Bits, Bytes & Bewustzijn (Consciousness) - book intro

Yfke Laanstra
'I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin.

I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible.

Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.'

~Neo from 'The Matrix

We live in an incredibly significant phase of our human evolution. A phase in which computer technologies are emerging that are capable of radically and beyond recognition changing what it means to be human as well as our reality over the next 15 years.

At an unprecedented pace, more will change in the next 20 years than in the last 300 years. This degree of immense growth is also called exponential growth. So far, our growth has been linear. This is particularly evident in the various stages of our industrial revolution. In 1784, the first phase of our evolution took place, which gave a boost to our evolution by the power of mechanical control by means of water and steam. The second phase (1870) brought us mass production through the power of electricity. The third phase (1969) gave us the digital world and introduced us to the information/communication driven society, through the advent of computers and the internet. In all these phases there was linear growth, so we saw a gradually increasing line from 1 to 2, 3, 4 etc. and each phase covered an average period of 100 years. The third (digital) phase develops on an exponential scale, so from 1 to 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 etc. You can imagine that the higher the numbers, the bigger the jumps. At this rate, after 30 steps, you reach a billion. A characteristic of an exponential growth curve is that it first goes up slightly gradually, but then suddenly moves up in a practically vertical line. In this third exponential phase we now find ourselves, on the threshold of the fourth phase: where the line suddenly skyrockets up radically.

The driving force behind this exponential growth is the evolution of the transistor, the basis of the microprocessor: the so-called computer chip. An immense development in terms of production costs, size and capacity. Gordon Moore, co-founder of chip manufacturer Intel, introduced the first microprocessor Intel 4004 in 1971 with a capacity of 2300 transistors about the size of a small eraser at the end of a pencil. This chip evolved in 2004, 33 years later, to the Intel Pentium 4 Processor with 125 million transistors and in 2016, 12 years later, to the Intel Core i7 processor with a content of 14.4 billion transistors. If you want to see it with the naked eye, you have to enlarge it to the size of a house. Among other things, this evolution facilitated the arrival of the smartphone and created the size of chips that can be inserted into our bloodstream. This evolution in computer chips is also called 'Moore's law' as it was Gordon Moore who observed that capacity doubled every 12 to 18 months. The storage capacity has also been increased at an exponential rate. From bulky devices the size of a filing cabinet in 1956, worth $120,000 with a storage capacity of 5Mb, we have evolved to a microSD card in 2005 the size of 15 mm with a weight of half a gram with a storage capacity of 128Mb to even a memory card of 128Gb in 2014. A capacity increase of a thousand times in a period of only nine years. All this paves the way for many current, exponential developments in the field of nanotechnology, quantum computing, genetic engineering, virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence, brain-computer and human-machine interfaces. Within ten years we will be able to buy computers that match the calculating power of our own brain and less than 25 years later we will have computers with the capacity of all human brains united.

For example, if our fuel consumption had developed at the same pace, we could now run on one tank of fuel for the rest of our lives. If our cars were to shrink at the same pace as the transistor, it would currently be the size of an ant. If housing prices would have dropped at the same pace, we could now buy a house for the price of a candy.

Remember the Atari game console and the joystick? The advent of the global Internet? From the simple mobile phone and laptop to the arrival of the advanced smartphone? These are all developments within the timeframe of one lifetime.
Did you know that telephony is an invention already made in 1878, during the second phase of the industrial revolution? Followed, more than a century later, in 1983 by the mobile phone. Less than 25 years later, the smartphone was introduced in 2007. Less than 10 years later, our streets, our social and working lives and even our brains are completely dominated by this smartphone, which is now developing at an incredibly fast pace. In the coming years, the smartphone will be one of the most central links in the Internet of Things. Almost every citizen of the world has a smartphone, even in third world countries it is commonplace, in a shared first place next to the (smart) television.

The 21st century
We are now suffering from a collective obsessive screen addiction and there is even a term for the present-day information overkill: infobesitas. In addition to many other emerging disorders and syndromes.

Our reality is currently flooded by new computer technologies and wireless networks. Nowadays our lives are mostly spent online, time and distance are no longer a limitation. Tangible, analog products are replaced by virtual ones. Physical shops close, magazines become e-zines, workshops become webinars, conversations are held via Facetime, Skype or Whatsapp and Virtual Reality goes mainstream thanks to the Albert Heijn (Dutch supermarket chain) and mobile providers. We are in a reality in which the motto is that we have to be online 24 hours a day and not fall behind. A world in which everything and everyone is connected and we experience the world from behind our screens.

Everything is being digitized. All our actions are monitored, all our data is tracked, traced and stored. Mostly without our knowledge or consent. Thanks to whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, we have become more aware of this. Think of dates of our purchases, transactions, internet browsing, where we are located when, with whom we interact online and when, to all our health data in Electronic Patient Dossiers (EPDs). Data is the new oil. Oil companies used to have the power, but nowadays these are the big tech companies like Google, Apple and Facebook.

In addition, there is a growing Internet of Things where more and more things are connected to the Internet. Think of your car, household appliances, smartphone or (game) computer; often without the necessity of human intervention. The digital dimension no longer only exists on a computer screen, but is shifting to your everyday objects through the rise of smart products (smartmeter, smart tv and smartwatch), among other things. Everything will be linked to the smart grid: your work, your home and even your family. We already use the term smart homes and smart cities. The digital dimension is increasingly merging with our analogue, tangible dimension. With all its implications for your privacy, personal space, health and free will.

It is only a matter of time before parcels or smart products no longer contain RFID chips but become part of our vaccine doses, given that such chips or technologies have now reached the nanoscale. Obligatory or voluntary, who will say? Enabling your body to be remotely controlled and monitored by computers and Artificial Intelligence.

Drones, unmanned and remote-controlled flying objects, are now for sale at discount supermarkets and are toys for both children and adults. It's only a matter of time before drones start determining our sky view. Underneath, the Self Driving Cars, which are completely driven by artificial intelligence, determine their route, keep their distance and make autonomous decisions in the event of a car accident.

In addition, there is an extensive robotisation in progress. Complex operations are already carried out by robots, children have robot pets and there are experiments to have the elderly 'cared for' by robots in nursing homes. The implications and applications of robot technology are the subject of intense debate. Think of our production chains, our employment. For years, the army has been working intensively on experiments to deploy robots in war and crisis situations, and it is conceivable that entire armies will consist of robots that have to make decisions about life and death autonomously in war situations. This puts the term cyber warfare, digital warfare, in a totally different perspective.

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Mirror, mirror on our screens...

I just love computers. Most of my (office) days I'm behind a computer screen. Creating all these beautiful virtual constructs, online communities, digital worlds: I can't seem to get enough of this. Each one of these creations contributing to the consciousness and wellbeing of its users. It is like digitally playing with my own creation potential; everything is possible in the virtual world.

Computer technology however also has this miraculous mirror effect: it reflects (our) potential. It demonstrates what our reality is actually composed of, what we are actually composed of...

The holistic perspective claims that everything consists of energy and everything is interconnected. Replace the term 'energy' by bits and bytes, by ones and zeros. How 'woo woo' is this assumption actually? Our current computer technology shows us that it is a given, that you can build a reality by something that ins't visible to the naked eye... In both this energetic as virtual reality the possibilities of this creation potential are infinite.

Internet: the world wide web
The internet demonstrates our interconnectivity. Through the internet it is possible to have a realtime connection with someone on the other side of the globe, in a different time zone. Not bound to time and space.
The internet also gives us access to a world wide library, to an unfathomable amount of information. We can store data in the Cloud, in information fields we cannot see with our naked eye, in virtual data banks. Everything is information, everything is energy.

The Internet of Things is adding, connecting, a growing number of  ‘things’ to the internet, creating one big data network. In which all this data leads a life of its own, where it is being analysed and mapped (often) without the need of human intervention. This data netwerk contains all of your health data, data from your private life uploaded in Social Media but also your Geodata (where you are when), purchases, payments and data from all your ‘Smart’ ware and wearables (Smart phone, Smart TV, Smart watch, Smart meter etc).

Chat features offer us a modern form of telepathic communication. Without any spoken word we're having conversations and we can read each others thoughts on our computer screens. We exchange gigabytes of data through our desktops, smart phones, tablets, gadgets and games.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is todays crystal ball, through which we can predict our future by complex algorhythms. To some extent that is, because we are limited to using that information which is quantifiable, measurable.

Wifi – wireless internet
Where we used to need wires to get access to the internet, today all we need is a Wifi connection. We think it's completely normal to swim in a constant sea of data, amidst waves of information, that we can't observe with the naked eye. We're non-stop surfing these waves, directly or indirectly interacting with all of this data.

We think it's completely normal that we can pick up sounds and images by switching channels on a television or radio, tuning into other frequencies or by entering numbers, dialing a phone number. We consider it to be paranormal though to perceive other realities, other dimensions by tuning into other frequencies ourselves.

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The Electric Human

The mission of Holistic Hacking is to explore how computer technology can be of service to the wellbeing and consciousness of its users. An essential part of this is hacking our own consciousness with regards to the applications and implications of computer technology itself.

Everything in our living universe has an electromagnetic emission, the cosmos, the stars, our earth as well as our body, the plants, animals, food etc. We live in a sea of electromagnetic waves or frequencies and within this everything is interconnected and interacting. We are electric beings, walking data transmitters in a sea of frequencies.

Organic versus Artificial
There are both organic and artificial, man made electromagnetic frequencies. Examples of organic frequencies are sunlight, the earth's magnetic field (that moves the needle of a compass to the north) and lightning. The organic frequency of the Earth is also called the Schumann resonance. As an inhabitant of this beautiful planet it is beneficial to your health, consciousness and wellbeing to be tuned to this frequency.

When our brain waves, heart rhythms and the frequency of the Earth are in harmony (so on the same frequency or wave length), then there is a state of perfect wellbeing: a vital body, a clear mind and an open heart.

Bio computer
Our body also uses electromagnetic frequencies to process and transfer information. Not only by means of the nervous system and hormones, but a lot through the fascia (connective tissue) which is very conductive to electromagnetic frequencies and which is covering all our cells. A kind of organic fiber network. Also all of the cell walls are composed of connective tissue which receive information, out of their environment and from the interior of the cell, to what substances are needed inside the cell. This is actually also the basic principe of acupuncture: the needles act like a kind of antenna to make sure blocked energy starts flowing again by removing blockages in the corresponding meridians (energy tracks). All these energy tracks are connected to for example organs, organs to certain emotions etc. This is a beautiful example of the dance between matter and energy, between our body and our Soul, by frequencies connected to our health and wellbeing.

Whenever there is cell phone or wifi radiation in our body, than this distorts the information which the cell receives so it cannot function properly. The cells cannot absorb the correct substances through their receptors and the cells weaken and become ill. Also the white blood cells of our immune system, that use electrical information, are less effective. Prolonged distortion can lead to (chronic) disease, depending on the level of sensitivity to radiation.

State of Mind
Frequently working with computer technology also influences our brain frequencies and therefor how we feel, our mood and how we then interact with (and what we emit to) our environment. It keeps our brain mainly in bèta frequencies (12 to 40hz) in which we're constantly mentally active, experiences stress to a greater or lesser extent with a constant focus on the world around us. So frequencies also influence your state of mind. The alpha frequency (8 to 14 hz) is considered to be the most healthy frequency range because this generates relaxation and effortless attention. 

Crystal Power
In our cortex there are million of small crystal particles that operate as magnetic antennas that process information coming from outside of the body. These particles are extremely sensitive to magnetic fields that can therefor severely disrupt our metabolism. Quarz crystals have long been a source for the production of Silicon and, for that matter, are at the core of our computational world…



Electro smog
The rise and increase of electro smog (the sum of electromagnetic frequencies/radiation) has a significant impact on our quality of life. 

Could it be that the microwave negatively effects our food? That this scrambles the molecular composition and it distorts its 'code' and therefor the information that is being received by our bio computer?

Could it be that cell phones and handhelds, computers, tablets, monitors, fluorescent lighting and CFLs, UMTS poles, wifi and other electromagnetic devices negatively effect our overall wellbeing and health?

By prolonged exposure your body literally builds up too much tension (voltage). If we would still have a considerable connection to the Earth then we would be able to immediately release this excess tension through the earth, like a grounding mechanisme. But unfortunately the reality today is that this connection is mostly damaged and not or no longer functioning properly; we are getting more and more disconnected from our source (code), from nature. However, there are many products on the market to help you process this electro stress in a harmonious way or that reduce its harmful effects.

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Biohacking, Lifehacking versus Consciousness Hacking

Nowadays ‘Hacking’ is one of the newest buzz words. You've probably heard of Life Hacking, Biohacking, Brainhacking or Neurohacking.  'Hacking' in this context actually means finding ways to make processes run smoother, faster, more efficient and more effortless. In fact each one of these are catch-all concepts, which contain many different aspects.

Life Hacking is about day to day things, about how to go about your life in a smarter and more effortless way so you can do more in less time. This does not have to be achieved by means of computer technology and the term "hacking" herein refers to finding clever ideas, tricks and shortcuts.

Biohacking is about the application of gadgets, wearables (gadgets you can wear on your body like eg. smart watches and heart rate monitors) to improve your health, your biology. According to wikipedia it is about looking at biology from the perspective of a hacker. Think of pedometers or gadgets that monitor and map your heartbeat or brain frequencies. This is also where you'll see The Quantified Self movement which is all about generating and mapping data, creating measurable data about yourself. From simply measuring your daily calorie intake to personally measuring your blood values, blood sugar, brain waves, mood, hormone levels, etc. With the aim to optimize your body and your life. Here you will start noticing a gradual symbiosis between biology and technology.  

Measuring your calorie intake is like the Light version of Biohacking and Transhumanism is like the Advanced version. You'll come to see that the 'Die Hard' version is maybe even a more appropriate term considering the context.

Transhumanism
This movement represents the continuing fusion of biology and technology. Where Biohacking is promoting wearables, wearing gadgets on your body, transhumanists actually advocate implanting, applying computer technology within your body. This can start in a (seemingly) harmless way by implanting a chip but can go as far as creating bionic limbs, application of genetic/ nano technology, 3D printed organs, cloning to uploading your mind into a computer and continue life as a cyborg in an immortal and indestructible robot body. Which is all about actually TRANScending biology.

As you can see there is not always a clear distinction between the different types of Hacking and some elements are represented in multiple types of Hacking. A common thread running through these movements however is the need for improving and optimizing life and wellbeing, with or without using computer technology. Which, in essence, is a wonderful intent.

You can imagine that the more and the deeper you enter into these types of Hacking the more ethical, moral issues will arise. To what level should we be able to take on the role of becoming our own doctor, to 'fiddle' with our own DNA and what are the actual implications of implanting computer technology, like nano particles in our blood stream that are remotely controlled by artificial intelligent computer systems. What is done with all this data, who has access to it and do we actually want to become more interconnected, linked to a global Internet of Things. How about our privacy, self-determination, our own responsibility etc.

Consciousness Hacking
Looking at my fascination for the cutting edge of consciousness and computer technology I came across a Ted Talk last year about Enlightenment Engineering which lead me to Consciousness Hacking. This community is founded in 2014 in the US by Mikey Siegel, a Computer Engineer who worked in Silicon Valley on projects that dealt with Robotics Engineering in MIT Media Lab. Until at some point he realized that we are more than just our physical bodies, that there is something like an inner reality and that it is important to explore how computer technology can be of service to our consciousness and wellbeing. In other words: how you can improve the quality of life, create inner harmony instead of focussing solely on improving processes, making them cheaper, more efficient etc.

How can you apply computer technology in such a way that it shifts your attention from outwards to inwards, triggering introspection, facilitating meditation. Instead of keeping your attention focussed on all of your gadgets and computers, in an almost compulsive obsessive manner. So moving from outside to inside instead of the other way around.

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Biology & Technology – friend or foo?

How ironic: the growing fascination for transcending biology, our human body, by the application of computer technology. From the assumption that our human body is obstructing our growth, our potential.

By the use of chips, bionic limbs (robot technology), wearables (portable gadgets like heart rate watches, programmed head bands etc), the application of Gen/Nano technology or the uploading of your brain to a computer.
Let’s call the Light version of this Biohacking, the Advanced version Transhumanism.

Ironic an the sense that we haven’t even mastered or (re)discovered our biological capacities. We haven’t even grasped the way our biological supercomputer works, let alone managed to work with it. We haven’t even mastered our potential to delete restricted programming from our minds and upgrade our consciousness to a whole new level.

Or let me put it this way: this knowledge ís available and we’ve been capable of using these skills but this knowledge is hardly available to most of humanity. Mainstream media uses outdated assumptions and perspectives of humanity, of who we are, of what we’re capable of and what part we play in the universe.

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Instant Enlightenment
We apparently have the tendency to look for a Quick Fix, a Turnkey solution. The solution that provides ‘Instant Enlightenment’ by the push of a button. A solution that is to be found outside of ourselves, that is necessary to move to the next level in our evolution.

Artificial Obsession
What is it with our obsession for everything artificial….

Like how we tend to forget, even undervalue true inner beauty and loose ourselves in the search for artificial beauty.
Born from the illusion that this will boost our self-esteem. How many of us become dependent on make up and sometimes end up choosing plastic surgery: literally implanting artificial substances to be able to show a certain image on the outside. Maybe a ‘mask’ is a better choice of words.
But understandable when you think of the fact that natural beauty is something that happens on the inside and doesn’t create any profit in our consumption based economy.

Somewhere along the way we have forgotten what truly nourishes us, where our true power lies. What our body needs and what supports our biology. The healthcare and food industry also focus more and more on creating artificial, chemical alternatives to food and medicine. Treating illnesses with artificial, chemical and technological products and solutions.

There is a collective amnesia concerning our true source of healing or nutrition…. on what dimensions (spiritual, psychological, emotional and mental) need nourishment apart from merely our physical dimension.

Superhero
Our true calling is to (re)discover our full (biological) potential...

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