I loved your two books. So many timely ideas and really unique characters. If I were to summarize them they’re about the search for existential meaning in a future where technology allows anything to be experienced as real. Even though they are entertaining, they are also deeply philosophical and in their own way address spiritual issues. What made you decide to write fiction novels immersed in those topics?
Two series of events inspired me to write the I AM series. The first was an experience I had about the nature of being while under the influence of a drug in a sensory isolation situation. The second was conversations I had with Terence McKenna about the acceleration of novelty and of our being drawn to an Attractor leading to an eventual transcendental object which lies in our future. I have no doubt the Attractor is the new technology. Advances in nanotechnology, faster computers, and lifelike virtual realities will generate the tipping point toward a future gateway. Advanced virtual reality hardware and programs will create parallel experiential worlds that will change the current cartography of reality. Upper worlds and lower worlds will be just a click away.
The ideas of transcendence and some type of singularity pervade your two novels. Do you think that the universe has a transcendental evolutionary drive, an inherently transcendental script like Terence McKenna’s Time Wave Zero or Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point?
A transcendental path toward greater consciousness and ultimately a form of immortality is only one out of many options we can choose for our future. Being ethnocentric killer apes is another option as our past has shown us and as some tribal societies, radical religious groups and political dictatorships continue to demonstrate today. The question is whether the technology at one point takes charge and our choosing a course, transcendental or other, no longer becomes an option.
Don’t you think we may have already passed that threshold, that we may already be losing control?
Funny you should ask that. The Internet, Google, computer games and virtual realities, media in general, are becoming such an intrinsic part of our lives that there is no turning back. The realities made possible by technology have become attractors whose pull we can no longer resist. Turning back to a previous way of life would require something near apocalyptic that would destroy the electronic infrastructure. So yes, part of what is unfolding is no longer under our control and likely to become less so when computing machines exceed human intelligence. We have opened Pandora’s box.
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Interview by Donald Schultz (DonaldSchultz.com)