Thursday, July 21, 2016

Will Google immanentize the eschaton?

You don't know how long I have wanted  to have that in a title.

From the Wikipedia article:
"In political theory and theology, to immanentize the eschaton means trying to bring about the eschaton (the final, heaven-like stage of history) in the immanent world.

"It has been used by conservative critics as a pejorative reference to certain utopian projects, such as socialism, communism, and transhumanism. In all these contexts it means "trying to make that which belongs to the afterlife happen here and now (on Earth)" or "trying to create heaven here on Earth."

"Theologically the belief is akin to Postmillennialism as reflected in the Social Gospel of the 1880-1930 era ... "
Parenthetically, the article continues with one of my favourite sentences:
"The problem of an eidos in history, hence, arises only when a Christian transcendental fulfillment becomes immanentized. Such an immanentist hypostasis of the eschaton, however, is a theoretical fallacy."
Me neither.


There is a science-fiction joke:
"A group of computer geniuses get together to build the world's largest, most powerful thinking machine. They program it with the latest heuristic software so it can learn, then feed into it the total sum of mankind's knowledge from every source-historical, scientific, technical, literary, mythical, religious, occult. Then, at the great unveiling, the group leader feeds the computer its first question:

"Is there a God?"

"There is now," the computer replies."
  • Wherever I am, Google knows and can pinpoint my location on Google Maps as well as offering useful hints as to what's nearby.

  • Google knows what's in my diary ('Calendar') and reads my emails for additional insights to my life events.

  • Google Now helpfully reminds me where my car is parked when I'm away from home, and delivers me news which it knows I'll find interesting.

  • I share my photos and videos with Google via Photos, and it helpfully groups them by people and places. It knows my friends and family network.

  • Google Now knows our sports interests and keeps me in touch with the cricket (for Clare) and the cycling (for both of us).

If I was ill (touch wood, etc) I suspect Google would monitor progress and suggest remedies.

It's strange how benevolent this machine-intelligence feels, as in Richard Brautigan's famous poem which ends: "all watched over by machines of loving grace."
The eschaton, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
'Thanks be to Google,' and pray we won't regret it.

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