Having Mountain of Silence open while reading Kurzweil has been of great comfort. It clears my head and reminds me that there is beauty in humanity. One question that a person in this book asks Fr. Maximos is, “Who is more useful to society: a doctor or a monk?” Fr. Maximos begins by saying that the question itself is flawed. At least, he says, “It is characteristics of a modern way of thinking…an activist orientation tot the world”. That orientation is that people are worthy based on their usefulness instead of who they are, instead of their humanity (if I were referring back to Kurzweil’s arguments). Fr. Maximos even goes on to say that if we don’t view people first and foremost on who they are”…we run the risk of turning people into machines that produce useful things” (my emphasis). He also comments on how this type of attitude toward ourselves– and I would add toward others, as well — often leads to psychological problems.
So, I think this is true and even think it follows to Kurzweil’s entire basis. It is a modern way of thinking, which doesn’t [necessarily] mean it is right. Another author, Ken Wilbur, claims we can know reality in three ways: eye of the senses (empirical science), eye of reason (philosophy, logic, math), and eye of contemplation (systematic and disciplines spiritual practice to open up the intuitive & spiritual faculties of self) **unknown source, perhaps Ken Wilber? He goes on to attribute the Western trend to an imbalanced reality toward sense and reason and away from contemplation. I think Kurzweil would begin to argue that the eye of contemplation will be within the capabilities of this spiritual machines given the words: systematic and disciplines spiritual practice. This gives spiritual virtually no meaning at all. Thus in the remaining part which defines a bit more of what spirituality is (open up, intuitive, self) Kurzweil would lose ground.