FUTURE FOSSILS

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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.


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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 explanations


W. Brian Arthur on on Complexity Podcast about the economy as a complex adaptive system


Dr. Mike Ryan of the WHO on decision-making under conditions of uncertainty


Jamie 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 change


Samo 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 Moore


Watch The Mindscape of Alan Moore on Archive.org or Youtube


Hunter Maats on Future Fossils about the challenges of education and knowledge infrastructure in the Information Age


Douglas Rushkoff on Future Fossils about “present shock” and new modes of social organization for adapting to technological change


Raissa D’Souza on the collapse of complex networks


Me at the Australian Psychedelic Society (Melbourne) on “May you live in interesting times”


Nicole Creanza on the interplay of cultural and biological evolution


Bruce Damer on Future Fossils about his origins of life research


Washington Post on Isaac Newton’s “Year of Wonders”

Charles Eisenstein’s superb big-picture book, The Ascent of Humanity


Dr. Richard Hobday on the value of sunlight in fighting viruses and maintaining good health


12 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 COVID19


Worldometers real-time tracking of the pandemic


ARCGIS real-time tracking of the pandemic on a global map


Timeline of pandemics and their relative severity


Fast Company on how to lead in times of crisis


The Cut on how not to go stir crazy (mostly good exercise advice)

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10/8/2020

154 - Stephanie Lepp on Pro-Social Deepfakes, Post-Normal Science, and The Future of "Reality"

Ep. 154
This week I chat with artist Stephanie Lepp, producer of Infinite Lunchbox, the Reckonings podcast, and — most excitingly, for me —Deep Reckonings, a stunning new project exploring the “pro-social” uses of AI-generated “deepfakes” and other synthetic media for education, therapy, and other beneficial outcomes.While I’ve been speculating on the ominous (albeit numinous) social and psychological consequences of deepfakes since my 2017 sci-fi short “An Oral History of The End of ‘Reality’”, it never really occurred to me that these tools aren’t just dangerous but potentially healing and transformative. Stephanie, however, has made it very clear in her new videos, and in her extensive statement for the project, that sometimes all we need to imagine a better world is to see it faked convincingly.In this discussion, we explore how deepfakes can expand and enrich the potent benefits of earlier media like theater and the novel; why it’s so controversial to portray wrongdoers finally accepting accountability and moral leadership, even when it’s an explicit fiction; and how science itself is going to have to change to accommodate a more nuanced and multi-dimensional understanding of truth.Stephanie at IFTF | LinkedIn | TwitterPlease 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’re up for helping edit Future Fossils Podcast transcripts, please drop me a line at futurefossilspodcast@gmail.com.)Intro and outro music is from Skytree’s new LP of spacey downtempo electronica, Infraplanetary, which I highly encourage you to purchase.Enjoy, and thanks for listening!
9/24/2020

153 - Burning Man VR x IRL with Caveat Magister, Naomi Most, and Raven Mitch Mignano

Ep. 153
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 futurefossilspodcast@gmail.com.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!
9/17/2020

152 - Weird Artist Medicine Storytelling Hour with Colin Frangicetto

Ep. 152
“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

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