What is the Road to Omega newsletter all about?
Road to Omega is an effort to save the world with science and epistemology. The plan entails:
healing the division in America and abroad by fighting tribalism
fighting misinformation with a logical reasoning system
decentralizing wealth and power with blockchain technology
creating a new political party based on self-correction
unifying the sciences with a new kind of “Theory of Everything”
dissolving the boundary between science and spirituality
developing a “religion for robots” that provides a code of ethics for AIs
It might sound like a complicated plan on the surface, but all these ideas are really just applications of one overarching framework, an elegant paradigm we are calling a Unifying Theory of Reality, because rather than reducing the higher sciences to lower ones (the reductionist approach), it unifies them, bringing about consilience. This unifying paradigm also dissolves the boundary between science and spirituality by showing us that life has cosmic significance—and that such a fact is entirely consistent with a natural worldview. As Carl Sagan famously said, “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” This paradigm is not so much a novel theory as an integration of the attempts at unified systems theories of the past, like General Systems Theory, Evolutionary Epistemology, Universal Darwinism, and now, Universal Bayesianism, the paradigm associated with the neuroscientist Karl Friston’s free energy principle.
What does the new cosmic narrative implied by this Unifying Theory of Reality look like? In short, cosmic evolution is a process of knowledge creation and multi-level emergence that has no apparent limits or end. Through the ascent and expansion of intelligent life in the cosmos, the universe begins to come to life, gradually at first, but at a rate that increases over time. While this worldview is entirely mechanistic, working through the evolutionary algorithm known as variation-and-selection, it does acknowledge humans as “sprouting tips on the growing tree of life.” In other words, we are special.
This new worldview, called the Cosmic Perspective, instructs us on how to live optimally through applying principles from evolution, cybernetics, and Bayesian reasoning to everyday life.
How is the Road to Omega movement going to achieve its goals? Efforts include (but are not limited to):
a 90k word nonfiction book to be published in 2022
an 80k novel called Road to Omega to be tokenized and released shortly
a Road to Omega YouTube channel, podcast, and Substack
a series of articles at Psychology Today (Mind in the Machine blog) shortly
an interactive website with games, puzzles, and educational tools
a series of crowdsourced projects (e.g., the Global Bayesian Brain Project)
a short film about the data privacy crisis and the need for decentralization
In addition to these efforts, the Neuromantics (the collective behind the Road to Omega project) are partnering with various companies to help make all the proposed projects a reality, like Infinity Maps, a software company based in Germany that is turning the Unifying Theory of Reality into a visual story by mapping out its mechanisms. You can see some screenshots of the project and a detailed proposal here. A collaboration with the VR studio Tourism Infinity aims to create immersive games that reduce tribalism and promote empathy. More collaborations are in the works, and that information will be shared as they become official.
At this point in time the Road to Omega project is not so much a movement but a conspiracy to create one. Whether it will work and to what degree, only time will tell, but if the story you are being presented is correct, some kind of emergence-inspired movement is inevitable. For this reason it is not surprising that similar projects are sprouting up, like journalist and author Robert Wright’s Apocalypse Aversion Project (check out his Nonzero substack newsletter here), and Daniel Schmachtenberger’s Consilience Project. A future goal is to unite these efforts and communities through mutually-beneficial collaborations.
The new cosmic narrative is a story of evolution and revolution, and in this corner of the universe, at this point in time, we are the stars of the show. Overcoming our collective existential challenges (the pandemic, growing income inequality, climate change, weaponized AI, etc.) requires that we recognize our role in the process of cosmic evolution and take control of our future.
Who am I?
My name is Bobby Azarian and I am a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD from the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University. My research has been published in journals like Cognition & Emotion, Human Brain Mapping, Acta Psychologica, and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. I am also a blogger for Psychology Today and a freelance writer who has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Scientific American, Slate, BBC Future, Aeon, and other publications. You can see selected works and my CV at my personal website.
I’ve written some of the Internet’s most popular science articles, with more than a few receiving over a million views, and one receiving upwards of 30 million. My Psychology Today blog Mind in the Machine currently has over 8 million views. I’ve appeared on web shows like The Young Turks’ Damage Report and the David Pakman show to discuss my work and articles, and these interviews have received over 150k views. And some guy with a YouTube channel called Ring of Fire made a video about my work that got over 200k views (thanks dude!). I also helped plan multiple episodes for Season 2 of the YouTube Premium show Mind Field, which was nominated for its first Emmy that year.
I am also the author of the forthcoming nonfiction book The Romance of Reality: How the Universe Organizes Itself to Create Life, Consciousness, and Cosmic Complexity, to be published by BenBella Books and distributed by Penguin Random House on June 21, 2022. This book lays down the scientific and philosophical foundation for the Road to Omega project.
What do Road to Omega subscribers get?
Subscribers get to be part of a community of like-minded others, and if everything goes according to plan, part of a movement that changes the world for the better. By subscribing to the newsletter, you will be learning about science, technology, politics, and culture from the perspective of complex systems science. The free content is meant to inform, instruct, and inspire. Newsletters will go out on a bi-weekly basis, with the plan being to post something new at noon on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
Paid subscribers ($5 monthly) will get access to additional content that is designed to make a direct difference in one’s life. In addition to explaining the world around us, the Unifying Theory of Reality tells us how to optimize our lives in a variety of ways, based on principles from evolutionary theory, cybernetics, systems science, and Bayesian epistemology. Tips will be provided for how to reduce anxiety, boost creativity, achieve goals, reason optimally, and design your life to be maximally fulfilling. These newsletters will come bi-weekly beginning in September, at noon on every second and fourth Wednesday. This means paid subscribers will be receiving a Road to Omega newsletter each week on noon at Wednesday.
Beginning in September, the draft of the novel Road to Omega—a story that is meant to inspire the Road to Omega movement—will be posted chapter by chapter, so that the book can be optimized by the community of subscribers through feedback via the comment section. Those who contribute to the optimization of the novel will receive a) a free digital copy of the book, b) co-authorship/credit in the actual book, and c) $OMEGA tokens that give the contributor a stake in the book’s success. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) therefore allow subscribers to invest in the movement they are helping shape and promote. When the book is determined to be complete it will be made available for purchase, so token holders will receive a portion of the profits as specified by a smart contract. How profitable being a token holder is will be directly proportional to how successful the novel is. Given that it will be heavily promoted on all my social media channels—like the Science is Sexy facebook page (+10k followers), the Road to Omega youtube channel (+1400 subscribers), and my Twitter account (+4k followers), it is likely to do well. As the size of the collective behind the Road to Omega project grows, so will our reach. There’s really no limit to how big this thing can get once alliances are established and the community becomes actively involved. These alliances are already being formed.
To see a successful example of an NFT-crowdfund for a novel, along with how token holders get stake in the book, check out Emily Segal’s Mirror page. The idea behind using NFTs is to provide incentives to create a self-organizing community that can amplify the message and extend the collective mind formed by Neuromantic collaboration.
Help save the world with science and epistemology by subscribing now.
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