Cosmos Café: Stare into the lights my pretties—a talk with filmmaker Jordan Brown [2018.02.20]

Good points, Ed. Everything has roots.

Such as “maskirovka”…

Agreed. I may be wrong but I seem to remember it as an excerpt from HyperNormalisation, which is another documentary well worth the time.

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An excerpt from, or incorporated into, I believe. Yes, I suppose le DISINFORMAZION is nothing new, and I certainly don’t mean to pick on the Russians. Ed was right during the call to point out the CIA’s similar tactics, which of course extends to the Chinese, et al. Yet there is something about the Russian style, the bleak chic or nihilistic genius, which impresses uniquely. This is spoken for well in US film and spy dramas, and in our secret love affair for all things Russian, which is why Trump’s admiration for Putin is somehow OK with so many otherwise red-white-and-blue-blooded Americans.

Back to the film, I just want to add that I think our talk ended on a deep question. We didn’t put it this way, but it seems to me the question we (humans) must face has to do with how we handle the relationship between the VIRTUAL and the REAL. @Jore made a strong case for the living in a REAL which is grounded in ecological reality.

@johnnydavis54 meanwhile spoke about re-awakening the 4th dimension (aka the imaginal realm), which gets flattened in the physicalist 3D paradigm and totally smooshed in the flatland of 2D screen culture. Yet I don’t interpret John to be saying that 4D is contrary to ecology—rather it’s inclusive of it, and can work with 3D reality, and maybe even translate into 2D, as we are attempting in these conversations.

And I think one can balance the tantric / nondual / techgnostic FEED THE BEAST type approach with with a critical stance that makes wise personal choices and supports sane policies. For example, we may eventually treat our tech much like we would powerful drugs, with warning stickers and hopefully sensible safeguards against misuse. But some will opt to go all in to the cybersphere, becoming immersed in virtual worlds, etc., with perhaps even whole networks dedicated to alternate “forked” realities. This is what I was trying to get at with the idea about worlds diverging (which @patanswer rightly noted is Sloterdijk’s concept of foam.)

Of course, the “base level” reality is still there, right? Not everyone necessarily thinks so…


Incidentally, I think Musk’s view is probably not too different than Jude Currivan’s that what we experience as reality is a really a cosmic hologram. Do these views become attractive precisely when the “real” Real comes to crisis? Can we embrace the creativity of the virtual, without losing touch with our natural ground?

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So, my question is: if our experience of reality is a hologram or holographic, is it virtual or real?

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Thanks Marco for making this clearer. I have viewed the video this afternoon and am very pleased that we are bringing our attention to how we are using our attention. I sense that the slow mind after viewing the video can enter into the 4D zone and play with the themes and motifs that our fast minds have generated through the effective use of the technology. I imagine that there is a lot we can do to refine our attention and explore the spectrum f consciousness and that the 2d screen doesn’t present overwhelming obstacles to our ongoing embodiment and collective re-education. We can perhaps co-create conditions for many unique ways of refining our meta-attentional capacities. I think this performance was excellent and thank everyone for taking up this supreme challenge.

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It is both virtual and real, at the same time, depending upon who and from where the observing happens. We are trans-temporal and historical egos but the personal pronoun I is not necessarily attached to the physical ego. The ’ I’ is free to serve different masters. 3D realities can be know from 4D spaces and there is no reason why we can’t coordinate these activities more adroitly than we have… All magicians have tried to stabilize access to 4D space. Who is zooming who? The screen through which I see God is the same screen through which God sees me. How does the Mind filter itself? Through attention. We have access to the para brain (4D and 5D) and we are not constrained by biological brain except during a few hours in the day time. Most of us are in fantasy land most of the time. At night we roam around the Cosmos quite freely but we often forget this in the morning and for good reasons. Amnesia is a blessing sometimes but it depends on what we are amnesiac about. I think the tragedy of the commons is that we think we are stuck in this flatland and we fight over it. It is a glorious opportunity to know ourselves as a distinct historical configuration but there are more things going on than will ever meet the eye. We are translating and mapping at the same time. The green of the tree enters my eye on a wave of light and then is translated and this mapping action is I believe very connected to our intentions and motivations. Virtual or real? Who is asking that question?

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I will attempt to re-frame the question: Is the planet Earth real or virtual?

The notion of an Anthropocene suggests that the real Earth has been virtualized. It existed in a different state—it’s own symbiopoetic regime, so to speak—before humans showed up with their technology. We’re the scenius of the planet now.

The notion of the Cthulhucene, by contrast, suggest a revenge of the Real upon the agents of virtualization, for their hubris. Thus earthquakes, floods, rising seas—superstorms and mass migrations. We have awakened the monster! Run for the hills!

Who survives on a dead planet? Only the scavengers, the furtive decomposers, the earthworms…perhaps even the bookworms? Is it our job to prepare the soil for Life to come? Does the Real need saving? The energy industry is fracking Boulder County open space (near the part of the Earth where I live) over the will of (most of) the people here. That’s real enough. Our conversations are real, too. Screen culture is real. Yet this morning I let my daughter Beatrice tell me about her dreams—spotted and polka-dotted magical scenes, with rainbows, cats and dogs, eyeballs, stars. That was real for me.

I do feel it is urgent that we cultivate new visions for life on Earth. Jore mentioned a book (by John Michael Greer) called The Ecotechnic Future. That might be one way to go. We might also view technology as a medium for magic and myth, as Erik Davis does in Techgnosis. The idea of decentralized net/meshworks with distributed computing, collective governance, and alternative currencies also strikes as quite promising, as we’ve discussed.

Now what if we mix these ingredients (with various others) into some sort of 7-dimensional psychedelic cocktail? We could even give this drink a name: The Concrete Utopia. :tropical_drink:

I think we’ve found the star of our Cosmos Happy Hour menu. :yum: Shall we mix some up and pour libations? Will it quench our thirst? For tomorrow we die…

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A father who listens to his daughter’s dreams will be creating conditions for human transformation.

And her dreams are real for you, Marco. And because reality is more than meets the eye, Beatrice will be able to translate adequately between levels of reality. Children who are sponsored in translating from the Imaginal become more ethical than those children who are prevented from doing so. They dont hurt others because they can use their imaginations to register the pain of the other. Children who cant access the imaginal become violent. I have noticed this tendency in adults as well.

" What," I asked the angelic form floating in the white light," is our relationship to Earth?"

" We are para to the Earth." He replied.

And now that I am on my computer, I watch the images on my screen, feel my hands make motions on the keyboard, and struggle with words and meanings, and I am open to doubt what I believe, because it is more fun that way. I see no point in trying to make up my mind about everything.

Which is more real? My Angel, or Beatrice’s magical dreamscapes, or this image captured from the Hubble Telescope? And how do you know that? What’s the difference if there is any? All are images.

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Much better than algoritho-virtualoso coffee! I’ll have mine with extra concrete, please.

This guy has been on my radar ever since listening to him on KMO’s (previously) stellar podcast “C-Realm” (C stands for consciousness…I say previously, for now it is a recording from a radio show that he leads in Vermont, losing some of the natural vibe he had when not set to time-constraints…still has good shows on occasion). I am sure one of you have Greer’s Collected Works upon your bookshelf…

Davis, in the chapter “the path is the network” of mentioned Techgnosis mentions Pierre Levy’s concept of

cosmopedia

A dynamic and kaleidoscopic space of knowledge that provides new ways of understanding the world and of being in the world. In this cosmic and cinematic encyclopedia, the collective knowledge of the thinking community, a category which must include machines as well, becomes materialized “in an immense multidimensional electronic image, perpetually metamorphosing, bustling with the rhythm of quasi-animate inventions and discoveries.” In contrast to the fragmented hypertext that defines what Levy calls “commodity space,” the cosmopedia will provide “a new kind of simplicity,” a simplicity that arises from the principles of organization native to knowledge space: the fold, the pattern, the resonating crystal. The chaos may unfold a cosmos after all.

Davis mentions in the next paragraph (p. 390) a favorite of mine, Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game (written 75 years ago!), a stellar novel that integrates or “mashes-up” knowledge (mathematical, musical, historical, poetic…essentially covering the gamut of “intellectual” history) within the Game

Davis providing an example

We are told that an individual game might begin with an astronomical configuration, or the theme of a Bach fugue, or a sentence out of Leibniz or the Upanishads. Players would then use allusions, intuitive leaps, and formal correspondences in order to develop their chosen theme through kindred concepts, while also juxtaposing themes with contrary images or equations in order to weave a kind of cognitive counterpoint. One could imagine playing links between Indra’s net and the monadology, for example, and then introducing the Borg as an ironic twist.

I see this as the path @achronon meant for the “feed the beast” to map out (which don’t-mind-if-I-do walk down that path myself…even if it turns out to be a plank). A week before the Jordan Brown Cafe, I had recorded a spontaneous video loosely explaining my version of “the Intellectual Dark Web”, as coined by Eric Weinstein, attempting to connect his idea with the "elder sponsoring"writing I am attempting. The video does not fully cover what you all discussed in the Cafe, but perhaps is my input to the conversation (Ed: I mention Harris; just bypass that “red circle” and insert your own).

I imagine this dark web as, not necessarily solely intellectual, but as including more elements of the practical, the spiritual, eventually jumping into the realm of localized/collective politics, decentralized “net/meshworks,” inter-generational spiritual communities (perhaps staring “geekily” into the screen while collectively meditating), sharing not only the intellectual flavors of the intelligentsia, but the interpersonal connection that is missing to some degree in nearly each of our lives.

“I’ll have another, please, with extra dimensions this round…”

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I am curious about the relationship between the Dark Web and the Slower/Faster Mind we have been exploring in the last few cafes. I know I am in the dark more often than in the light but when we slow down we notice at the border between dark and light that color arises. Goethe noticed this a long time ago.

You had behind you, Doug, a white board and was in a light filled space talking about the web of darkness. It was kind of pleasant seeing you in all of that Light. I also saw you from the waist up. You are not just a talking head, you are a talking torso.

At the library today I became fascinated by Steiner’s blackboard drawings which I share below. I believe these drawings capture some of the qualities of his famous lectures. We do not have any videos or podcasts of him but we can get a felt sense of what he called “pictorial thinking”. Watching him lecture most have been like entering the 4th dimension.

I think those of us brought up on power point have missed out on something very important which I hope to bring back…the quick sketch…the doodle,the mind map…made up of words… gestures…on the back of a cocktail napkin…at the cafe between worlds…

And God told me to go back to Earth and create a living arrangement but He didnt give me an algorithm. All you need for a vision is a box of crayons or colored chalk and a tempo rhythm …
image
image
image

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In my own future projection, as portrayed in my SF saga, I have given a relatively minor role to immersive technologies. My projected future is dominated by a combination of nanotech and biotech, but only in specific ways by information tech. I have been thinking about why I did this, given how important this is to today’s society. I think it is because I feel that we will saturate quickly on the virtual and want to reclaim the physical. Many years ago I became quite obsessed with the virtual. I spent almost a year spending hundreds of hours as an avatar moving around in the virtual world of Second Life, and I actually developed several research projects out of that experience. However, even when I was doing it, I was aware of the tension between the real (the physical, the embodied) and the virtual, and a kind of personal yearning to get “back” to the body. This eventually led to a complete transformation of my own research towards embodied initiatives. I also drew on the presence of “embodied feelings” within my virtual world experience to explore the relationship between the two. I think the virtual-in-relation-to-the-real is here to stay, but I have doubts that it will dominate the human spirit for long. I think people go through phases, and that eventually they will grow tired of the “addiction” and want to recover other modes of functioning. I may be overly optimistic (it is one of my failings), but I think the answer to Marco’s question is that the Earth is real, but it may incorporate some virtual elements. I don’t think that in the long term is will become primarily virtual. My two cents…

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As an old work colleague from Iowa was fond of saying, even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes.

I think you should refer to and quote whomever you think is helping you clarify what you feel you want to say. I don’t know of anyone with whom I agree 100% 100% of the time. A person’s underlying assumptions and presuppositions limit where they can go with their thought. This is not to say that within those limits they have nothing of value to say, but they will always paint themselves into the same corners as long as those foundations don’t change. That these foundations can and do change is why we encourage debate, discussion, and intellectual wrestling with one another as a more active means of learning.

Being critical does not mean rejection in toto, it means challenging errors of logic and perhaps also highlighting those assumptions and presuppositions that lead to certain conclusions that are presented more like “truth” than, well, conclusions. I have long thought that this is how this whole engagement-of-ideas thing was supposed to work. In these very divisive deficient-mental times, that is sometimes very difficult to do without – as the examples in the “dark web” article you referenced illustrate – significant negative consequences.

You see, I find the use of the term “dark web” in this very context questionable, if not misleading. My understanding of the concept has been that this is the part of the internet that doesn’t want to be found. This is that part used primarily by drug and weapons dealers, sexual predators and child pornographers, extremists of all ilks, that is, entities who thrive best in the least light. These are folks who use a number of techniques and who go to great efforts to make sure they are not found out by the “wrong” people.

By contrast, the Rogans, the Petersons, and the Harris’ want exposure, they want to be found, they want as much light as possible, and that “light” is measured these days by clicks and shares. Granted, the “place” where their presentations (and interviews and discussions) take place is not the up-until-now, traditional (regardless of how short) venues for such interactions and exchanges. That has in fact changed, but describing it as “dark” is not the best image that I can think of.

Due to physical and fiscal constraints, in Gutenberg’s day, not everyone could have a printing press, so a different method of publishing (that is, making public) of one’s work developed. We have different means today and the barriers to entry to “making public” have put that act within the reach of many, at least anyone who can get to and knows someone else with an internet connection and the simplest of tools (now available on any smart phone) .

You do observe correctly, however, that this is in part what I meant with my feeding-the-beast comment. What I’m also advocating is the proliferation of other tools and techniques as well, for example, encryption for closed-group or personal communication. Back in the olden days, if someone (say, a spy or the police or the “authorities”, in the broadest sense of the words, or a company or the competition) wanted access to information that was traveling from Point A to Point B, they had to intercept the letter, surreptitiously unseal and open it, read/copy (by hand) the contents, reseal it unobtrusively and send it further on its way. In other words, it took time and effort to get to the content. Why do we think that this is no longer necessary? Because we think we have nothing to hide? Jore’s film made clear that what may appear to be harmless now might not necessarily be harmless later, depending on who wants to use that content for what. Consequently, part of “feeding the beast” involves making the unauthorized invest time and effort in getting to that content. What we do in public is by its very nature there for all to see (and hear and experience, etc.), and what we do privately is restricted. It’s that simple. To characterize this harmless, normal, everyday, unquestionable activity as perhaps “dark” (because bad people also use the technique for bad things) is questionable. Unnecessary and potentially harmful associations get established that aren’t in anyone’s (other than the powerful’s) interests.

Does this mean, then, that I think Mr. Weinstein is full of it? Not at all. He merely coined a phrase that nobody really needs, and it doesn’t surprise me that someone else who probably thought it was cute or interesting or snazzy or eye/ear-catching or whatever picked it up and spreads it further, but it eventually will just get in the way, and divert time and attention and energy from the more necessary discussions to other issues that shouldn’t be issues at all.

I couldn’t agree with you all more that we need to do more of what we can do – online if necessary – to promote and further the positive vibes that we’re all feeling and radiating. Like @johnnydavis54, I may be in the dark most of the time, but what I’m doing is consciously searching for more light.

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Thanks for this, Geoffrey. I liked the shift in focus from virtual/real to virtual/physical. I’m not completely certain that this was the intent of @madrush’s original comment, but it is a worthy, and I also think, necessary distinction to add to the discussion.

As usual, @johnnydavis54, picked up on the ambivalence of my somewhat facetious question, for in the end it’s all real, but not everything that is real is embodied and not everything that is virtual is disembodied. That’s a whole different discussion.

Your comments, however, refocus on what I believe to be a very essential element of all this. Yes (just to pick up on an example you mention), we can roam intensively in Second Life, but at some point, it just doesn’t do it for me anymore … “reclaiming the physical” is an excellent way to put it.

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“The more you live through screens, the more you’re living in a narrow bandwith, an abstract world that is increasingly artificial. And that virtual world is safe and controllable, but it’s not rich and unpredictable in the way the real world is. I’m worried what will happen if we lose our connection to reality altogether.”

Edit: Posted as additional perspective; I do see Geoffrey’s point above and agree that there is also the distinct possibility of strong reaction to all this. And in the article, Bess does mention that his screen-staring students can yet turn the things off and have awareness of their impact.

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This afternoon during my after-lunch reading, I came across the following which dovetails with the virtual/real-virtual/physical part of this thread. It is, I should highlight ahead of time, from Stan Tenen, so I you want to simply skim over the parts about the Hebrew letters, but the parts addressing “dimensionality” are very relevant to what is being touched on here [all emphases are in the original]:

We can compare the conceptual space we experience and organize in our minds with an ideal hyperdimensional space in mathematics and physics. As it turns out, fundamental properties of entities in physics can be specified by a “quantum state vector” which points in some particular direction in thehyperdimensional space in which physics takes place. Every event/entity in physics can be represented by a direction in space.

So too in the conceptual space of our minds. If our minds can model hyperspace, then each thought/event in our mind can also be rpresented by a direction in space.

(Which is background to the following paragraph(s) which particularly caught my eye …)

In complex 3-space (6-dimensional “real” space) there are 27 “preferred” directions (corresponding to the 27 lines on the general cubic surface).[ii] It is our conjecture that these 27-directions correspond to the 27 Hebrew letters. If this is so, then the Hebrew letter set would enable us to completely, compactly, and elegantly specify the hyperdimensional map on our motor and sensory cortices that corresponds to any action or thing.

If the above, or something like it, is at work in the formation of language, then Hebrew (or related “sacred” languages and alphabets) should not be thought of as conversational language but rather as a common source language representing in the most compact and elegant way the underlying structures common to all possible descriptions of all entities in physical (3-D) and spiritual (4-D) reality.

The Hebrew letters would represnet the basic repertoire of directions we use to form ideas and concepts, pointing to anything we can experinece in 3- and 4-(or higher) dimensional reality.^

^ Since there are more fundamental primary symmetry sgructures in 3- and 4-dimensions than in any other dimensionality (under ~24-D), the Hebrew letters can point to anything in higher spaces as well.

[ii] See H.S.M. Coexeter, "Polytope 2 [sub]21 whose 27.Vertices Correspond to the Lines on teh General Cubic Surface (1938), printed in teh American Journal of Mathematics, Vol. 62 (1940), pp. 457-486.
Also see Geometry and the Imagination by Hilber and Cohn-Vossen, Capter III: “Projective Configurations” (pp. 94-170. (c) 1952, 1983 by Chelsea Publishing Company, ISBN 0-8284-0087-3

From Stan Tenen (1991) “Some Preliminary Speculations on A Natural Common Universal Language and Alphabet System with Applications to the Hebrew Alef-Bet”, in Tenen, S. & L. Tenen (eds.) The Alphabet in Genesis: III. Essential Findings, The Meru Foundation, Sharon, MA, 2006, p. 3.33.

Just some food for thought.

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I guess it is the degree of darkness and light. Perhaps the term is used because, though they want their message to come to light, they have to remain in the dark to some degree, or as the article states, they have been rejected or neglected by the “gated institutional narrative” (which is really a term Weinstein did take credit for…it looks like from this quick video clip from which the “intellectual dark web” term was first(?) used that he was taken out of context; it was a friend of his that said he was hanging out with people of the “intellectual dark web”…then it was used as the title of a Harris podcast…then it was taken even further out of context). His brother Bret Weinstein (as mentioned in the article) was fired from Evergreen for holding his ground on a controversial issue.
A real issue, which I am guilty of here, is the spreading of misleading information or faulty research. The article on the intellectual dark web has at least two: the “dark web” coinage and this:

Far from the counter-culture movement of the 1960 featuring figures like Timothy Leary, the famed psychologist and LSD advocate, Harris and other proponents of a psychedelic revival are of the elite classes – working in Silicon Valley, holding advanced degrees.

Leary had a PhD and did research for Harvard, then perhaps dropped into the “dark web” of the era.

I am often one to say “ahh…its just a minor detail,” but thanks to you, Ed, I really wish to continue to watch what I say, even if it means dealing with a little tedium at times, and the curmudgeonly bludgeoning :confounded:. Being new to this whole conversation game (literally never shared opinions in my life until recently!), I appreciate the time and effort you devote to keeping us in the light and the right, whether you can help yourself or not :grin:

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I can assure you that the last person I was targeting with my comment was you! Contrary to most of the bosses I ever worked for, I truly don’t believe in killing the messenger.

Your comment above describes precisely what got me agitated enough to comment on the term. Everyone in that chain of out-of-contextualization should have known better, but they didn’t act better. Of course it is not a new phenomenon, as your reference to Timothy Leary makes patently clear: it’s not just the Harris’ (and I’m not picking on him in particular, he just happens to be the individual referred to in the quote) and too many are too willing to put forth their unthought-through opinions over accurate reporting.

Some details are in fact minor and trivial, but what really got me about the “dark web” concept is that it is used primarily in association with what most people think are heinous crimes. Even a cavalier connection can get seated in consciousnesses who are unwilling to become aware of what they are saying – which obviously excludes anyone in the current conversation here – because we live increasingly in a guilt-by-association world, and I don’t want people who are being unjustly relegated to the shadows dumped into the same bucket with those who consciously and actively seek them.

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I have been reading (and teaching) about the dark web over the past couple of weeks, so I find it interesting that the subject has also cropped up here (synchronicity!). So while I don’t disagree with your first sentence here, I do take issue with the second. I have been teaching in French, and so the first thing I did was look up the French translation. The “dark web” is translated into French as “le réseau superposé” or “le réseau alternatif” - so the superimposed network or the alternative network. These are decidedly less sinister-sounding terms than the English “darknet”, but it is the same concept. Essentially, it is an alternative web with distinct modes of access and connection. Bitcoin is part of the darkweb. But the darkweb, although it does include the criminal element, is not limited to them. The darknet, in additional to criminals, and terrorists, includes the hacker culture, that you may or may not think of as criminal (parts of it are, and parts of are not), certain forms of rebellion or resistance (e.g. occupy wall street, etc.), some artists along with their audiences (although artists seek a public, some seek a special type of public that may be entirely contained within the darknet), certain afficionados of sexual practices off the main grid (not just predators), espionage services, police informers, etc. It would be interesting to find out how much of the darknet is criminal, but precisely because it is dark, getting statistics is difficult.

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I agree very much, Geoffrey … I overstated that second sentence, but I was thinking more of what may be in most people’s minds not, as you have so cogently stated, what should be in most people’s minds. Thanks for the gentle nudge out of the dramatic.

Having said that, I don’t think that Jordan Peterson or Sam Harris posting podcasts and videos on YouTube falls into the category of “distinct modes of access and connection”, which is very much the point behind my overstatement. What Bitcoin does where and how would count, I suppose, even though any novice could hook up with Bitcoin itself rather easily. I would like to think that the darknet, regardless of sinister it sounds in English – and Erik Davis does help us get an understanding of just why we choose such terms – might get an undue bad name.

Truth be told, I’m a quite a fan of the “true” darknet, not because criminals and terrorists may lurk there, but because those with noble intent (resistors, artists, hackers (not crackers), and simply those who honor and desire privacy) should have their “space”, as well.

In fact, wouldn’t you agree that we (the good ol’ generic one, of course) should be advocating and educating everyone on the use of encryption, VPNing, anonymizing, etc. as part of our everyday practice? It would seem to me that looking forward it would worthwhile to have more people smarter about generally (and specifically) protecting their privacy when online.

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I also have a personal biais about “dissing the dark” all the time, and “favouring the light”, even though we live in more than one culture that does this systematically. Here is an excerpt from my current book manuscript (“Cordis Intima” - the same manuscript I have excerpted elsewhere here) which underlines this point :

“The minority faction within the Humanitat that we call NarFax, focussed on deviant life practices organized around hedonistic forms of satisfaction, could be considered the penultimate in shadow sexuality or any other type of hidden experience), and yet the vision I had presented me with a universe of white on white, hence a paradoxical shading of whites, not greys. This confounded me at the time. But the vision, with its focus on violence and pain, did two things for me that I didn’t appreciate until much later. First, it reminded me that deviancy within the Ido and the Humanitat, is hardly a part of the Shadow. On the contrary, it is viewed as part of the paradox of life - the very fact that there is an official faction devoted to such practices bears witness to this. The shadow of the Ido is not deviancy, nor even violence, but our denial of violence. It is because we refuse to admit to, and deal with, excessive forms of violence that the Humanitat is in trouble. Hence the massacre carried out by the Nirvanists was ignored by the wider Humanitat, as were, for example, the acts of violence perpetrated against Oreph’s family on Pinnacle. The Sodenheim Crisis finds its roots in that inability to acknowledge and manage ongoing violence. It was the white on white character of that second vision that forewarned these issues.”

So in my future, which is, in general terms, a utopia, the problem area is the “denial of violence”, that is, it is a problem with the light. I think our cultures also have problems in this area. I think we view men as problematic and women as less so (cf the #metoo movement). The problem with this perspective is that women also have problematic sides, but these are often in areas that are viewed as “never bad” or “rarely bad” and are harder to name and articulate. Think of emotionally invasive mothers as an prototypical example. Also, although we view religious fanaticism as negative, a certain kind of evangelism may be viewed more positively. We view childhood as characterized by “innocence” and yet, much of childhood is not innocent. I could go on but you get my point. As I’ve said before, what I am trying to explore in my SF writing, is the shadow side of utopia. My interest in the darknet (which I call “NarFax” in my manuscript) is, on the other hand, and paradoxically, its luminous side.

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This is a great insight (and the great thing about fiction is that you can bypass the empirical research and explore such aspects of our society). We discussed the denial of violence in the last Globes conversation and the fine lines between keeping our dark lives at bay before the repressed animal within shines light with bright teeth and nails. A society with a healthy devotion to the dynamics of sexual, religious/spiritual, violent rooms within is an aware society, aware of paradox. As a whole we can hardly agree today on, say, what a healthy religion is, though we have most of the answers right in front of us. We have been battling with the same tired stories, a generational perpetuation, yet aren’t listening to the ones that can set us free. Our darkweb here and elsewhere is present all around us, but who is listening? A YouTube video of Geoffrey promoting his techno-garments for disabled individuals gets 25 views (if one might to exist) and the teen with the latest outfit of the day gets millions.

In the US, we have a commercial that states “show me the CarFax,” which provides a cumulative history of the cars repairs and other warts, to make sure you are getting a good car deal. I say “show me the NarFax!!” We could all use a nice dose of awareness and acceptance of our warts and all.

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