Oct 22 2012

Requiem For Nanny


I have often been asked why I desire to live indefinitely. I’ve been told by many that they simply cannot understand why I would want to continue living when the world is so full of pain. And in some ways, I can see their point.

Life is sadness, it is pain, and it is suffering. In the words of the Dread Pirate Roberts, “Any one who says differently is selling something.”

But life is also joy, and beauty, and love. Light and Darkness, Ying and Yang, Good and Bad. We need them both to be able to experience life fully. If we never cried, we would never learn to smile. If we never lost, we would never appreciate winning.

I have lost loved ones to death, and none of them will ever walk this earth again. I have lost friends. I have lost casual acquaintances. I have seen them suffer, and I have seen them go in the blink of an eye. I have watched as Alzheimer’s claimed first my grandparents on my fathers side and then on my mothers. I will never be able to taste my Nanny’s chili pie, or shiver at the delightful flavor of my Grandma’s Malt Chocolate milkshakes. I will never again be able to go fishing with my Uncle Joe, or be able to show Papa and Grandpa how much I’ve grown as an artist. I will never get to sit and talk with my buddy Walt, or be able to debate politics and world events with my Mother in law. I will never again be able to watch my father build things just because he could. Before long, even my Grandmother in law will be gone.

All of these people touched my life in ways I cannot repay, and never will be able to, no matter how long I may live. They gave me hope, and love, and kindness.  They taught me how to laugh and how to hold my head high and be proud of being myself. They taught me how to live and more importantly, they taught me how to appreciate being alive.

I have enormous reasons to be depressed, but despite the hopelessness and despair I sometimes feel, one thing and one thing alone has kept me faced forward to the future.

And those are the words of my Nanny, my father’s mother. “There are always going to be good times and bad times. But no matter what, no matter how bad the bad times are, they won’t last forever. Sooner or later, the sun always comes out of the clouds.”

And that wonderful, kind, and loving woman fought death tooth and nail. Three heart attacks, two strokes, and Alzheimer’s couldn’t slow her down. She held on for nearly ten years after the doctors said she had a year to live. It took pneumonia to finally kill her — congestive heart failure in her sleep.

In all my family, she’s the only one who really understood me. As much as I loved and am sad that I will never see all the others I have lost, she is the one I miss most. It is her voice I hear when the darkness is screaming loudest, when the world seems so hopeless that I almost despair, when I look ahead and see the horrors we could inflict upon ourselves. I can hear her whispering to me, telling me the Sun always comes out of the clouds.

She survived the Great Depression, and both world wars. She survived an alcoholic and abusive husband, finally getting him to stop drinking and abusing her. She raised seven children, and got to see their children and grandchildren. She celebrated her fiftieth wedding anniversary, with over a hundred members of her family attending. She saw the Berlin wall raised, and she got to see it fall. She watched the first man on the moon, and the first shuttle launch. She got to ask who shot JR, as well as wonder who shot JFK. She raised roses and citrus trees and kids with equal kindness and care and grace. And she lived life to the fullest right up to her very last day and died with a smile. Even when she could no longer remember me, she was still overjoyed to see me.

Did dying give her life meaning? I know for a fact that she never thought so. Living was what gave her life meaning. Living and loving and laughing; through good times and bad; through happiness and sadness; living for the simple joy of being alive. She never gave up, and never gave in. She never let life break her and never let it get her down.

She was 92 the day she died, and if it had been up to her, she would have lived 90 more, and 90 beyond that, and so on, ad infinitum. She would have laughed and loved and spoiled her great-grand kids rotten when they came to see their Nanny, the women who always had a smile and a special something she would make just for them.

And I will never forget that most important of all lessons she taught me; to look beyond, to see the next step, and the one beyond that and the one beyond that. To see that nothing ever stays the same and even the bad can result in good.

Oct 19 2012

Your Friday MONDO: Brain Nuggets From High Frontiers #3 — 1987 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #35


More pull quotes… this time from High Frontiers issue #3 for you to chew over

HF: What’s it like being God? Rosalie Blue: It’s like Doonesbury suddenly getting up off the paper and seeing that he’s always been flat.


They had to have a new domestic enemy and, of course, drugs are the perfect scapegoat. People that use drugs tend to be dissident.  Timothy Leary


… they were working on a combination L-dopa/parlodel on Parkinson’s patients in their 70s and 80s. The old ladies and old men started fucking like fiends. Durk Pearson


The human brain is… 50,000 years out of date. It evolved in a nontechnological world where the basic tasks were hunting, gathering, agriculture…   Anonymous Unit


The machines produce immediate effects. I don’t think that… they are as powerful and noticeable as the effects you might get from a chemical dose. Michael Hutchison


In the electronics field, when you put something out, you are protected only by your speed in putting the next thing out. Lee Felsenstein


Fringe scientists are interested in time travel, telepathy, psychokinesis, tantric sex, hypnosis, psychedelic drugs, wild card models of mind, God and universe… Nick Herbert


You turn on the ecstasy channel. Turn on the metaphysical revelation channel.  Stefan G.


…the evolution of intelligent systems,… the interplay… of the organic and post-organic… the incorporation of a lot of non-flesh, non-carbon implants and explants and fusions.  F.M. Esfandiary


“You know, Lisa. I’ve heard Fidel likes pretty blondes. I wonder how he’d react to a good aphrodisiac?” Nan C. Druid


The left handed America over to the far right by embracing a philosophy of entropy — the “era of limitations”; “Muddling Towards Frugality”; “Small Is Beautiful.” R.U. Sirius


I can see an orderly evolutionary progress that is mutually interdependent, harmonious, interactive. Michael Nesmith


With any drug, it’s good to experiment with it rather than depend on it.  Do it 2 or 3 or 4 times and then get rid of it.  Jello Biafra


In the fifth “chant,”… Lautreamont refers explicitly to the spider’s magnetic spell over his cerebro-spinal nervous system… and… refers to this spider… as a tarantula.  Queen Mu


Psychedelics… it’s like going out to the frontier if you want to romanticize it. It’s like sticking your hand in the incinerator if you don’t.  Paul Kantner


As a dominatrix, I prefer to control my material.  Diamanda Galas


I’ve already passed Dylan.  Dylan and all the musicians in the world will all come to me in the end.  Sky Saxon


I was given betel nut… and I got stoned and danced all day around these skulls and bones with the natives. Tom Robbins


Inscrutable as an aztec mummy in a brown 1940’s suit and porkpie hat, Burroughs sits off to one side of the speakers’ table. Mary Mazocco


Certain biologic mutations would definitely be necessary in order to inhabit space… a skeleton… it’s an encumbrance where weight is an essential factor.  William S. Burroughs


All over the world, in the evolution of human consciousness, there is a reemergence of the immanence of the feminine principle. Luisah Tiesh


I’m glad I live now. It’s like living in Heaven and Hell simultaneously. It’s the cloud of total unknowing. Joan Halifax


Can you tell me what the master control program is? It’s the current consensus reality… which doesn’t believe in users. And who are the users? John Lilly


Now the government aims at banning states of consciousness rather than  controlled substances. Peter Stafford & Bruce Eisner


Some people take drugs and get apparently nothing out of it. NOTHING! I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THAT HAPPENS TO THEM! Jeremy Tarcher


Why is embodiment such a temporary, painful and sloppy sort of solution?  Gracie


What one perceives under the influence of tryptamine hallucinogens is the fractal nature of the self.  Terence McKenna

Oct 17 2012

Steal This Singularity: Entry #1


It was at the end of the first day of the Singularity Summit 2012 when Ben Popper — the dude from The Verge who I’d spoken to by phone — approached.  “What do you think?” he asked.  “It’s been pretty interesting,” I responded earnestly.  The absence of a superlative was perhaps telling, but I was not in the mood to think on it more deeply.  Ben agreed.  And then Eve and I made a wrong turn heading back to the North Bay and we found ourselves moving at a crawl through Chinatown.

Chinatown was throbbing with biological life of the human sort.  Old Chinese women were inspecting vegetables on display outside of stores.  A group of older men stood on a street corner just hanging out and talking.  The streets were packed to overflow with people going about their early Saturday evening activities.  I don’t think I saw anybody smiling, but I had the sense that people were enjoying their familiar activities.

Once home, I decided to finally watch I’m Still Here — the Casey Affleck film documenting Joaquin Phoenix’ supposed attempt to leave behind his acting career to become a rap star.  Fat; with long uncombed hair and scraggly beard, dressed like a particularly disheveled street person — throughout the film, Phoenix, along with some of his “handlers,” displays a full repertoire of coarse, vulgar, moronic human behaviors as he tries to pursue his new career.  He also appears in onstage performances, rapping… badly.  Various media commentators suspect that it’s a hoax, but Phoenix remains in character.  He puts Ben Stiller — trying to get Phoenix to consider a script —  through the ringer.  He acts pathetic and nuts in a famous Letterman appearance.   He’s trying to get Sean Combs to produce a rap album for him.

Watching this film — unsure myself whether the whole thing was a bit of Andy Kaufman-like performance art; a genuine descent into madness; or both (I was leaning towards both) —  and seeing how the various players tried to navigate how to respond given that they were experiencing the same uncertainty that I was — I was struck by the wheels-within-wheels-within-wheels multiple strange loopy character of the thing that I was not only witnessing but participating in by being engaged in confusion.  And I was struck by how many layers of uncertainly could emerge out of very stupid behaviors — behaviors, incidentally, that would likely hold little interest to a proper singularitarian; and all of it done for absolutely no rational purpose other than to fuck with people’s heads.  For what? To improve them? To teach them something?  No.  Just to see what happens.

The apex of this entertaining goof is reached when Phoenix and a Partner-In-Trick get a meeting with Sean “Puffy” Combs at his studio.  As Phoenix plays some terrible homemade rap recordings for him, we get to watch Combs try to navigate his way through the thicket of possibilities:

1: that he’s being fucked with

2:  that Phoenix — acting like a desperately crazed but sincere rap lover — might be earnest and might need help.

3:  that Phoenix might have enough money to pay him well to produce his train wreck of a rap career.

4: that the camera is recording him in a situation in which he has no clue as to how to respond and how to maintain his very non-ironic, one dimensional, cool, public persona.

Combs’ face and body language show his utter bafflement in this situation — his codes have been so scrambled that they could never be decrypted because there’s nothing there.  He’s been blown into empty space, unable to respond to the stimuli at hand; but still he maintains a slightly gruff but agreeable facade.

Finally, we see Phoenix wandering in an apparent daze through some woods and then diving into a lake.  At the end, we see him swimming underwater. In context, after this layer cake of weird loops and inappropriate dumb behaviors, the moment is evocative.  Evocative of what exactly?  Nothing, exactly.   Just evocative.

As I prepared for sleep, I suddenly realized I couldn’t really remember a fucking thing I heard at the Singularity Summit.  Funny thing… I don’t even think the movie is all that good.


I’ve been sort of playing around with the concept — “Steal This Singularity” — for several months now.  Prior to attending Singularity Summit 2012, I was thinking about it in political terms.  Letting “singularity” represent, essentially, a buzz word for a future radically transformed by technology, my “Steal This Singularity” notion was simply that the transhuman future should not be dominated by big capital and/or authoritarian government; and that — contrary to the reassurances of many glib futurists — this requires some intentionality, both in terms of programming and activism.  The technology doesn’t insure this by its very nature.  And the current general trend in this regard is not positive, but extremely ambiguous at best.  But I’ll save that for another essay.

Upon spending an afternoon at Singularity Summit and spending an evening vicariously experiencing Joaquin Phoenix’ trickster walkabout, another feeling emerged and, with it, a different sort of “Steal This Singularity” theme.  To wit: the clever, logical, programming/engineering monkey-mind should not be allowed to instantiate its limited idea of humanity, the universe and everything, on… well… humanity, the universe and everything.   The tricksters, the freaks, the surrealists, the hedonists, the outsiders — and all the uncodable strangeness that emerges from the biological codes’ diversification into cultural complexity and then into something as perverse and rationally pointless as a multilayered prank in a cinematic celebrity culture —  must hijack the engineer’s Singularity and recode it or uncode it so as to allow for liminal spaces outside its totalizing grasp.

We live in a time in which seemingly smart humans love to present us with absolute dualistic options: Republican or Democrat, socialist or free market; believer or atheist; Britney or Christina; Science or Superstition.  These discourses are dominant even among an intellectual class that used to know better; and the notion that there could be terrain outside those frames becomes, well, not exactly unthinkable but somehow too trivial to consider as anything but a sideshow.

I’m aware of the risk here in even implying that the instantiation of the biases of the engineering monkey mind over everything is a conscious or unconscious intention  that undergirds much of the Singularitarian sensibility. Singularitarianism and — more broadly — transhumanism — has produced a veritable glut of abstract theorizing, so whatever novel perceptions or objections or concerns one may think one is bringing to the party, some smarty pants has probably swatted it away or incorporated it into its logical totality.

On the other hand, if there was a role for artists in Singularity Summit 2012, I didn’t notice it.  Sex — a primary desire for most humans — seemed to be almost unmentionable, if not entirely archaic.  Heightened subjective states of consciousness — ecstasy, agape, rapture — seem to be well off the map.

Of course, it’s part of the culture of science that legitimacy requires the maintenance of a bordering-on-Calvinist front, but consider that when I interviewed (with Surfdaddy Orca) Ray Kurzweil for H+ magazine a few years ago, and suggested that the idea of utopia might involve people feeling good and being happy, he immediately leapt to a vision of people hanging around all the time on a morphine-like high.  (I actually think several billion human beings acting out the sort of western ideal of ambitiousness with Singularitarian technology is probably scarier than having most of them in an opiated haze, but I don’t think those are the only options. Anyway, that’s a different rant for a different time.)

This lack — this apparent negligence or denial or trivialization of non-obvious aspects of  subjective human experience and peculiarity — may prove to be of minimal importance if transhuman techno-evolution stops short of the Singularity.   If we don’t design silicon intelligences that will, for all intents and purposes, replace us — or at least dominate our original biological brains if we take them within us — but, if rather, we simply end up with tools that amplify and enhance, then there’s a reasonable hope for a diversity of mindstyles.  Some will gather in Less Wrong communities where they will continuously refine rationality; some will live in an eternal, amplified Burning Man of lived art, presentation and playful deviance; most will dip into both these and other memeplex scenes while engaging in a world rich in opportunity for all possible expressions of humanness or posthumanness.

But supposing that we do create the vastly superior intelligence.  Even if we merge with them, what aspects of humanness that some of us may wish to preserve will be overwhelmed?  Will the imp of the perverse, as displayed in my Joaquin Phoenix example, still stun our predictable mentations into momentary silence?  Can the engineered superior intelligence experience something as evocative, or is that too vague?  Will some of us still be driven into ecstasy dancing to James Brown?  What happens to the human characteristics that have given us characters like Arthur Rimbaud, Salvador Dali, Bob Dylan…  you know, people who don’t make any goddamn sense?  And what the fuck did Nietzsche mean we he wrote, “I tell you. One must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.”?

My next Steal This Singularity entry will take on the more sober political and economic implications of the concept.

Oct 15 2012

New Dimensions For Your Halloween Costume


Well, Halloween is right around the corner, and today I just can’t bring myself to be serious. So, in my daily combing through technology developments, I came across a few small, almost frivolous pieces of technology that actually go quite a ways towards developing that “morphologically free” future I spend so much time discussing.

The first is called the Mega Stomp Panic. Described by its makers as an “Audio Reality Costume,” it can sense your footsteps and even distinguish between light and heavy steps. With a variety of preloaded “characters” it not only makes “footsteps” but includes “ambient sounds” consistent with the character. Check out the video demo:

Yes, it’s way over the top, yes, it’s cheesy as hell. But it also demonstrates precisely what I am talking about when I say that humans will do anything to get what they want. How many of you have spent a Halloween party making sound effects for your costume? How many people do you think would love to have a “soundtrack” for their lives?  Taking myself as an example, I am still trying to find a sound mod for Second life that makes my hooves chime like bells when I walk.

Now how long do you think it will be before someone sees this video, and then designs an iPhone app that does the same thing? Once it’s gone software, it’s going to be everywhere, and the iPhone already has the needed sensors to duplicate the MSP hardware. Just think, by next year, a lot of kids could be running around the neighborhood playing “Godzilla,” complete with sound effects.

Next up on the “costume” side is the “Shippo” mood controlled tail. Yes, it’s a tail that includes a BCI to enable it to respond to your emotions. While I am aware that it’s going to appeal far more to furries like myself, the desire for tails does actually cover a far larger demographic than just the furry crowd, considering the sheer number of SL users who have one who are not furries. This tail not only comes with a head mounted sensor, but a heart rate sensor, and is preprogrammed to match wagging motions with your emotional states.

And t also includes geotagging and smartphone connectivity. This allows the wearer to “broadcast” their emotional states in real time, as well as enable them to locate other “tail wearers”, thus enabling you to find other people who like tails.  Now, imagine when this has had a few years to develop, and those tails have become more sophisticated. Still think my “tail” is going to stay a fantasy?

The next, and last item on my “costume” list is the “Necomimi” (Neko-Mimi, aka Cat Ear) another BCI controlled accessory. These animated cat ears are made by the same company as the tail, and have had already made it to American markets. Like the tail, they detect emotional states, and are animated correspondingly. Check out the video:

Like the tail, its appeal factor is variable, but it’s also a lot broader than just the furry market. Cat-girls, after all, seem to have a massive appeal no matter what demographic you are part of.

So there you go. Three items that can already give you a small taste of the world as it could be once VR and body sculpting become a reality. It’s a pity that the MSP doesn’t have a “cat” setting, because putting all three together could be one bitchin costume. XP

Oct 12 2012

Your Friday MONDO: Nuggets — Pull Quotes from High Frontiers Issue #2 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #34)



More nuggets from High Frontiers for your weekend pleasure


 The hydrogen bomb (was) the flash of the first synapse of an etheric brain which is extended temporally as well as spatially   Robin Hoor Khuit


Everyone was looking at Ram Dass like he must be the Magus riding out of the north.  Peter Stafford


Learn how to control your own nervous system and the whole universe is yours… that’s the transmutation the alchemists were working for.  Robert Anton Wilson


There are about six different realities that Bell’s Theorem makes possible, none of them are ordinary. They’re all preposterous… Nick Herbert


Joyce, Guernica, Auschwitz, lunar landings, nuclear weapons, psychedelic religion, and computer networking — markers on a path that may eventually carry us toward… functional anarchy  Terence McKenna


When you take MDA and LSD simultaneously, you get a sort of matrix multiplication effect where you can observe yourself in all possible  incarnations. Zarkov


[With the Brotherhood of Eternal Love] It was a religious zeal that life is better suited to being high.  Michael Hollingshead


Revolution and evolution, they’re both a process. A revolution never  ends; or once a  revolution ends, it’s  probably a dictatorship…  Paul Krassner


I realized that I was seeing “god central.” The central panel I saw was the control panel of the entire universe.   Zarkov


There was a giant punk goddess with a green mohawk and full body armor  screaming, “is it finally strong enough for you?” Terence McKenna


Magnificent extragalactic trisexual desires multiple sex with all creatures any time/any space. Non-smokers only. No weirdoes.  Amalgam X


Oct 09 2012

Mutant Glory: The MONDO Moment (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #33)


While I mostly employ a playful, self-deprecating voice throughout the upcoming epic combined memoir and as-told-to history of MONDO 2000, I’ve been advised that — somewhere toward the beginning of the book — I should let people know just how brightly the MONDO star shined .  Here then is a segment from the chapter, “Mutant Glory: The MONDO Moment” from the upcoming book, Use Your Hallucinations: MONDO 2000 in Late 20th Century Cyberculture.  Some particularly strong parts are under embargo until publication, for a variety of reasons, so if it seems a bit discontinuous, that’s why.  

Still, pardon my ego, or use it as if it were your own.

I’m seated on the couch in the living room of the MONDO House, the neogothic aerie high (in every sense) in the Berkeley, California hills; my blue fedora with the Andy Warhol button rakishly titled to the right, a hint of my beyond-shoulder length hair swept across my right eye, femme fatale style.  It’s the same couch where, earlier this afternoon, Queen Mu had refused the Washington Post photographer’s suggestion that she and I pose John and Yoko style… naked… for the Post Arts & Leisure secton cover story about MONDO 2000.  

The editorial meeting was running longer than usual. Mu had held the floor for almost an hour with a monologue that veered from her recent argument with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek about Jim Morrison’s use of Tarantula Venom as an intoxicant — Morrison, in accordance with Mu’s gonzo anthropological researches, had joined a centuries-old secret brotherhood of poets and musicians in the use of this dangerous substance for Orphic inspirations; to the unending details of said tarantula venom theory; to the connections that simply must exist between our Mormon printers in Nevada and John Perry Barlow and the CIA and how they were all plotting to destroy us with a new magazine called Wired; and finally to the efficacy of writing after taking a few tokes of marijuana and then putting on Animals by Pink Floyd (to which our unofficial GenX spokesperson Andrew Hultkrans muttered, “Pink Floyd? It must be a generational thing.”).  When Mu was on one of her strange fantastic rambles she somehow didn’t seem to need to stop to breathe, so there was never an opportune moment to interrupt.  Finally, she decided she was thirsty and went into the kitchen to boil some tea.

The editorial pow wow had produced the usual stuff — good stuff, as a matter of fact.  An interview with early singularitarian Hans Moravec was in the works.  Some peculiar and obscure German industrial band/performance art group had contacted us looking for PR and this might pair up nicely with the Laibach interview that Mark Dippe and Kenneth Laddish had submitted.  Mad Lester Thompson had finally turned in a pretty good “Ultratech” column, rounding up of the latest in homebrew Virtual Reality and cheap digital video tech.  St. Jude told us her “Irresponsible Journalism” column titled “The Grace Jones School For Girls” was almost ready and asked if her interview with Mike Saenz about his porn CD ROM, Virtual Valerie, had been transcribed yet.  Our Art Director, Bart Nagel, as usual, said something that made everybody laugh.

Presently, Queen Mu returns to the living room with her cup of tea and our quiet, softspoken music editor Jas. Morgan pipes up.  “Liz Rosenberg says Madonna will review the new Papal Encyclical for us,” he understates. My famewhore eyes nearly pop out of my head.  “Be sure to follow up on that,” I say.  Everyone else feigns blasé.

This was the age — the heyday — of MONDO 2000. A shorter but far stranger trip, if you catch my drift.

You didn’t hear about it?  Well then, indulge me as I let some other voices tell you that I’m not hallucinating; not this time, anyway.  There was, in fact, a MONDO moment and it seemed somehow important to some interesting people.

There will be plenty of time for self-deprecations, stinging criticisms and embarrassing revelations later, when we return this epic true adventure story back to its beginnings and follow it through ‘til its mad finale.  But for this chapter, let’s bask in MONDO Mutant Glory.

Diana Trimble: You know how certain people, places or things can come to define an era?  The same way that clubbers d’un certain age speak wistfully of the “MK years” in New York City or “the Hacienda era” in Manchester; the same way you can’t talk about the art scene of the 1960s without talking about Warhol’s Factory? Well, that’s the way certain people who were in the Bay Area during the “MONDO days” feel about the house up on the mountain where madness met inspiration for a few remarkable years that directly influenced the development of popular culture on a global scale; a little-recognized fact for which proper credit to MONDO 2000 is long overdue.

It’s one of the best-kept secrets of postmodern history:  the Bay Area psychedelic revival and the explosion of computer science innovations of the late 1980s and early 90s were not only simultaneous and connected by geography but involved deeply interconnected personnel.



Rex Bruce: The MONDO scene was like the escape hatch out of the 80’s. While hanging onto the rebellious aspects of punk, it successfully retrieved some of the more colorful aspects of the sixties — the hippyish candy raver thing — along with a very thoughtful mingling of technology which had just gone exponential. 

It was the beginning of the period we are still in, pretty much. Nobody really knew what the web was back then or what enormous potential it held. People in the MONDO scene knew and were going at it full force. 

Emergent technology is still a huge area of cultural change. The cyberpunk people made it a movement and an identity — the scene grew to be a substantial part of a long history of bohemian culture that runs against the grain. This time it was armed with the internet, smart drugs, ubiquitous technology and the ubiquitous interface we still love and live in daily. It both began and predicted the times we live in. 


Douglas Rushkoff: The idea of having a scene… a place… I mean, oddly enough, MONDO was the last scene of the last era. It’s the last sort of Algonquin group or whatever.  I mean, physical reality isn’t what it used to be. Now you create a Facebook group to do what MONDO did. 

A physical scene… it’s so much more fertile. What I experienced more than anything else in that whole cultural milieu was: “Here are human bodies and human egos attempting to navigate this wholly discontinuous hypertext reality; trying to live in  — and with a full awareness of  — these liminal transition states.” And now, when we’re fully in the Internet era, it’s totally easy to do if you leave the body fucking behind. It’s totally easy to do if your friends are on Facebook and you’re just jerking off to their pictures or something. But try doing that for real. It’s that physical and psychic stress that someone like R.U. Sirius or Stara or Jody Radzik put themselves through… that’s when you gotta start worrying about things like gender and psychogenic dystonia [LAUGHTER]… just the basic… hold your fucking self together, man! [LAUGHTER] You don’t have casualties of the same sort in the Facebook era. It’s a different thing.  It’s bloodless. There’s no pubic hair in that reality. (Laughter).


Randy Stickrod: You had the feeling that the people who were creating this were tapped into some source that was outside of the range of the rest of us ordinary mortals. I’m serious, man! It was the real thing… the real fountainhead. 


William Gibson: MONDO was arguably the representative underground magazine of its pre-Web day. It was completely outside what commercial magazines were assumed to be about, but there it was, beside the commercial magazines. I was glad it was there. And then, winding up on the cover of Time — what does that do? How alternative is something that makes the cover of Time?  Could MONDO even happen today? 


Robert Phoenix: Around 1992 or ’93, MONDO was so on fire.  They’d been on the cover of Time and had a major feature in Newsweek.  Heide Foley was the poster child for the cybergrrl.  She was it!  Everybody was sniffing around MONDO. MTV was at MONDO. Apple Computers basically wanted to advertise in MONDO for life! It was a really, really, really big moment.  I’ll never forget walking around the floor of Macworld with copies of MONDO to hand out. It was like I was passing out the Holy Communion. It was like, “oh my God, oh… MONDO! Thank you!”


Josh Ellis: When I interviewed Neil Gaiman, he said something to me I’ve never forgotten: “MONDO 2000 was the coolest thing in the world for six months.” And it’s true, although I do think it was a little longer than that.


Hakim Bey: I can’t help thinking that the world, not just MONDO 2000, came to an end in around 1997. And we didn’t know it. And we’re living in the ruins.

Oct 07 2012

Stealth Education: Google App Points The Way


Back when I was in my early teens, I read a book called Escape Velocity by Christopher Stasheff. It’s a prequel to his popular “Warlock Series.”   As much as I enjoyed the main series, it’s a little dull.  But there’s a section early in the book in which the main characters enter a bar and hear the bartender and a patron discussing physics.

What follows is a discussion of “Stealth Education” i.e. educating people without letting them know that they are being educated.  Stealth education is an informal education system, one which teaches by using a person’s interests and curiosity to lead them to greater knowledge and understanding, as opposed to the rigid classroom environment in which everyone is expected to learn the exact same things at the exact same pace, regardless of individual aptitude. Now, I’ve often discussed how with advancing technology, it’s inevitable that we will create educational systems that are individualized and customized to the person being taught. Much as with “Stealth Education”, people will learn without realizing that they are being guided and coaxed to a higher state of understanding on any given subject.

So, I woke up a few days ago, and on the Computer World site, I discover an article about Google’s “Field Trip” app. This app provides “contextual awareness” for your location by using the phones GPS, Google maps, and various other sources to help you be “more aware” of your surroundings. Depending on your focus, it can tell you what shops are nearby (ads), or what cultural spots might be near (did you know that anonymous building was a small museum?) or just “flavor text” (in 1889 so and so did this and that).  You can customize how often such “pop ups” occur as well.

“So what?”, you may ask. What does one have to do with another? The answer is in that “flavor text” that the Computer World article calls “quirky.” The author found it of limited appeal, and mentioned that it would improve as Google added other categories.

You see, what we have here is a “Stealth Education” app. Right now, it’s just a “novelty” whose real purpose is to promote targeted advertising sales to the stores in your area, who will pay to push an ad through to your phone as you walk by. That’s why the app is “free”. But that “flavor text” is being drawn from a variety of sources and can educate you on the historical facts of the area you’ve been walking thorough for years, either casually, or if your interest is peaked, provide far greater detail.

Now, imagine that same act taking place five years from now, with a HUD interface, enabling you to now  look at the same old bland street you have spent years walking down, but with a wealth of knowledge about it available for you to peruse as you desire; from historical notes to friends comments to comments left by tourists… you name it. A world that is interactive to a degree far beyond what we have today, and in which we are free to absorb knowledge to any degree we choose, in a manner that we enjoy, and can share. Hell, I’d even bet Zynga will make a game out of it.

Stealth Education. Trust me, that effort to remain deliberately ignorant just got a lot harder today.

Oct 05 2012

Your Friday MONDO – Pull Quotes (Nuggets) From High Frontiers #1 1984 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #32)


Here are some pull quotes from the first ever 1984 issue of High Frontiers — predecessor to MONDO 2000  — for you to chew over.

The taboo against the intelligent, purposeful use of psychedelics is beginning to lift.  R.U. Sirius


I believe that the human biocomputer occassionally wants a big… carnival blast. Precisely controlled excess is absolutely necessary for sanity.  Timothy Leary


(Discovering LSD) was serendipity. I was looking for something. I did not find what I was looking for. I found something else.  Albert Hofmann


That’s the basic message of my future machine; that we can travel throughout space and time. And it’s testable!   Jack Sarfatti


This is the chaos at the end of history  Terence McKenna


…why should plants produce chemicals that mimic the effects of substances made by the human brain?  Andrew Weil


Burroughs opens the doors to the craphouse, invites you in, and then leaves you there to clean up the mess.  Somerset Mau Mau


Through electronic circuitry and the building of a global information system, we are essentially exteriorizing our nervous system.  Terence McKenna


We wish we could say that we were thrilled by contributions from… Ferlinghetti, but apparently the Beat’s been going on a little bit too long.  Malcolm McCluhan and Marshall McClaren


A cornucopia of new substances with effects more specific, more sensual, more powerful, and more in-just-about-every-way than the old reliables has reshaped the psychedelic landscape.   Peter Stafford and Bruce Eisner


Perfect Nothing is unstable. It’s so unstable it has to do Something. So it BIFURCATES. It splits in two. It splits into ME and NOTME. Lorenzo Kristov


Flashbacks was censored. [It} involved information about the mysterious death of Mary Pinchot Meyer, J.F.K. consort, who tried to turn on the political power elite…   High Frontiers


Oct 02 2012

Austerity Doesn’t Augur A Bright Future: Some Unsolicited Advice For Libertarian Transhumanists


There are many different political views in the world of transhumanism.  If you look at the recent IEET poll,  which cast a very broad and accurate net by inviting participants from the virtual places where transhumanists gather, you will find that — when asked “what is your political position?” — the majority of transhumanists fall into categories that are usually defined as “progressive’ or ‘left.”  If you total up Liberal, Socialist and Marxist selections, you wind up at 54% (rounded off).  Libertarians come in at 27% (rounded off) — making that an approximately 2 – 1 ratio.  (The remainder describe themselves as moderates.)  Still, libertarianism and transhumanism are frequently paired in the minds of many of its critics and even some of its adherents.

Whatever your broad ideological views may be, it strikes this writer as bad PR for any advocates of a world beyond limits to line up with a contemporary conservative (libertarian or authoritarian) economic political trend that supports austerity programs as commanded by the state-supported economic banking and finance giants.  If nothing else, listen to the language.

Ideological abstractions — such as the idea that the perfect free market will bring about the greatest wealth — have their place.  But in on-the-ground reality, the program of austerity is experienced by poor and middle class people as an attack on their well being and, as such, it fosters anti-technological reaction.  People know — literally or intuitively — that their world is already being buffeted by technological acceleration.  Is it wise to pull the survival net from under them (us) during these fragile times?

Libertarians believe in reducing the size of government and keeping it out of people’s private lives.   There are massive government expenditures for corporate welfare — government and business “partnerships” have built massive “complexes” that we describe as military-industrial, prison-industrial, ad infinitum.  Crony capitalism is rampant throughout Europe and the US.  And governments have not been backing away, in the least, from interfering with people’s private lives and personal rights.  We’ve witnessed the build up of massive — and expensive — apparatuses of surveillance and repression. But the only influence libertarians have in the actual political world is as part of a conservative coalition that squeezes the “entitlements” that affect the poor and middle class. Notice how you only get the low hanging fruit.  Apparently, the rest of the libertarian ideological package isn’t particularly in the interests of those who actually wield power.

So here’s a suggestion.  I hope some flexible and strategic-minded libertarian transhumanists will try to reorient and refocus their political discourse and activism toward this notion: end corporate welfare first; end crony capitalism first; end the expensive and excessive national security complexes first; end the interventionism that leads to expensive wars first.  Leave the devolution of centralized programs that effect the most vulnerable for last.

Maybe by then, the technologies of abundance will be so advanced that no one will have to suffer austerity. And maybe you will have avoided an uprising of people “fighting the future.”

Just a thought.




Sep 30 2012

Shocking Shocker! Alex Jones & David Icke Are Illuminati Disinfo Agents!


I guess it all started about a year ago.  As part of my duties tracking conspiracy sites for my Illuminati Masters, I started noticing that Alex Jones was ranting more and more frequently against the transhumanists and singularitarians. 

Now, my job with Illuminati Central is fairly simply.  I track the conspiracy sites and warn the Illuminated Ones if anyone is getting to close to the truth as I understand it.

The illuminati’s plans — under constant revision — are conveyed to plebian members such as I every June at a week long Tantric DMT reorientation workshop held in Bavaria, soon after the Illuminated Ones return from that big Bilderberger shebang that they seem to enjoy so much.  Every year, it’s the same thing: they come bearing tales.  Once again, they were amazed at the size of Kissinger’s schlong.  Once again, they laughed so much they shat while bowling on acid with the frozen head of Dr. Leary.  Once again, Sandra Day O’Conner told that same damn story about eating cow balls, which they then insisted on repeating word for word for our “benefit.”  Blah blah blah.

Well, it’s all jolly until you have to ingest curare and lie in a casket for 24 hours.  “If a Bush can do it, anybody can!” they always tell us. They don’t mention that John Kerry died during his initiation.  They just assume we can’t tell.

Anyway, at some point, the Alex Jones rants started to bother me.  It wasn’t that it was at all close to the Secret Plans as I understood them.  Far from it.  But what if Jones was right? What if it was all true?  What if the Illuminati Masters weren’t really plotting to bring about a hedonic paradise on earth for all sentient beings, like that nice Dr. Benway promised me at that Virtual Reality party back in ‘91?  What if, in fact, they were simply brainwashing us now so we would march submissively to our deaths, all the while thinking that we were uploading our brains into a cool-ass pornographic adventure game?   I couldn’t stop wondering. It became an obsession. I wanted to know the truth.  I was willing, even, to risk the wrath of the Illuminated Ones to find out.

I sent message after message to my handler, begging her to pass it up the chain to the Perfect One — The Master Of All Masters — he who we dare not speak of but who some call Kurzweil 9.0.  It got so I was sending her 8, 9, even 10 notes a day — long notes disguised as official reports so that she would have to open them, speculating about the horrific possibilities that were tormenting my mind.

Then, one day, just as I was about to inject my daily dose of dep-Testosterone, my cell rang.  It was not the usual ringtone.  It was the Master Of All Masters ringing me up with the secret code:  “Oy ve! Oy ve!  Oy ve!  Oy ve! Oy….”  Excitedly, I pressed receive.  “This is Hipler,” I said, hoping that my voice would not betray too much fear.  “Hipler,” the jovial voice responded. “How the heck are ya?  This is Kurzweil Nine.  What’s the haps?”  “Did you get my notes about Alex Jones?” I managed to squeak out.  “Sure. Sure.  Read enough of them to get the gist.  Listen, Hipler, don’t worry about Jones.  Jones is one of ours.  Him and that creepy Icke fellah.  Icky Iche, I call ‘im.  He pouts so.  Say, you ever notice how a Brit will always overreact to an insult unless you also call ‘im a cunt?  Like if I say, ‘Icky Iche, ya cunt,’ then it’s all friendly jesting and ‘Hey, let’s head down to the pub and ‘ave a session.’”

I was starting to get impatient.  Why was The Master Of All Masters making with the small talk when I had serious matters to discuss?  As if he were reading my mind, Kurzweil Nine said, “Anyway, sorry for the small talk.  It gets lonely down here underneath the Denver Airport; no one to talk to but those creepy giant grey insects. Plus, the second you let your guard down and start really saying what you feel, they’re literally 11 inches up your ass.  I mean, human vulnerability really makes ‘em hot!

“Look. Here’s the scoop, Hipler.  Jones and Icke are Illuminati Disinformation  agents.  In fact, their function is so obvious I would have figured even you would figure it out, not to get insulting.  They make conspiracy theory look so absurd, so bizarre, so unattractive that no sane, talented investigative journalist will go anywhere near it.  I mean, you know the drill.  The Pentagon Papers.  The Church Committee after Watergate.   Iran-Contra.  LIBOR. All just the tip of the iceberg and, as you know, there were a few others that were never revealed  — legitimate conspiracies, some of them not even under our control!  I mean, who the hell knows what the Queen and that LaRouche asshole  are  up to?  And… is there something not quite right with that whole 9/11 thing?  How the hell would I know?… what with Jones and Icke riling up all those new age ditzes… no sane investigative journalist  wants to be associated with that.

You know, Hipler, sometimes our agents work a little bit too hard and it only causes problems.  In fact, why don’t you take a breather? Come visit me under Denver.  I could use some company.  Oh, by the way, that’s an order. And bring Vaseline.