147 - How to Live in The Future (Parts 1 - 4)
This week is something different: author-read audio of the first four essays from my ongoing book-in-progress, How to Live in The Future.These essays are the first in my feature-length interrogation of the insufficient ways we think about the future…a poetic exploration of the fruitful interface between psychedelic mysticism, evolutionary theory, and critical futurism.For more along these lines, check out Future Fossils Episode 129 for the Boom Festival 2016 talk that started it all…You can read these pieces —rich with explanatory hyperlinks and graphics —at the links below:Part 1: The Future is A PlacePart 2: The Future is More of EverythingPart 3: The Future is Both True and FalsePart 4: The Future is Exapted/RemixedMusical interludes from my 2017 live album, Pavo: Music for Mystery, recorded live on tour across Australia.Episode cover art by Collin Elder, whose paintings feel to me like the fine art approximation of what I am trying to communicate in words. Follow him on Instagram.Support this show on Patreon for over a dozen secret episodes, the Future Fossils book club, and weekly community calls, and much more.Later essays in this series, which I’ll likely read in a fall episode:Part 6: The Future is DisgustingPart 7: The Future Acts Like YouPart 8: The Future is Indistinguishable from MagicAlthough I’d rather you shop elsewhere, you can grab the books we talk about on Future Fossils at Amazon and they’ll chip me a piece of the proceedings at no cost to you.
146 - Raising Earth Consciousness with Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, Gay Dillingham, Valerie Plame Wilson, Allan Badiner, and Michael Garfield at Synergia Ranch, April 2016
Where do I even start explaining this week's episode? Probably with a vignette: someone came up to me after I was on this all-star panel discussion featuring five living legends — psychedelic researchers Ralph Metzner and Dennis McKenna, author Allan Badiner, film-maker Gay Dillingham, and former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson —and asked me who I was and what I was doing there. I was the youngest person on stage by twenty years, and had done nothing with my life yet that put me in the same weight class as any of them. And yet there I was to offer my synthetic insights and play music to a packed house in a geodesic dome on an utterly magical evening. We had an intense discussion about nuclear disarmament, ecological destruction, and psychedelic medicines hosted by my then-new friends at Synergia Ranch. Rick Doblin of MAPS and Johnny Dolphin of Biosphere 2 fame got up on stage that night as well (although not for this panel). It was a night I'd dreamt about weeks in advance with uncanny accuracy, and was the catalyzing moment that ultimately led to my moving to Santa Fe in 2018. I'm deeply grateful to Synergetic Press for hosting the event, inviting me to join this panel, and letting me share this recording as a podcast episode.Read all about this awesome April 2016 symposium and salon here:https://www.synergeticpress.com/raising-earth-consciousness-at-the-synergetic-symposium-and-salon/So much has changed since then and honestly, it isn't the most timely episode to publish at this moment, but I'm working hard to get some awesome people on the show soon who can speak to what we're living through in history right now.I would have more to say about this, but it's been a very busy week. If you'd like more new listening material, I strongly recommend checking out the recent conversation that I had with physicist Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute about how the science of cities undercuts the economic myth of endless open growth and forces us to seriously study other paths to a sustainable planetary culture.Please take a moment to leave a glowing review of Future Fossils at Apple Podcasts.If you would like to link up with other amazing Future Fossils listeners, please email me and I'll invite you to our Discord server.Support this show on Patreonfor over a dozen secret episodes, the Future Fossils Book Club (next up: Lilith's Brood by Octavia Butler!), and muuuuuch more.Theme Music:“God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield).Additional Intro Music: "Lambent" by Michael Garfield.Thank you for listening!
145 - Weaving A New Prehistory to Rewild The Future - Michael Garfield at Earth Frequency Festival 2017
"We are living through a health crisis, an economic crisis, a racial crisis, and a democratic crisis. Each would be historic on their own. All of them are connected. That they have struck together in this way just might be what compels our transformation."–Anand GiridharadasThis week’s episode is over three years in the making: my talk from Earth Frequency Festival 2017, about a revised narrative of prehistory from which we can grow new myths better suited for our times. I almost didn’t post this episode at all, even after nearly two full days of editing, because it felt tone deaf to zoom out so far and discuss topics like mass extinctions, the evolution of plant-pollinator symbiosis, my critiques of transhumanism and SpaceX, and how fish and clams represent complementary strategies for dealing with turbulent environments.But this feature-length rant erupted from me at a time that rhymes intensely with our current moment: I was scheduled to present on futurism immediately following a heart-wrenching and visceral presentation on the (then ongoing) Standing Rock protests, and it felt right then as it does now to wield what I know in service of new stories that better serve the work of social justice. After all, it is only the alienated and colonized mind that sees climate change, racism, economic inequality, and ecological devastation as separate issues.No: if we are to truly embrace our interbeing with the biosphere (and we must), then we cannot exclude other human beings —or even nonhuman sentient beings —from our maps and models of the nondual truth of who we are.One more disclaimer: This is the last unpublished talk I gave before I started work at the Santa Fe Institute, where my poetic intuitions and armchair science scholarship have been challenged to rise to far greater rigor and discernment.I regard this two-hour screed as both one of my most inspired riffs, the closest that I ever got to a Terence McKenna sermon…but it’s also full of embryonic, raw ideas that have evolved A LOT since this recording happened.I share it with you not as a completed document but as a snapshot of a story in the weaving, and I hope you hear it as the work in progress that it was and is.Thank you and I hope you’ll take a moment to read the supplementary materials below, and support the crucial social justice orgs helping protect the lives and freedom of your neighbors here on Earth, in this especially intense and pivotal moment.For the next few weeks I am donating 100% of the sales of my original paintings and inventory of canvas prints to ACLU and Unicorn Riot. If you would like to put your money to a good cause and get some cool art for doing so, please visit https://instagram.com/michaelgarfield for details.Support this show on Patreon for over a dozen secret episodes, the Future Fossils book club, and weekly community calls, and much more. Or, better, read and share the resources below.Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield).My embarrassingly white and male list of mentions from this talk:Bruce Damer, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ernst Haeckel, Proteus (documentary), Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, Diane Musho Hamilton, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Kary Mullis, Francis Crick, The Bardo Thodol (book), Ram Dass, Neem Karoli Baba, Biosphere 2, William Irwin Thompson, Marshall McLuhan, Alvin Toffler, Marie Toffler, Stewart Brand, Wall-E (film), Gregory Bateson, John Muir, Richard Doyle, Darwin’s Pharmacy (book), Thomas Henry Huxley, Gideon Mantell, Colin Elder, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter, The Light of Other Days (book), Albert Einstein, John C. Wright, Timothy Leary, Elon MuskShare these resources:–––> Ally Tools <–––http://www.ally.tools“Whether or not you think you hold them, stereotypes shape the lives of everyone on Earth. As human beings, we lack the ability to judge each situation as unique and different…and how we group novel experiences by our past conditioning, as helpful as it often is, creates extraordinary complications in society. As modern life exposes us to an increasing number of encounters with the other in which we do not have time to form accurate models of someoneor some place’s true identity, we find ourselves in a downward spiral of self-reinforcing biases —transforming how we practice law enforcement, justice, and life online. Our polarized, irrational world calls for an intense look at what it will take to humanize each other— at traffic stops, in court, on social media, and anywhere our doubt about an unfamiliar face can lead to tragic consequences.”https://complexity.simplecast.com/episodes/7Complex systems science resources on algorithmic justice, moral economics, nonviolent policing, healing slums, countering hate on social media, and more:https://santafe.edu/news-center/news/sfis-statement-support-victims-injustice“One can’t claim to be an ally if one’s agenda is to prevent his or her own future dystopias through actions that also preserve today’s Indigenous dystopias. Indigenous environmental movements work to reject the ancestral dystopias and colonial fantasies of the present. This is why so many of our environmental movements are about stopping sexual and state violence against Indigenous people, reclaiming ethical self-determination across diverse urban and rural ecosystems, empowering gender justice and gender fluidity, transforming lawmaking to be consensual, healing intergenerational traumas, and calling out all practices that erase Indigenous histories, cultures, and experiences.”https://www.yesmagazine.org/issue/decolonize/2018/04/03/white-allies-lets-be-honest-about-decolonization/“Racial and economic inequities need to be tackled as this country seeks to recalibrate its economic and social compass in the weeks and months to come. Racism, in short, makes it impossible to live sustainably. Here’s what three prominent environmental defenders had to say in interviews this week about how the climate movement can be anti-racist.”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/climate/black-environmentalists-talk-about-climate-and-anti-racism.htmlThank you for listening. Reach out any time.
144 - On Dinosaurs & Holy Wars: Creationist Amusement Parks & America's Strange Relationship with Science, with Monica Long Ross & Clayton Brown
This week I talk with film-makers Monica Long Ross and Clayton Brown about their bizarre and wonderful documentary, We Believe in Dinosaurs —and how a creationist amusement park in Kentucky provides a lens through which to examine the tense relationship between science, religion, and business in America. This is a conversation about what happens when premodern, modern, and postmodern worldviews duke it out on a landscape of rapid change for which none of them are sufficient. It’s about the surreal Young Earth dinosaur museums of Late Capitalism, but more, it is about our trust (or lack of trust) and where we put it when we lose the plot.Support this show on Patreon for over a dozen secret episodes, the Future Fossils book club and Discord server, weekly community calls, and much more.Grab the books we talk about on Future Fossils and Amazon will chip me a little of the proceeds, at no cost to you.Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)Additional Intro Music: “Lambent” by Michael GarfieldTopics:How an Australian fundamentalist extremist ended up building a $200M “replica” of Noah’s Ark as a theme park in rural Kentucky.How Young Earth creationists can doubt geology but trust high-energy physics: their distinction between experimental versus observational science.The role of Big Money and economic development in the entire history of dinosaur science, and the use of dinosaurs as rhetorical tools (or “missionary lizards”).What’s really behind the culture wars between science and religion…and how it is that fundamentalists can come to believe they’re practicing better science than the scientists.The fractal weirdness of culture wars between different sects of American Christianity about matters of scientific investigation.Amusement parks and museums as architectural arguments for particular worldviews.Why so many people distrust science, and why people seek out preposterous but easy-to-understand narratives when history moves too fast for comfort.What it looks like when 21st Century global industry meets 1st Century religious zealotry: giant warehouses full of masterfully produced educational media for Bible propaganda.Why our origin story and Earth history will probably always be an issue of contention and an area where people will distrust scientists.How faith and hope appears in the science of the abstract and its practitioners: both legitimate high energy physics, and illegitimate cold fusion.Religious privilege versus religious freedom (and how trying to teach Genesis in high school biology is not about religious freedom, but power).Entering a recombinant flux of personal worldviews, thanks to the Web, in which all possible religions exist.What is the tipping point where an abstract risk becomes tangible enough for all of us to agree on its existence, much less a strategy for adaptation?Mentions:Bill Nye, Ken Ham, Mirta Galesic, Henrik Olsson, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, Isaac Newton, Aristophanes, Charles Darwin, Steve Brusatte, David B. Kinney, Santa Fe Institute, Large Hadron Collider, The Ark Encounter, The Smithsonian Institute, University of Kansas Natural History Museum
143 - Sanjay Rawal on Endurance Running as an Integral Yoga
This week I talk to documentary film-maker Sanjay Rawal about his profound and inspiring movie, 3100: Run and Become — which explores the spiritual practice of long-distance running around the world, from the American Southwest, to the Kalahari Desert, to a remote mountain monastery in Japan.We discuss how Sri Chinmoy (a student of Sri Aurobindo, the founder of integral yoga), started the 3100 mile race in New York, and what it has become; how to be a documentary film-maker without engaging in cultural appropriation; endurance running as an integral yoga and an act of spiritual service; exertion as its own reward; and how ultradistance running and other endurance sports close the gender gap. This was literally a moving conversation for me —after talking with Sanjay, I put on my shoes and went for a run.I hope it does the same for you.Learn more and watch the movie at https://3100film.com.Support this show on Patreon for over a dozen secret episodes, the Future Fossils book club, and weekly community calls, and much more.Grab the books we talk about on Future Fossils and Amazon will chip me a little of the proceeds, at no cost to you.Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)Additional Intro Music: “Lambent” by Michael Garfield
142 - Alex Shakar on Stories from The World After
This week I get to talk to one of my favorite fiction authors, Alex Shakar, about the profound darkbright bizarritude he channels through his two visionary satirical novels The Savage Girl and Luminarium — two works that show the möbius strip of sacred and profane, futurity and timelessness. We bounce off a long list of paradoxical domains, including saving the world with consumerism, metamodernism, ironic religion, virtuality, neurotheology, trauma and radical meaninglessness, the military entertainment complex, hikikomori, and zen comedy…Alex Shakar’s Website.Support this show on Patreon for secret episodes, the Future Fossils book club, and more awesome stuff than you probably have time for.Grab the books we talk about (and others Alex recommends) and Amazon will chip me a little of the proceeds, at no cost to you.Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)
141 - Nora Bateson on Warm Data vs. The Cold Equations
“The way we discuss what needs to be done nowwill shape what it is possible to do. This is not a moment to fix a machine, this is a moment to compose new cultures.”This week’s guest is Nora Bateson, Director of the International Bateson Institute, author, film-maker, and founder of the Warm Data Lab. Nora is a magician when it comes to getting people to live the relational and dynamic, the embodied and incompressible.If you’re a podcast enthusiast you’ve probably already bolted a bracing dose of her warm wisdom on shows like Team Human and Future Thinkers, but of course we live in unique and unprecedented times, so I’m honored that we got to sit down for a US-Sweden Zoom call and talk about how current world events touch down in the messy and beautiful everyday.Notes:Bateson Institute WebsiteNora’s Essay, “Eating Sand”MarketPlace reading group for the CORE Econ TextbookSupport this show on Patreon for secret episodes, the Future Fossils book club, and more awesome stuff than you probably have time for.Grab the books we talk about on Future Fossils and Amazon will chip me a little of the proceeds, at no cost to you.Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)Additional Intro Music: “Lambent” by Michael Garfield