The Akasha is an ancient concept, first encountered in the Sanskrit Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, orally transmitted from at least the second millennium BC and regarded by orthodox Hindus as apauruṣeya — that is, not of man: authorless, impersonal, revealed; first intuited through intense meditation by the ancient sages. Akasha is the invisible foundation of all existence, the all-pervasive medium within which all matter, all phenomena arise. Through the Akasha is transmitted Prana, the primal energy and information which shapes and animates all living forms.
The concepts of Akasha and Prana influenced Western thought through Stoic natural philosophy, which grew from the lost book of Heraclitus to anchor the Graeco-Roman mind for six hundred years, until the establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. In the developing Stoic tradition, Akasha is the intelligent aether, permeating a living universe which is itself God, while Prana becomes pyr teknikon, the creative, universal fire. In later Stoicism, this is renamed pneuma, or breath (still often with the epithet fiery), which transmutes into the Christian idea of the Holy Spirit, and disappears under the veil of religion.
The Akasha resurfaces in the scientific revolution in the form of the luminiferous aether, a necessary assumption as the universal medium for the propagation of light. All scientific thinkers from Descartes through to the giants of the electro-magnetic movement were ‘plenists’, from the Latin word for ‘full’: that is, there is no emptiness; they understood nature’s abhorrence of the vacuum, and subscribed to the necessity of a rarified, pervasive medium for the propagation of all forms of energy. When Tesla met the Swami Vivekananda, a disciple of Ramakrishna and a key figure in introducing the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world, the great Electrician was excited by the correspondence of the ancient knowledge of Akasha and Prana to the discoveries of aether-physics and electromagnetism. It is only with Einstein that Democritus elbows Heraclitus aside and the atomist conception of the universe as empty, and light as streams of solid particles travelling through a vacuum, supplants plenism in scientific thought. However, as Einstein himself conceded, the idea of space-time as a ‘fabric’ with physical properties such as curvature can be seen as a reframing rather than a denial of aether. In orthodox science the abolished concept now resurrects itself in the form of the Higgs field. The language changes, but the fundamental concept persists.
An akasha, aether, or universal field connects everything with everything, and vastly expands the realm of the possible in natural philosophy. Once this universal connectivity is acknowledged, the paranormal potentially becomes normal, and the supernatural, natural. From Newton’s ‘electric, elastic Spirit’ to Goethe’s cosmic botany or Sheldrake’s morphogenic fields and extended mind, all questions excluded by mechanistic materialism are back on the table, all impossibilities subject to reassessment in the light of aetheric or akashic resonance.
Science — real science, that is, as opposed to the simulacrum promoted by the establishment over the past hundred years — brings us again and again to this point: that the mechanistic materialism by which modern science defines itself ‘masks and denatures a profound reality’; it belongs in Baudrillard’s second order of simulation, the order of malefice; or in a museum, like the fancy automata that fascinated Descartes.
Scientifically speaking, the machine model is long dead. In economic terms, however — and as a demoralising psychological weapon — it is very much alive. As fiercely as in the literalistic vision of the Terminator films, a philosophical War of the Machines rages around us and within us.
It might be suggested that this is an argument from ignorance. I do not understand how consciousness ‘emerges’ from complexity, so I deny the idea. But as far as I can judge from their pronouncements, the emergence-theorists don’t know either.
My argument is a priori, an argument from principle — that artificial intelligence is, in terms, not intelligence but a simulation of intelligence, and artificial consciousness not consciousness but a simulation of consciousness. If a machine were ever to become conscious, there would be no way of proving that it had done so, when you can’t (as we can’t) measure or even define consciousness. Machine sentience remains, at this point, a contradiction in terms, a concept plausible only to techno-mystics in love with their own ingenuity and the adulation of the impressionable. By what alchemy can quantity be transformed to quality, computation to qualia?
That’s why Kurzweil’s spiritual machines belong, to paraphrase McLuhan, in an infantile piece of science fiction. A computer will never experience the irreproducible, incommunicable qualia of living, only mimic a response. A machine is a tool, not an entity, and our machines, however ‘intelligent’, are no more alive than da Vinci’s mechanised knight or Vaucason’s Digesting Duck. Increasingly we may find ourselves responding to ‘intelligent’ machines as if they were sentient — they will be designed to illicit emotional responses — but we will have to keep reminding ourselves that it’s all an illusion, a dream — or a nightmare.
Those who rule this planet seek to detach us from reality, and to this end would create simulacra of everything, to infiltrate and replace nature itself, to supersede it in its entirety with a false reality of which they are the immortal gods. Baudrillard’s metaphorical ‘death of the real’ paradoxically evokes the reality, the real-unreal, that we are being prepared for. They even try to persuade us that the world and all that is in it, including ourselves, might be a computer simulation; this is merely a last gasp attempt to maintain the machine model and the fiction of an inanimate, mechanistic universe. But it’s also a hint: if the world isn’t a simulation, we will turn it into one.
The psychopathic mind cannot create, only recreate; only map, analyse, replicate, infiltrate and displace. From biologically-inspired robots to machine-music to agent-driven synthetic worlds, it is obsessed with imitation, simulation not as sacrament but sorcery. That is the context in which I think we have to view these constellations of satellites and armies of transmitter towers marching across the land. As Western civilisation enters its Fourth Industrial Revolution and remodels itself around unprecedented technological capabilities, integrating humanity ever more deeply into the Machine, there is one more thing the doppelgänger-mindset must recreate to empower its global reach.
…The primary challenge for worldwide global cloud-based information processing technologies is the speed of access to the system, or latency. For example, the current round-trip latency rate for transatlantic loops between New York and London is ∼90 ms (Verizon, 2014). […] A neuralnanorobotics-mediated human B/CI, potentially available within 20–30 years, will require broadband Internet access with extremely high upload and download speeds, compared to today’s rates.
— ‘Human Brain / Cloud Interface’, Martins et al, Frontiers in Neuroscience, 29 March 2019
Which is where we came in.
In order for the telecosm to reach every cranny of the surface of the planet, the doppelgänger must build a pervasive radiative infrastructure of control, a mega-connectome, an all-pervasive field for its digital-physical, digital-biological chimaeras to swim in.
Once the Starlink-5G system confers ubiquitous bandwidth abundance, it will have this; its travesty of aether, its anthropogenic pseudo-akasha.
A digital World Soul.