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November 26, 2019

The Internet is the Opposite of the Etheric Life World

There is much anxious talk about the advent of artificial intelligence. Occult talkers are not immune to this rather clever way to worry catastrophically. While I read a good deal of science fiction and I enjoy a robot insurrection as much as the next guy, I do have difficulty working up a good panic about the doom of humankind by AI. It is interesting to me that most of this discussion appears on social media which I think has a similarity to the etheric plane with its flow of pictorial images. Yet the Internet is the opposite of the etheric-life world.

I sometimes use a fourfold model of the cosmos where matter is represented by elemental earth; etheric-life is represented by water; astral-soul by air; and archetypal spirit by fire. Allow me to analyze machine reality in terms of the two lower levels: physical-matter (Earth) with its sub-parts: plasma, gas, liquid and solid; and etheric or formative life forces (Water) with its sub-levels: life meaning, tone structure, light pictures and warmth.

beingness, light, love
thinking, feeling, willing
                             states of plasma,

Social media occurs on the Internet which is a digital machine reality housed in physical-mineral computers. Although "social media" appears life-like, and is the medium for human, emotionally charged communication by texts, picture-images and complex sounds, it is obviously a production of the world lower than etheric-life world of elemental Earth. The basis of  machine reality is constructed of a digitally interactive "cloud" which exists only within the physical-mineral world.

Through computer technology we are provided a communicative system which mimics the higher etheric-life world existing one step higher than the mineral world. The etheric world streams into the planet from outer space, bringing animating vitality to the bodies of plant, animal and human kingdoms. In the human race, the etheric-life matrix, initially forms our physical bodies and sustains them through incarnation, scattering back into the global matrix upon our deaths. The etheric world has been described in occultism as having four related levels: where the first is the most subtle, verging upon the human soul, and the final is the most biological, merged into the homeostatic functions of the physical body: life-ether, tone-ether, light-ether and warmth-ether.

A life-etheric world  can be recognized by our human sense of ourselves as having  a life purpose. We feel motivated to think, speak and act in the external world out of a personal meaning, purpose and will. Life-ether expresses motivation in our biological organs to maintain movement and function: heart, keep pulsing, liver keep processes, kidneys keep filtering, stomach keep digesting.

A tone-etheric world can be noted in terms of how we recognize the presence of organically occurring patterns in our bodies and in Nature. These patterns are similar to our culturally constructed systems of musical harmony whereby pitches are organized into patterns of intervals and chords each producing culturally-determined responses to sound experience. In occultism, music is often a metaphor for Nature's ordered construction of shapes throughout crystal formation in metals and minerals as well as cellular and organ tissues in plants and animals. This metaphor operates down to microscopic shapes and geometries of chemical molecular chains and the probability patterns of atomic electrons, protons and neutrons.

We can recognize a light-etheric world in the colors of our memory pictures which emerge in  collage-like tableaus during our nightly dreams. Etheric light also appears in conscious daytime fantasies of imagination as another aspect of the etheric world directly underlying our human culture and personalities. Occultists consider the most intimate human-animal quality of the etheric-warmth world to be the immanent heat of our own bodies. Our agency and our very livingness appears to be shaped by a purpose inclusive of both waking and sleeping.  Body temperature rises during conscious physical activity as well as during REM dream states. Body heat decreases in both awake resting states and in the unconsciousness of non-dreaming.

While the etheric-life world is often symbolized in magical traditions as elemental Water, the lower world in which life is imitated by the Internet is elementally Earth and mineral-metallic. The personal computer is composed of many different metals, plastics and alloys. Copper, lead, and gold are used in various parts. Lead is used as solder, radiation shielding and as a plastics stabilizer in PVC cabling. Gold is used for pin plating while copper is a good conductor of electricity and is also used to make the hard disks along with aluminum, magnesium, silicon and zinc. Hard disk platters often are composed of alloys of cobalt, nickel and iron. Computer casings often contain steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. Plastics are mainly used for insulation to protect parts against heat, some are used in capacitors which conduct electricity.

Through computer technology we are provided a communicative experience characterized by what could be called virtual or machine-warmth, machine-light, machine-tone, and machine-life-likeness.

Machine-warmth arises from the physical frictional properties of electricity moving through metal with some machine components requiring more electricity than others. Electricity passing across circuits and through wires meets a degree of resistance. This is like two hands rapidly rubbing together and creates heat. Depending upon the kind and number of applications running or calculations being performed, the amount of electricity used results in variable heat production. Certain components generate more heat:

  • The CPU or Central Processing Unit handles number crunching data or text input in a word processor.
  • The GPU or Graphics Processing Unit handles graphics intensive processes. The GPU handles billions of calculations and instructions per second and can produce more heat than the CPU.
  • The Heat Sink is a thermally conductive device covering a CPU and GPU to absorb some of the heat being generated. Often fans are incorporated into the heat sink to disperse heat.
  • HDD or hard disk drive contains small disks that spin as information is written and accessed by other components - a steady flow of electricity is needed during certain functions to keep disks spinning which generates heat.
  • The optical disk drive (ODD) can play CDs or DVDs which spins the inserted disks so data can be read and written. The ODD uses a laser to read and write which require a large electrical input which generates considerable heat.

To encourage heat dispersal PCs prefer a hard surface. For dispersal they also prefer a cold/dry environment rather than the opposite which can case it to generate more heat

Machine-light appears upon a gaseous video display using an electrically charged ionized gas called plasma to illuminate pixels. A pixel is the basic unit of programmable color on a computer display. It is a logical unit, not a physical unit. The specific color of a pixel is a blend of red-green-blue. Three bytes of data are allocated for specifying a pixel's color, one byte for each major color part. A bitmap is a file that indicates color for each pixel along a horizontal and vertical axis. 

Machine-tone is the acoustical sound wave of an audio signal which is converted into an encoded numerical sample in continuous sequence. Many samples are required to replicate the waveform with each sample representing the intensity of the waveform at that instant. The number of bits used when taking samples varies according to a spectrum of accuracy in imitated quality. Common sampling is 16 bit samples taken over a spectrum of 44.1 thousand cycles per second (44.1 Kilo Hertz, kHz). Another way to phrase this is that in CD quality media, audio samples are taken 44,100 times per second each with 16 bit sample depth. Digital audio is used to record, store, manipulate, generate and reproduce sound using audio signals encoded into digital form.

Machine-life or Artificial Intelligence is the imitation of the life-ether which we realize in terms of meaning, vitality, functional movement and purpose. The much-discussed and hotly anticipated advent of AI "… is the branch of computer sciences that emphasizes the development of the intelligent machine, thinking and working like humans. For example [AI can be recognized in] speech recognition, problem-solving, learning and planning." (Farhan Saeed at

Mr. Saeed lists the following examples of AI programs which are presently, if crudely, in operation.

  • Siri is a digital assistant designed by Apple to respond to voice-activation in performing daily tasks like message sending, voice calls and calendar inclusions.
  • Telsa is pioneering a self-driving car.
  • Cogito combines machine learning and behavioral science to enhance customer service AI systems. "The AI solution analyzes the human voice and provides real-time guidance [to the phone professional] to enhance behavior."
  • Netflix uses prediction algorithms to make recommendations  based on customer likes and previous choices. Pandora is called "… the DNA of music" using a core group of four hundred musical characteristics to analyze songs and making recommendations to customers.
  • Nest is Goggle's AI which controls home temperature based on your daily routines and activity levels.
  • Boxever is an AI system working in the travel industry which "conveys micro-moments or experiences that can please the customers."
  • Flying Drones are being involved in home shipping of products, making videos and in news reporting.
  • Echo from Amazon is a web search product that also schedules, helps you shop, controls "… lights, switches, thermostats, answers questions, reads audio books, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and more."

Machine-life or AI appears sufficient in analyzing our external, behavioral patterns and routines, and then predicting out of that analysis what we might want next. Human behavior patterns certainly imply a degree of purposefulness. However, does AI really sense meaning as a human being experiences meaning? Does an AI gain a sense of energy and motivation, joy and exhilaration in accessing meaning? Is the raison d'etre of an AI affirmed and strengthened by feeling this enhancement? Probably not. So, at this time, etheric-life appears to be only superficially imitated by the computer.

It is similar to the process of an actor building up a role as a famous personality. The actor studies video and audio records, reads books, reviews available photographs of the life of the famous person. This is a first step in creating a reputable character. The actor will practice  imitating that person's voice, their recognizable gait, stylistic gestures, typical clothing and personal quirks. Artificial Intelligence can apparently do most of this external depiction of apparently meaningful human behavior, given enough processing power.

But then the actor "becomes" the role neurologically. This is probably based in our depth understanding of the interior of other people. We have an intrinsic understanding of the "reality" of another personality; that they also have an interior set of drives and values, motives and purposes. The actor can take on a felt semblance of that other personality because of this basic interpersonal assumption: you are like me to some degree. Actors can, for  a time, enter into sympathy with the gestalt of behavioral details. She becomes, through innate powers of imagination, empathy, self-reflection and skill, that other.

Can the Artificial Intelligence perform this act of taking on a role all the way from behavioral details to the internal gestalt? It is likely a matter of time before it will be able to fool the human observer into believing it is one of us. What will happen culturally when the AI is engineered to convincingly take on the persona of a thinking, feeling, willing being? We may have a decade or so to figure out the implications.

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