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Future Fossils

A podcast for the future archeologists digging through our digital remains. Explore our totally weird moment in the universe through 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. Provocative, profound discussions at the intersection of art, science, and philosophy with Michael Garfield, Evan Snyder, and a growing list of awesome guests... Join our discussion: http://facebook.com/groups/futurefossils Support our podcast: http://patreon.com/michaelgarfield
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Mar 27, 2017

This week's guest is the delightful and insightful Susan Molnar!

http://susanmolnar.com

“Everything can be broken.  But also, everything can be built.  And sometimes, breaking it and then rebuilding it makes it even cooler.”

Tech & Maker Education for Children

Google Policy Fellow for American Association for People with Disabilities

Leukemia Survivor

We Laugh A Lot

(Where does my body end and somebody else’s product begin?)

Programming Good Programmers

The Problem & The Promise of Education

“There’s this student who comes in who’s like, ‘I’ve never touched a computer in my life and I don’t know how to do this.  I can’t do it, I can’t do it.’  So I was like, ‘Look.  Nobody was born knowing what a pixel is.  A pixel was invented.  This mouse?  This mouse was invented.  You can learn a system.  Tell me about things you have learned in your life that you have been able to use to progress from.  Let’s start there.’”

“I am not a person of color.  I have a disability, but I don’t have some of the disabilities that my friends have.  If I can use who I am to work in concert with who they are, either to have a larger voice or be empowered to do more…”

“If you’re not good at the front of the house, there’s plenty of work to do in the back of the kitchen.  If you have the ability to give, I think you should be trying to how to do that successfully.  Are you able to humble yourself when you need to? And are you also able to value yourself when you need to?”

“Yes, you should be serving in a way that’s unique to your gifts.  But also understanding that just getting out there and doing it is important.”

Johns Hopkins Enable Project - 3D Printing Prosthetic Limbs from Freeware Downloads

Preparing Your Children For A World That Isn’t Ready Yet

Helicopter Parents & Quadcopter Parents

Teaching Kids Where The Invisible Lines of Society Are So They Don’t Cross Them

Building & Breaking vs. Creating & Destroying

Technology As Children

Training AI Like A Pet, Letting It Skin Its Knees

Integrating Failure & Breakdown & Surprise & Difficulty

Stanford Design School:  Rapid Ideation, Fail Fast

Douglas Rushkoff and New School Media Theory

Google Glass & Microsoft Hololens

Project Springfield - cloud-based machine learning for bug eradication

VR & AR disrupting learning and education

Susan Sontag and the violent language of photography

IARPA

The archetype of glass and how we’re living in the “Glass Age”

Literalizing the fairy-tale concerns of losing one’s self to magical objects and devices

Neil Postman’s Technopoly & the surrender of culture to technology

The Media Show on YouTube

Producing vs. Consuming Media – building something new vs. merely mimicking

Helping the ways you can, that other people can’t, rather than wasting yourself with the most obvious (but overpopulated and possibly less effective) strategies to donate time, energy, and effort.  Help in the ways you’re uniquely able.

Are millennials really that entitled?  Or are we just strung out on “success pron?”  Should we not try to serve the world in a way that we’re uniquely able to?

 

But this podcast REALLY takes off in the last five minutes:

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and how the future of media is a continuation of the “reducing valve” model of our own nervous systems, filtering information for the conscious observer before that witness is aware of it.  Before awareness.  (What’s aware?)

The co-evolution of computers and people for something more COMFORTABLE, ergonomic, actually (!) GOOD for our bodies…  (see:  Microsoft Kinect, gestural keyboards swiftly replaced by natural language processing and brain-machine zero-UI systems)

“It used to be, ‘Science is over here!  Art is over here! We have anthropologists, and we have sociologists. Why would we ever want to mix these?’”

Mar 15, 2017

This week's guest is the loquacious, thoughtful, and profound JF Martel, film-maker and author of Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice and the three-part essay Reality is Analog, about the philosophical themes lurking behind Netflix's series Stranger Things.

http://reclaimingart.com

https://www.metapsychosis.com/reality-is-analog-philosophizing-with-stranger-things-part-one/

We discuss what can and cannot be captured and communicated digitally…

The Primordial, Deep, Subrational Forms of Poetry, Madness, Excess…

“Ultimately, art does have a function: it’s to help us better navigate the infinite chaos that is reality.”

The problem of overusing or misusing Occam’s Razor

“We understand the nature of reality the moment we admit that we don’t know it…the moment we admit we CAN’T know it.”

“Every concept kind of contains its own opposite, or casts its own shadow.”

The difference between a Sign and a Symbol

Faith or Rebellion?  (Patriotism or Treason?)

Azazel the Peacock Angel vs. Lucifer the Rebel Angel

Is there an ultimate reality?

“It’s really, really tough to make great art.  It’s tough to make GOOD art.”

About Hollywood:  “I don’t think collaboration has ever been a great friend of art.”

“The equipment is changing so fast that no one gets GOOD at anything anymore…it’s hard to MASTER anything, today.  But I think we’re moving toward something better than what we’ve had.”

The old and new paradigms of film and TV production

“[Netflix is] using the digital culture we’ve developed to make great films in the way that maybe they should always be made, which is: you identify the people with vision, and you put them in charge.”

Technology: Inevitable?  How Japan said no to guns for hundreds of years…

“A society that presumes that it knows the real and can dictate its course…it is doomed to failure.”

“We are finite and live in the infinite.  You can’t accrue more of the infinite.”

Staying in touch with the nonhuman.

“We’re made out of forces we can’t control.  But at the same time we have a certain amount of control over how conscious we are of that.  And we need to become more conscious of that.  And Art helps us become more conscious of that in an objective sense, and Art helps us become more conscious of that in an empirical sense…it points out areas of the Known that need to be reconnected to the Unknown.”

How to be an esoteric workaday dad mystic artist weirdo

“I think we need to become more religious…I mean in tune with that transcendent, imminent Thing.”

“Once your roots go down infinitely, you have LICENSE to love iPhones.”

“We’d buy stuff, we’d put it in the movie, and then we’d return it intact.  I felt like we were doing real alchemy…”

Michael tells one of his most bizarre and curious accounts, of a haunted camera acquired by pranking a corporation…

“Infinite meaning is tantamount to meaninglessness.”

“Artistic creation is fundamentally dangerous, in the sense that you’re moving out of the Terra Firma of the known into areas that are unknown, or you’re looking at things from an angle that’s alien to the perspective you inherited from your tribe or your culture.  So there’s a REASON why so many artists end up fucked up or dying horrible deaths…I think there’s a fundamental danger that we need to recognize, especially as we enter into projects or creations that are actually visionary, that are actually pushing into something.”

“I think you can allow for quite a bit of synchronicity to enter your life, as long as you can handle it.”

“All you have to do is read Van Gogh’s biography, and you can ask…was it worth it?  I think it was worth it.  Maybe there’s a notion here of sacrifice.  Maybe certain people are so willing to go out there and produce these visions that they’re willing to sacrifice themselves.  That sounds crazy today, because we don’t have the vaguest inkling of what sacrifice means in this culture.”

“Maybe you need the tragic.  Maybe the tragic is indelible…and that’s what makes creation so beautiful.”

WWDT:  “What Would Dostoyevsky Think?”  (Ask yourself about the opinions of your revered artist heroes when you’re working on a piece…)

“The responsibility is on each individual person to use these tools in the best way possible in an environment that discourages it on every level.”

“Mainstream American culture since the end of the second World War has been predicated on the need to distract ourselves from The Bomb.”

“All in all it seems like the dirty secrets are coming out, and that can only be good.”

Analog vs. Digital Epistemologies…Reality is Analog/Reality is Digital

“I couldn’t believe that reality was analog if I didn’t believe it was also digital.”

Feb 16, 2017

This week our guest is Tibet Sprague, former solar energy system manager and scholar-practitioner in search of sustainable alternatives to our unhealthy post-industrial communities.

http://tibetsprague.com for all social links, writings, and project info

We discuss:

What it was like for Tibet growing up in a healthy community.

The difference between communities online and in person.

The possibility of a virtual nation, a modern silk road of digital nomads moving in between communities…

…but the issues with that, primarily its unsustainability, and the importance of working to create local communities and tribes.

The tension between freedom and fullness of living, independence and interdependence as valued differently by different societies.

What does it truly mean to be free and to have a society that promotes freedom?

How our individual drives are sculpted by the agencies of our environments and the people with whom we surround ourselves – so even the drive for independence is a symptom of our interrelatedness.

The challenge of building a decentralized society of loners and how culture itself may be the one true technological solution.

“My thinking about what I want to work on in the world has headed from initially thinking, ‘Oh, climate change is the most important thing to be focusing on right now, obviously,’ to ‘Maybe we can’t really resolve our climate issues without changing capitalism and changing our economic system that requires constant growth,’ and ‘Oh, well, maybe we can’t actually change our economic system without a culture that changes people’s relationships with each other, and with money, and with the world.”

“I think a lot of individual work, personal growth work, each one of us doing our own work to resolve the things in us that prevent us from living our most enlivened selves and bringing our gifts into the world, is really important.”

How Charles Eisenstein helps us articulate the core problems of, and potential solutions to, the crisis of our current age:

From separation to oneness, from scarcity to abundance.

The crisis of imagination that we don’t think it’s possible for our planet to provide for everyone.

Universal Basic Income - how it could liberate us to get culture right, or how it could be poorly implemented and create new problems.   

Charles Stress’ novel Singularity Sky as one example of how unprecedented sudden affluence can ruin a society.

Might it not be for a very good reason that massively disruptive technologies we WANT (like free energy) are being (or ought to be) WISELY suppressed by the system (and/or ruling classes)?

Ramez Naam’s Nexus Trilogy as a model for how society might variously adopt and resist disruptive technologies – how technological telepathy specifically might be used by a variety of different factions, and suppressed by nation-states that want whatever vestige of control remains in eras of extraordinary change…

Tamera Healing Biotope in Portugal and their experiments in community living, the healing of interpersonal issues, processing group needs, and building toward a future that includes and nourishes us all.

The role of fearless love and re-imagined intimate relationships in new modes of community designed for peace.

The difficulty of making powerfully positive but culturally unusual steps toward love free from fear. 

The Sex 3.0 Wiki and understanding sexuality as a cultural phenomenon shaped by the distributed agency of our technological surround – the enclosure and ownership of land, paternity, etc. all contributing in big ways to our current preference for monogamous mate claiming partnership.

The relationship between digital society (with its emphasis on sharing everything) and the resurgence of nonmonogamy.

Mystics and Moralists as two responses to change.

The plurality of belief systems, adaptability, and resilience.

“We can embrace the fullness and complexity of everything that’s happening in a balanced way that I believe will lead to a much more harmonious way of being on the planet.”

Moving out of an age of answers and into an age of questions…

The invention of Inheritance Day and the awesome idea of a new holiday in which we honor our ancestors and realize that we, too, are ancestors.

And lastly, just a dash of speculation on the Simulated Universe Theory and our participation in what Tibet calls “this fractal godhood…”

“If the future is watching, then don’t you want to say something valuable?” – MG

Feb 1, 2017

De-Anthropomorphizing The Universe / Science & The Filter Bubble

with Cory Allen, Audio Mastering Engineer & Mindfulness Trainer, Host of The Astral Hustle Podcast

http://cory-allen.com
http://releaseintonow.com

“It’s just all what is.  And I accept every state of being as glorious.”

Two dedicated truth-seekers and cosmos-abiders make a lot of dirty jokes and somehow manage to harmonize their angles on the practice of rigorous inquiry into the nature of reality and consciousness…

We have a totally tangential, irreverent, penetrating conversation.  (Luckily for you it’s audio only.)  Somehow it all hangs together…much like Cory and I would, if they ever found out about the unrecorded parts of this chat.  (Kidding!)

• The paradox of having a podcast that emphasizes memory and continuity having SO. MANY. RECORDING. GLITCHES.  Bizarre plumage that doesn’t fossilize and how truly precious little we know of the ancient world.

• Noticing what weirds you out:  your surprise reveals your expectation.

• Cory Allen’s “creepy” super intense memory – and memory versus recordings – isn’t it kind of wrong to rely on recordings to justify or validate the way we feel right now?

• Feathered dinosaurs screwing up our whole perception of dinosaurs as monsters.  Scales versus feathers and how humans are so quick to judge based on the surfaces…

“Got a face?  We’ll give you the time of day.  Worms?  You’re going to be laboratory experiments.  Snakes?  We’re going to use you as a symbol for evil in the entire course of Western Religion because you have no arms and legs.  You’ve got a face, but you’re the face of evil.  Try again.  But rabbits?  Dogs?  Cats?  We take care of them because they’re furry.”

• Encountering the dragon on the edge of the map and realizing that it’s you…versus not being able to see the faces of the people you’re firing on as a drone pilot.  The closer you get to “it” the more it is you.

• The value of noticing our projections and how we colonialism the world “out there” with our own ideas and imaginations.  Everything we think about HUMAN consciousness is just CONSCIOUSNESS.

• Taking the human element out of consciousness.

• Vocabulary Word: Allopoeisis: the process of becoming the other.

• Talking with animals to explore the nature of consciousness from as far beyond our human filter as we can. (How much are we anthropomorphizing Koko the Gorilla’s command of language?)

• Watch out for clamping down on the word “is” when trying to relate your personal experience…as soon as you’re talking about “how it is” you’re not paying attention to your own subjectivity and recognizing its role in your experience.

• We never see beyond the virtual reality of our nervous system, but it’s also the case that there is no separation between self and other in the ecosystem that precipitates “them” “both.”

“On the one hand you can never really know the other.   On the other hand, you never know anything BUT the other.”

“Because you ARE the other.”

“Right.”

• Seeing through the academic pretense of objectivity to the necessity of describing the full details of your instruments (including your own nervous system) used in your experiments.  The impossibility of perfectly replicating an experiment.  Data from studies of psi phenomena show self-verifying results dependent on the belief sets of the experimenter – both positive and negative – even in very tightly controlled and blinded studies.

• The politics, stress, absurdity, and pressure of the academic world and how it inhibits the very exploration to which it’s devoted.  Cory’s friend who worked on the roundworm C. elegant and the nature of his research…and near-madness undergoing the completion of his PhD program.

• The social construction of knowledge:  this is where “facts” come from, people!

• “School” and “Scholar” comes from a word that meant “leisure.”

• The more narrowly focused our attention, the more we have to compete for one another’s attention.  The social ills of the filter bubble.  The diminishment of chance encounters and surprise interactions because of our constricted and self-reinforcing “reality tunnels.”

• The Nutcracker is an awesome, very self-aware ballet…which Cory would have never seen if he hadn’t gotten outside of his own bubble.

• The documentary “Century of the Self” and how marketing has gone from advertising products to advertising lifestyles and appealing to the consumer’s ego.

• How diversity and redundancy are essential to the health and vitality of society (as with any ecosystem).  How we NEED oppositional perspectives to enrich the whole – and what would happen if Trump and Clinton supporters could recognize this?  When will this be common sense?

• Michael’s spiritual practice of listening to radio stations he wouldn’t ordinarily choose and finding out why millions of people tune in and enjoy those stations.

“You can appreciate it without liking it.”

“You have to look at it long enough until you see yourself in it.”

• Advertising fake products from the future.

• The intimacy of evolution and extinction, entropy and complexity.

• Astrosexuality and the CRISPR-induced end of identity politics.  The future of identity:  radically creative and diverse, or a mushy bowl of oatmeal?

“I think everyone will become so nuanced in their identity that it becomes a tapestry…everyone’s going to be SO individual that we’re all going to be exactly alike.”

• If your social media followers were actually following you around in the street, and you had to turn around and talk to however many of them, how would that change the way you think about your platform as a creator?  (“How would it change what you’re saying and how absurd it is?”)

Jan 19, 2017

This week, we take an hour to explore the frontiers of the human experience with Trevor Goodman of the Body Hacking Conference in Austin, Texas.

https://bodyhackingcon.com/conference

Here’s a bit about the conference from NPR:

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/03/10/468556420/body-hacking-movement-rises-ahead-of-moral-answers

 

• Cybernetics, prosthetics, nootropics, body modification, bionics…

• The origins and history of “body hacking.”

• Body modification as an answer/solution to body dysmorphia (feeling out of place “in your own skin”).

“Frankly, we have no clue how things are going to be in ten or twenty years.  Twenty years ago we weren’t carrying our memories around in our pockets like we are now.”

• How modern transhumanism is just an extension of the ancient human project that includes clothing, fire, and other technological augmentations.

• How the freedom of the body is also the freedom of the mind.

• Ethical issues of body modification as personal expression and identity and interactions with other people…

• Unfortunate discovery about our evolutionary history:  Our skulls are shaped to take a punch, and our fists are shaped to punch a human skull.  That’s why it’s so hard to scan the brain through the skull…

“If only we had punched each other less, maybe we could have giant robot bodies already.”

• Where do I begin and where do you end?  Hacking my body is always a political act because it’s always interfering with the commons and the expectations of the system.

• The continued breakdown of consensus reality as we hack ourselves into having all kinds of different new senses that we do not share with everybody else – and how we hopefully begin to CELEBRATE this, celebrate diversity of body forms beyond just whether they depart in minor superficial details from the normal human image or some magazine-made simulacrum of it.

“Sensory augmentation and sensory substitution have the biggest opportunity to fundamentally change who we are as people and how we interact with our environment.  And I also think it’s the biggest thing that’s going to blindside people, because some of this stuff is right around the corner.”

“In the past year, DARPA [said] they are getting touch to work in prosthetics.  They hooked up a paraplegic woman to a jet simulator and she taught herself how to fly the jet, just by having her brain connected to it, in a day or two.”

“What we’ve learned is that it’s a lot more simple than you might have expected to just plug a thing into the right part of the brain and let the brain figure out how to communicate with it.”

• Trevor raps off a truly impressive list of precedent-setting body hacking experiments starting in 2004 and continuing through utterly crazy science in the present day…

#PhantomDroneSyndrome

• Will expanding our senses to see or feel the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum help keep us safe from all the wireless information and energy transfer that society requires?

• Will everyone have access to it, or will it create a further divide?

• Project Hieroglyph:  Vandana Singh’s short story “Entanglement” Karl Schroeder's short story "Degrees of Freedom" and its feature of sensory substitution vests for ecological and political influence.

Prosthetic Indigenous Animistic Awareness

Living in a Postliterate Rumor Society

“You will probably have groups of people who are all about the visual senses, I’m sure, though, too - they’ll all commune together and Look At Things Very Closely.”

#dualplatformidentity // #mindclones

“A lot of us are so not ready to process the changes of twenty years ago, much less process the changes of now.”

• What Does It Mean To Be Human?

 

Michael’s essays from the Body Hacking Conference Blog:

 

Best Seat in the House: Being Every Drone

https://bodyhackingcon.com/blog/being-every-drone.html

 

Body Alchemy: Let’s Hack The Microbiome!

https://bodyhackingcon.com/blog/body-alchemy-lets-hack-the-microbiome.html

 

US Supreme Court: You’re A Cyborg

https://bodyhackingcon.com/blog/us-supreme-court-youre-a-cyborg.html

Jan 7, 2017

0014 Michael Phillip (Special Episode: Westworld Problems)

With special guest, host of Third Eye Drops Podcast and fellow esoteric dork extraordinaire, Michael Phillip.  We go deep into the layers underneath the layers of HBO’s awesome new show Westworld – its future angst and wonder, and what it can teach us about the value and meaning of human existence.

SPOILER ALERT!  We get into details of the Season Finale, so don’t listen to this unless you’ve seen it.

Seriously.

The show is worth it, though, so watch it and then come back to this conversation – in which we totally ignore the precedent of Battlestar Galactica while discussing Westworld’s awesome treatment of “Am I actually a robot?” and its evolution from the original 1970s version – and speculate on the world OUTSIDE of Westworld, the missing context for this robot violence playland that to us makes very little economic sense.

https://youtu.be/K9AwvWGjJeQ

https://twitter.com/hashtag/westworldproblems

http://www.mememaker.net/meme/convinced-i-have-free-will-may-just-be-a-host

http://www.mememaker.net/meme/just-saw-my-own-code-doesnt-look-like-anything-to-me8

Michael Phillip echoes majestically from beyond the void as we talk about:

• William Gibson’s argument that AI isn’t robots but a “coral reef” in which all internet-connected human beings are participating;

• Magic Leap and other paradigm-shattering technologies poised to arrive on the scene simultaneously and challenge our very sense of what is real;

• Branded mixed reality universes shared by fandoms as AI testbeds;

• The danger of projecting our modern values into a fictional world at least 60 years ahead of the present – one where overpopulation may reduce the value of a human life, or might be jaded with the virtual and really want a “flesh and blood” experience of virtual reality (Is Westworld the equivalent of “artisanal small batch” or “analog aficionado” for the not-so-distant future?);

•  How being able to 3D print new body parts might one day inspire a carelessness with physical harm, or possibly even new arts of consequence-free self-mutilation;

• The importance of feeling something REAL, feeling like your consequences MATTER, and how comfort sometimes is the enemy of evolution;

• Is human life losing its value?

• Sentience / Sapience & Panpsychism, Complexity

• The project of creating our own machine gods and their seemingly inevitable project of creating their own gods – Dan Simmons’ amazing Hyperion Cantos (science fiction novel series) talks about this – and how we might move into a kind of rainforest of different kinds of artificial sentience…

• Moore’s Law and entropy and evolution – will we run faster people in smaller bodies?  (Fraggle Rock, Fractal Rock)

• If we’re data then of course we have duplicate versions of ourselves running around out there…

• The FOMO-ularity, when the risk of printing out a body to run at one millionth of your society’s consensus digital reality is unthinkable.

• Uploading only copies, does not transfer a continuous stream of, qualia – you aren’t immortal, just your pattern (maybe)

• Martine Rothblatt’s idea of “dual platform identity” and the light and dark sides of being able to train a computer to think and act like you.

• Can we use the ancient techniques of ecstasy employed by shamanism to more adequately navigate the turbulence and overwhelm of (post-post-)modern life?

• What else do Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, and JJ Abrams have in store for us with this?  We know they’re into archetypes and layers…

• MP proposes that Arnold is the heart and Ford is the mind, leading MG to bring up Set & Osiris, Christ & Lucifer…you know, classic pairs that descend through involutionary layers of being into ever branching polar incarnations.  Paradox resolved dissolves as dyads in the Fall.  Ford is Lucifer and Arnold is the Christ.  BAM.

• What are people going to be dissatisfied with in the future?

• Next World Problems

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