theFWD submission #5[a piece of speculative futurism for the Future We Deserve collaborative book project]
Monastech is how monasticism interfaces with technology to help us build the future we deserve. Monastech helps you grow your own Otherhood—create your very own monastic order—or monasticize your existing community’s future. It is an open-source monastic university, an online cyber-monastic community, as well as a model of community living that confronts the increasingly secular, technological, and complex future we’re facing.
“What wisdom does transhuman power demand?” —Joel Garreau in Radical Evolution
Secular monasticism + technology give us the equanimity, compassion and capacity to create the future we deserve.
For example, in fields of genetics and cognitive, neuro-, computer, and information science—folks who are working on artificial intelligence and human enhancement—it will be the scientists and engineers who have dealt significantly with their own consciousness who will have the first, best answers to questions like:
- what is life?
- what is awareness?
- is artificial intelligence the same thing as artificial consciousness?
- does artificial consciousness require a body?
- does compassion require a mortal body?
- how do we concoct a “Friendly AI”?
Corporate Monastech, High Monastech
High tech companies will pay employees who go on month- or year-long sabbaticals in a monastery. The halls of Google and Microsoft are already crowded with monkish personalities. Giving these employees incentives to spend time in a monastery (perhaps one designed specifically with high tech in mind, or in an art monastery that would expand their creative capacities to new levels) would make good business sense, as they would operate at a significantly higher level—with greater focus, clarity, equanimity, compassion and insight—than other employees upon returning to the work force.
There will be a monasteries that exist only online and in the bedrooms and minds of millions of householder monks. The monks will all get up at the same time, chant together, meditate together, eat together. Some cybermonks will work normal jobs, some will work to support the cybermonastic infrastructure. Some will live together in real monasteries. All will be joined in a Universal Otherhood of Otherhoods.
Online tools for collaborative mindfulness will turn their collective conscious power into real, compassionate action. The mindfulness grids and awareness engines they power will guide artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanotechnology.
e.g. ‘The International Otherhood of Artmonks.’
Monasticism in a minute
With technological upgrades to the power of human consciousness, future monks will have what subjectively feels like a 12 year silent retreat in the Himalayas in a matter of seconds.
Monastech for weathering a dystopian age
In a negative future, monasteries will serve the same role they did in the last dark age: preserving knowledge, culture and compassion.