I have been doing some work on a new greater-than-social networking concept and was struggling with singularities and the term “religion”. Instead of abiding by the conventional definitions of the term I decided to look into the roots of the word itself.
Broken down, religion means repeatedly binding oneself to what you rely upon. But what is it upon which we rely?
Religion when taken in its 13th century context was synonymous with “conscientiousness”. But what did conscientiousness mean? I decided to dig deeper.
Conscientiousness means living according to conscience meticulously. Now we had the word conscience.
Science, as most of us understand, means “knowledge”. But what does the prefix “con-” mean?
“Con-” as a prefix means “combined”.
Therefore, in its unadulterated form “religion” means “repeatedly binding oneself to one’s combined knowledge meticulously”. Or in otherwords, “Observing all I know”.
This is the true failure of most religions. They limit what they know to a few texts and deny any further expansion of knowledge. Judaism stops at the Old Testament. Christianity stops at the New Testament (No one comes to the Father except through me). Islam stops at the Koran (There will be no prophets after me).
In reality, all the wise men that have existed despite all their conviction were, are and will be wrong. There will always be more knowledge. And what each of us knows is unique to us because every human experience is unique. And no person’s combined knowledge is the same as any other person’s.
To homogenize ourselves by standardizing our conscience, standardizing our organization, standardizing our professions, standardizing our education, standardizing our climate and standardizing our terrain will ultimately lead to a singularity. And we have had countless singularities throughout history. We’ve just used other terms for them.
Facility was a series of singularities produced by the standardization of land from hunting ground, to farm, to storehouse, to factory, to palace, to temple. Chronology was a series of singularities produced by the standardization of time from herd migration, to growing season, to supply levels, to production cycle, to communication cycle, to cognition. Commodity was a series of singularities produced by standardization from sources, to seasons, to measures, to trades, to connections, to conscience. Industry was a series of singularities produced by the standardization of hunting practice, agricultural practice and accounting practice, trades practice, organizational practice and religious practice. Community was a series of singularities produced by the standardization of tribe, village, colony, city, state, empire. Conscience was a chain of singularities produced by the standardization of geographic worship, climactic worship, possession worship, trades worship, organization worship, combined knowledge worship.
We have always been in an age of exponentials. We have always been experiencing singularities. The outcome of any singularity is predictable: A new media is created and moves from Macro (Mainframe), to Meso (Mini), to Micro (Personal), to Nano (Portable). Literacy went through this evolution. The Gutenberg press went through this evolution. Telecom is going through this evolution. Transportation went through this evolution. Computers went through this evolution. The internet will go through this evolution. Artificial Intelligence will go through this evolution.
Looking at a singularity from this perspective it becomes obvious that for every black hole of standardization there is a white hole of diversity beyond. It could be also said that Ray Kurzweil’s singularity is actually Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point–a transition from scarcity to ubiquity. Kurzweil’s mistake is the same or similar to Zeno’s Paradox.
Imagine a series of professional AI’s giving way to an explosion of amateur AI’s.
Simply put, a tipping point is the transition point where benefit finally comes to exceed cost.