An interview with Jonathan Banks for the ROSHI Journal
By Lynne Roberto
I’d like to thank you for agreeing to this E-interview. I think your book is an important work and our ROSHI readers should know more about it!
Can you tell me briefly what your book is about?
This book is about the natural and inevitable redevelopment of science with science to incorporate a rational model for spirituality, mysticism, mind and God. And how in this upgraded and holistic metaphysical scientific worldview of humanity, our civilization will undergo an almost unimaginable transformation. Supported by exotic and powerful new sustainable and bio-friendly sciences and technologies. I believe, this transformation will amount to the emergence of an evolutionary and spiritually new species of human.
The continuation of the current worldview of science and the attitude of it’s true believers is not only unnecessary and counter-productive but also dangerous, as we are on the threshold of exponential acceleration in fields such as nanotechnology, genetics, artificial life and intelligence, quantum computation and quantum technologies that could realize our most utopian dreams or Orwellian nightmares.
You mean, we are evolving so much faster because of our technology? We have made incredible advances in the last 30 years.
Yes and what is crucial to understand is that the advancing science and technology are not only driving change but on a deeper evolutionary level are just expressions of the natural dynamical laws of complex adaptive systems that evolve exponentially and change in discontinuous ways.
These new technologies will give us unprecedented power to re-create ourselves, other life forms, and the environment. However, this is pushing us to face the deep questions so poorly handled by the current scientific worldview. Questions like: “Who and what are we? What is Life? What is the meaning and purpose of the Universe? Is there validity in spirit, God and the life force? Where are we headed? These questions can no longer be dismissed as mere philosophical curiosities but are now necessary for us to survive ourselves.
That’s a good question! Where do you see the field of Neuroscience going?
PET and fMRI are revolutionising our understanding of brain function and its relationship to our experience, as it allows us to observe (in real time) what areas of the brain are activated when we do certain things. Currently researchers are scanning people doing everything from having sex to solving mathematical problems and meditation masters going into trance or switching on and maintaining certain emotional states like joy. With templates based on this scanning (and more advanced forms not yet in use) we can continue to improve the use of electromagnetic based neurotechnology to induce the best medative, hypnotic, creative and learning states. We could have brain templates based on the best meditators, hypnotic subjects and the most talented artists, academics and self actualised individuals.
Another way of looking at it is that neuroscience is giving us the theoretical and applied understanding of the relationship between the limbic system and the pre-frontals, which holds the key to our evolutionary advance and spiritual enlightenment. This advance will enable us to literally disconnect from our animal past and operate from a higher order prefrontal locus of control.
Neuroscience (as well as cognitive science, AI and robotics) is doing on a global scale what every shamanic and mystical system of the past did. They are identifying the computational, robotic and animalistic aspects of our being, which is absolutely necessary for us to identify with the higher human aspects of ourselves and to strengthen those structures and processes, which of course is the mechanics of enlightenment.
There is a new branch of behavioral neuroscience called neurotheology that has come about because of work with magnetic entrainment of the limbic system, which has produced the whole spectrum of psychic, mystical or religious experiences in subjects. Neurotheology has brought psychic experiences, previously shrugged off by mainstream science as hallucination and psychosis back into serious mainstream debate and polarized scientists. Have we evolved mechanisms in the brain to experience this because it is real or is it just a brain based fantasy to deal with the anxiety of death? It is also helping to weed out the brain disordered from the true psychic or clairvoyant experience with its models of normal brain function versus temporal lobe transients, which again was an important quality control in the most rigorous ancient systems.
In the book, you speak of the evolutionary practices of the shamans and mystics to achieve “enlightenment”. How do you feel Neurotechnology will help us achieve something with the same values?
Ancient transhumans from different cultures and times in history independently converged on the conclusion that all people would achieve in the future what they had achieved as a natural consequence of evolution. It would be an evolutionary inevitability. I believe that what once took a lifetime with subjective neurotechnologies, such as those used by shamans and mystics, will in the very near future, be achieved in a relatively short time, by anyone using highly advanced neurotechnologies. These advanced technologies, will represent a convergence of neuro and cognitive sciences, virtual reality and computer science, artificial intelligence, genetics, artificial life, neuro, quantum and nano technologies. What we have in our possession today are the beginnings of these advanced neurotechnologies that have already brought remediation, peak performance and spiritual awakening to many, a trend that will build exponentially. We are at the threshold of the ancient transhuman’s prediction that humanity will evolve towards enlightenment for all.
Transhumanism is a scientific model of the future of humanity that represents a logical extrapolation of mainstream AI, computation, robotics and neuroscience. It states that our next evolutionary advance is to upload our minds into computers, (which destroys our brain and body) and live forever in cyberspace. This ‘uploading’ process would turn us into ‘transhumans,’ something beyond human and is seen as the materialist version of enlightenment (which I don’t believe in and offer an alternate approach). I call yogis and shamans ‘ancient transhumans’ as I believe that many of the most gifted were the first transhumans as they mastered potentials beyond our ordinary humanity. The neuroevolutionary model of evil and enlightenment and the use of neurotechnology represent an alternate model of our future.
So you see spirituality and science interconnecting?
Science at its essence is a part of our spiritual enlightenment, as it is a quest to look back into the mystery that spawned us. The emergence of science as an objective path to knowledge seems like a very natural development in the evolution of any sentient beings who have gone as far as they could with purely subjective processes. What also seems natural is that the objective quest would bring us to a point where it must merge with the best of the subjective processes and knowledge of the past to produce an integration of mystical insight and rational inquiry backed by modern technology creating a highly advanced holistic metaphysical science.
This new science will be greater than the science of today and greater than any shamanic or mystical system of the past. Such a science will be capable of producing a formal worldview that accounts for the abstract nature of reality and our spirituality and supplies the technologies for our enlightenment and a staggeringly advanced human civilization in harmony with nature at every level. I see the “emergence” of this modern science, as a natural dynamic of the evolution of human intelligence and consciousness and a necessity for our survival.
Many feel we are approaching the end of times or something of Biblical nature. What do you see happening and how will this affect humanity as a whole?
New sciences such as complexity and evolutionary systems theory are predicting that we are headed for unprecedented change coming like tidal waves one bigger than the next that will rearrange the human landscape to something almost unrecognizable. It has also been predicted from another area of science and is known as the singularity, a time when progress has accelerated beyond our ability to have any idea what will happen next. What is more exciting and frightening is that time frames point to anywhere from 15 to 40 years. The important thing for neurotrainers is to know we are part of something monumental and it is imperative for humanity’s survival that the masses are accessed to neurotechnology. Forget everything else and just look at the possibilities of nanotechnology alone that would be a disaster in the hands of humanity as we are.
The momentum of our evolution has brought us to the brink of a major phase transition, where we will evolve into fully human human beings We are stuck between our animal past, literally hardwired into our brains and our fully human future, which is a natural stage of evolution for sentient beings who evolved out of animals that produces common human evil in all it’s forms. We have begun the task to literally engineer ourselves out of this intermediary stage, which is the conscious involvement in our own evolution. As frightening as this seems to many, it is a pathway away from and not towards more evil.
The key to this evolutionary advance will be a neurotechnologically mediated restructuring of our brains to shift us out of lower order, animalistic, instinctive, limbic dominated behaviour to higher order human, intuitive, prefrontal dominated behaviour, which is not a recipe for moralistic suppression but a very real and scientific path to liberation. This will unlock the vast potential within us demonstrated by mystics and shamans of the past. With this advanced technology, which now exists in a rudimentary form, we will do for everyone in perhaps days or weeks, what took in the past a lifetime of sacrifice, toil and inhuman dedication by an elite few to achieve. So yes it is an ‘end of times’ as you put it, in the sense of an end to our old animal selves and the sort of destructive behaviour we have repeated over the history of civilization. This is a neuroevolutionary model of evil and enlightenment.
How does ROSHI fit into all of this?
ROSHI is an excellent example of the best of the current neurotechnologies that has the capacity to powerfully liberate the brain. The most important aspect of ROSHI is that it works with the brain in a global manner both as an EEG driven light/magnetic stimulation system and as an EEG neurotraining system. This is crucial to have at this point in the development of neurotraining, as we are at an awkward stage of top heavy therapist directed training with increasingly complicated and conflicting protocols for specific problems. When we have very extensive data bases and brain templates managed by AI, along with AI analysis of QEEG, fMRI and PET, etc, then these top down approaches will have come of age. I believe the ROSHI system would be perfect to embed in an affective computer platform (this is a new applied area of research using AI and biofeedback in desk tops to improve human performance and health).
I want to thank you Jonathan, for taking this time to share a bit of your work with us today. It’s been a real pleasure to learn more about your work. I’m sure many of our readers will be very interested in reading this book when it is available.