A-B | C-D | E-G | H-K | L-O | P-R | S-T | U-Z
ACAUSAL: A principle or process not subject to cause and effect. Carl Jung considered synchronicity to be an acausal phenomena.

ADHOCRACY: A non-bureaucratic networked organization. “This form is already common in organizations such as law firms, consulting companies and research universities. Such organizations and institutions must continually readjust to a changing array of projects, each requiring somewhat different combinations of skills and other resources. These organizations depend on many rapidly shifting project teams and much lateral communication among these relatively autonomous, entrepreneurial groups.” [Scientific American, Sept. 1991, p.133. Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, 1970]

AKASHIC RECORDS: Sometimes called the Universal Memory. A hypothetical space that contains ALL that has gone before, in this and other Universes. It is the storehouse of all information for every individual who has ever lived upon the earth, containing every word, deed, feeling, thought and intent that has ever occurred. Could be explained by Tipler’s Omega Point Theory.

ALINGUAL: An experience which is intrinsically indescribable and can only be understood by having the experience and observing the changes in the mind before and after.

ALPHA-POINT COMPUTING: “Alpha Point” computing is if you spawn off a new universe and perform an infinite number of computations during the infinite energy densities of that universe’s Big Bang. “Alpha Line” computing, is if you transfer your computing patterns to yet another universe as soon as the first one starts to cool down, and so on. An Alpha Line could also refer to a larger set of universes spawned by an Alpha-Point-based civilization that needed to reproduce exponentially rather than just hopping from one universe to another. [Eliezer Yudkowski]

ALTERNTIY: Experiential “quantum” hyperspace where all choices are possible. A higher state of consciousness where you can jump from one universe to another – from this reality to an alternate reality, past, present or future. Because our consensus reality programs us in certain destructive directions, we must experience other realities in order to know we have choices. [John Lilly, 1974]

ANGEL PLASMA: The extremely hot state of the collapsing universe in the Omega Point Theory, where superintelligences (“Angels”) exist as computational systems somehow encoded in the particle interactions. See also Alpha Point Computing and Quark Matter. [Omega Point Theory List]

ARCH-ANARCHY: The view that we should seek to void all limits on our freedom, including those imposed by the laws of nature. [T.O. Morrow, 1990]

ASSEMBLER: A molecular machine that can be programmed to build virtually any molecular structure or device from simpler chemical building blocks. Analogous to a computer-driven machine shop. [K. Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation, 1986]

APOTHEOSIS: The true Utopia, the best-of-all-possible-worlds – not just freedom from pain and stress or a sterile round of endless physical pleasures, but the prospect of endless growth for every human being – growth in consciousness, mind, in intelligence, in strength of personality; life without bound, without end; experiencing everything we’ve dreamed of experiencing, becoming everything we’ve ever dreamed of being; not for a billion years, or ten-to-the-billionth years, but forever… or perhaps embarking together on some still greater adventure of which we cannot even conceive. In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature.

AUTOEVOLUTION: Evolution directed by intelligent beings instead of natural selection

AUTOPOIESIS: is a process whereby a system produces its own organization and maintains and constitutes itself in a space. E.g., a biological cell, a living organism and to some extend a corporation and a society as a whole.

AUTOPOTENT: A system having complete power and knowledge over itself. [Nicholas Boström 1996, Predictions from Philosophy?]

BASEMENT UNIVERSE: An artificially created universe linked to the old universe by a wormhole. This could then be used for living space, computing or as an escape from a decaying universe. “Baby Universes” have been postulated by some theories about black holes and inflation cosmology.

BELL’S THEOREM: John S. Bell’s proof (1964) that any objective theory must include non-local effects: effects outside the light cone (faster than light) Thus if we reject nonlocality with its suggestion of “telepathy”, we seem driven to nonobjectivity, which suggests psychokinesis or the merging of of physics and parapsychology into paraphysics. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

BEKENSTEIN BOUND: The Bekenstein Bound is an upper bound of the amount of information inside a spherical region with a given energy. Information in this context is to be understood as distinguishable (quantum) states. Due to the uncertainty relations it is possible to derive a bound of the form

I <= (2 Pi E R)/(hbar c ln2)

where I is the information, E is the energy, R is the radius, hbar Plank’s constant, c the speed of light. It can also be written as

I <= k M R

Where M the mass in the region and k a constant having the value ~2.57686*1043/ bits/(m kg). This bound was derived by J.D. Bekenstein in another but equivalent form, relating the entropy of black holes to their area (S = A/(4 hbar G), where A is the area of the event horizon). The Beckenstein Bound makes it possible for beings to exist that are at least 10^65 times more intelligent than human beings.

BIOSTASIS: Broader than “cryonic suspension”; suspension of all biological activity, by infusing the patient with cryoprotective chemicals and freezing or vitrifying (cryonic suspension), or by chemically bonding cellular components in place. [K. Eric Drexler, 1986]

BORGANISM: 1) An organization of formerly autonomous beings who have merged their individual wills to create one, collectively conscious being; 2) The social and political theory that advocates the creation of borganisms.

BREAKEVEN POINT: As medicine and life extension advances, the life expectancy of the population increases somewhat each year, and this process may accelerate given new technologies or new knowledge. The longer you live, the more medical advances will occur during your lifetime which extend your life expectancy. During this extra time more medical advances can occur, and so on. If the increase of life expectancy becomes larger than one year longer life/year lived the breakeven point is reached (after the fusion physics term for the point where more energy is produced than is used to drive the reactor) and individuals have a finite chance of living indefinitely. Quite naturally the breakeven point presupposes that medical advances never run into any firm barriers, and that they can be developed fast enough, which is of course very speculative. [Anders Sandberg 1997]

BREMERMANN’S LIMIT: Named after Hans-Joachim Bremermann, is the maximum computational speed of a self-contained system in the material universe. It is derived from Einstein’s mass-energy equivalency and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and is approximately 2 × 1047 bits per second per gram. For example, a computer the size of the entire Earth, operating at the Bremermann’s limit could perform approximately 1075 operations per second, and super-dense object like a quark star could perform 1085 operations per second.

CALORIE RESTRICTION: A reduction in caloric-intake for the purposes of slowing one’s rate of aging as well as preventing disease or the morbidity/mortality associated with disease. So far this is the most promising (if somewhat cumbersome) life extension method; animal experiments have shown definite positive results with a low-calorie diet.

CHRONONAUTS:: those who travel through time, either by biostasis or through possible loopholes in physical laws as currently understood.

COMPUTRONIUM: Matter supporting computation, especially artificial substances suitable for high efficiency computation. [Eugene Leitl].

CONCENTRATED INTELLIGENCE: An intelligent entity (esp. a Jupiter-Brain) which is spatially concentrated into a single volume, as dense as possible, to reduce communications lag. This arrangement is not as flexible as a distributed intelligence, but probably more efficient.

CONSENSUS REALITY: The arbitrary socially accepted ontology of what is believed to be real, accepted by the majority of individuals in a given place or at a given time.

COPENHAGEN INTERPRETATION: The theory formulated by Niels Bohr, according to which the state vector (see below) should be regarded as a mathematical formalism. In other words–which some physicists will dispute– the equations of quantum mechanics do not describe what is happening in the subatomic world but what mathematical systems we need to create to think of that world. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

COSMIC GLUE: A metaphor to describe the quantum interconnectedness that must exist if Bell’s Theorem be valid. Coined by Dr. Nick Herbert. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

COSMIC HEDONISM: From this perspective the goal for the post-singularity universe should be to maximize the total amount of happiness in the cosmos. Of course, the definition of “happiness” poses a serious problem, but if one agrees that Cosmic Hedonism is the right approach, one can impose the understanding of happiness as part of the goal for the post-Singularity period. The goal becomes to understand what happiness is, and then maximize it. However, even if one had a crisp and final definition of happiness, there would be a problem with Cosmic Hedonism – a problem that I’ve come to informally refer to as the problem of the “universal orgasm.” The question is whether we really want a universe that consists of a single massive wave of universal orgasmic joy. Perhaps we do all want this, in a sense – but what if this means that mind, intelligence, life, humanity and everything else we know becomes utterly nonexistent? The ethical maxim that I call the Principle of Joyous Growth attempts to circumvent this problem, by adding an additional criterion:

Maximize happiness but also maximize growth.

A very general interpretation of growth is increase in the amount and complexity of patterns in the universe. The Principle of Joyous Growth rules out the universal orgasm outcome unless it involves a continually increasing amount of pattern in the universe. [Ben Goertzel]

CRYPTOCOSMOLOGY: The study of possible reasons we haven’t found any evidence for other intelligent life in the universe (the Fermi paradox), especially looking at reasons why advanced intelligence would blend in with their environment. An adoption of the word cryptozoology, the search for unknown or imaginary animals. See Ontological Trancendence.

DEEP ANARCHY: The view that “the State” has no real existence; states can be abolished only by changing beliefs and behavior. [Max More, 1989]

DEGENERATE MATTER: is matter that has such extraordinarily high density that the dominant contribution to its pressure is attributable to the Pauli exclusion principle.

DISASTERBATION: Idly fantasizing about possible catastrophes (ecological collapse, full-blown totalitarianism) without considering their likelihood or considering their possible solutions and preventions. [David Krieger, 1993]

DISTRIBUTED INTELLIGENCE: An intelligent entity which is distributed over a large volume (or inside another system, like a computer network) with no distinct center. This is the opposite to the strategy of Concentrated intelligences. Distributed intelligences have much longer communications lags, but are more flexible in their structure and can survive damage to their parts.

DIVERGENT TRACK HYPOTHESIS: Cultures tend to converge towards a few attractor states (for example borganisms), while the attractor states diverge from each other. A rival to the strong convergence hypothesis [Nicholas Boström 1996, Predictions from Philosophy?]

DIVIDUALS: A copy of a personality surviving in more than one body. Example: “Keith Henson wishes to become a collection of such dividuals so that he-plural can explore the galaxy in parallel.” (See the Far Edge Party) [Mark Plus, 1992]

DMT: Dimetyltryptamine– an extremely powerful, short-acting hallucinogenic molecule found in the South American shamanic brew Ayahuasca.

DYSON SCENARIO: Life expands into the universe, which is open. As the universe cools, life stores energy to survive (do information processing). It waits until the universe is cool enough, performs some processing with part of its energy stores, then waits until the universe has cooled so much that the remaining energy can be used to do an equal amount of computation, and so on. [Omega Point Theory List]

DYSON SPHERE: A shell built around a star to collect as much energy as possible, originally proposed by Freeman Dyson (although he admits to have borrowed the concept from Olaf Stapledon’s novel Star Maker (1937)). In the original proposal the shell consists of many independent solar collectors and habitats in separate orbits (also known as a Type I Dyson Sphere), but later people have discussed rigid shells consisting of only one piece (called a Type II Dyson Sphere). The latter construction is unfortunately both unstable (since it will experience no net attraction of the star), requires super-strong materials and have no internal gravity. The Dyson Sphere is a classic example of megascale engineering and common in Science Fiction. See also The Dyson Sphere FAQ.

ECCO: John Lilly’s acronym for the Earth Coincidence Control Office. A hypothetical hierarchy of entities who manage “synchronicities” in a fashion intended to accelerate the motion of human beings along their psyche-spiritual evolutionary pathways.  For more details, see E.C.C.O.

EIGENSTATE: One of a finite number of states that a quantum system can be in. The Superposition Principle says that, before measurement, a system must be considered to be in all of its eigenstates; measurement selects one eigenstate. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

EIGHT CIRCUIT MODEL: Timothy Leary’s synthesis of modern psychology, esoteric concepts of altered states of consciousness, and the 20th-c. scientific outlook in general. The “circuits” referred to are channels for the “reception, integration and transmission” of information within the nervous system. In brief they are: C-I Biosurvival; C- II Emotional/Territorial; C-III Semantic; C-IV Socio-Sexual (the “terrestrial” or “mechanical” circuits); C-V “Neurosomatic”; C-VI “Neuroelectric”; C-VII “Neurogenetic”; C-VIII “Neuroatomic”, “Metaphysiological” (the “cyber/quantum” or “post-terrestrial” circuits). The most complete discussion of what these different circuits “do”, how they relate to evolutionary theory etc, is in Leary’s Exo-Psychology. For details see Leary’s Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness.


EINSTEIN-ROSEN-PODOLSKY EFFECT: The quantum interconnectedness as described in a paper by Einstein, Rosen, and Podolsky. The purpose of said paper was to prove that quantum mechanics cannot be valid, since it leads to such an outlandish conclusion. Since Bell’s Theorem, some physicist have chosen to accept the interconnectedness, however outlandish it may seem. See QUIP. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAUVINISM: Attempting to detect extraterrestrial intelligence through their communications in the electromagnetic spectrum, without considering that such extraterrestrials might be using a more advanced medium. [Jack Sarfatti. Reference: Illuminati Papers, 1980, Robert Anton Wilson]

EMULATION: An absolutely precise simulation of something, so exact that it is equivalent to the original (for example, many computers emulate obsolete computers to run their programs).

ENTACTOGEN: Any chemical agent that induces feelings of empathy and connectedness in the user. Ex: MDMA, MDA, MDEA and MBDB. [David E. Nichols, 1986]

THE ETERNAL LIFE POSTULATE: The assumption that life, once it arises in the universe, lasts forever (primarily made by Frank J. Tipler in his Omega Point Theory).

EVERETT-WHEELER-GRAHAM MODEL: An alternative to Bell’s Theorem and the Copenhagen Interpretation, Which states that everything that can happen to the state vector (see below) does happen to it.  [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

EXOSELF: Systems linked to the self in a cooperative way, extending the mind and the body. Especially used about the systems supporting an uploaded personality, providing information, virtual reality and monitoring. [Greg Egan, Permutation City]

EXTROPIAN: One who affirms the values and attitudes codified and expressed in the Extropian Principles. See also the Extropy Institute website.

EXTROPY: A measure of intelligence, information, energy, life, experience, diversity, opportunity, and growth. The collection of forces which oppose entropy. (see the Extropy Home Page) [T.O. Morrow, 1988]

FAR EDGE PARTY: One of the main problems of exploring the stellar systems of the galaxy even for very advanced civilizations is that a serial journey even at the speed of light would take so long time that most of the stars would have died during the journey. One solution is to parallelize the problem: the explorer travels to a new system, creates a number of copies (xoxes) of himself and sends them to other systems, while he remains behind exploring the system (this is a variant of exploring the galaxy using von Neumann machines). After around 10 million years, when all of the galaxy has been explored, the explorers gather together at a prearranged place, and exchange or merge their memories (“The Far Edge Party”). This was proposed by Keith Henson as a possible method for a single individual to visit all of the galaxy within a reasonable time.

FEMTOTECHNOLOGY: Technology using objects on the femto-scale (10-15 meters, or a million times smaller than the nanometer scale of nanotechnology). This would involve nucleons and other elementary particles doing useful work, involving quantum effects. An advanced form of femtotechnology might involve the use of ultra-dense degenerate matter in neutron or quark stars for computation. At this time femtotechnology has no feasibility proofs and remains pure speculation.

FERMI PARADOX: “If there are other intelligent beings in the Universe, why aren’t they here?“. Since it appears to be quite possible for a technological species to spread across the galaxy in less than 10 million years (using von Neumann machines) or otherwise change things on such a large scale that it would be very visible (see Kardaschev types), the lack of such evidence is puzzling or implies that other technological civilizations doesn’t exist. There have been many attempts to explain this, for example the “Wildlife Preserve” idea (the aliens doesn’t want to interfere with younger civilizations), that they transcend and become incomprehensible, that they hide or that they are actually here, hidden on the nanoscale, but the problem with these attempts is that most of them just explain why some aliens would not be apparent. [E. Fermi]

FLUIDENTITY: pun on fluid identity and/or fluid entity. A state in which traditional boundaries of identity are completely in flux while immersed in a superliquid economy, cyberspace anarchy and/or distributed Super-Intelligence matrix (see functional soup). [Paul Hughes, May 1998]

FORM: In the sense of G. Spencer Brown, a mathematical or logical system necessary to systematic thought but having the inevitable consequences of imposing its own deep structures upon the experiences packed and indexed by the form. See Copenhagen Interpretation [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

FUNCTIONAL SOUP: A possible posthuman state where knowledge, mental modules and access to physical bodies can be shared between distributed infomorphs largely independent of the physical substrate of their world. Terms such as individuality become diffuse, and are replaced with teleological threads. [Alexander Chislenko, Technology as extension of human functional architecture]

GAIA HYPOTHESIS: is a class of scientific models of the biosphere in which life fosters and maintains suitable conditions for itself by affecting Earth’s environment. The first such theory was created by the English atmospheric scientist James Lovelock in 1969. He hypothesized that the living matter of the planet functioned like a single organism (or mind) and named this self-regulating living system after the Greek goddess Gaia.

GÖDEL’S THEOREM: (Gödel’s incompleteness theorem) Any proposed axiom set for arithmetic is either consistent (no contradictions can be derived) or complete (it will say yes or no to every arithmetic proposition). In other words, any axiom set strong enough to include arithmetic which is complete will be inconsistent (it will say yes and no to at least one question).

GOD GAMES: Activities worthy of post-humans who are free to create their own realities, one on one with the universe determining their own unique evolutionary trajectory. [Neil Freer, God Games, What Do You Do Forever]

GOD SPOT: A tiny locus of nerve cells in the frontal lobe of the brain that appears to be activated during religious experiences. Neuroscientists from the University of California discovered the God spot while studying epileptic patients who have had intense mystical experiences during seizures.

GREAT FILTER, THE:The Great Filter refers to the hypothetical mechanism(s) or principle(s) by which the great number of potentially life-bearing planets get filtered out before they have produced intelligent life forms that expand into cosmos. See also the Fermi paradox.

HEDONIC ENGINEERING: The art and science of re-imrpinting one’s own nervous system for more ecstatic or intelligent functioning. Serial re-incarnation in one body. See The Hedonistic Imperative. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

HIDDEN VARIABLE: An alternative to Bell, Copenhagen, and Everett-Wheeler-Graham. As developed by Dr. David Bohm, the Hidden Variable theory assumes that quantum events are determined by a subquantum system acting outside or before the universe of space-time known to us. Dr. Evan Harris Walker and Dr. Nick Herbert have suggested that the hidden variable is consciousness; Dr. Jack Sarfatti suggest that it is information. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

HPLD: Highest Possible Level of Development, as opposed to the Sans Ceiling Hypothesis. This is a concept (and abbreviation) from a Stanslaw Lem story. The idea is that there is an end-state of technological evolution, when it is possible to carry out everything consistent with physical law, and that this end-state is essentially unique. Because of the uniqueness of this state, it is possible to theorize usefully about it, while the paths between here and there are shrouded by mind-boggling complexity (AKA the Singularity). [definition by Carl Feynman. The original story is “Altruizine, or A True Account of How Bonhomius the Hermetic Hermit Tried to Bring About Universal Happiness, and What Came of It”, in The Cyberiad]

HYPNOGOGIC: The twilight state of awareness, characterized by vivid dream-like imagery, that occurs as one is falling asleep.

IMPRINTS: Electrochemically bonded neural circuits defining and limiting the capacity to receive, decode, and transmit information. According to Timothy Leary, there are at least eight imprint circuits in humans, of which only four are used by most people. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

INFOMORPH: An uploaded intelligence, or information entity, which resides in a computer. See Charles Platt, The Silicon Man, p.109. [1991]

INFORMATION: A measure of the unpredictability of a message; that is, the more unpredictable a message is, the more information it contains. Since systems tend to disorder (according to the second law of thermodynamics), we can think of the degree of order in a system as the amount of information in it. Ordinarily information is transmitted as an ordering of energy (a signal), in which the energy and its ordering (the message) is transmitted from one place to another. Dr. Sarfatti has suggested that the nonlocality of the ERP effect and Bell’s Theorem may entail the instantaneous transfer of order from one place to another without any energy transfer. Thus we can have both Bell’s Theorem and Special Relativity, since Special Relativity only prohibits the instantaneous transfer of energy and does not say anything about instantaneous transfer of information. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

JUPITER-BRAIN: A posthuman being of extremely high computational power and size. This is the archetypal concentrated intelligence. The term originated due to an idea by Keith Henson that nanomachines could be used to turn the mass of Jupiter into computers running an upgraded version of himself.  See Matrioshka Brains.

KARDASCHEV TYPES: A classification of possible civilizations after energy usage. Type I civilizations control all available energy on a single planet. Type II civilizations control all available energy in a solar system (for example, using Dyson spheres). Type III civilizations control use all available energy in an entire galaxy. (Mitch Porter suggested that a Type IV civilization controls all available energy in the entire universe) We are currently moving towards a Type I civilization. [Nikolai Kardaschev, 1964]. See Exotic Civilizations.

KETAMINE: “Vitamin K” or “Special K”. A dissociative anesthetic agent with profound psychedelic properties, first pioneered by John Lilly.

LAW OF ACCELERATING RETURNS: As order exponentially increases, time exponentially speeds up (i.e. the time interval between salient events grows shorter as time passes.) [Raymond Kurzweil, 1999, Age of Spiritual Machines]

LINDE SCENARIO: A scenario for indefinite survival of intelligent life. It assumes it is possible to either create basement universes connected to the original universe with a wormhole or the existence of other cosmological domains. Intelligent life continually migrates to the new domains as the old grow too entropic to sustain life. [Mitch Porter, 1997. The name refers to Linde’s chaotic inflation cosmology, where new universes are continually spawned.]

LUCID DREAM::Lucid dreaming means that you are aware that you are dreaming. While lucid you can do a anything your imagination desires, such as talk to a relative/friend that has passed away, live your wildest fantasies or just fly to the heavens and marvel in the beauty of the environments you create.

MEGASCALE ENGINEERING: Technology using energies, scales or methods far beyond the current levels (but still bound by physical law). Typical examples are terraformingDyson spheres, and stellar husbandry.

METAPROGRAMMING: The ability to reprogram your own self-limiting neurological programming. Consciously changing one’s “models”, “maps”, and “beliefs” of the world; changing “reality-tunnels”. [John Lilly, 1968, Programming & Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer]

METASTABILITY: a long lived but not truly indefinite stability. The metastability persists in its existing equilibrium when undisturbed (or only slightly disturbed) but able to pass to a more stable equilibrium when sufficiently disturbed.

MODEL AGNOSTICISM: The view that philosophical and metaphysical questions are not ultimately verifiable, but that a model of malleable assumption should be built upon rational thought. An “as if” true, rather than “is” true. According to this viewpoint, we should never believe in our models or maps of Universe the way most people believe in their religion or ideology. Created mostly by Niels Bohr. A similar model agnosticism appears in the general semantics of Korzybski and the ethno-methodology of Garfinkle. [Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger, 1977]

MONISTIC IDEALISM: The view that consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all being. It is monist because it holds that there is only one type of thing in the universe and idealist because it holds that one thing to be consciousness.

MORPHIC FIELD: A field within and around a self-organizing system that organizes its characteristic structure and pattern of activity. According to the hypothesis of formative causation, morphic fields contain an inherent memory transmitted by previous similar systems by morphic resonance and tend to become increasingly habitual. Morphic fields include morphogenetic, behavioral, social, cultural, and mental fields. The greater the degree of similarity, the greater the influence of morphic resonance. In general, systems most closely resemble themselves in the past and are subject to self-resonance from their own past states.[Rupert Sheldrake]

MORPHIC RESONANCE: The influence of previous structures on subsequent similar structures of activity organized by morphic fields. According to the hypothesis of formative causation, morphic resonance involves the transmission of formative influences through or across time and space without a decrease due to distance or lapse of time.

MORPHOGENETIC FIELDS: Fields that play a causal role in morphogenesis. This term, first proposed in the 1920s, is now widely used by developmental biologists. According to the hypothesis of formative causation, these fields contain an inherent memory, transmitted from similar past organisms by the process of morphic resonance.

MORPHOLOGICAL FREEDOM: The ability to alter bodily form at will through technologies such as surgery, genetic engineering, nanotechnologyuploading. [Max More, April 1992]

(MOLECULAR) NANOTECHNOLOGY: The technology of precisely- constructed molecular-scale machines; from nanometer: a billionth of a meter. For a good introduction, see What is Nanotechnology? or Ralph C. Merkle’s nanotechnology page, or [K. Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation, 1986]

NEOPHILIA: (From the Jargon File, with a slight hacker bias): The trait of being excited and pleased by novelty. Common among most hackers, SF fans, and members of several other connected leading-edge subcultures, including the pro-technology `Whole Earth’ wing of the ecology movement, space activists, many members of Mensa, and the Discordian/neo-pagan underground. All these groups overlap heavily and (where evidence is available) seem to share characteristic hacker tropisms for science fiction, music, and oriental food. The opposite tendency is `neophobia’.

NEURO-: A prefix denoting “known or mediated by the nervous system .” Since all human knowledge is neurological in this sense, every science may be considered a neuro-science; e.g., we have no physics but neurophysics, no psychology but neuropsychology and ultimately, no neurology but neuroneurology. But neuroneurology would itself be known by the nervous system, leading to neuroneuroneurology etc., in an infinite regress. See Von Neumann’s Catastrophe [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

NEUROLOGIC: The logic of the nervous system; how the imprint circuits process information. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

NEURONAUT: A person who explores their own neural functioning and internal mentational processes by various means, including deep introspection and meditation, metaprogramming, psychoactive drugs, mind machines, and neuroscientific understanding.

NEUTRON STAR: is a type of stellar remnant that can result from the gravitational collapse of a massive star during a supernova event. Such stars are composed almost entirely of densely packed neutrons (because they are missing their electron shells). Neutron stars are very hot and are supported against further collapse by quantum degeneracy pressure due to the Pauli exclusion principle. Neutron star density is around 5×1017 kg/m3. This density is equivalent to the Earth being squeezed into a ball less than 250 meters in diameter.

NONLOCAL: Not depending upon space and time. A nonlocal effect occurs instantaneously and with no attenuation due to distance. Special Relativity seems to forbid all such non-local effects, but Bell’s Theorem seems to show that quantum mechanics demands them. The only solution thus far offered to this contradiction are that nonlocal effects involve “consciousness” rather than energy (Walker, Herbert) or that they involve “information” rather than energy (Sarfatti). [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

NONOBJECTIVITY: One of the two alternatives to Bell’s Theorem (the other being Everett-Wheeler-Graham Model). In order to avoid non locality, some physicists such as Dr. Wheeler prefer this option, which holds that the universe has no reality aside from observation. The extreme form of this view says “Esse est percepi”—to be is to be perceived. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

NOOTROPIC: A cognition-enhancing, or “smart” drug that has no significant side-effects. [C. Giurgea]

OBE: OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE: Also called astral projection; a fully conscious experience in which a person’s consciousness seems to travel outside of the physical body.

OMEGA POINT: A possible future state when intelligence controls the Universe totally, and the amount of information processed and stored goes asymptotically towards infinity. [Origin: Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man. See also Barrow and Tipler, The Cosmological Anthropic Principle or Tipler’s The Physics of Immortality for a more modern definition.]

O’NEILL COLONY: A rotating space colony, especially large ones with internal ecosystems, such as O’Neill cylinders or Bernal spheres. [Named after Gerard K. O’Neill]

O’NEILL CYLINDERS: A pair of cylindrical space colonies that rotate around their respective axis to produce simulated gravity (one rotates clockwise and the other counterclockwise to minimize torques). See O’Neill cylinders in Island Onefor discussion and some good pictures. [Named after Gerard O’Neill who described them.]

ONTOLOGICAL CHAUVINISM: The arrogance by any intelligence at a certain level, believing their understanding of the universe is sufficiently accurate, that anything outside of that understanding cannot exist. Related: /library/glossary#ELECTROMAGNETIC_CHAUVINISM”>Electromagnetic Chauvinism”. See also Ontological Transcendence [Paul Hughes, 1998]

ONTOLOGICAL CONSERVATIVES: “Basement reality dwellers”, people who regard physical reality as fundamentally important and simulated/emulated realities as bad, due to fear of the unknown elements or the effects of such simulated realities. They regard solid state civilizations as a bad idea. [Natasha Vita More, November 1997]

ONTOLOGICAL TRANSCENDENCE: Transcending to a higher ontological domain by a sufficiently advanced intelligence, rendering them both invisible and incomprehensible to any intelligence still in the previous domain. Human civilization is incomprehensible to insects for example. Possible Explanation to Fermi’s Paradox. Related: Ontological Chauvinism. See also Exotic Civilizations. [Paul Hughes, 1998]

ORGASMATRON: A conceptual device or ‘pod’ where the user can go to immerse themselves in various pleasureful and orgasmic states. See pleasure dome [Sleeper, 1973]

QUIP: Quantum Inseparability Principle That through quantum entanglement, there is no way to separate the observer and the thing being observed. And that once entangled, always entangled, implying that every single point in space-time is instantaneously connected to every other point. [Nick Herbet, 1975]

PANPSYCHISM: Is the belief that mind, or consciousness, is omnipresent throughout the universe and is a fundamental aspect of the universe. Examples of panpsychic beliefs are that atoms have “atom consciousness”, rocks have “rock consciousness”, trees have “tree consciousness”, planets have “planet consciousness” (see Gaia Hypothesis), and the universe has “universe consciousness”, and so on. Panpsychism is sometimes called panexperientialism or panprotopsychism in contemporary Philosophy of mind.

P.A.Z.: Permanent Autonomous Zone. As far as I know there are no PAZ’s on the planet yet, and will probably require the end of hierarchical power structures or the formation of distant space colonies before they become a reality. See T.A.Z. [Hakim Bey]

PLANCK-WHEELER LENGTH: The length at which quantum uncertainty in the structure of space-time causes classical General Relativity to cease to apply, equal to about 10-35 meters, which is twenty orders of magnitude smaller than the size of atomic nuclei.

PLEASURE DOME: A conceptual hedonistic ‘dome’ or ambient environment in which the user has complete control over the Entirety of their sensory experience. See orgasmatron, Pleasure Domes Decree.

PLEASURE TOLERANCE: Pleasure tolerance means being able to accept life as pleasurable only up to some limit. If life becomes pleasurable beyond that limit, subconscious mechanisms are activated that bring the level of pleasure back down to the acceptable level. The goal of any genuine personal growth methodology is to increase this level of tolerance to the highest possible levels. [Jim Leonard, Pleasure Tolerance]

PLEXURE: “The ability to see knowledge as through different lenses, that is, through different epistemological systems, to enter and hold different worldviews.” [David Zindell, The Broken God]

POSTHUMAN: Persons of unprecedented physical, intellectual, and psychological capacity, self-programming, self-constituting, potentially immortal, unlimited individuals. See also the Extropian FAQ for their definition of Posthuman. [Term: FM-2030 Def.: Max More]

POTENTIA: The name given to the presumed subquantum world by Dr.Heisenberg. Space and time do not exist in potentia; but all the phenomena of the space time manifold emerge from potentia. See hidden variable and information. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

PREON: postulated “point-like” particles, conceived to be subcomponents of quarks and leptons.

PREON STAR: is a proposed type of compact star made of preons. Preon stars would be expected to have huge densities, exceeding 1023 kilogram per cubic meter. This is equivalent to the entire mass of the Earth being compacted into a ball less than 2 meters radius. They may have greater densities than quark stars and neutron stars although they are smaller and lighter than white dwarfs and neutron stars.

QUALIA: the substance of conscious experience. “Qualia” is the technical term that describes the redness of red, the mysterious, indescribable, apparently irreducible quality of redness that exists above and beyond a particular frequency of light.

QUANTUM: An entity whose energies occur in discrete lumps–e.g., photons are the quanta of the electromagnetic field. Quanta have both wave and particle aspects, the wave aspect being the probability of detecting the particle at a certain place and time. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

QUANTUM COMPUTING: A method of computing, based on quantum physics, that uses the ability of particles such as electrons to exist in more than one state at the same time. See Qubit.

QUANTUM LOGIC: A system of symbolic logic not restricted to the “either it’s A or it’s not-A” choices of Aristotelian logic. Chiefly due to Dr.Von Neumann and Dr. Finkelstein, this approach evades the paradoxes of other interpretations of quantum mechanics by assuming that the universe is multivalued, not two-valued; Dr. Finkelstein expresses this by saying “In addition to a yes and a no, the universe contains a maybe.” See eigenstate [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

QUANTUM MECHANICS: The mathematical system for describing the atomic and subatomic realm. There is no dispute about how to do quantum mechanics–1.e., calculate the probabilities within this realm. All the controversy is about what the quantum mechanics equations imply about reality, which is known as the interpretation of quantum mechanics. The principal lines of interpretation are the Copenhagen Interpretation and/or Nonobjectivity and/or Bell’s Theorem and/or Nonlocality and/or the Everett-Wheeler-Graham multi worlds model. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

QUARK: is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei.

QUARK MATTER: Also known as Quark-Gluon Plasma,  QCD matter, or simply Quark Soup, is the highest known energy phase of matter (beyond plasma) where quarks and gluons are the basic degrees of freedom. This phase does not appear until temperatures exceed several trillion degrees Kelvin.

QUARK NOVA: A quark-nova is a hypothetical type of supernova that could occur if a neutron star spontaneously collapsed to become a quark star. When a neutron star spins down, it could convert to a quark star through a process known as quark confinement. The resultant star would have quark matter in its interior. The process would release immense amounts of energy, perhaps explaining the most energetic explosions in the universe; rough calculations have estimated that as much as 1047 J could be released from the phase transition inside a neutron star. Neutron star collisions, quark- novae and hyper-novae (which release up to 1048J) are the only known causes of gamma ray bursts, the most powerful energy explosions in the universe.

QUARK STAR: Denser than a neutron star, quark stars (or strange stars) are hypothetical types of exotic stars composed of quark matter, or strange matter. These are ultra-dense phases of degenerate matter theorized to form inside particularly massive neutron stars. Theoretically, computers running on the super-dense quark matter inside quark stars could perform an astonishing 1085 operations per second.

QUBIT: A “quantum bit”, used in quantum computing, that is both zero and one simultaneously, until quantum decoherence (direct or indirect by a conscious observer) causes each each quantum bit to disambiguate into a state of either zero or one. One qubit stores two possible numbers (zero and one) at the same time. N qubits stores 2N possible numbers at the same time. Thus an N qubit computer would try 2N possible solutions to a problem simultaneously, which gives the quantum computer its enormous potential power.

SAMADHI LEVELS: States of higher consciousness, each level providing greater degrees of bliss, perspectives, realites and nuances of being; both while in the body on our planetside trip and outside of space, time and body altogether. See Samadhi Levels [John Lilly, 1971]

SANS CEILING HYPOTHESIS: There are no upper limits to what sufficiently advanced intelligent life can do (as opposed to the view that there are fundamental limits set by physical law). See Arch-anarchy. [Paul Hughes, May 1998]

SENTIENCE QUOTIENT: In the article Xenopsychology by Robert Freitas in Analog of April 1984 there is an interesting index called “Sentience quotient”. It is based on: The sentience of an intelligence is roughly directly related to the amount of data it can process per unit time and inversely to the overall mass needed to do that processing. This would be something like baud/kilograms. And since that would rapidly turn into a real big number, base 10 logs are used. The “least sentient” would be one bit over the lifetime of the universe massing the entire known universe, or about -70. The “most sentient” is claimed to be +50. Homo sapiens are around +13, a Cray I is +9, a venus flytrap is a peak of +1 with plants generally -2.

SINGULARITARIAN: One who advocates the idea that technological progress will cause a singularity in human history. (cf. Singularity in Extropy #7.) [Mark Plus, August 1991]

SINGULARITY: The postulated point or short period in our future when our self-guided evolutionary development accelerates enormously (powered by nanotechnology, neuroscience, AI, and perhaps uploading) so that nothing beyond that time can reliably be conceived. …a future time when societal, scientific and economic change is so fast we cannot even imagine what will happen from our present perspective, and when humanity will become posthumanity. Another definition is the singular time when technological development will be at its fastest. A grand evolutionary leap. [Vernor Vinge, 1986]

S.M.I².L.E: Space Migration, Intelligence Increase, Life Extension [Timothy Leary, 1974]

SOLID STATE CIVILIZATION: A posthuman or alien civilization where most people have no physical bodies and exist as information inside computers.

STAR LIFTING: To remove material from a star for industrial use or for stellar husbandry. Possible methods would involve increasing its rotation until material began to drift off the equator or squeezing it using intense magnetic fields from particle accelerators. [Dave Criswell]

STATE VECTOR: the mathematical expression describing one or two states that a quantum system can be in: for instance, an electron can be in either of two spin states, called “spin up” and “spin down.” The amusing thing about quantum mechanics is that each state vector can be regarded as the superposition of other state vectors. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

STELLAR HUSBANDRY: To control the evolution and properties of stars, especially to stabilize them, prolong their lifetimes (from billions to trillions of years), manipulate the stellar wind, lift off useful material or create new stars. Typical methods would be star lifting or mixing the stellar core with envelope material to make hydrogen burning last longer. [Dave Criswell]

STRONG CONVERGENCE HYPOTHESIS: All sufficiently advanced cultures converge towards the same state. A rival hypothesis is the divergent track hypothesis. See also HPLD. [Nicholas Boström 1996, Predictions from Philosophy?]

STRONG AI POSTULATE: The assumption that an intelligent machine can be built, at least in principle. Some versions of the postulate are more narrow, and say that intelligence is computable on Turing machines (i.e. the mind is a program). This essentially means that intelligence is only dependent on pattern, not its material basis.

SUPERDETERMINISM: An interpretation of quantum theory (as opposed to super free will) that rejects “contrafactual definiteness”; that is, it assumes any statements about what could have happened are meaningless. A consequence of this view is that all distinction between observer and observed, or self and universe, also becomes meaningless; I had no choice about writing this book, Dell Books had no choice about publishing it, and you had no choice about reading it, since there is only one thing happening and we are all seamlessly welded into it.  [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

SUPER FREE WILL: An approach to quantum theory where the self-recursive nature of the conscious observer yields free-will as the ultimate operator in the universe. See monistic idealism. [Paul Hughes, 2004]. For an in-depth explanation see Super Free Will: Metaprogramming and the Quantum Observer.

SYNAESTHESIA: a condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.

SYNCHRONICITY: A term introduced by psychologist Dr. Jung and physicist Dr. Pauli to describe connections, or meaningful “coincidences,” that do not make sense in terms of cause-and-effect. It is thought by some that such connections may indicate the Hidden Variable at work or some sort of nonlocal Information System. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

T.A.Z.: Temporary Autonomous Zone. Ex: Burning Man. See P.A.Z. [Hakim Bey]

TELEOLOGICAL THREAD: A sequence of goals following each other. Refers to the possibility of strong morphological freedom, where individuals can change all their properties and their configuration; only the general goals may stay the same, and they may drift forming a teleological thread. [Alexander Chislenko, Technology as extension of human functional architecture]

TERRAFORM: To change the properties of a planet to make it more earthlike, making it possible for humans or other terrestrial organisms to live unaided on it, for example by changing atmospheric composition, pressure, temperature or the climate and introducing a sel f-sustaining ecosystem. This will most probably be a very long-term project, probably requiring self-replicating technology and megascale engineering. So far Venus and especially Mars looks as the most promising candidates for terraforming in the solar system. See also the Terraforming and Ecopoesis page and topical words: terraforming. [Jack Williamson 1938]

TIPLER SCENARIO: Life expands to fill the universe, which is closed. As it begins to contract, life uses its shear energy to survive and manipulate its evolution. As the universe collapses, the speed of information processing increases without bound and life evolves into an Omega Point.

TRANSCEND: v. To become vastly superhuman and incomprehensible for unaugmented beings. [Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep]

TRANSHUMAN: Someone actively preparing for becoming posthuman. Someone who is informed enough to see radical future possibilities and plans ahead for them, and who takes every current option for self-enhancement. [Term: FM-2030 Def.: Max More]

TRANSHUMANISM: Philosophies of life (such as Extropianism) that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting values. [Max More 1990]

UNIVERSAL ASSEMBLER: Uses raw atoms and molecules to construct consumer goods, and is pollution free. Can be programmed to build anything that is composed of atoms and consistent with the rules of chemical stability. Eric Drexler talks about these assemblers as nanorobots with telescoping manipulator arms that are capable of picking up individual atoms, and combining them however they are programmed.

UNIVERSAL CONSTRUCTOR: A machine capable of constructing anything that can be constructed. The physical analog of a “universal computer”, which can perform any computation.

UNIVERSAL IMMORTALISM: The view that the problem of death can be solved in its entirety (including bringing back those “dead” who were not placed into biostasis) through a rational, scientific approach. [R. Michael Perry, 1990]

UPLOAD: (a) To transfer the consciousness and mental structure of a person from a biological matrix to an electronic or informational matrix (this assumes that the strong AI postulate holds). (b) The resulting infomorph person.

VON NEUMANN’S CATASTROPHE:: More fully, Von Neumann’s catastrophe of the infinite regress. A demonstration by Dr.Von Neumann that quantum mechanics entails an infinite regress of measurements before the quantum uncertainty can be removed. That is, any measuring device is itself a quantum system containing uncertainty; a second measuring device, used to monitor the first, contains its own quantum uncertainty; and so on, to infinity. Wigner and others have pointed out that this uncertainty is only terminated by the decision of the experimenter. Compare NEURO-. [Illuminati Papers, 1980]

VON NEUMANN MACHINE: A machine which is able to build a working copy of itself using materials in its environment. This is often proposed as a cheap way to mine or colonize the entire solar system or galaxy. An early fictional treatment was the short story “Autofac” by Philip K. Dick, published in 1955, which actually seems to precede John von Neumann’s original paper about self-reproducing machines.

VON NEUMANN PROBE: A von Neumann Machine able to move over interstellar or interplanetary distances and to utilize local materials to build new copies of itself. Such probes could be used to set up new colonies, perform megascale engineering or explore the universe (see the Far Edge Party).

WARP DRIVE: Originally coined on Star Trek, but now a growing number of physicist say it is theoretically possible to warp space to achieve arbitrary speeds faster than light using exotic matter (Dr. Miguel Alcubierre), minimal energy (Dr. Eric Baird), and zero-point energy (Dr. Hal Puthoff). For more information visit the warp drive section.

WORMHOLE: A postulated topological structure in general relativity, where a space-time “tunnel” links two distant points with a shortcut. Whether they can be physically realized is not known, and they seem to require exotic matter to be stable. If they can exist, and can be built, they could provide a possible way to travel faster than light (in a global sense, since locally the travellers would move slower than light). For more information, see Traversable Wormholes by Michael Clive Price.

XENOPSYCHOLOGY: The study of the possible space of all psychology, of all minds, especially alien psychology and the possibilities thereof. [Xenopsychology, Analog, 1984, Dr. Robert A. Freitas Jr. – see also Xenology]

XOX: (from Xerox) An (atomically) identical copy of a person. A kind of dividual. [Tihamer Toth-Fejel December 1995]

ZERO POINT ENERGY: Quantum physics predicts the existence of an underlying sea of zero-point energy at every point in the universe. This is different from the cosmic microwave background and is also referred to as the electromagnetic quantum vacuum since it is the lowest state of otherwise empty space. This energy which we cannot directly sense since is the same everywhere, even inside our bodies and measuring devices. From this perspective, the ordinary world of matter and energy is like a foam atop the quantum vacuum sea. If the zero-point energy is real, there is the possibility that it can be tapped as a tremendous source of power or be harnessed to generate a propulsive force for space travel. Quantum theory predicts the minimum density of this energy is 1035 ergs/cubic centimeter of empty space – enough energy to power the earth at it’s present rate of consumption for over one trillion years.

ZOO HYPOTHESIS: States that superintelligent extraterrestrial life exists and does not contact life on Earth to allow for its natural evolution and development. This might explain the apparent absence of extraterrestrial life despite the mounting evidence for its existence (See Fermi Paradox).