Monday, 19 October 2009

Full Circle and Back

Again, on time, by braisturbator + McKenna

It was McKenna who started this off, and I feel obligated to let him have the last word. “Time must be well used: this is a basis for a possible theory of ethics.” I’ve always been pretty fond of that one, mostly since it resonates with my own War on Sleep and the obsessions that make my dreams feel like a surrealist extension to my regular workday. (This is not “unhealthy” and I am not complaining.) For the big finish, though, I’d like to share one of the best riffs McKenna ever gave about time, during the course of an interview with Boing Boing Magazine:

So this process of complexification is going on in nature. When you look at it you realize that it happened faster and faster. It took a long time for there to be life, or just for planets to form, and stars to settle down. Then once you get life, you get a very rapid proliferation of form, and by rapid I mean in scales of hundreds of millions of years, and then you get higher animals. After that you get animals like ourselves, and you get language, and culture, and writing, and electronic media. Each of these steps occurs more and more quickly, leading to the conclusion that human history and the presence of tool making, poetry making, and thinking creatures on this planet have something to do with being caught, or you might otherwise say, fortunately positioned very close to a kind of anomaly that is haunting space and time. You can think of it as a collision with a hyper dimensional black hole.

We and our universe and everything in it are being sucked closer and closer into the presence of something which seems to be made out of pure idea. It’s very hard to English, but it explains basically what’s going on on this planet - why it is that 50,000 years ago, shit-hurling monkeys decided to set off on the long march toward the space shuttle, and an integrated global economy, and toxic pollution, and the whole ball of wax? A process of some sort unique in nature was unleashed 25-50,000 years ago. From that point on there was a tremendous push into symbolic expression and the cultural consequence of symbolic expression which is technology. And now, we’ve run the nut right off the end of the bolt, and the planet’s finite limits are being reached. But the process shows no sign of slowing down. So rather than see it as some apocalypse or some terrible flaw of human fate run amok, I see it as a natural phenomenon. Human history is not our fault.

The world is getting weirder and weirder by leaps and bounds. It’s moving faster and faster. It’s very science fiction. You have potentially human life-extinguishing epidemic diseases, at the same time that you have whispers of cold fusion and journeys to the stars. Meanwhile people are meeting little rubbery beings in their bedrooms in the middle of the night, and having rectal examinations. All this crazy shit is going on which is called the melt-down of Western civilization at the end of the second millennium. Then if you toss psychedelic drugs into the mix, shamanic plants and this sort of thing, and make journeys out into the architectonic superspace of the culture, you quickly realize the cosmic egg is cracking.


Ask a Bald Scottish Lunatic

"...and they explained to me what time is all about: the Universe we live in is designed to grow larvae, right? They explained to me that, beyond space and time, we have our actual selves. These things that we’re experiencing right now are sections through time. Everyone in here is a section through time, but in actual fact, you’re not experiencing your real body.

What is your real body? Your real body is a process, it starts when you’re born and it moves forward until you die. That is you, seen from look like a giant centipede. Think of “ourselves” as processes through time, that’s what we actually are. We all know we were 12, but where is that? Point to it. Show me!

So these things said to me, “This is whats going on. We use time to grow larvae, because outside of space and time, you can’t grow anything. It’s timeless. If you want to make one of these higher dimensional beings—which is actually one of us, already—is you grow it in time. So, you make a Universe.”

And how you make a Universe is that you plug a little bit of yourself into the information world that they live in—which is what I seemed to be experiencing, a sea of pure information."

From Grant Morrison’s classic genius freak-out at the 2000 DisInfo Convention


Sunday, 4 October 2009

Arctic seas turn to acid

Robin McKie, science editor
The Observer, Sunday 4 October 2009

With the world's oceans absorbing six million tonnes of carbon a day, a leading oceanographer warns of eco disaster. Carbon-dioxide emissions are turning the waters of the Arctic Ocean into acid at an unprecedented rate, scientists have discovered. Research carried out in the archipelago of Svalbard has shown in many regions around the north pole seawater is likely to reach corrosive levels within 10 years. The water will then start to dissolve the shells of mussels and other shellfish and cause major disruption to the food chain. By the end of the century, the entire Arctic Ocean will be corrosively acidic.

"This is extremely worrying," Professor Jean-Pierre Gattuso, of France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, told an international oceanography conference last week. "We knew that the seas were getting more acidic and this would disrupt the ability of shellfish – like mussels – to grow their shells. But now we realise the situation is much worse. The water will become so acidic it will actually dissolve the shells of living shellfish."