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132 - Erik Davis on Perturbations in the Reality Field

Ep. 132

This week’s guest is author, culture critic, and philosopher of the weird Erik Davis, whose work has been one of my main inspirations for almost ten years. His latest work of epic scholarship, High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies, is an exploration of topics I presumed inaccessible to academic inquiry so masterful I’ve been evangelizing it for months and basically forced a copy on my boss (David Krakauer, President of the Santa Fe Institute, who was a guest in Episode 75). In this episode we peer into the intersection of psychedelics, madness, systems science, postmodernism, and religious studies to ask about the truly other that refuses to allow us a clean answer to the questions, “What is the Real?” and “Did that just really happen?” Strap in for one of the headiest and most important conversations that we’ve ever had on Future Fossils…


Join the Future Fossils Podcast Patreon for exclusive perks like an extra 10 minutes of this conversation, in which Erik & Michael discuss “black goo.”


Visit Erik’s website to sign up for his email updates (always wonderful) and stay abreast of upcoming events, such as his talk at the SF Psychedelic Society on Thursday Dec 19.


Get a copy of High Weirdness at MIT Press.


Erik’s appearance on Future Fossils Episode 99 (a kind of prequel to this conversation).


My 2011 and 2012 appearances on Erik’s podcast, Expanding Mind.


Erik and I discuss over video chat (part 1, part 2) the revised and expanded third edition of his book Techgnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information.


Shop through my Amazon storefront and support the show indirectly with your purchases:

https://amazon.com/storefront/michaelgarfield


Join the Future Fossils Facebook Discussion Group

https://facebook.com/groups/futurefossils


Show music by Evan “Skytree” Snyder feat. Michael Garfield, “God Detector”

https://skytree.bandcamp.com/track/god-detector-ft-michael-garfield


Mentioned:


Jacques Lacan. Mark Fisher. Carol Cusack. Eric Wargo. Timothy Morton. Graham Harman. Jeff Kripal. Emelie Gomar. Bruno Latour. Albert Hofmann. Sasha Shulgin. Richard Doyle. Williiam James. Phil Dick. Cesar Hidalgo. Rachel Armstrong. Edward Snowden. Daniel Paul Schraber. 


We Discuss:


The abyss is close to home.


“The real, by definition, is not amenable to symbolization. Whatever kind of yen we have to sustain the symbolic in the face of the real is going to fail. And in that sense, the real is fundamentally traumatic.”


Perturbations of the reality field.


Extimacy.


“That’s not me…or if it is, I’m not me anymore.”


Refusing to remain within the purely human. To lean out. To open a portal.


The Weird vs. The Uncanny.


Fiction vs. Religion.


“In some sense Burning Man and the spirituality of Burning Man, if you want to call it that – the invention of new subjectivities, the development of an ecstatic culture at this end stage of capitalism and modern mythology – in a way is a kind of later iteration of the things I saw in the 70s.”


Material agency in the practice of science. “Science is not practiced by humans alone.” “Drugs as active participants in the enactment of their effects.”


“The thing about thinking is that sometimes it’s really clear the way you are actively putting things together, or actively exploring. But then sometimes it seems as if you are almost kind of taken over by an idea, and then the idea has stuff it wants to do, and you are just the connector or vehicle for it. What it means to think is to be in relationship to enigmas that have things to say.”


“With reductionism in general, it’s very difficult to explain novelty.”


“A psychedelic compound sitting on the shelf is not psychedelic. It’s in the interaction that you explore and discover its phenomenological features.”


“There’s no way out of environmental effects in the psychedelic experience - both in the set and setting, and in terms of whatever mysterious multiplicities lie in the material itself. So there’s no way to do capital S Science with psychedelics, despite the fact that they are material molecules that reliably have a certain kind of metabolic arc and can be explained in terms of how they are broken down in the body and even light up certain regions or the brain, etc., etc. I think it’s kind of wonderful. But I think that’s where the weird is: the weird is in that. The weird is in the way you can’t get out of the loop.”


Psychogenic Networks and Maximal Entropy Production.


“If attention is the fuel, then everywhere we turn, we’re producing self-fulfilling prophecies.”


Living Fictions.


Weird Studies Episode 36.


Lachmann et al. 1999 re: Optimal Encoding & Fermi’s Paradox & “The symbols of the divine first emerge in the trash stratum.”


“The revelation is always relativized. Once we’re in this cybernetic situation, then not only do we not know, ‘Is that noise or is that signal?,’ but even when you do get a message, you don’t get to know. Because you’ve knocked out that realm of certainty that in the past said, ‘What you’re thinking is true.’”


“Now we get to see what it looks like when the symbolic order, consensus reality, breaks down, melts, mutiplies, becomes weaponized, and we try to make our way through that. And it’s not so fun. It’s not so pretty. It’s not so groovy.”


Psychonautics as preparation for the insane world we now live in, where the weird has mainstreamed.

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4/8/2021

164 - Violet Luxton on Scientific Reductionism vs. Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Ep. 164
This week we talk to artist, musician, and community organizer Violet Luxton, who works and lives at the intersection of Indigenous wisdom traditions and Indigenous rights movements, #LandBack and #BlackLivesMatter, afro-futurism, yoga, and visionary biotechnological speculation. In a conversation far shorter than the subject matter deserves, we explore some of the themes in and related to her profound academic paper, "Transtemporality and The Technology of Indigenous Kinship: The Science of Remembering Ourselves."If you believe in the value of this show and want to see it thrive, support Future Fossils on Patreon and/or please rate and review Future Fossils on Apple Podcasts! Patrons gain access to over twenty secret episodes, unreleased music, our monthly book club, and many other wondrous things.Music by Future Fossils co-host Evan “Skytree” Snyder.Enjoy, and thanks for listening!_,.-'~'-.,__,.-'~'-.,__,.-'~'-.,__,.-'~'-.,__,.-'~'-.,_Also Discussed In This Episode:Violet Luxton at LinkedInSaki Mafundikwa —Ingenuity and Elegance in Ancient African Alphabets [video]Ron Eglash —The Fractals at The Heart of African Designs [video]_,.-'~'-.,__,.-'~'-.,__,.-'~'-.,__,.-'~'-.,__,.-'~'-.,_Additional Resources:Buy the books we mention on Future Fossils at Bookshop.org/shop/FutureFossils, which supports local bookstores instead of Amazon and pays me 10% at no additional cost to you.When you’re ready to switch it up, here aremy musicandlistening recommendationson Spotify.I transcribe this show with help from Podscribe.ai —which I highly recommend to other podcasters. If you’d like to help me edit transcripts for my upcoming Future Fossils book project, please let me know!I’m @michaelgarfield on Twitter & Instagram.If you’re looking for new ways to help regulate stress, get better sleep, recover from exercise, and/or stay alert and focused without stimulants, let me recommend the Apollo Neuro wearable.I have one and appreciate it so much I decided to join their affiliate program. The science is solid.And for my fellow guitarists in the audience, let me recommend you get yourself a Jamstik Studio, the coolest MIDI guitar I’ve ever played.I just grabbed one this year and LOVE it. Videos soon!• Venmo: @futurefossils•PayPal.me/michaelgarfield• Patreon:patreon.com//michaelgarfield• BTC: 1At2LQbkQmgDugkchkP6QkDJCvJ5rv3Jm• ETH: 0x058aCaf2dd4DB222d89D65fdDF3f0500c5622448i
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163 - Bitcoin & Fungal Economies with Toby Kiers & Brandon Quittem

Season 1, Ep. 163
This week we’re joined by evolutionary biologist Toby Kiers and Bitcoin entrepreneur Brandon Quittem for an interdisciplinary trialogue on the analogy between digital currencies and the so-called Wood Wide Web. Toby studies fungal economies in the lab, and her research challenges the commonly-held assumption that mycorrhizal networks are socialist utopia hippie love-fests. Brandon evangelizes “The Internet of Money” as an exemplary instance of biomimicry and argues that Bitcoin is doing for human finance what mycelial networks have done for terrestrial biology. And I wade in with more than my usual helping of paradoxically-critical enthusiasm to ask if “natural” really equals “healthy” or “desirable” in our rush to serve the evolutionary algorithm of technological development. This one should appeal to anybody on the “Transhumanist Bitcoin Bro to Luddite Biodynamic Farmer” spectrum…share your thoughts about the episode in ourFuture Fossils Discord server or Facebook group, where it’s easy to link up with amazing fellow weirdos.Brandon’s Website & TwitterBrandon’s article, “Bitcoin is The Mycelium of Money”Toby’s Website & TwitterToby’s TED talk, “Lessons from fungi on markets and economics”If you believe in the value of this show and want to see it thrive, support Future Fossils on Patreon and/or please rate and review Future Fossils on Apple Podcasts! Patrons gain access to over twenty secret episodes, unreleased music, our monthly book club, and many other wondrous things.Music by Future Fossils co-host Evan “Skytree” Snyder.I transcribe this show with help from Podscribe.ai —which I highly recommend to other podcasters. If you’d like to help me edit transcripts for my upcoming Future Fossils book project, please let me know!I’m @michaelgarfield on Twitter & Instagram.If you’re looking for new ways to help regulate stress, get better sleep, recover from exercise, and/or stay alert and focused without stimulants, let me recommend the Apollo Neuro wearable.I have one and appreciate it so much I decided to join their affiliate program. The science is solid.And for my fellow guitarists in the audience, let me recommend you get yourself a Jamstik Studio, the coolest MIDI guitar I’ve ever played.I just grabbed one this year and LOVE it. Videos soon!Enjoy, and thanks for listening!Additional Resources:Future Fossils 161 - Michael Phillip on Play & CreativityFuture Fossils 81 - Art Brock on Holochain and the Future of CurrencyFuture Fossils 56 - Sophia Rohklin on Anarchy, Ecology, Economy, and ShamanismComplexity 35 - Geoffrey West on Physical Scaling LawsComplexity 13 - Brian Arthur on the History of Complexity EconomicsComplexity 8 - Olivia Judson on Life’s Major Energy TransitionsDeep Facebook thread on the un/sustainability of blockchains & cryptocurrenciesRegen NetworkWhen you’re ready to switch it up, here aremy musicandlistening recommendationson Spotify.And if you're in a tipping mood:• Venmo: @futurefossils•PayPal.me/michaelgarfield• Patreon:patreon.com//michaelgarfield• BTC: 1At2LQbkQmgDugkchkP6QkDJCvJ5rv3Jm• ETH: 0x058aCaf2dd4DB222d89D65fdDF3f0500c5622448i
2/23/2021

162 - "AHA" (Ask Him Anything) #1: Aliens, Death, Creativity

Season 1, Ep. 162
This week, I embark on a new experiment and respond to three "advice column" questions from the Future Fossils listening audience:•How do I know if aliens would like my music?• How do I talk to my five-year-old about death?• How do I be creative without training or experience?This was a lot of fun and I'll definitely do this again. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!Please rate and review Future Fossils on Apple Podcasts! And if 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 many other great things as they spill out of my overactive imagination.We’d also 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’d like to edit Future Fossils Podcast transcripts, please drop me a line at futurefossilspodcast[at]gmail.com.)Show theme music is by original Future Fossils co-host Evan “Skytree” Snyder.Further Resources:IntroEpisode 70 with Steve Brusatte on the Golden Age of Dinosaurs Episode 100 with The Teafaerie Episode 158 with The Teafaerie & Ramin Nazer Episode 117 with Eric Wargo on Time Loops How do I know if aliens would like my music?Eight Two Music Complexity Podcast 1 with David Krakauer Hook (film) 1991Episode 161 with Michael Phillip on Creativity, Play, and Cryptocurrency Weird Studies 75 on 2001: A Space Odyssey Southpark Season 23 Episode 2 ("Band In China") Complexity 41 with Natalie Grefenstette on Agnostic Biosignature DetectionThe Physical Limits of Communication (1999) Edward Snowden talks with Neil DeGrasse Tyson about aliens Episode 42 with William Irwin ThompsonSFI Musicology & Complex Systems Working Group (YouTube Playlist)Episode 125 with Stuart Kauffman on Evolution & The Adjacent PossibleKing Kong (film) 1933How do I talk to my five-year-old about death?The New York Times: 10 Annoying Kids' Toys Complexity 52 with Mark Moffett on Canopy Biology & The Human Swarm Episode 116 with Kevin Wohlmut reading Ugo Bardi & John Michael Greer The Lion King (film) 1994 Complexity 37 with Laurence Gonzales on Surviving SurvivalThe Future Acts Like You The Addams Family (film) 1991How do I be creative without training?Alicia Eggert's Stewart Brand artwork at The Smithsonian The Exaptation of the Guitar The Future is Exapted/Remixed "You're only as original as the obscurity of your sources" And when you’re ready to switch it up, here aremy musicandlistening recommendationson Spotify.If you're in a tipping mood:• Venmo: @futurefossils• PayPal.me/michaelgarfield• Patreon: patreon.com//michaelgarfield• BTC: 1At2LQbkQmgDugkchkP6QkDJCvJ5rv3Jm• ETH: 0x058aCaf2dd4DB222d89D65fdDF3f0500c5622448i

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