FUTURE FOSSILS

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42 - William Irwin Thompson, Part 1 (Thinking Together at the Edge of History)

Ep. 42

This week’s guest is one of my greatest inspirations: the historian, poet, and mythographer William Irwin Thompson. Author of sweeping works of synthetic insight like At The Edge of History (a finalist for the National Book Award in 1972), The American Replacement of Nature, and Coming Into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness, Bill Thompson’s greatest work may not have been a book but a community: The Lindisfarne Association, a post-academic “intellectual concert” for the “study and realization of a new planetary culture,” which anchored in various locations across the United States as a flesh-and-blood meta-industrial village for most of its forty years. 

Lindisfarne’s roster reads like a who’s who of influential latter-20th Century thinkers: Gregory Bateson, Lynn Margulis, Ralph Abraham, Stuart Kauffman, Paolo Soleri, Francisco Varela, David Abram, Hazel Henderson, Joan Halifax-Roshi, James Lovelock, Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Maurice Strong, and Michael Murphy were among them. In his latest and last book, Thinking Together at the Edge of History, Thompson looks back on the failures and successes of this project, which he regards as a “first crocus” budding up through the snow of our late-industrial dark age to herald the arrival of a planetary renaissance still yet to come. 

Bill’s wisdom and humility, vast and inclusive vision, and amazing skill for bringing things together in a form of freestyle “wissenkunst” (or “knowledge art”) made this and every conversation that I’ve had with him illuminating and instructive.

(Here are links to the first two chats we had in 2011 and 2013, as well as to my video remix of one of Bill’s lectures with footage from Burning Man.)

For anyone who wants to know what happens after universities and nations lose their dominance and both economy and identity “etherealize” in a new paradigm of ecological human interbeing that revives premodern ways of knowing and relating – and/or for anyone who wants to help build institutions that will weather the chaotic years to come and help transmit our cultural inheritance and novel insights to the unborn generations – here is a conversation with one of the master thinkers of our time, a mystic poet and professor whose work and life challenged our assumptions and proposed a powerful, complete, and thrilling view of our emergent role as citizens of Earth.

We talk Trump and our future-shocked need for charismatic strongmen, digital humans and the tragicomedy of the smartphone takeover, technocracy versus the metaindustrial village-monastery and “counterfoil institutions,” the “necessary exercise in futility” of dealing with rich and influential people to fund important work, how the future arrives unevenly, and how to get involved in institutional work without losing your soul…

Also, cryptocurrencies and universal basic income as symptoms of the transition of the global economy from a liquid to a gaseous state;

 

QUOTES:

“Austin is, of course, an air bubble in the Titanic…”

“The counterfoil institution is a fractal…it’s the individual and the group, kind of like Bauhaus…it had an effect, but it was very short lived. So I argued in Passages [About Earth] that these entities [including artistic movements like Bauhaus, but also communities like Auroville and Fyndhorn] were not institutions, but ENZYMES – they effected a kind of molecular bonding and effected larger institutions, but they themselves weren’t meant to become institutions. And so Lindisfarne, which was a temporary phenomenon of Celtic Christianity, getting absorbed by Roman Christianity, was my metaphor for this transformation.”

“When you’re getting digested and absorbed [into the system], it can either be thrilling because you really WANT to become famous and you want to become a public intellectual, and you want to namedrop and be part of the power group…but if you’re trying to energize cultural authority, then it’s difficult in America. You can get away with it, I think, more successfully in Europe, where there is this tradition of Great Eminences, and in Paris, once you’ve done something of value as an intellectual, then you’re part of it for your life. It isn’t like, ‘What are you doing next? Do it again, do it again, do it again.’ So American culture, based on this kind of hucksterism and boomerism and success culture, is very resistant to that sensibility.”

“We’re always a minority. If we look at The Enlightenment, we’re talking about, what, twelve intellectuals in all of Europe? If you’re an extraterrestrial and you flying-saucered into Florence in the 15th Century and said, ‘Hey, I hear you guys are having a Renaissance?’ And they said, ‘What?’ What do three painters mean? It’s still the Middle Ages for them. And so everybody’s in different times’ laminar flow. Some are faster and more ultraviolet and high energy, and others are very wide, slow, and sluggish. And that’s how nature works.”

“Each person makes his own dance in response to the laws of gravity…if we didn’t have gravity, we wouldn’t have ballet.”

“If you’re running a college, or a dance troupe, or an orchestra, or ANYTHING – someone in the group has to learn how to deal with money. And I think I failed, even though I succeeded in raising millions, by being a 60’s kind of countercultural type who was suspicious of money. I crossed my legs and was afraid of violation. And I didn’t come fully to understand the importance of money. But now that we bank online…”

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9/30/2021

174 - Evan "Skytree" Snyder on Sound Design for A Robotic Built Wilderness

Ep. 174
This week we're joined by robotics engineer, electronic music producer, and Future Fossils co-founder Evan “Skytree” Snyder — who has recently been asked to help design the sounds made by the next wave of Amazon warehouse robots. In this first part of our discussion, we explore the evolutionary and psychological considerations for designing human-compatible robot sounds, talk brilliant birds and their mimicry of people and machines, and riff on the manipulative utility of cuteness for both good and evil.In part two, available to Patreon supporters later this week, we talk about Evan’s work to reconstruct the soundscapes of The Age of Dinosaurs, his experiments with using radioactive mineral samples to control modular synthesizers, and his reflections on the use of sound for deep-time communication with future humans and/or extraterrestrials…✨Go Deeper•If you value this show and would like to see it thrive,support Future Fossils on Patreonand pleaseleave a good review on Apple Podcasts! As a patron you get extra episodes each month, invites to our book club, and new writing, art, and music.• Meet great people and have equally great conversations in theDiscord Server&Facebook Group.•Buy the books we talk about from theFuture Fossils shop at Bookshop.org.•For when you’d rather listen to music, followmeandmy listening recommendationson Spotify.✨Related Reading•Set My Heart To Five by Simon Stephenson•Unfettered Journey by Gary Bengier•Alex & Ada by Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn•The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule The Earth by Robin Hanson•“Smooth Operator: Tuning Robot Perception Through Artificial Movement Sound” by Frederic Anthony Robinson, Mari Velonaki, Oliver Bown•“The maintenance of vocal learning by gene–culture interaction: the cultural trap hypothesis” by Robert F. LachlanandPeter J. B. Slater✨Related Listening•FF 13 - Rupert Till on Ancient Audio & Future Ritual•FF 29 - Sara Huntley on Raising Robots Right•FF 53 - Evan Snyder on A Very Xeno Christmas!•FF 73 - Patricia Gray on BioMusic, The New Science of Our Musical Brains & Biosphere•FF 149 - Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, Naomi Most on Cultural Somatics & Ritual as Justice•FF 159 - Michael Dowd on Post Doom: Life After Accepting Climate Catastrophe✨Music by Evan “Skytree” Snyder•“Telomere,” “Minas Gracia,” and “Sanitas” off Infraplanetary✨Support the countless hours of research and production that go into Future Fossils• Venmo: @futurefossils•PayPal.me/michaelgarfield• Patreon:patreon.com//michaelgarfield• BTC: 1At2LQbkQmgDugkchkP6QkDJCvJ5rv3Jm• ETH: 0xfD2BC66586FA4FBA189992E9B0037CD5cb9673EF• NFTs:Rarible|Foundation | Voice (available to non-crypto users)
9/7/2021

173 - Daniel Shankin on Psychedelic Integration - The Path of the Heart

Ep. 173
This week I commune with psychedelic integration counselor Daniel ‘Sitaram Das’ Shankin, founder of Tam Integration and The Psilocybin Summit, in a soulful conversation on grace versus good works, taking multiple perspectives, being the kindest version of yourself (rather than the smartest), belief systems as spirit possessions,his journey from yoga teacher to psychedelic integration counselor, personality types as insurance strategies, the good, bad, and ugly of memes, and how to live with the worst parts of psychedelic capitalism.Learn more about Daniel at tamintegration.com, sitaramdas.com, Instagram, and Twitter.Get 10% off your ticket for the The Third Annual Psilocybin Summit (16-20 September 2021) and enjoy my live Future Fossils panel with Richard Doyle, Sophie Strand, and Sam Gandy —as well as presentations by dozens of other amazing contributors — at psilocybinsummit.com/garfield.✨Housekeeping•If you value this show and would like to see it thrive,support Future Fossils on Patreonand/or pleaseleave a good review on Apple Podcasts! As a patron you get extra episodes each month, invites to our book club, and new writing, art, and music.• Meet great people and have equally great conversations in theDiscord Server&Facebook Group•Buy the books we talk about from theFuture Fossils shop at Bookshop.org•For when you’d rather listen to music, followmeandmy listening recommendationson Spotify.✨Related Reading•“What the heck happened to Reality Sandwich?” by Faye Sakelladaris•Thread on suffering and coping strategies on my Facebook timeline•Thread on lateral thinking & creativity in the Future Fossils Facebook group✨Related Listening•FF 58 - Shane Mauss on Psychonautic Adventures at The Edge of Genius and Madness•FF 63 - David Bronner on Psychedelics, Activism, and Trans-foam-ation•FF 88 - Dennis McKenna on Psychedelics as Scientific Instruments•FF 103 - Tricia Eastman on Facilitating Psychedelic Journeys to Recover from An Age of Epidemic Trauma•FF 112 - Mitsuaki Chi on Serving The Mushroom•FF 156 - Stuart Davis on Zen, Aliens, and Psychedelics•SolPurpose Conversations 2 - Richard Doyle on The Cloud of Unknowing•MG and Saj Razvi on MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy at BDYHAX 2018✨Music by Michael Garfield•“Whispering At Night” & “Autonomous Zone” off House Ship On A Hill (2021)•“Tin Heart” off Double-Edged Sword (2007)✨Support the countless hours of research and production that go into Future Fossils• Venmo: @futurefossils•PayPal.me/michaelgarfield• Patreon:patreon.com//michaelgarfield• BTC: 1At2LQbkQmgDugkchkP6QkDJCvJ5rv3Jm• ETH: 0xfD2BC66586FA4FBA189992E9B0037CD5cb9673EF• NFTs:Rarible|Foundation
8/18/2021

172 - Tyson Yunkaporta on Indigenous Systems Thinking, Fractal Governance, Ontopunk, and Queering W.E.I.R.D. Modernity

Ep. 172
This week’s guest is one of my favorite discoveries of the last few years, and someone I’m honored and delighted to know. I can hardly express how strange and exciting it was when I reached out to Tyson Yunkaporta, author of Sand Talk and Senior Research Fellow at Deakin University, and found out he was already a fan of my podcasting…so this episode is a seriously chummy session of mutual discovery by too people perhaps already a little bit TOO familiar with one another’s work. Tyson inhabits an awesome position at the intersection of Indigenous knowledge systems, complexity science, cultural criticism, multimedia art and design, and dreaming and scheming on applications for ancient wisdom in the digital and post-digital eras.If you value this show and would like to see it thrive,support Future Fossils on Patreonand/or pleaseleave a good review on Apple Podcasts! As a patron you get extra episodes each month, invites to our book club, and new writing, art, and music.• Meet great people and have equally great conversations in theDiscord Server&Facebook Group•Buy the books we talk about from theFuture Fossils shop at Bookshop.org•For when you’d rather listen to music, followmeandmy listening recommendationson Spotify.•Thanks to Naomi Most for helping edit most of this episode!It isn’t easy work.✨Short Reads• “Building The Ark” - Tyson at e-flux architecture on GameB• Tyson’s feature for Melbourne Design Week 2021• “Transformational Festivals Are A Symptom of Dissociation” - Michael Garfield• “Australian Aboriginal techniques for memorization: Translation into a medical and allied health education setting” – David Reser et al. (Tyson is last author)• The Weirdest People in The World — Joseph Henrich• William Irwin Thompson on “The Ghost Dance of the Rednecks”• “The Information Theory of Individuality” - David Krakauer et al.• “Unchained: A Story of Love, Loss, and Blockchain” - Hannu Rajaniemi✨Podcasts• Future Fossils Book Club Discussion Recording: Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta• “What Can I Do?” on The Other Others• “Maori MAGA” on The Other Others• “Queering Dignitas” on The Other Others• FF 100: The Teafaerie on DMT, Transhumanism, and What To Do with All of God's Attention• FF 86, 87: Onyx Ashanti on Surfing Exponential Change (Part 1, Part 2)✨Books• Sand Talk - Tyson Yunkaporta• Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now - Jaron Lanier• Scale - Geoffrey West• Count to a Trillion - John C. Wright• Cat’s Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut✨Music• Intro Music: Live at The Chillout Gardens, Boom Festival 2016• New Release: House Ship On A Hill (2021)✨Notes• “The bourgeousie is always plundering the margins for menu options.”• eating peacocks: diverse diets for biodiversity vs. for dominion• how to restore the lost topsoil of Settler culture without stepping on others to do it• culpability (and the role of intent) in the West versus in Indigenous communities• COVID trauma, climate change, and Indigenous postapocalyptic insights for Settler cultures• critiquing the Myth of Primitivism and the Myth of Progress• the destruction of the clan by marriage law and papal decree• sanguinal, geographic, and noetic polities• showing up in society not just as individuals, but as members of family groups• why Indigenous people fall for conspiracy disinformation• getting a smartphone as an adult and how it changes you — firsthand recollections• Marshall McLuhan, neotribalism, banishment, and cancel culture• fractal sovereignty & continental commonlaw• genderqueerness as ontological revolution• decolonizing language and sexuality vs. transhumanist escapism/linguistic reterritorialization• guerrilla weddings in the Age of COVID• trust, smart contracts, and the unsustainability of economies of scale• Megan Kelleher, Holochain, Jim Rutt, Ben Goertzel• liquid democracy• How do you prevent an autonomous zone from being subsumed by colonial forces?• being happy to not have final answers, to be one step in an age of transition• “Land is your smart room [except] it’s reciprocal. One of you isn’t ‘The User.’ … Most of the affordances you’re seeking through technology and sci-fi: these are pre-existing things. You find them through a relation and an interspecies communication with your bioregion.”✨Support the countless hours of research and production that go into Future Fossils• Venmo: @futurefossils•PayPal.me/michaelgarfield• Patreon:patreon.com//michaelgarfield• BTC: 1At2LQbkQmgDugkchkP6QkDJCvJ5rv3Jm• ETH: 0xfD2BC66586FA4FBA189992E9B0037CD5cb9673EF• NFTs:Rarible|Foundation

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