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99 - Erik Davis on How to Navigate High Weirdness

Ep. 99

This week’s guest is Erik Davis – one of my great inspirations, someone who has influenced me and this podcast in immeasurable ways since I first encountered his amazing criticism, histories, and “seen it all” visionary cool – I still recommend his first nonfiction book (Techgnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information) on a near-daily basis, and his show Expanding Mind has got to be my number one most-listened podcast of all time.


Erik is a native Californian Gen X mystic who played no small part in the explosive West Coast visionary cyperpunk scene in the 1990s alongside folks like Terence McKenna, Timothy Leary, RU Sirius, Doug Rushkoff, and Jaron Lanier. But he’s taking a profoundly different stance these days, with a Religious Studies PhD in hand and a new book at the printers, drawing on his thirty-plus years experience investigating modern life’s weird marginalia to help us navigate a world in which the weird’s no longer marginal.


https://techgnosis.com


https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/high-weirdness


High Weirdness Drugs, Visions, and Esoterica in the Seventies by Erik Davis


"A study of the spiritual provocations to be found in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terrence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson, High Weirdness charts the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality that arose from the American counterculture of the 1970s. These three authors changed the way millions of readers thought, dreamed, and experienced reality— but how did their writings reflect, as well as shape, the seismic cultural shifts taking place in America? In High Weirdness, Erik Davis—America’s leading scholar of high strangeness—examines the published and unpublished writings of these vital, iconoclastic thinkers, as well as their own life-changing mystical experiences. Davis explores the complex lattice of the strange that flowed through America’s West Coast at a time of radical technological, political, and social upheaval to present a new theory of the weird as a viable mode for a renewed engagement with reality."


"Erik Davis is an American journalist, critic, podcaster, and counter-public intellectual whose writings have run the gamut from rock criticism to cultural analysis to creative explorations of esoteric mysticism. He is the author of Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information, The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape, and Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica."


We Discuss:


Enacting the weird through media


The 1970s understood as the sort of beginning of our darker, weirder time - capitalism, consumer credit, surveillance, paranoia, density, historical dread…


“The occult, conspiracy theory, a dark dreamlike character…is now central…the way fictions become operational as quasi-truths to navigate the post-truth environment…the popularity of psychedelics…”


Key literacies for navigating Our Weird Future


Slender Man as operationalized fiction, as a kind of “tulpa” or thought-form activated into quasi-life


The intermarriage of reality and the hoax


HP Lovecraft’s modern distance from his horrors vs. Phil Dick’s postmodern intimacy with his horrors


The Coming Age of DNA Monsters and Routinized Weirdness


“We are called upon to analyze our resistances to all variety of shifts, mutations, couplings – and unless we want to go reactionary and hold onto certain ideas we have about how humans should be, or how the world should be, we’re in a situation of a strange kind of embrace with the other.”


Distrusting the Apocalypse


Figure-ground collapse in the impression of planetary hyperobjects into our immediate awareness


Neuroplasticity and neoteny – becoming childlike in order to surf accelerating change


Future shock and getting drawn into (right-wing, fundamentalist, fear-based, racist, boundary-defending) stories as a bid for solid ground


“Not knowing who we really are is part of the game. In fact, it’s one of the great opportunities of our moment.”


Plasticity vs. Flexibility ~ Will or Flexibility 


The discipline of transforming subjectivity - religions as practical algorithms for self-transformation, not as collections of beliefs


Everything you do is a self-engendering practice


“I look at the 20th Century, and the most important thing that happened in the 20th Century is cybernetics – both the concept and the operationalism of creating communication feedback loops that begin to generate their own processes.”


“The further I go into a cybernetic model, at least for me, it needs to be ground out in a deepening relationship with animals, with weather, with food, with plants, with plant wisdom, and definitely with those peoples – in whatever traces, in whatever mutations we can encounter them now – those groups, those societies, that had a very different relationship that’s not really mediated by the machine.”


The return of the nonhuman, cultural retrieval, the archaic revival, “reanimism”


Intelligence is Everywhere


Present Shock & the collapse of history & Jurassic Park


The future of time - metaperspectival time


Zizek’s critique of Buddhism and how mindfulness has been coopted by neoliberal surveillance capitalism

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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)
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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
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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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