Wed, Dec 19, 2007
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On to the syntactical future
As described by Terence McKenna in Ordinary Language, Visible Language and Virtual Reality:

The starships of the future that will explore the high frontier of the unknown will be syntactical. The engineers of the future will be poets.

This is what virtual reality holds out to us—the possibility of walking in to the constructs of the imagination. In a way culture is that. I mean our cities, bridges, highways, airliners and art galleries are condensations out of the imagination, but at tremendous cost because we must make them out of matter. Once we can make them out of light, out of electrons, then we won't build skyscrapers a hundred and twenty stories high, we'll build them as high as we want.

Roof height will no longer be a factor ruled by cost effectiveness and gravity, it will be a parameter ruled by the imagination as well all other parameters and then we will discover what man truly is—when we are able to erect, stabilize, share and explore our dreams in a kind of virtual hyperspace that, carefully analyzed, is seen to be linguistic.

Wed, Dec 19, 2007  Permanent link
Categories: terence mckenna, language, Virtual Reality, cyberspace, hyperspace
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ika     Thu, Dec 20, 2007  Permanent link
It's beautiful to read and makes me think of the macro / micro . Some people try to reach higher and some people try to travel through wires.
meika     Mon, Jan 14, 2008  Permanent link
Despite the acid I beg to differ.

As I remember it syntax was a ancient Greek military term, such as one might described the ordering of a phalanx. [ I can't remember where I read it htough :(. ] This metaphor returns to language because the syntax of the phalanx, was the turn of another metaphor, as phalanx means finger. And of course, in many ways, language use is a multitude of fancy ways to point at things, and so carry them into speech.

So then, a syntax, is a working together as an ordering, perhaps barked as a command. It makes every case an imperative.

So the future may not be made by poets at all, or at least, if by poets, only by war poets in a poetry of pure orders, unhindered by the chaos of the battlefield. Of course it's here already, by virtue of wargames.

Shelley said poets were the legislators of the future
. But as a failed poet, I say, that Ozymandias is, perhaps, poetry and all its legislations.

Poetry will be found in the emergent institutions of the future, for poetry is a making, and a bringing together of things, ordered more by self and selves than on command by some war poet sapper.

Or perhaps I am just a touch sensitive. A trans-emo-brat?

folkert     Mon, Jan 14, 2008  Permanent link
And of course, in many ways, language use is a multitude of fancy ways to point at things, and so carry them into speech.
Very nice.

War poets or not, in the above situation syntax would come in where transitions from idea to execution happen – in the same way a new reality is summoned on Star Trek's Holodecks I guess. That's still a little rudimentary though, the ultimate goal would of course be to do away with syntax altogether.
Spaceweaver     Tue, Jan 15, 2008  Permanent link
Syntax is necessary for participation and coordination. How could we participate in thought or emotion without language? and how is language to work without syntax? I might have missed the whole point here, yet this very exchange is syntax based. Metaphors, are the landmarks of the evolution of language. The ancient meaning of a word is not necessarily significant in its contemporary usage. The future will allow us to be the poems we create. In a world of unlimited resources, poiēsis, another ancient Greek word, will regain its ancient meaning: both poetry and creation.
meika     Tue, Jan 15, 2008  Permanent link
The metaphor of the 'ordering' (syntaxis) of an Ancient Greek military unit (phalanx, finger) has been used (millennia later) by Terence McKenna in a moment of insight into the freedom of a virtual world compared to meatspace engineering, proclaiming, "The engineers of the future will be poets. "

After some linguistic/grammar puns I say they must be but war poets and sappers, embedded in carnage and undermining connections. No doubt this is a moment of etymological fundamentalism on my part.

I then suggest that, as a failed poet myself, with reference to Shelley's Defence of Poetry, that chiliastically leaping about saying that the paradise-to-be is poetry, is really but a future ruin, (like Shelley's Ozymandias). If not an instant ruin.

This leads to the poetical suggestion, from a failed poet, that maybe a non-military non-finger-pointing ordering(not) of speech might be more useful metaphors. Though I don't think I give any suggestions. Might save them for a post.

At this point Folkert adds, "That's still a little rudimentary though, the ultimate goal would of course be to do away with syntax altogether."

Which I read —as I would, as a failed poet— "as without syntax and use some other ordering(not) (non-imperative) system". Not that there would be no order but that it would be more emergent than pointed.

So we're all right, if not alright already.

the (not) following 'ordering' is a substitute for strikethrough text which is not allowed here, thus ordering(not)

I feel like a tutor ruining the poem for everyone. I am Ozymandias.
meika     Sun, Jan 20, 2008  Permanent link
In Thesis Eleven by Barry Allen Turning Back the Linguistic Turn in the Theory of Knowledge. A good compare and contrast to the acid trip.
cupcakewizard     Wed, Jun 18, 2008  Permanent link
It's complicated.
wilfriedhoujebek     Fri, Jun 20, 2008  Permanent link
the poets of the future will be engineers.

hey, is McKenna;s future not already our present?
Hal2002     Mon, Aug 11, 2008  Permanent link
It is the meaning of the words that cull the "heard".

If a command of rhymes all with rhythm affect the mind and mend the schism, so be it. But as I see it: Time can be lost in relativity, when you keep too close an eye on others' leaps in the sky, you'll find it was your self that passed you by.

Focus on the core of words that war,
But fear and fail to explore the battles that might
Than expect to lose your way and sight.

I wonder can we get beyond the smelling of the spelling and let symbols speak for themselves. Folkert/McKenna and others speak of building in the 5th dimension. Something I think can be done if only through fun. Once one starts to poke at the smoke that spoke, a space is created where support had been mated.

A. Pope spoke of the critics that passed. So that we may be freer to learn and laugh.