This week our guest is Tibet Sprague, former solar energy system manager and scholar-practitioner in search of sustainable alternatives to our unhealthy post-industrial communities.
http://tibetsprague.com for all social links, writings, and project info
What it was like for Tibet growing up in a healthy community.
The difference between communities online and in person.
The possibility of a virtual nation, a modern silk road of digital nomads moving in between communities…
…but the issues with that, primarily its unsustainability, and the importance of working to create local communities and tribes.
The tension between freedom and fullness of living, independence and interdependence as valued differently by different societies.
What does it truly mean to be free and to have a society that promotes freedom?
How our individual drives are sculpted by the agencies of our environments and the people with whom we surround ourselves – so even the drive for independence is a symptom of our interrelatedness.
The challenge of building a decentralized society of loners and how culture itself may be the one true technological solution.
“My thinking about what I want to work on in the world has headed from initially thinking, ‘Oh, climate change is the most important thing to be focusing on right now, obviously,’ to ‘Maybe we can’t really resolve our climate issues without changing capitalism and changing our economic system that requires constant growth,’ and ‘Oh, well, maybe we can’t actually change our economic system without a culture that changes people’s relationships with each other, and with money, and with the world.”
“I think a lot of individual work, personal growth work, each one of us doing our own work to resolve the things in us that prevent us from living our most enlivened selves and bringing our gifts into the world, is really important.”
How Charles Eisenstein helps us articulate the core problems of, and potential solutions to, the crisis of our current age:
From separation to oneness, from scarcity to abundance.
The crisis of imagination that we don’t think it’s possible for our planet to provide for everyone.
Universal Basic Income - how it could liberate us to get culture right, or how it could be poorly implemented and create new problems.
Charles Stress’ novel Singularity Sky as one example of how unprecedented sudden affluence can ruin a society.
Might it not be for a very good reason that massively disruptive technologies we WANT (like free energy) are being (or ought to be) WISELY suppressed by the system (and/or ruling classes)?
Ramez Naam’s Nexus Trilogy as a model for how society might variously adopt and resist disruptive technologies – how technological telepathy specifically might be used by a variety of different factions, and suppressed by nation-states that want whatever vestige of control remains in eras of extraordinary change…
Tamera Healing Biotope in Portugal and their experiments in community living, the healing of interpersonal issues, processing group needs, and building toward a future that includes and nourishes us all.
The role of fearless love and re-imagined intimate relationships in new modes of community designed for peace.
The difficulty of making powerfully positive but culturally unusual steps toward love free from fear.
The Sex 3.0 Wiki and understanding sexuality as a cultural phenomenon shaped by the distributed agency of our technological surround – the enclosure and ownership of land, paternity, etc. all contributing in big ways to our current preference for monogamous mate claiming partnership.
The relationship between digital society (with its emphasis on sharing everything) and the resurgence of nonmonogamy.
Mystics and Moralists as two responses to change.
The plurality of belief systems, adaptability, and resilience.
“We can embrace the fullness and complexity of everything that’s happening in a balanced way that I believe will lead to a much more harmonious way of being on the planet.”
Moving out of an age of answers and into an age of questions…
The invention of Inheritance Day and the awesome idea of a new holiday in which we honor our ancestors and realize that we, too, are ancestors.
And lastly, just a dash of speculation on the Simulated Universe Theory and our participation in what Tibet calls “this fractal godhood…”
“If the future is watching, then don’t you want to say something valuable?” – MG
De-Anthropomorphizing The Universe / Science & The Filter Bubble
with Cory Allen, Audio Mastering Engineer & Mindfulness Trainer, Host of The Astral Hustle Podcast
“It’s just all what is. And I accept every state of being as glorious.”
Two dedicated truth-seekers and cosmos-abiders make a lot of dirty jokes and somehow manage to harmonize their angles on the practice of rigorous inquiry into the nature of reality and consciousness…
We have a totally tangential, irreverent, penetrating conversation. (Luckily for you it’s audio only.) Somehow it all hangs together…much like Cory and I would, if they ever found out about the unrecorded parts of this chat. (Kidding!)
• The paradox of having a podcast that emphasizes memory and continuity having SO. MANY. RECORDING. GLITCHES. Bizarre plumage that doesn’t fossilize and how truly precious little we know of the ancient world.
• Noticing what weirds you out: your surprise reveals your expectation.
• Cory Allen’s “creepy” super intense memory – and memory versus recordings – isn’t it kind of wrong to rely on recordings to justify or validate the way we feel right now?
• Feathered dinosaurs screwing up our whole perception of dinosaurs as monsters. Scales versus feathers and how humans are so quick to judge based on the surfaces…
“Got a face? We’ll give you the time of day. Worms? You’re going to be laboratory experiments. Snakes? We’re going to use you as a symbol for evil in the entire course of Western Religion because you have no arms and legs. You’ve got a face, but you’re the face of evil. Try again. But rabbits? Dogs? Cats? We take care of them because they’re furry.”
• Encountering the dragon on the edge of the map and realizing that it’s you…versus not being able to see the faces of the people you’re firing on as a drone pilot. The closer you get to “it” the more it is you.
• The value of noticing our projections and how we colonialism the world “out there” with our own ideas and imaginations. Everything we think about HUMAN consciousness is just CONSCIOUSNESS.
• Taking the human element out of consciousness.
• Vocabulary Word: Allopoeisis: the process of becoming the other.
• Talking with animals to explore the nature of consciousness from as far beyond our human filter as we can. (How much are we anthropomorphizing Koko the Gorilla’s command of language?)
• Watch out for clamping down on the word “is” when trying to relate your personal experience…as soon as you’re talking about “how it is” you’re not paying attention to your own subjectivity and recognizing its role in your experience.
• We never see beyond the virtual reality of our nervous system, but it’s also the case that there is no separation between self and other in the ecosystem that precipitates “them” “both.”
“On the one hand you can never really know the other. On the other hand, you never know anything BUT the other.”
“Because you ARE the other.”
• Seeing through the academic pretense of objectivity to the necessity of describing the full details of your instruments (including your own nervous system) used in your experiments. The impossibility of perfectly replicating an experiment. Data from studies of psi phenomena show self-verifying results dependent on the belief sets of the experimenter – both positive and negative – even in very tightly controlled and blinded studies.
• The politics, stress, absurdity, and pressure of the academic world and how it inhibits the very exploration to which it’s devoted. Cory’s friend who worked on the roundworm C. elegant and the nature of his research…and near-madness undergoing the completion of his PhD program.
• The social construction of knowledge: this is where “facts” come from, people!
• “School” and “Scholar” comes from a word that meant “leisure.”
• The more narrowly focused our attention, the more we have to compete for one another’s attention. The social ills of the filter bubble. The diminishment of chance encounters and surprise interactions because of our constricted and self-reinforcing “reality tunnels.”
• The Nutcracker is an awesome, very self-aware ballet…which Cory would have never seen if he hadn’t gotten outside of his own bubble.
• The documentary “Century of the Self” and how marketing has gone from advertising products to advertising lifestyles and appealing to the consumer’s ego.
• How diversity and redundancy are essential to the health and vitality of society (as with any ecosystem). How we NEED oppositional perspectives to enrich the whole – and what would happen if Trump and Clinton supporters could recognize this? When will this be common sense?
• Michael’s spiritual practice of listening to radio stations he wouldn’t ordinarily choose and finding out why millions of people tune in and enjoy those stations.
“You can appreciate it without liking it.”
“You have to look at it long enough until you see yourself in it.”
• Advertising fake products from the future.
• The intimacy of evolution and extinction, entropy and complexity.
• Astrosexuality and the CRISPR-induced end of identity politics. The future of identity: radically creative and diverse, or a mushy bowl of oatmeal?
“I think everyone will become so nuanced in their identity that it becomes a tapestry…everyone’s going to be SO individual that we’re all going to be exactly alike.”
• If your social media followers were actually following you around in the street, and you had to turn around and talk to however many of them, how would that change the way you think about your platform as a creator? (“How would it change what you’re saying and how absurd it is?”)
This week, we take an hour to explore the frontiers of the human experience with Trevor Goodman of the Body Hacking Conference in Austin, Texas.
Here’s a bit about the conference from NPR:
• Cybernetics, prosthetics, nootropics, body modification, bionics…
• The origins and history of “body hacking.”
• Body modification as an answer/solution to body dysmorphia (feeling out of place “in your own skin”).
“Frankly, we have no clue how things are going to be in ten or twenty years. Twenty years ago we weren’t carrying our memories around in our pockets like we are now.”
• How modern transhumanism is just an extension of the ancient human project that includes clothing, fire, and other technological augmentations.
• How the freedom of the body is also the freedom of the mind.
• Ethical issues of body modification as personal expression and identity and interactions with other people…
• Unfortunate discovery about our evolutionary history: Our skulls are shaped to take a punch, and our fists are shaped to punch a human skull. That’s why it’s so hard to scan the brain through the skull…
“If only we had punched each other less, maybe we could have giant robot bodies already.”
• Where do I begin and where do you end? Hacking my body is always a political act because it’s always interfering with the commons and the expectations of the system.
• The continued breakdown of consensus reality as we hack ourselves into having all kinds of different new senses that we do not share with everybody else – and how we hopefully begin to CELEBRATE this, celebrate diversity of body forms beyond just whether they depart in minor superficial details from the normal human image or some magazine-made simulacrum of it.
“Sensory augmentation and sensory substitution have the biggest opportunity to fundamentally change who we are as people and how we interact with our environment. And I also think it’s the biggest thing that’s going to blindside people, because some of this stuff is right around the corner.”
“In the past year, DARPA [said] they are getting touch to work in prosthetics. They hooked up a paraplegic woman to a jet simulator and she taught herself how to fly the jet, just by having her brain connected to it, in a day or two.”
“What we’ve learned is that it’s a lot more simple than you might have expected to just plug a thing into the right part of the brain and let the brain figure out how to communicate with it.”
• Trevor raps off a truly impressive list of precedent-setting body hacking experiments starting in 2004 and continuing through utterly crazy science in the present day…
• Will expanding our senses to see or feel the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum help keep us safe from all the wireless information and energy transfer that society requires?
• Will everyone have access to it, or will it create a further divide?
• Project Hieroglyph: Vandana Singh’s short story “Entanglement” Karl Schroeder's short story "Degrees of Freedom" and its feature of sensory substitution vests for ecological and political influence.
Prosthetic Indigenous Animistic Awareness
Living in a Postliterate Rumor Society
“You will probably have groups of people who are all about the visual senses, I’m sure, though, too - they’ll all commune together and Look At Things Very Closely.”
#dualplatformidentity // #mindclones
“A lot of us are so not ready to process the changes of twenty years ago, much less process the changes of now.”
• What Does It Mean To Be Human?
Michael’s essays from the Body Hacking Conference Blog:
Best Seat in the House: Being Every Drone
Body Alchemy: Let’s Hack The Microbiome!
US Supreme Court: You’re A Cyborg
0014 Michael Phillip (Special Episode: Westworld Problems)
With special guest, host of Third Eye Drops Podcast and fellow esoteric dork extraordinaire, Michael Phillip. We go deep into the layers underneath the layers of HBO’s awesome new show Westworld – its future angst and wonder, and what it can teach us about the value and meaning of human existence.
SPOILER ALERT! We get into details of the Season Finale, so don’t listen to this unless you’ve seen it.
The show is worth it, though, so watch it and then come back to this conversation – in which we totally ignore the precedent of Battlestar Galactica while discussing Westworld’s awesome treatment of “Am I actually a robot?” and its evolution from the original 1970s version – and speculate on the world OUTSIDE of Westworld, the missing context for this robot violence playland that to us makes very little economic sense.
Michael Phillip echoes majestically from beyond the void as we talk about:
• William Gibson’s argument that AI isn’t robots but a “coral reef” in which all internet-connected human beings are participating;
• Magic Leap and other paradigm-shattering technologies poised to arrive on the scene simultaneously and challenge our very sense of what is real;
• Branded mixed reality universes shared by fandoms as AI testbeds;
• The danger of projecting our modern values into a fictional world at least 60 years ahead of the present – one where overpopulation may reduce the value of a human life, or might be jaded with the virtual and really want a “flesh and blood” experience of virtual reality (Is Westworld the equivalent of “artisanal small batch” or “analog aficionado” for the not-so-distant future?);
• How being able to 3D print new body parts might one day inspire a carelessness with physical harm, or possibly even new arts of consequence-free self-mutilation;
• The importance of feeling something REAL, feeling like your consequences MATTER, and how comfort sometimes is the enemy of evolution;
• Is human life losing its value?
• Sentience / Sapience & Panpsychism, Complexity
• The project of creating our own machine gods and their seemingly inevitable project of creating their own gods – Dan Simmons’ amazing Hyperion Cantos (science fiction novel series) talks about this – and how we might move into a kind of rainforest of different kinds of artificial sentience…
• Moore’s Law and entropy and evolution – will we run faster people in smaller bodies? (Fraggle Rock, Fractal Rock)
• If we’re data then of course we have duplicate versions of ourselves running around out there…
• The FOMO-ularity, when the risk of printing out a body to run at one millionth of your society’s consensus digital reality is unthinkable.
• Uploading only copies, does not transfer a continuous stream of, qualia – you aren’t immortal, just your pattern (maybe)
• Martine Rothblatt’s idea of “dual platform identity” and the light and dark sides of being able to train a computer to think and act like you.
• Can we use the ancient techniques of ecstasy employed by shamanism to more adequately navigate the turbulence and overwhelm of (post-post-)modern life?
• What else do Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, and JJ Abrams have in store for us with this? We know they’re into archetypes and layers…
• MP proposes that Arnold is the heart and Ford is the mind, leading MG to bring up Set & Osiris, Christ & Lucifer…you know, classic pairs that descend through involutionary layers of being into ever branching polar incarnations. Paradox resolved dissolves as dyads in the Fall. Ford is Lucifer and Arnold is the Christ. BAM.
• What are people going to be dissatisfied with in the future?
• Next World Problems