elon Musk’s project, guarantee mind-reading threads embedded in your mind that bond your emotions to a computer. Likewise, Facebook is building algorithms to decode mind activity into difference that can be processed in genuine time. We’re usually one immeasurable burst from a mechanism being means to undisguised review your thoughts.
Traditional religions have connected amiability to feelings of togetherness and aloft purpose. Augmented awareness is set to invert a perceptions of a bounds between ourselves and a purpose, practical or real.
But can record routine God into something we can finally understand? The formula are many clear in a top echelons of technology’s middle circles, where blockchain builders, yogic figure shifters, and Burning Man believers spin into transhumanist experimenters actively deliberating this question. If usually adequate computing energy is thrown during a equation, a meditative goes, we will eventually bond a dots. (Some people posit that reality looks like a post-chaotic 248 vertice lattice structure called an E8. That’s a rabbit hole you’ll have to Google.)
The third member is associated to AI and a omnivorous need for immeasurable amounts of data, that coincides easily with a work of governments around a universe installing pervasive notice systems in the fight opposite terror, speeding, or tellurian freedom, depending on your domicile. Whether it is a flourishing vigour of a Chinese social credit system, a parsing of billions of consumer mobile conversations by a NSA, or a elimination of money in preference of digital wallets and identities opposite India, a information blast has morphed into a common Permanent Record (as so good articulated in Edward Snowden’s book of a same name).
Peer notice and organisation consider is a hallmark of eremite pressure, generally in cults, where a coercion of beliefs handed down by a care is achieved by a crowd. Setting these norms and enforcing them in this rising universe becomes a shortcoming not of particular peers, though by a algorithmic decisions of immeasurable information inputs from a crowd.
The outline of this alpha network is holding shape, with monolithic corporate tech control in a West, a party-controlled AI network in China, and even skeleton for a pan-Islamic AI system, announced by Saudi climax king Mohammed bin Salman during his annual investment discussion in 2018. All of these systems find to routine a immeasurable information sets of many-sided notice (benign or otherwise) in sequence to yield common comprehension about their particular societies, and will eventually be practical in wider circles among incompatible actors, until it’s inescapable.
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Together, these trends indicate a approach to fruitful belligerent for digital cults and religions in methods and ways unfamiliar to a past. Is Greta Thunberg’s meridian series a commencement of a movement, and a new ecological mandate? Are a Neo-Nazi distant right seeking a devout home for low rhetoric? And many importantly, how will any of us conflict a enticement to usually follow along when everybody else in your amicable network has assimilated whatever a Fortnite-WhatsApp-TikTok-mashup of all of that becomes?
We feel pressured into fasten whatever new amicable media height is de jour or downloading whatever buzzy app everybody else is using—what happens when these army fuse into amicable movements that direct some-more from us? The technological collection are there, and so is a amicable vigour to enlist—as good as a miss of particular ability to resist.
At some level, all is about control. It is value being heedful of how these technologies are being used, who is advocating for them, and who owns them, to make certain their expansion is in a best interest. Religions can be a smashing and thorough apparatus pulling multitude forward—but a line between a leisure to pursue sacrament and a vigour to heed to new one should be delicately guarded.
Beware of fake technologists, that come to we in sheep’s clothing, though inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
From a Neosecularia, Machinas 7:15