Yes, the name of this blog is a bit odd. But I chose it because it has several meanings, most of which I think are appropriate for this kind of writing.

For those who consider themselves futurists, or fans of futurology, the Singularity is a possible event in the future of humanity. The idea begins with the premise that human knowledge and technology are advancing faster and faster. As we get better at mathematics, science, computing, and energy production, we make new discoveries more rapidly. These discoveries, in turn, lead to more powerful technologies, greater energies, and ever faster progress. If this continues, eventually we’ll be learning things so fast that we’ll hit a point–the Singularity–where we know everything possible, or at the very least can discover anything we want as quickly as we like. When that happens, the theory goes, we’ll have unlimited power to remake ourselves and our environment any way we like.

Many world religions also have a concept of a future in which all things are known. In this context, the idea is that at some time (opinions vary on when it might be), all consciousness that has ever been in the universe will come together into one, big, (presumably happy) over-soul that remembers everything that ever happened from every possible perspective. We will finally understand what the universe is all about, what every event meant, and why things happened the way they did. Murderers will know what their victims felt, and the murdered will know why the murderer did it. When Christians recite the creeds and refer to “the resurrection of the dead,” this is a form of Singularity. When Buddhists contemplate Nirvana, the end the cycle of death and rebirth and (perhaps) the end of all being, this is a form of Singularity. When Norsemen go to Valhalla, or Muslims go to heaven, these also are forms of Singularity.

Cosmologists (physicists who study the development of the universe) deal with Singularities all the time. The Big Bang theory begins with a Singularity, when everything that became our universe (both space and time) was a single point in space. The idea is that if we look at the Universe today, it seems to be expanding, like a balloon inflating. If we were to look back in time, presumably the Universe would become smaller and smaller, until at some point (the Big Bang), everything would be as close together as possible. Depending on what we learn about the Universe’s expansion, there may also come a time in the future when the Universe’s gravity overcomes this expansion and begins to pull everything currently expanding back together again, leading to an event cosmologists refer to as the Big Crunch. It may be that there isn’t enough matter to generate the gravity for this to happen, but we’re not sure. Every time we learn something new, like about the possibility of dark matter, it changes the story a bit. And of course, we may in time realize that our observations of an expanding universe are actually caused by something else, about which we know nothing today, and there never was a Big Bang and never will be a Big Crunch. That’s the thing about science: until we’ve observed absolutely everything possible in the Universe (one of the other kinds of Singularities), we can never completely convince ourselves that our theories are correct.

In all of these forms, the assumption is that we aren’t in a Singularity right now. Or at least it doesn’t feel like it to us. Some futurists predict it’s a decade or two (or a few centuries) away. The religious contemplate (hope for) an eventual Singularity, usually without needing or caring when it will happen. It’s enough to believe that it will. Cosmologists observe things happening all around us, which strongly suggests that we’re either before, after, or between–but not currently in–a Singularity.

So that’s where we are right now: something is or may happen such that everything and everyone that ever is or was or will be will be in close contact with everything and everyone else. When “all things will be known.” But not right now. In the meantime, all we can do is piece together what’s accessible to us today. The World Wide Web may be a step on the way to the Singularity.  But for now, we do the best we can. This blog is my contribution, for right now.

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