If yinz follow your intelligence, that inkling of wit that is about to tell you just what it is you need to know, that cosmic deducer of circumstance over which we have no control, you will come to a fork in the road. Freakin’ take it already!
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if language won’t work to do the job that it seems every mystic, including mobiused1, sometimes wishes it to do, maybe we simply must, pace Wittgenstein, go silent when we come into any awareness whatsoever of pure consciousness, the urgrund, Consciousness without an object.
Silence would seem, in this context, to be the yawning absence of utterance. But what freakin’ really happens when we shut up long enough to mutate? No wonder this blog went silent for sooo long….
In silence we may go non verbal, get still, observe our thoughts as a participant observer. Transforming the internal cinema of our self referential mind from a “talkie” to the apparently regressed form of silent film, we become capable of focusing in on what is right in front of us and crowded out by all the nostalgia and other resentments of the past, those blurring hopes, wonders, fears, of future: Now. Is “Now” what/where/when PKD will describe in the Exegesis as somehow “orthogonal” to the flow of linear time? Be still and know.
Friends, even as mobiused1 recently traveled to and fro and in and around Las Vegas, land of rec legal cannabis, maybe just don’t freakin’ legalize it already. Relax, inhale, float downstream: Of course these plants and their human hosts should be left the frack alone with their symbiotic love of primate/plant transgenic thought farming, wherein a plant evolves to delicately play the human imagination and consciousness like a piano, convincing it to grow more and diverse kinds of itself. Just do some bibliomancy on Darwin’s Pharmacy and know that You are That. Release all plant prisoners immediately. It never should have been an object of the law in the first place.
But dig this new video from a conference command performance somewhere in the Netherlands this summer. This dude may be on to sumpin’! Distilled down to a green nugget, there is a suggestion within said video that, gasp, perhaps the Drug War may have itself evolved and proliferated into a new frontier: the corporate transnational attempt to regulate the very bandwidth of the within, as old as the Pharmacratic Inquisition, and as new as Cannabis Gummies.
Friends, there is little need to post with any haste to the interwebs to convince you, agree with you all in advance and retroactively, that the going has gotten very weird indeed. Should it perhaps be a new requirement to include the interrobang, mobiused1’s most favoritest punctuation mark, with any and all headline news eruptions?! Should it?!
Notice that I did not say that things had become very grim indeed, or very dire, or other such apocalyptic froth that might kindle or otherwise digitally inflame your darkest fears/desires. Nor are my half closed buddha eyes, transmitting a line of bliss stretching all the way back to Swami Blahblahananda’s exquisite discernment of the vanity of all things in the nanosecond before completing a perfect cannon ball into a sparkling alpine aquamarine pool of pure mirage, suggesting that everything is perfect. (Although it is, I just can’t really tell you about it, as you must perceive it with your own eyes, half open or closed as the case may be.) Instead I am suggesting that we all, individually and collectively, wherever those lines might be imaginatively drawn, be with the weirdness.
And if we dwell with the weirdness before opening our maws to either absorb or declare or opine concerning the latest outrage du jour – a coinage that itself seems remarkably out of synch with whatever this weirdness is – we may be able to feel through the characteristics of this whatever-it-is. We might comically and inadequately summarize them as follows.
- It is repetitious, and yet somehow shocking.
- We know exactly what is going to occur, and yet we are surprised.
- It refuses to be contained by any one narrative, no matter how sprawling and connected its dots seem to connect and sprawl.
Is this the holy trinity of the singularity of weirdness?! Number three would seem to be a corollary of the first two, which are corollaries of each other, or is it all the other way around? Whatever sequence, order and combination of traits you find yourself experimenting with, be with the weirdness, and see if it is not so. Informed cynics will throw concepts at this post, and nod knowingly, holding up placards that read “Dude, welcome to post modernity!” or “Infoquake Alert”, and that is well and good, but the difference here is that none of the concepts can do anything with this weirdness but concept it by putting labels on a placard. The weirdness that cannot be narrated is fundamentally experiential, and we don’t know who is even experiencing it?!
By this I am suggesting that human culture has broken the narrative barrier as change driven by technological transformation creates conditions that change faster than our ability to narrate them. While this has long been observed to be the case by careful observers such as poets, linguists, rhetoricians and philosophers – there is an essential mismatch between our stories about the world and the world, the ideas we have of ourselves and ourselves – this mismatch is now unavoidable. While prophets of the singularity such as Vernor Vinge have emphasized the emergence of a post human intelligence as the impetus for and hallmark of the singularity, it would be odd indeed if we were in any position whatsoever to predict the nature of a planetary event that by its very nature transcends any mode of description. And so while ethicists and others have warned us of the possible effects of a takeover by machine intelligence, AI or flesh covered robots indistinguishable from humans in Philip K. Dick novels, in fact are we witnessing the emergence of a transhuman stupidity unleashed 140 characters at a time?!
Note that I am not joining the chorus of folks claiming social media makes us dumber – but duh, it does – but am instead suggesting that the very capacity to narrate our reality in real time, all together now, creates a narrative dynamic that quite simply cannot keep up with itself. Weird.
Good News: This evolutionary shift will be easy to survive and flourish through. Quite simply, we must cease depending upon something that isn’t there: a coherent narrative that stitches together our social world. The very frequency of the desire by pundits and operatives to “control the narrative” or “change the narrative” shows that there isn’t One, but only the spectre of a narrative that is always about to implode. The present historical/technological moment offers the twin aspects of a desire for total certainty and radical volatility: liability limitation, ISIS, gun fanatics and identity politics are strange bedfellows, but they all share a desire for total certainty even as volatility and uncertainty spike towards infinity. This gradient between the desire for certainty and its ever increasing impossibility creates a narrative crisis in which quite simply, we do not know what is going on. The 14th century text The Cloud of Unknowing may seem a strange manual for our times, but this classic from the contemplative tradition teaches us how to get better and better at not-knowing. As we let go of our desire for and need for narrative certainty, we may laugh as we watch as the world whirls on its merry way, as it was never synched up with our narratives about it in the first place. Weird?!
For now we see through a broken narrative darkly, and so we must look within if we are to find any light. And when we do, we will laugh, and see just how epiphenomenal all this narrative hue and cry really is. The suffering of the world is actual, if wonderfully fleeting, but our concepts of it are major and certainly proximate causes of the suffering, as we narratively attempt, over and over again, to nail jello to the wall.
So, is the singularity infinitely near? We don’t know, and I would suggest that we get good with that. We have nothing to lose but our suffering.
By The Way, Which One’s Pink? On the Minimal Conditions for a Transmission of Philip K. Dick’s Valis Event(s)
Pink is real—or it is not—but it is just as real or not-real as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Michael Moyer, “Stop this Absurd War on the Color Pink” Scientific American
In 2-74 there was no pink light as such. But sunlight. Fish sign + light. Like Boehme. And Mr. Tagomi. Philip K. Dick, The Exegesis, Folder 57, p. 009, Q 14.
Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 per cent
Of everything you think,
And of everything you do,
Is for yourself –
And there isn’t one.
Wei Wu Wei, “Ask the Awakened”
Why would one man write nearly nine thousand pages after the epiphanic experience of being fired upon by a “pink beam of info-rich light?” ( Folder 18, p. 66) Writer Philip K. Dick’s The Exegesis, now partially accessible to scholars in print as well as digitally at http://zebrapedia.psu.edu, attempts to explicate a 1974 experience of what he called “pure consciousness.” In this mammoth text, Dick worked through the range of all possible explanations for this anomalous event of “ultra thought”, including an alien immanent god he called VALIS, a cosmic galactic network of living information. By pursuing a relentless path of writing and thinking through the unbelievable with humor, skepticism and a passion for the truth, Dick ultimately exhausts his capacity to think any further, arriving, again, at pure consciousness. Beyond thought, PKD writes up his journey as a story featuring himself as a fictional character in the novel Valis. Through the pages of The Exegesis and the novels, PKD discovers and relates the unthinkable: the self itself does not exist, relating perhaps the necessary and sufficient conditions for the experiences of 1974: what the Advaita tradition calls the perception of “no self.” Along with a necessarily compressed account of PKD’s text and its journey beyond thought, this talk will briefly explore the question: Why was the light pink?
Penn State University
Penn Humanities Forum
University of Pennsylvania
Are We Not Plants? Noöspheric Intelligence From the Text of Glas
Richard Doyle, Pennsylvania State University
“The innocence of the flower religion, which is merely the selfless representation of self…” Glas
This paper will model Jacques Derrida’s epochal and unheralded treatment of plant ontology in Glas. Here textual animals become heuristic vectors for metabolic and informational exchange fostered by plant “subjects” – e.g. seed dispersion. Instead of the usual categorical distinction between plant and animal, Derrida here resonates with and differs from a “holonomic” model of plant/animal interaction drawn from ecology that recognizes even the alterity that divides animal from plant – a seemingly straight forward taxonomical divide – as an aspect of much larger and deeply interconnected dissipative structures ( e.g. ecosystems, biomes, demographics) and their interactions. This notion of a plant ontology as immanent to animal ontology – animals are a capacity to move plant alleles around – will then provide an occasion for the exploration of attention (human and otherwise) as an evolutionary feedback loop for exploring the recombinant space of plant evolution through what Darwin called “artificial selection”, transforming human consciousness into a supplement for plant evolution. Drawing from contemporary thermodynamics ( e.g. Salthe, Sagan, Margulis, Schneider, Swenson, Kay) as well as Darwin’s work on artificial and sexual selection, the talk will suggest that this capacity of consciousness and its adjuncts ( e.g. writing) to observe and mark different traits by guessing at different thermodynamic outcomes (e.g. increasing yield, nutrition, flavinoids etc of plants) is the very ecological telos of attention, pulling us into a future that we both find and create in our ongoing search for energy gradients -Vernadksy’s concept of the “Noösphere” wherein the “selfless representation of self” evolves through continuous thermodynamic sacrifice ( Bataille).
Thursday, 9 January, 2014
129. Flowers: For the Fortieth Anniversary of Derrida’s Glas
Why would one man write nearly nine thousand pages after the experience of being "nailed by information"? Writer Philip K. Dick's The Exegesis, now accessible to scholars and fans in print, records the heroic journey of one man seeking to fathom the inexplicable: a 1974 experience of what he called "pure consciousness." In his mammoth text, Dick worked through the range of all possible explanations for this anomalous event of "ultra thought", including an alien god he called VALIS, a cosmic galactic network of living information. By pursuing a relentless path of writing and thinking through the unbelievable with humor, skepticism and a passion for the truth, Dick ultimately exhausts his capacity to think any further, arriving at pure consciousness. Beyond thought, PKD achieves what Joseph Campbell termed "at-one-ment", writing up his journey as a story featuring himself as a fictional character in the novel Valis, Through the pages of the Exegesis and the novels, PKD discovers and relates the unthinkable: the self is itself a fiction, hacking the hero's journey beyond thought.