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!

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Sunday, November 20, 2022

194 - Simon Conway Morris on Convergent Evolution & Creative Mass Extinctions

Ep. 194
Complete, EXTENSIVE show notes at PatreonRate and review the show at Apple PodcastsBrowse my newsletter, original art, prints, merchandise, etc.How much of natural history is inevitable, and how much is the result of chance? Do mass extinctions slow the evolution of the biosphere, or speed it up? These are two of the six great questions of biology explored by Simon Conway Morris, famous evolutionary theorist, in his latest book. From Extraterrestrials to Animal Minds: Six Myths of Evolution (Templeton Press) is a meticulously researched, cheeky and inspiring romp through both the living and extinct worlds, challenging a handful of widespread beliefs and offering provocative alternatives. Conway Morris is a character, even amidst the strange ranks of his fellow natural history researchers, and his arguments bear careful scrutiny. As someone drawn to mavericks and weirdos and enamored by contrarian perspectives, I can’t help but like his work — and reading him forced me to reconsider some of my assumptions even as it validated other long-held hunches.In this episode, we talk about his book and what his work implies — and I get fanboy on him and assault him with a bunch of lengthy questions like Tim Murphy in Jurassic Park. Strap in for a deep dive into evolution’s laziness, complexity and process, cooption and repurposing of novel traits, great puzzles in prehistory, ancient food webs, evolutionary radiation, symbiosis, flowers, death, and more… And when you’re done, go read his book and dig a dozen more related episodes on Patreon!
Sunday, October 30, 2022

193 - Kimberly Dill on Environmental Philosophy: In Defense of Wildness & Night

Ep. 193
This week I talk with environmental philosopher and Santa Clara Clara Assistant Professor Kimberly Dill, an old friend of mine from Austin, Texas whom I met at Bouldin Creek Coffee over lemon maté sours and a deep dive into Eastern nondual traditions while she was in school studying arguments against free will under acclaimed analytic philosopher Galen Strawson. She has since grown into a formidable scholar and ethics instructor in her own right and positively exudes a studious, diligent, caring, and starry-eyed vibe at all times…an utterly unique and finely-honed heart and intellect who stands out from the rest of my belovedly strange cohort of Austin festival-going slacker friends.I’ve been chasing her down to be on the podcast for years and am delighted she and I finally managed to link up to record this potent dialogue on the relationality of humankind and the wild world in which we are inextricably entangled, the substantive differences between our simulations and the originals they fail to fully reproduce, the importance of forests and dark skies to our psychospiritual well-being, where modern Western festival culture fails in its declared goal of delivering us back into right relations and ecstatic harmony with our kosmos…plus much else.Read the ✨ EXTENSIVE ✨ show notes, and join the Future Fossils community, at Patreon.Rate and review the show at Apple PodcastsBrowse my newsletter, original art, prints, merchandise, NFTs, etc.✨ Side Note:My big, BIG thanks to everyone for being so patient with me while my family and I suffered through some extraordinary challenges over the last months. I can’t tell you enough how much it means to me to have retained nearly everyone’s Patreon support while my wife and I dealt with two constantly sick kids, a number of our own health issues, and major upgrades to our home and big transitions at work.The good news is that I also managed to record interviews with the legendary Simon Conway Morris and Robert Poynton in that time and will be sharing those with you in short order! So, again, thanks for your subscriptions, your glowing Apple Podcasts reviews, and your engagement in the Future Fossils Facebook group…and stay tuned for several exciting big announcements soon!(Big thanks to my father-in-law Kevin Taylor for helping edit this episode!)