This is the last part of our recent interview with Vinay Gupta on enlightenment, and the 5th episode in the whole Vinay Gupta saga. I highly recommend that you listen to the first and second parts of this interview first before getting to this one.
There is a lot of mysticism and dogma surrounding the world’s ancient enlightenment traditions. Being the intense and indescribable experience it is, when people who have reached it try to bring it back into the world, they often put it into metaphors or symbols – because plain words don’t seem to do it justice.
If we are able to remove the mystical and woo aspects and get to the bottom of what the enlightenment experience actually is, it can be very useful not only in the modern age but also in our future.
Enlightenment has been described as a higher awareness, a different level of understanding of reality, a kind of “waking up”. Enlightened people often say that they no longer fear death, and feel a deep sense of connection with everyone and everything around them. Vinay explains that with enlightenment often comes a certain kind of resilience to stress, and a better ability to make decisions in life-or-death situations.
To put it into modern terms, enlightenment is transhumanism for the mind.
Vinay Gupta: Enlightenment For The Future of Humanity
These traits are going to be very valuable as we face bigger existential risks on our planet. With increasing climate change, accelerating AI capabilities, and self replication nano- / bio-tech just around the corner, there are probably more things that could annihilate us this century than any other century before. We will have to make a lot of hard decisions as a human race in the next few years.
In Vinay’s eyes, there is no better training for this than the path to enlightenment.
It has been said that the insights gained from the enlightenment experience are not something that an unenlightened person can grasp – it’s more than just an intellectual concept. Enlightenment can be talked about, but words are insufficient to describe it and its implications.
That said, it doesn’t mean that enlightenment is unattainable for the average person. According to Vinay Gupta, it absolutely is – it just takes about a PhD’s worth of work. Much like with getting a regular PhD, most people will never achieve it (at least not in our current world). But a few will.
If you want to be a god on electric guitar, you have to practice for an hour every single day for many years. Getting enlightened is no different – it takes a lot of meditation to get there. It is common enough to experience glimpses of it – in near-death situations, through deep meditation, or as a result of using psychedelics. But to reach enlightenment as a persistent state, a new level of awareness, it takes a lot of work.
Perhaps in the future, as our lifespans increase (especially in the case of Transhumanism), more people could dedicate the time to pursuing enlightenment. For now, it may have to remain as the domain of the few.
In the meantime, I’ll be blocking out an hour every day to sit in silence and do you-know-what.
In This Episode of Future Thinkers Podcast:
- The value of enlightenment in the modern age
- Is enlightenment an evolutionary adaptive trait?
- Transhumanism, AI, and mitigating existential risk
- Humans colonizing Mars and the rest of space
- Why we need enlightenment for the future of humanity
- The new meditation app we’re working on
Mentions and Resources:
Mentioned & Recommended Books:
More From Future Thinkers:
- Archetypes, Psychedelics, and Enlightenment with Dr. Jordan Peterson (FTP039)
- Dr. Kirby Surprise Explains The Science Behind Synchronicity with Dr. Kirby Surprise (FTP037)
- Vinay Gupta on Ethereum and Basic Human Needs (FTP018)
- Vinay Gupta on Quantum Mechanics and Space Exploration (FTP019)
- The Practical Steps to Enlightenment, Vinay Gupta Pt. 4 (FTP027)
- Enlightenment for the Future of Humanity, Vinay Gupta Pt. 5 (FTP028)
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