History

 

1980

 

In 1980 I had minor surgery so the operating team had to put me... "Out".  While losing consciousness I had a lucid dream that I had left this world. I found myself outside of space and time looking at a symbol of the creation. It was a smooth hyperbolic tower rising to an infinite point. I sensed this was an expression of our growth from ignorance, growth sustained by love for an infinite God. I tried to remain conscious and re-enter the creation but I couldn't. The drugs they gave me were too powerful and so I faded away.... But when I woke up, I remembered, and I started to put things together.

 

2002

 

This key archetype inspired me to post the Technical Jesus website dedicated to the simple notion that love rules and ignorance dies. Love being the “Perfect Bond of Unity” and ignorance being a willful disconnection from truth, other folks, the world, and your self. I really believe this is a universal law. It would even apply to alien cultures If there are any. Love is the way we grow up and move on from this world.  I think this wisdom will keep us on the path. But, I sure would like a sign of affirmation.

 

2004   I found the Holy Grail in Rome

 

In 2004, I traveled to Rome to see the place where so much of our modern understanding of Christianity was defined.  Rome is a city of contrasts.  Physically small, its influence lingers to shape our world even today. Each census we participate in connects us to this ancient city and its peoples.  Its long history is reflected in ancient structures going back to 700 years before Christ.  And its vitality resonates with the whine of vespas and the laughter drifting lightly on the breeze as you pass by the cafes that line each small courtyard.  

I was prepared with my guidebooks, phrasebooks and maps.  For each of my four days in Rome, I ventured forth in a new compass direction to discover the familiar icons of history on a personal level: standing inside the Pantheon’s small circle of sunlight as it pierces through the graceful dome high overhead in a breathtaking feat of balancing the forces of stone and gravity; climbing up the worn steps of the coliseum to overlook the arena where so much death was trivialized as entertainment; walking under triumphant arches celebrating victories in battles long past and forgotten. 

 

 

 

 

 

It was on the day I visited the Coliseum that I was touched by a mysterious circumstance that reinforced my belief in Christianity.   As a major attraction, much of the coliseum is wrapped in commercial activities – gladiators posing for photographs, guides soliciting tours and vendors with souvenirs.  The ancient world provides business opportunities even in this technically driven age.  The walk back from the site slopes gently uphill through an ancient collection of pillars and ruins that speak to the difficulty of surviving in a world of change.  As I reached the top of the hill, I rested in the sun to look back over the path that so many people of different ages had crossed. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She approached quietly with her map folded and colored with highlighted tracings of her walks through the city.  “Do you know what time it opens?” she asked indicating the building next to me.  Obviously old, it was nondescript in a city of so many marvels.  I expressed my ignorance and she shared that I was standing in front of the Mamertine Prison, the place where Peter the Apostle was held before he was executed by being crucified upside down.  My resting place was the site of devotion to faith even in the presence of death.  The Mamertine was not open that day but we pieced together information from our guidebooks that it would be open the following morning.

Taking her leave, she told me that I should not leave Rome without visiting the Boca de Veritas. “It is the Mouth of Truth”. Then she waived as she headed down the hill. 

As a seeker of Truth, I was astounded to have a chance encounter direct me to an ancient legend surrounding a test for Truth.  I spent the afternoon in quest of the Boca de Veritas, finding it outside a small chapel in a sleepy part of the city sandwiched between ancient temples and a busy thoroughfare. 

 

 

 

 

The Boca de Veritas is an imposing stone wheel with a face stained by time looking gravely at the petitioner. Legend has it that if you place your hand in the mouth of truth and say a lie, the mouth will snap shut.  The lips have been worn smooth by thousands of visitors seeking to validate their wishes and truths.  I had crossed into a time where powers based on belief commanded swift judgment and respect.   

I approached, the intimidating dark eyes silently drinking in my presence.  I slid my hand into the opening in the cool stone.  “My writings are about the path of truth.” Under its immutable gaze, my heartbeat counted out the tense seconds for judgment to be passed.  The mouth remained open and I accepted its support for my quest to share the truth with the world.

 The visit to the Boca Veritas helped me to speak my beliefs.  That night as I reflected on the day, I had no idea the discoveries that were in store for me at the Mamertine Prison.  

 

 

 

The day opened with a hazy sky over an overheated Rome.  I headed out on foot through the twists and turns that define this vibrant city.  I was becoming seduced by the rhythms of discharge and recharge.  Step into the flow of pedestrians, feeling their energy as they laugh and hurry to their appointments.  Step into the corner café for cappuccino and quiet reflection.  Back into the flow on the sidewalk, watching for an ebb in the stream of cars to make an adrenaline raising dash across.  Pausing under a massive fountain to wonder at the sinewy muscles an artist coaxed from stone many hundreds of years ago.

 

4sezionia.gif (127345 byte)The priest was swinging open the dark wooden doors to the chapel as I arrived.  He was dressed in a dark cloak and seemed to fade into the dark cool interior.  Much has been written about the history of this place.  The church S. Giuseppe dei Falegnami, via di Marforio dates from the 17th century and is dedicated to St. Joseph the Carpenter.  High above me, an intricately carved and gilded ceiling reflecting craftsmen’s loving labors gently reflects soft light. Off to the side was a small table to light candles to help lift your prayers to God.

1)       S. Giuseppe dei Falegnami, via di Marforio (Church of St. Joseph) [1]

2)       Cappella del SS. Crocifisso (Chapel of the Crucifix)

3)       Carcer (Prison)

4)       Tullianum (Cistern)

[1] http://www.archeorm.arti.beniculturali.it/sar2000/nuovi_scavi/default.htm#

Underneath the baroque church is the Chapel of the Crucifix, a shrine that serves as the entrance to a deeper and darker part of history.  A room built in the second century BC stands over an ancient cistern called the Tullianum (from the latin word for jet of water).  Estimated to be as old as the 7th century BC, the cistern marks the place of a natural spring and water still makes it presence known in this damp chamber. 

 

My footsteps sound ominous as I leave this church to descend into the older regions. To enter the chapel, I must return to street level and circle past tall iron fencing and gates.  I note the irony that their purpose is to keep visitors out of the prison rather than to keep the prisoners in. 

 

I enter the chapel and descend into the Carcer with its arched ceiling.  I have shed the opulence of the church above and entered into a place marked by the past.  Oil lamps work hard to keep the shadows at bay.  Polished marble plaques listing those that were executed here stand in contrast to the roughness of the stonewalls.  I don’t need any translation to understand the stark words listing the methods of death:  decapitato, strangolati, morto per fame.

 

I

 

In the floor is a circular grate, the original access point to the chamber below.  Through this small gap, the prisoners were thrown into the damp depths below.  It is easy to overlook it if you do not know its significance.  For visitors today, stairs now join the two chambers and I descend into the bottom chamber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “The dread and gloom of the ponderous, obdurate old prison...come up as in a dark mist through the floor. It is all so silent and so close...so black and stealthy...”  These were the words of Charles Dickens in describing the small room I’ve now entered. 

The ceiling is oppressive, with only the very center of the room allowing me to stand upright without fear of brushing against unforgiving rock just inches overhead.  One can only imagine the room in its original state, pure darkness broken only by what glimmers of light fall careless through the small grate from the room above.  

 

I feel a physical reaction as I reach the bottom of the stairs and turn to view the altar.  The blood red marble is marred by black upside down cross.  The image makes me uneasy as my brain flips through the emotions that the image evokes.  Was I looking at the final desecration by an entity so evil that it looked to kill not only the body but also the faith of those who were martyred here?  As I flash through possibilities, I remember the stories of St. Peter.  Upon hearing that he was to be crucified, Peter said that he was not worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord and requested that he be crucified up side down.  The icon I was looking at was the ultimate symbol of humility and faith—Peter’s upside down cross.  I felt my tensions release and fill with wonder.  In the stillness of the small chamber that saw so much pain, I could feel the power of faith undiminished by the passing of 2,000 years.

 

Still in awe, I climbed the narrow stairs back up to the Carcer.  Halfway up the stairs, my view was floor level with the upper chamber.  My eyes, adjusted to the darkness of the chamber below, drank in details I had not seen before as each step upwards opened up a new perspective of the alter.  As I look closer, I notice that the stone panels at the base contain the image I saw in my dream! 

 

The stone formed two symmetrical parabolic curves within a field of dark and light coming together into a single line reaching up into the heavens.  I drew closer and was amazed that the stone panels were not inlays but a natural pattern in the rock.  The pattern was repeated on each side of the altar, indicating that the stonemason intentionally cut and positioned the stone to highlight the hyperbolic pattern. 

It was almost as if God was leaving clues as to the nature of how we can understand his universe.  In the heart of a stone, formed million of years old, unearthed, polished and set reverently into a place of faith, was a visual message of how we can transcend through spiritual growth.  I had found a message left for me by an artisan hundreds of years before and half a world away. This was my dream; “It was a smooth hyperbolic tower rising to an infinite point. I sensed this was an expression of our growth from ignorance, growth sustained by love for an infinite God.”

 

 

 

The symbolism is much deeper. The Church, Altars, and Prison make a statement expressing the power of Christianity. You see, Joseph, and Jesus in his youth, were carpenters.  They used tools to better life. The humble S. Giuseppe dei Falegnami, via di Marforio is dedicated to those who do this kind of work. It is no small coincidence that the foundation of this site is also dedicated to the spiritual works of Saint Peter. Taken in total, we see material works blend into spiritual works. The message is; Both are an essential part of our salvation. The church is founded on this rock, petros, Saint Peter. It is a symbol of humanity's growth in understanding. The spirit of fallen mankind springs forth from the dark depths of the fall like a jet of water (The Tullianum in the bottom floor), lead by Jesus Christ.  Christ will lead us to a place where the full power of the Holy spirit will focus.

Jesus called himself the Son of Man. Peter called Jesus the Son of God. The love of God and mankind’s worship come together in the symbol at the foundation of this church. Ephesians 1.10 speaks of all things in heaven and earth being gathered up in Christ. The cross in the carcer (prison) and the cross in the Tullianum form this symbol below. Look closely at the intersection Ä in the photograph of the carcer altar. The line of the two crosses intersects there. The intersection symbolizes the interface between man and God. And that is perfect love! This is my grail…

  

 

Jesus Leads Us In The Continuum of Life

Drink from this Holy Grail for eternal life.

 

I strongly believe the Holy Grail (the means to transcend) will manifest itself as the coming Singularity. The singularity is where man and God will touch in a powerful way.  And, It seems like the singularity is near !

In futures studies, a technological singularity represents an "event horizon" in the predictability of human technological development past which present models of the future cease to give reliable or accurate answers, following the creation of strong artificial intelligence or the amplification of human intelligence. Futurists predict that after the Singularity, humans as they exist presently will cease to be the dominating force in scientific and technological progress, replaced with posthumans, strong AI, or both, and therefore all models of change based on past trends in human behavior will be obsolete.

The concept, put forth primarily by mathematician Vernor Vinge and inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, predicts a drastic increase in the rate of technological change following the liberation of consciousness from the confines of human biology, allowing it not only to scale past the computational capacity of the human brain but also to interact directly with computer networks. Kurzweil considers this sharp increase to be part of an overall exponential trend in human technological development seen originally in Moore's Law and extrapolated into a general trend in Kurzweil's own Law of Accelerating Returns. A culture which experienced such a change would be fundamentally altered, and not comprehensible or predictable by its pre-Singularity culture. (Wikipedia)

Recently, these ideas have been classified Christian Transhumanism . The idea is connected to the early Christian church by Paul Tillich's Transcendent Humanism.

Christian transhumanism refers to any merging of Christianity and transhumanism, though the variant of Christian belief involved generally tends to be fairly liberal. An example of Christian transhumanist theology is the identification of a predicted singularity with the Second Coming, the return of Jesus.

Identifying the predicted technological singularity with Christian eschatology requires a postmillennialist viewpoint, in which posthumanity is viewed as a good thing, the fulfillment of God's promises. However, a premillennial theology could also be developed, in which the singularity is identified as the triumph of human pride over faith, a triumph in which Christ will intervene to prevent from occurring. This would place technological singularity into the realm of doomsday predictions.

The Christian theology of the Resurrection could be seen as an ancient parallel to the concept of mind uploading. The concept of uploading one's intelligence into a powerful computer network and living a new life as a simulated entity in a virtual utopia or dystopia can be seen as a direct technological implementation of the resurrection into a spiritual body existing in the conceptual realms of heaven or hell. Variations where a posthuman is incarnated as an android or robot would correspond to Christians who believe in a physical resurrection. (Wikipedia)

 

A Way For The Free And Forward Thinking

Now we must apply today's science and technology to this old doctrine of transcendent humanism, because in our progress, what it means to be human will change soon. In the coming years computer-human interfaces will become so intimate that users may be considered superhumanly intelligent transcendent humans, or "transhumans".  In the process the lower hierarchy of needs will fall away and so naturally the transhuman becomes benevolent and self-actualized.  Ultimately, life as represented by mankind will shift from consuming material for sustenance to a flow of information. This means that we shift to a wholly spiritual life where truth is the way. As material needs diminish, transhumans will increasingly be sustained by a powerful flow of Word that can be called the Glory of God. In giving up competition and control strategies, we grow to be all that we can be; Christ-like. Essential to Christian Transhumanism is the notion that love is a cognitive process and God expects us to participate in our salvation by learning how to love perfectly. In this way we access the Glory of God, becoming Christ-like (Christian). Christ is the fulfillment of essential man. (Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man and says that "Whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister and mother".) We Participate in Christ at the second coming! We do this for the sake of the infinite continuum of life.  With love, humanity can and will survive all manner of challenges. It is the intelligent strategy. Post-humans who maintain faith in a Supreme State of Being will embark on an infinite path of intelligent hyper evolution.

This site is called "Technical Jesus" because of the surprising fact that technology will offer transcendence of a kind that is left totally up to us. And, Jesus Christ in his wisdom has shown us The Way even through these times. I have the passion to step out and interact with you in peace so that  we can increase our understanding of God through better understanding of ourselves, each other and the world we live in.  Leave any resentment behind. Understanding the convergence of the disciplines of Science, Spirituality and Economics will inspire you.  

 

This is me. I am the son of Elford Ledford (Scottish) and Gloria Garcia (Mexican). Two cultural migrations collided 47 years ago in Texas, and I was the outcome. I am an Instructor by profession. One of the subjects I teach is Atomic and Nuclear Physics. I have a passion for this subject because I consider it the fundamentals of the creation. 

 

 I think science is in reality observing an aspect of God. Here are the steps in my logic. God The Father created and sustains the world. In the beginning there was nothing other than God. So, where did this stuff in the creation come from? It is a part of God. It must be God's Thought and will. It is the answer to that nagging question, Hey! What’s the Big Idea? Simply put God is having a good and powerful idea and it is The Universe. In this light I come to the conclusion that the universe is something God is patiently saying to us. So we should pay attention to it. 

 

Data is the signal. Those little facts of reality are manna from heaven. Data is different from information because it is pure. When data is interpreted it becomes information. Our continued growth even our very existence in this space and time depends upon correct interpretation.

 

 We live in a  peaceful society. We can thank those who have gone before us for this. Some were martyred. Some died nameless in the fight for peace and freedom. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, dying for ideas, and dedicating their lives to increase understanding. We must honor them by doing something with their gift of peace, freedom, and abundant resources.

 

Grow In The Spirit. Don't let it diminish. God created and continues to create the world. He asks that we share this with him. It is a powerful show of love, and that means in his realm we are allowed to create with love too! Individually we create, through our relationships we create, and with God we create. The eternal life promised by Jesus is just that. "Share in the creation with me". It is infinite; expect no less here, now and forever.

 

From a dream to reality guided by the Holy Spirit,

  Jim Ledford.