If you’re familiar with the the concept of the singularity, you’ll understand why many futurists are convinced that humankind is transcending our humanity and merging with technology in many ways. While it could be said that this has always been true, even since the advent of human constructed tools, some are concerned that we may reach a point where, instead of our technology serving us, it will become the other way around. Today, we certainly do seem quite enamored with our devices and are increasingly socializing through digitally mediated communications. However, I propose that we exist in a more symbiotic type of relationship with technology, where we design the tools we need and then those tools, and the environment in which we coexist, all refine and redesign the whole system, which in turn helps us design and improve upon ourselves.
Another vision of the concept of the singularity also brings a spiritual element to this speculative philosophy of human advancement. A spiritual singularity imagines a world where the human perception of spirituality truly transcends self and embraces the whole of human consciousness, as creator of reality and master of the universe. We transform ourselves by continuously reconstructing our ideas about who and what we are, who and what God is, and how our lives and our collective consciousness all work together. This process has always been operating in the background of all human activity, from the mundane everyday activities we each partake in, to every major event in history, and through each undulating shift we experience as a whole.
Over two and a half million years ago, the ascent of human transformation began slowly, with the invention of early stone age tools. It is speculated that we only began communicating through symbols with colors around 250,000 years, and humans really just started creating art within the last 100,000 years of our history. The emergence of tool-making, language, and art within our species has been relatively slow to develop, when considering the entirety of human history. However, the sudden explosion of consciousness that catapulted humanity into the modern era of advanced communication, symbology, and abstract artistic representation happened quite suddenly. It has been proposed that this abrupt change, which seems to have happened simultaneously all around the planet, was initiated by the development of shamanic practices within traditional cultures all throughout the world. As William James writes on his site about Shamanic Traditions:
“Evidence from cave art, dating back at least 30,000 years, suggests caves were used for magical ritual purposes. In certain cases it must have been necessary to crawl for hours through the caves in order to reach the locale of the artwork and related artifacts. It may be that solitude inside such a cavern was an initiation technique used to explore the inner realms of being.”
These artistic cave rituals were much more than simple excursions to pass the time or to merely explore. The goal of exploring the “inner realms of being” was not for enjoyment, or even mainly for the benefit of the shaman, but for the tribal community as a whole. The shamanistic voyage has always been intended to be more for the greater good of society, to bring knowledge of the afterlife, and to help facilitate wisdom and healing, for the individual, the rest of the tribe, and ultimately for all of humanity. James goes on to say:
“Evidence suggests to us that ancient shamans possessed a very detailed knowledge about the use of a wide variety of mind-altering drugs. The earliest religious literature of India points to prehistoric use of a mythical, or at least undiscovered, drug called soma for inducing contact with nature’s innermost forces. The primitive tribes of Central and South America are known for their ritualistic use of drugs such as yage, peyote and a number of others for the purpose of inducing ecstatic experiences. At times ecstasy is induced through drum rhythms and night-long dancing.”
As marijuana legalization is spreading across the United States, the Western world is also now beginning to discover the healing benefits of the Ayahuasca vine, a potent psychedelic plant that has been used by indigenous South American tribes of the Amazon Rainforest for centuries. In healing Ayahuasca ceremonies, the shaman or curandero, prepares a brew from the vine of the plant, along with an admixture of other plants which help facilitate the uptake of the primary chemical component, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), into the body. Those who partake in these Ayahuasca-induced spiritual quests often come back changed forever, as if they had a near death experience. And that description of it may not be far from the truth.
Believe it or not, DMT is found naturally in the human body, and is produced by the pineal gland, which has been referred to as the “principal seat of the soul.” Important studies have recently been finding strong correlations between these curative shamanistic practices, visionary spiritual experiences, psychological healings, and addiction breakthroughs. Through research performed in writing his book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule,” author Rick Strassman “concludes that the production of DMT is a chemical expression of a spiritual event, namely the entering and exiting of the spirit from the physical body.” Strassman also found that there is an influx of DMT that floods the pineal gland of a developing fetus around 49 weeks, right at the time the baby’s genetic code decides whether it will physically present as either male or female. The only other time the pineal gland is flushed with DMT is at the moment of death.
I conclude that the singularity is both an ongoing process, and a forthcoming event, which has a sort of paralleling telescopic evolutionary nature. Prehistory has shown that humans are historically slow to develop, but as our consciousness and our technologies have evolved simultaneously, we’ve managed to almost bypass, or even cut off our understanding of our own purpose and potential, as we’ve advanced so quickly in such a short amount of time. Or perhaps, we’ve only temporarily overlooked some of nature’s finest tools for developing those innate abilities, while being too proud and overly infatuated with the material realms we can create and explore. Let’s hope that someday soon we’ll all be more free to explore the inner realms that can lead to truth, beauty, and understanding of the entire universe, as we continue propelling into the unknown.