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Singularity

Singularity

 

n:  The moment when technological change becomes so rapid and profound, it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.   Time, February 21, 2011

 

Computer scientists think that we may be within thirty-five years of programming artificial intelligence in computers.  Then human experience will change, they believe.  Maybe you’ll be a cyborg.  Maybe exams to test knowledge will be obsolete if your brain is wired to a computer like some people’s hearts are to a pacemaker today.  Maybe your consciousness will be digitized and you will live forever in tech reality. That means you could speak at your own funeral.  Of course, your family would have to download you first, and that could be iffy.

 

So, singularity is a moment when great change happens.  That’s the word that scientists first used to describe the Big Bang theory.  Funny thing, ‘Big Bang’ was kind of an impulsive description, first used by Sir Frederick Hoyle when he was doing a science broadcast on BBC and wanted to find a different way to say singularity.  He didn’t even believe in that theory at the time.  Kind of like the word ‘Christian’ being first used by those who weren’t.  It stuck.

 

The gospel writer, Mark, didn’t use singularity when he describes Jesus’ first experience in Mark 1:9-13, but he could have.  We miss it, if we are not careful.  We don’t get the full impact of what happened when Jesus was baptized.  Actually, three things happened that together produced a singularity.

 

First, the heavens “tore” open.  They just didn’t open, like clouds parting.  I’m not sure that Mark is trying to describe a meteorological event as much as an eternity-touching-now event, but the actual verb implies more violence than just something opening.  Then the Spirit of God comes down on Jesus.  Then Jesus hears God speak, affirming him as his son.

 

Nothing like that had happened before.  It’s almost like re-beginning creation.  You know that later, Christians thought of Jesus as the Second Adam.

 

A singularity? 

 

It certainly was for Jesus.  It changed everything, set his course.

 

For us?

 

Not necessarily.  Actually, not at all unless we are connected to the one with whom it starts. (Oops, ‘connected’ sounds kind of computery.)

 

Mark is making me get suspicious of my view of Jesus.  I suspect that my view is too small.  You know how I can tell?  The temptation to live small.  The temptation to allow small things to be big.

 

Living out of a singularity – that is probably big.  Not grand, but big.  Like Jesus.

 

Jesus – the moment when spiritual change became so profound that it represents the rupture in the fabric of human history.  Mark  65-70 CE