153 - Burning Man VR x IRL with Caveat Magister, Naomi Most, and Raven Mitch Mignano
This week we bring together Burning Man’s resident philosopher Caveat Magister (the author of The Scene That Became Cities, from Penguin Random House) together with anarchist community organizer Naomi Most of Noisebridge and Playa trickster historian Mitch Mignano for a conversation about the festival’s uneasy but remarkable transition into virtuality —and how holdouts worldwide persisted in “IRL” celebrations that preserved the face-to-face community and presence Burning Man cannot yet replicate online.This discussion was a total treat, and covered everything from complex systems and the evolution of the city to the new and strange ontologies emerging in the blue light of our screen-bound era.•Was Burning Man always just a physicalized version of the World Wide Web?Or is its power and uniqueness in precisely how it ISN’T?•Is Burning Man a kind of virtual reality already, or —like VR —just a not-entirely-successful effort to screen out the world that creates it?•What is the value of culture for culture’s sake, and why should we protect the efforts for it?•Is Black Rock City pointless, or is it an engine for teaching Applied Existentialism…or both, and more?•What happened at the in-person Burning Man(s) this year, when people still decided they would gather during a pandemic?This episode is dedicated to the memory of James Oroc.Writing and videos we mention in this episode:*** The Case of the Missing Man by Caveat Magister (Read the whole series!) ***Sand Talk by Tyson YunkaportaThe Garden of Forking Memes by Aaron Z. LewisWilliam Irwin Thompson in 1975 x Burning Man 2013 Through Google Glass [video]Transformational Festivals are a Symptom of Dissociation by MGGiving Into Astonishment: Scenes from Burning Man’s American Dream by MGIf you believe in the value of this show and want to see it thrive, please send your friends to this page and encourage them to support Future Fossils on Patreon. Patrons gain access to over twenty secret episodes, unreleased music, our book club, and whatever else spills out of my overactive imagination. We’d love to have you in our thriving little Discord server, if you’re interested in meeting other members of our awesome scene. And if you’re up for helping edit Future Fossils Podcast transcripts, you’re my hero! Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.Intro music in this episode is “Valles Marineris” from my Martian Arts EP. Outro music is an early mix of “You Don’t Have To Move,” from my forthcoming/in-progress album The Age of Reunion.Dig deeper into these related Future Fossils episodes:25 –DADARA on Art, Virtual Realities, and Flow States31 –Mitch Altman of Noisebridge on Hacking Life for Fun & Profit41 – Hannah Faith Yata on Art, Wilderness, and Rebellion55 – “Creativity and Catastrophe” at Palenque Norte, Burning Man 201761 –Jamaica Stevens on Crisis, Rebirth, and Transformation71 –JF Martel on Sequels & Simulacra76 –“Technology as Psychedelic Parenting” at Palenque Norte, Burning Man 201796 –Malena Grosz on Community-Led Party Culture vs. Corporate “Nightlife”100 –The Teafaerie on DMT, Transhumanism, and What To Do With All of God’s AttentionEnjoy and thanks for listening!
152 - Weird Artist Medicine Storytelling Hour with Colin Frangicetto
“I know now that the rules of reality change by zip code.”In a conversation recorded nearly a year ago on September 27, 2019 (and now hilariously strange in light of months of pandemic quarantine), I speak with the ultra-talented, delightful, immediately relatable and immensely likable Colin Frangicetto —guitarist for the excellent band Circa Survive and solo project Psychic Babble, painter, writer, and podcaster —about what we’ve learned from our high-dose psychedelic experiences, from our extended and potentially crazy periods of constant synchronicity, and from traveling the world playing music and making art.This episode is a dual-show crossover in which we interview each other, and which also appears on Colin’s wonderful podcast, The Cosmic Nod. Pop over there if you want to read all the nice things he said about me in his show notes. I agree with him that on this call you hear our friendship being born...Be sure to follow Colin’s Instagram & Twitter accounts, and support him on Patreon, and support Circa Survive on Patreon.And of course, please consider supporting Future Fossils and all of the other creative work I do (which is A LOT) on Patreon also. With three jobs and a kid, it’s a miracle this show still exists, entirely by the graces of listeners like (and deliciously unlike) you.It’s even more of a miracle that we have such an excellent community flourishing around it…here’s an invite to our Discord server, if you’d like to be a part of that.SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! Colin and I are going to be speaking together at this weekend’s Psilocybin Summit —along with folks like Paul Stamets, Shane Mauss, Dennis McKenna, Bett Williams, Bia Labate, Simon Yugler, and about 50 other amazing brilliant people. Go here to grab your tickets and I’ll get a tiny slice of the pie.Also, the entire back catalog of Future Fossils will soon have searchable transcriptions courtesy of podscribe.ai. If you’re a podcaster, I cannot recommend or even imagine a better service for your transcripts. Go tell Pete Birsinger I sent you and make your life a little easier.TOPICS COLIN AND I DISCUSS IN THIS EPISODE:His recent maiden voyage with ayahuasca and his integration at home.The indoor trip versus the outdoor trip and life at home versus life on the road, and the experience of time on tour versus at home.How life in the early 21st Century is like The Book of Exodus and the nonlinear path of the Wandering Jew, faith-tested in the wilderness.What relatively rare artist-and-musicians have in common…and why “everybody hates Bo Jackson.”What it means to be an obligate social organism, totally dependent on society, trending evolutionarily in the direction of both gods and babies, and what that means for finding ourselves in collaboration, generally.The post-career world, and in what ways we have to be a different state of matter than our parents’ generation.When magic becomes commonplace and matter-of-fact.Psychedelics and time: telepathy, or precognition?Transcendental cephalopods: WHY IS THAT A THING?Time loops and Chapel Perilous synchroncity vortices.Taking (or not taking) ayahuasca literally.How to learn how to love yourself.Big Mind Process and Internal Family Systems.Why is the self plural, in the first place?How to deal with the weird and sometimes scary things you accidentally create, responsibly.Cancer treatment vs. crime and punishment.Relationships as covenants between complementary strengths and weaknesses in partner organisms that do not share the same worldspace, and how that results in hilarious disagreements about UFOs.Breaking the tentacles of co-dependency with psychedelic solo work.Multiple-timescale creative project bouquets.Aaaand snapping turtles.LIST OF AMAZING (AND AMAZINGLY WHITE) PEOPLE WE MENTION:The Ungoogleable MichaelangeloSean-Paul Von AnckenShane MaussErik DavisPapadosioWilliam Irwin ThompsonDuncan TrussellErick GodseyMichael PhillipCory AllenJohn KaagRobin ArnottTopher SipesWeird Studies PodcastMark PesceMitch Mignano
151 - Artist Jon Marro on Living a Life of Creative Service
For episode 151 we welcome Jon Marro, one of the purest creative souls I’ve ever had the luck to encounter.Jon hit me up a couple months ago to participate in a documentary film he’s producing, interviewing artists about their creative visions, and our first conversation for his interview series was so solid and heartfelt I had to swap interviewer seats with him and have him on the show.In this episode we discuss his understanding of his role in life, his relationship to time and identity and purpose, his commitment to the Great Work and service of the creative life, and where he thinks we are in the Big Picture amidst all the chaos and possibility of 02020.Check out his awesome website and art portfolio at JonMarro.com.Music in this episode is from my new EP of solo fingerstyle guitar tunes, Mudras, which you can find on Bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play right here: smarturl.it/mudrasIf you believe in the value of this show and want to see it thrive, send your friends to this page and encourage them to support Future Fossils on Patreon. Patrons gain access to over twenty secret episodes, unreleased music, our book club, and whatever else spills out of my overactive imagination.Another way to help: I would love your assistance editing transcripts for new Future Fossils episodes! Please drop me a line at email@example.com if you’d like to help with this or want to suggest any other kind of offering for the show, time or money or whatever else.And to go deeper, check out the other work I’m doing for the two non-profits that I work for:For mind-expanding science conversations, dig into my other podcast for The Santa Fe Institute, Complexity, at complexity.simplecast.com.For mind-expanding news about deep time and our wild world, check out my new contributions to The Long Now Foundation blog at blog.longnow.org.Enjoy and thanks for listening!
150 - A Unifying Meta-Theory of UFOs & The Weird with Sean Esbjörn-Hargens
For Episode 150 we welcome back Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, one of the most formidable and daring intellects I know, and the author of a new paper integrating over 650 books on UFOs and the paranormal, from over 150 disciplines, to trace the outline of a unifying meta-theory of the weird. In this episode, we discuss how Sean reconciles ten different hypotheses for the UFO phenomenon with his “mutual enactment hypothesis,” an updated ontology based on reconstructive post-modernism and Indigenous ways of knowing. I tell the story of the most powerful and transformative experiences of my life, as a case study in high weirdness. We talk about the distinctions between the real, the Real, the hypo-real, and the hyper-real, and offer examples from film, literature, and comparative religion.Do you have incredulous friends? Show them the extraordinary website Sean made with Tom Curren, WhatsUpWithUFOs.comRead Sean’s paper, “Our Wild Kosmos!: An Exo Studies Exploration of the Ontological Status of Non-Human Intelligences”Read its precursor, “An Ontology of Climate Change: Integral Pluralism and the Enactment of Multiple Objects”Read Sean’s latest newsletter on recent UFO disclosuresLearn more about and enroll in Sean’s course on Exo StudiesIf you believe in the value of this show and want to see it thrive, support Future Fossils on Patreon. Patrons gain access to over twenty secret episodes, unreleased music, our book club, and whatever else spills out of my overactive imagination.Dig deeper with the Future Fossils episodes we reference in this conversation, including:37 - Michaelangelo aka Void Denizen (Excavating the Future with "Paisley-ontology")60 - Sean Esbjörn-Hargens Goes Meta on Everything: Integral Ecology & Impact71 - JF Martel (On Sequels & Simulacra, Blade Runner 2049 & Stranger Things 2)91 - An Oral History of The End of "Reality"99 - Erik Davis on How to Navigate High Weirdness113 - Sean Esbjörn-Hargens on Exostudies: Philosophical Explorations of the UFO Phenomenon117 - Eric Wargo on Time Loops: Precognition, Retrocausation, and the Unconscious126 - Phil Ford & JF Martel on Weird Studies & Plural Realities132 - Erik Davis on Perturbations in the Reality Field149 - Cultural Somatics & Ritual as Justice with Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, and Naomi MostAnd stay tuned for my three-part conversation with Stuart Davis about (most of) my UFO experiences on his awesome Aliens & Artists Podcast!Music in this episode:“Delta Pavonis” by Michael Garfield“Olympus Mons” by Michael Garfield“Your Heart Comes Back Online” by Michael Garfield“Out There” by Skytree
149 - Cultural Somatics & Ritual as Justice with Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, and Naomi Most
“Arevolutionwithoutdancingis not arevolution worthhaving.Ifthere won't bedancingat therevolution, I'm not coming.”–Emma GoldmanStrap in for what might be the best Future Fossils episode yet: a four-way with guests Tada Hozumi and Dare Sohei of the Ritual as Justice School and guest co-host Naomi Most, in which we discuss how trauma manifests in posture and social interactions, how cultures are bodies we participate in, how the individual does not exist as we were taught, how interpersonal and sociopolitical dynamics shape and are shaped by their histories, how creative practice and ritual serve to regulate inherited wounds and ameliorate unresolved conflicts, and so much more I can’t even bother to get into it here. A truly profound, far-reaching, incompressible conversation you might want to queue up twice to be sure that you catch it all…“We’re bringing our families with us whenever we walk into a situation and to think that we’re individuals is missing the point.”–Dare SoheiRitual as Justice School: ritualasjustice.schoolTada Hozumi: selfishactivist.comDare Sohei: bodyaltar.orgNaomi Most: twitter.com/nthmost + medium.com/@nthmostIf you believe in the value of this show and want to see it thrive, support Future Fossils on Patreon for over nearly twenty secret episodes, our book club, and much more.Theme Music:“God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)Episode Cover Art:“Going Home” by Michael Garfield (dedicated to Sara la Kali, the Black Madonna)Read Tada Hozumi’s essay, “A Funk Lesson: If life is a dance, violence is a choreography, but so is justice”Read Tada Hozumi’s essay, “The Cultural Somatic Paradox”
148 - Sahana Chattopadhyay on Community, Leadership, and Befriending Uncertainty
This week we sit for a soulful chat with speaker, writer, and organizational development expert Sahana Chattopadhyay of Mumbai to discuss her essays “The Power of Communities in Uncertain Times” (Part 1, Part 2) and “Befriending Uncertainty in a Post-COVID World.”Follow Sahana on Twitter & LinkedIn.If you believe in the value of this show and want to see it thrive, support Future Fossils on Patreon for over nearly twenty secret episodes, our book club calls and recordings, and much more.Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)
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.