A synonym for the end of time. The possible result of the technological/biological singularity. Also termed concrescence by Alfred North Whitehead.

See also:
Terence McKenna (who thinks he knows when the world will end)
December 21, 2012

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Term for a possible future state when intelligence controls the entirety of the universe, every atom, in one manner or another. The information stored and processed will being to rise asymptotically toward infinity.

... also known as the Omega Point Theory, proposed by Frank Tipler in his book The physics of immortality (1995). This theory has been attacked by many scientists because starts as description of a plausible cosmological model but ends as a rather fantastic theology. Tipler says this in the introductory paragraph:

This book is a description of the Omega Point Theory, which is a testable physical theory for an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God who will one day in the far future resurrect every single one of us to live forever in an abode which is in all essentials the Judeo-Christian Heaven. .... I shall make no appeal, anywhere, to revelation. I shall appeal instead to the solid results of modern physical science. ... I shall describe the physical mechanism of the universal resurrection. I shall show exactly how physics will permit the resurrection to eternal life of everyone who has lived, is living, and will live. I shall show exactly why this power to resurrect which modern physics allows will actually exist in the far future, and why it will in fact be used. If any reader has lost a loved one, or is afraid of death, modern physics says: ‘Be comforted, you and they shall live again.

The key of this theory is a cosmological model in which, although the universe is finite as far as time and space, the memory capacity, the number of calculatory steps and the effective energy supply are unlimited. This apparent impossibility is possible because of the extreme violence of the final moments of the Big Crunch.

At that moment, with all the energy of the universe concentrated in this mother of all the black holes, some kind of yet-to-be-discovered matter could exist and act as a computer. For an external observer (if this can be conceived), this machine would exist just for a few nanoseconds (even less), but inside, thanks to the infinitum amount of energy, memory and processing power (and the Turing principle), such machine could (according to Tipler) simulate the whole universe, including any living and conscious creature that has ever lived.

Evolution: The Highest Rule of Law

Through time, we can watch as the universe has grown and changed, creating a dizzying array of worlds and laws. It is difficult to see any unifying order, but after a comparison of all the steps, evolution comes through as the one guiding light. Evolution here is not Darwinian evolution. It is defined, in a rule, as that which tends towards higher order (the higher order being that which has a greater degree of complexity in its system). Think of this as the exact opposite of time, which tends towards entropy. Even though time, as it moves forward, tends to level all energies and structures to their least complex forms, there is this one tendency in the universe that goes in the opposite direction. That is evolution. On an evolutionary timescale, atoms became molecules that are governed by different laws than atoms, which become our world - the world of life, though there are many intermediate steps. Following each step, we can see how the degree of order has increased.

The unique evolutionary trait that distinguishes life was that it was a system preprogrammed to avoid its own destruction - namely death. Instinct has been that system for millions, if not billions, of years. But, when evolution created humanity, an entirely unique and wondrous system was devised: consciousness. The difference between instinct and consciousness, or awareness, is apparent to us, as we encompass that world as well as all our own; we still jerk our hand away from a fire without thinking about it. We can think, decide, muse, ponder, wonder, and even question whether we know or not. But why? Following just the one rule of evolution supposes that it must be an advantage towards preserving the order of our system. We are the result of the universe's next step in evolution: a system that is conscious of the possibility of its own destruction at any moment.

We call it mortality, and we call ourselves mortal. It is that ever present awareness that gives us the ability to progress within our own lifetimes. Up to this point, evolution in the system of life worked on the scale of generations of lifetimes. Here we sit at the pinnacle of it all. We can evolve in one lifetime. Of course, concessions must be made that we are not alone in this ability; we are simply the best at it. Intelligent animals such as dolphins and chimpanzees can also evolve in a lifetime (namely by that miracle of evolution that is mammalian motherhood). It is called learning - but it is not instinct as it is programmed into our DNA, but rather a memory or behavior that is programmed into our minds.

Art as a step in the Evolutionary Ladder

It is a degree of sensitivity towards reality that illicits the responses of some towards art. How can this be the universe trying to evolve? It doesn't seem practical as a means to propagate the species. Of course, that is not an actual rule of evolution. That is a rule of biology, which fits as one rung on the evolutionary ladder, and has laws that only apply to that rung. The single rule of evolution is to progress towards systems of greater degrees of complexity. Art may exist outside of the rules that govern the system of biological life.

Within our lifetimes we can love, hate, avenge, and create. It seems that these are the consequences of our unique evolutionary trait. We respond in ways that are completely our own. Could it not be that in art we are attempting to create another world above our own? It the same way that atoms came to create molecules so are we trying to create the world that will encompass (and include) us. Of course, let us not be short-sighted in our definition of art. Art is not simply visual art, or even music. Art includes all the wondrous creations of humanity. And don't underestimate the gravity of that word; creation, as in we have the will to create. One can look at a Rembrandt, hear Mozart, walk through one of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings, or even visualize the datasphere that our planet is becoming and know that they are astounding feats of humanity. That is art. It is our attempt to evolve, and because of that, it is the universe's attempt to evolve.

The Omega Point

The next question then becomes, 'what is the universe evolving towards?' There are many possible answers. Some would say god, some would say that the universe is merely attempting to get back to its original state before the Big Bang. With only the knowledge of human consciousness, and no data to prove if there is an evolution that has surpassed us, it is easy to say that the universe is attempting to gain sentience. It is evolving towards what some might consider a godhead. Or maybe a "god" outside of the universe was lonely, and the entire universe's existence is its attempt to create a companion that is on its same level. The truth of that is left to the imagination, but the principal truth of evolution is undeniable.

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