Sunday, October 14, 2012

From the Posthuman Blues Archives (Part 1 of 5)


Detail of Another World - M.C. Escher - woodcut - 1947



Monday, September 22, 2003

"Human Devolution has me walking an intellectual tightrope. Cremo does a credible job of looking at nonlocal consciousness through the lens of Vedic creationism; I'm enjoying the ride.

I'm increasingly convinced that close encounters, near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences are aspects of a central overlooked phenomenon; deciphering one will in all probability cast light on the others. While I don't believe in "life after death" as typically envisioned by religion, I'm sympathetic to the concept that consciousness is more than a dance of molecules. William James thought that the brain acted as a receiver for consciousness, rather than actually producing it. This idea is appealing. Consciousness may not be an effect, but an actual "stuff" or force -- however intangible it may seem to us.

This is where New Age nomenclature fails utterly; how to address something as strange and vast as self-awareness when limited to pseudoscientific jargon? I roll my eyes at vague references to "essences" and "vibrations" -- but is mainstream science really doing any better? Both camps are, to some degree, spinning their wheels. If a new paradigm is to emerge, we'll need a new syntax. And to make sense of a new syntax, we might need to purposefully mutate. Even if consciousness is eternal and omniscient, we still have to filter it through our carbon-based brains, with all of their neuronal shortcomings . . . at least for the time being."


- Mac Tonnies, via this PHB post


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Saturday, November 08, 2003

"Several months ago I was in an automobile crash. My memories contain the adrenalized moment of impact, the literally breathless aftermath as I pondered the crushed metal and broken glass, and a trip to a hospital inside an ambulance. It would appear I survived, albeit bruised and aching. But who am I to tell the story of what "really" happened? Perhaps the arc of my life, as defined by the fluctuating patterns (and bits of would-be pattern) in the cosmic screening room bifurcated shortly before I collided with the other car. In one variation I came to a bloody end. In yet another there was never an accident at all.

I pick the crash incident not because of any intrinsic importance - at the most fundamental level, the blind dance of possibilities doesn't care if I live or die - but because it illustrates how flawlessly one or two frames can be altered (or randomly inserted or deleted) to potentially catastrophic effect in the observable world. So long as a pattern remains intact  -and it will, since it has infinite space and time to organize itself - so will some permutation of "I."

Which begs the question: What happens when someone dies? It's possible that informational death is impossible and that the person who "dies" in the "explicate order" is expediently recycled, living his or her life again and again in a state of total amnesia. Or maybe something like my crash incident applies and that observers who die - in the directly perceivable world - are shuffled into a future in which they "miraculously" survive their own crashes (or cancer treatments or heart transplants).

There's nothing concrete or absolute about our so-called universe. It is an alluring, insidiously clever simulation. The Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics implies that the universe is constant "branching" into parallel, exclusive states. A better term, in light of the scenario described above, might be "flowing." "


- Mac Tonnies, via this PHB post



Now on Trans-D... Remembering Mac: The Stars Are Falling