Artifical Intelligence and the Living Universe

Artifical Intelligence and the Living Universe

Photo by
tenaciousme from Tokyo, Japan

I believe the Universe and everything in it are alive. There is nothing that is not animated by Soul. Down to the tiniest subatomic particle, Soul infuses all things with life. The concept of “inanimate objects” is an oxymoron.

The universal intellect is the innermost, most real and most proper faculty or potential part of the world soul. It is that one and the same thing that fills everything, illuminates the universe and directs nature to produce her various species suitably (Giordano Bruno, Cause, Principle, and Unity, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1998, pg 37).

For Bruno, there was no doubt in his mind that our amazing universe is animated by a principle of self-direction he called the World Soul. Every material body possesses this principle, even down to the quantum level. Soul has intellect, which directs intelligent unfolding of Nature.

The statement, “There is no reality that is not accompanied by a spirit and an intelligence,” originates with the following passage. Bruno is here discussing divers kinds of spirits:

These various spirits occupy the bodies of humans, animals, stones and minerals. There is no body which is completely devoid of spirit and intelligence. Furthermore, no spirit possesses a permanent location for itself. Rather, spirits fluctuate from one matter to another, and matter fluctuates from one spirit to another, and from one nature or composition to another.

I once believed that if we were ever successful in our quest to build an intelligent,
sentient machine using AI technology, it would be without Soul. After thinking on
this, I’ve changed my mind. Such a machine would still be composed of
the same Soul-filled and intelligent atoms that we are comprised of. So, perhaps an android like Data on Star Trek TNG, would be capable of living a Soul-filled life. Interesting idea, no?

This is, of course, the logical conclusion of accepting the idea that God permeates every bit of matter in the universe.

In Bruno’s theory, Soul and Intelligence are distinct, yet they are unified in paradoxical fashion. Bruno successfully fused the Apeiron of Anaximander with Anaxagoras’ Nous (Greek: νοῦς or νόος;
mind or intellect).

It did not take Bruno too long to discover that Anaximander’s fecund apeiron was intimately related to Anaxagoras’ nous. His synthesis of the apeiron with nous paved the way for the fusion of boundless mater-materia with the cosmic mind, and, consequently, also to a markedly monistic ontology (The Acentric Labryinth, p. 124, Ramon G. Mendoza).

Anaxagoras’ contribution was the idea that “everything can come out of everything;” this principle of separation he called nous. It is typically translated as mind or intellect, but, originally, it was an idea of separation (ibid.).

Our sentience emanated from the same Source as matter; there is no different point of origin for either. So, what would be so strange if a sentient entity emanated from the same Source via human computer scientists?

It is somewhat frightening to think this way, after all the stories and movies we’ve seen where crazed androids go berserk and wreak havoc on the human species. I believe there are levels of consciousness, or sentience, that play a role in what such entities can accomplish. Certainly, an amoeba is not at the same level of consciousness as, say, a dog or a chimpanzee. Could we control the level of consciousness of an artificially intelligent mechanism? At what level would such a machine be potentially harmful to humanity? Food for thought.

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