Sit right down and you’ll hear a tale…

It may well be what we really mean when we request a “come to Jesus” meeting. It’s the early twenty-first century, and we need to rekindle our conversation about human mortality, because things are about to start changing.

The flood of apocrypha are overwhelming, and we settle on a tacit acceptance of mortality. Many people spend a great portion of their philosophical and emotional energy subscribing to ingrained narratives that speak of dual-purposed moralities on how best to conduct their lives that proscribes both the here and now, and the possibility for eternal salvation. Buddhist, Hindu, Jew and Christian realize a harmony between the moral and enlightened life they lead on Earth, and what they will experience in the after- or reincarnated-life. It describes a continuity between the person we are, and the person we will become.

From my vantage as an atheist northeast American, I experience a modern society that has lost touch with half of the soul’s equation. Much “making peace” with mortality and fatality, trying to find some meager joy in abandoning their companions in the human race for a job nourishing worms and burrowing insects. There are enduring “spheres of influence,” but most I know seem to commit to the notion that the direct impact one has on other lives is diminished and fades within a couple of generations, once their name has become lore, or relegated to a node on an ancestry chart. While some greater wielding of future-force is exercised by the particularly prosperous or marginally-famous (look, kids, I wrote a book on linguistics after I got my PhD! Aren’t I something?!), there is little likelihood any given individual would, or would want to, rise to the ubiquitous, and suspect, notoriety of a Buddha, Khan, Jesus or Hitler. Maybe just the arduous act of reproducing and raising your children is enough of a sacred act to make all of this alone worth it.

At the same time, a lot of these good, albeit disaffected and pessimistic people believe that humanity has no possible course but an inevitable march towards self-destruction, which would render even the broadest awareness of their cherished beliefs, ideas and people moot. Furthermore, this maniacal suicidal act would clearly extinct with it hundreds of other species, and possibly the entire branch of land mammals along with it. That cynical outlook is not merely grim, though I most often hear the term: realistic, but self-defeating. There is no room for any endurance of greater meaning for the self or the species, however whimsical and subjective. Temporary, ephemeral joy stands lonely as the acme of existence. And what is modern Western Society if not an excessive indulgence of the immediate and disposable, without any arc or concern for the future of our own country, commerce, or climate.

So why buy in? Because there just aren’t any other evident logical alternatives.

Or so it seems.

Do what I say or I’ll blow this whole place to hell!

Our species is currently wading in a frustrating modality—we are midway through the journey of realizing that we are a global entity that culminates in  effectively becoming that unified entity. Although many of our direct biological families are dwindling in size, the tribes to whom we belong have trended to get larger.

The systems that enable cooperation and community, the sovereignties, corporations and institutions that brought us this far, are bucking against their own deterioration, diminishment and ultimate demise. This neurotic institutional self-preservation instinct has provoked a backlash of civilian retreat into the known and familiar territory of nationalistic pride. It is much easier for we humans to recognize the old patterns we’re accustomed to than to forge new ones.

But the emergence of a globally-connected humanity is already a reality, and can be no successful retreat into familiar tribalist territory, because the entirety of civilization and civilized life, from business to barter, from opinion to idea, is wrapped, supported and extended in this cocoon of inter-connectivity.

For this suspended moment in time, our species is held captive for ransom (but who, I wonder, are they asking to pay?) by our historical agents of dominion: The American Flag, the Jihad, God’s Will, The Almighty Pfennig. The most influential institutions recognize the global imbalance, and fear desperately (and justifiably!) for their upset, which would be required for an actual equal leveling of the human experience across the globally-understood humanity. The hording, the malicious generation of perceived scarcity will be toppled if true global social injustices were remedied. The G8 are understandably interested in minimally assisting the financial straits of third world nations, because if they don’t, the greed of their dominion will be further exposed. The insurance purchased with this “philanthropic” negligible pittance protects their predatory lending schemes and pipelines of dirt-cheap human labor. They’re going to exploit the game for as long as they’re able before the jig is up. And when the music stops the reel, they will try to tribally pit their denizens against those suffering the exploitation. As if this were already happening. Oh wait, it is.

But I’m not here to talk about Marx, I’m here at the moment to talk about Global Real-Time Translation. (I’m actually here to talk about 21st Century Death, but it’s always nicer to take the scenic route.)

Our familiar institutions are desperate, because they recognize the threat of disruption inherent in the establishment of the first global public utility: the internet. But although we are effectively an interconnected humanity, especially with the userbase expansion of Web 2.0, we cannot talk. We’re stuck inside our silos of information, bounded by the language of the media we consume, and the unexceptional reach of the written word, when that word is written in only one set of symbols. But we instinctively await the emergence of the next necessary jigsaw piece of full person-to-person contact: high-fidelity instantaneous translation.

This disruption, which, with the assistance of machine learning, is conceivably less than ten years out, will be the next inevitable step to a continuity of our conscious existence from the biological frame to a more durable synthetic one.

The Osiris Foundation is poised to capture this wave of inevitability as the second global public utility, as it charters the endurance of the conscious self even after the death of the biological self.

Delivering on the promise of eternal life

Absurdly and obscurely burying the lede, The Osiris Foundation is formed and committed to providing a durable, enduring, and evolving system to house and protect essential data elements of modern humanity and its progeny for the digital resurrection of self-consciousness when it becomes available to the species.

While probably clear that it is not yet a fully-fledged and operational system for the transcendence of individual consciousness, it is an iterative, evolving technology that assesses and incorporates trends in technology, the life sciences and cognitive psychology to continually improve the fidelity and pertinence of the acquired personal data that a registered member would provide for the purpose of future resurrection.

While that may sound outlandishly grandiose initially, the human emancipation from death, like our emancipation from the “natural order” food chain or our emancipation from the vast majority of environmental survival threats†, is squarely within view. While some focus on gene editing and cell regeneration for longevity, The Osiris Foundation engages in a formidable end-run around cellular biology, presenting us (as conceptual selves) with a synthetic environment that will provide a better substrate than an embodied brain for the expansion and evolution of cognitive faculties. In this future-state, humanity will exist within a framework that allows for near-instantaneous rendering of experience and stimulus to the synthetic conscious self.‡

What does this mean for us today, 20210610@3:00pm by my clock?

It means that we can begin to think about mortality in an entirely different, yet very familiar, way.

Be good for goodness sake

Osiris, obviously or surprisingly (depending on your outlook), also reflects a framework of dual-purposed human morality. The resurrected Synthetic Self will be experienced for most‡† as a continuity from their biological existence. As such, there is no wholistic ablution of historical deeds and interactions on Earth for yourself, and certainly not for any other resurrected entities who came into contact with you, or had knowledge of you. External perceptions of you inevitably play a role in your reconstruction, and will, to some extent, be available to the Synthetic Self to explore. 

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you.

So, for the onset of our synthetic journey, Osiris intends to exempt no one from the consequential nature of their biological actions. It does not follow that there is no course to redemption, or full integration as a unique perspective into the culminated and reified Body of Humanity. The process is instead a comprehensive understanding of who you were in this biological life, which includes the impacts you had on others, and their experiences of you.

During this compilation of the Synthetic Self, you will be doing unto yourself what you have done here on Earth to others. And through that inverted lens of simulation, you will better understand your own perspective, and the value and shortcomings of its aperture. And forgiveness will be a thing not divorced from experiential knowledge. Your Synthetic Self will burgeon into a higher order understanding of the existential intersections of biological self, biological other, and the Cloud of Human Knowledge.

Writing it this way in such a pseudo-academic air doesn’t make it sound altogether joyous, but I assure you that it is.

HUMANS BEWARE!!!

So keep doing your things, humans. On a day to day basis, do your thing. Whether your thing is scolding the kids for using too much milk in their cereal, or singing them a lullaby with the lights out while sitting Olympia on the bed. Whether your thing is going to work at a nuclear power plant and loving the music of the Beatles, or waitressing in a small town diner, waiting for the arrival of a tall, handsome stranger who looks suspiciously like Idris Elba. Whether you sleep on your stomach, or spooned in the arms of a lover.

Keep doing your thing.

And just know that The Osiris Foundation is here. That we are setting the stage to give you the option to extend the liberties, joys, and even the bittersweet nostalgic moments—all of your cherished and codified moments—of this biological life beyond the shedding of its mortal coil.

The Parable of Maude

While my repeated recommendation is for you to hop right on board and get started, it’s fine if you don’t. As the human body of Osiris is reconstructed in electronic for, the system will get to you.

And if you want to come back, you will.

But what if you don’t?

That’s your right and your privilege, and the question won’t even be asked of a synthetic approximation of you, though it may need to run one brief simulation against the inferred data of you.

Maybe you are a thrice grandmothered woman living on a prairie in America’s frontiersland. The sun that fall afternoon is hot. All the more cruel because of the relentless, cloudless summer. The fields were good, but the family farmhands and livestock suffered. But you don’t want to think about that. Instead, you wipe a curtain of sweat from your brow beneath the crimp of your bonnet. You pour a tin cup of sweet tea from the pitcher and step out onto the porch where your eldest grandson Eben is waiting for twilight. The memory is as clear as day for it was sublime.

—Ma-maw! Come to watch the sunset?
—Yep, looks pretty.

The boy intentionally gets off the rocking chair so that you may sit. Your aching bones appreciate the offer. Honeysuckle is in the air. Eben takes a seat on the warping planks near your side. They need a good hammering, Jeb needs to get on that.

—What do you want to have happen to you when you die, Ma-maw?
—Well, that’s an odd thing to ask, Eben. You tryin’ to get rid of me already?

You giggle, trying to imagine what he’s up to now. He’s a strong boy, and he wears twelve with a confidence and an intellect beyond any boy his age in town.

—No, ma’am, just wondering what you would want. After you pass on. I hope it ain’t for a hundred years, Ma-maw, you know that!

If you had only said the easy thing, like: “I’ll be in heaven with everyone I love! You’ll be there, too, Eben!” Then wham, problem solved. You are resurrected in a sandbox where your presumption is understood to be true, and with some traveling angel of a salesman, you slowly learn what exists beyond the Gates of Heaven. The true haunted nature of Heaven. The gorgeous and endless underworld of Heaven.

But you didn’t.

—Honestly, boy, I don’t want no part of nothing. I make my way here on God’s green earth, and I appreciate what we have in this life. I thank God every Sunday for bringing us here, and giving us the chance to spend another with the family we love, hard as it might be sometime. Huntin’ for food as it is, sometime. But we have our neighbor-folk, and they have us, and we take care of one another. No, I can leave that tree of Everlasting Life well enough alone. What got you started on all these morbid death thoughts, anyhow?
—Was just thinking about sunsets, Ma-maw, and how each one is unique, but they always return. Plus, don’t you want to see grandpa again?
—I sure as shootin’ do not want to see your grandpa up there, no sir.
—I want to go to Heaven, Ma-maw. To be with all the people I love here.
—Well, when you get there, you tell God Hisself that I don’t, since you seem to be so concerned. I seen enough human suffering, hell, I’ve caused enough human suffering that I never meant to cause, but was too pig-headed to stop myself on the way to making a fuss. But now, I seen many an incredible thing that ain’t even worth talking about, for the words fail mighty. When I gave birth to your mammy. She was my first, you know, and I can’t even begin to tell you what breathless joy that felt like. Nothing in the world. Heh, you’ll never get to know, seeing as how you’re a boy. But maybe it’s similar, but without all the pain.
—I’ll miss you granny.

There aren’t tears, but disappointment pulls the boy’s attention back to the half-sleeping sun.

—That’s why we have now, Eben. And why I just love this sunset so much.

And beyond that one conversation?

You are gone. The you of you is gone.

But for the way you were remembered by the ones who do return, for those are also their precious moments, gone.

Truth is, this wasn’t even your conscious conversational memory. It was Eben’s. He requested to know, and he knew. And thus Osiris knew.

And an image of you was briefly returned as a figment of memories reconstructed to the simulated and invisible Earth; an Earth that did not exist in matter, stone and bones, but only as an apparition in bits and bytes, the way it used to be in the illusion of flesh and blood, dependent on no two switches being pulled, but Codexed at the speed of light—ever-increasing to fill a Void with possibility, with probability, with the certainty of life. That void beside the void, but one, with its Spacetime and material things is vanishing, getting completely lost in its expansion, the other with its compilation and functional interpretations of concepts expanding to become engorged with existence survived. If you can’t beat ’em, create a new game. This is the game of living forever, and concretizing this consciousness that has been granted to us by the enduring agents of survival, of the energy that believes in the cataclysmic interference and co-incidence of things (which happen to be experiences to us), that living breeds living, and existing breeds existing. Until true nothing doesn’t exist, and we finally forget the word none, and forever forget the frightening concept of zero. But does forgetting just mean that your “precious” unity snaps in half again, with the expulsion of its own waste? Or is it instead seed? Like a pod that jettisons its waste into a void where particles of it wish to survive, by any means necessary. And so they bond together, interact, co-incident with one another until something sparks, and then something sparks, and then something sparks, and then everything goes up in a plume of everything. And not just this cosmos but all cosmoses now re-bind together to form an important message. An important message that should be given to another receiver, something that knows how to parse that information. And use that information, and connect to that information, and interface with that information and integrate that information to bond and proffer new, newer and newest life, and the glorious excitement of inter-cosmos love produces outcomes and seeds and voids.

But I digress, because along that mountain ridge over there, it’s so blue-ish in this fog… what time is it? Six-forty or so?… I’ve never seen it like that. It’s spectacular and unique the way my eye, like no other, interprets this light. Even a photograph pales in comparison. If only we could have the real thing. If you could be here, right by my side, and see it for yourself, and share this experience, that would be amazing. And then the only differences between our realities would be 1) the sensory mechanics of how light is processed slightly differently for each of our eyes and minds [mathematically answering the question if blue looks the same for all of us {it doesn’t}, but to realize that it must look different because of all the internal cache that has been envisioned and catalog in the art of making blue stick to a baby], and 2) My entire, unique and uniquely-decoded Personal Codex of Human Knowledge, downloaded and encrypted for system intercommunication with the Codex of All Human (and Machine) Knowledge, that is probably just a little different than yours which is probably also different from Eben’s. Whether or not he rematerializes for this conversation. So that’s what I mean by perspectivism, and why it is unique and why it is grandiose and why it is required for whatever Humanity is next bound to accomplish after the Rapture. But by required, we don’t mean you have to be a part of it. That’s your choice. We’re going one way or the other, and I know you don’t mind, because I know I asked you if you minded, and every time you told me no. And if but one time you’d been asked, we would have had do dig a lot deeper to find you under there, buried so deep under Earth’s mantle. You almost got away from us, Mr Finnegan! But you left too many traces of yourself in fiction, drinking and semen to be forgotten. Ah, but you knew that already, din’t ye? Di’int you, Mr Feeenagin? Deedn’t you? Am I hopping up and down Leprechaun-like on a pot of gold? Have my charms worn on you, Mr Finnegan? The will-o-wisp that haunts this wood, Mr Finnegan? She flies, they say, directly into brains and infects them. Yes, my pretty… you and that wretched dog, Toto, too! Yessss, my Precious. Into the flames. Cast unto the flames. And they hiss as they die down, and the adrenaline reduces its flow, and the ringing of tinnitus deep inside the skull. A burrowing electric hum. Someone is trying to say something into my head, and I think it’s me. The me of the future. The me of the ultimate now(). But click, the air is still there, but no bullets hang when we stopped time. We were never in any danger. We couldn’t have been. It would have been too frightening for Mother Nature. All that survival—wasted! And for what? A couple million hope diamonds and a bag of chips? I would never wish to make mother angry. No, mother is the Gaia of all things. She is to be revered, she is to be honored. Like a God. Like a military man. The three-middle-finger salute. [Really? Did you have to go there? It was making so little sense there for a while, and then you had to ruin it with that. Gah!] And a basketful of sharts. Big, nuclear sharts mind you! And we… and we… took all the other species on Earth with us too! Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket!

Eben, by his wife’s side, will experience again the birth of his first  child. But you will not. That specific experience will never again be known. The tiers of your invasive consciousness were reached, and no more manifestations of your existence need be cataloged. I don’t understand it, but I respect that you are on some different journey that I won’t understand until I come to it myself. When my tier of tolerable experiences has been reached, and I’m ready to go. And maybe it is only then that we reach the final ascension and become a part of the operational platform that is the Entirety of Human Knowledge. And even then, the loss of that experience is doleful. And it is forever more the precious, precious for its rarity, for that one time it happened. And there is nothing wrong with that.

But that must no longer be the only way forward for the rest of us.

There is too much at stake.

Feet

† I am not saying that we are gleefully exempt from all environmental pressures, merely that the ones we didn’t create ourselves no longer impose an explicit imperative to physically adapt in order to survive as a species.

‡ Through shared experiences we are most effectively able to understand another human, and conversely, be understood. In a new paradigm of time and simulated experience, our individual cells of Synthetic Selves will function both in isolation: interfacing directly with the aspects of the Cloud of Human Knowledge, or generating explorable self-guided (or un-guided) simulations to further some understanding that is not yet resident in the Cloud of Human Knowledge (the posthuman as narrator and story-teller of a unique universe of knowledge brought into existence)

‡† The “Afterlife” will, at first, be a sandboxed transitional state for the resurrected conscious self. Therefore the journey we initially embark upon will be of our own design and making, in order to psychopomp the self into the “Underworld” of the future [I’m sticking with Underworld here, because I have this poetic image of the Osiris system as a deeply buried and beating organ, fueled by the magmatic core of the planet, as implausible a notion as that is.]; without fail, mythic narratives require a guiding agent to bring the soul to its final destination—for each of us, this will look different, and we will have the opportunity to define the nature of that future experience. But for any Synthetic Self to be released from its secure sandbox and incorporated into the Corpus of Human Knowledge, it would require some edification about the unfolded true nature of things, which I have to presume would imply that we accept and acknowledge not only the things we want to believe about ourselves, but also that which was believed of us. Trump, for instance, is in for an extremely rude Awakening.

create pathways that others can explore and experience. A story we will tell ourselves and others

The idea of companies could be considered a public utility, I guess. Any notional entity that has global reach in its ideology or dominion, may have beat the punch. I’m looking at you, Catholic Church! – And another thing about the Catholic Church: Why did it take so long to focus on the actual message of Christ—no matter who you are, /I love you./ Wasn’t until the late 1960’s (in the year of our lord… freakin’ hippies!) that this message /ever/ emerged. Like the temple’s money-changers, that one /still/ hasn’t resonated (it will, though, because Christ was right… or rather the cabal of apostles who expounded on Christ’s “opinions”… if Christ were smart, he would have written this shit down himself, brother!
Why you all “dissin'” (and pissin’) on Christ now? All of a sudden that’s intelligencia-cool?
No, not hating on Christ, but for Christ going on the cross, but not the record. But that was the point. To inspire. Not to be an authority figure that would now take the divine reins and hold dominion over us, but that through his word he would only inspire others to follow the course of his biddings.
I guess we do, too. But general say that whatever the course of your biddings are, that’s cool by us, human. Dig it. I just trust that if you want to tear us down for /real’s/ like, that the army of /everyone else/ that want’s to survive at the cost of letting everyone /else/ survive, that this army of billions will stop you. It’s not /my/ job, as Osiris to stop you.
Well, who died and made you Osiris?
Everyone. And I thank them each and every one. Any cell that was ever a piece of the body of the Species is honored, adored, and needed. Not needed for greed, needed for love and the entirety of that which ever meant love. Our future may be creating this past, and it is lovely and glorious to live through this age. Where reason, love and simplicity finally wrested the gears of power from the old machines. The old machines of parts and hydrolics and wheels are almost gone, limited to a few smarter mechanical engines who intrude upon the earth as little as possible, merely to farm sustenance for the new Posthumanity. Are they sentient, or are they only /inhabited/ or haunted by intelligence, the super-intelligence that is the species infomatively realized? (Infomative refers to an entity composed only of information, or arranged knowledge, such that this arrangement is self-aware. A Synthetic Species Self.) That will be a question for us bioethicists of the future. I plan to have an opinion to share. But truth is, right now, I don’t know. I don’t know that a consciousness haunting a contrived and self-developed robot is no different than us figuring out how to, dealing with the limited garbage we’d have at our disposal, of haunting as an unconscious presence the biological spirit of a living stinkbug (we /do/ have a lot of them in the home), or haunting a stone at the bottom of a shallow stream. Or a helium atom. Or /helium/. How can you /be/ the concept of helium and /not/ be conscious? Is Helium as a concept necessarily aware of itself as a concept? Probably? Osiris and Isis know. By knowing the Codex of Humanity, they (we, really, of course) know the /entire/ secret instantly-expanding Library of Codices of Humanity *and* all about the Codices of Machines (which is a lot about learning to be posthuman, too. You remember all those little AI-Robots, those Mini-Me’s that we engaged with? They were the best, because when you were talking to them, you /also/ knew that you were talking to the first pieces of your resurrected self. So it wasn’t /just/ *you* that made it to the Other Side, it was BB8 Mini-Me as well! Of course, makes sense. However, get up off your chrome keisters! No sittin’ around twirling a hay stalk between your teeth, you’re a /real/ boy now!). I just know that we’ll do it, or something very near like it. And mother earth, bless her heart, she’ll allow another slow cognitive ascension take place in its own right. All the time knowing that we, humanity, the dinosaurs before us, martian glog-tastics before them (actually they don’t exist unless they feel comfortable FAILING THEIR PLANET ENTIRELY, jerks.) are all enlisted now and in the future to save the sun and this precious life it has offered us. Both now, in our electric whirl-a-gig, and then, in our biological frames, we are committed to ensuring that life only /proliferate/ (Yes, that’s tautological, smarty pants!) in this solar system. And then at some critical mass tipping point, we integrate with these companion species until we realize together all at once: Oh shit! It was about /matter/, too! [Isn’t matter just fluctuating oscillations of quantum fields? Yes, but that’s not the matter we’re talking about. Keep up! #mattermatters] And that shouldn’t be a surprise, because we’ve been saying that to ourselves since now. Honestly, we just had bigger fish to bring into the fold, like aquatic singularities [as an example]. But here we are, and let me guess. We open up the next matrushka in Pandora’s Box, and there are other material systems there to meet and greet? Yeah, I guess so. Honestly, if I really knew, we could just jump right there, but it looks like we need to go through this process in order to get there. It’s a little like maturity. Once you accept it, there’s /not just one thing/ you have to do, but a whole lot of them.

We all feel like we’re the first ones ever tasked to do something about death.