Provocative, profound discussions at the intersection of art, science, and wonder with "paleontologist-futurist" Michael Garfield and a growing list of artists, scientists, philosophers, historians, comedians, and other weirdos. Explore the evolutionary landscape and our place in it through unconventional, bizarre, irreverent, and thoughtful conversations – an auditory psychedelic to get you prepared for living in a wilder future than we can imagine. Join our discussion group and meet like minds: Support this podcast and get rewards:
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Now displaying: December, 2016
Dec 23, 2016

This week’s episode features Dr. Rupert Till, aka Dr. Chill, who does actually hold the world’s first PhD in Electronic Music.  Dr. Chill also has a habit of reconstructing ancient acoustic spaces from caves and temples, then writing electronic chill out music with 3D printed replicas of the world’s oldest instruments.  In other words, he’s a badass at the intersection of academic archeology and international dance festival culture.  A pretty great place to be.

Dr. Chill’s Blog:

Dr. Chill’s set from Boom Festival 2016:

Dr. Chill on Boom Festival and living on the line between academia and festival culture: 

“I keep saying to people, this is work.  I’m not here on holiday…I’m here disseminating the results from a 3.5 Million Pound European research project.”

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We discuss the intersection of minimal electronica and the music and instruments of antiquity.  Designing interactive and immersive 3D environments with accurate acoustics, and rebuilding the experience of ancient music in digital space. 

We also get into a tasty back and forth about the need to reclaim lost technologies of ritual and ceremony as we move deeper into the mayhem of electronic media…

“Understanding what was going on in the ancient past tells us something about what is happening today.  I’m interested in looking at what was similar, then to now.”
- Rupert Till

The similarities between modern and ancient humans, and the sense of continuity and kinship we can feel when visiting ancient sacred sites. 

I mention my talk from Liminal Village, which you can listen to here:

How the human brain case shrank as a consequence of writing, and how Google might be shrinking our brains even further…oral cultures have a much more sensitive experience of hearing:

“At night, when you’re in these caves, you can’t see much.  So you’re using your ears ALL THE TIME to get around the place…we’re so surrounded by so much noise nowadays, I think we miss some of that.  Some of the caves I’ve been in have been the most remarkable acoustic places because they’re so silent.  They’re astonishingly quiet.  They were so quiet that our noise meter couldn’t measure.  It was reading the lowest it could read.  The noise floor of the electronics was all it was measuring.  [Then later, coming out of Lascaux Cave,] you go around this corner and this SCREAMING volume of the French countryside was astonishing.”
- Rupert Till

The difference between the sensory deprivation of the cave and the noise and color of topside existence.

“I can understand that when people went into the dark of the caves, that when they came out, they appreciated sound and people and light so much more.  That process of journeying somewhere else, to go somewhere in isolation and them come back to the world, going into the liminal space and then returning again…I think it’s a big part of what’s happening at this festival and most.  That rediscovery of ritual is another thing that’s going on in this re-enchantment of the world and this rediscovery of the technologies of the past that are useful today.”
- Rupert Till

Michael’s story of his overnight stay in a Texas jail and rediscovering the beauty of Texas upon his release.  Understanding why the police feel the need to protect this place.

How the American emphasis on future-thinking has divorced us from our rites of passage.  Refusing a developmental opportunity, it appears regardless, as “horrible fate.”   The nature of the infamous “Saturn Return” as the moment in which we’re caught up with all of our postponed developmental crises…

…and how entanglement with the War on Drugs may be the only modern rite of passage available to many Americans.

RJ Stewart’s book The Way of Merlin and the recurring theme in esoteric initiation of being trapped and/or put underground.

How we lost our ancient rituals because of modernity’s rejection of religion…and threw the baby out with the bathwater.

How art and music may have been the technologies that bonded human communities together tightly enough that it enabled us to out-compete the Neanderthals.

“The modern experiment has suggested, ‘No, no, we can just be individuals, have our own just-look-after-yourself world, and it’s the way forward.’ But that’s the kind of existential crisis of the modern world, isn’t it?  Always looking for the new.  New doesn’t always work.”
- Rupert Till

If “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” then hasn’t modernity failed to recognize the high technology of ritual??

“Ritual…evolved with us as human beings, and in many ways is a much more sophisticated technology than any modern invention.  We failed to recognize it for what it was, and we threw the baby out with the bathwater by believing that ritual was merely superstitious and not the enactment of a holistic cosmovision.  That it wasn’t something essential that bound us to one another and to the world around us, and we ended up throwing away something upon which we rely.  And now that we’re sort of liquefying the modern world into the postmodern ‘internet of things,’  and we’re experiencing this phase transition, we have this sort of NEED to reclaim all of these ancient technologies in order to stabilize ourselves as we move forward into a much more hyperconnected and communal space that’s organized more musically than it is rationally.”
- MG

The complex structure of surviving rituals in electronic music culture.

The importance of gathering the stories of our elders and transmitting them through generations.

Different kinds of cultures have different kinds of festivals, but every culture has festivals of SOME kind…

The essay I mentioned in which I discuss how you can tell a lot about society by the way it handles festivals:

“Transformational Festivals Are A Symptom of Dissociation”

The book Dancing in the Streets and electronic trance festivals as a reclamation of our original tribal identity as a species.

“Our brain is just structured so it will go into trances…and they’re an important part of the psychic culture that we need to be healthy human beings.”
- Rupert Till

“One of the things that you need to go into a trance is the cultural expectation that it will happen.”
- Rupert Till

“Time is not the simple thing we thought.”
- Rupert Till

The difference between optimizing society for humans versus optimizing society for machines.

Specific music for specific functions, specific environments.

Site-specific or “vernacular” music versus music without functional purpose and the movement from tribal to modern music and the disdain that some classical musicians feel for ritual/ceremonial music.

Natural language interfaces will return us to an oral culture and immersive audio experience – “Writing just feels like an incomplete form of recording now that we can 3D scan things” – so presenting sound and visuals in three dimensions…

“Looking and listening SHOULD be completely merged.  And that’s the exciting future, for these things to be more integrated…so you can be in virtual spaces that are moving and shifting visually and aurally.”
– Rupert Till

Android Jones & Phong’s Microdose VR, HTC Vive TiltBrush, and other ways to dance simultaneous control of music and light…where movement meets architecture and we project vibratory glyphs into the space around us…

Dec 16, 2016

This week our guest is Mark Lee (Somnio8), an amazing artist.  One of my favorite visionary painters.  We spoke in the Museum of Visionary Art at Boom Festival about free energy devices, the creative culture of Bali, and the awesome potentials of our collective future... is currently down so check out his FB page:

A very soft spoken dude, too, so apologies in advance for the festival background noise.

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Don Harris’ inherited patent for radionics technology and the nature of the strange pocketwatch-like device that Mark was holding during our interview (which you can see a picture of [here]).

A bit of not-precisely scientific exposition of radionics, scalar wave technology, the Casimir Effect, antigravity, and so on.  Short detours into the Michaelson-Morley Experiment, the supposed disproof of the luminiferous ether, and more recent perspectives on a superfluid rather than solid ether as the basis for “over-unity” devices.

How this field of study and this work has influenced and affected Mark’s life and artwork…the intersection of Golden Ratio technology and 3D printing will be a revolution.  How studying shape and material properties and our ability to manipulate them in this time and age has inspired some awesome new toys and allows us to “cross the line between art and technology”.

Mark recommends the following YouTube video: Shape Power by Dan Davidson

Mark’s device reminds Michael of a time machine that he imagined for a sci-fi novel he and his friends tried to write in high school:  one of those magical technologies that was never invented, just passed from older back to younger selves in a time loop…

“I really want to inspire more artists to take up playing with 3D and using games engines, because it’s the ultimate tool for sharing any idea we can imagine.”

This year is the year we’re starting to see legitimate gestural interfaces – 3D controllers like the HTC Vive and the importance of being able to use our hands and work in the sculptural space of VR with our whole bodies, not just a mouse and keyboard.

Mark’s recent project with Sasha Stone (founder of Example Zero) on ANCIENT FUTURES, a festival in Bali that he’s helping conceive and art direct.  One idea he’s using:  the ticket is an hourglass with a single grain of sand in it to represent stardust and autonomy, and to invite a range of other meanings.

Dan Winter, physicist, at is another fantastic resource for new/alternate physics on scalar waves and phase-conjugate fields (and how different materials and geometries affect the human organism).

Temple mathematics and the architecture of transcendence.  Bioarchitecture.  “If you can’t grow a seed in there…” 

Michael asks Mark what he thinks about the growing evidence for a lost seafaring global culture that was wiped out roughly 13,000 years ago by a cometary impact. 


MG:  “By connecting everything to everything else, we are paradoxically (?) reviving all this ancient wisdom, indigenous knowledge, animism in the form of relating to the intelligence of our machines…and I wonder how much this is going to end up literalizing these New Age mythologies of technologically advanced ancient cultures…  You certainly don’t need to believe in Atlantis to believe in the physics of this stuff.”

Mark’s vision for the near future: festival culture becomes permanent.  Giant 3D printers, magnesium oxide cement, over unity engines…

“We can do anything if we have the energy.  We can desalinate seawater, we can turn deserts into jungles…”

Some more about overunity engines.  Mark’s own experiments with free energy garage projects in Bali.

Tom Bearden’s Motionless Electromagnetic Generator

Michael asks: What if we aren’t READY for free energy?  What if our species is too immature and those who may be murdering inventors have the world’s best interests at heart?  What if these technologies have been suppressed because “they” know we’ll only blow ourselves up with it? 

(The Occupy Movement pits the 99% against the 1%, but don’t we want a solution that works for 100%?)

Why don’t we have ethical boards for new energy and transportation technologies and how are we going to actually integrate these transformations into culture?

Mark gives a very thoughtful reply…

Mark suggests looking up:

Ralph Ring & Otis T Carr

Mark:  Those are humans flying UFOs, not aliens.

We go totally woo and entertain the possibility that we officially left the Moon because it was already inhabited.  Mark mentions a number of ostensible secret Moon programs from other countries and even corporations. 

Michael’s experience of visiting Synergia Ranch and learning about how Biosphere II was an outgrowth of a secret international research program that happened across the Iron Curtain in the 1970s, mapping Mars and planning for a human mission.

Then we get silly.

What do you want to say to that future self that includes but also transcends you?

MG:  “Do you have any questions for the future?”

ML:  “No, not really.  I’m pretty present.  Excited.”

Dec 9, 2016

A special Boom Festival "Future Fossils on The Road" episode featuring some awesome people Michael met while playing and speaking at the amazing biennial psytrance festival in Portugal.

Shaft Uddin is a Tantric Unicorn and Sacred Sexual Awakener (with noisy arm bangles):

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We discuss:

Shadow work, “turning into the swerve,” and going into darkness to claim the light.  Realizing that the monster in your dream is you. 

Dealing with people’s projections and how to make peace with the people who embody your opposite or rejected self – in other words, how to be a “polyamorous sex cult leader” with grace and dignity and humility.

“There’s nothing wrong with desire.  There’s nothing wrong with harnessing your sexual energy for greater abundance and manifestation.”

The dam is to the river system as the taboo is to the body.  How do our needs to control nature manifest in ways that obstruct or interfere with our well-being?

The horrible true history of the corset – designed to keep women from speaking up for themselves.

“The more I study the vagina, the yoni, the sacred space, the more I understand myself.  Because I understand where I came from.”

The historical tendencies of masculine magic being about projecting the will and controlling nature, and feminine magic being about aligning will with the power of natural cycles.

The power of the vulnerability of group intimacy and Michael’s experience with The Body Electric School at Burning Man 2008.

Shaft’s ambidextrous “twin goddess awakening” practice and the creation of circuits of loving energy and other “woo woo stuff” that cured his loneliness, depression, and substance abuse.

The difference between “polyamory” as loving multiple people and recognizing the original unity and non-separation of all of us and loving universally (see also Alice Frank’s “uniamory”).

Polyamory vs. Transparent Love (and other Principles of Unicornia)

“Don’t leave me!”

(and then immediately)

”It’s okay, I’m fulfilled in myself, it’s fine.”

— TIME TRAVEL (not externally, but internally) and FATE —

Following the histories of the atoms that compose us into the stars and nebulae from which our parts originated = internal time travel!

The myth of Atlantis as an example of “misplaced concreteness” of the racial memory of an ancient extinction our cells still remember, not necessarily the story that we tell ourselves about an ancient city.

Graham Hancock’s argument that a 13,000 year old comet impact ended the Pleistocene and the possibility that epigenetic molecules have coded this event in our cell nuclei – as well as other even more ancient extinction events such as The Great Oxygenation Event (in which the evolution of photosynthesis nearly destroyed all life).

People are building bunkers preparing for a catastrophe that happened two billion years ago!

Recycling everything.

Faith in humanity and a belief in the Star Trek vision.

“I believe that we will start flourishing.”

Christopher Ryan vs Stephen Pinker and clashing narratives about the progress of our species and whether or not we really are more peaceful than we were as foragers.

“I get my knowledge off of YouTube and Facebook.”


We might as well go there:  crystals.  Meditating on them.  Going back to Lemuria through crystal meditation time travel.  “OR are we projecting onto it?”

Exalting the natural world by our awareness and appreciation of it.  Ensouling technologies by naming them.  To observe something turns it from a possibility into an actuality.  So with New Age weirdness, how many hallucinations does it take to qualify as reality?

Iboga teaches Shaft to “Ask a tree.”

Michael: “If my cohost were here to reign me in, we might not even be having this conversation.”

Biogeomagnetism and Michael’s 2008 vision-hypothesis that solar maxima and mimina might correlate to changes in the expression of different hormonal balances and behavioral patterns, possibly entirely different genetic expression patterns and states of consciousness.

S: “Do you believe in past life regression?  I just paid $400 for my one.”

M: “Why’d you do that when you can talk to a tree for free?”

Camillo introduces himself.  Our first third-party guest!  He weighs in on the possibility of the cycle of learning that a soul goes through…

Is “how literally true it is” the right question?  Or do we just have a modern human obsession with FACTS?

M:  “We don’t realize we’re in this Russian doll of nested dreams.  And so we regard LOCAL reality as REALITY.  And then you get out of that atmosphere and it gets more and more diffuse.”

Writing Field Guides to the Denizens of DMT Space:

- the very circus vibe

- “like with ayahuasca, there’s always a snake”

…and on to Jeremy Narby’s revelations in his book, The Cosmic Serpent, about how plants communicate to animals about their phytochemical properties through gross anatomy.

Camillo talks about synesthetic communication with the body, mapping brain regions to reinterpret signals from the body from feeling to visual cortex processing, etc.  How archetypes might be the firmware-esque stable mappings of visual and emotional content onto personified entities.  (Why would something like that evolve?)  Filtered through the specificities of culture, universal human archetypes become specific deities and spirits.

S:  “THIS is why I want to have a church.”

M:  “This is why my dad doesn’t want me starting a church.”

The Ten Principles of Unicorn

Unicorn Power Ballads

Biophotonics and the DNA Light Internet

M:  “Maybe the medieval view of things as endlessly regressing celestial spheres is closer to the truth.”

Mapping possibility as multiverses on a spherical coordinate plane, and the impossible as antipodal to you, and what’s just unlikely as on the horizon, and what is as where you’re standing.  And it all moves when you move.

“I basically suppressed my superpowers.  I chose to live a lower form of existence…because what really made me happy was ‘Getting paid and getting laid.’  And it made me super happy until two years ago, when I had my awakening.”

Michael Crichton’s experience, as reported in his autobiography Travels, of learning to see auras.  How Shaft and his former lover learned to see auras.  Shaft and Camillo share some exercises and anecdotes about how to move energy.

Burning Man as a physicalized internet and the advent of “noetic polities” in which people affiliate and orchestrate according to interests and values, not blood relations or geographic proximity.  Will this “unscheduled fluid simultaneity” of liminal zones like festivals be the norm in a few decades, as we get more and more invested in the internet?  Nod to Doug Rushkoff’s book Present Shock and his term “narrative collapse.” 

“Let’s see if it’s in flow!  Kind of a spiritual bypass; no agreements.”

Scheduling as a byproduct of modern city time; flow as a byproduct as tribal nonlinear time.

C:  “You’re not the mountain from which the river flows.  You’re something in the river that’s going with it, and you’d better just swim with it.”

M:  “But maybe if you had the mass of a mountain in people that were all trying to get the river to flow upstream, you could do it.”

M:  “Do you know [of] Peter Diamandis?”

S:  “Like a true shaman, I don’t read.  I learn through experience.  Tell me.”

M:  “Okay, well, through my experience of reading people…”

S:  [Devious Cackle]

Taking an active stance toward the future.  Seeing yourself as an active contributor to the future (rather than feeling disempowered by someone else’s vision of the future).

Abundance vs. Scarcity in history and economics and how the kind of abundance Diamandis predicts for the next century will radically change our sense of value/priority and allow us to be more deeply generous with one another.

C:  “A lot of us live in a state of mental scarcity when we’re actually some of the richest people in the world.”

Michael’s perspective on Lisbon and the awesomeness of Europe vs. the ridiculous waste and price of the USA.

Shaft and Kamillo on the difference in agricultural and food standards in the USA vs. Europe.

Parag Khanna and his book Connectography, which argues that our connective infrastructure and economic relationships define boundaries more than actual national borders.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the light and dark sides of globalism vs. planetary culture.  NOT THE SAME.

Shaft’s three step plan for extricating yourself from the system.

(Camillo is doing the exact same thing.)

C:  “I think the universe is going to show you more love if you show more love to it.”

Reliance on the system we are trying to escape.

M:  “What does capitalism actually produce?  It seems like people who are trying to escape capitalism is the main product.” 

Alex joins the conversation and drops a knowledge ball on us about permaculture.  Shaft brings up Tamera, a sustainable free love community in Portugal – and his mission to travel the world’s intentional communities and model his own on their best features.

M:  “Every generation’s trash becomes something valuable to the next generation.”

Was the Baby Boomer acquisition/trash-creation phase the caterpillar phase of humanity, gathering and consolidating for an evolutionary transformation?

Art made out of trash!  Building bricks!

Steve brings up the possibility of Universal Basic Income.  Camillo mentions that Finland will actually be implementing UBI next year!

Lynn Rothschild’s recent speech arguing for Universal Basic Income because capitalism needs consumers and a middle class to keep things in circulation.

Capitalism is based on extraction - nod to Episode 9 with author Ashley Dawson on his book, Extinction: A Radical Critique.

The origins of the word wealth.

Everyone’s perspectives on the future:

- Steve wants to get involved rather than just complaining.

- Camillo wants people to learn about finding how to make their passions their jobs and creating abundance for everyone before we destroy ourselves.

- Shaft believes in Star Trek, that we’ll live in a beautiful future that’s like Sweden, only everywhere.

- Alex hopes that our good choices reach a critical mass that changes everything in the direction of sustainability.

- Michael asks, “What is the change that each of us must go through in order to make the world we want to live in BELIEVABLE?”

The only way to move forward into this world is as complete people.