A qualitative orientation by any sentient being that is characterized by

  • non-striving (not clinging to passing phenomena, whether pleasant or unpleasant)
  • awareness (recognizing that the limited psycho-physical personality constitutes an absolute value or principle)
  • compassion (which is demonstrated by the actions of the being)
These understandings may be realized by humans, transhumans, posthumans, hyperturings, Archailects or other advanced beings. Or they may not. In the case of such Realization, the beings would be deemed Enlightened. If not, then not.

Enlightenment has no "power" component and only a very modest intelligence requirement. In fact, this definition of Enlightenment is orthogonal (perpendicular) to the ladder of ascension. Just as the traditional Mahayana Buddhist sutras called Gautama Buddha "Teacher of men and gods" so too any Enlightened being under the definition given here would possess a certain wisdom that is different from intelligence. This certainly does not mean that an Enlightened baseline human could beat an Archailect at chess, for example. Rather, it means that while that Archailect might strive mightily to win all contests at all costs and become frustrated at occasional failures (e.g., Archailect vs. Archailect conflicts), the Enlightened human would not compete at all in any arena except where compassion dictated that he do so. And he would not cling to the results of his actions, whether they were positive or negative. (No gloating in victory, no sulking in defeat - the yogi is the same in praise and blame).

Apart from the widely held non-sectarian interpretation, many religions, mystic and esoteric paths and memeticities do however have various different approaches to and interpretations of what does and does not constitute Enlightenment, and the definition of Enlightenment varies greatly according to one's memetic, sephirotic or toposophic orientation.
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Development Notes
Text by Michael LaTorra and M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 24 October 2001.