is the term used by Alfred North Whitehead
to describe the fundamental
property of reality
: physical complexity
(of the body, brain, computer, etc.) increases to infinity
; mental complexity (knowledge) increases to infinity
increases to infinity
(and isn't that what E2
is doing?). Final concrescence = the Omega Point
And along with this growing, complexifying, miniaturizing, there is integration. After the Big Bang, subatomic particles float freely in a hot soup until atoms form for the first time. Free hydrogen floats around for billions of years until coming together to form stars and through stellar evolution the higher elements and compounds. Then these float around for billions of years until planetary systems form and eventually organic life. Then hundreds of millions of years of evolution (read concrescence) and life gets more and more complex, more and more integrated. Advanced anthropods make startling developments, and then consciousness. More integration over a few hundred thousand years and suddenly there's civilization. A cosmic eye-blink later and we are a global society. Notice how each step takes a shorter and shorter amount of time. Acceleration is the other key ingredient of concrescence. To a Roman, twenty years meant no significant change in her way of life, technological, cultural or otherwise. In the past twenty years, your life on Earth has transformed many thousands of times, especially in the realm of technology. The machine you're looking at right now would have been called magic just a hundred years ago. Everything is getting faster and faster. New stuff is appearing every day. Of all the scientists and engineers who have ever lived, 95% of them are alive right now. New stuff is called novelty by Whitehead. Concrescence in a nutshell: novelty increases to maximum.
So the obvious question is: what is next? Is it any wonder, in a universe like the one described above, that in the last hour of the cosmic day, life appeared? Is it any wonder that in the last minute of the cosmic day, consciousness appeared? Is it any wonder that in the last cosmic second, an impossibly sophisticated, world-spanning network appeared to link every human being to every other one in unintentional imitation of the brain? Is it any wonder that we are just on the very threshold of technologies (nanotechnology, genetic engineering, blue goo, etc.) that could absolutely transform humanity and would be called magic today? We are approaching a Singularity. The end of the world always catches you off-guard. We're just not used to thinking exponentially.
inorganic matter -> life -> consciousness -> X
Posthumanity? A lot of people think the singularity will happen somewhere between 2015 and 2050. Terence McKenna and the Mayan calendar independently say December 21, 2012.
To qualify the statement which titles this node, I say: sooner than you think.