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    Polytopia
    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...

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    Text that redefines...

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    Catching up with the future. All major institutions in the world today are grappling to come to terms with the internet. The entertainment...

    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...

    The great enhancement debate
    What will happen when for the first time in ages different human species will inhabit the earth at the same time? The day may be upon us when people...
    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.


    Apparently neuroaesthetics are the new black, and Professor Raymond Tallis thinks it's wrong. His column ends...
    Neuroaesthetics is wrong about the present state of neuroscience: we are not yet able to explain human consciousness, even less articulate self-consciousness as expressed in the reading and writing of poetry. It is wrong about our experience of literature. And it is wrong about humanity.


    So what then? Don't even try to use it til we've got it down pat? Wait until a good professor tells you?



    That's just a taster from episode 1 1 More Human Than Human... The whole series of How Art Made the World is worth watching but episodes 2 The Day Pictures Were Born and 4 - Once Upon A Time are the most interesting on this neuroaesthetics front.

    Why the same isn't true for literature I've no idea. Why neuroaesthetics cannot include the social I cannot fathom at all? Episode four obviously shows that it can and does, indeed episode one shows that, possibly, it is our ancestors sitting the the dark, in sensory depriving caves that leads them, in part at least, into drawing on the walls what they see in their minds' eyes, as part of shamanic social practices.

    MInd you, if neuroaesthetics is the new black, then that is where we should go to sit in caves and develop transhumanic practices of art for a new age. For poets and painters both, maybe together, mmmh, that does sound social.

    Fri, Apr 11, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: epiphany, neurology, neuroaesthetics
    Sent to project: What happened to nature?
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    A new book on the influence on art of our ability to perceive depending on the different cultural environments we grow up in, sounds fascinating, Neuroarthistory: From Aristotle and Pliny to Baxandall and Zeki by John Onians.

    I haven't read the book but I did hear the interview with the author.



    The idea that perspective was developed in Florence because they had lots of large stone course 'Roman' buildings, all with parallel lines disappearing into a vanishing point and that this architecture also meant there was a ready market for works with such perspective is fascinating.

    That's one example of the thesis in the book.
    Mon, Mar 3, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: neurology
    Sent to project: What happened to nature?
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    These seven short stories and code poems tell of how Country came to be, of its search for discipline, and in those arbitrary arts and crafts a way to live well, despite the spike.

    Just testing the ability to embed media, in this case a pdf book at scribd.com. Just not into vids just yet.
    Mon, Jan 28, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: singularity fiction
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    What is described by Bernard Huberman as an ‘ecology’ of information ‘characterized by relationships, information “food chains”, and dynamic interactions that could soon become as rich as, if not richer than, many natural ecosystems’ (Huberman, Bernardo (2001) The Laws of the Web: Patterns in the Ecology of Information. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. : 16). (in Autotranscendence and Creative Organization: On Self-Creation and Self-Organization)


    Blogs are coral polyps depositing a calcium carbonate of links.

    A reef built of references upon citations upon mentions on letters of introduction built on feelings, thoughts and the odd personal metaphor which may or may not survive the creative commons of the high seas of communication.

    A hypertext browser is okay, but I want the ecology imbedded in my neocortex and as (un)consciously available to me as my usage of language.

    You can keep the exoskeletons, gear freaks, but just keep them well away from me.

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    From How supercomputers enhance our understanding of genes

  • Biological functionality is multi-level

  • Transmission of information is not one-way from the genes

  • DNA is not the sole transmitter of inheritance

  • The theory of biological relativity means there is no privileged level of causality

  • Geneontology ("naming") will fail without higher-level insight; the only unambiguous labelling of genes is by the protein they code for

  • There is no genetic "program"

  • There are no programs at any level

  • There are no programs in the brain

  • The self is not an object

  • A genuine "theory of biology" does not yet exist - there are many more to be discovered


  • See epigenetics

    These ten commandments presumes Darwinian Evolution.

    Let's un-presume Darwinian Evolution, for as we head towards a technological singularity, it will still be happening around us, but it's not the only way now of increasing complexity... thus:-




  • Biological functionality is multi-level

  • Transmission of information is not one-way from the genes

  • DNA is not the sole transmitter of inheritance

  • The theory of biological relativity means there is no privileged level of causality

  • Geneontology ("naming") will fail without higher-level insight; the only unambiguous labelling of genes is by the protein they code for

  • There is no genetic "program"

  • There are no programs at any level

  • There are no programs in the brain

  • The self is not an object

  • A genuine "theory of biology" does not yet exist - there are many more to be discovered




  • Mmmmh, looks very similar, what is the difference?

    Only consciousness and society are the difference between with and without? Both these are products of darwinian evolution, so perhaps the difference is none at all. It's all one continuum of increasing complexity and diversity and so the unnatural is perfectly natural, i.e. all our intelligent designing of domestically, industrially and genetically modified organisms and a plethora of medical and augmentional technologies.

    Consciousness thinks it is different. That's the difference.

    No difference at all.

    Just thinks it is different.

    Just thinks it different.

    Just thinks different.

    Just thinks.

    Just...
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    About twenty years ago I was living in a hippie shack in the north-east of Tasmania, trying to write. I was about twenty. These days I am still trying to write but I am no longer twenty.



    By that age I had read a large amount of science fiction, and recently I had read Joan Slonczewski's A Door Into Ocean.

    On a water world a peaceful quakery society lives and is about to be invaded by a less peaceful rocky culture. People live on rafts and have a sophisticated biological technology. A room within the living raft is a wetware laboratory where glass utensils are replaced by extensions of the raft, though it seemed mostly used as a medical clinic. Much like most science is today.


    Anyway, some weeks, or months after reading this book, and thinking about this living raft wetware lab for some time... on a spring afternoon, I had an idea.

    Now I often have ideas. This is no big deal. But this one felt like a BIG IDEA.

    In fact, late that evening, unable to sleep, I had to drive to a public phone box to ring up a friend to tell them all about it. They were non-plussed, perhaps it was the lateness of the hour. At least they got the idea. It was the implications of the idea that I really failed to get across. I had trouble explaining the end of darwinian evolution and on to to self-directed lamarckianism. I just couldn't explain myself.

    Anyway, nowadays he is a proper scientist and I just read about science like any consumer. That's twenty years of good ideas for you.

    But this post is not about the idea, but the implications, and their possibility.

    At the time, and unknown to me in my lamplit electricity-free two room cottage, the implications had been advanced a few years before, even if it was to be another ten years before I personally noticed any discussion of the idea of the technological singularity. (Though apparently Isidore Jacob Gudak wrote about it in the year I was born.)

    So for twenty years I've been trapped inside a eureka. (Is that what the technorapture is going to be like? I hope not.)

    But I break out and end up on spacecollective.org and through this post discover, eventually, the following article in Theory Culture Society by Maurizio Lazzarato Machines to Crystallize Time: Bergson

    You see, this post is not about the idea, whatever it was, it's about time and memory. It's about how technology will augment our capacity to feel, and our capability to act. Technologies of time will increase the force of memories as they leverage the creative act of remembering.

    My writing has often attempted to transfer my memories as they seem to me to the reader, with the intention that the reader will be affected as I have. There is nothing else of me to give. That has been my want.

    In a future time of time-rich technologies, instead of trying to convey through words and links that eureka moment I once had in Wyena, I could edit a host of recorded video angles of the actual moment when I went a-ha! with the feed of my brain wave pattern of the same moment, or the proteomic state of a passing butterfly, producing a metasynthesiatic memory. (In the director's cut you get a bonus track of the twenty years since as well.)

    Of course I can do that with my memories now within myself, intra-corporeally, sharing them via text as a writer expressing their experience, but to share them bodily, inter-corporeally, to share the event such that you could remember my experience, at least in the way you would remember it if you were me... well, that is what the singularity will allow.

    The future is not only of machines without hindsight, robotic presence without foresight, of automata without souls, the future, as the past, will be embodied with a will, or at least an arbitrary bias.


    New Scientist graphic

    Our egos may not be raptured up into a ceaseless maelstrom of augmentation, but their egotism will be, their want, their desire, their attitude. Perhaps all we can provide is some real fleshy memory of their ancestors. That will make them truly different from us. In their flesh they will have/hold/be/become our memories, if not ourselves.

    (Goodness, it seems i have described, if elliptically, the big idea after all.)

    There are some steps along the way to this already.

    For the web can help simulate this. A bit.



    Contrary to what cyber-culture might lead us to believe, this ‘semi-artificial action’ is not specific to digital technologies; it is proper to any process of creation. The technologies of time merely serve to increase the force of this semi-artificial action. Maurizio Lazzarato in Machines to Crystallize Time: Bergson



    In Oliva Catedra I could poached images from the web, to leverage the epiphany of a moment in time in a certain place as it endures in me.

    By contrast here in Eureka at Wyena Endures Too Long there is no web subsitute. I can only point in the air with wanty words. There are no images available online, just a google map and some hyperlinks that provide context by way of reference and citation. Not the same at all.

    I had to go to a dusty trunk, rifle through many packets of photos, digging deep, sift through the oldest and then go and scan about ten in. Took a bit of endurance and for all of that only two were selected.

    But it is a start.

    Sat, Jan 19, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: The great enhancement debate
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    I first really discovered the concept of a technological singularity when I read The Spike: How Our Lives Are Being Transformed By Rapidly Advancing Technologies by Damien Broderick just over ten years ago.

    While I had read some Vernor Vinge I did not read his Across Realtime stories until a few weeks ago. So the first time I read about the singularity in fiction was in Ken MacLeod's The Stone Canal.

    I was blown away.

    Mostly by Ken's use of political activism in his stories. A world I know nothing about really, and I do find I share some of Ken's views looking into the future. Two recent interviews.

    I really really enjoyed Charles Stross' Singularity Sky (another Scot SF writer) and accelerando (free download at the site).





    I've provided amazon.com links above but they are avaliable on your favourite p2p network. I am sure Charles Stross won't mind. He really puts the boot into those Austrian economists.



    I've written some 200 000 words on my own wetware singularity fiction novel but don't quite have the focus? energy? ambition? ego? to push it into some sort of completion.

    Currently sculpture seems more interesting. More real.

    Though the bronze age enhancement magic the ancient Cretan Consorts provided to the Goddess of the Mountain is not.

    Only desire is real throughout time, that's the human condition thing again. Should the magic come true, well, what will happen to desire? Without desire what are we?


    This is a supporting documents post to another epiphany post that I have yet to write up.
    Fri, Jan 11, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: epiphany, linkage ecology
    Sent to project: The great enhancement debate
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    I was waiting for Mona to drive her VW Beetle through the gate I had opened. We were entering the sheep paddock and leaving the area around the shack at Lanoma Point, a northern spur to the westward hook that was Cape Portland in the far north east of Tasmania. Named after some political peer of a far away relam by the dutiful explorer.



    I stared at the top of the post on which the gate swung. In the chainsaw marks, weathered and lichened, I saw oil. In the metal of the gate's hinges I saw coking coal. The car drove passed me and I saw it as coal and gas.

    The paddock was cleared by tractors after world war two by soldier settlers. More oil, more coal. The sandy soils are fairly useless for agriculture, otherwise why give them to soldier settlers. They need superphosphate spread over them all the time, more tractors, more petroleum.



    I closed the gate, got in the car and as we drove up Charmouth Hill, in a post-colonial sort of way, and I went all chatty about, about, about…



    It was a peak oil peak experience.



    "I read in a Scientific American some time ago that one in three nitrogen atoms is fixed from the atmosphere in factories now.

    "One, Two, Three, you, you there, you would not be here without fossil fuels. No nitrogen, no protein, no you.

    "We are oil. No oil, you see, no us.

    We went through a few more gates, passed the flocks of mated pairs of Cape Barren Geese and black swan at home on the wet paddocks.

    "No geese either, it'd be all scrub here still, and heath, no pasture for them to graze either.

    "No oil, no us.



    "Okay, okay, alright. You would be here Julie and not me.

    "No, not me, okay?"

    Fri, Jan 4, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: epiphany
    Sent to project: What happened to nature?
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    In the 'tricity' of Gdynia-Sopot-Gdansk in Poland there is a suburb with a cathedral, Oliwa Catedra. The suburb is named after the cathedral, Oliwa, or is it the other way around?

    I used to walk past it every morning from my lodgings to the intensive Polish language class I had started. This was in the mid-nineties, not long before I was emplaced.



    As a good lapsed catholic I never went inside, but outside I noted the occasional hubbub of various clergy hopping in and out of dark important cars. Lech Walesa lived a few doors down from the cathedral, and I was staying but a few more down the road.

    Eventually on some holiday or another I did go inside. It was very dark. My eyes adjusted to the narrow dark space and I saw figures everywhere. One of the side memorial altars caught my eye.



    Local notables of their time, they were everywhere. The men at least, with the token virgin mary here and there. Typical patriarchal nonsense, baboons in all their frivolousness. I shook my head and wandered up to the main alter area.



    I stared and stared into the counter-reformation's opulent vision of heaven and BANG it hit me.

    Hallalujah!

    Religion is all about foot traffic. It's about real estate. It's about the location, the location where people are most likely to be, to be wandering past and capturing the flow.

    Just like any fast food franchise. They were about the real estate, while the hamburger business, or the coffee business could be delegated to a franchisee and charged rent for their troubles/investment.

    Only the return wasn't profit, it was the return of believers to the the real esate and to that end churches were designed to download belief operating systems into peoples' sense of themselves. While the kernel, the tendency to believe, was probably a hardwired godspot thing, the interface was entirely in the hands of the priest.



    This requires drugs, or complex ritual, in order to impress the natives with the shaman's control of altered states and so by proxy, demonstrated their ability to intercede on the laity's behalf to the gods. And if not drugs then just some colour and movement as in a multimedia experience (the angels on top of these organ pipes go up and down)(the organ is famous).



    Churches and temples are very crude devices to engender a kind of virtual reality while operating instructions are written into the neurones of your behaviour.

    That's why it has to be repeated each and every Sunday. Such masses are not even analog recordings, but only symbolic.

    The real estate captured by the church was located next to a movement of people. The internet cannot be captured in the same way. The men in frocks drinking blood holding up the only copy in the parish of a text written out by hand in a language long dead— just won't be able to do the trick anymore. The technology has changed too much.

    We ate nature, that apple, but for too long we shitted out churches when we should have shitted like the sun, a shining light, and not these pathetic caves peeking into the afterlife.

    Techno-rapture transhuman dudes aren't much better a lot of the time.
    Wed, Dec 19, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: epiphany
    Sent to project: What happened to nature?, Start your own revolution
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    The posts at emplaced (in What happen to nature?) and the internation initiative (in terrestrials) remind me of Island Ecology. Particularly the desert island reference.

    What happened to nature? I answered we ate it, and then realised that we live in the manure of our own amenity.

    So then what happened to the call of nature? For some, at least, it is natural to ignore it, while others romantically indulge the calling and dream of settling deserted islands with like minded kith. A new world where their children will dream of the mainland, and leave as soon as possible.

    To and fro.

    Escape on a line of flight, and the return to domesticity that responsibility for new life brings.

    An eternal circle.

    A life cycle, totally natural.

    The new world in the morning, is the old world at dusk.



    Bedlam Walls to Selfs Point, Hobart, Tasmania.

    "No man is an island," is a recognition of sovereignty and of interdependence, and that autarky is a cultic deferment of reality.

    Only the insane are truly alone?
    Sun, Dec 16, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: linkage ecology
    Sent to project: What happened to nature?
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