FUTURE FOSSILS

5/19/2020

144 - On Dinosaurs & Holy Wars: Creationist Amusement Parks & America's Strange Relationship with Science, with Monica Long Ross & Clayton Brown

Ep. 144
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
3/28/2020

140 - Pandemic Perspectives with Erik Davis, Tony Blake, and Mitch Mignano

Ep. 140
We’re extra lucky to have not one but three amazing guests this week: culture critic and religious scholar Erik Davis, philosopher and author Tony Blake, and trickster historian Mitch Mignano.We planned to have a completely different conversation but due to the overbearing reality of the COVID19 crisis it ended up being a deep dive into the mythic and mystical dimensions of our moment —including nonhuman agency, the virus as teacher, Pan and panic and pandemics, solutionism isn’t the solution, the danger of efficiency logic, and a media diet for meditation on the darkness of nature.We talk Marshall McLuhan, G.I. Gurdjieff, Tanya Harrison, J.G. Bennett, Weird Studies, Acyuta-bhava Dasa, Santa Fe Institute, and a whole lot else. I would ordinarily make more of an effort to provide an exhaustive list of the books, people, and other resources mentioned in this episode, but there are so many —and I am so eager to make this conversation available while it’s still fresh and gooey. Besides, last week’s show notes were heroic in scope.Feel free to tweet at me (@michaelgarfield) if you want more info to help you follow up on anything.For more Erik Davis, check out episodes 99 & 132. For more Mitch Mignano, check out episodes 57 & 98.Erik’s latest book High Weirdness is now available as an author-read audiobook.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 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
3/16/2020

139 - On Coronavirus, Complex Adaptive Systems, & Creative Opportunity

Ep. 139
This week I take a pause on interviews to share my thoughts on the Coronavirus pandemic from the perspective of complex systems and network collapse—and talk about the possible silver lining we might find in a time of crisis and enforced social isolation. I hope it helps! Feel free to email me with your thoughts, questions, feedback.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 I mention on Future Fossils at my Amazon Shop and I get a small-but-helpful kickback from the retail leviathan.Intro Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield) •Here are all of the other podcasts and reading I mentioned in this episode, followed by some useful info about the COVID19 pandemic specifically:David Weinberger on Future Fossils about how we’ve always relied on black box explanationsW. Brian Arthur on on Complexity Podcast about the economy as a complex adaptive systemDr. Mike Ryan of the WHO on decision-making under conditions of uncertaintyJamie Stantonian on the disruptive impact caused by the Gutenberg printing press“An Oral History of The End of ‘Reality’”, my sci-fi short about the philosophical challenges wrought by technological changeSamo Burja on how crisis requires a more fluid social response than institutional expertise“I did ‘The Mindscape’ thing, which was basically me sitting there in a chair, with an enormously long cigarette, sort of talking in real East-Midlands monotone – so no change there – but the essential thing about culture turning to steam, the fact that everything was speeding up so much that we seem to be heading for, what I refer to as a ‘phase transition period’, which is where one state suddenly and chaotically changes from one state to another state; like the boiling point of water.I said that I felt that we were approaching a kind of cultural boiling point, but as you know with the emergence of the cloud – I mean back then it did perhaps sound a bit extreme and a bit weird and the sort of thing that you might expect an Occultist, who clearly does a lot of drugs to say. But I think that events since then have made it look a lot more conservative as a guess at the future.”– Alan MooreWatch The Mindscape of Alan Moore on Archive.org or YoutubeHunter Maats on Future Fossils about the challenges of education and knowledge infrastructure in the Information AgeDouglas Rushkoff on Future Fossils about “present shock” and new modes of social organization for adapting to technological changeRaissa D’Souza on the collapse of complex networksMe at the Australian Psychedelic Society (Melbourne) on “May you live in interesting times”Nicole Creanza on the interplay of cultural and biological evolutionBruce Damer on Future Fossils about his origins of life researchWashington Post on Isaac Newton’s “Year of Wonders”Charles Eisenstein’s superb big-picture book, The Ascent of HumanityDr. Richard Hobday on the value of sunlight in fighting viruses and maintaining good health12 Museums Offering Virtual Tours, courtesy of Travel & Leisure•Useful info pages about the pandemic:Sam Scarpino, complex systems scientist, on solid mental and physical health advice for dealing with COVID19Worldometers real-time tracking of the pandemicARCGIS real-time tracking of the pandemic on a global mapTimeline of pandemics and their relative severityFast Company on how to lead in times of crisisThe Cut on how not to go stir crazy (mostly good exercise advice)
3/2/2020

138 - Tanya Harrison on Space Exploration 50 Years After Apollo

Ep. 138
This week’s guest is Tanya Harrison, a Mars geologist, author, and infectious banner-waving space enthusiast. We talk about For All Humankind, her new book with Danny Bednar on the legacy of the Apollo missionsm, as both a planetwide accomplishment and also a high bar against which we have since not seemed to measure up...as well as:What it’s like to drive a mars rover and extend yourself technologically through space.What will have to change for us to attune to the plural temporalities of life on multiple worlds.How the tone of science fiction and space fantasy has changed over the course of our lives, for better or worse.The cultural differences between national space programs and commercial “jobs in space” exploration.The tragedy of how light pollution cuts us off from crucial perspective and our tangible belongingness in the starry cosmos.Using space-based imagining to understand our own planet as the unique and wonderful place it is.Tanya's Website & Twitter.Tanya Works for Planet Labs.Here’s another great (short) conversation with her about Martian geology.Grab the books we mention in this episode and I get a tiny kickback.Support this show on Patreon for secret episodes, the Future Fossils book club, and more awesome stuff than you probably have time for.People Mentioned:Jessa Gamble, Barry Vacker, Divya Persaud, Stewart Brand, Carl Sagan, Sara Imari Walker, Rusty Schweickert, Biosphere IIMedia Mentioned:For All Humankind, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, Ad Astra, The ExpanseTheme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield) Additional Intro Music: “Lambent” by Michael Garfield
2/15/2020

137 - Rolf Potts on Twenty-Five Years of World Travel

Ep. 137
Rolf Potts is one of the world’s most notable travel writers, author of five books on his adventures, pioneer “digital nomad” before that was even a thing, a totally inspiring person who has carved his own path through life and now helps others do the same through writing workshops and his excellent podcast, Deviate. (Worth noting that as of the time of this episode’s publication, his latest podcast episode is about dinosaurs!) For me personally, Rolf’s one of the most influential writers I’ve ever read, for his book, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, a slim but profound volume that utterly changed my life forever.In this episode we look back on Rolf’s twenty-five years of world travel and travel writing, and how the digital transformations of the 21st Century have changed the way we move around on and experience this planet.We talk #vanlife, citizen diplomacy, psychogeography, the Instagram effect, getting lost with Google Maps, writing as a way of paying attention, and seeing your own home with fresh eyes. It’s a powerful discussion that ignited in me that old call to journey past the far horizon —which, it’s key to note, can also mean the inner boundaries of normalcy we raise around our lives, an invitation to encounter the familiar anew…Rolf’s Website, Writing, & Podcast:https://rolfpotts.comGrab the books we mention in this episode:https://amazon.com/shop/michaelgarfieldSupport this show on Patreon for secret episodes, the Future Fossils book club, and more awesome stuff than you probably have time for:https://patreon.com/michaelgarfieldMentioned:Marco Polo Didn’t Go There by Rolf Potts, Storming The Beach, Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, Kevin Kelly, Google Maps, Lonely Planet Guide to Thailand’s Islands & Beaches, The Beach by Alex Garland, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jim Benning, World Hum, Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff, Burning Man, Matt Kepnes, The Glass Cage by Nicholas Carr, Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey, The Pessimists Archive, The Tao Te Ching translated by Brian Browne Walker, Ari Shaffir, Livinia SpaldingRelated Reading:“Giving Into Astonishment: Scenes from Burning Man’s American Dream" by Michael Garfield (2008)Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)https://skytree.bandcamp.com/track/god-detector-ft-michael-garfieldAdditional Intro Music: “Lambent” by Michael Garfieldhttps://michaelgarfield.bandcamp.com/album/little-bird-the-eschaton
2/2/2020

136 - Alyssa Gursky on Psychedelic Art Therapy & The Future of Communication

Ep. 136
A bit about this week’s amazing guest in her own words:“I’m finishing up myMasters in Transpersonal Art Therapy at Naropa University.I've been studying Transpersonal Psychology for 6 years now. My focus has always been the theoretical and practical orientation to psychedelic assisted psychotherapy. I was raised by dead heads and frequent cannabis users, who simultaneously maintained deep professionalism and family values. So, drug culture was really inherent in my development.I have so much to say aboutPsychedelic Art Therapy.I've worked on theMAPS MDMA PTSDstudy as anight attendantfor 4 years now. I work both in Boulder and in Fort Collins on this. I'm a trained Ketamine therapist (trained by three different institutions over the last year) and have done tons of above ground ketamine and cannabis work myself. While undergoing somatic psychedelic therapy (using ketamine, mostly), I made art throughout the whole process.I'm afreelance training coordinator. I've coordinated a training for theKetamine Training Center,headed by Dr.Phil Wolfson, in addition to my role asEducation Outreach CoordinatorforInnate Path.I had the gift of being a resident workshop facilitator this summer at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. I ran workshops on astrology, non ordinary states, and art therapy, In addition to recycled art jewelry making (with recycled scraps from Meow Wolf Denver and Vegas), AND, couples art therapy workshops.Basically, I like to consider myself a servant to the progression of psychedelic medicines. I'm an artist, an art therapist, an integration specialist, a community organizer, and a thought leader.”Alyssa’s InstagramInnate Path’s WebsiteMy 2018 conversation with Saj Razvi of Innate Path on Psychedelic PsychotherapyMy playlist of music that made it into the MAPS MDMA clinical trialsFuture Fossils Podcast is entirely listener-supported. Support the show on Patreon for more inspiring extras than you probably have time for.•Mentioned in this episode:Rick Doblin,Marcela Otolora, Sarah Gail, MAPS (Multidisciplinary Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), Zendo Project, Innate Path, Mister Rogers, Ann Shulgin, Saj Razvi, Aubrey Marcus, Kristin Karas, Dancesafe, Meow Wolf, Alex Grey’s The Mission of Art, Allyson Grey, Brian Browne Walker's Translation of The Tao Te Ching, Terence McKenna, Wim Hof, Margaret Wertheim, Onyx Ashanti, The Teafaerie, Spider & Jeanne Robinson’s Stardance Trilogy, Geoffrey West’s Scale, Anthony Thogmartin, Mi.Mu, Imogen Heap, Diana Reed Slattery’s Xenolinguistics, Donna Haraway, Mitch MignanoBuy any of the books we mention in this episode through my Amazon Shop and I’ll receive a tiny kickback at no extra cost to you.•Alyssa quotes:“I think that my early psychedelic experiences showed me that I was something outside of depression.”“Mister Rogers by day and Ann Shulgin by night.”“I love getting to be a spokesperson for a scapegoated substance.”“Art helps us create the map of our psyche.”“It’s not that I’m a powerful therapist and you are this wounded person. We are co-adventurers in the psyche.”•Future Fossils Theme Music:“God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder feat. Michael Garfield