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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Dec 25, 2017
Merry X-(is for Xenomorph)-mas, everyone! 

This week – in a brazen display of anachronism – original Future Fossils cohost, electronic music producer, and sci fi aficionado Evan Snyder and I go deep on what we liked and disliked about Alien: Covenant, and speculate on how this film fits into the still-murky larger mythos of Ridley Scott’s expanded Alien universe. We get into atheist Scott’s weird fixation with the Bible; how the Alien films represent and handle philosophical questions about the relationship between humanity and technology; and why people from the science-fictional future ARE SO DAMN STUPID.
Related Reading:
“Reading Necronomicon at the New York Comic Con”
In This Episode We Discuss:
• Why are people are so damn stupid in the Alien movies – is it bad writing, or a realistic understanding of how dependent we will one day be on artificial cognitive augmentation?
• Nicholas Carr’s book The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
• Smartphone addiction & technology as prosthesis
• Was the neutrino burst that hit the Covenant an accident, or planned/intended?
• Is David actually rebelling, or still continuing to serve the Weyland-Yutani corporate program?
• Easter Egg: How do the various LV planets of the Alien franchise line up with chapters of Leviticus?
• Are the Engineers themselves bioengineered artificial organisms?
• The xenomorph life cycle: Why do we even have an Alien Queen? Is “egg-morphing” canonical?
• WTF was going on in that seemingly contrived last Daniels/Tennessee/Protomorph fight scene?
• The motif of creativity and the inability to create in the Alien movies
• NerdWriter’s great video on Logan and the extension of genres into self-aware post-genres
* Hideo Kojima about the Alien franchise
* How Blade Runner movies and Aliens films may be related
• How this film addresses society’s concerns about artificial intelligence
* Are the alien prequels actually about the production of the Alien franchise itself?
* Wall-E, Idiocracy, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element
* Christmas, Christ, and Antichrist in the Alien films
* Is Ridley Scott trolling us all?
* Bizarre (fan-shipped) possibility of a Star Trek/Alien crossover

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Dec 16, 2017

In a special episode so timely that I couldn’t wait a week to publish, I sit down with Jennifer Sodini ( and Michael Phillip (Third Eye Drops Podcast) to cut through the technical jargon and discuss the economic, cultural, and even spiritual implications of blockchain technology. 

Everything we took for granted is about to change…beyond Bitcoin and quick riches, there’s a new planetary culture based on the scalability of trust.  This podcast explores what that means for you – and why so many of your friends think that this new evolution of digital money and contracts is one of the most important events of our lives.

Jennifer & Michael are two of the co-founders (along with Noah Lampert) of Cryptoseer, a new media company:


We discuss:

• Why this is about so much more than another hype bubble of speculative assets for tech nerds;

• What the blockchain economy is teaching us about how to surf exponential change;

• The democratization of financial and legal literacy, and how decentralization can nourish a planet-wide renaissance of non-coercive institutions;

• The importance of talking and storytelling about these new technologies in a way that people can connect to and understand;

• Reclaiming our authority, agency, sovereignty from the financial and governmental systems we created for convenience…but not without resistance;

• Looking at blockchain in an evolutionary and ecological context, and comparing what we’re living through now to historical precedents like 1967 and the end of the Age of Dinosaurs;

• The urgency of a decentralized Web 3.0 built on blockchain and mesh networks, to keep a Free Internet alive;

• What is all this going to look like when the artists get their hands on it?

• Blockchain to manage swarms of flying autonomous cars…

• What we can learn about the social construction of value from Dogecoin;

• Is Bitcoin an NWO plot…and would it even matter if it were?

And perhaps most critically:

• Can understanding blockchain help liberate you from the ego??


NOTE: You can listen to this with ZERO technical knowledge.  But if you want some primers and interesting related links:

• Richie Etwaru’s TEDx talk, “Blockchain Massively Simplified”

• Bettina Warburg explains the blockchain to a 5-year old, a teenager, an undergrad, a grad, and an expert on WIRED:

• Our friend Noah Lampert (co-founder of with Jenn & Michael) made a special episode of Synchronicity Podcast about it:


Once you’ve made it through those:

• My EPIC Facebook thread, “Kids, it’s time we sat down and had a talk about Bitcoin” (300+ comments):

• “The Collapse of the American Dream Explained in Animation”

• About “Johnny Appledrone vs. The FAA”

• And here’s an infamous video of Katie Couric talking about the Internet in 1994, the way people are talking about blockchains today:


On the relationship between BTC and OWS:

If the SEC wants to investigate something, they should start with Wall Street and what happened in 2008. It’s definitely not sitting in a room full of servers. It’s time to have this discussion and I’m demanding that discussion starting today.”

- Jared Rice of AriseBank

Julian Assange:  "Bitcoin is the real Occupy Wall Street."

Dec 12, 2017

This week’s guest is Daniel Schmachtenberger of the Neurohacker Collective – one smart dude!  Must be the nootropics.  We have an awesome conversation about what it will take for us to thrive through our Age of Transition and into the emergent world that works for all, not just a few of us.

His company:

His blog:


Some Topics We Discuss:

• How he got started in complex systems thinking while working in (and watching the failures of) wildlife conservation;

• How he understands his work as participating in the emergence of a planetary renaissance;

• A vision for how to move beyond finite win-lose games with in- and out-groups between warring cultures and into infinite win-win games;

• His critiques of negative interest currency, universal basic income, and other system-wide economic incentives;

• His argument for why giving ecosystems economic value isn’t enough to stand up against a wave of exponential technology;

• How change can come from everywhere at once to vault us into a new era of whole-planet thinking that does not (continue to) collapse “complex” into merely “complicated”;

• The role of automation in worldwide economic transformation;

• How the next evolutionary transformation will emerge from the appearance of new ways to coordinate and align our senses, information processing, and action in the world – closing the loop between what we know and what we can do with it;

• How we can heal the broken information ecology, and what that means for the surveillance conversation;

• What incentives can we use in a totally redesigned global economy that benefits everyone?


Select Books Mentioned:

• Timothy Morton’s book Hyperobjects

• James P. Carse’s book Finite & Infinite Games



Select Daniel Quotes:

“We have a system where structural violence and externality are implicit throughout the system completely, so participation with that at all requires it.”

“It was clear that nothing less than a discrete, nonlinear phase-shift was adequate, so…what are the necessary and sufficient criteria of the post-transition world?  And how do we support that emergence?”

“If you’re getting interested in economics as a philosopher, it just means you’re gaining insight into how structural incentive and structural value systems and disposition work.  Which means you are NOT being a good philosopher if you are not thinking about those things.”

“We don’t know how to do civilization without war…we’re really talking about getting off win-lose game theory completely.  It’s unprecedented.  But unprecedented shit is actually the precedent of the universe, if you have a very long view.”

“Economics can be seen as the interface layer between our values and the way we build the world.”

“If we are gaining the power of gods, then without the love and wisdom of gods, we self-destruct.”

“Are the things that we THINK we’re optimizing for the right things at all? … How do I create an INTEGRATED system design that tends to everything that matters here?”

“The forty weeks of a baby in utero, if it continued, would kill itself and the mom.  And the phase shift of leaving the birth canal and umbilical cord cut – it’s not predicted by the forty weeks before, if you didn’t know that thing was going to happen.”

“Anything you can write a process for, no human wants to spend their whole life doing.”

“The omni-win-win system actually outcompetes the win-lose system, while obsoleting win-lose dynamics itself.”

“We are living in a world where we have an amazing amount of sensory input possible, right?  We can see stuff from the Hubble, we can see stuff in electron tunneling microscopes, and we can see input from everywhere around the world on the Internet – but that’s decoupled from sense-making, so I can’t tell if it’s fucking true or not!  I can’t put it together with the things I know.  And so I have a tremendous amount of sense input that I can’t make sense of.  Then, to the degree that I make sense of something – like, okay, CO2 is actually a problem – then I have no idea how the fuck to act on it.  And then do the degree that I act on things – like I go buy this laptop that we’re talking on, that comes from an industrial supply chain that affected life on six continents – I actually have no sense coupling to what the fuck was affected and HOW it was affected to inform if I want to make that choice or not.”


Special thanks to the Body Hacking Conference for their support of this episode!  

BDYHAX.COM ("Body Hacks") is about human augmentation, personal expression, democratized medicine and bringing the DIY ethos to our own bodies. We bring together people from all industries who are interested in what's happening right now in bodyhacking all over the world to make connections, friends, and share experiences and resources in order to build the best possible future. 

February 2-4, 2018 at Sheraton Austin in Downtown Austin. 

Dec 6, 2017

Ayana Young didn’t even go camping until she was 25.  Now she lives in a cabin she built herself in the redwoods of Northern California and manages a 477-acre native species nursery wilderness rehabilitation project (as well as an amazing podcast).  This week’s episode is a candid, personal discussion about how awakening to our participation in nature is the key to both our survival and our spiritual salvation…


For The Wild is currently raising money to plant ONE MILLION redwoods:


We talk about:

• her transition from anonymous, germaphobic suburban consumer to restoration ecologist, activist, and dirt-working spokesperson for the world’s last remaining wilderness;

• being a person of place and cultivating a personal relationship with our wild (and not-so-wild) lands;

• love in a time of catastrophe and how to FEEL our impact on a planetary scale;

• what wilderness means in The Anthropocene and what ought to guide our decisions in restoration ecology (not just “restoring to 200 years ago” as if that’s the best goal);

• restoring not extinct ecosystems but biodiversity and resiliency IN GENERAL;

• the joy of personal sacrifice to a cause and purpose greater than yourself;

• what inspires her to keep going against all obstacles to the Good Work;

• how to be an empowered activist and servant in love with life and your imperfect self;

• picking yourself up after failure;

• and more.  A totally inspiring conversation!


Select Quotes:

“If I’m so consumed by my self and my own life, then what am I willing to risk for others?  That’s a question I ask myself a lot: ‘What am I willing to risk for that which I love?’”

“We don’t have reciprocal relationships with land, with Earth, with each other, with our lives.  And how do you have a reciprocal relationship?  Well, you have to have intimacy.  You have to feel things.  And I love when people say that if you’re not upset, if you’re not grieving, if you’re not angry, if you’re not feeling these strong emotions, then you’re not awake right now.  If you were awake to the realities of what is happening in the world, you’d have no choice but to have immense amounts of feelings.  But it’s not easy to unravel all of the conditioning that keeps us from feeling.”

“We can be artists as we farm.  We can be artists as we grow food.  We can be artists as we clean beaches.  We can be artists as we put mushrooms on oil spills.  I mean, there are SO many ways we can create and love each other and HAVE A BLAST while restoring the Earth.  And I think it takes the sadness and the grief to get into that work – and then when we’re on the other side, we can put all of that rage and that fire and that sadness into doing something tangible.”

“It’s not about playing God.  I think it’s more about being an herbalist for the Earth…I want to be more a support system than a savior.”

“How do we embody the dichotomy of large-scale urgency and also gentle deep-time thinking?”

“I don’t think we should wait until mastery to get involved.”


Special thanks to the Body Hacking Conference for their support of this episode!  

BDYHAX.COM ("Body Hacks") is about human augmentation, personal expression, democratized medicine and bringing the DIY ethos to our own bodies. We bring together people from all industries who are interested in what's happening right now in bodyhacking all over the world to make connections, friends, and share experiences and resources in order to build the best possible future. 

February 2-4, 2018 at Sheraton Austin in Downtown Austin. 

Nov 24, 2017

This week’s guest is visionary artist Jake Kobrin, whose digital paintings explore a gorgeous, dark, evocative terrain of non-ordinary human experience and twist religious iconography into a metamorphic form well-suited to our psychedelic modern era.

We discuss his painting “Black Madonna” and the return and healing of the repressed feminine – not just women, but the body, the psychological shadow, marginalized peoples, death, and transformation…

We talk about Jake’s artistic intuition, nontraditional relationships, the reality of love, and my transformation from living in a haunted house to realizing the “ghost” was my own disowned soul…

If you are, or love, a witch, you’ll dig this episode.


Jake’s Website:


More Topics We Discuss:

• The nonduality of the sacred and profane;

• Intuition and the creative process, allowing the art to speak through you;

• Eden & Apocalypse, with history in the middle;

• Light & Dark, Good & Evil as “conceptual impositions” that don’t really exist “in nature”;

• Mary Magdalene, Judas, and The Scapegoat;

• The evolution of cell division as failed excretion and the relationship between sex and death;

• James Hollis’ book The Eden Project: The Search for the Magical Other, and how we seek out lovers based on unconscious images of our idealized early childhood caregivers

• Being a better partner to yourself first before relying on lovers

• Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Mastery of Love

• Hakim Bey’s book Temporary Autonomous Zone and ontological anarchy versus the social ego (as a function of wilderness)

• B Catling’s book The Vorrh

• “cis-relational” “cis-racial” and other “yes I am this thing” labels

• Graphic Novel, The Wicked & The Divine, and japanese sun goddess Amaterasu

And Jake reads his short piece about the spiritual authority of the Black Madonna.

Here’s an AMAZING related piece by theologian Matthew Fox:


“Understanding that my self is kind of alien to me, and a mystery, I can’t really judge…”

“All things are inherently pure and it’s more like our projection onto that that is less than pure…The Christ saw The Magdalene in her essential purity.”

“Our lives and our relationships are these formless, complex, infinite things, and I would rather exist in that framework than try to limit myself to conceptual boxes about the way I see things and how I project ideas of what my life is.”

“What is considered manly – certainly, that projection within American culture – I don’t relate to that AT ALL, and it just makes me go, ‘ew.’”

“I think we can just let our experiences exist without NEEDING to put them in a category as ‘real’ or ‘not-real’…”

Nov 18, 2017
Support Future Fossils on Patreon

This week’s guest is my friend Lindsay Loftin, a professional mermaid who uses her performances to raise awareness of marine conservation issues.  She also boasts 60 pushups in two minutes and the ability to transform phone-addicted schoolchildren into avid gardeners.


We Discuss:

• How mermaid performances can help us transform our relationship to nature;

• Sea goats and other weird half-and-half creatures, and how the Capricorn’s ambitious in-between-ness was a prophesy of amphibians as an emblem of evolutionary “ascent”;

• Remembering in our bodies the importance of the health of our environment and our right relationship to nature;

• Ecology as a mystical experience or way of being awake;

• The changing definition of nature once you think of the atmosphere as an artifact created by primordial ooze;

• Epigenetics, landscape agency, cities as automatic outgrowths of the lithosphere, and the argument against free will from a planet’s point of view;

• Plastics and endocrine disruption related sterility;

• Activism!;

• Whales;

• David Pearce’s anti-species-ist manifesto;

• Responsible tourist information about how to visit wild places respectfully;

…and much more.  I go off the deep end and talk about the possibility of ACTUALLY BECOMING mermaids with CRISPR, and the social consequences of the end of a common “human” body.

Then we talk for another hour.  Lindsay tells some AMAZING animal stories.  She has never been injured.


Lindsay Loftin:

“I want to be the Bill Nye of mermaids.”

“I think when little girls see me holding my breath for two minutes and swimming around Barton Springs, it blows their minds…they’re thinking, ‘Science is not what I thought it was.’”

“It’s our time to return to the water.  At least in our focus and our awareness. Because you know, the way our culture is going is so far removed from any sort of connection to nature as I’ve come to understand it.  So that’s a systemic illness, in my opinion.  My work…lies with healing that rift, that illness.”

“No two people react to nature in the same way.  The way I experience going out side is kind of like a landscape level.  Which, as an ecologist, I’m mapping in my brain how energy is flowing from the air, into that tree, into me, into the soil – the water going across the landscape, where that’s going, what animals are here – I’m seeing all of that at the same time.”

“I can pretty much guarantee you that you drank plastic within the last week…essentially, we are becoming plastic.”

“As someone who works with other people’s children, I just cannot stand the thought of sitting here waiting [for plastic-eating bacteria to save the world].”

“I don’t even have an Instagram.  People hear that, and they’re like, ‘But you’re a mermaid!’”

“Dangerous wildlife finds me, gets as close to me as possible, and then completely leaves me alone.  I can’t really explain why, but that seems to be one of my gifts:  that animals are A attracted to me, and B have no interest in eating me.”

“If birds get really loud, or suddenly really quiet, both of those are times when you should pause and evaluate your surroundings.”



“Could plastic-eating bacteria be used to generate the electricity required to mine Bitcoin?”

Nov 6, 2017

In one of the most QUOTABLE episodes of Future Fossils yet, this week’s guest is Eliot Peper – a “novelist and strategist” writing fiction and consulting businesses about the social implications of disruptive technologies.  In addition to writing a steady stream of sci-fi inflected techno-thrillers like True Blue and Cumulus, he’s an editor at Scout.AI (one of the cooler speculative fiction websites I’ve seen out there).


We Discuss:

• The power of science fiction to help us imagine future scenarios;

• The possible social impact of radical life extension (gerontocratic radical conservatives vs. an emergent mature wisdom culture);

• The Superstar Effect and how it might play out in the digital age;

• The awesomeness of Cory Doctorow’s latest novel, Walkaway;

• Eliot’s skepticism of mind uploading and conscious AI;

• The specter of technological unemployment;

• Science fiction’s growing significance to corporate think-tanks and creative labs in a future-facing society;

• How science fiction is like traveling to a foreign country – and teaches us more about our own moment than it does about the future;

• And More!



“We don’t call it ‘life extension,’ we just call it ‘healthcare.’”

“I think there is a very misleading public discussion going on around these topics [mind uploading and conscious AI], for a very simple reason.  And that is – and I know this as a storyteller – metaphors matter…the human mind is very poor at distinguishing metaphor from reality.  That’s what makes art fun!  That’s what makes novels entertaining.  We experience them as if they are real.  Money is that.  It only exists because we can build these complex shared fictions.  However, those fictions can come back and bite you in the ass.  And one of the ways they do it is, we take the metaphor too far.”

“[Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein] takes the extension of the Industrial Revolution into the imagination of dystopia.  And I think we’re doing that right now when we’re talking about uploading our minds, and about creating general AIs…I just think we’re taking the computer analogy too far.”

“Technology is most useful to the extent that it is inhuman.”

“The whole point of technology is that we can accomplish what we want to accomplish more effectively – or, said another way, we can do less of what sucks.”

“Getting better at the skill of putting yourself in another person’s shoes is really important, and fiction is a great training ground for that.  It can illuminate so much about why we do what we do that we can apply in our lives.”

“I think what makes science fiction as a genre interesting is its insights about the PRESENT.”

“I seek out discomfort.  I seek out novel experiences that challenge me and that are not always fun.  And I try to talk to people from different fields and learn from them, because I’ve learned that in my own life that having a really strange and somewhat random set of life experiences allows me to have a fresh perspective sometimes on a new problem.”

“The most important things about the world and about what it means to be human are very obvious and very old.  And I think it’s especially important to remember that when we feel like we’re in the midst of a whirlwind of change that we don’t understand.  And that the world we want to build and the lives that we want to lead – either today in 2017, or in 2117 – is that we need to be kind to each other.  We need to help our friends out.  Even more important, to help out strangers.  To pay things forward instead of trying to think about the benefits that accrue to us.  To make sacrifices – meaningful, painful sacrifices – financial, emotional, or otherwise – to help each other out.  I think that building a better world is just a thousand small acts of kindness.”

Oct 25, 2017

This week’s guest is master community builder, singer, and human spirit animal Magenta Ceiba of the Bloom Network. 


Bloom Network:


Magenta’s Personal Website:


We discuss:


- The adoption of regenerative culture practices;

- Cultivating planetwide resiliency in an age of thousands of years of unprocessed grief and trauma;

- Web native permaculture psychedelic anarchy;

- Communicating across HUGE political gaps (esp. with family);

- Cool Bloom Network community initiatives happening around the world;

- What will it take to adapt our technological environment to suit a more humane and grounded ecological society?

- The relationship between the Wood Wide Web of interspecies partnerships and the maturing World Wide Web of human making.

- How can we be good ancestors?

- A “relational, omnidirectional nowness where we embrace as our own body the other organisms on this Earth and the cosmic cycles of stuff through space”

- Synchronicity & Diachronicity

- An academic angle on decolonizing consciousness.  :)

- the inspiration for Intergenerational Psychedelic Dialogues Podcast




“Another key is coming to this conception of time that is relational and omnidirectional, and this nowness in which we embrace as our own body the other organisms that are on this Earth and the cosmic cycles of movement of stuff through space…”


“We’ve disconnected from some of the fungal and soil networks and if we’re going to continue to survive, and that layer of machine-embodied intelligence is going to survive, we need to learn to be in symbiosis with the Earth that we’re on.  If we’re going to make this leap to colonizing other planets, to star travel…”

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:


Kerri’s Blog:


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…



• 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 



“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.


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…




“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.”



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;



“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.


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.


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:




“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.”




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


• 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:

• MG interviews Void Denizen on Reality Sandwich:


• 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


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:

• Biofoundry:


• 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:

• Read more about evolution as a remix:

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:


• Press about Meow:


• 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




• 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…
“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.”
- 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.
- 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…
- 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
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,
“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!
- 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.
- 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
“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

Archai Journal: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology

“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:

Sara on FB:

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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