Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Purpose of the Singularity part 2: The Key of the Restoration of all things

The Singularity is a period of run-away technological advances. Some people peg it to the creation of a computerized Artificial Intelligence like our own, only computerized, called strong AI. While I am bearish on strong AI, weak AI (like computer programs that are only good at one problem, chess, for instance) will be a significant advance. Ultimately, the reasons for the Singularity happening must be kept in mind, because opportunities for singularity are not inevitable.

Great knowledge has been lost more times in history than we could count. We are only now getting an idea of how the Egyptian pyramids how were built. There are many cases of superior civil engineering technology - Rome and its neighbors, Meso-America, India, China, and so on. We still don't fully understand how Damascus steel was created. Attainments in Medicine have at times been very great, as have attainments in mathematics and astronomy. If we take the Book of Enoch at its word, this is the least of it.

We say, correctly, that the technological advances we are having uniquely in our day and age, are a result of the Gospel being restored. That is true, but we need to be more specific. I wonder if we can say, that it is because of the key of the restoration of all things.

A key consists of power from God to accomplish something. And the truth is scientific advances are revelations who come to those who are prepared scientifically. I could quote Brigham extensively on this, but not today.

The interesting thing about this, is that it was previously held by both Noah (Elias/Gabriel) and Peter, James and John. If I am right then, we could have had the technological marvels we have now, either right after the Flood, or in the days of Rome, except that the Church apostatized. I consider that fascinating, because smarter men than myself have often wondered why the scientific revolution happened when it did, and not earlier. It was certainly not for any lack of intelligence.

What is the purpose of the key of the restoration of all things? Nothing less than building up the kingdom of God. And when men and women have abandoned God, He has withheld the enlightenments they might have otherwise received. Do technological levels directly correlate with righteousness and apostasy? No, not at all, but it will follow it like an errent shadow, with delayed but inexorable effect. And opportunities once lost, may not return for a very long time.

What do the scriptures and prophets tell us about this?

First, there is the well-known and repeated prophecy that someday, we should be as far ahead of the world in Science as we are now in Religion. This prophecy in particular suggests to me that the Singularity will be a LDS phenomena and not the world at large.

Other prophecies closely corrolate the information explosion with the blessings of the Millenium itself.

A time to come when nothing shall be withheld....

...for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.
And for what purpose is all of this? It is to build up Zion - that it might be perfect in knowledge, both secular and spiritual. Both kinds of knowledge are necessary.

God does not violate the agency he has given to man; wherefore let this be in the mouth of every Saint, "The Lord shall have perfect dominion in my heart and affections;" then he will begin to reign in the midst of the people; but he cannot do so now. When we have faith to understand that he must dictate, and that we must be perfectly submissive to him, then we shall begin to rapidly collect the intelligence that is bestowed upon the nations, for all this intelligence belongs to Zion. All the knowledge, wisdom, power, and glory that have been bestowed upon the nations of the earth, from the days of Adam till now, must be gathered home to Zion. The wicked will become more and more weak and ignorant as they increase in wickedness. See the trifling, childish foolishness now among the nations of the earth.

Journal of Discourses Vol. 8, p. 279
And what does that mean for us? It means that God expects us to get to work and learn. He has given us minds and opportunities and if we do not, we will be found wanting. God can not bless us if we do not make use of the gift He has given.

Were I residing in a gathering-place where I knew I could remain for two years, and had fifty thousand dollars to spare, I would expend it in the best improvements I could, and labour to improve until the last day of my remaining. The Lord is gathering his people, and this is a city for the Saints. A great many here are satisfied with a log hut. Some act as though they expected to be driven, and others say—"We will soon go back to the centre Stake of Zion, and this house will answer my purpose till then." Let every mechanic and every scientific man of all classes and occupations, and every woman, improve to the best of their ability, faithfully living their religion, and we shall be none too well qualified to build up Zion when that time arrives. I never saw a stone-mason who thoroughly understood his trade. We have not a quarryman who fully understands getting out rock for the Temple walls. Then how, amid such ignorance, are you going to properly lay the foundation of the New Jerusalem—the Zion of our God? What do you know about building the great Temple that is yet to be built, upon which the glory of God will rest by day and by night? Where is the man that knows how to lay the first rock in that Temple, or to get out the first stick of timber for it? Where is the woman that knows how to make a single part of its interior decorations? That knowledge is not now here; and unless you wisely improve upon your privileges day by day, you will not be prepared, when called upon, to engage to the best advantage in building up Zion.

No nation possesses any wisdom but what it has received from the same God that we worship. He is the best mechanic and the most scientific personage that we have any knowledge of. There is not a principle in astronomy, known by men of science, but what has been revealed from heaven. All true knowledge among men, in relation to agriculture, the arts, science, commerce, and every avocation in life, has been given from our Father in heaven to his children, whether they acknowledge and obey him or not.

Journal of Discourses Vol. 8, p. 278-279
Elsewhere Brigham said,
It is mortifying that the children of this world should know more about these things than the children of light. We know more about the kingdom of God. Take these young men, sixteen or eighteen years old, or these old men, or some who have just come into the Church, and let them go into the world, and, with regard to the kingdom of God, they can teach kings and queens, statesmen and philosophers, for they are ignorant of these things, but in things pertaining to this life the lack of knowledge manifested by us as a people is disgraceful. Your knowledge should be as much more than that of the children of the world, with regard to the things of the world, as it is with regard to the things of the kingdom of God. JD 10:293

We must become ready for what the Lord has planned, spiritually and intellectually.

Put forth your ability to learn as fast as you can, and gather all the strength of mind and principle of faith you possibly can, and then distribute your knowledge to the people. Give them virtue, knowledge, principle, truth, godliness. The Lord is gathering those principles home to Zion from among the wicked nations, and is leaving them in darkness. What a pity it would be for the Lord to gather out all the good, and we be found unworthy of it. We shall be worthy of it, if we live for it; and may the Lord help us so to do! JD 8:146

It is worth repeating - if we do not become ready, it can be given to other nations, without any of the holy prophecies being invalidated in the least.

I have no doubt with regard to the good work of the Lord, referred to by those who have spoken, and it will continue among the nations of the earth. The Lord will bring out the results to his own honour and glory; but are we ready?

The Lord has bestowed great knowledge and wisdom upon the inhabitants of the earth—much truth and knowledge in the arts and sciences. Those nations that deny their God and Saviour will have those principles of intelligence taken from them. Are the Latter-day Saints prepared to receive them, enjoy them, or will those principles have to go to some other kingdom? There is great wisdom in the world; their knowledge in mechanism and the exact sciences is very great. This wisdom will be taken from the wicked. Who will receive it? Is there a people upon the earth prepared to receive this knowledge and this wisdom? There should be. Is it reasonable to suppose that the wisdom God has bestowed upon the nations of the earth should continue upon it? Or should it be taken from the inhabitants of the earth and carried back from whence it came? My faith and my desire are that there should be a people upon the earth prepared to receive this wisdom. It should not be so forfeited as to be taken from the earth, for I question whether it would return again. There should be a people prepared to improve upon their knowledge and wisdom, for all knowledge and wisdom come from God. All true intelligence is the gift of God. He is the true fountain of all knowledge and wisdom. JD 8, p. 319

The Brethren have spoken long and hard about education and reading. I could just as easily quote Pres. Monson as Brother Brigham. We must become ready, if we expect a temporal salvation.

1 comment:

Lincoln said...

I like these quotes.