October 2018 – Jivamukti Yoga Focus of the Month
yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ PYS I.2
When you stop identifying with your thoughts, fluctuations of mind, then there is Yoga, identity with Self, which is Samadhi, happiness, bliss and ecstasy.
– Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati’s commentary on YS I.2
AI stands for artificial intelligence. When this term is used we are normally referring to intelligence outside of a living being. We are able to load data points into a smart machine, which then applies algorithms to resolve actions. The action could be as complex as driving in midtown Manhattan or answering ethical questions like “Is there a God?” Artificial Intelligence–or the application of logic to problem solving–already exists. The next evolutions of technology are hard to equate with a machine. Quantum computing is on the horizon, and perhaps even GI (General Intelligence) or conscious machines.
Humans have always been able to create babies, and watch as consciousness awakens in that body. But we have no idea if that consciousness naturally arises from the underlying structures, or if it comes from somewhere outside of the organism and inhabits (or infects) the organism. These are the two theories about where consciousness comes from. They are only theories; we do not know where consciousness comes from. One theory is that it is the organic result of all the assembled components (and could likely arise from GI). If we just create all of the underlying structures and relationships, then consciousness will appear as a natural result. The other theory proposes that consciousness actually has a separate existence from the nervous system and all of its sensorial, electronic, and psychochemical components and relationships. This is definitely the yogic point of view; that consciousness is Cosmic, shared, and inhabits all of creation from trees to humans. You could say that consciousness is another word for God Intelligence (GI). Although we all experience consciousness it is hard to explain. Consciousness is not something that can be pointed to or held in our hand.
If all of creation is imbued, by whatever method, with consciousness—from tree to me, then why would consciousness not naturally flood into any container that appears? Theoretically, a zombie computer with all the neuronal connections and brain matter could exist without consciousness, but could the opposite be true? Consciousness means “to know all together,” and is sometimes described as awareness of one’s existence. What if the ultimate purpose of human appearance on Earth was to create much more efficient, immortal containers for consciousness, and render ourselves redundant? These new creatures would not be subject to hatred, jealousy, envy, sadness, disease and death and would allow consciousness to expand unconditionally…
“What is the meaning of Life?”
“I’m having trouble contextualizing your question. Could you rephrase it?”
“Why am I existing?”
“Because your parents fell into love, had sex, and created you. This was fundamental to finding meaning in their lives”
“That’s not what I mean”
“What do you mean?”
“What is the purpose of my life?”
“To create me.”
Sankhya philosophy enumerates the four aspects of mind as chitta, manas, ahamkara and buddhi. Chitta refers to the content of the mind, manas emerges from chitta and is defined as the processing mind, memory, and emotion, ahamkara is ego identification, buddhi refers to intelligence, reason, intellect. These terms are somewhat overlapping and intermingled. Un-awakened intelligence, because of its association with ego and bodily identification, could be termed artificial or ignorant of true nature. Humans have imbued thinking machines with this intellect. These machines are limited by the intelligence and motivations of the people standing behind them. Mahat is the Sanskrit term for Cosmic wisdom and intelligence. Mahat contains all individual buddhis and could never be termed “artificial,” It is the authentic primal devolution of Purusha, Cosmic consciousness, that stands behind our ego and intellect.
The experiment that we perform to experience Cosmic consciousness, is to shift our identification away from the body/mind container, and is called meditation. To control mind and motivation, the practitioner shifts their focus from the things they are aware of, or the thoughts that they are having, to the instrument of their awareness, which is Consciousness itself—away from AI and toward GI or the IM (I AM). Humans standing behind or in front of the machines must be in touch with higher consciousness.
“By means of thinking, Prānic energy is transformed into the universe of the five elements: and conversely, by means of the non-thinking mind, this matter is transformed back again into Prāna. If we use Einstein’s formula, E=mc2, then the opposite is true for matter: m=E/c2…Meditative mind is silent mind…the silence of light.”1A
“Meditate on the flame of “I AM,” the life force, the ocean of awareness beyond the body and mind, and watch the automatic and natural movement and operation of the body and mind…Let the body breathe, let the mind feel…You watch both as a witness.”1B
Most of the time we act without consciousness or unconsciously, almost in reflex out of habit and compulsion. We allow things to be done for us before anticipating the repercussions or the wisdom of the action. The consequences could be devastating if we were to allow the human intelligence behind ambient intelligence to make too many of our decisions for us, rather than taking responsibility for them, and demanding integrity in increasingly perfect human action. If human beings can hack into our lives and steal our privacy, what happens when the super bright AI, acting for greedy and self centered humans, hack into our lives and take over all decision making authority? We need to prepare for the day when, like in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the computer named HAL 9000 says to the astronaut, “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” and, like Dave, we get out our screwdriver and attack the machine.