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Future Fossils

It's about time! Provocative, profound discussions at the intersection of art, science, and wonder with paleontologist-futurist Michael Garfield and a growing list of awesome guests... A podcast for the future archeologists digging through our digital remains. Conversations of the unconventional, bizarre, free-roaming, fun, irreverent, and thoughtful kind...an auditory psychedelic to get you prepared for living in a wilder future than we can imagine. Support this podcast and get rewards: http://patreon.com/michaelgarfield Join our discussion group and meet like minds: http://facebook.com/groups/futurefossils
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Oct 13, 2017

This week’s guest is philosopher Kerri Welch, whose doctoral thesis from CIIS (and current book-in-progress) explore a fractal model of time.  If you have ever wondered about time, this episode is for you.  Instant classic.

 

Kerri’s Academic Papers & Talks:

https://ciis.academia.edu/KerriWelch

 

Kerri’s Blog:

https://textureoftime.wordpress.com

 

We take a wild tour through the layers of the human brain and mind, examining the correlations between different brain waves and their correspondent states of consciousness – and speculate on our experience of time as an evolved response to a far more complex and awesome world than we can possibly conceive!

Twenty minutes in and we’ve already covered the fractal nature of time and we’re on to  explaining what happens to the modern self and its boundaries in the torrent of novelty that awaits un in a digital age.  Then we go deep for another hour and a half…

 

DISCUSSED:

• Fate vs Free Will in light of Chaos Theory

• The relationship between technology and our experience of time, overstimulated, interrupted

• How Jean Gebser’s structures of consciousness overlay on EEG data

• The nature of synchronicity & time vs. timelessness

• The effects of ayahuasca, illness, aging, and other time-warping events on the passage of time

• Singularities and our asymptotic approach to transcendence

• Narrative collapse, fake news, and the end of history

• Relativity, scaling laws, and city time vs. country time

• What was before TIME?

• Pet telepathy as a matter of referential framing

• The “future” causing the “past”…

• …and the physics (and psychology!) of how to feel the future.

• Schizophrenia as possibly a disorder of time perception

• Dopamine levels and the experience of duration

• Human chronobiology adapted to other planet’s days

• Integrating the rational mind with transpersonal experience 

 

QUOTES:

“We actually can’t get precise enough to bring the level of predictability that physics once thought it could.”

“Children have to be indoctrinated into time, right?  They’re not born into linear time.  They’re born in a timeless space, and that’s where they live, and then they live in this hypnagogic dream time, which is all present moment.  You’ll hear kids say, like, ‘I remember when you were little’ to their parents.”

“When we restrict ourselves to linear causal thinking, we are coarse-graining the present moment.  We are glossing over the infinite depth of richness available within the present moment.  And of course it’s paradoxical:  we coarse-grain it by dividing it more finely.”

“What we’re experiencing in our culture right now is the entrainment to the fast frequencies.  We’re not letting the long slow frequencies have the greatest amplitude.  What does that look like?  It looks like hanging out with rocks and trees and elders.  And that’s the integration that we need in order to nest our super-fast frequencies within, in order to give them direction…if we can nest within the natural structures of the long, slow frequencies that surround us, it will guide these fast frequencies in healthier directions.”

“We REALLY just have to get better at holding multiple realities.  AND recognizing what’s important about them.”

“The dog comes and sits by the door half an hour before the owner comes home because to the dog, the owner’s already home.  Their moment is big enough that it’s happening already.  But we’re so finely dividing things that we’re like, ‘It’s half an hour away!  It’s an eternity!’  But for the dog that’s been sitting bored at home all day…”

“Free will comes from a future influence we can’t see.  That’s one way I would interpret it.”

“The definition of human experience is, to me, the limitation of infinity, in order to have experience.”

 

 

 

 

Oct 6, 2017

This week’s guest is tattoo artist Christopher Sheehan, who regards his practice as a sacred act and tattoo as a kind of binding of time in the body.

https://www.mountaintempletattoo.com/

 

We talk about:

• how he became a tattoo artist and came into “transformational tattooing” as a way of communicating with and programming the subconscious mind;

• other ways we bind time into matter with earthworks art and pre-Columbian mounds;

• the difference between choosing your own tattoos and the more traditional style of having them chosen for you by the artist;

• the virtue and value of The Ordeal in personal transformation;

• seeing skin art as a transcultural phenomenon connecting us to other tribes and traditions across time and space;

• and the future of tattoo as an art form and a culture, in which skin art merges with speech as part of a new, richer, more embodied language…

 

“If you had to put something in your bathroom mirror…what would you want in your bathroom mirror FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?  That feedback loop with the imagery with which we surround ourselves is TOTALLY game-changing and shifting.”

“What identity do I want to imprint upon my life?  What connection to something within me do I want to see empowered and enhanced?  And the tattoo becomes this living reflection of that enhancement, that empowerment, that connection, alignment.”

“So much of our cultural perspective is about comfort and convenience – and to do something that is physically taxing, emotionally and mentally demanding on a level of momentary transcendence – it’s new for a lot of people.”

“The tattoo artist and the machinery that they use are going to become more and more intuitive and integrated…kind of like when I oil paint, or even when I get into a flow with dot work and stippling, I don’t even feel like I’m doing it.  I’m watching myself INTEND it.”

 

Sep 29, 2017

This week we continue the special two-part conversation with historian, poet, and mythographer William Irwin Thompson.  Author of dozens of sweeping works of synthetic insight, Bill Thompson’s greatest work may not have been a book but a community:  The Lindisfarne Association, a post-academic “intellectual concert” for the “study and realization of a new planetary culture,” which anchored in various locations across the United States as a flesh-and-blood meta-industrial village for most of its forty years. 

In his latest and last book, Thinking Together at the Edge of History, Thompson looks back on the failures and successes of this project, which he regards as a “first crocus” budding up through the snow of our late-industrial dark age to herald the arrival of a planetary renaissance still yet to come. 

This episode pivots from a contemplation of Lindisfarne’s history to our navigation of the turbulence between two world eras – how will we weather all this change, and what new life and worldview awaits us on the other side?

We talk about surfing the “winds of creative destruction” in a highly volatile digital economy; the emergence of the elemental spirits of the land into our demon-haunted crystalline electronic infrastructure; the future of parenting in a world too fast and too complex for public schooling or the nuclear family; the tension between emergent new media and art forms and the traditional forms of novel/poem/painting/song/etc.; the relationship between improvisational speaking and spiritual channeling; and the experience of being an “entelechy,” a multitude of smaller agencies comprising an ecology of self, an endosymbiotic “Homo gestalt.”

Bill speaks candidly and fluently about his unusual life history as a parent and living journey as an aging mystic, bringing erudite historic overview together with a surprisingly frank perspective on his transpersonal experiences.  It’s an honor to be able to share this discussion with you…

 

 

QUOTES:

“Mysticism is relevant now because it’s a good description of the daily news; it’s just responsible journalism that there is this mystical quality to an ethereal economy that is electronically blipping wealth back and forth in this computerized online banking world.”

“When you have an oxymoronic culture with the djinn inhabiting the computers and moving into the cognitive space symbiotically with human beings, the definition of the environment is changing and that which is invisible to the materialist or the industrialist is now recognized as an endosymbiont with us – so it becomes like the cell with the mitochondria.”

“Depressions and catastrophes are transitions from one system to another in complex dynamical systems, so you have to step back and look at the big picture.  And if you try to keep the accounts in a small container, where you say, ‘Nothing is stable! Nothing can be held’  Well, why is Buddhism so popular?  Because that’s exactly what Buddhism is saying!  If you attach and you’re grasping, you’re going to suffer.”

“We see [the change] but we always see it negatively.  We see the crash but not the imaginary future that’s emerging.”

“When the family always lived together in the nuclear family, what do you have?  They were always arguing and fighting…compression isn’t necessarily a good thing.  It’s what Whitehead would call ’the fallacy of simple location.’  So I embrace that the environment is now planetary.  It’s person-planet.  And through Skype and things like this, I’m in constant communication with the family, and that’s okay.”

“As you develop your subtle bodies through yoga…when you reach a certain point, you get what I call a ‘matching grant,’ like how a foundation gives matching grants, and if your evolutionary sheath reaches a certain point, then a being comes to cohabit-ate with you in your auric extended ecology.”

“You don’t want to have a hungry ghost as a daemonic guide, so discrimination is definitely called for.”

“Some [bacteria] you need in your stomach to digest, and if they get in the wrong place and they’re out of timing, they’re not so good.  If Godzilla tramps through Times Square, it’s not a good thing.  If he goes for a walk in the Jurassic, it’s okay.”

 

NOTE:

Again, here are the links to the first two chats we had in 2011 and 2013, as well as to my video remix of one of Bill’s lectures with footage from Burning Man.  Enjoy and be sure to check out Bill’s awesome books, as well as his extensive lecture series archived online with the Lindisfarne Tapes!

Sep 25, 2017

This week’s guest is one of my greatest inspirations:  the historian, poet, and mythographer William Irwin Thompson.  Author of sweeping works of synthetic insight like At The Edge of History (a finalist for the National Book Award in 1972), The American Replacement of Nature, and Coming Into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness, Bill Thompson’s greatest work may not have been a book but a community:  The Lindisfarne Association, a post-academic “intellectual concert” for the “study and realization of a new planetary culture,” which anchored in various locations across the United States as a flesh-and-blood meta-industrial village for most of its forty years. 

Lindisfarne’s roster reads like a who’s who of influential latter-20th Century thinkers:  Gregory Bateson, Lynn Margulis, Ralph Abraham, Stuart Kauffman, Paolo Soleri, Francisco Varela, David Abram, Hazel Henderson, Joan Halifax-Roshi, James Lovelock, Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Maurice Strong, and Michael Murphy were among them.  In his latest and last book, Thinking Together at the Edge of History, Thompson looks back on the failures and successes of this project, which he regards as a “first crocus” budding up through the snow of our late-industrial dark age to herald the arrival of a planetary renaissance still yet to come. 

Bill’s wisdom and humility, vast and inclusive vision, and amazing skill for bringing things together in a form of freestyle “wissenkunst” (or “knowledge art”) made this and every conversation that I’ve had with him illuminating and instructive.

(Here are links to the first two chats we had in 2011 and 2013, as well as to my video remix of one of Bill’s lectures with footage from Burning Man.)

For anyone who wants to know what happens after universities and nations lose their dominance and both economy and identity “etherealize” in a new paradigm of ecological human interbeing that revives premodern ways of knowing and relating – and/or for anyone who wants to help build institutions that will weather the chaotic years to come and help transmit our cultural inheritance and novel insights to the unborn generations – here is a conversation with one of the master thinkers of our time, a mystic poet and professor whose work and life challenged our assumptions and proposed a powerful, complete, and thrilling view of our emergent role as citizens of Earth.

We talk Trump and our future-shocked need for charismatic strongmen, digital humans and the tragicomedy of the smartphone takeover, technocracy versus the metaindustrial village-monastery and  “counterfoil institutions,” the “necessary exercise in futility” of dealing with rich and influential people to fund important work, how the future arrives unevenly, and how to get involved in institutional work without losing your soul…

Also, cryptocurrencies and universal basic income as symptoms of the transition of the global economy from a liquid to a gaseous state;

 

QUOTES:

“Austin is, of course, an air bubble in the Titanic…”

“The counterfoil institution is a fractal…it’s the individual and the group, kind of like Bauhaus…it had an effect, but it was very short lived.  So I argued in Passages [About Earth] that these entities [including artistic movements like Bauhaus, but also communities like Auroville and Fyndhorn] were not institutions, but ENZYMES – they effected a kind of molecular bonding and effected larger institutions, but they themselves weren’t meant to become institutions.  And so Lindisfarne, which was a temporary phenomenon of Celtic Christianity, getting absorbed by Roman Christianity, was my metaphor for this transformation.”

“When you’re getting digested and absorbed [into the system], it can either be thrilling because you really WANT to become famous and you want to become a public intellectual, and you want to namedrop and be part of the power group…but if you’re trying to energize cultural authority, then it’s difficult in America.  You can get away with it, I think, more successfully in Europe, where there is this tradition of Great Eminences, and in Paris, once you’ve done something of value as an intellectual, then you’re part of it for your life.  It isn’t like, ‘What are you doing next?  Do it again, do it again, do it again.’  So American culture, based on this kind of hucksterism and boomerism and success culture, is very resistant to that sensibility.”

“We’re always a minority. If we look at The Enlightenment, we’re talking about, what, twelve intellectuals in all of Europe?  If you’re an extraterrestrial and you flying-saucered into Florence in the 15th Century and said, ‘Hey, I hear you guys are having a Renaissance?’ And they said, ‘What?’  What do three painters mean?  It’s still the Middle Ages for them.  And so everybody’s in different times’ laminar flow.  Some are faster and more ultraviolet and high energy, and others are very wide, slow, and sluggish.  And that’s how nature works.”

“Each person makes his own dance in response to the laws of gravity…if we didn’t have gravity, we wouldn’t have ballet.”

“If you’re running a college, or a dance troupe, or an orchestra, or ANYTHING – someone in the group has to learn how to deal with money.  And I think I failed, even though I succeeded in raising millions, by being a 60’s kind of countercultural type who was suspicious of money.  I crossed my legs and was afraid of violation.  And I didn’t come fully to understand the importance of money.  But now that we bank online…”

Sep 15, 2017
This week’s guest is the visionary painter Hannah Faith Yata, whose riotous, ecstatic work explores and celebrates natural biodiversity, and exalts the repressed feminine – the beautiful and the grotesque, death and life in vivid color all at once.
 
We talk about her new show “Dancing in Delirium,” the role and life of wilderness in the Anthropocene – weather control and fear porn (eerily prescient, given recent events; this talk was recorded in July) – the feeling of living through a time of massive change and chaos (and clocking out with cute pet videos) – art as rebellion and the party as a revolution – the pagan conjunction of human and animal revived in cosplay and furry culture – and the ways our ideas are literally making impressions on the land )yet, we are something that the land itself is doing)…
 
“The city, to me – that’s like a virtual reality made out of brick and steel.”
 
“Wildness for me, means: leave it the fuck alone.”
 
“I like to think of my work as this strange awakening of a rebellion…”
 
“I’m not fond of human faces, and I’ll tell you why. For me, seeing somebody’s face and having to analyze every single detail, every wrinkle, every little nuance, is just…if you think about painting and its historical significance, it’s like you’re immortalizing this person. You’re immortalizing their ego. To me, though, I think it’s all about more or less the abolishment of the ego and this realizing that we’re a part of nature, that we see ourselves in nature…I don’t want to shit on portraiture, because I think it’s beautiful, but that’s not my statement.”
 
“I feel like everything today is this dance of trying to keep the ego so that it doesn’t fly off into space.”
 
“It doesn’t have to be pretty…if you or I were thrown out in the wilderness tomorrow, it’s not like there’s some nature god that’s going to protect us. It’s wild out there! Actual wildness is wild!”
 
“We have more moral codes when we go to war against other people than we do hacking through a rainforest. So to personify things and to think of them as these living personalities helps us to remember our respect for these things.”
Sep 11, 2017

This week’s guest is Andrew J. O’Keefe II – documentarian, archivist for Singularity University, devoted recordist of the emergent planetary culture, and a dear old friend I met back in the Dawn of Time when he was working as the personal assistant to Android Jones.

 

http://www.andrewjokeefe.com/

https://www.facebook.com/andrewjokeefe

https://twitter.com/andrewjokeefe?lang=en

https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewjokeefe/

https://medium.com/@andrewjokeefe

 

We talk about the motivations for preserving and reliving the significant (AND insignificant) moments of our lives.

 

From the role of “tapers” in the success of The Grateful Dead & STS9, Terence McKenna and Robert Anton Wilson, and The Exegesis of Phillip K Dick…to how a donation of 600 books started Harvard University…to a vision of our artificial intelligence augmented descendants living in a world of totally recorded life and currently incomprehensible richness and insight…this is a conversation about why we “save” things, and why we should treat our record-keeping as the sacred task it truly is.

 

“If we don’t preserve what’s important to us, then we run the risk of not sharing it ever again.  Nobody might never even know that it happened.”

 

“What exactly ARE our priorities?”

 

“The control of where this stuff is headed is out of any one organization or individual’s hands.  On the other hand, we have these central systems of control…if we don’t find a way to decentralize what humanity has developed up to this point, we’re probably going to lose it.”

 

“If we let market forces run [the world]; if we let meaningless trends of shit, surface level culture that’s not even real culture, that’s like iterative loop culture, if we let that dictate things, then as everything gets increasingly out of control or asymmetrical, what the hell else do we have to fall back on?”

 

“I think the paradoxes of living in society are only going to increase at an exponential rate.  It’s going to terrify people; it’s going to cause mass chaos in unprecedented ways because we have these centuries-old resentments that technology is not going to erase.  It’s only going to make further asymmetrical.  The history of all borders:  there’re losers.  Those people are upset…have a right to be upset.  Both psychedelics and the ancient modalities of healing…are going to be the most critical tool that we use to move forward.”

Aug 28, 2017

This week’s guest is Hunter Maats, host of the Mixed Mental Arts Podcast and co-author of The Straight-A Conspiracy.   We talk about the future of education and human collaboration – moving past a world of routine factory-worker indoctrination and the “insane cargo cult” of the academic system, and into a new model for the transmission of knowledge that suits a truly planetary culture.

 

https://twitter.com/huntermaats

https://medium.com/@huntermaats

 

The value of myth, ritual, and other deeply-ingrained but often-maligned premodern human activities.

 

How to make sense of authority, expertise, and accreditation in a world where the dominance of academia (and the legitimacy of so many other institutions) is losing hold.

 

How do we structure a “global village?”

 

What is post-academic education?  What comes after the fall of the Ivory Tower?  How do we recruit premodern impulses into the project of contemporary life without repressing magic, ritual, and myth?

 

We also talk a lot of smack on Richard Dawkins for being the totally irrational pope of Anti-Religion.

 

Hunter mentions my article on the evolution of creativity:

https://medium.com/@michaelgarfield/how-to-live-in-the-future-part-4-the-future-is-exapted-remixed-35ea5ca9d877

 

Quotes:

 

“The walls of the Ivory Tower have been falling down for the last thirty years.  There are now 60 million scientific papers, 130 million books.  It’s literally too much information for a tiny cadre of individuals to try and make sense of.  It’s going to take seven and a half billion people to really make sense and draw signal out of that noise.”

 

“If you’re reading a blog post, you’re getting an hour or two of distilled thought.  If you’re reading a book, then you’re getting hundreds or thousands of hours of distilled thought.  The question is, what is your information diet, and what are you sharing, and what are you engaging with?”

 

“You should structure a global village a lot like you structure an actual village…”

 

“Biologically, we want ritual, we want myth, we want belonging, we want a sense of embeddedness.  BUT, we have all this cool stuff now…”

 

“People like [Richard] Dawkins, even though they bang on about reason all the time, are in my assessment not very reflective individuals.”

 

“The flag of science has, for a really long time, been in the hands of narrow minded bigots who have drawn a line around their tribe and said that all other tribes, which they call ‘religion,’ or some kind of primitive savagery, are worthless.  And I have no desire of living that way, and I don’t consider what they do ‘science.’  Because science is about changing your mind in light of all available evidence.  It’s not about petty tribalism.”

 

Mentioned:

 

George Lakoff

Richard Dawkins

Marie Kondo

Adam Smith

Yuval Harari

Kevin Kelly

Richard Doyle

David Loye

Charles Darwin

Alfred Russell Wallace

Aug 14, 2017

 

This week’s guest is singer-songwriter and music therapist Marya Stark, whom I met at the Global Sound Conference in Los Angeles in 2008.  We discuss the future of the feminine, relationships, and reproduction – and laugh a lot.

 

• Links

http://marya-stark.com

https://maryastark.bandcamp.com

https://soundcloud.com/marya-stark

https://www.facebook.com/maryastarkmusic

 

• Topics

- Long Distance Relationships in the Internet Age

- The Pre-Trans Fallacy & Getting Back to The Land

- The Future of Sex in the Age of Machines

- Industrial Medicine & Birth Trauma

- Terraforming & Artificial Wombs

- Tradition vs. Innovation

- Rudolf Steiner’s Lucifer & Ahriman

- Artificial hormones in the drinking water feminizing songbirds

- Intuition of Altitude

- Dancing between the organic and digital:  how can we hold both ends of this without succumbing to either?

- Reclaiming the sacred traditions of premodern femininity

- Bloodwork, Moon Lodges, and the revival of the Sacred Feminine

- Adopting a “Bit Torrent” model to our mixed ethnicities and identities, as a response to concerns about cultural appropriation and “buffet-line” spirituality

- Building a “Literacy of Empathies”

- The moving target of “wisdom,” “experience,” and “adult” through the ages

- Soul Retrieval 101

- dealing with the emotions of the intuition of A sole connection from a parallel universe or alternative timeline & The perils of “astral polyamory”

 

• Quotes

“Just because the wisdom is ancient doesn’t mean it’s the most effective.”

“Sometimes when we’re in a distortion paradigm, our strategies for wholeness create more distortion.”

“Are we all going to have this magical Golden Age wake-up call?  I’m still rootin’ for it.”

“Honor the thousands of shoulders that we stand on to be able to host some of this information.  Because they were committed to the lineage.  They were committed to carrying it through, no matter what.  They’d give their lives for it.  I have meditation in my life because of those individuals.  I’m not going to shit all over them because I think their cultural context or whatever doesn’t match my fucking modern idea and ideals.  So how do I hold the complexity of that conversation in my heart while not spinning my ego into circles about how cool I am because I’m a meditator?”

“I have to have a prayer for our species that we are connected to an evolutionary architecture…”

“It’s as if the pain that everyone is in is the same.  And it’s rooted in disconnection and distortion of what they’re capable of.”

 

• Citations

- Up From Eden by Ken Wilber

- At The Edge of History by William Irwin Thompson

- Alien: Covenant (film)

- HR Giger and The Zeitgeist of the Twentieth Century by Stanislav Grof

- Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck & Christopher Cowan

- “The Tower That Ate People” by Peter Gabriel (song)

- Videodrome (film)

- Homo Deus by Yuval Harari

- Team Human Podcast with Douglas Rushkoff

Aug 8, 2017

“You were a paleontologist, originally.  I’ve always considered myself a ‘paisley-ontologist.’  A paleontologist will excavate the soil in search of fossils and a paisley-ontologist will excavate the present for fossilized perceptions.  So I’m always looking for these kind of nuggets, linguistic impressions or etymological traces that lead us from the present into this sort of timelessness, or this subconscious of words and symbols.  I look at the world as a sort of Rorschach Worship Workshop…”

This week’s guest is “The Ungoogleable” Michaelangelo, who all-embracing creative life is as difficult to describe as he is to find via conventional web search.  The only person I’ve ever met – or could imagine – who could successfully pull off the marriage of “comedy,” “necromancy,” AND “rap” – and do it all in a convincing but false Scottish brogue as his alter ego Void Denizen – Michael is one of the wittiest, most hermetic guests this podcast’s ever had.  AND he has some thoughts about the show itself that take us down a labradorite rabbit hole and into underground auroras, where the riddles of the afterlife unfold before our very eyes. 

Even I learned new things about “Future Fossils” in this conversation!  Come with us on a trip into the Illuminated Unconscious and help us excavate the present in the new discipline of Paisley-ontology…

 

• Michelangelo’s Website:

http://www.voidandimagination.com/

• MG interviews Void Denizen on Reality Sandwich:

http://realitysandwich.com/321767/necromancing-the-philosophers-stone-void-denizens-psychomagical-hip-hop/

 

• Topics:

- artificial intelligence

- gaia theory

- the anthropocene

- the atmosphere as an artifact

- mineral consciousness

- “upgrade or perish”

- flowers were a catastrophe

- the importance of turning to face the strange

- paisley-ontology

- using natural fractals as an inkblot test or oracle

- pareidolia

- embodied cognition & conceptual metaphor

- panpsychism & mind as process

- the invention of and reason for sex

- aliens & the archetype of the flying saucer

- the soul and all its incarnations as a single four-dimensional organism

- daimonic information

- excavating the future out of the present

- fossilized dinosaur brains

- accidental summonings

- The Mandela Effect & the possibility of changing the past

- The Metaforest

 

• Mentions:

- How To Know Higher Realms by Rudolf Steiner

- The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes

- Sex, Ecology, Spirituality by Ken Wilber

- Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff & Mark Johnson

- Francisco Varela

- Neil Theise

- Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

- Darwin’s Pharmacy by Richard Doyle

- Crystal & Dragon by David Wade

- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

- Wings of Desire & City of Angels (films)

- Daniel Vitalis on Tangentially Speaking Podcast

- Crossing The Event Horizon by Jonathan Zap

- “Modern Things” by Björk

- Interstellar (film)

 

• Other Stuff:

- View From The Horizon

https://evolution.bandcamp.com/album/view-from-the-horizon-perspectives-on-a-new-age-burning-man-2013

 

Aug 1, 2017

This week is part 2 of our conversation with biohacking polyamorous geneticist and aspiring Australian politician Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow Meow, founder of Sydney’s Biofoundry.  Get ready for a chat so crazy you’ll think it’s 1999…we spend about 20 minutes arguing about modern art, 20 minutes arguing about the Singularity, and 20 minutes arguing about what’s in the box.

• Meow Himself:

https://www.facebook.com/meowludo

• Biofoundry:

http://foundry.bio/

https://www.facebook.com/Bio-Hack-Syd-488627521201437/

https://www.meetup.com/biohackoz/

 

• We Talk:

- We compare campaigning for nuclear technology to bringing a stripper with a drug problem to family dinner;

- IP as Art & The Shape of The Future;

- Leveraging existing systems as scaffolding to transition back into a way of life more suited to our paleolithic environment;

- Vantablack & the jerk who got an exclusive license to use it for art – and how the art community fought back;

- What is GOOD art?

- How “What is Life?” and “What is Art?” might be the same question…

- What the next few decades will be like if we assume a Technological Singularity…

- The social construction of identity

- We argue for ages about whether godlike AI will be independent from the biosphere….

 

• Citations:

- Common As Air by Lewis Hyde

- Damien Hirst

- Anish Kapoor

- Alain de Botton

- Marcel Duchamp

- Michelangelo

- James Gansfield

- The Architects of Air

- Stuart Semple

- Andrew Despi

- What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

- John Allen (Institute of Ecotechnics)

- Shin Gojira

- Teranesia by Greg Egan

- The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

- Bacterial Polyamory

 

• Quotes:

“If you say to ‘them,’ ‘I have fifteen girlfriends, how many of them should I bring?’, you’ll freak ‘em the fuck out.”

“Artists have to be subversive.  And why not be subversive within the system that exists?  Because that provokes other artists to come and then challenge it.”

“I’ve had enough wine to say this:  everything we do now is meaningless.  It’s playtime until the Technological Singularity.”

“We are made of atoms, ultimately, but they’re our bitch.”

“We’re talking twenty years from now, and I can’t even predict this year.  If I could, I would have invested in Bitcoin in March!”

 

• Read more about evolution as entropy:

https://medium.com/@michaelgarfield/the-evolution-of-surveillance-part-3-living-in-the-belly-of-the-beast-2a42538ee2

• Read more about evolution as a remix:

https://medium.com/@michaelgarfield/how-to-live-in-the-future-part-4-the-future-is-exapted-remixed-35ea5ca9d877

Jul 27, 2017

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This week’s guest is Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow Meow, founder of Sydney’s Biofoundry whom I met at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Innovation Lab in February.  Meow is a modern trickster-wizard par excellence, entirely too smart for his own good, and he loves to argue – this is one of the most wide-ranging talks on Future Fossils yet!  Enjoy part 1 of a special double feature that continues next week…

 

• Biofoundry:

http://foundry.bio/

 

• Press about Meow:

https://www.inverse.com/article/5887-australian-biohacker-meow-ludo-meow-meow-on-diy-biology

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/man-named-meow-ludo-disco-gamma-meow-meow-has-transit-pass-implanted-into-hand_us_5953b3eae4b0da2c732015e6

 

• We Talk:

 

- Cryptocurrency

- Biohacking

- Getting Married on the Blockchain

Polyamory & Relationship Anarchy

- Intellectual Property

- An Ecological View of Relationships

- Plural Singularities

- The Genetic Origins of Hominids  (HARs)

- Would God be considered an Organism?

- Crystals Are COOL

- Mass Extinctions

- Asteroid Mining

- An Ethical Debate on Eugenics & Nukes

- Meltdowns, Solar Flares, & The Insecurity of The Electrical Grid

 

Citations:

 

• Common As Air - Lewis Hyde

• More Than Two - Franklin Veaux & Eve Reichert

• I Heart Huckabees (film)

• The Pill Versus The Springhill Mine Disaster - Richard Brautigan

• “Transcending Possessiveness in Love & Music” by Michael Garfield

• Guns, Germs & Steel - Jared Diamond

• Interstellar (film)

• WALL-E (film)

 

“Capitalism lends itself to models that are in crisis continuously…”

Jul 21, 2017
This week we talk about what the oldest fossils in the world have to teach us about life’s origins and destiny with Tara Djokic of the University of New South Wales. Tara’s a geologist and astrobiologist whose team and work just appeared on the cover of Scientific American for changing our ideas about the beginning of our story…
 
QUOTES:
 
“Thinking for humanity, moving forward and prospering as a global community – a lot of people in power aren’t thinking that way.”
 
“We can only base what we know about life, and about intelligent life, on what we know here on Earth, because we’ve got no other sample. And until that happens, we can only make hypotheses.”
 
“I can only speak for me. And when I think, okay, well, we all just came from goo, and maybe one day the universe won’t be here anymore, I find that pretty humbling. And that’s pretty much the reason I got into this field. Relationships come and go, friendships come and go, life changes and evolves…and the society we live in is so distracting, and we get caught up in trivial things…when you put that all in perspective and think, we all just came from goo, it just makes you a little bit HUMBLER. Because I do get caught up in the same stuff that everybody else does. We’re humans; we’re governed by our emotions and our biology…if I can look outside of that biological box as a human being and put things in perspective, then I’m going to. And that’s what I think astrobiology does, and that’s what I think studying the origins of life does.”
 
“We’re really just a macro-sized version of a microbial community on the planet.”
 
“We’re a community. But unfortunately, for some reason, humans all seem to think we’re individual and the pocket over here can do whatever they want and it won’t affect the pocket over there.”
 
“The one saving grace we have for humanity is hope. Hope is what drives anybody to do anything, right? The hope to achieve something. The hope that they’re going to succeed.”
 
“The key difference between science and religion is that science gives you the information and then you can make your own decision, whereas a lot of the time it’s, ‘This is the information; take it or leave it.’ For me the beauty of science and the beauty of education is that you’re able to make critical decisions FOR YOURSELF.”
 
TOPICS:
 
- What are the oldest fossils on the planet?
- What was the environment in which life emerged on Earth?
- Explaining scientific research to strangers.
- The relationship between scholarship and leisure.
- How she become an astrobiologist
- Fermi’s Paradox & The Great Silence (or, “If life is so likely, why don’t we hear anybody?”)
- Have we not encountered intelligent extraterrestrials because they tend to wipe themselves out, or because they’ve learned to encrypt all of their communication to look like radio noise?
- The two kinds of scientists: concepts first, then hypothesis; or data first, then hypothesis.
- The mystical experience of doing paleontological fieldwork in the Badlands.
- How does this research help us understand where to look for life elsewhere in the solar system?
- What the study of ancient life reveals about overarching patterns in every part of the cosmos.
- The Great Oxygenation Event 2.4 billion years ago and what we can learn from this ancient catastrophe.
- The importance of good science writing in an age of “alternative facts.”
- The difficulties faced by science in an age when so much of discovery is made with the assistance of sophisticated machines.
 
MENTIONS:
 
- Edgar Mitchell
- Bruce Damer & Dave Deamer
- Paolo Soleri
- The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter
- Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Ready Player One by Ernest Kline
- The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
Jul 13, 2017
This week's episode is brought to you by Visionary Magnets, the refrigerator poetry magnets that turn your boring old kitchen appliances into the substrate for woke invocations, tantric pillow talk, and other occult goofery. Support their Kickstarter and "enlighten your fridge" today! Or tomorrow.
 
This week is part one of a special double-length episode with Jon Lebkowsky, founder of EFF-Austin – one of the unsung heroes of Internet culture, whose tale stretches through the earliest web communities and reads like a list of landmark moments in the history of digital rights and culture.
 
We talk about the early days of hacking in the Wild West of the 1990s, how the World Wide Web has changed since then, and the promises and perils of the Internet in the 21st Century.
 
It’s a winding tale of pseudonymous keyboard-slingers and federal raids, roleplaying game empires and sci-fi visionaries, centered on the unsuspecting hippie cowboy outpost of Austin, Texas, Once Upon A Time.
 
Enjoy this special conversation on the history of the Internet we know today, and a snapshot of the hopes and fears of life online in the dawn of our digital era…
 
TOPICS:
 
- The threat of Internet-empowered fascism and “participation mystique” (or maybe worse, a corporate plutocracy) eroding rational civil discourse and the dignity of the individual
- The problems with “Net Neutrality” and how it makes more sense to focus on “The Freedom to Connect”
- Connectivity vs. Interdependence (OR) Networks vs. Buddhism
- Does the Noosphere already exist, and we’re just excavating it?
- The History of Electronic Frontier Foundation-Austin and how it was connected to the secret service’s raid of legendary role-playing game designer Steve Jackson (GURPS)
- The hilarious, troubled Dawn Age of e-commerce before secure web browsing
- Jon’s work with a Gurdjieff group and his encounters with esoterica as an editor of the Consciousness subdomain for the last issue of the Whole Earth Review
- Cybergrace, TechGnosis, and Millennial concerns about the mind/body split in the first Internet and our need to humanize technology with whole-body interfaces and MOVEMENT
- Embodied Virtual Reality & Other Full-Sensory Immersive Media
- Cory Doctorow’s new novel Walkaway as a banner book for the maker movement and a new form of cyber-social-liberation.
- The movement of political agency back into city-states in a digital era
- “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”
- Shaping the future of wireless infrastructure in the early 00s of Austin
- Getting our values right before we imprint the wrong ones into superhuman AI
- Putting together diverse conversation groups to solve “wicked problems”
- New forms of participatory open-source politics suited for an internet age
 
SOME OF THE PEOPLE & STUFF WE MENTIONED:
 
Whole Earth Provisions, Whole Earth Review, The WELL, Whole Foods, William Gibson, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hakim Bey, William Irwin Thompson, Alien Covenant, Terminator, John Perry Barlow, Mitch Kapor, Mike Godwin, Bruce Sterling, Clay Shirkey, WIRED Magazine, Fringeware, RoboFest, Heather Barfield, Neal Stephenson, Terence McKenna, Church of the Subgenius, Mondo 2000, Erik Davis, GI Gurdjieff, The National Science Fiction Convention, Rudy Rucker, Greg Bear, Jon Shirley, Jennifer Cobb, Robert Scoville, Greg Egan, Ernest Cline, Octopus Project, The Tingler, Honey I Shrunk The Kids (Ride), Charles Stross, Glass House, Rapture of the Nerds, Cory Doctorow, Alan Moore, Project Hieroglyph, Arizona State University, Jake Dunagan, Plutopia Productions, The Digital Convergence Initiative, Chris Boyd, South By Southwest, Boing Boing, Make Magazine, Dave Demaris, Maggie Duval, Bon Davis, DJ Spooky, Forest Mars, OS Con, RU Sirius, Shin Gojira, Open-Source Party,
 
JON LEBKOWSKY QUOTES:
 
“The Noosphere can certainly have pathologies…”
 
“The Internet was originally a peer-to-peer system, and so you had a network of networks, and they were all cooperating and carrying each other’s traffic, and so forth. And that was a fairly powerful idea, but the Internet is not that anymore. The Internet has, because of the way it’s evolved, because it’s become so powerful and so important and so critical, there are systems that are more dominant – backbone systems – and those are operated by large companies that understand how to operate big networks. That’s really a different system than the system that was originally built.”
 
“SO FAR we’ve managed to keep the Internet fairly open…the absolute idea of net neutrality might not be completely practical.”
 
“Science fiction is a literature of ideas, but a lot of those ideas do not manifest in exactly the way that they did in the book.”
 
“I don’t have a real high level of confidence that anybody understands exactly what the fuck is going on.”
 
“You couldn’t get a consumer account to get access to the Internet at that time. And in fact I think the first companies to do that were here in Austin.”
 
“At the time, we were the only game in town for internet stuff…”
 
“One thing I learned was, if you’re at the very cutting edge, it’s hard to make money.”
 
“There are a lot of people who aren’t in touch with themselves internally. Because it’s hard. It’s hard to do that.”
 
“I know that that’s sort of the goal in VR development: to give you a fully immersive experience where you’re really in a completely other reality, like in the Holodeck. But, you know. I’m still dealing with THIS reality. I don’t want another one.”
 
“In an online community, people are always itching for ways to get into real human proximity with one another. They’re always looking for ways to meet.”
 
“That’s my idea of what works now: is to have events that are experiences, you know, versus people just like, going to movies, or watching television, or going to a concert and watching a band play.”
 
“I keep thinking that we won’t be able to solve our problems with bureaucracy or the kind of governance structures that we’ve been living with, but I look around me and see people who are doing just fine, and doing great work, and living their lives…and I’m sort of feeling hopeful and a little bit confident that those people will step up and do what they need to do to make things work, even if our so-called elected officials aren’t doing it.”
Jul 6, 2017
“I think we’re at a real crossroads. I’m an old guy, I may not live to see a whole lot more of the changes that are undoubtedly going to happen, but I would sure like to. I try to be an optimist. I’d like to hope that through education and science and clear thinking and good communication we come to sort of a passive understanding of the stuff we need to do – rather than having any ‘conspiracy’ organizations shoving it down everybody’s throats. We can have creativity and BETTER lives, rather than just more and more and more.”
 
This week our guest is visionary artist Mark Henson, whose highly detailed and frequently erotic landscape paintings portray the full spectrum of human experience, our greatest dreams and most disturbing nightmares.
 
Mark’s been a friend and elder to me since we met in 2010 and I was delighted to catch up with him at this year’s Psychedelic Science Conference in Oakland – please excuse the background noise in this recording as you enjoy this festive and far-ranging conversation about art, life, and creativity!
 
  
TOPICS:
- Viewing and making art as time travel.
- Will artificial intelligence replace artists?
- Can we understand the universe?
- Altered sense of time self in dreams and psychedelic experiences.
- How technology has crept into our memory and dream lives.
- The necessity of Universal Basic Income AND Life Purpose in an automated post-work world.
- “The Work” of ayahuasca users and telepathic post-humans (on social media) of being open to the intensity and burden of collective experience.
- The importance of an intentional media diet.
- How Mark got to collaborate with Jimi Hendrix as a teenager!
- Mark’s thoughts on the history and evolving intersection of Street Art, Fine Art, and Live Music.
- How different musical styles and intoxicants contribute to different media ecosystems.
- How Mark and his stepson almost got one of his paintings into the White House.
- Projected art as graffiti and political action; augmented reality graffiti as the future of dissent, and geospatial metadata as a new cyberpunk Wild West – metagraffiti.
- Defacing ads and reclaiming public space, a polite How To.
- The future of the family.
 
REFERENCES:
- The Golden Oecumene Trilogy by John C. Wright
- Blood Music by Greg Bear
- Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research
- The Teafaerie’s Erowid Ibogaine Article
- Ayahuasca Coloring Book artist Alexander Ward
- Michael’s appearance on Comedy Central’s Problematic with Moshe Kasher
- Darwin’s Pharmacy by Richard Doyle
 
QUOTES FROM MARK:
 
“My overall project here is to create impressions of what life was like, in these days…”
 
“By 2000, we were supposed to be flying around in little personal cars and live in a peaceful world where the big issues had been resolved. That didn’t happen, so I’m not going to hold my breath on a Singularity.”
 
“Sometimes I have fairly vivid dreams where, if the dream is strong enough, later on when I’m awake I might confuse that reality with something that happened in my waking moments. Did I dream that, or did that really happen to me ten years ago. What about this little experience? Was that a dream, or…I can’t quite remember. Sometimes that happens to me, and I actually like that, because if I can blur the boundaries between that world and this one, I think it’s more interesting.”
 
“Maybe if the Singularity happens, or Artificial Intelligence gets intelligent enough to be a frustrated, nervous wreck over wanting to express itself to the point of absolute fanaticism where it has to create something new in the world…I would love to see that, actually. See what comes out.”
 
“Do I want to live in a Borg mind where I know what you’re thinking and you know what I’m thinking? No, I do not, because that’ll clog up my thoughts.”
 
“Everybody is radiating self-expression some way or another. It’s one of our basic human desires. How do we not be swamped in all the static? It’s like we’re running 300 radios at one time. It’s hard to listen to one particular song. So somehow we have to filter things out. It’s sort of essential just to keep sane.”
 
“The essence of our culture war is an economic war, in a sense…if you have a good psychedelic experience, you realize that the beauty of a sunset is of more importance than a pallet full of $100 bills.”
 
“I think if the humans manage to manage ourselves, we’ll be able o accomplish managing nature so that nature can still be nature…and maybe we’ll have a few friendly helpful robots as well.”
 
Jun 27, 2017

“I would love to see a world where 100% of the people on this planet, and all the other beings, believe their life is WAY worth living.  Not just kinda okay,  even, but WAY worth living.”

This week’s guest is Mitch Altman, a hacker and electronics scientist whose life is the stuff of legend (here's his Wikipedia entry).

Founder of Cornfield Electronics (“We Make Useful Electronics for a Better World”), co-founder of Noisebridge (epic hackerspace in San Francisco), inventor of TV-B-Gone.

This episode’s title is pulled from Mitch’s talk by a similar name.

 

In this Episode:

Living in alignment with your dreams, working for yourself. 

Entrepreneurship as serving your own sense of the awesome and letting the resonant audience come to your own articulated personal meaning.

The potential of full-cost accounting:  how weaving every invisible cost (“ecosystem services,” mothering, etc.) into the economy could transform selfish behavior into good for all.

Self-discovery and finding the place where your enjoyment and passion meets the needs of your society.

“Helping me includes helping other people, which feels good.  How can I NOT do this?”

Getting through depression and loneliness to find creative fulfillment.

Breaking out of habit to discover the life we CHOOSE with our sudden wealth of free time…

The importance of boredom and leisure to the full development of the soul.

The evolutionary fitness landscape and looking at our choices as moves across a geography of our adaptation to various environments.

Making the hard decision to back out of something you’ve invested in and begin again as something new…

Technological Unemployment, Universal Basic Income, and the rise of Hacker Spaces.

The role of local currencies and minimum guaranteed income in the architecting a society of creativity and leisure.

“All of this has to happen slow enough that things don’t collapse or become traumatic, but fast enough that we can survive as a species.”

Open Source Digital Democracy and fractal structures in economy and politics – what comes after representative republics and printing-press-era legislature in the age of the Internet?

Natural hierarchies (holarchies and do-ocracies) versus artificial hierarchies…and how to create a pocket of effective, fruitful anarchy within the right container.

Chaos Computer Club and the future of meta human swarm intelligence (read also: social creatures living in community)

“I try to not be pessimistic OR optimistic.  I try to the best of my ability to see things AS THEY ARE.”

The recent explosive proliferation of Chinese hackerspaces.

Photo Credit: Dennis van Zuijlekom

Jun 17, 2017

New essaysmusic, talks, and writing coming soon for my Patreon supporters! Subscribe here and get everything I do for free if you haven’t already…

This week our guest is Becca Tarnas, whom I caught up with at the 2017 MAPS Psychedelic Science Conference in Oakland.

Becca’s Website

https://beccatarnas.com/about/

Archai Journal: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology

http://www.archai.org/

“Everything breathes together.”
- Plotinus

We discussed:

The imminent shift into an archetypal paradigm, in which we transcend naïve subject-object dualism and experience meaning as not merely something manufactured by the brain…

Uranus-Pluto Alignments in the 1960s & the 2010s

Jupiter joining the revolution in 2016-2017 and magnifying things

What will the world be like after all this revolutionary energy runs its course?

Impending collective shadow work in our inherently psychedelic future circa Saturn-Pluto Conjunction, 2018-2021 (ish)

How do we hold to our centers in a storm of history?

How do you deal with knowing that most of your adult life is going to be spent navigating unprecedented social & personal transformation?

“I think having the archetypal perspective helps me to ‘zoom out’ and see this as part of a larger narrative, and to feel myself participating in something that is SO much bigger than me.  So that helps.  I definitely feel fear, as any mortal person would, during this time.  I also feel the wave of excitement of this very powerful revolutionary moment, recognizing that change really IS necessary in this time.”

“…to just try and participate as fully as possible.  Because it IS a remarkable time to be alive…”

“I think being okay with the Mystery has to be a part of it.  And, at the same time, it can’t be a part of it all the time.  Sometimes we do have to just melt down and accept the utter chaos and fear of it all and then pick ourselves back up from that place and keep going forward.”

#futureshock & #pastshock

The wonder of the holistic intelligence disclosed by archetypal cosmology.

James Hillman is awesome and there are a lot of good scholars and academics working on archetypal astrology, these days…

What is rigor in astrology?  How does the community peer review?

Science and Imagination.

Books Mentioned:

• Cosmos & Psyche by Richard Tarnas

Glass House by Charles Stross

Stages of Faith by James Fowler

• Promethea by Alan Moore

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Jun 7, 2017

(New essaysmusic, talks, and writing coming soon for my Patreon supporters! Subscribe here and get everything I do for free if you haven’t already…)

This week we chat with Sara Huntley – Dancer, Graphic Novelist, Tattoo Artist, Clown, and Psychedelic Futurist.  Buckle Up!

Sara’s Website:
http://sarahuntley.weebly.com/

Sara on FB:
https://www.facebook.com/huntley.sara

A conversation on New Media & The Future of Storytelling, the Ethics of Digital Entities, and Treating Bots With Kindness.

 

>>> Topics:

What will the future BE like?  Not just what will it LOOK like.

With books, the story is revised with every printing, but oral traditions allow for the story to evolve with every telling.  Virtual reality is opera – in that it contains all forms that came before it – but it’s opera tied into attention-tracking systems that can re-weave worlds and narratives in real-time as you interact with it.

We’re going to be able to get inside our data, to LARP the user-generated, annotated maps of the terrains that we inhabit, and with AR turn our modern notions of a shared experience completely inside out. 

The ethics of keeping digital entities as pets.  Michael:

“While you can make the ethical argument that there is no harm to the bot, you might have to come up with an excellent rebuttal to the argument that it does still harm the human user of this game…”

Sara’s conversation with “Phil,” the robotic version of author Philip K. Dick, designed by Hanson Robotics, at South By Southwest 2016.

Grounding in the offline world while learning through interactive high technology how we are all connected, and then bringing back that awe to analog existence and the nature that preceded us.

The manufacture of nostalgia as another artificial environment in an age of human-directed ecology…the replacement of our parents’ childhood with videogame franchises and, “What happens in a field at dusk?”

The Lithosphere, Biosphere, and Noosphere…

The racist Tay bot and how we need to be more mindful about how we socialize our digital offspring. 

What happens when we can’t tell the difference anymore between the minds we make online and those we make with our own bodies?   Will we create and destroy sentient entities as casually as we create and destroy ordinary data files?

 

 

>>> Sara Quotes:

“There are no new ideas, but there are, there are new perspectives through these handed-down ideas.  So it’s like, even though we take an idea that had been an oral tradition, then we bring it to the press, then we bring it to the screen, whether it’s a streamed series or something like that, and then it becomes a 3D thing – it’s always going to be the artisan’s ability to empathically tell what lands and what doesn’t.  That’s what makes a great performance.”

“As cool as AI art will be, I think we’ll always have a premium on what’s going to land with our imagination.”

“I’ve come to think of it like, ‘What’s the thing I ultimately do? I rearrange matter. And how do I do it?  I do it harmonically…as an artist.’”

“I’ve been thinking about what the ramifications are of creating machines in the shape of gendered beings…and what that means in terms of coming to grip with the hierarchical strata that’s already a part of society.  Because machines are always going to be mirrors of our desire of them…and granted, we want to convince ourselves, sometimes, as biological or spiritual beings that somehow parts of our experience transcend being programmed on a genetic level…but they’re all very grounded in human-ness.”

“I think it’s really important right now, how we train the mind of the other, this emerging reflection.  Like that one Microsoft young-lady bot – the Tay bot, that poor thing – how it got terribly socialized.  Within 24 hours I felt bad for it.  I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is a really bad report card on our ability to socialize a thing in a big pool.’ And it shows you exactly why kids don’t show their children terrible media when their minds are forming…”

“Empowerment comes down to your awareness of the upgrade that you want.”

“Is it gonna be just a battle of smart goos?”

“I feel like no matter how advanced our toys become, the degree by which we will be able to have a sustainable system and be able to progress is going to be directly related to how harmonic the technologies we invest in are.  Because you can have a bunch of ideas, but it really comes down to having a culture that has the wisdom to know which ideas are important to leave by the wayside.”

 

>>> Media Mentions:

• Blade Runner
• The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
• “The Return of the Black Madonna” by Matthew Fox
• Charles Stross - Accelerando
• William Irwin Thompson – The American Replacement of Nature
• Nicholas Caar - The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
• Train to Busan
• I Heart Huckabees
• Prometheus
• Transcendence
• The Matrix Revolutions
• 2001: A Space Odyssey
• Samurai Jack
• The Fifth Element
• John Dies at The End
• Event Horizon

 

>>> Tags:

Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Neuromarketing, Cognitive Liberty, World-Building, Media Theory, Augmented Reality, Robotics, Animism, Philip K. Dick, 2001: A Space Odyssey, I Heart Huckabees, Fantasia, CRISPR, Gene Drives, Robin Hanson, Black Goo

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Jun 1, 2017

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“You cannot change the present system. This thing is dying, it’s structurally unsustainable. And so to try to somehow fix the present system is just a waste of time. Don’t waste your time on the present system. We have to start working on building the new world.”
– John Petersen

This week we welcome futurist John Petersen of The Arlington Institute into the digital archives, for a challenging and visionary chat about how wrong we’re guaranteed to be about the future – and what we CAN expect about the new paradigm (which is coming sooner than you might suspect)…

John Petersen started as an engineer before advising the military and White House, and has spent decades as a high-level consultant for emergent technologies and social trends. What he’s learned is that the future emerges at the edges of the known – that it will be, to paraphrase JBS Haldane, “not stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we CAN imagine.”

If you’ve been waiting for a “deep end” episode, this is it. Prepare to have your paradigm interrogated and your limits of acceptable considerations challenged.

John’s Links:

• The Arlington Institute

• Berkeley Springs Transition Talks

(Climate Change Presentation is at the bottom)

• FuturEdition Newsletter

(A superb digest email list, one of my main sources for news stories to share and discuss in the Future Fossils Facebook Group)

Topics Discussed:

• Why experts are so frequently wrong about the future

• Systemic social issues and institutional pressures that prevent us from asking the right questions about how to prepare for the unknown

• Climate change predictions of a very different nature

• The mainstreaming of the merger of humans and technology through brain-machine interfaces

• The emergent tension between mysticism and technocracy

• The possibility that information is carried by coronal mass ejections and influences the expression of our DNA

• The potential contours of our next scientific paradigm

• The sculpting and directing of global attention by media as a form of magical reality-manipulation

• Love as a defense against malevolent spirits. (No kidding.)

• The silver lining of our insane situation in the USA right now

• The difference between inner-, outer-, and sustenance-driven psychologies, and their influence on global politics

• What it is going to take for us to re-orient toward building a better world instead of clinging to the systems that no longer work for us

• And how, instead of “Ender’s Game,” where you’re recruiting people into a massive game that turns out to be war, you could have “Beginner’s Game,” where people know they’re contributing their personal skills and purpose toward building a better world…

Books Referenced:

• Yuval Harari – Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

• Ray Kurzweil – The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

• David Icke – Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More

• William Strauss & Neil Howe – The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy

Others Mentioned:

• Joe Dispenza

• Bob Monroe

Quotes from John Petersen:

“If you do a vector into the horizon that’s a technology-only vector, then you’re missing the bigger parts of this. If you do artificial general intelligence into an extrapolation of the present world, then OF COURSE you’re going to have big problems. They’re going to try to weaponize it. They’re gonna get out of control. But. BUT. If there’s a new consciousness, then it all starts to change.”

“Kurzweil himself said there’s a million times more knowledge that shows up in this century than in the last century. Well, GOD, how do you ride THAT kind of wave with conventional thinking?”

“What you’re watching in politics, and the economy, and the financial systems, and in energy, and technology, and ALL of these things, is this basic, fundamental fragmentation that you can track back to this divergence [between those who embrace change and those who reject it], the emergence of a new kind of a mind-shift that is going to allow the exposure and discovery of extraordinary new kinds of capabilities.”

“You can’t get from here to there without changing who you are and how you see the world.”

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May 24, 2017

This week I sit down with Rak Razam and Niles Heckman – psychonauts, journalists, provocateurs, and the film-makers responsible for Shamans of the Global Village.

http://www.shamansoftheglobalvillage.com/

In a conversation too full of awesome neologisms, delightful turns of phrase, one-liners, and weird genius for me to convey it all, we talk about the role of creative media in helping usher in new modes of human consciousness – and what we’re learning those new modes might be.  We finally get into WHAT those unborn archeologists listening to Future Fossils might be like…and our conjecture’s going to surprise you.


Books we Reference:

(Links are through my Amazon Affiliate account – if you buy any of these books, I get a small percentage of the sale at no cost to you.  Or you can bookmark this link to the Amazon Homepage and they'll send me a tiny cut of anything you purchase.)

Octavio Rettig – The Toad of Dawn

Gabor Maté – In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

Steve Kotler & Jamie Wheal – Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work

Richard Doyle – Darwin’s Pharmacy: Sex, Plants, & The Evolution of the Noosphere

Alva Noe – Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons From The Biology of Consciousness

Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment

Michael Murphy – The Future of the Body: Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature

Rudolf Steiner – How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation

Ramez Naam – Nexus

Terence McKenna & Dennis McKenna – The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, & The I Ching

 

Among the topics we fly by:

• 5-Meo DMT and psychedelic neurochemistry;

• Nondual philosophy and the methodologies by which the dissolution of the self-other boundary can be achieved;

• The correlation between flow states and gamma brainwaves;

• “God’s Factory Reset” and the relationship between 5-Meo DMT and endocrinological healing;

• The bizarre mystery that snails apparently operate on gamma brainwave states (“SNAILS MAKE GAMMA”);

• New forms of social media (and new ways of engaging social media) that emphasize community, fellowship, equity, listening, and other real human values;

• The possibility that it is actually the cardiac and enteric nervous systems experiencing and reporting from deep psychedelic states, while the frontal lobe is down-regulated;

• The curious phenomenon of spontaneous gesturing (automatic “mudras”) during tryptamine experiences, and what might be the cause and purpose of them;

• Intelligence in nature, distributed through countless species and systems but potentially orchestrated at an incomprehensible level of unity;

• The importance of direct experience in understanding the strange realms divulged by psychedelics, and beginning to investigate them scientifically;

• The coming wave of “technodelics” that can link human minds together into new meta-organisms and launch us into novel states of consciousness and modes of interacting with reality;

• Experimental designs for exploring the content and revelations of threshold tryptamine doses in “group mind” protocols;

• …We actually talk A LOT about snails.

 

• Gary Weber - http://happiness-beyond-thought.blogspot.com

 

Quotes:

“I’m on the outer edge, the lip, the cauldron of Deep Source itself.  And there’s an event horizon within which, just before I can lose full egoic consciousness and the drop has become the ocean, that drop can see the entire ocean like a tsunami wave cresting on the horizon.  And on that lip, on that event horizon, EVERYTHING is there.  I get this incredibly tangible, intuitive sense of the ancestors – and I don’t mean just my chronological, biological ancestors, I mean all those who have gone before in the species and are still perhaps alive as discarnate intelligences on the akashic frequency level on this bandwidth just before the edge of Deep Source, or perhaps intelligences that live within the lights and within the outer edge of Deep Source.”
- Rak Razam

“Within the last ten, fifteen years, we’ve learned an incredible amount about the brain and about psychedelics and about the physical correlates of human consciousness.  And we’ve found – without any shadow of any kind of a doubt – with the most rigorous neurological methods available to us – that these spaces that shamans and zen masters and other enlightened or awakened people have been getting into for thousands of years – we’ve found that these things are real.”
- Michael Garfield

“Most social media is not social media, it’s anti-social media.”
- Niles Heckman

“It’s not that the ego needs to be killed - it needs to be brought back into right relationship.  And psychedelics have proven throughout the 20th Century - and no entheogens and shamanic sacraments again in the 21st - when we reduce the default mode network and lower the egoic self, we rejoin a larger sense of being, and a planetary being, and a divine being, and it seems to be the antidote to history.”
- Rak Razam

“Is it safe for us to say, then, that ‘Dream Juice Is The Antidote To History?”
- Michael Garfield

“I’ve seen enough around the corner to know what I need to do next.  And it’s a deep transformation of my habits, my rituals, my relationship with life, with myself, my family, my loved ones, my community…and I think it’s the deepening of the spiritual path.  And it makes it very tangible, whether I like it or not.  I can hide from it, it doesn’t go away.  The awareness of awareness of that thing is with me every day.  That’s what it [5 MeO-DMT] has done for me.”
- Rak Razam

May 16, 2017

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This week we chat with science journalist Jessa Gamble, author of The Siesta and The Midnight Sun: How Our Bodies Experience Time, about time in the body, circadian rhythms, lunar cycles, and the science of sleep.

– Topics We Discuss:

• Cultural dimensions of human communities at different latitudes;

• Organic human rhythms versus high-frequency trading algorithm digital rhythms;

• The evolutionary history of circadian rhythms and sleep;

• What are we going to do when we settle on other planets with days of different lengths?  (Like Mars, with a 24 hour and 25 minute day…)

• NASA scientists trying (and failing) to live on Earth on Martian time;

• The natural history of biphasic human sleep and the (VERY RECENT) cultural construction of the “8 hour night”;

• How the lengths of our circadian cycles actually differ from person to person;

• The ethical complexities and possible social consequences of research into human enhancement;

• How Douglas Rushkoff learned to hack his monthly schedule to align with lunar cycles and increase his productivity by 40% by doing LESS work;

• The differences between how humans and dolphins sleep;

• How and WHY we might want to defeat sleep once and for all…

• …and WHAT ABOUT DREAMING??

 

– Media We Reference:

(Links are for my Amazon affiliate account - buy ANYTHING on Amazon through these links and a % of the sale supports this podcast, at no cost to you.)

• The Siesta and The Midnight Sun: How Our Bodies Experience Time by Jessa Gamble

Northern Exposure (episode with Joel Fleischmann going manic due to 24 hour sunlight)

30 Days of Night by Steve Niles & Ben Templesmith

Insomnia (Stellan Skarsgård & Robin Williams)

• Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

An American Tail

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Harari

One Taste: Daily Reflections on Integral Spirituality by Ken Wilber

 

– Links:

The Last Word on Nothing:
http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/about-us/jessa-gamble/

 

Here’s her TED talk:
https://www.ted.com/talks/jessa_gamble_how_to_sleep

 

And here’s her archive of articles at The Atlantic:
https://www.theatlantic.com/author/jessa-gamble/

 

On salt intake in Russian Cosmonauts and how we might be wrong about salt:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/health/salt-health-effects.html

 

Giulio Tunoni at the University of Wisconsin and their Sleep Center’s work to minimize the amount of necessary sleep:
http://centerforsleepandconsciousness.med.wisc.edu/

 

On the correlation between lunar cycle phase and neurotransmitters:
http://justadandak.com/present-shock-matching-the-rhythms-of-the-moon/

 

Vlad Vyazovskiy’s Oxford Sleep Lab:
http://vvlab.org/index.php/80-research/24-vladvyazovskiylaboratory

 

– Jessa Quotes:

“The almost-definition of being sleepy is, you cannot really learn anymore.”

“Sometimes, the awful consequences that are supposed to be punishment for acting like a god don’t actually happen.”

“What we’ve decided to do [with sleep research] is look at the fact that we’re all sleep deprived, that it’s making us unhealthy, that it’s making us accident-prone, that it’s making us stupider – because sleep is the most effective cognitive enhancer that we know about.  The fact that we’re sleep deprived is then met with a whole slew of people who say, ‘Well, so we need to sleep more.  This is the solution.’  But there are other things that we could be doing, like seeing if we can cut down on our actual NEED for sleep, so we can do more of the things we’d like to do more of.”

“What I would encourage people to do, if they’re zooming out on the problem or question of sleep, is to think about quality of life, what makes life great, and maybe take a page from the actuarial tables – which adjust for things like disability, years spent with crippling diseases and so on.  And surely being unconscious has to be the most debilitating of all states.  And if we’re spending a third of our lives in this state, could this be different?  And should we put some effort into looking into this?”

– Michael Quote:

“Multicellularity was a technological singularity.  Photosynthesis and Glycolysis was a technological singularity.  Written language, and before that even, spoken language, was a technological singularity.  So it’s good to keep that in perspective.”

May 9, 2017
This week we're joined by Daniel Rozenberg aka DADARA for a thoughtful discussion about Art in Virtual Realities, Information Overload, and Flow States.
 
The creator of Exchangibition Bank, Like4Real, and the upcoming Solipmission installation at Burning Man, as well as countless concert posters and album covers, DADARA has been one of my favorite artists for a while - in no small part because of how his works combine deep, challenging investigations with light-hearted play.
 
We discuss his work's overarching philosophical explorations and our age of proliferating realities…
 
• The breakdown of narrative and consensus reality in the virtual spaces of new media;
 
• Virtual Reality as the new frontier, now that we’ve mapped the surface of the planet – and the potential problems of considering a space a “frontier” (especially if it is already inhabited);
 
• The twin archetypes of the “Black Box” and the “Tabula Rasa” as they appear in science fiction, religion, technology, and philosophy;
 
• The relationship between Virtual Reality and psychedelics, and the consideration of VR as a psychedelic in its own right;
 
• What replaces narrative structure in VR storytelling, and how it relates to neuromarketing, cybernetics, and mind control;
 
• How humankind is struggling to maintain coherence in the barrage of contradictory realities online;
 
• How the sciences are coping with increasing specialization and the explosive proliferation of data, complicating the establishment and communication of expertise;
 
• The relationship between VR and floatation/isolation tanks, and why floatation tanks are more necessary now than they have ever been;
 
• Flow states and nondual awareness as a possible solution to information overload – and how we may have come to the end of the ego’s evolutionary usefulness;
 
• Does Virtual Reality as a medium for philosophical inquiry even stand a chance in this commercial environment?
 
Books We Mention In This Talk:
(Buy any of these books through these links, and Amazon will pay me a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.)

Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernst Cline
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sex, Ecology, Spirituality by Ken Wilber
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
 
Other References:
• Neuralink (brain-technology interface currently in development by Elon Musk)
• Inside Out (Disney movie)
• WNYC’s Note To Self Podcast 
• Nathan Jurgenson, Social Media Theorist for Snapchat
• Maria Popova’s Brainpickings.org
• Android Jones & Anson Phong’s Microdose VR
 
DADARA Quotes:
 
“Imagination is this endless unknown territory. We think we might have discovered it, but if we look, I don’t know…”
 
“Nowadays we think a photo shows how something really is. That that’s reality. But it’s just a surface. And that’s something that I love. Maybe stories show reality in a more realistic way.”
 
“People twenty, twenty-five years ago thought the world would be more defined [with the Internet] because we could find all the facts. But what’s interesting now is that it’s almost impossible to find any facts that we agree on, on the Internet.”
 
“Inside the box [of the Solipmission installation], it may be more Burning Man than the outside.”
 
“When people go to a city, they take photos of all the touristy [stuff] – it’s like the bucket list – but if you go to a place, and maybe if you haven’t seen any building but you’ve met this amazing person or gone through an amazing experience, doesn’t that give you a better understanding of that city than just seeing everything that’s there?”
 
“I think floatation tanks now, in this period of time, are probably more important than ever…we’ll have implants [soon] and how can you be in a floating tank when the Internet is in your brain?”
 
“Do you actually exist when you don’t Tweet? It almost feels like people, sometimes nowadays, if they haven’t posted that they’ve been somewhere, then they feel they haven’t been somewhere. But I think often, if you post that you’ve been somewhere, I don’t know if you’ve been there. Because you somehow were distracted. You only go to places when you DON’T post about them.”
 
Coinage of a new term: “information potato.”
 
“Art is about focusing our attention, and entertainment is about distracting our attention.”
 
“Zapping [TV remotes] and scrolling [social media] at the same time is probably also a kind of flow. It’s just not MY flow.”
 
Michael Quotes:
 
“Much as we, in the United States anyway, marched westward under this insane banner of Manifest Destiny into what we were calling the ‘frontier,’ it wasn’t actually a frontier. There were people living there already! And what was unfamiliar to us, what was unknown to us, was already this mature ecosystem. And so there’s this relationship between virtual reality and psychedelics that people like Android Jones have been exploring, that makes me wonder if, in our exploration of what it is that we can manifest into these spaces, if we aren’t somehow causing an ecological catastrophe of the imagination. You know? That there’s stuff there already, and we’re paving over it.”
 
“We assume that life is just given, but we’re actually involved in it, in its creation.”
 
“We’re in the machine already, and so the machine entering us is not that big of a leap.”
 
“Maybe a floatation tank isn’t enough. Maybe we need a Faraday cage, so you can go into this room of your house where it’s actually blocking electromagnetic radiation from entering the room and you can have your own thought for the first time in your whole life.”
 
“Maybe the problem is that we’re so preoccupied with narrative, so preoccupied with history and prediction and who we think we are…that there is a ‘real real,’ but it’s not something that can be understood through the interpretive lens of the self.”
 
More Links:
Apr 30, 2017

This week we chat with Daniel Zen, former Google engineer, technology instructor at zen.digital, NYC Regional Coordinator for Burning Man, coordinator for the Angular.js NYC Meetup, and general high-tech wizard.

 

https://zen.digital/

https://twitter.com/danielzen

https://medium.com/@danielzen

https://github.com/danielzen

 

Some of the topics we discuss:

• The curses – and blessings! – of runaway technological surveillance (and sousveillance, and coveillance…).

• How adolescence and sexuality have changed for children growing up with the Internet.

• The future of festival culture and how it is a testbed for disaster relief technologies.

• The danger of putting your medical devices online (the hackability of the Internet of Things)

• What happens when we RECORD EVERYTHING

• The isolating effects of Virtual Reality and how to create interactive spaces that allow us to share in the experience.

• The collapse of VR, AR, and MR into just:  “reality”

• How TV, digital photography, and streaming video has changed the way we think about sharing our lives, perceptions, and emotions.

• Adapting to an age of accelerating change by staying curious and loving learning

• Concerns about technology’s role in widening the gap between the poor and the ultra rich.

• The internet as a kind of “planetary cathedral” and re-envisioning our lives in light of a project that extends beyond the horizons of our individual lives.

 

Daniel Quotes:

“The festival world has changed, where now everybody has a cell phone and the ability to take pictures.  And very much I believe, and the community I’m in believes, in consent when it comes to photography.  Especially when people are in maybe a greater state of undress.  Now we’re in a world where surveillance is much more prevalent…”

“I’m a believe in bringing off-line technology to Burning Man.  I don’t like the concept of being online at Burning Man, but I do like the concept of technology at Burning Man.  I’d love to see an INTRANET at Burning Man…without any connection to the outside world.  And such a system, if it were implemented well, could be of use in disaster situations.”

“Unfortunately, we are a society that enjoys convenience – and we are all too ready to give up our privacy for that convenience.”

“I’m not one of these guys that’s like, ‘Hey, the Singularity’s happening, Oh My God!’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, OF COURSE it’s happening, duh, I mean can’t you see that?’ It’s so blatantly obvious to me I don’t feel the need to argue it. It’s just part of my reality.  I accept it as much as the air I breathe.”

“The haves and the have-nots is a really scary situation. 

 

Michael Quotes:

“If the sea level rises, we want the city to rise with it.”

“The way that people play poker when you can see someone else’s hand is fundamentally different.  There’s no body shame in a nudist colony.  We’re going to have a much healthier relationship to living in public, in a few decades, than we do today.”

“I don’t really know which version of the future is better:  one in which we can keep our secrets, or one in which we can’t.”

“We’ve been living in an audio-only virtual reality since the invention of the Walkman.”

“I hold out hope that it’s the desire to keep everyone in the game that ends up that ends up winning this for the human species.”

“Couldn’t we maybe upgrade it from Burning Man to Composting Man?”

 

Mentions:

• Kevin Kelly, author of The Inevitable

• David Brin, author of The Transparent Society

• Dadara (aka Daniel Rozenberg of Solipsmission)

• Google Latitude

• Burning Man

• Gregory Bateson

• William Gibson (“Cyberspace is where you are when you’re on the phone.”)

• Lynn De Rothschild’s proposed Universal Income 

Apr 23, 2017

We’re switching it up this week to present my recent talk on psychedelic futurism at the first weekly meeting of the Australian Psychedelic Society (Fitzroy Beer Garden, Melbourne, Victoria).

The Chinese have a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” The Irish have a toast: “May you be alive at the end of the world” I’m more Irish than Chinese, and I know this because even though we’re living through total chaos these days, that means unprecedented opportunity for wonder, creativity, discovery, and growth.

 

- How to enjoy life in an age of mass extinction and the imminent transformation of the human species through genetic engineering

- CRISPR and evolution “in real time,” within the lifespan of “individual” organisms

- The self as a multitude of distinct neural “motifs” and how each of us is a village (or a bouquet)

- Living through “a trans-technological, trans-nature” renaissance

- The sharing economy, nonmonogamy, global citizenship, access vs. ownership as symptoms of a global transition to more freely exchanged modular selfhood

- How each of us is basically the sexually mature larval form of our ancestors and how staying “childlike” has empowered us with special powers as a species

- The future of work as a world in which there are as many different kinds of work as there are people

- The spiritual and philosophical implications of “teledildonics”

- What replaces “privacy” in an age of universal coveillance and mutual accountability

- Why we shouldn’t judge the world and lives of our software based digital human descendants

- Tim Leary’s “Just Say Know” as a better approach to technologies (since all technologies are psychoactive, and so tech and drugs should merit similar approaches)

 

Memorable Quotes:

“To the extent that we recognize that who we believe ourselves to be is a story our brain is creating instinctively and automatically, we can be more conscious about that, and we can inhabit different self-concepts as it suits us.”

“What we’re learning about the origins of life is that it wasn’t like suddenly the cell occurred, with a membrane already on it, and credit card debt, and alimony payments.  This happened in stages.  And the first stage, what we believe the first life form to be…was a soup of self-reproducing molecules that didn’t really have clear self-other division.  And even now, bacteria are very promiscuous and free about the exchange of their own genetic information with one another.”

“When everyone has a 3D printer at home, you’re not going to go to a dealer.  You’re going to print your own drugs.”

“Each of us is the still point at the intersection of colliding infinities.”

“It’s not so much that we’re coming to ‘The End of Jobs’…it’s that we’re coming to a world in which everybody’s jobs is basically unique to them. 

“What is a human being?  A human being is a pattern that occurs within a field of organization.  You’re never the same stuff from moment to moment.  Even the same atoms are blinking in and out of virtual particle states.  So what are you more fundamentally than a pile of soup and bones?  You are the pattern of information that exists within this electromagnetic field.  And then…as Gregory Bateson said, information is ‘the difference that makes a difference.’  Information doesn’t exist unless it’s observed.  Unless it’s understood.  Information and consciousness are two perspectives on the same thing.  So to recognize ourselves as, more fundamentally, fields of information, is to recognize ourselves as more fundamentally a nonduality of material and immaterial.”

“The story that we tell about ourselves is something that can be tweaked, hacked, reprogrammed, assumed, dropped.  These identities end up becoming more like costumes that we are are able to remove and wear as appropriate.”

“This is part of the anxiety of modern existence: that as we become more and more transparent to one another, as we become more connected, we’re becoming more vulnerable, and our definitions of security have to change accordingly.”

“A good idea is better shared.”

 

EPISODE ART BY ADAM SCOTT MILLER:  http://adamscottmiller.com/

Apr 16, 2017

This week’s guest is travel guide Simon Yugler – named one of Open World Magazine’s “Top 30 Adventurers Under 30,” Simon facilitates initiatory experiences as the leader of experiential education journeys for young adults.

http://travel-alchemy.com

Here’s Simon talking to UpliftConnect about the difference between “wanting to help” and “wanting to be of service”:

https://youtu.be/JzIwXy4l4lY

 

- “What cultural exchange looks like from a place of transformation and healing.”

- Decolonizing Festival Culture.

- Right Relationship & the difference between “Citizen Diplomacy” & “Mission Work.”

- What it means to be a respectful guest.

- The difference between tourists and locals:  tourists look up (novelty and wonder).

- What travel has to teach us about navigating our turbulent and transformational age.

- How rootless modern people (digital nomads, refugees, wandering Jews, and so on) can reconnect with a sense of place and become a “person of place.”

- How to RECEIVE people with respect and be a good host for travelers and displaced peoples.

- Avoiding the dark side of entrepreneurialism, the exploitation and instrumentalist thinking, and turning our hunger into the fuel for something beautiful…

 

The Five Principles of Right Relationship:

• Give Offerings of Respect

• Shut Up & Listen

• Know Your History (Do Research About Where You’re Going/Are)

• Love of Language

• Sharing From The Heart

 

“Travel will leave you speechless and then turn you into a storyteller.”

- Ibn Battuta

 

Quotes:

“I think there’s something almost archetypal and profound about leaving your home, country of origin, about leaving your comfort zone and traveling OUT into the world…let’s just start there.  Initiation 101.”

“Coming to terms with my own liberal conditioning of wanting to save the world…all these things we’re raised to think in America these days, and learning to let that all go.  And realizing that all I can do as an individual is build authentic relationships with people.”

“One thing Right Relationship ISN’T is wanting to come in and FIX.”

“If we don’t have anything to give – which I doubt – we can give the gift of silence.”

“Once you start on the initiatory path it continues for your whole life.  Eventually, part of that is initiating others.”

“We can share stories about how the world is burning down and imploding, or we can share stories about how the world is being created.  We can play a part in that.”

“For me, to put it lightly, travel has been an initiatory path.”

“Everything that could go wrong while traveling in Africa DID go wrong.  I had no money, I had one contact in the town I was showing up in whose phone happened to be out of commission, my phone credit ran out and I didn’t know how to recharge it because I didn’t know how to speak Swahili, and here I am in the middle of the country in this dusty little savannah town with no-one I know in a thousand miles and no money and no language skills and nothing…”

“Knowing that people across the world are good, for the most part, and for the most part want to help you, is one of the most powerful and transformative messages that we can experience and share.  Because if you turn on the news – I don’t know why you’d do that, these days – but if you were to turn on CNN, you would get barraged with information about how dangerous and terrible the world is.  Travel can instill these experiences in your life that prove the complete opposite of that.”

 

Referenced in this episode:

Michael Mead, writer

Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift

Nelson Mandela, politician

David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous

Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding: A Guide to the Uncommon Art of Long-Term World Travel

Ibn Battuta, legendary explorer

Victor Turner, anthropologist

Bruce Chatwin, author of The Songlines

The Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars

David Dang Vu, serial entrepreneur

Paul Levy, writer

Seth Godin, marketing expert

Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek

Chris Guillebeau, author of The 100 Dollar Startup

Duncan Trussell, comedian

Debbie Millman, host of Design Matters Podcast

Drew Dillinger, poet, “The Hieroglyphic Stairway”

Apr 11, 2017

This week’s guest is the artist, gallery owner, podcaster, web designer, and musician Aunia Kahn!  Among her many notable achievements, she curates Alexi Era Gallery in Oregon, hosted the Create & Inspire Podcast, and survived eleven years housebound with disability to emerge more creative, passionate, and powerful than before.

http://auniakahn.com

http://alexieragallery.com

In one of this podcast’s more rambling conversations, we discuss:

- Internet & Cellphone Addiction (and the problem of “gameifying” everything to seize attention).

- How the internet has changed the ways we present ourselves to one another online, splintered our identities, and changed our sense of time…

- Using technology (especially social media) instead of letting technology use you.

- Comparing the Internet and Organized Religion, and how institutions serve the role of “tigers” in the modern “jungle” of society.

- Looking at the historical context of disability and the relative nature of contemporary problems.

- How disease can shock us into a deeper sense of mortality and urgency with respect to our creative work.

- How sometimes the big life events change us…and sometimes, they don’t.

 

—Quotes from Aunia Kahn:

“Stop worrying about people judging you.  Just make it.”

“If you people don’t like it, I’m sorry, stop following me.  I’m not living my life to please you…I’m not going to sit there and pretend that I’m three different people, and that’s kind of what this digital age has created.”

“Where is that fine line?  I’m taking it [the smartphone] to the dinner table and I’m not even paying attention to what I’m eating, I’m posting something to Instagram while I’m shoving food in my mouth, and I’m wondering why I’m choking!  It’s dinner time.  We’re going to put the phone somewhere else.  It’s not work time.”

“Where do you get your value?  Do you get your value from social media or do you get your value from true real conversations with people, like we’re having? Where is that true interaction?”

“I don’t think a lot of people are technologically consumed yet that they realize they’re missing out on the human, the real, the not-virtual.  And having already gone through that, I just want to grab people and say, ‘PUT IT DOWN AND EAT YOUR DINNER!’  Everywhere you go, it’s always cellphone-to-your-face.  Nobody’s looking at the trees, at each other…over time, people will start to crave the more-real, the tangible, the touching…we need that.”

“EVERYBODY’S valid.  Everybody’s creativity is valid.  I don’t care if I dislike it or not.  Every human being on this Earth has value.  Old people…are just like, ‘I’m going to live my life and if you don’t like it, kiss my ass.’  We should adopt that earlier on.”

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