Magick & Spirituality The Singularity Isn't Here

Published on February 18th, 2013 | by Jason Louv


There is No Singularity. Welcome to the Multiplicity

On Derailing the Singularity

It’s time to have a word about singularity thinking.

2012 came and went. The technological singularity heralded by Kurzweil and others will likely be a dud, too. These are old ideas, rooted deep within the Western psyche: the end of time, the apocalypse, when the savior returns to dig us all out of whatever mess we’ve happened to get ourselves into now.

Teilhard de Chardin called it the Omega Point. Marx called it the inevitability of Communism. Christianity waits for Christ. Buddhists wait for the Maitreya. Kurzweil for a great big technological fix.

And we keep believing in it — just changing the name of the messiah. And it never comes, and it’s not doing us any good. It only keeps us from embracing our experience in the present, and doing what we can to fix things right here and right now.

There is no singularity, no endpoint of history. What we have instead is a Multiplicity. A Complexity.

In fact, as history progresses and we enter the post-information age, we are moving farther and farther away from unity. We get more people. Information decentralizes despite the best attempts of media conglomerates: we all generate and consume our own private media universes. The sheer chaos produced by the combination of overpopulation and information technology ensures that we just get stranger and stranger (closer to Terence McKenna’s idea of “infinite novelty” than an Omega Point).

We are seven billion intersecting universes, all trying to make sense of this shared space we find ourselves in, without the benefit of Grand Narrative, or an all-too-male ending point. It’s just this, for as long as we’re here. The endless novelty and infinite recombinations of life.

To be spared the tyranny of somebody else’s ending, the end of a story I never wrote, and to simply have to deal with the other humans around me: I can think of nothing more merciful than this.

Welcome to the Multiplicity.

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About the Author

Jason Louv is the author of Queen Valentine and editor of Thee Psychick Bible, Ultraculture Journal and Generation Hex. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

  • Stefano Vaj

    The word “Singularity” is a metaphor, taken from physics and cosmology, that by no means implies that multiple singularities – say, the centre of black holes – could not exist. Rather, it refers to the breaking down of our predictive tools in extreme conditions. Historically speaking, this means not only that “singularities” are multiple, but also that they are moving targets, constantly pushed forward, as the horizon, by the refinement of such tools and by the simple passing of time. But, hey, I am the first to applaud the wish to demystify the eschatological undertones that the concept have taken in some transhumanist literature, or are adopted by thing such as the Singularity Institute.

  • Sam Ingersoll

    Don’t piss on my dream of becoming a robot Jason. How else will I live forever.

  • Doloras LaPicho

    Karl Marx didn’t actually say communism was inevitable. That’s the Stalinist distortion of his economic message. But he did say that capitalism wasn’t long-term sustainable, which is truer today than when he wrote it. Don’t make the cheap Western liberal mistake of using “Marx” as a straw-man punching bag.

  • John Ohno

    De Chardin didn’t call it the Omega Point; Frank Tipler did.

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