Jun 02 2011

Because the present is too much stress; because the past is too much pain… it’s pedal to the metal until we get somewhere else.

""){ ?> By R.U. Sirius


We have been metamorphosed from a mad body dancing madly on a hillside into a pair of eyes staring in the dark.

-Jim Morrison.

Back in the early days of the automobile (that revolutionary “Personal Transporter” that changed everything), it often took a bit of time for the thing to really get going.

You’d hear a horrible loud “poot poot   brrrrr brrrr poot poot brrrr clang” for many moments until finally it would all come together.  The engine would purr and you could accelerate.  Oh sure, there were bumps. You’d run out of gas. There would be accidents and you’d have to wait while the chickens crossed the road. Still, in essence, you would have achieved a sort of functional homeostasis — in a personal transporter moving you around planet earth at speeds undreamt of by pedestrians and jockeys… 50… maybe even 60 mph!

I find myself thinking about the confluence of radical technological developments in similar terms.  As a species that is utterly coupled with our technology and, at this point, pretty much responsible for the fate of most of the species on planet earth, we’re sputtering along, making loud, awkward, ugly noises — blowing shit up, toxifying the environment, tormenting the animals and treating one another poorly.  But at some point, all these complicating evolutions in technologies may start to purr.  Post-industrial technologies like biotech, artificial general intelligence, intelligence amplification, molecular technology and others may make this entire barely-functional civilization thing actually functional.   Or even better than functional.

I have the odd presentiment that the purpose of futurism — the neophile drive to accelerate into our technological destiny, whatever it may be — is actually an attempt to get us closer to living in the present moment.  In other words, industrial culture and the early stages of post-industrial culture has turned us all, by necessity, into little corporations managing our bank accounts and households and jobs and companies; worrying the details of our personal five year plans; peering nervously out into the socioeconomic jungle for approaching dangers five days… five months… five years in the distance; all the while watching all certainties decay in the rapids of social change and dissolution.

But at some point, these mechanisms that reward us (some of us) with comforts and good health and cool toys and novel challenges may go cyber — they may become largely self regulating and we may find ourselves in a playful world that will permit us, as often as not, the fundamental sanity of being present in the moment that we happen to be in.

This then is my own idea of acceleration, at least in the moment I happen to be writing this essay  — an acceleration towards a type of spontaneity the loss of which, I believe, lies at the heart of civilization’s discontents.  Others see in acceleration the opportunity to live a quantified life, with every moment of sugary pleasure is tracked and recorded on the balance sheet against other more healthful pursuits with all medical results duly measured.

Which is fine, too.  To each there own acceleration.  See you there.  Watch for it here.

  • By R.U. Sirius, June 4, 2011 @ 12:42 am

    Testing comments to see if it works.

  • By Ian Monroe, June 4, 2011 @ 12:47 am


  • By nisgore, June 5, 2011 @ 1:32 am

    I used to share your view about technological evolution as the answer to many of the serious problems of the world and humanity. But in the end, I find myself becoming very Buddhist about the whole thing. Because now we find ourselves in a society with nearly God like powers… and yet the people in control, seem to represent the most vile aspects of humanity and are propagating their mental illness around the world at the speed of light. Technological evolution is returning us to feudalism very quickly because in the end, it’s the same old money types at the reigns driving it. Like a net, gathering up everybody for the slaughter. Technological evolution with jerks at the helm is turning out to be a total disaster. It seems (to me) that technological evolution without consciousness evolution is like putting a gun to everyone/everything else’s head and playing Russian roulette. But with sufficient consciousness evolution, you don’t even need this crappy technology. this technology just seems to empower the most vile specimens of humanity. The most enlightened among us don’t need it. you want to see the future, just drop some acid and go take a look. it’s not pretty so long as all this tech is involved. as far as I’m concerned, singularity is a NON-TECH related event. When the veil is drawn, and everyone can see through everyone else’s eyes simultaneously. And there’s been a lot of people hurt by barely human uncompassionate really douchey people with undreamed of power enabled by all this tech. When that day comes, and it is approaching quickly, all this crappy tech will seem like the purring hum of hypnotic self delusion enabling the worst aspects of humanity and the human soul to manifest. I’m not saying tech is bad, just that it’s being used to enable the very worst of what it is to be human. For the leap into transhuman aspects of the human experience, I would honestly only want to hang with people who didn’t cheat to get there using tech. because the inner changes that make you self-actualized seem to be accomplished through struggle and self-reflection… both of which are eliminated by tech. So it’s like taking the most egotistical and evil parts of the soul… and amplifying them to god like proportions. … conversely, I’m sure enlightened people can use the same tech to do marvelous things on a bigger scale. and you in fact may be one of these ken (especially as I love your shows! 🙂 but I don’t think transhumanism as a whole, as it’s being sold to the masses of really evil unenlightened people is a good thing at all.

  • By Sam, June 14, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

    “singularity is a NON-TECH related event. When the veil is drawn, and everyone can see through everyone else’s eyes simultaneously.” How exactly do you expect to be able to see through ‘everyone else’s eyes simultaneously’ without technological enhancement? Seriously, what else do you think is going to magically happen which will all of a sudden allow something like this to occur? Do you believe in psychic abilities and mind-reading? I try to be agnostic and open to all things but first you have to show me some form of proof/evidence, and there is absolutely no proof/evidence whatsoever for such fanciful abilities. You are talking about fantasy vs. science fiction-as-fact…as we watch this stuff manifest on an almost daily basis.

    You then go on to say that: “the inner changes that make you self-actualized seem to be accomplished through struggle and self-reflection…” All of human history to date has been an attempt to achieve balance between our struggles and our self-reflections, and this is where they have led us…to a point in time where we have the technological means to potentially be able to lift our species up to the next rung (or two or three) on the evolutionary ladder. Obviously it should not be forced upon anyone who does not want it, but why try and deny it to those are ready and willing to make that leap forward?

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