BOOK DETAILS

The Singularity and Socialism

The Singularity and Socialism

by C. James Townsend

ISBN: 9781503034730

Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in Nonfiction/Politics, Nonfiction

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Book Description

The Singularity & Socialism is an exhilarating fast paced read showing the points of similarity and interconnection between Classical Liberal, Marxist, and Libertarian economic ideology and Complexity Theory/Economics and how they may change with coming technological advancements. The book updates the issues and illuminates many of today's debates allowing the reader to come to a better understanding of the surprising interrelatedness between ideologies and their eventual convergence at the event horizon of the coming Economic Singularity.

Sample Chapter

Foreword

The aim of parousiastic Gnosticism is to destroy the order of being, which is experienced as defective and unjust, and through man’s creative power to replace it with a perfect and just order.

-Eric Voegelin

Here at the beginning of the twenty-first century we stand upon a higher peak of scientific and technological discovery that heralds the coming of a new order of being. The world is gripped by two divergent visions of a utopian future for humankind. First: the environmental movement and much of the neo-left wishes to take humanity back to a Rousseauian paradise before the “original sin” of industrialization. The other vision shared by cornucopians, techno-optimists, Singularitans and complexity theorists who portend a futuristic utopia created by exponentially accelerating technologies that will not only transform society and economics, but (as the Transhumanist’s theorize) humanity itself. This vision of human transformation coinciding with technological advancement is a heady one, but within it lies another equally compelling vision, a vision of what happens to economics and the means of production on our way to the Singularity’s event horizon.

Complexity theory, the foundation of exponential thinking, is breaking apart hardened ideological ground using a new scientific plough; its discoveries are older than the nineteenth century and as fresh as today, with the forceful hurricane winds of a potential utopian futuristic tomorrow. It is a new discipline based on non-linear dynamics and systems proving an a priori praxeological science (economics) that had no mathematical mechanism to prove its theoretical assertions before complexity theory’s arrival. Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School of Economics was much like the laser, it awaited the invention of fiber optic cable many decades later in order for it to have a practical application and to begin changing the world. Complexity theory and complexity economics is that “fiber optic cable” as it now gives the means by which both Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School can prove their theories. Complexity Economics presently is already well on the way of doing so, while the Austrian School quixotically remains on the sidelines awaiting further developments in the field. The cornucopians and techno-optimists have greatly supported the complexity theorists with their own discoveries. That this area of investigation also confirms and proves Karl Marx’s later insight regarding the necessity for “the full evolution of capitalism in order for the revolution to come” (as the Marxist economist Meghnad Desai expounds in his book Marx’s Revenge), is one of the amazing coincidences of this emerging co-evolutionary process. That the proving of Marx’s insights by the techno-optimists has been unfortunately missed by the neo-left today is one of the tragedies of the pointless battle between ideologies. What divides us is far less important and interesting then what actually unites us and it is in the evolutionary dynamic forces of the Technium that we are slowly coming to the verge of a new era in human development. To paraphrase Teilhard of Chardin’s quote at the beginning of this book, “That which evolves eventually converges” is now beginning to happen in our time.

The idea of spontaneous, interrelated, complex, evolutionary systems is centuries old. It took a new field of science to transfer it out of the realm of mysticism into that of empiricism. As it evolves it is uniting together once disparate schools of thought, left, right and center into a new convergent whole. As Butler Shaffer so relevantly states “in a period of significant change, we must be prepared to engage in significant learning, rather than just reaffirming what we already know … For an individual or a civilization to maintain its sense of vibrancy, a more fundamental kind of learning must be employed: paradigm breaking.”[1]

The arising economic data and discoveries from the techno-optimists and Singularitarians indicate that emerging technological advancements will dramatically and exponentially change our world. The emerging technological evolution also indicates that the underlying pattern and framework upon which previously divergent ideologies rested can eventually converge so that once fierce ideological opponents can be reconciled. The study that follows is paradigm breaking in that it presents a way of seeing old paradigms and oppositional economic ideologies in a new synergistic fashion in light of recent discoveries. The techno-optimist Kevin Kelly summarizes this convergent process in the last chapter of his book What Technology Wants:

What I have shown in this book is that a single thread of self-generation ties the cosmos, the bios, and the technos together into one creation. … Technology is stitching together all the minds of the living, wrapping the planet in a vibrating cloak of electronic nerves, entire continents of machines conversing with one another. …Technology amplifies the mind’s urge toward the unity of all thought, it accelerates the connections among all people, and it will populate the world with all conceivable ways of comprehending the infinite.[2]

Technology is not only tying together the minds of the living, but also of the dead. The great minds of the previous centuries are uniting with those now living, slowly merging into a holism as they converge to a point of transcendence.

It was believed by the Medieval Scholastics that “Truth” was an interrelated jewel in which each facet reflected and conditioned every other part; each element of truth coalesces without any errors and contradictions, as any errors and contradictions are prima fascia evidence that we don’t possess “The Truth.” It should then be no surprise that here at the beginning of the twenty-first century we should begin to see the coalescing of various elements within divergent ideologies into a complex whole as the world begins to slowly unite. It is then only natural that our philosophies and ideologies are ripe for unification as well as they begin to burst out of their old defective skins. Teilhard de Chardin intuited this time of convergence now upon us and the new discoveries in science, technology and economics indicate strongly the potential way forward in an arising paradigm of an interrelated networked system. In the words of Teilhard himself:

Evolution has been weaving its web around us. We believed that we did not change; but now, like infants whose eyes are opening to the light, we are becoming aware of a world in which neo-Time, organizing and conferring a dynamic upon Space, is endowing the totality of our knowledge and beliefs with a new structure and a new direction.[3]

A new structure and a new direction are self-assembling before our eyes as we travel the path toward the future economic event horizon. Buckminster Fuller’s accelerating acceleration is pushing human civilization there at ever increasing speed as Kevin Kelly’s Technium evolves and pushes society up the slope of Ray Kurzweil’s exponential curve toward his concept of the coming Singularity, a reimagining of Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point. That so many great minds and visionaries, both religious and secular, throughout the centuries intuited this eschaton, this “Third Age of Humanity,” is more than an amazing coincidence. This study is at heart an analysis of this synergistic phenomenon; its intention is best captured by the immortal words of Fichte:

What man of noble mind is there who does not want to scatter, by action or thought, a grain of seed for the unending progress in the perfection of his race, to fling something new and unprecedented into time, that it may remain there and become the inexhaustible source of new creations?[4]

So I scatter the seed of this work onto the winds of our time, hoping that it will take root in many places giving rise to a new evolutionary paradigm which will eventually bring us to the economic event horizon of the Singularity. Not only is abundance our future but so is the transcendence of the present economic and political paradigms which keep us locked into old 19th century neo-Malthusian scarcity thought. The arising techno-optimist paradigm bursts this static penury of the mind caused by our old ways of perception and opens our spirits up to the fullness and abundance which the human imagination and spirit is capable of achieving. Homo Futuris is right around the corner and ready to embrace us, we have only to leave the cave of our old limited ways of thinking to embrace her, to become her, to walk with her as our Dantesque guide on a new exponential journey through the event horizon of the coming singularity to our incredible and almost unimaginable abundant future in the heavens.

[1] Butler Shaffer, Boundaries of Order: Private Property as a Social System (Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute Press, 2009), 302, 304.

[2] Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants (New York: Viking, 2010), 356-359.

[3] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man [1959] (New York: Image Books/Doubleday, 2004), 77.

[4] Johann G. Fichte, “What is a People in the Higher Meaning of the Word, and What is Love of Fatherland,” in European Romanticism: A Brief History with Documents, ed. Warren Breckman (New York: Bedford/St Martin’s, 2008), 115.

Continues...

Excerpted from "The Singularity and Socialism" by C. James Townsend. Copyright © 2015 by C. James Townsend. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

C. James Townsend

C. James Townsend

C. James Townsend holds an M.A. in Liberal Arts from California State University Sacramento and a B.A. in Integrated Studies and a minor in physics from the same institution. He is seeking to obtain his Doctorate in Future Studies in the near future. His interests include: physics, Complexity Theory, political and economic philosophy, Marxism, Techno-Optimism, comparative mystical religions-Gnosticism, Taoism, Zen Buddhism and the Russian Cosmists, Transhumanism and Future Studies. His physical interests include Cheng Man Ching style Tai Chi Chuan and Aikido.

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