Member 2292
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What happened to nature?
Olena {The Wizard} Shmahalo (29)
New York
Immortal since Aug 5, 2009
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3

The Operating System
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    Olena’s project
    What happened to nature?
    How to stay in touch with our biological origins in a world devoid of nature? The majestic nature that once inspired poets, painters and...
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.

    One thing seems certain. Our galaxy is now in the brief springtime of its life—a springtime made glorious by such brilliant blue-white stars as Vega and Sirius, and, on a more humble scale, our own Sun. Not until all these have flamed through their incandescent youth, in a few fleeting billions of years, will the real history of the universe begin.

    It will be a history illuminated only by the reds and infrareds of dully glowing stars that would be almost invisible to our eyes; yet the sombre hues of that all-but-eternal universe may be full of colour and beauty to whatever strange beings have adapted to it. They will know that before them lie, not the millions of years in which we measure eras of geology, nor the billions of years which span the past lives of the stars, but years to be counted literally in the trillions.

    They will have time enough, in those endless aeons, to attempt all things, and to gather all knowledge. They will be like gods, because no gods imagined by our minds have ever possessed the powers they will command. But for all that, they may envy us, basking in the bright afterglow of creation; for we knew the universe when it was young.

    — Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future (1962)
    Tue, Aug 24, 2010  Permanent link

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    There's been a lot of talk recently about the changes in Net Neutrality laws, and the possibility that they may change drastically in the coming years, thus disallowing for free communications between peers.

    It's worrisome that Google, monolithic as it is, keeps popping up in these conversations as being not-quite-for neutrality...

    In the latest, CEO Schmidt was quoted:

    "Privacy is incredibly important. Privacy is not the same thing as anonymity. It's very important that Google and everyone else respects people's privacy. People have a right to privacy; it's natural; it's normal. It's the right way to do things. But if you are trying to commit a terrible, evil crime, it's not obvious that you should be able to do so with complete anonymity. There are no systems in our society which allow you to do that. Judges insist on unmasking who the perpetrator was. So absolute anonymity could lead to some very difficult decisions for our governments and our society as a whole."
    "The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity. In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it."

    via Network World

    It sounds like a lack of anonymity is protection for the people, and since we get to "keep our privacy", who will complain?
    But how far is the tagging going to go? At this point in time it's possible to log on to any PC and anonymously access and upload information online... if that ability is taken away, if there must constantly be a number associated with my self a personalized set of statistics which correspond to my number, is that not an invasion?
    As if Google doesn't already hold such information, anyway... Sadly I only recently discovered that little gmail "feature" that saves every search one has ever conducted. Or what about "Foursquare", charmingly named after the childhood game, but logging every willing participant's steps OFF-line as well?

    Not to mention, the possible future problem that some are calling "tiered internet"; here.
    Basically that if wireless takes over as the future medium of online operations, things don't look good for our cyber-freedom.

    "Save the Internet" adresses the new Google/Verizon pact, but I don't know much about it yet.

    Certainly this directly concerns everyone at SC... how will we proceed?
    Wed, Aug 11, 2010  Permanent link

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    I've released a new series of works, influenced/inspired by a life-long immersion in sci-fi culture and technological progress, and especially now by information from the SC itself, having to do with chosen identity, transhumanism, and the relationship between human and artifice:

    A new motion piece: Anonymous

    Übermensch Reaches for the Globular Cluster.

    Personal Assitant: An affair with AI.

    Self Portrait: "030710"

    These and more are all at my Cargo.


    I realize that for many nowadays myths are legends to be dismissed, an easy and quite quotidian colloquialism referring to false stories or traditional, and for some, sacred, symbolic descriptions of the origins of reality. However, my take on the issue is that myths serve a purpose in the evolution of civilization, they serve as ideation containers, contours of hard to describe sense impressions, pointers to sense-thoughts that centralize a notion before it is clarified or dismissed as either insubstantial or irrelevant. In other words, myths are contextual operators of our collective minds, given birth to serve a purpose of meaning, in time to be re-appraised and upgraded, or rejected as the case may be.
    Many myths have served us in the past, they serve us no longer, let them rest in peace in the historical dustbin museum of past human ingenuity, to be admired and researched, but not to be used anymore.
    Instead let us create new myths, transitory working contexts, that will permit us new operational attitudes, fresh pathways into possible futures, upgraded understandings and realizations on the nature of our minds, the nature of reality and the directions we wish to pursue as a specie.

    As our minds are evolving into a new kind of state, that of the Knowmad, a specie in a polytopian informational metaverse, we need accordingly a new story, a new myth, to cater for the transit period in the evolution of human civilization we find ourselves in.

    — Wildcat, in "Knowmads as Metabolic Reactors..."

    Knowmads as myth-creators are also artists — visionary designers.
    Mon, May 17, 2010  Permanent link

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    The Space Collective is a place for new ideas, and as such, some of them may be elusive even for forward thinking terrestrials.
    This dictionary is meant to be a collaborative effort help familiarize members of the collective (and possibly curious foreigners) with terms native to or born within the SC.

    If you happen upon something that needs clarification, please contribute herein. Thank you.


    Infocology: (n)
    Information-ecology. Information-based habitat.

    The term infocology first appears as: "Of infocologies (information ecologies): because the information in our hyperconnected reality is ambient and all pervasive, creating infospheres streaming into each other." via Wildcat // "Of Onions and Infocologies"

    Cited in:
    "A cyber Soaring Humanity"
    "Of Onions and Infocologies"

    Infocologies are not opinion or knowledge umbrellas made to shelter us from chaos, but on the contrary, they are mind habitats, operating in a highly sophisticated information environments, allowing us the dealing with the chaotic in a manner that is both indefinite and thus smoothening the contours of our existence, and precise, and thus increasing our capability for discrimination and distinct correlarity.

    Infocologies permit a different kind of multiple realities to co-habit the normalization of our thought streams.

    Multiplicities are the hallmark of a metastable infocology that licenses itself to variations, variability and variety.

    Infocologies are particular kinds (or cases) of Cas (complex adaptive systems) and lend themselves to evolution into Topos (see- A Topos in a Polytopia- what is)

    Infocologies can be said to belong to second order cybernetics, particularly because an infocology described by its constituents (the infonauts or Polytopians) changes and evolves by the very act of self-description.

    via Wildcat // "A cyber Soaring Humanity"


    Knowmad (n) // Knowmadic (adj):
    A hyper-connected being within the infocology;
    a curator of data who seeks to find new answers to the question of "how to live" and is especially concerned with the synthesized issues of knowledge & connectivity in the modern age.

    A knowmad may be a kind of "floating head" // via MeganMay.

    Cited in:
    "Hybrid Futures: Knowmads and the Notion State"


    Fri, May 14, 2010  Permanent link

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    I just searched Space Collective for this name, and found nothing.
    So here it is: the first mention of an incredible early human.

    I've honestly never heard of him before, until I started watching Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series. Never in high school, never in college... even in supposedly "advanced" courses that covered Greek culture and philosophy "in depth".

    I would understand if it was my own failure to remember names that brought about the ignorance of this man's existence. It happens. I believe that ignorance has to do with unwillingness to learn and not the lack of knowledge itself. However, I do remember the name "Columbus" being hammered incessantly into my head. Columbus... Copernicus, Galileo, Aristotle, Plato. But no Eratosthenes? Really?

    That's why I began searching around for him. Maybe his depiction in "Cosmos" was a stretch? Maybe the SC would have insights. Maybe elsewhere online, I'll find the true story... so far, the story seems to be that Carl got his facts straight.

    If anything I feel this is a testimony to the incredible incompetence of our school systems (at least, apparently, the ones I've been enrolled in).
    Why are we taught backwards? Why should children be lied to for 15+ years and then, if they're lucky, have to climb out of that mud on their own?

    If my exasperation is misplaced due to some reasons I'm unaware of, then I'll take it back.
    But for those of you who have also missed out on this name: Eratosthenes.

    From Sagan's Demon-Haunted World.

    Mythology and spirituality can be wonderful, but what hope can there be for us if we favor convenient fiction over truth, and worse — persecute those who search for the latter?
    It should be of utmost importance to progressive 21st century people not to repeat that mistake.

    Sun, May 2, 2010  Permanent link

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    There was some interesting discussion today about the presentation of the self, to the self — the reference "I" and the possible detrimental value of this action within our daily lives. Rousseau apparently thought that this method of representation was taught to us over time by theatre and that it's both ridiculous and unnatural for humans to go about being images as we are. To have a self and to do the things that this particular self does certainly does require one to become an image which can actually be limiting:
    "If she destined man to be healthy, I venture to declare that a state of reflection is a state contrary to nature, and that a thinking man is a depraved animal."

    — { Rousseau }

    It may be better to just do, as the animals just do, without too much reflection about whether that doing is in accordance with a particular image of one's self or not.
    I find that agreeable, but I'm unable to agree all the way. For instance, to declare our own behavior unnatural seems strange. People have been making representations for thousands of years even before "civilization", so is it really not of our nature to do so? And where does nature "end"? If she created us, and we create in turn, are our (re)creations not of nature? Is it naive to make the assertion we and our creations never cease to be nature, actually?
    In addition, especially at this time I don't think it's wise at all for the person to only do and not reflect; in fact it's a mark of unintelligence and can be dangerous if we, all at once, begin to only do. It would really require a "good" inert nature (as Rousseau suggests we have — but do we really embody that?).

    Pertinently, lately "my self" feels like just a "body" of jell-o being transfigured around through more jell-o so that it appears as it's particular formation in various points of space-time. Maybe it's because of a physics-based perspective — if you start imagining everything in atoms then your body is little more than a different formation of the things in the same air around you, and so what used to be "places" and "times" have become all the same, all one jell-o, under different guises as appropriate for our perception and comprehension. It's very strange. Actually it's kind of embarrassing to admit... but I wonder if anyone else feels like jell-o as well.
    Tue, Mar 30, 2010  Permanent link

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    I've been reading a lot lately, but unable to actually finish as much of that as I want.
    Sometimes I just move on to the next, or whatever is important at that time. Sometimes it's just because I get too busy. But actually the dilemma is that some of this material is very dense, and it's hard for me to get through.

    For example I had to put down "Elegant Universe" because I got to a point where I just couldn't understand what Greene was talking about anymore — the math & physics were above my ability to imagine coherently.
    Then last night, I was reading Adorno and, excuses aside, there were some pages that I had to re-read ~5 times before I felt like I understood it well enough to be able to "teach". I find myself unable to concentrate, or just getting so lost in "detail" words that 5 re-readings later I realize that the main idea is something SO simple... too simple for so much effort.

    Anyway it's very frustrating. I was hoping you all might have some tips how to read not only comprehensively but quickly.
    Tue, Mar 9, 2010  Permanent link

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    What allows beings to love each other is also what makes them lovable, and ruins the utopia of autism-for-two.

    Has anyone here heard of the Tarnac 9?
    Or, "The Coming Insurrection"? (from whence the above quote was taken).
    Sun, Mar 7, 2010  Permanent link

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    I asked some questions a while back, in the entry No Secret.

    Namely, I wanted to know:
    "When is the time to act ... to invent, create, show, teach something worthwhile?
    Is it a conscious decision at all, or just a natural byproduct?"

    A lot of you came forth with answers, and I thank you for that.
    It was a few months ago that I asked, and now I'm happy to be able to answer myself as well, and assertively so. I'm happy to answer myself because advice is always helpful, but it's always said that isn't until you can teach something that you truly know it, so...

    The first part of Acting is courage.
    I keep mentioning Tillich's The Courage to Be because he addresses it so well,
    because courage is one of the most difficult things. At this point I'd say that the difficulty of attaining and keeping it may even surpass the struggle of the pursuit of happiness, since that latter can hardly be embarked on without some courage.
    Courage will allow one to act, knowing full well that one is always in the process of learning, and that mistakes will happen. Courage allows for fluidity, and unapologetic growth.

    With courage, one can proceed to act while learning.
    I had a teacher, F. Young, who would always say: "Just do the work. Don't judge, just do the work." Hell of a guy.

    The application of knowledge is both a natural byproduct and purposeful. It happens because it can't help but happen if one is learning while making, but it's conscious because it requires effort and thinking. Sometimes there is even the realization: Wow, I never would have done it this way before, but this works. It happens when one allows an idea in progress to transform itself as it requires, as the learning informs it, so that the end result is hardly the same as the original intention and yet truer, more correct and thus more beautiful than it would have been had it followed the plan exactly. In that way, a good idea, a good action imitates life.

    On a similar note, sometimes good work might not be recognizable right away as useful or as work at all, if it's naturally informed as is the good idea.

    "Tell me, have I done anything of worth? Tell me if anything was ever done."
    — Leonardo da Vinci,
    at a dark time when his work was interrupted due to accusations of witchcraft and necromancy.

    "When you judge as you're making, it slows you down, it's an undue burden, and in some ways it's not up to you to judge — it's up to someone else; it's social. ... [However], as you're making, you see a kind of reason and rationale. You follow that."
    — Paul Chan, artist

    Based on that, I'm realizing that I'm working even now. Writing is pleasurable for me, it's a good way to figure things out; so I hardly ever think of this or blogging or a lot of what I do as work. But if I'm pulled to do it, it's because this feels like the most important thing I could be doing right now — nevermind that paid work, or homework is waiting. This is The Act, even if it is unrecognizable.

    Leonardo spent years immersed in the sciences, learning and apparently trying to master them all —
    "And yet he had a reputation as a flake."
    This was so because Leonardo's mind was a free-associating one: he would go from one thing to the next, because the particular thing in which he was absorbed at any given time was
    "the most important thing in the world"
    and then it would be "over" and the next thing would be the most important thing in the world.
    In moving from one fascination to the next,
    "you don't get much done over a short period of time, but over long periods of time you get a great deal done."
    (These quotes and re-phrased ideas are from "Leonardo da Vinci", the 2004 BBC documentary.)

    It's unfortunate that doing the important thing and that lacking adherence in favor of fluidity is seen as flaky or, by today's standards, quite ADD.

    To finish up, the idea that well-informed, successful work is somehow accidental, or rather, "suddenly inspired" seems to be fairly prevalent (as in the case of Newton's apple).
    I really like what Malcolm Gladwell has to say about that, in this short talk about The Beatles:

    "It tells something very valuable about the distorted way that we think about success that we constantly talk about '64, but we don't think about '59."
    — MG

    Tue, Mar 2, 2010  Permanent link

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    Other possible titles include:
    What Creative People Have in Common with Angsty Teens, or Why Artists Are Assholes.


    Artists are notoriously unable to live with other people. Throughout history there have been a notable amount of especially talented individuals who seem to have had troublesome home lives, if not remaining at least somewhat isolated.

    In "The Courage to Be" Paul Tillich writes of the state of being of a modern human from a philosophical & psychological perspective. Therein he mentions the Creative as being unable to accept into or create a unity with himself and reality due to a profound dissatisfaction with it as well as with the "absolute threat of nonbeing". The problem that arises from this dissatisfaction is that one is then faced with extreme anxiety, which is defined as a state of constant worry and unease due to a situation. Since the situation in question (living itself) is somewhat inescapable, "Anxiety turns toward courage, because the other alternative is despair. Courage resists despair by taking anxiety into itself," to quote Tillich. Despair would lead to a kind of escape, but that sort which promises no greater comfort for the anxious and for that reason is often a last resort. Tillich asserts that the "average person keeps himself away from the extreme situations by dealing courageously with concrete objects of fear. He usually is not aware of nonbeing and anxiety in the depth of his personality." However, "He who does not succeed in taking his anxiety courageously upon himself can succeed in avoiding the extreme situation of despair by escaping into neurosis."

    This neurosis is present in many a creative individual because these people are thinkers, sensitive, and unable to ignore their own anxiety, thus having to turn to this method of coping when despair becomes unbearable. To refer to Tillich yet again: "Even if pathological anxiety has psychotic traits, creative moments can appear. There are sufficient examples of this fact in the biographies of creative men." The anxiety of the neurotic is what leads him to create alternate worlds: both the artist and the man of logic throws himself into a type of problem-solving which is idiosyncratic on some level. The "world" they create is not necessarily the stereotypical castle of imaginary wonders or something so concrete as the very stylistically differentiable works of some artists... Tim Burton comes to mind straight away as an example of a clearly obvious "world-creator". No, the world is a mental construct wherein one is safe to evaluate reality on his own terms and to create based on his dissatisfactions. For instance, Einstein (who is known to have had a less than excellent relationship with his wife and family, with whom he was rarely if ever photographed) became completely obsessed with light at a young age. For him (as with many logical creatives) the dissatisfaction had to do with the fact that the problem of light was thus far unanswered, so he felt it his duty to provide the world, even if only his world, with what it was missing. Ergo his inner universe would consist of the blueprints, objects, connections, etc. having to do with this particular interest, until he solved the problem.

    Unlike the serious neurotic who derives more pain than pleasure from his escapism and who instead desires some means of coming back to reality (medication, therapy, etc.), the creative is often quite happy to continue living in his own fortress and not only that but is actually encouraged by society because he is able to channel his neurosis healthily: it's clear that historically, artists, inventors, scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, and even shamans have been held in high esteem for their positive contributions, even if possibly simultaneously ostracized for their maladjustment.

    Now, the issue is that a created world demands upkeep, and the problem-solving that goes on within demands a serious dedication. It's for this reason that artists often have to choose to live or at least to work away from others: the Other can be either a distractor from or a contributor to the creative's inner world, or both, but hardly both at once. On occasion the creative needs a distractor, usually during periods of rest, while the other who functions as contributor might be known as a muse. However, should the other become a distractor during a time of concentration (even if the concentration is not readily visible) or basically, interrupt at a time when the creative is immersed in his inner world, it's possible that the creative will feel threatened by the intrusion, as if it were an actual assault (by the other's own reality) akin to breaking and entering. This distresses the creative, who will feel the need to take any measures necessary in order to subdue the attack: he might shut himself in, shut the other out, erupt in anger, or attempt to stopper his anxiety with reason, etcetera and so on depending upon his disposition. Needless to say, this behavior can create stress for either or both parties, which is why it becomes truly arduous for the artist to live in close quarters anyone at all, especially if he particularly cares for that other.

    Speculating further, this could be the reason for some creatives' preference of an animal companion. Because a house pet, through loyalty and affection, can aid with loneliness that is bound to arise from extended isolation without actually disrupting the flow of thoughts that contribute to world creation and management (due to their diminutive ability to communicate), they are able to fit comfortably into the creative's lifestyle. That isn't to say that an animal doesn't require work, nor that they aren't troublemakers — only that in being unable to interject with their own spoken "outer"-worldly ideas, they are less disturbing than a human might be. In fact Michelangelo —one of the first artists who preferred to be alone and refused assistants while working — reportedly had a small dog who was allowed in the Sistine Chapel as the artist was painting.

    This partiality to pets may also have contributed to some of the myths about witches/wizards and their "familiars" (often cats, toads, and the like). The early high regard for shamans fell out of vogue especially during religious times, so it would be hardly any surprise if a "witch" was actually a neurotic creative, isolated not only due to the reasons discussed above but because of fears of and pressures from the townspeople, thus living with animals to make up for lack of human interaction.

    Wed, Feb 17, 2010  Permanent link

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