Thursday, August 30, 2012

Posthuman Blues - The Hard Copy(?)

Mac's photo of his own handwriting... found here

"There are a number of ominous trends within the publishing industry that appear to support Mailer's prediction. Did you know that there's a spin-off of the ghastly Christian Fundamentalist "Left Behind" saga targeted at juveniles? No kidding. It's called, accurately enough, "Left Behind: The Kids." Or something like that. The point of this series -- and the point I'm trying to make about so much of today's "literature" -- is that it's not even remotely intended to provide an aesthetic experience, but to sow ideological seeds. (I find it distinctly amusing that so much of this garbage is co-authored, as if recycled Armageddon fantasies require the combined mental might of two authors -- and I suppose since we're talking about Fundamentalists, they very well might . . .) 

Most of the time the ideology being packaged is laughable and harmless, as in the case of Atkins devotees. But then there's the truly detestable stuff: masochistic biblical fantasies masquerading as Tom Clancy-esque thrillers; demeaning supernatural claptrap disguised as "inspiration" or "self-help." Once upon a time, you found cheaply printed gospel tracts in restroom stalls; now you find their elegantly bound and savvily marketed descendents combating for shelf-space in actual stores. 

And people can't get enough. Like the "reality TV" craze, spin-offs proliferate with the tenacity of kudzu vine. Any day now, I expect to find "Chicken Soup for the Soul for Dummies" staring back at me from a prominent display. The Wal-Mart-ization of the written word will have triumphed, leaving an embittered subculture to hoard the few remaining works of Kafka and Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut . . . "

Happened across the comment section (thanks, Dana) on this page today, so, I thought I'd pass it along.

Personally, I think "Posthuman Blues - The Book" is a wonderful idea. I think Mac himself would've been pleased to see his essays in print. Anyone who has ever read Posthuman Blues or knows he was enamored with books - the real thing... the "dead-tree" editions...

But, then again, humanity - or, as pop culture would have it - appears to be free falling into a different epoch... And everything pre-2000 must be relegated to "once upon a time"... whereas we must harken back to the days when ancient people wrote words on paper with pens, amassing these words into articles referred to as manuscripts... Then, as history reminds us, there were Publishers... Marvelous entities who transformed the manuscripts into magical artifacts referred to as Books ... and they did so because they admired them, and thought they were "good"... These paper Books could be found in a public place called a Library... where many people often went just to be in the same place with all that priceless illuminated paper.

I digress. Way back in 2004, Mac was worried about the "Walmart-ization of the written word". Eight years later and it seems that just about everything has gone the way of Walmart... capitalistic gain and mass-marketing strategies being the alpha and omega of the new millennium. And nowhere is this more apparent than on the internet... 

So, should Mac's Posthuman Blues essay's be published in dead-tree form? Well, kats and kitties, there's always the possibility that one of these days the juice may suddenly, inexplicably, be cut off and all our electronic media will just shut down like a zillion blinded eyes... I imagine the ensuing mass-reaction similar to a disturbed anthill. Happily, some of us will have candles and dead-tree editions to read while the rest of the world goes to hell. ;-)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Familiar Face

The Stars are Falling - 2006, DS
(click to enlarge)

"This notion struck me as deliciously ironic. It suggested that the encounters with nonhumans that haunt our folklore were real, not necessarily projections preying on our gullibility. Could "fairies" and" elves" - and all their mythical successors - be distorted representations of an actual species?"

- Mac Tonnies, via The Cryptoterrestrials: A Meditation on Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us  (a fuller version of this quote can be found here)

I popped over to Mysterious Universe today and found a familiar face. Looks like Nick Redfern is talking Cryptos and he means business.

For your viewing pleasure I've posted an earlier version of he/she-who-is-nameless (above), entitled: "The Stars are Falling."

(Note - Updated 8/6/13: This graphic originally appeared on my "other blog", but, has been reposted here, replacing the image detail previously shown.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shine On, Mac!

Oracle (Cerebus Palus) - Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick - found here

"On their adventures, North Wind brings Diamond to the country she lives in, a country without pain and death. Yet, he is brought only to a shadow of the real country at the back of the North Wind. The real country is open for him only after his death. At the end of the book, Diamond dies, finally able to see the country."

- via the Wiki entry for At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald

This is PMB's third post regarding Mac's Birthday since he re-entered the cosmos in 2009. (See: 2010 and 2011 posts) And he's still missed. Very. Not a day goes by when something somewhere doesn't remind me of him... and not a cyber-minute goes by when I am not alerted to something I know he'd enjoy. Case in point is the Curiosity landing, of course, but, even more so, is this recent art installation created by Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick, Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea - Desolation and the Sublime on a Distant Planet. Apparently commissioned by NASA, the installation includes "photographs" (like the one above), 3-D artifacts, and surrealistic panoramic views that recall an ancient civilization! Truly wonderful and strange!

Thanks to Red Pill Junkie at the Daily Grail for this link!

That being said, I think I'll let Pink Floyd have the last word (as they so often do), specifically this 2002 live rendition of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" (link to the original studio version,  released in 1975, the year of Mac's birth), by Pink Floyd's David Gilmore.

Shine on, Mac!

"Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom, 
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter, 
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions, 
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

Nobody knows where you are, how near or how far.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Pile on many more layers and i'll be joining you there.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
And we'll bask in the shadow of yesterday's triumph,
And sail on the steel breeze.
Come on you boy child, you winner and loser,
Come on you miner for truth and delusion, and shine!"

Artist: Pink Floyd
Album: Wish You Were Here (1975)
Lyrics: Roger Waters


... And, by special request: Diamonds, diamonds and more diamonds...(!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Doing Time

Found on the Posthuman Blues "Doing Time" re-cap page

As I write this post, I'm listening to Greg Bishop's 2006 Radio Misterioso podcast, Can Ufology Be Saved? (in two parts) featuring Paul Kimball and Mac Tonnies. Mac is currently speaking about Mars - specifically, anomalies on Mars - how timely!

It's a podcast (feed page here) I haven't heard before, found via Paul Kimball's latest post on his Tears in Rain blog. But wait, there's more. The link to this podcast is found embedded in a featured PDF file of a script for a play entitled "Doing Time", a collaboration between Paul and Mac I blogged about here in 2009. I was always curious about the content, so it was a real treat to finally read it... so, many thanks to you, Paul, for posting it!

His post also features some Doing Time production shots - more can be found on this Semaphore Theatre Company page.

Regarding the play, well it's good, unwholesome, trippy fun - kind of like Alfred Hitchcock on "Martian pharmaceuticals"...  or a collaboration between Jean Paul Sartre and Philip K. Dick. You do yourself a disservice by missing it!

Paul also recounts an earlier blog discussion with Mac in the play's introduction. Here's an excerpt from Mac's side of the equation:

"While in California I phoned an author acquaintance to say hi. We ended up talking about Kurzweilian life extension, which my friend thought indicated an unhealthy fear of death. I offered that, without definitive proof that there is an afterlife, radical life extension –perhaps via mind-uploading – is both sensible and justified. My friend, the author of a nonfiction book dealing with spiritual matters, countered that one can achieve subjective validation that consciousness is more than epiphenomenal. In other words, some aspect of our awareness persists after biological death – but, so far at least, it's impossible to prove this to anyone who hasn't experienced his own sense of cosmic rapport. Fair enough. 

So how to experience consciousness as an abiding energy (if such it is) and not merely as the output of millions of synchronized synapses? Drugs, perhaps – although I've been warned that the "tripping" experience is confused and noisy, leading to false positives and replete with neurological static. Meditation seems a better, safer route. Still, how does one know that a moment's spiritual insight is anything more than an experience cooked up by the brain as a way of appeasing our incredibly deep-seated fear of death and obliteration? Not having experienced any deep insight into the nature of consciousness, I have no choice but to remain agnostic."

Meanwhile, I'll continue listening to the podcast - it's great to hear Mac's voice again. (And, a special thanks to Greg Bishop for this cool offering from Radio Misterioso's vaults - a link will appear shortly on the sidebar of this blog!)

UPDATE 8/18/12: Paul has just announced a Doing Time film adaption!