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129 - How to Live in the Future (Michael Garfield at Boom Festival 2016)

Ep. 129

…in which I talk about Jurassic Park, Terminator, Pokémon, cat videos, Radiolab, Google, DARPA, Charles Stross, the Singularity, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Martine Rothblatt, Genesis P Orridge, neo-advaita nondual philosophy, and angels. (“Do you guys believe in angels?”)  


DISCUSSED:


Bringing Heart Back To Futurism. 

Technological Acceleration As Psychedelic Yoga. 

It Doesn’t Have To Be Either/Or. 

Scan Lovers. 

Can We Have Identity Politics In A Posthuman Society? 

Control or Liberation?


Recorded at Boom Festival's Liminal Village, 16 August 2016 — here’s the official Boom Festival video of the talk.


Originally published on my archive of public talks at bandcamp, this lecture became the basis for the essay series with the same name, which you can read on my Medium blog.


Support The Show: patreon.com/michaelgarfield


Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan Snyder feat. Michael Garfield


QUOTES:


The future is an idea that is constructed socially, just as insanity is constructed socially.


Most people spend most of their time thinking about what the world we’re moving into is going to look like, and very little time thinking about what it’s going to FEEL like. Who we are going to be, once all this transformative change has settled into a newly-constituted world age?


It’s very telling that so much of the conversation around artificial intelligence is this notion that there’s some kind of demon emerging through the machine for us to encounter and to reckon with. That there is something we have to confront…something that may destroy us even as it transforms us. And I think that the problem here is that this is a half-chewed sandwich. We’re right there on the precipice of recognizing that we too are implicated in this global conspiracy, that we too are participating in the evolutionary process, and it falls upon us all to heal this alienation from the natural world – especially as it appears in non-human living systems and as it appears in non-human machine intelligences. And to recognize, first of all, that we are a function, we are an action, of Earth’s geology.


It’s by failing to identify our own transcendental nature – our own identity beyond the opposites of subject and object, self and other, nature and culture, the made and the born – that renders the transcendental as something against which the limited identity of the egoic self has to be defended. And so we experience what could be regarded as the emergence of a planetary Christ child – as the internet swallows us and we awaken together into this planetary identity, we experience this as the intrusion of a Borg mind or Terminator: Rise of the Machines. We are capable in our understandably anxious paranoid delusion of seeing only the demonic manifestation, because it’s so much easier to reject this kind of radical transformation than it is to embrace it and to steer it. And I’m hoping that by the end of this talk you all feel slightly more empowered to participate in this future, and to participate in the growing number of people worldwide that recognize that it falls upon us as we birth a new age, to love what we create. And to infuse it with love and creativity, and not to reject this baby, but to raise it right.


The mirror was believed to have terrifying spiritual properties: that a mirror can steal your soul, or that a vampire couldn’t be seen in a mirror because it had no soul. And likewise with the camera: anything that renders the previously unconscious as the conscious, anything that shows our selves to ourselves in a new way and thus creates an object out of what was originally the subject, a new “it” out of what was “I,” is going to appear to us as the monstrous.


As we become more transparent to one another, we become more accountable to one another. And the accountability is in some sense the masculine structure that we see growing as the companion to the desire to share with one another as a sort of feminine urge for intimacy.


As a river runs all possible ways down a mountain, the future will have more options for how to be a human being than before. It will have more ways for us to become partial and non-inclusive of the future than ever before.


We are becoming more and more compatible with the machine and it is becoming more and more compatible with us, in the same way that we domesticated corn and corn domesticated us.


We have this profound opportunity to invest as much beauty and love and creativity into this new space as we possibly can. 

More Episodes

7/8/2020

147 - How to Live in The Future (Parts 1 - 4)

Ep. 147
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.
6/25/2020

146 - Raising Earth Consciousness with Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, Gay Dillingham, Valerie Plame Wilson, Allan Badiner, and Michael Garfield at Synergia Ranch, April 2016

Ep. 146
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!
6/6/2020

145 - Weaving A New Prehistory to Rewild The Future - Michael Garfield at Earth Frequency Festival 2017

Ep. 145
"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.

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