Dedication: to Valentin Turchin


This Manifesto is dedicated to Valentin Turchin (1931 – 2010), a great Soviet-American scientist and futurist visionary who died the year it was completed.

I'm sorry Val never got to read this Manifesto, as I'm sure he would have enjoyed it. He would have agreed with most of it, and had insightful and entertaining arguments to make about the rest. While I never explicitly discussed "Cosmism" with him, I have rarely met anyone more Cosmist in their attitudes, through and through.

As a cybernetician and computer scientist, Val's contributions were numerous, including the Refal programming language, the theory of metasystem transitions and the notion of supercompilation. He was a pioneer of Artificial Intelligence and one of the visionaries at the basis of the Global brain idea.

And his book The Phenomenon of Science, written in the 1960s, is one of the most elegant statements of Cosmist scientific philosophy ever written.

I was privileged to know Val in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when we both lived in North Jersey, in the context of collaborating with him on the commercialization of his supercompilation technology. Our discussions on supercompilation, immortality, AI, the philosophy of mathematics and other topics were among the most memorable I've had with anyone.

The death of great minds like Val is one of the absurd horrors that Cosmist philosophy hopes to abolish via scientific and technological advance.

The Phenomenon of Science closes with the following words:

“We have constructed a beautiful and majestic edifice of science. Its fine-laced linguistic constructions soar high into the sky. But direct your gaze to the space between the pillars, arches, and floors, beyond them, off into the void. Look more carefully, and there in the distance, in the black depth, you will see someone's green eyes staring. It is the Secret, looking at you.”

9 comments:

  1. Where could we find an online version (preferably pdf) of The Phenomenon of Science?

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  2. Ben -- my condolences. He sounds like a fine person to have known -- a real mensch, a bodhisattva. I'd heard of supercompilation and Refal, but ADD me, never went in-depth.

    and - synchronicity strikes again! just last night I bookmarked this one, by a someone i should have discovered way sooner:

    "I think the point where language starts to break down as a useful tool for communication is the same edge where poetry or art occurs... if you only deal with what is known, you’ll have redundancy; on the other hand, if you only deal with the unknown, you cannot communicate at all. there is always some combination of the two, and it is how they touch each other that makes communication interesting."
    —Bruce Nauman

    then, 845 EDT I google you and here we are!

    Don't know if you remember me -- Cliff Stabbert aka cps46@earthlink.net on SL4 -- we seemed infected with many similar meme-complexes. (and with Samantha, far more open to discussion than the little Grant Cowpers running the joint).

    Just started reading your manifesto and so far: damn fine work sir. Then my blogspot reflex scrolled me down, and (re-)discovered Turchin.

    which again, my condolences -- sounds like an amazing guy (get thee to my kindlery!)

    I'd like to reconnect! (and or at least share more of my manic-phase-generated ideas as they have ripened over time ; )

    -- cliff
    cliffstabbert@gmail.com
    status: manic again
    starting blogs and twitter, will notify upon request

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  3. Very much in parallel with our philosophy: www.rael.org

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  4. For Danny's question:
    The Phenomenon of Science, free ebook download from depositfiles, uploading, and filesonic.

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