Excruciatingly Large Things

Daniel Rourke's new website is:


The Next Great Revolution in Reality

→ by Danieru
According to Freud there have been three great scientific revolutions that completely re-drew the boundaries which border human reality:

  1. Copernican: Where our geocentric perspective of the cosmos was revolutionised by the concept of the human world, the Earth, as being one mere weave within the infinite cosmic tapestry of creation.
  2. Darwinian: Where our view of man as the pinnacle of God's reality was overthrown by the idea that life evolved from nothing. The revolution in which our egocentric universe was crushed under the image of mankind as 'mere' hairless, ape descendants.
  3. Freudian/Psychological: Where the self which governs all action within our minds was displaced by the notion of the unconscious. The control we perceive as consciousness is nothing but waves lapping on the shores of the innumerable archipelagos of reality the brain rules over.

Each of these revolutions was to displace mankind as centre of our world and thus humiliate our egocentric position. Yet, parodoxical as it may seem, these scientific upheavals have increased our intimacy with reality, adding meaning to our existence without invoking religion.

We are but one species amongst millions of mutation-governed organisms, ruled over by the nature of brains we have little understanding of and cast on our single planet afloat an infinite cosmological sea. Each shift exposing a deeper purpose, without God; each individual note when composed together dictates the flowing melody that is our existence.

I believe it is only a matter of time before the next great revolution in science; in reality arrives on our doorsteps. A shift in perspective that attains equal scientific, social and theological significance as the ones outlined above. Once again, this revolution will alter the nature of reality, as perceived by us, at the most fundamental level. So I ask you...

What will it be? Has it already begun? And finally, will religion still be able to find a foothold on the human psyche once it has happened?

Let your Earth-bound, ape-evolved, unconscious imaginations go wild on this one...

Categories: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark using any bookmark manager!

Blogger Danieru said...

You could make an argument for both Relativity Theory, and Quantum Theory as equal greats. The reasons I didn't mention them in the main post though will shed light on how any future revolution MUST evolve:

1. There was not as much UTTER upheavel with quantum or relativity theory, most especially where religion was concerned. (I do not deny their effects on science - probably unsurpassed).

2. Both these theories, but most especially Quantum Theory, are still hard to understand. All the three revolutions in the main post were so powerful because to gain general comprehension of them was so incredibly simple. They are each wonderfully obvious in retrospect...

The next revolution must also adhere to these qualities.

December 01, 2005 9:55 AM    

Anonymous jordan_wildpirate said...

Whereas these revolutions you've mentioned have been theoretical and on a grand scale of pinpointing humanity's place in the universe, I believe that the next revolution will be physically much smaller - but very paradoxical nonetheless.

With science verging on cellular synthesis breakthroughs within the next decade or so (cited from Norman Packard's presentation at Pop!Tech 2005) , I believe we're on path to revolutionize our understanding of where humanity stands in relation to life itself.

If we're looking to understand what development is going to revolutionize our perception of reality, I think it will occur as soon as we can mimic the most basic function of nature - being to create cellular building blocks programmed to produce and reproduce themselves.

Will religion still find a foothold after this? I'd hazard to guess that yes it will. I believe spirituality is hardwired into the human unconscious (I caught myself almost writing consciousness - I swear that I did read your entry :P ) and I don't think we'll be able to loosen its grip.

December 01, 2005 11:33 AM    

Blogger Jennyology said...

I'd really like to see those awesome Korean genetecists finally making humanoid-type beings that can trully shatter our definition of humanity itself. Are we non-animal-super-chosen beings? I think of this in a different sense than Darwin... while being evolutionarily associated with everything else, we're not exactly drawing lines between humanity today and humanity B.C. or even saying that some exclusionary reproductive genetic JUMP or advancement will one day come along. I'd like to see humans spliced and diced with every other living thing out there and made into hybrids with everything, then harnessing the knowledge of age-defying genetic protection to make it all live forever... chimera gods we'd be, let's destroy the notions of biological AND religious boundaries of humanity all at once.

December 01, 2005 3:32 PM    

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is definitely about time for a new revolution/ation in reality and i agree wih jordan in saying that our next leap will our relation of man to life itself. I believe we are on the cusp (and desperately need to be) of realizing a wider scope of life and a wider scope of understanding. An understanding that entwines us with everything else, mixing both the spiritual and the scientific. I agree that part of this will come as we master our elements and ourselves. I also believe that this revolution is happening as we speak, it is not something that can be realized all at once. There will be people who will not accept this new revolution, as there are still people resisting the last three. These are realizations that can only be accepted as a collective over time. Many people today are moving towards this realization, which i feel it comes with knowledge, of ourselves and of fellow man. With this knowledge we can look out and relate to more and more of our universe. We need to find a focus as a people...Or, maybe we will realize that we CAN move shit with our minds.

December 01, 2005 5:34 PM    

Anonymous jmorrison said...

in my estimation the next revolution will be in the field of genetics. when we have the ability to radically change ourselves everything will have to be called into question. i do believe religion will continue. it does not rely on reality in any way so why should shifts in reality be a challenge to it? lastly the revolution is obviously not here yet, in point of fact it is moving at a crawl, and though it could arrive much more quickly, endless "moral" quandaries pop up (strengthened by neophobes and believers of centuries old mythologies) to impede its progress. some want time and culture to roll back, some want things to remain as they are, others know everything absolutely must change if we're to get anywhere as a species. i'm only sad i'll be long gone before our potential is even remotely realized.

December 01, 2005 10:48 PM    

Blogger Danieru said...

I tend to agree that genetics could warrant an overhaul in reality sometime in the future, but in exactly what way is a mystery to me.

The three main discoveries outlined above were shifts in perspective, and as such are best understood as fundamental theory rather than practise. What shift in the field of genetics could hold similar results?

I think maybe a combination of different scientific disciplines will yield the greatest effects for humanity at large. Nanotech and genetics are on the path to becoming intimitely intertwined.

In terms of technological progress I doubt anything in history will bring about as must reality destruction as the invention of the first, viable, quantum computer. All reality which came before it will simply cease to exist. With the quantum computer at our disposal Einstein's famous "mind of God" will appear as if a childlike nonsense in comparison to the depths of reality we will traverse.

December 02, 2005 3:08 AM    

Anonymous beesucker said...

You wrote this:

What will it be? Has it already begun? And finally, will religion still be able to find a foothold on the human psyche once it has happened?

But how are you defining 'religion'? There is religion that does not invoke the idea of a creator god. Instead the idea is that it is only because of our ignorance of how things actually are that we suffer. It is through projecting 'unreality' onto reality that we suffer. Overcoming the ignorance is the way to true happiness and the way to overcome that ignorance is through greater scietific exploration and self-introspection. So don't think that science and religion are mutually exclusive.

Buddhism speaks of infinantly open particles that come together based on our consciousness to create a 'functional world' which is illusion like.

I'm not saying this to prostlytize, I'm just trying to point out that things don't exist all one way or another. Just because there is likely no creator God, does not mean that there is no transcendence possible. No religion. Religion is seeking to overcome miserable states by aligning oneself with ethical principles and armoring oneself with introspection. Also, it is quite possible that the tool we need for this next evolution is simply our own introspection - to spend sometime intimately witnessing that complicated brain and mind.

We start with: "What am I?", "What is this?", "How is this possible?!". These "big questions" are said to be their own answers. We have a lot of work to do.

December 02, 2005 3:15 PM    

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our next big jump in perspective most likely will be driven in the evolutionary sense by the rapidly converging diciplines of nanotech,genetic engeneering, Artificial Intelligence,quantum computers and our own insane facination with all things technological. To paraphrase Jeff Goldbloom's character in Jurassic Park "just because you can do something dosen't mean you should."
Bill Joy seems to think that we're all gray goo within a few decades.
Carbon based units replaced with silicon based units. Somehow I don't think that these transhuman evolutions will care about posts such as these.

December 02, 2005 6:54 PM    

Anonymous Morbo said...

Its all about trancendance of the physical, once we understand and begin to master all of our surroundings, (with the help of quantum computing etc.), we will shift into an existence of sentient energy and join the ranks of the gods, and realize that we are not nearly alone.
Hobbnobbin' with the greats, just think.

December 02, 2005 10:14 PM    

Anonymous jordan_wildpirate said...

Common theme here - all these comments have to do with some sort of theoretical or technological development, that I assume we (people) are initiating ourselves.

Could the next scientific revolution be in response to something more natural, and perhaps simpler than development of a quantum computer or the perfection of nanotechnology?

Historically, some major reality shifts have been in response to natural occurances (ex. the Black Plague) or social upheavals (ex. World War I). Have we passed the point where more basic events still have bearing on how we view the world around us? Or are we selfish enough to believe that nature doesn't have anything left in her arsenal with which to revolutionize our perceptions of reality.

December 03, 2005 9:09 AM    

Blogger Danieru said...

I agree with you, but I'd go as far to say that everything we humans do is part of a natural progression. However many curve balls nature throws at us we can only respond with the abilities we have at the time. War may bring changes in perspective, but only at a pace slightly greater than normal. Our knowledge and culture are a part of evolution too, I believe.

All the ideas mentioned so far have not quite got to the juxt of it for me, even my own comments. I suppose this is because to predict the next great shift is to know of it in the first place, but still I think the signs are there.

The geocentric orbit of Earth was only fashionable because Aristotle stood behind it, and the Christian church agreed with his stance many centuries later. There were models of the cosmos with the sun at the centre way back before Aristotle, its just that the people who drew them up never gained fame, either that or the time was not right for their ideas to thrive.

To think that it took another 1500 years before the model was 'in vogue' again is astounding.

Maybe, lurking in the scientific/cultural background is THE idea of which we speak, already half formed, but with no platform from which to make its debut. Maybe its just under our noses and it will take natural/random/political events to bring it out into the open.

What could it be?

December 03, 2005 11:03 AM    

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a quick look what you're doing... the answer is... the internet!

December 06, 2005 3:02 AM    

Blogger Danieru said...

i definitely think the internet could hold signs for the future of mankind.

communication is the thing which most sets us apart from the other animals on this planet, and now that communication is entering its first 'planet wide' phase change is inevitable.

the next great revolution may emerge from the internet rather than being the internet itself...

Watch The Huge Entity closely my friends!

December 08, 2005 4:14 AM    

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe spirituality to be hardwired, but without an association to religion. They come together only through our history, which a good percentage of is human imagination/creation/invention.

I do wonder if change can only be brought about through understanding the strangeness of something so seemingly simply as meeting a human (other than ones self constantly) without barriers for the first time. Mind too mind contact?

December 09, 2005 5:36 AM    

Blogger UberKuh said...

Freud was just plain wrong about the third, but, yeah, I, for one, am ready for a fourth. I would love it to involve a rapid rejection of all religions and a firm embrace of the sciences. We need to get off this infernal planet.

December 13, 2005 2:41 AM    

Blogger Danieru said...

I disagree with your first statement. Freud was wrong about a hell of a lot of things, but in this case I think he was spot on. Sure, the phrases 'subconscious' and 'unconscious' are misleading, but they are parts of our being that had never been acknowledged before, however accurately.

It is now commonly accepted that the consciousness we hold so dear is only the tiniest tip of our mental iceberg. Freud saw it coming out of the mists ahead....

Wouldn't it be great if a revolution took hold of our psyches so completely that it wiped out the power of all world religions in ne sweep?! The post-modernist in me would say 'science is just another form of religion'. Either way humans need to feel they understand the world, need to feel that they, homosapien number 6 trillion, is an important entity in the scheme of things.

Can a revolution in science be so all encompassing and yet so simplistic that EVERYONE and ANYONE can instantly accept it as truth?

Who knows... Personally I think religion is as human as language, opposable thumbs and pleasurable orgasms... We just wouldn't be the same without the brains which create it.

December 13, 2005 7:35 AM    

Anonymous jordan_wildpirate said...

A great revolution taking hold of our psyches THAT completely, would be akin to God stepping out of the clouds and confirming His existence.

Anyways, as much as I'd like to believe it CAN happen, realistically I can't think of anything that could be instantly accepted as truth. Well, anything short of some apocalypse scenario. People (on the whole I think) are just too cynical and inquisitive to accept any revolution instantly. There are plenty of scientific developments that could eventually revolutionize our world, but I don't know what could do it immediately.

However I could be totally wrong. Reading through this, I kinda circled back to the original post, but it again begs to understand what could possibly happen - scientific, religious or otherwise - for humanity to collectively fall to its knees in sheer awe and immediate, unconsequential acceptance?

December 14, 2005 6:33 AM    

Anonymous Fred said...

Written as truth, but still opinion, hopefully making sense:

Science IS another kind of religion if you are placing all your ideals for the future on it, such as biotech and improved computing, nanotechology, the bridging of neural/digital communication etc.

I dont think the next revolution awaits in raw science alone. No matter what utopian scenario you envision using the yet unseen powers of science, fundamental questions (what you have identified as 'perspectives') will still be a problem. There is no point building computers which will provide any answer, if you dont yet have a question (the fallacy that DA discribed in his 5 part trilogy).

Science is purely the field of development which permits our accelerating rate of change and growth as a species in a sustainable fashion. As we reach walls of development and limits of resources, scientists create solutions which allow us to break them (at the moment my head is too ill-equipped to contemplate the relationship between the implications of quantum physics and the way the mind/brain operates, a possible exception to what Ive just written).

I believe that society first and foremost is a vehicle to breed superior minds (every wake-eat-work-fuck-sleeper is necessary to turn the wheels of society despite never asking probing questions of their own existence). This supports the scientific endeavour which sustains humanity's development. However, this also creates the luxury of excess (very common in western society) that allows the development of philosophical and psychological analysis not possible when resources and time are lacking. This trickles through popular mediums and results in an advanced form of evolution. Currently culture and technology are evolving (testing, selecting and rejecting) at a rate nature wasnt capable of in the past. Where these ideas once trickled through the printing press, or television, we know have the html internet, then the collaborative internet, then the .....

The next revolution could possibly be already happening and I think has alot to do with The Huge Entity creator's post regarding hyperreality. This cultural evolution is advancing at an extreme rate and as a collective consciousness builds we will start observing context dependent constructs which must be real (they have been thought) but are also dislocated from reality in that they are not actualised (the concept of zero is a great example). Its already mind blowing to consider an individual's mind as arbiter of their own reality, an awareness of self that even with media as well known as The Matrix, very few people seem to grasp (I'm not referring to refuting the physical world, but simply your interpretation of it as an African, European, scientist, priest, etc). Soon the collective consciousness will start creating realities (already has, evidence online gaming) which through their existence, prove that our own 'shadows and dust' reality which we accept now is as much of a game as anything else. Once people harness the power of their perceptions with humility (instead of the modern egotism which leads towards forms of hegemony and hierarchy in all social spheres at present) we will begin to witness an unbridled level of philosophical development as a species. The bringing together of millions of minds through the internet (evidenced currently through things such as wikipedia) on an uncensored and unfettered level, improved through bandwidth increases and direct mental input, the mind to mind communication another poster mentioned but multiplied over millions of times..... a possible future scenario. The bonding together of millions of intelligences, with technology's assistance, fusing together billions upon billions of thought impulses similar to the impulses observable in an individual's brain. A truly global mind, only afforded to a society which has conquered Maslows hierarchy of needs using technology and arrested the degradation of its external environment. With real-time unadulterated uncapped direct mental communication comes the level of transcendence we aspire to. Its a future which seems extremely possible given the rate of technological innovation but the outcome of which seems very difficult to predict, any suggestions?

I believe the perspective shift you are referring to comes about through the implications of hyperreality. Leaving behind the evolution of our slow carbon bodies, ignoring the desire to find far away planets and stars fundamentally the same as ours but composed differently, and entering the realm of collaborative intelligence, the fewer the barriers the better, where constructs which have no bearing on physical reality and are non-existant to all traditional forms of analysis, are essential to our definition of the meaning of life (as opposed to scientific 'big bang' or religious 'in the beginning' explanations).

Don't get me started on the concept of faith.

April 09, 2006 5:50 AM    

Anonymous Fred said...

Any comments at all please email me.

April 09, 2006 5:54 AM    

Blogger Danieru said...

I'd love to Fred, but you didn't leave an e-mail...

Come spread your ideas through the forum. It's where the cool kids hang out these days.

April 12, 2006 3:52 PM    

Blogger Greg said...

I think some really cool thoughts are being thrown about. I am a fairly firm believer that the best innovation/revolutions come out of struggle and suffering of some sort. People do not change their views and beliefs until an event necessitates it.

Nanotechnology and genetic engineering are amazing breakthroughs in tech but I do not think the tech itself will be the revolution. Instead, it will help cause it.

There is no question that people will be capable of living an ave. of 100+ years in the near future with where these breakthroughs are taking us. The struggle/suffering is inextricably related to the fear of death or actually dying. If life was always awesome we wouldn't bother to think of life itself (if it isn't broke you can't fix it). Life usually sucks the worst when death is evident. I feel most of our breakthroughs have been to improve life and make death not suck as bad (or delay it as much as possible).

Our next breakthrough will come when we are no longer focused on improving life, but instead, controlling it. In economics there is a law of diminishing returns. This can translate well into our technological breakthroughs. Our biological progress will reach a point that we can extend life and make life so good, it ends up hurting the human race as a whole. When we reach the point that the world begins to choke on eating its own cake we'll need to give ourselves the heimlich maneuvre. Throwing up is not a pretty thing. In our case throwing up will be purging actual life in order to keep a natural order in place that can sustain itself. Think of the implications of having the ability to sustain life but forcing people to face death instead. We will be playing what we think of as god and we will be forced into the position. That will be our next major breakthrough in perception. (and any throughts of a personal monotheistic god will die since it is no longer necessitated.)

May 31, 2006 12:49 AM    

Anonymous Mike said...

I have always had the notion that the next great social revolution will be the harmonization of science and religion. But not that of a monotheistic god.

If you beleive in humanity having some sort of destiny (which I do) as opposed to being some sort of existentialist lone, desolate, life then you can sympathize with me on this one. In the future I think people will realize thier God is just one path to ultimate reality where other paths should not be shunned, rather embraced (which in my opinion is why we are here, to recognize ultimate truth). How this can happen? Ironically, I think through science. Science will uncover things that will guide us toward this truth as I beleive god (intentionally lowercase) put us here to discover him through heightened awareness stemming from discovery.

May 31, 2006 2:26 AM    

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many psychological experiments have shown the vulnerability of the human perception. Famous examples are: the forer-effect (better known as: the Barnum-effect) and the Dodo-effect. A Dutch psychologist has executed some interesting psychological experiments in the field of hand analysis (better known as: palmistry - palm reading).

August 19, 2006 12:52 PM    

Subscribe to Comments