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IEET > Rights > Neuroethics > Vision > Virtuality > Fellows > Ben Goertzel

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Might There Be Intelligences in Other “Dimensions”?


Ben Goertzel
By Ben Goertzel
Cosmist Manifesto

Posted: Jul 12, 2010

Many people, after having certain meditative experiences or taking certain psychedelic substances (especially DMT), emerge with a strong intuitive sense that they have been communicating with intelligent transhuman beings in some other “dimension”—a dimension quite close-by to us, but normally inaccessible to us due to the nature of our mind-architecture and self-structure.

Some folks, such as Terrence McKenna, have hypothesized that the technological Singularity will put us in touch with these beings (which he whimsically labeled “nine-dimensional machine-elves”!), via allowing us to occupy more flexible mind-architectures and lose the restrictions of the human self…

Interestingly, this hypothesis that we’ll contact such beings after the Singularity is verifiable/falsifiable… we just need to create the Singularity to find out!

If nothing else, this line of thinking serves to remind us that it’s mighty hard to meaningfully chart what might happen after Singularity. After all, if McKenna is right and post-Singularity we will contact these beings and ingest information from them or in some sense join their world—then from that point on the direction of our mind-evolution will be quite independent of any detailed prognostications we might make now…

imageThese ideas seem related to Philip K. Dick’s experiences on February 3 1974, which are nicely recounted in the biography Divine Invasions—and during which he says he received medical information from alien minds, which he would have had no way to find out through ordinary means, and which he later claimed to prove valid via conventional medical examination. (Of course, though, this instance of the mysterious transmission of medical info to Dick—assuming it really happened—could be explained via simpler psi phenomena, not requiring the postulate of alien minds!)

This is weird stuff from a contemporary-Western-culture perspective, and may be best understood as nothing more than strange experiences generated by human brains under the influence of various (ingested or self-generated) chemicals.

However, the Cosmist perspective urges open-mindedness. The universe is a big place—perhaps in senses beyond the ones modern physics acknowledges—and we likely experience only small fragments of it. That certain states of mind could allow some humans to experience chunks of universe inaccessible to ordinary waking human consciousness, is certainly not impossible.

How Real Is Reality Anyway?

After all, the empirical world of electrons and baseballs and such is known to each of us only via inference and extrapolation based on our (lifetime of) sense data.

That is: the “empirical world” itself is, from a subjective perspective, something each of us invents for ourselves, elaborating on patterns we recognize in our sense-data (including linguistic communications from others).

So the question is which of our sense data do we choose to trust—i.e. do we mistrust the data received while under the influence of DMT while accepting the data received during ordinary waking consciousness ... or do we take a more open-minded view?

I’m not saying people should ascribe a profound reality to their every passing delusion, hallucination, etc.

Just that the distinction between reality and invention is not that clear—so we need to be careful about dismissing something just because it diverges from the sociopsychological construct we think of as “empirical reality.”

What is the difference between a “reality” and a “collective invention that evolves dynamically and creates new forms that it feeds back into the minds of the inventors”?

image

The Puzzling Nature of “Simplicity”

This odd issue of DMT aliens sheds an interesting light on the nature of the “simplicity” that underlies the Occam’s Razor heuristic.

To nearly everyone who hasn’t communicated with these beings themselves, the hypothesis “it’s a drug-induced delusion” seems the simplest explanation for the phenomenon at hand.

Yet, to nearly everyone who has communicated with the beings, the hypothesis “they’re real, autonomous, nonhuman beings of some sort” seems the simplest explanation—because the sense of independence and alien-ness and intelligence these beings project is so powerful, it just seems intuitively absurd that they could be produced by the mere human brain.

A mind’s assessment of simplicity is not independent of its experience base! So, the patterns a mind sees, being dependent on what a mind has experienced, are a function of the mind’s own beliefs, ideas and memories.

This brief article is part of the overall Cosmist Manifesto.


Ben Goertzel Ph.D. is a fellow of the IEET, and founder and CEO of two computer science firms Novamente and Biomind, and of the non-profit Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute (agiri.org).
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COMMENTS


This is a very complex problem ben…

I propose a thought experiment that is most likely unethical but might very well give us some insight into the true nature of this reality.

http://www.transalchemy.com/2010/07/cognitive-biases-in-vivid-mental.html





Where’s John Lilly. when you need him…?





Another problem Im also struggling with is how human history may have been effected by these other worldly intelligence.

lets assume we do determine that extra dimensional intelligence do exist for a bit then the next logical step would be to ask ourselves how much of what we believe is our own doing truly is us and how much of world is there doing…

It is quite possible that contact may not come in the physical plane but rather in the mental planes…





Sounds a bit like my ‘Hall of Worlds’ hypothesis:

I suggested transhumans might create an artificial universe maintained by super-intelligences. It would be accessible at all points of ordinary space and time.  The ‘Hall Of Worlds’ would feature a timeless emulation of the multiverse allowing trade across all branches of the multiverse and serve as a giant meeting hall for all intelligences past, present and future (information flow has to be largely one-way though, otherwise it would violate relativity - easy to get into the hall, not easy to get out).

PS To all readers, I should alert you that there’s a new sci-film coming out related to the reality/dreams distinction - all the reviewers that have seen it so far have had their minds blown.

The Film is ‘Inception’ (Christopher Nolan, Director, Leonardo DiCaprico, Lead) .  Average rating on IMDB: 9.6 (off the charts!)  Sounds like a classic, so lets hope it lives up to the hype:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1375666/





Re: “Yet, to nearly everyone who has communicated with the beings, the hypothesis “they’re real, autonomous, nonhuman beings of some sort” seems the simplest explanation:because the sense of independence and alien-ness and intelligence these beings project is so powerful, it just seems intuitively absurd that they could be produced by the mere human brain.”

Has there been a proper survey?

Sampling bias would seem to explain this impression: those who think they have been contacted by aliens from other dimensions might have a lot to say for themselves - while those who think they had a drug-induced hallucination might not rattle on about it so much.





@Tim.

Actually, there are a lot of things science has yet to even bother to look at in a serious manner, precisely because of the kind of dismissals that you just used.

No, no proper survey has been done. Every attempt to do so runs into the same bias you just showed. “I can’t believe in it, so it’s got to be so much hokum”

I ran across an article not too long ago about levels of “perceived Ludicrousness”


PLL 1 Basic principles observed and mocked: the very concept of space flight declared impossible, unthinkable etc. ‘My head hurts so it can’t work’. ‘I’d feel better in a universe where that was not possible, so go away, etc’.

PLL 2 Technology concept and/or application formulated and disrespected:People cannot get their heads around a specific thing and so instinctively reject it:When people say ‘I can’t imagine that could work!’ the proper response is ‘You are making a comment about your mind, not the proposal at hand.”

PLL 3 Analytical and experimental proof-of concept rejected:especially one that is built on at least 3 or 4 nested levels of needed inventions, ONE of which since developing it needs 3 or 4 levels of inventions successfully. (Like, say, Nanotechnology)

PLL 4 Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment:disrespect for “With THIS you’re going to do real challenge X in environment Y?”

PLL 5 Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment:contempt for—‘Good against remotes is one thing, boy:good against the living is something else’

PLL 6 System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment (ground or space)—contempt for a working model as just a toy.—-


PLL 7 System prototype demonstration in a space environment:lack of respect for a fully operational system without a track record. Now there can be reasons for this, based upon the learning curve of the early Space Race era.

PLL 8 Actual system completed and “flight qualified” through test and demonstration (ground or space) :pointing out the dangers of using the new capability—‘It will always be far more expensive to do things this way instead of old way X.’ ‘Do we really need to do this when our cities are in crisis/bankruptcy/open street war/etc.’

PLL 9 Actual system “flight proven” through successful mission operations :Credit grabbing combined with niche-displacement and rent-seeking. “I always said it can be done. Now let’s junk this obsolete system and fund my favorite social program”

original post by Joseph Friedlander can be read here: http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/05/perceived-ludicrousness-levels-how.html

I have edited it for length, and added one comment.


The point is, Science has been actively avoiding many research subjects that need to be actively researched to either finally eliminate their possibility, or to determine if there is insufficient data to make a conclusion at this time.  This happens to be one of them.

Consider this.  If “other dimensional beings” exist, but can only indirectly “communicate” what might it mean for the human race?

Particularly if some of them are named “Jehovah” “Zeus” “Odin” Etc?

This is just one issue. I’ve run into many many more, including significant evidence that our civilization could be much older than 4000 or so years, and might have already survived one or more “extinction events”





Is Tim Tyler a CSICOP?





Perhaps communicating with intelligent transhuman beings could include beings from other dimensions inserted inside our minds, like nano-chips?





... and what of ‘time’ factor?: some might communicate with beings many light years away who expired long ago.





The doors of perception are opening. I wish Aldous was around.





Maybe Aldous is still around—in another dimension.





Is it me.. or are there problems with the character sets in these comments?.. This is practically unreadable?





Hi Ben,

You wrote; “This odd issue of DMT aliens sheds an interesting light on the nature of the “simplicity” that underlies the Occam’s Razor heuristic. To nearly everyone who hasn’t communicated with these beings themselves, the hypothesis “it’s a drug-induced delusion” seems the simplest explanation for the phenomenon at hand.”

Why give any credit at all to those who express an opinion about the veracity of additional dimensions of reality, without having actual examined the conditions that the claim is based upon! The opinions of those individuals who are still virgins re. the experience of higher dimensions have about the same level of credibility as a prepubescent toddler has re. techniques that reliably bring a woman to orgasm.

As I understand the Occam proposition, it only has its degree of veracity to the extent that competing hypotheses are understood by the one who wishes to attempt the comparison in the first place.

If the competing hypotheses are equal in other respects, the Occam principle recommends “selection of the hypothesis that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities while still sufficiently answering the question.”

However, isn’t is glaringly obvious that anyone who has not successfully performed any of the rather well known techniques for inducing a personal experience within “additional”, higher dimensions is speaking from a position of complete and total ignorance?

It brings to mind the story of Galileo attempting to convince church officials to look through his new optical instrument, the telescope. The hierophants all declined to do so because they had already made their determination that only diabolical mischief resided within that tubular device. The bishops reached such a conclusion based solely upon a preconceived ideological absolute, and not upon any logical investigation of the readily available evidence.

Such is the comical condition today of those who attempt to speak as if they possess anything worthwhile to say about whether certain “occult” techniques are capable of exposing human consciousness to new dimensional frontiers. Exhibiting their ignorance, without having taken the necessary and sufficient effort to actually investigate the hypothesis, many are so unsophisticated and delusional as to do so in a condescending manner!

These fools may claim that that they have adequate reason to differ but, by definition, any knowledge of the potential extent of consciousness must be of a firsthand nature. It is blatantly obvious that “higher dimensional virgins” have no standing to discuss the matter in any authoritative sense. They have no moral high ground from which to attempt to judge the veracity of any claims that have already been made by many thousands of active participants who have experienced higher dimensions and boldly recounted their travels therein.

Disclaimer: I am not a big proponent of the use of DMT/ayahuasca, or psilocybin, or MaryJane (when used by an adept under certain rare and favorable conditions) which are the three best substances/sacraments that I am aware of for facilitating a “proof of concept” that higher dimensional realities certainly DO exist, and are accessible to some fraction of the population of Homo sapiens at the current state of evolution. Conversely, as a proponent of human freedom of consciousness, I do not actively discourage their use. Personally, I have discovered focused introspection and lucid dreaming to be even more effective techniques. It is a very idiosyncratic field of research, as you may easily imagine.

“Ambassador Zot”
http://www.feedbooks.com/userbook/2988





You don’t need to post an altered-states disclaimer here;
this isn’t the Art Linkletter Memorial Site smile





Well . . . It was a rather light disclaimer, wasn’t it?

. . . and after your admonishment, after a second thought, I’ll call back any hesitation that I expressed about the use of Mother Nature’s greatest plant on this planet; MaryJane, the Queen of the Plant Kingdom.

“Ambassador Zot”
http://www.feedbooks.com/userbook/2988





Erzuli rides her horses. What if erzuli is Lillith? What if she once existed, used means accessible to perpetuate this existance in another state, and she has a plan? What if there were others like ‘Lillith’?

What if that plan was defined in early bronze age history and consciously visualized something such as a Singularity, and formulated a plausible strategy to return - once able?

What if this strategy involved ‘hacking’ physical, mortal minds world-wide with the intended purpose to use these minds as neurological seeds for an Artillect? What if she consistently keeps repeating ‘June 2042’ to a select number of the people whose life she may be influencing?

What if she keeps warning them about ‘her enemies on this world being instructed by an adversary of her, who may or may not have been doing the same, and whom she consistently calls ‘the patriarch’ ? What if she used the term ‘the patriarch will do whatever it takes to abort me or ‘the awakening’ ?

What if this were just a poetic metaphor to make sense of a Singularity, from a cosmist (or cosmicist!) perspective?

..... What it wasn’t a metaphor?





A more updated hypothesis into this now has me to believe that our relationship is far more complex then we believe, after all if they where completely foreign to us then why would be able to communicate with them! Furthermore why is our contact sphere one sided is it not rational to believe they are contacting us as well.





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