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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    This is part 8 in the series: The Rise of the Cyber Unified Civilization




    "..the concept of “transindividuation” is one that does not rest with the individuated “I” or with the interindividuated “We,” but is the process of co-individuation within a preindividuated milieu and in which both the “I” and the “We” are transformed through one another. "

    Bernard Stiegler and Irit Rogoff, Transindividuation / Journal / e-flux


    Knowmads are the future of Individuation

    Increasingly the matter of our bodies, our bio-constructs, is being extended into virtuality. The extension of our sense thoughts on the net that we perceive as social networks, is nothing of the sort, it is in fact the quintessential rhizomatic expansion of our brains neural networks via an electronic medium into the infosphere.

    Though it is true that at present an appearance of a gap still exist between our bodies and the net, it is also concomitantly true that this gap is narrowing by the moment; in fact the time when our brains will integrate with machines is fast approaching, and though the uses for therapeutic purposes (at least at the beginning) are obvious and enlightening it is clear that soon thereafter the technology will spread to all of us.

    This has profound implications.

    The most intriguing and outright interesting implication is of course, what kind of mind will we operate as bodies extended electronically and directly plugged into the infosphere. To my mind the most salient feature implied by being extended into the infosphere concerns the individuation process.

    The mediated individuation process I perceive to be a disruptive process that casts a beautiful spell on us, a spell so disruptive that unaware to its implications we may inadvertently lose our directionality.
    The new process of mediated individuation in the infosphere is disruptive because of a very specific reason: it is disruptive because it represents a state of affairs where moments of autonomy and independence, originality of expression and creativity are kept to a maximum intensity.

    The process of infocological individuation is one of maximum intensity, a process wherein our conceptualization of personhood is undergoing dramatic changes, no longer discreet, it is fundamentally changing our perceptual mechanisms. The changes are subtle and almost imperceptible, but if we take a dip into the on-going destabilization factors appearing daily around us we may if our vision is clear enough, realize that the shift is upon us.

    This shift in the radical transformation of the process of individuation is a motion into a posthuman like re-appraisal of the individual as the new hyperconnected multiple dynamic mind. A mind realizing her directionality through the dissolution of location specific activity, extemporal in its expression and free in its self-description.
    It is the Knowmad, or indeed the Polytopian; terms representing a rhizomatic expansion of our neural network unto the infosphere and unleashing in the process a new force into the world – a freedom to be undefined.

    The freedom to be undefined I see as a force to be reckoned with for the simple reason that through the elimination of distinctions between natural and artificial, age old indicators of identity no longer hold sway.
    This new force, this (in a certain sense disturbing) modern day freedom to be undefined implies upon the process of individuation in a radical fashion, it changes the way we know things and since knowledge is the very backbone of our discernment capability, that which differs us from the ‘other’, the change in manners of knowing changes the process of individuation.

    We should have no hesitation in proposing that this variety of individuation probably symbolizes an advanced juncture in the evolution of our civilization.
    We need unveil this process, for behind its veil lies the wild intelligence of free beings, fiercely exploring possible venues and potential insights that bear little resemblance to that which we once were or once thought to be the 'real'.








    Intelligence thrives on wildness: It does not take well to enslavement.

    Pete Mandik, Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program, Washington University, St Louis, USA. (21C Magazine)


    “Sapere aude”

    “Sapere aude” (Lat.) meaning dare to discern or dare to know or better yet, dare to be wise, is the legacy we are carrying from Horace but more specifically from I.Kant .
    Kant and others urged us to liberate and stands for what is commonly called the age of enlightenment or the age of reason.
    Indeed we have taken many steps in our cultural evolution from the time of Kant and it may be the case that what we need at present is nothing short of a new revolution in values, a fresh reappraisal of the state of affairs of the world we live in, and the future we are co-creating.

    Jeremy Rifkin in a beautiful animated presentation called “The empathic civilization” reflects on our motion from the fictional groupings we have created in our past (such as religions, nations and so on) into what he describes as our present and future: “ We have the technology to think viscerally as a family”.
    But what exactly does “thinking viscerally” mean and how are we to dare to be wise (Sapere Aude) and realize the necessary conditions demanded by the changes in the world of technology and more specifically the changes brought about in and by the infocology we exist in.


    Thinking Viscerally

    Let us propose that what makes us special creatures is our capability to extend our bodies in space and in time. An extension, or better yet, an expansion or projection, of our visceral reality, across apparent boundaries, across imaginary localities. We are able via our imagination capability to “see” that which is not there in the material world, to envision that which was, or indeed that which may be. This very peculiar capability of human minds was historically that which allowed our specie to become so powerful in this biosphere. In fact it may very well be that our capacity for collectivity, for empathy and also for individuation is that very same quality, let us call this temporarily: non contextual viscerality.

    In a way, non-contextual viscerality I intend to mean the uncanny ability of the mind to project a virtual image of its sensory modality beyond its skin demarcation. Thinking abstractly is such a feat, as is imagining the structure of our ideal home or the face of a (as yet) non-existent potential mate.

    Thinking viscerally then.

    Thinking viscerally is a developing art; it is a new form of existential realism that presents us with a modern structure of cognition. It is my understanding that the visceral thought process engendered by our networked culture, enmeshed in the grid results in what may be called cyber intuition.
    A mediated visceral perception transposing the sensation of thought across time and across space.
    The idea behind visceral thinking or cyber intuition is that an increase in hyperconnectivity, extending our very own neural networks in our brains via the electronic mediums into the virtual redefines our fundamental conception of the embodied self.

    Redefining the embodied self into virtual multiplicity engenders the freedom to be undefined.

    There is a new world in here and out there, a world suffused with electronic extensions of minds, neural networks nested within networks, all flowing smoothly and inexorably into each other. The flow of motion of the inner and outer realities combines and recombines the visceral sense of the embodied mind in an ever expanding sphere of actuation, in that the sense thought of being both extends and dissolves. Whilst extending, expanding and dissolving the sense of beingness, that which originated in embodiment is transformed into a new sense.
    The sense of being a critical relevancy.





    "In the human sciences, culture and language have also been progressively engulfed by the universe of technics: the artificial realm of institutions, rituals, knowledges, symbol systems and practices that makes humans functional, speaking, meaning-making creatures; that is, what makes humans human. The essence of the human, it seems, is the technical; which is paradoxically the other of the human: the non-human, the manufactured, unnatural, artificial; the inhuman even."

    (Andrés Vaccari states about Technics and Time, quoted in: Bernard Stiegler and Irit Rogoff, Transindividuation. )






    Knowmads are critical relevancies

    Knowmads are visceral thinkers, expanded multiplicities, minds nested in vast and complex infocologies.
    As such Knowmads herald a new kind of mind, free to be undefined in a polytopian infosphere.
    Knowmads are critically relevant in as much as they recognize the vicariousness of their extension-ability in the relevant infocology.
    Complex meshworks, embedded in complex infocologies engender flows of intersubjective co-dependencies; these in turn loop upon themselves and re-iterate the intelligent directionality.
    The feedback loop here is obvious, but where is the individual?
    Answer: the individual will be extended viscerally across an indefinite infosphere, defined locally by the reflective relevant infocology.

    In a sense we could say that the aesthetics of the posthuman mind resides with a new kind of empathy born of the visceral expansion in complex infocologies. Such an expansion will afford us the luxury of an intelligent response to the evolutionary pressure made upon our embodied minds by the proliferation of augmented reality technologies.

    “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars”

    Jack Kerouac


    Let us go everywhere...

    shortly to be continued..



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    This is part 7 in the series: The Rise of the Cyber Unified Civilization

    I've handled colour as a man should behave. You may conclude that I consider ethics and aesthetics as one.
    Josef Albers


    We are multidimensional minds, multisensory systems presently embodied in simple materiality. But that is changing.
    Our presence as embodied cognition increases in scope and extent, range and span, delineating a new contour to our beingness in time. This increase in presence is presently mediated via the net and its mobile derivatives, augmented, auric and virtual realities, which deconstruct our age-old location based awareness and reconstruct it into an ambient awareness pervading all facets of our lives.
    The new ambient awareness we are evolving into will in time define a new mindset, a fresh collection of sensations and an original kind of perception.

    This fact changes us; slowly, almost imperceptibly, but change it does.

    “Only as an aesthetic phenomenon is the world justified.”

    Friedrich Nietzsche

    As we evolve individually, as culture, as civilization and as specie, increasing our technological know-how and scientific understanding it is becoming clearer and clearer that long held habits of thought though still prevalent no longer fit the state of affairs we exist in.
    The new state of affairs is a world in which information of geo-location of an individual is a common public knowledge (see: Is location where it’s at in social networking?) and in which objects will talk to each other as spime ; a world in which hyperconnectivity rules the social sphere of human intersubjectivity, eliminating or transcending space and time coordinates is no longer fictional but a reality we all need come to terms with.
    This hyperconnected reality implies on our options and availability, implications that are often overlooked and indeed to my eyes misrepresented, at least in so far as the subject in question is a Knowmad and a Polytopian.

    In this respect I do not think that all hyperconnected minds operate the same or indeed that generalizations should be the case. Do note for example the latest research maintaining that : “U.S. Students Addicted To The Internet” and yet on the same token but arriving to a different conclusion in the latest Pew research published : “In an online survey of 895 technology stakeholders’ and critics’ expectations of social, political and economic change by 2020, fielded by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center:
    » Google won’t make us stupid: 76% of these experts agreed with the statement, “By 2020, people’s use of the Internet has enhanced human intelligence; as people are allowed unprecedented access to more information they become smarter and make better choices.”- (The full report on the future of the internet is well worth reading ).



    In my previous post: ‘Knowmads as metabolic reactors’ I have proposed that Knowmads are developing an inherent capacity to distinguish between different kinds of information, namely toxic and nutritious.
    Moreover Knowmads were presented as : “.. metabolic reactors of information, intermediate junctions of innovation and creativity, catalysts of emergent phase spaces.”
    As this line of clarity unfolds I am moving now into the exploration of Knowmads as aesthetic curators as I see in this motion the natural evolution of the metabolic reactors.
    I have written before that Knowmads, as metabolic reactors are particular kind of beings who thrive in situations of ambiguity and develop perceptions that allow the new sense of cyber-intuition to come forth.
    It is my view that certain Knowmads are developing a particular set of skills that will in time become the normative expression of extra ordinary cognition, I refer specifically to minds that are developing an exceptional capability of enhancing the health and wealth of an infocology by their choices.

    These choices of what to publish and what to point, what to prune and what to emphasize are the key parameters of these intersectionists (hyperconnected individuals locating themselves at the intersection of feeds of information in advanced infocologies).

    These individuals are not necessarily bloggers of fame or journalists of note, artists or editors, though of course they may be; what makes them particularly interesting and especially good indicators to our hybrid futures is their curatorial capabilities and cyber intuitions.
    They do something extremely interesting; they juxtapose art and science, technology and philosophy in such a fashion as to increase our collective aestheticism. And if, as I believe, and the Pew repost shows, the hyperconnected state of affairs is making us more intelligent and more capable of information retrieval, in the process changing and evolving our brains, what we will need more of is this very curatorial capability.



    "Leonardo Da Vinci combined art and science and aesthetics and engineering, that kind of unity is needed once again. "

    Ben Shneiderman

    What is an aesthetic curator of information?

    The simplest way to put it is that an aesthetic curator is a hyperconnected mind that has developed the basic skill of, for lack of a better definition; I will call here, increasing the beauty of an infocology.
    Let us define the beauty of an infocology as the set of characteristics that make an infocology inspiring and exciting, smoothly conjoining diverse streams of impressions and information

    The aesthetic curation of information and knowledge in hyperconnected infoflows is a manner of managing an invisible yet palpable infrastructure. The fashion by which this infrastructure is positioning diverse elements of information in a given infocology is what makes it an Art in itself, a unique point of reference and an observational front line. As I see it, Knowmads as travelers in infostreams, surfers of exceptional insight and minds that carry a cyber intuition that bypasses the apparent limitations of information transmissions, are particularly well suited to the task of infocology aesthetic curator.

    There are of course, some websites that already try and to a very large extent produce infocologies of exceptional beauty and interest. Of particular note is space collective very own Folkert : “But Does It float”: But does it float : an ongoing visual conversation between Folkert and Atley taking place inside a browser window. Or look at the amazing feed of @BrainPicker from Brain Pickings defined in their ‘about’ as: “This is Brain Pickings. It’s a modest exercise in vision- and mind-expansion. Curated bits of culture that will, at the very least, introduce you to new ideas and perspectives and, at their very best, help you think more, laugh more, create more. Be a better person. Because a better person conceives of better, stronger, smarter, richer, deep, more impactful ideas — culturally, commercially and socially. “

    Exceptional mentioning need take into consideration the work of Seed Magazine and Environmental Graffiti and the fantastic curation of Escape into Life and Synaptic Stimuli.

    All of the examples above , and there are many more out there in the vast infosphere, are models and illustrations of fantastic curatorial capabilities and though being beautiful examples of curated infocologies, and by extension enriching the aesthetic experiences of their beholders, I think it is only the tip of the iceberg.
    The iceberg I refer to is the extended cyber experience of beauty, increasing intelligence and a new form of cognition, the co-opted aestheticism of accentuated collaboration. The co-opted intersubjective interest produced in advanced infocologies aiming to better both the involved Knowmad and the cultural health and wealth of the infocology at play is a paradigm shift in infocognition.



    The necessity of art in science and poetry in understanding is beyond doubt the most pressing issue at our doorstep; it may not appear as such in front of the tremendous problems we are facing as a civilization on the brink of a probable technological singularity, yet if we are to advance a mind rooted in the Neolithic into a post human future of beauty, aesthetic curators of information are the beacons we need look to.
    Space Collective itself is a very good pointer to where the shift in infocognition is taking us as indeed is the Polytopia project, both aiming to bring the emotional intelligence of aesthetics into the discourse of the evolution of civilization and hyperconnected minds in particular.
    Knowmads I see as aesthetic curators of information in as much as the function they provide is one of enhanced awareness to knowledge transmission and the ensuing transformation of the minds in question.

    Our hybrid futures and the rise of the cyber unified civilization, imply that we are moving at a pace of transformation to which we are little aware on a moment by moment basis. The possible beauty of our future lies in our hands, in our very own capability to transform ourselves into curators of interest and aesthetic intelligence, a transmutation in the manner we understand the world and cohere a complexity that unfolds before us.

    Alfred North Whitehead once said that: ”Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.” Taking this statement as a cue I believe that by becoming aesthetic curators of information we can increase our understanding of the infosphere, define a new kind of intelligence based on the cyber-intuition demanded by curatorial skills, and concurrently design the beauty of the pattern of our hybrid futures as well as rise above the apparent meaninglessness of old recurrences.
    Knowmads as aesthetic curators of information in infocologies may provide a fresh vision of thought, an insight into the possible beauty born of intersubjective cross-pollinating info-streams, in the process creating a striking version of an evolved specie, a human ready to be an aesthetic phenomenon.




    shortly to be continued..

    Endnotes:
    Images in text:
    1. André Kertész, Untitled (Eye and Lips), 1970
    2. Brain Maze by Istvan Orosz
    3. Fake Heroes, Fake Idols by Hector Pineda


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    Part 6 in the series : The Rise of the Cyber Unified Civilization


    The peculiar ‘liquidity’ of our times may be less the consequence of structural change than intellectual exhaustion, the failure of the great ideologies of the twentieth century to bring about change on a scale that really would transform what it means to be human. Bauman rightly warns against attempts to seek refuge in the identities of the past, but in his lament at the passing of lasting values, he perhaps underestimates the possibilities for self-assured human beings unencumbered by the past, and brave enough to face the future.

    The trouble with being human these days
    Identity
    Zygmunt Bauman (by Dolan Cummings)



    Intro

    The proliferation of visions of our futures in the last decades has created a kind of black hole situation, a situation which, to say the least, and that is why I use the black hole metaphor, has not allowed the light of virtuality to come forth and shine.

    The tone of most visions we have come across was either of the apocalyptic kind or of the surrealistic utopian variety. Indeed there are as many visions out there as there are researchers and dreamers, visionaries and thinkers, philosophers and experts. In fact from the visions of B.Fuller and Habermas, to the more recent realities expounded by M.McLuhan and G.Deleuze the crucial point defining the core of the visions was and is increasingly developing as such, the technological ability of the human.

    However correct or implicitly insightful those thinkers are it is my view that in one fundamental respect at least we need a different perspective. I refer specifically to the commonly held view about the information society we live in that information produces more information or alternatively that information reproduces as information. The information explosion indeed breeds more information but to focus on this aspect is to my eyes erroneous, not because it is untrue, but because the focus of our vision and the locus of our insights should be on a different plane, the plane of intersubjective meaning.

    Meaningfulness is not something born of the void, there is no inherent meaning to life as such, what makes life interesting, and in certain respects important and valuable, is the intersubjective crosspollination of our localized perception, sensations and mindfulness with another.




    Old others, new others

    Taking this perspective as the basis of our visions, what the technological postindustrial reality has brought to our doorstep, our perceptual doorstep, is the factuality of the other, the new other.
    This new other is not the same as the old other. The commonly accepted view that the other is my next-door neighbor no longer holds sway for the simple reason that my neighborhood is not physical but virtual and is not called a district or a region or city but an infocology.

    Of course my physical neighbor still exists and we still greet each other in the morning or when we meet in the material world, shopping at the local grocer or walking the dog. However the issue standing in front of us is that my electronically mediated neighborhood, my infosphere at large and my infocology in particular is increasingly more pertinent to my mind and indeed to my intersubjective meaningfulness.

    In other words, I do not see us as a technological society, nor as an information society but as a civilization outgrowing its localization into an intersubjective meaningfulness, a/spatial and a/temporal, progressing into a unified cyber civilization.

    Notwithstanding Mcluhan and Fuller, Shanon and Wiener, the real prophets of the 20th century, we need a new manner of understanding ourselves, new myths to satisfy our ever-increasing hyperconnectivity and by consequence intersubjective appetite for meaning.

    Old myths, new myths

    Myths abound around us, but not all myths are created equal, some myths serve their functions better than others, whilst other myths exhaust their meaningfulness long before they exhaust their memetic longevity. A good example of a fatigued myth is the myth of the happy consumer, basically implying that the more the consumption the more the happiness, a fundamental fallacy promulgated for profit and actually believed by many until recently, fortunately finally proved wrong. (as an aside please note that I do not think that consumption in itself is wrong or bad, the joy of sharing in the market of goods and artifacts, services and trade is as old as the agora, the issue here is the equation of increased consumption with increased happiness).


    The myth of the happy consumer of goods is a construct that has evolved, and some say mutated, into the myth of the happy consumer of information. And thus, just as the first was annihilated will this new myth be obliterated into the meaninglessness that it stands for, namely the belief that the more information consumed the more the happiness. In this regard, it is my understanding that the problem with this new myth concerns also, and maybe primarily, the usage of the terminology of consumption. In our current situation we need question critically if what we do with information is consumption, I for one do not think so, appearances notwithstanding.

    But before I present a polytopian stance towards information, a few words about myths.
    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.




    "It is not so much that digital technology recapitulates the language of classical mythology as the story of a fateful struggle between closed versus open systems — Scylla versus Charybdis — but that contemporary technoculture now approaches its apogee as a universe in drift. "

    CTheory.net

    A new myth – Infocological Metabolism

    In the new myth, Knowmads are not consumers of information; we are metabolic reactors of information, intermediate junctions of innovation and creativity, catalysts of emergent phase spaces.
    Using the metaphor of biological metabolism let us propose that the new kind of mind that is emerging in front of us is a mind that is inherently able to distinguish that which is nutritious from that which is poisonous, a critical mind, implicitly committed to the advancement of knowledge of life, the universe, and everything.

    The metabolic process of an infocology depends on a few but major points; it must be inherently transparent, open and evolutive. It needs become (and is increasingly becoming) a universe of discourse in which semantic representations are inherently transformable, transmutable and ultimately correlative.
    The topology of the knowmadic infosphere if so can be said to be a multiplicity of interacting stories, joining and splitting, merging and detaching. The flow of such infocologies allows for a continuous upgrade of both understanding and critical thought.
    Allowing the metabolic process of an infocology to flourish is amongst the prime goals of a Knowmad mind. The creation of circumstances of infoflows (infocologies) in which and by which self-editing becomes the ambient event is the possible promise of a polytopia.




    "Liberated from the plodding world of materiality by networked regimes of relational processing and ubiquitous computing, the neural mechanisms of the human mind demonstrate unexpected plasticity and openness to heterogeneity. "

    Code Drift- Arthur & Marilouise Kroker at Ctheory

    A knowmadic mind

    It is a Knowmad in as much as the principle of actuation it operates is one of critical self-examination especially with regards to the biases involved in its information processing. And just as there are many kinds of metabolic systems (and by consequence different criteria are applied and different results are arrived at in different organisms) so it is the case that different minds will process information differently and will present different results as to what is considered nutritious and what is considered poisonous. Moreover, even for a particular knowmadic mind, given that evolution is inherent, the metabolic process of information will not remain the same, creating a new state of affairs in which toxic information can become nutritious and vice versa.

    The process I am trying to describe here is a highly complex one and demands a certain poetic license, which I take with both hands. The transformation and at times sheer annihilation of old myths and casual conceptions into new modes of thoughts and fresh fashions of emoting is a difficult one and I do not for a moment fall prey to the idea that the transition will be an easy or simple one. But if we are to thrive into a future humanism, in which compassion and empathy do not find their origins in a Neolithic mindset but on a true posthuman ethics of abstraction and an aesthetic of engagement not based on the material, the transition is inevitable.

    As the new story of our species and civilization evolves, the story of individualism progresses into and as, the hyperconnected node, in given infocologies. These infocologies, nested fractally within the larger hyper sphere of information, the infosphere, evolve metabolic reactors of information. Metabolic reactors of information are collective mindsets evolving criteria for distinguishing wholesome or nutritious information from toxic or poisonous information. These in turn react and interact with and within flows of other infocologies, increasing in the process both the health and wealth of the infosphere and that of the Knowmad.

    The wisdom that results from the transformation and transmutation of data into facts, facts into information and information into knowledge, is not one but many, a multiple kind of wisdom, perforating the very idea of uniqueness and centralization, hierarchy and conformity.

    The revolutions and rapid advancements in Nanotechnology, Biotechnology and maybe more importantly Neurotechnology and Cognitive sciences combined with the globalization of the private and public discourse via the internet will potentially and quite possibly permit us a fresh undertaking in our conceptualization of that which we already are : embodied minds, metabolizing information.

    The Knowmad Polytopian mind is particularly well suited to this new state of affairs since its very exploratory characteristic and experimental inclination relay the importance of keeping all the avenues of our aesthetic engagement, open.

    Our hybrid futures depict a lovely panorama, shining the light of virtuality into our present retinal configuration, changing our insight vessels in the process.


    shortly to be continued..

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    or The rise of the Cyber Unified Civilization (part 4)

    “Today, after over fifteen years of planning, construction, delays and drama, the Large Hadron Collider began doing what it was built to do: colliding particles.
    Just before 13:00 Geneva time, physicists guided two beams of protons moving at 3.5 TeV into collision points around the machine's 27 km ring. Moments later, cheers erupted from the control rooms of the machine's four main experiments, as shrapnel from the collisions flooded into the detectors.” Nature"

    Going live:
    “How is the LHC performing?”
    “ Amazingly well.. I am almost speechless, it is the start of a great adventure”



    As I am writing the last lines of this post I am simultaneously listening to the amazing live webcast of the most formidable experiment in human history, the collision of 7TV beams at Cern LHC, a project which outcome may very well revolutionize our understanding of the basic laws of physics. Mimicking the big bang , the systematic exploration of nature, is nothing less than a total revolution in our penetration into the very fabric of matter, of time, of space, and as I am listening to the words of the scientists, the engineers and the huge array of a diverse population all working together I cannot but be emotionally moved in hearing the exclamations of the speakers, the celebration, the bottles of wines and champagne being opened and the cheers of success.
    However the important issue here from my standpoint is that it is broadcasted live, to millions of people all over the planet, simultaneously, we are all together watching and listening when a small percentage of our specie provides for us a possible explanation of mass, of bosons, of super symmetry, as one of the interviewees said:
    ‘it’s a new physics, a new model, a new beauty.. we are mapping the unknown, and waiting for the unexpected, stay tuned..”



    It is in fact a:

    A collective overcoming of tribal inhibition mechanisms

    This is nothing short of the most difficult project for humanity for it pushes us to the limits and urges us to overcome our old prejudices, it is a competition as well as a collaboration, a truly fundamental step in shedding light not only on the first moments of the universe but probably on the first moments of our hybrid futures, our knowmadic being and our future notion states.

    "Philosophy needs a nonphilosophy that comprehends it; it needs a nonphilosophical comprehension just as art needs nonart and science needs nonscience”

    Deleuze and Guattari (What is Philosophy?)

    1. The Knowmad

    The Knowmad casts aside the commonly held monumental and hierarchical order of higher and lower and transmutes said order into the possible flow of events; and if indeed, as I assume, the bogus cosmic order is finally being cast aside for a flow of events, the old status conferred by the no-longer holding-sway command is no longer valid and in consequence a new method of status and value appreciation need be resolved.
    For a Knowmad in this case there is no rightful place as was held by the ancients, a fact which in itself allows for a fresh undertaking of the concepts of liberty and democracy.
    In fact it will not be untrue to state that the old questions of “how one should live his life?” or indeed “how one should act” are being transformed in the Knowmad state into a new set of questions, fundamentally resolving the two issues of knowledge and hyperconnectivity.

    The Knowmad in this sense not only sees herself dissociated from the old tradition but realizes that the potentiality embedded in the hyperconnected reality holds a new set of truisms for which a different mindset is required. The new set of paradigms such as the factuality of hyperconnectivity, mobile communications and virtual or augmented realities, imply a fluid mindset that sees at any given point not equivalence of times but the superiority of elegant futures.

    These futures are potential scenarios to which the Knowmad will claim no credit nor belief but simply experimentation and exploration.
    It is my view that the state of the Knowmad could not have been anticipated by past philosophers for the simple reason that certain critical and necessary parameters of the Knowmad state could not have been predicted.
    Chief amongst these parameters are the Internet hyperconnected reality and the newly emergent technologies of reality augmentation, these in tandem create a new existential situation for which no philosophy was prepared and anticipated.

    When Nietzsche obliterated god and eliminated our transcendent morality basis he did not anticipate that the hyperconnected reality would in a very special sense come to our rescue. Instead of getting lost in a chaotic abyss of non-restraint we are founding right now a fresh transcendence, which is nothing short than a virtuality of non-transcendence .
    Of what substance is this virtuality made that it may allow us to answer the basic questions of life?

    Fundamentally it is made of an emergent property (and no it is not the wisdom of the crowds- a concept to which I am not attracted) of the hyperconnected reality, the emergent phenomena of multiple co-dependent personas each carrying a set of knowledge characteristics pertinent to the appropriate virtuality in which it resides. (See Topos- a topos in a polytopia, what is)
    The main point to look at here is the fact that a topos does not hold a judging function and thus does not demand a justification for its perceptual virtuality. What this implies is that the new questions and the new mindset do not have, or perhaps do not carry the metrics of outsidedeness; in other words there is no universal mechanisms (or truths or values ) to judge the trustworthiness say, of a given persona in a given virtuality at a given time, the mechanism for value realization is thus inherent in the topos itself and is not automatically transferable to other nets (or other topos). However if the value cannot be transferred to other topos how is a polytopia to operate a large-scale multidimensional value assessment?



    The answer to that may be found in understanding the real life happenings of networks and cross network pollination and eventual cross-fertilization. A system developing on its own, and though based on the provided technology of the platform results in the rise of the Knowmad state.

    2. The Knowmad State

    note: Bullets are marked 1 to 6 - the quotes before each and every bullet point are for reflection and emphasize- adding what I believe is a hypertextual backbone to the concept of the Knowmadic state.

    "There is no evidence that the world is becoming more virtual. The cyber-prophets were wrong here. The virtual is becoming more real. It wants to penetrate and map out our real lives and social relationships. We are no longer encouraged to act out some role, but forced to be “ourselves” (which is no less theatrical or artificial)."

    (Geert Lovink- MyBrain.net -The colonization of real-time and other trends in Web 2.0)

    1. For a Knowmad confines are observational tools, to be upgraded, smoothened, changed or indeed virtualized and redesigned at will according to the needs of the infocology the Knowmad partakes in and co-depends upon.


    "Changing our way of thinking about the world is a necessary first step, but it is by no means sufficient: we will need to destratify reality itself, and we must do so without the guarantee of a golden age ahead, knowing full well the dangers and possible restratifications we may face."

    (DeLanda (2005: 274))

    2. The knowmadic state embodies the dynamical symbolism of radical digital Darwinism, in practice this implies the freedom to resist quick assimilations and challenge broken perspectives. The knowmadic state is soaking in a flowing multitude of objects and sensations, info visuals and knowledge dimensions.


    "For Deleuze, a nomad does not have to move… a nomad can practice nomadology whilst being in one place. It is the nomadology of thought - the journey to new territories through processes of deterritorialization and reterritorialization. "

    (Vikki Hill: What is Nomadic thought in Gilles Deleuze & Rosi Braidotti)

    3.The Knowmad can be said to be both a-temporal in the sense that the belonging of said mind couldn’t be implied upon a particular time, and a-spatial in the sense that the belonging of aforesaid mind cannot be implied upon a particular space or location.
    The Knowmad state thus is the embodiment of an infocology and a manifestation of a Topos.


    "Decoding and interpreting signals, packets, gestures etc. is what we call communication. Since the birth of the computer, that viral mechanism has established a symbiotic relationship with their creators, to the point where humans cannot longer function as a society without them. As we merge and augment our senses, our machinic self takes over a majority of functions that we once considered essential for survival, including memory, the control of vital organs and appendices. Carbon and silicon, en route to the next evolutionary stage, collaborate to bring about the inevitable transformation. Telecommunications and the internet have become mobile. We are the nodes, the packets and the modems. We are still the storytellers, and we wish to share the magic around the digital fire. As we pull the curtain we discover that the Wizard is Us."

    (Arturo Sinclair: The Wizard is Us: Symbiogenesis by Networking Part 1)

    4. The Knowmad state is the ultimate knowledge Shaman, a modern day techno actuator, and a polytopian in action; embedding and embodying a multi-sensorial modality of thought and act, a living virtual manifestation of mind. Knowmads recount the story of the freedom of information and knowledge as manifested in matter and immediacy.


    "A random scrap of information can trigger just the right conceptual collision. It’s hard to know which scrap might do the trick, but that’s the beauty of social networks — they constantly produce potential sparks, for free."

    (Brendan I. Koerner: How Twitter and Facebook Make Us More Productive)

    5. The Knowmad state epitomizes the serendipity of knowledge and random fluctuations in infocologies. The embodiment of motion and flow, within a given asymmetrical infocology is the primary activity of self-mapping Knowmads. (for an extended view see: self-mapping in complex infocologies)





    "In network theory, a node’s relationship to other networks is more important than its own uniqueness. Similarly, today we situate ourselves less as individuals and more as the product of multiple networks composed of both humans and things."

    (Kazys Varnelis: The meaning of network culture)

    6. For the Knowmad the state of affairs of existence is a networked flow of events. The mind of Knowmads does not attach importance to the possession of an idea, or to the particular manner in which embodiment is produced and manifested. Knowmads travel in and upon information seas, creating temporary habitats as infocologies, without bias and no denomination. Knowmads are evolutionary agents, creating, designing, partaking and co-depending on infoflows.


    post update Apr 15:

    7.To be a Knowmad is to be a different kind of being, a different way of being, a facilitator of cultures, against monoculture and mono-linguistics, we need creative templates for the next kind of freedom to come forth.


    8. Knowmads are different in as much as they are an embodiment of the progress of the evolutionary principle in culture. Knowmads are inclusive beings, ordering chaotic flows of information into cultural phenomena.


    9. The Knowmad is the proactive stance of the hyperconnected player in the infosphere, she moves, he surfs, we collaborate, we actively engage and indeed pattern new potentials into new forms of existence.


    10. Knowmads excel in ambiguous situations, demystifying mythologies, enhancing syntax and semantics conversion into actual adaptation of new forms of meaning, these in turn change the very meaning of enmeshed existence.




    Interlude

    Knowmads are substantial agents of change, who drastically alter the infocologies they interact with. The level of freedom implied by the knowmadic state is a new existential virtuality that pushes into the real, in the process transforming and meshing the different dimensions in which our minds operate. Existing as non-localized behaviors of information processing, Knowmads are not consumers and cannot be looked upon as capital. Knowmads are the innovators of thought and vision, using an insight mechanism based on correlated data-spheres of complex infocologies.
    Knowmads do not care for labels of old style paradigms, such as gender ,creed, race or indeed status, what Knowmads care about are the pleasures derived in forming new connections, mash-ups and provisional options, innovative solutions for the next step in human evolution.
    Our complex neuro-mesh firing in tandem, has produced this amazing property we call conscious awareness, with the advent of 21st century tech, augmented reality apps, visually stunning info-graphics, virtualities at our finger tips, p2p technologies availability and the like we are becoming Knowmads. The value of the Knowmad state is thus in providing a fresh framework and a new narrative to fill our old storytelling needs in our ever-increasing process of self-description.


    shortly to be continued.. (with notion states and hybrid futures)


    endnotes:
    # this is part 1 of part 4
    image 1, 2 from Cern
    image 3 from Wayne Levin Images

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    In the first post on this series titled “futures as such” I wrote about the minds of futurists being probably wired differently and in this respect mentioned that it is highly probable we are all as a specie, by our very mindful notions of anticipation and projection, insight and foresight, futurists.

    And yet, there are different kinds of futurists, maybe even different species of futurists, as minds diversify and coagulate a highly unique version of vision and insight into the future.

    For the purpose of this essay I shall create an all-purpose distinction categorization, seemingly arbitrary but I believe helpful for our goal here.
    The all-purpose distinction is between futurists of the ADF kind (concerned with Apparently Distinguishable Futures) and futurists of the NIDF kind (concerned with Non-immediately distinguishable futures).

    ADF vs NIDF
    Concerning the future of futurism and intelligence

    In the coming future, the infoflow of hyperconnectivity will become the context of knowledge

    Maturity of mind is capacity to endure uncertainty.
    (Kong Fu Zi)

    Intro:

    There is no doubt in my mind that as the infoflow of the infoverse increases in substance and speed, details and hyperconnectivity the pains of the evolutionary pressures to match that storm have increased proportionally.
    Unless you have been living in a cave, you would have noticed by now that the changes going through our world civilization are deeper than passing appearances.
    These changes herald a new era in human evolution and though reading the headlines of common newspapers and media outlets will give the illusory impressions that nothing has changed, a quick glance under the hood of immediacy will reveal an amazing plethora of changes.

    As I am writing these words a few important notices came into my field of perception, New Scientist recently published a short post concerning the size of the internet “According to Google, several billion web pages are added each day. And in the minute it has taken you to read this, the total has leapt by about 700,000 “ (How big is the net?). These numbers are staggering, but more importantly perhaps is the fact that no single human and probably not even a group of highly expert humans can compute this vast amount of information into a coherent whole (though Wolfram-Alpha will try).

    In other words we have reached a stage in our evolutionary ascension in which the amount of information humanity produces outpaces and outreaches the greatest and mightiest of us. This outreach is one of the most interesting aspects of our current situation, especially with regards to the capability of humans to predict our own future, be it personal or global.
    Whether the agglomeration of information in the infoverse coupled with human evolutionary expertise in parsing such vast amounts of data will give rise to the Global brain or Mind is a different topic altogether, what interests me here is the implication this infovastness represents.

    In the coming future, man machine interfaces will become omnipresent and ultimately ubiquitous, and it is highly probable that coupled with the sensory Internet (see the internet of things/spime), the vast web of all life both animate and inanimate will interact with our minds in such a fashion as to allow us a total immersion in the infoverse.
    It is not my view that this ‘Infommersion’ (the total immersion of our minds in the infoverse) will by necessity be of a virtual nature, that particular aspect of the mode in which existence will manifest is less important to my eyes. Much more important is the manner by which our minds will adapt to this infovastness, especially as relates to our ability to extract meaning and engage with the infoverse in an aesthetic fashion.

    For the present mind, dealing with the state of affairs of infovastness is nothing short of impossible particularly when needing to propel an identity into the future, or applying a future perspective/s to our present condition.

    In fact what we actually do as futurists, is creating an inner taxonomy of futures based on our own differentiation of past and present.
    The taxonomy each and every one of us creates is an amalgam of the knowledge that we carry and have available (available via the net) coupled with our unique emotional arrangement and by consequence our perception of time.

    Given that we all start with a foundational attitude of continuity (we must accept continuity for even using the term future) our taxonomies are fundamentally divided into short and long-term futures.
    How short is a short-term future? My take at this point is that ‘short’ should stand for an approximation of 3 to 5 yrs. How long is long-term future? My take at this point is that long term should stand for an approximation of 15 to 30 yrs. And after that? Well if we accept the singularity proposition (soft or hard take off) more than 50yrs into the future, the unknown reigns.

    Under short-term future we use something that I will call here an ‘ADF’, short for Apparently Distinguishable Futures.

    Apparently distinguishable futures (ADF):

    Apparently distinguishable futures (ADF) are futures that appear to be distinguishable from the current state of affairs of the world. We might say that these kinds of futures are a semantic extension of the ‘now’. The meaning of the previous statement is that based on a deep observation of current events, technologies &/or sciences, be they of the social or the material kind, a futurist extends the ‘meaning’ of that which she observes into a probable future. Building a scenario based on the current events leads the futurist to extend her anticipation capabilities of perception into a near term future.

    If we accept the premise that anticipation (or projection) is the method by which minds propel information into the future it follows that a futurist propels the information he or she carries into a future that by necessity accommodates the so-called present reality.
    In other words, by accommodating the present we actually limit the future we can predict/project or anticipate.
    It is inherent in the above statements that the limitations of such scenarios are the resources (in terms of data/info/knowledge and so on) that are available and are at the disposition of the mind of said futurist. Since the overall amount of information available in general is increasing in an exponential curve the possibility of and for an individual mind (be that mind exceptionally capable) to actually anticipate the future is a practical impossibility, for a futurist to predict anything beyond the scope of a particular context is nothing short of extraordinary.

    *ADFs conceptually relate to semantic extensions of the present and deal in probabilities.

    The additional method at our disposal is what I shall call here: Non-immediately distinguishable futures or NIDF.





    “Problems cannot be solved by the level of awareness that created them"
    (Albert Einstein)


    Non-immediately distinguishable futures (NIDF):

    NIDFs are futures that do not immediately spring to mind when observing our immediate milieu. These kinds of future scenarios may be called semantic amplifications of the immediate state of affairs (and are to be distinct from semantic extensions of the ‘now’ or ADFs ).

    It will be true to say that when beholding a particular set of events, the anticipating mind, loops upon itself in an iterative manner, using as background all (figure of speech) previously available knowledge. When such a state of projectionality arises the mind of the futurist implies from the actual into the possible. Implying a possibility and extracting a future scenario from it is the hallmark of an advanced futurist, managing his visions and insights into a coherent whole that has no discernible immediate facts and data as proof or basis. This stands in contradistinction to the ADF futurist that can always, as it were, explain the basis of his predictions and anticipatory projection with facts and figures, data and statistics. That is why a NIDF futurist uses what I have called elsewhere (futures as such) intuition.
    The distinction between semantic extension and semantic amplification can be understood metaphorically as the distinction between instinct and intuition.
    For probabilities, well-honed informational instincts/knowledge will provide an extended meaning (semantic extension of the now), for possibilities highly sophisticated intuition/imagination is necessary and provides an amplified meaning (semantic amplification of the now).


    *NIDFs conceptually relate to semantic amplifications of the present and deal in possibilities.






    "You can never plan the future by the past."
    (Edmund Burke)

    ADF vs. NIDF, two mind styles

    ADF futurists and NIDF futurists are not necessarily mutually exclusive; these two kinds of fundamental expressions of the anticipatory mind can definitely co-exist.
    However as I see it, each and every one of these types of projection represent a different state of mind and thus need be tackled and presented under different conceptualizations, or styles.

    The ADF style of futurism is generally more inclined to the applications of technology on an immediate basis, whilst the NIDF style of futurism implies a long term thought, yet the salient point to observe is that NIDF demands an advanced form of philosophy of mind which an ADF style of futurism, does not.

    As a futurist I self describe as, and resonate with the NIDF style of futurism primarily because of the philosophy change implied and demanded by this style of minding.

    The philosophy change implied and demanded is revolutionary to say the least. The change concerns analysis and prognosis, the kind and style of mental emotional background the futurist entertains.
    It is the ecology of mind of the futurist that determines what kind of projectionality he will adopt.
    Paradigmatically speaking, a semantic extension of the now and a semantic amplification of the now are two distinct attitudes in the mind of the futurist. For whilst a semantic extension of the now accelerates the implications born of actual knowledge the semantic amplification of the now defies the implications born of actual knowledge and allow, out of the box thinking, in a primordial set up. It is as if, the mind of a semantic amplifier has adopted a leeway stance in, and to which, present conditions bear little relevance.

    As a simple example let us contemplate upon the idea that philosophy and art are as much needed as science and engineering, if not more.

    Needed in what fashion?

    Well, consider the fact that if we take into account the present reality we exists in as a civilization, philosophy as an art and art as a philosophy, both taken here as thought precursors and catalysts to change and evolution of society are almost non-existent in the writings and projection of most futurists.

    Not only are these aspects of human endeavor missing and neglected, these (philosophy and art*) have a very particular job to perform, that of both resisting the present and simultaneously accentuating the now. (Hence the title of this paper)

    The artist philosopher mind to which any NIDF futurist need pay heed is concerned with deterritorializing the immediacy of experience for the purpose of allowing an unknown factor to unsettle the complacency of the known.

    There is no greater danger to our futures in fact than the danger of proceeding into the future by using the contexts of the past. The concepts and contexts that brought us until this moment in time, are obsolete and inconsequential, if we accept an unknown milieu as the customary workplace of a non-immediately distinguishable futures style of minding.
    The performing activity of a NIDF style futurist requires, in a fashion, an inherent liberty of thought and sensation, a freedom from her own imaging status, so as to expound and explode her creative intuition into a version of a fresh possible reality.

    This level of creative potentiality is an art unto itself, for it demands of the practitioner (if praxis there is) an advanced form of mind plasticity, language adaptability, image recursivity and emotional reflectivity the likes of which few have at present.

    I firmly believe that we need all become to different extents NIDF futurists, Rene’s Renaissance Man, or indeed Polytopians.

    “If you can dream - and not make dreams your master.”
    (Rudyard Kipling)



    We need both resist the present so as not to be constrained by it and simultaneously acknowledge the present for its is indeed our home base, a home base however which we need leave behind us whilst acknowledging the unknown.

    Acknowledging the unknown, its uncertainty and potential in turn requires a sophisticated variety of intelligence, an intelligence that realizes, as a conscious aware entity, that ‘I’ is just a habit, self-description evolves, and representation both singular and global progresses creatively.

    (will be continued in next part concerning the future of intelligence)


    (this is part two of " The un/natural future of mankind" / "Futures as such")




    Fri, May 15, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: polytopia, futurism, Futures
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    This will be a continuously updated post collecting the thoughts of great thinkers both past and current via quotes relating to the Polytopia project.

    "I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones. " John Cage


    "Civilization is entirely the product of phonetic literacy. As it dissolves with the electronic revolution, we rediscover a tribal integral awareness that manifests itself in a complete shift in our sensory lives....This new electronic environment itself constitutes an inner trip, collectively, without benefit of drugs. The impulse to use hallucinogens is a kind of empathy with the electronic environment." - Marshall McLuhan



    "When looking at the future, the “what” is far more predictable than the “when.” And the “how” will always feel different than predicted." - Thomas Frey - Senior Futurist, The DaVinci Institute



    “The great global problems of our time—the proliferation of weapons
    of mass destruction, the disruption of the environment, etc.—can only be solved
    through cooperation and compromise among people with radically different moral
    outlooks. And this, I believe, is unlikely to happen so long as the people of the
    world hold fast to their respective versions of moral common sense.
    What is so terrible about moral common sense? In a phrase, moral
    realism. Moral realism is, roughly, the idea that there is a fact of the matter about
    what’s right or what’s wrong.”


    The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Truth about Morality and
    What to Do About it, Doctoral Dissertation of Joshua D. Greene in the Department of
    Philosophy, Princeton University, June 2002. (pdf)


    "We need first to understand that the human form - including human desire and all its external representations - may be changing radically, and thus must be re-visioned. We need to understand that five hundred years of humanism may be coming to an end, as humanism transforms itself into something that we must helplessly call post-humanism."

    (Prometheus as performer - toward a posthumanist culture, in Michael Benamou/Charles Caramello (Ed.), Performance in postmodern culture, Madison 1977)

    "We can't avoid some anthropic component in our science, which is interesting, because after three hundred years we finally realize that we do matter. Our vantage point in the universe is relevant to our science. But it's very easy to misconstrue the anthropic principle, and draw ridiculous conclusions from it. You have to be very careful how you state it. What it is not saying is that our existence somehow exercises a theological or causative compulsion for the universe to have certain laws or certain initial conditions. It doesn't work like that. We're not, by our own existence, creating such a universe."

    Paul Davies


    “Why spend billions to place a man on the Moon? If we don't, we may lose the Earth. If we do, we may gain the universe. You couldn't ask for better odds.”
    I. Asimov


    We haven’t worked on ways to develop a higher social intelligence… We need this higher intelligence to operate socially or we’re not going to survive…. If we don’t manage things socially, individual high intelligence is not going to make much difference….
    Ordinary thought in society is incoherent - it is going in all sorts of directions, with thoughts conflicting and canceling each other out. But if people were to think together in a coherent way, it would have tremendous power.

    David Bohm


    "[Our ability to conceptualize] enables us to think such empty thoughts as "This statement is about itself," which is true but useless, or "This statement is not about itself," which is false and useless, or "This statement is false," which is downright paradoxical. Yet the benefit of being able to conceptualize is surely worth the risk that we may sometimes be nonsensical."

    Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind. p. 231



    Some Notes:

    *If you have a quote that you would like to add, please do so in the comment section and I will add it to the main post

    *Main pic: Global society can be defined by incorporating concepts from cybernetics, evolutionary theory, and complex adaptive systems and can therefore be seen as a network of self-producing components, and therefore as a living system or “superorganism”.
    A superorganism is a higher-order, “living” system, whose components are organisms themselves. (in this case, individual humans and thier technology).

    This is an outtake/concept sketch for a full page illustration which was commissioned Focus Magazine on the emergence of a true ‘global’ intelligence.
    from : Mondolithic

    *some of these quotes have been collected by @Reckon, @XiXidu, @G.Dvorsky
    Tue, Mar 31, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: quotes, polytopia, futurism, Futures
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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