65 - John David Ebert (Hypermodernity & Blade Runner 2049)

Ep. 65

This week’s guest is independent culture critic John David Ebert – mythologist, philosopher, art historian, author of twenty-six books, and co-founder (with John Lobell) of http://cultural-discourse.com

We talk about the rich mythological references of Blade Runner 2049 in light of the larger – and very urgent – matter of mechanizing human reproduction and the (actually rather ancient) male quest to appropriate the mysteries of the goddess…

Here’s John’s Blade Runner 2049 essay:


John’s awesome YouTube channel:


John has a knack for connecting very different sources across civilizations and millennia, anchoring this conversation about a modern science fiction masterpiece in a transcultural Big Story of the evolution of human consciousness. 

(Listen if you liked Episodes 42 & 43 with William Irwin Thompson on planetary culture, Episode 38 with Marya Stark on reclaiming the feminine mysteries, Episode 18 with JF Martel on art and reality, and Episode 14 with Michael Phillip on WESTWORLD.)

John David Ebert Quotes:

“Every new cosmology makes new machines possible.”

“I’m interested to hear about utopian projects…because after all, we’re going to need them.”

We Discuss:

- Marshall McLuhan’s work on Sputnik’s technological enclosure of the planet and the end of “nature” (not to mention “natural catastrophes”);

- How poets and artists make visible the “invisible environment” of subliminal information about each age;

- Art’s revelation of cosmology through history, from nested heavenly spheres in medieval religious art to the newly-opened skies of Dutch realists to our anxious re-immersion in the closed infinity of the Anthropocene as depicted by H.R. Giger;

- The transition from worship of the Earth Mother to the Sky Father, and the centuries-long struggle to control the mysteries of birth and death with science;

- The connection between Niander Wallace in 2049 and Enke, sumerian trickster creator god;

- The difficulty of replicating ecosystems in space for those “off-world colonies”;

- “Here There Be Tygers,” Jurassic Park, and how monsters (as avatars of the pissed-off Great Mother) disappeared from the Renaissance world maps but make a new appearance in hypermodernity, thanks to genetic engineering;

- Akhenaten’s experiment in monotheistic sun god worshipping utopia;

- What should we do with the 100% certainty that our cosmopolitan super-cities will all soon be underwater, and it’s time to rapidly escalate our alt-civilization experiments?

- The evolution of civilizations, from early revelation to imperial phase to decline;

- The rhyme of history between Ancient Rome and Modern America;

- The retrieval of shamanism and the re-establishment of a polar civilization in the late 21st Century;

- The lineage between Pacific Northwest spirit-travel shamanism and contemporary Californian VR avatar science fiction and superhero stories;

- And more!

More Episodes


189 - Planet-scale Musical Chairs: 21st Century Human Geography with Parag Khanna

Ep. 189
This week on Future Fossils, we sync up with globe-trotting (Singapore-based) futurist Parag Khanna, author of several internationally best-selling books on the shifting landscape of human geography and technological evolution. My acquaintance with Parag dates back all the way to 2011 when I found his Hybrid Reality Institute, and started writing for his BigThink blog, thanks to the writing of Jason Silva — I knew this was a party I couldn’t miss, even though I was then, as now, deeply ambivalent about the contours of the futures he and his colleagues were making visible with their rigorous research. This spirit has defined my entire adult life: if you want to help steer something in a better direction, you might just have to get your hands down into the murk and engage with it deeply enough to be in the position to make a difference. So when his agent contacted me about interviewing him about his latest book, 2021’s Move: The Forces Uprooting Us, I knew it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. But let me be clear that Parag sees things very differently than I do, and I appreciate that about him: he has a keen sense of the risks and dangers of our times but emphasizes the opportunities because the facts are there to support it. If you move around as much as he does, and always has, you get a kind of synoptic view of the planet and the tension between individual destiny and collective momentum comes into a new tuning. This is a beast of a conversation. It was hell to edit. I’m glad it happened. Here you go!Complete, extensive show notes at Patreon.✨ Housekeeping:• Intro music is "You're In My Self-Portrait" from my 2012 album Golden Hour. Outro music is "City of Jewels" from my 2013 EP of the same name. For something completely different, check out my latest live album, recorded at Meow Wolf Santa Fe while opening for DeVotchKa.✨ Other Ways To Support The Work & Community:• My roughly-monthly newsletter at Substack• Venmo: @futurefossils• PayPal.me/michaelgarfield• ETH: FutureFossils.eth• BTC: 1At2LQbkQmgDugkchkP6QkDJCvJ5rv3Jm• NFTs: Rarible | Foundation | Voice | Hic Et Nunc | Mint Songs