All Episodes


128 - Kevin Kelly on Evolving with Technology

Ep. 128

We live in an age of increasingly lively, intelligent, and responsive technologies, and have a lot of adjusting to do. This week’s guest is one of the major inspirations animating Future Fossils Podcast: Kevin Kelly, co-founder of the WELL, Senior Maverick at WIRED, author of numerous books that profoundly shaped my thinking about our coevolution with technology. After reading Kevin’s latest essay on the imminent challenges and opportunities of augmented reality – a superb rendering of the bizarre and wonderful new possibilities of a “mirrorworld” in which everything has an annotated digital double, constantly rewritten – I asked him to join me for a discussion of how our relationship to change is changing, what choice means in a world beyond control, how history becomes a verb amidst the metamorphosis, and how to properly engage these potent evolutionary tools we’re building…

Kevin’s Website:


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lntro music by Michael Garfield, “Undefeatable Optimism Gets Up After KO”


Outro music by Evan “Skytree” Snyder feat. Michael Garfield, “God Detector”


We Discuss:

• How evolutionary technologies restore us to a kind of pre-modern relationship to living systems we use and depend upon, but do not control (growing tomatoes, raising livestock, having children).

• How do we understand choice and agency as cybernetic selves, all of our behavior informed by invisible or opaque entitities (like Cambridge Analytica, or simple GUI design)?

“We are both the creator and the created. We are both the parent and the child of ourselves. We are the masters of technology, and the slaves to it. And we will always be in that conflicted, two-faced relationship. That’s why we wring our hands, and we’ll be wringing our hands in a thousand years, because we can’t escape from the fact that we make our tools and our tools shape us.”

• If we are going to spend the rest of our lives as noobs in an ever-accelerating metamorphic world, what does that mean for our conceit of continuous identity?

“The question is not, ‘What does it mean to be human?’ but, ‘What do we want humans to be?’”

• How do we have the metaphysical conversations we need (about what we are, what matters) if we can’t agree on the objective ground truth?

“We have only one way to detect lies, which is retrospectively. So it’s almost impossible to ascertain, infallibly, the truth in the present. We can only trust sources that have proven to be reliable in the past, and that’s ultimately where the truth resides.”

“We can’t think our way out of these problems. We should think about them. We should try to forecast and analyze and quantify. But these things are so complex, they’re life life and a child growing up, that we have to experience our way through them. We have to engage with them through use to figure out what works and what doesn’t work.”

• The new superpowers and profound challenges (both practical and philosophical) afforded us by augmented reality and its attendant “mirrorworld” of spatial computing.

“The big problems that we’ll all be pulling our hair out about in twenty years will be ones we never thought of.”

“I’m for steering technology through engagement, through using it. I think if you don’t use something, you don’t get to steer it. That’s why prohibition, outlawing, regulating to a standstill are bad ideas. Because then you don’t get to steer.”

• The past and future of history-as-a-verb. Contingency vs. inevitability. How does Kelly situate himself in time?

“Most of my favorite people talking about the future are historians… The more I want to look into the future, the more I need to look into the past.”

“1% per year is all we need: if we create 1% more than we destroy every year, that’s all we need for civilization.”

• What is Kelly most concerned with communicating to the unborn future?

“The statistical destiny for most time capsules is to be forgotten. They’re buried and nobody remembers them. 95% of them are forgotten within 5 or 10 years. But the ones that are opened, you get to see this message from the past into the future. And almost invariably, the contents are not interesting to us now.”

Go Deeper:

Out of Control, New Rules for The New Economy, What Technology Wants, The Inevitable


The Expansion of Ignorance


AR Will Spark the Next Big Tech Platform – Let’s Call it Mirrorworld


The End of Video as Evidence of Anything


Great Kevin Kelly interview with Smithsonian Magazine


[video] HyperReality by Keiichi Matsuda


The Future is Indistinguishable from Magic (by Michael Garfield)


Being Every Drone (by Michael Garfield)


Future Fossils Episode 97 with Zak Stein


Future Fossils Episode 91, An Oral History of the End of Reality (#deepfake #scifi)


The Long Now Foundation



127 - Cory Allen on Meditation, Music, and the Wow of Now

Ep. 127

This week’s guest is Cory Allen – mindfulness instructor, audio engineer, host of The Astral Hustle Podcast, binaural beats factory, and now the author of Now is the Way: An Unconventional Approach to Modern Mindfulness. We talk about cutting through the noise and insanity of our overwhelmed digital transition age with simple presence, the rewards of even minor and incremental acts of awareness, and the richness of expressive work created from a place of calm alertness.

Grab yourself a copy of Now is the Way from my Amazon storefront:


I’m on Cory’s show in episodes 72 & 92:


Cory’s on my show on episode 16:



• What is the now?

• Is mindfulness about getting better at achieving goals, or is it really about something else?

• How has meditation practice changed in the age of always-on digital insanity?

• The collapse of past, present, and future into NOW and living in the bardo afterlife of the 21st Century.

• Getting over the infinite to-do list.

• Music as meditation vs. The Concept Album. Songwriting vs. temple music.

• Impermanence and cycles of creation/destruction in music.

• Create from where and what you are.

• Notes on the media diet for original thinking.

Support Future Fossils on Patreon for over a dozen exclusive episodes, book club membership, original art and music, and more:


lntro music by Michael Garfield, “Undefeatable Optimism Gets Up After KO”


Outro music by Evan “Skytree” Snyder feat. Michael Garfield, “God Detector”



126 - Phil Ford & JF Martel on Weird Studies & Plural Realities

Ep. 126

This week Future Fossils gets even weirder with guests Phil Ford and JF Martel, cohosts of the Weird Studies podcast. Weird Studies is one of my favorite shows, hands down. Phil and JF’s marvelous threading together of the joyful and the bleak, the transcendent and the hangdog, the gems of literature and the tentacles of the ineffable real, is a sorely needed tightrope walk in an era insistent on clean answers and decisive resolutions.

The modern world is a VERY weird place, and these two gentlemen are some of my most trusted curators of places to look and ways of seeing for thriving amidst that weirdness. In this episode, we explore (among other eldritch horrors) the irreducibility and always-ness of the weird; the historical and metabolic forces that join beauty and trauma; and the value of the stubbornly unassimilated fact and its adherents.

Dig into Weird Studies and become transformed:


Support Future Fossils on Patreon for over a dozen exclusive episodes, book club membership, original art and music, and more:


Find all of the books we mention and support the show at no cost to yourself:


A very thin slice of the topics we discuss:

JF on Future Fossils (episode 18 & episode 71)

MG on Weird Studies (episode 26)

Weird Studies on Marshall McLuhan

Weird Studies on William James

Erik Davis - High Weirdness (Future Fossils episode 99; Weird Studies episode 48)

Leonard Cohen - “Waiting for the Miracle”

Phil: “The seawall we build against the seething Lovecraftian whatever.”

Eric Wargo - Time Loops (episode 117)

Global Weirding

The Replication Crisis

Lady Chatterly’s Lover: “The cataclysm has happened. We are among the ruins.”

Richard Doyle - Darwin’s Pharmacy

Douglas Rushkoff - Present Shock (episode 67)

William Burroughs - Naked Lunch

Aleister Crowley

Jonathan Zap

Furtherrr Collective

Beauty & Danger

Theodor Adorno

Weird Consultants to help you organize for the unexpected

David Weinberger - Everyday Chaos (episode 123)

lntro music by Michael Garfield, “Undefeatable Optimism Gets Up After KO”


Outro music by Evan “Skytree” Snyder feat. Michael Garfield, “God Detector”



125 - Stuart Kauffman on Physics, Life, and The Adjacent Possible

Ep. 125

This week’s guest is living legend, transdisciplinary scientist-philosopher Stuart Kauffman, whose pioneering work on self-organization and the emergence of order helped launch the field of complex systems science and has brought us to the very edge of understanding the origins and nature of life. Over his 50+ year career and six books, including this year’s The World Beyond Physics, Stu has done more than almost anyone to restore the historic union of science and philosophy, articulating a new spirituality for our secular age of systems thinking, and filing numerous patents on technologies of chemical synthesis and quantum mechanics.

It's an epic conversation with a bold and boundary-less mind. In this episode we drive right to the heart of one of humankind’s biggest and most persistent mysteries: What is life?

Stuart Kauffman’s EXTENSIVE & ILLUMINATING Google Scholar Page:


This week’s vocabulary word: “ergodic”


Become a Patreon supporter to listen to Part 2 of this conversation, on quantum physics and consciousness:


We Discuss:

the adjacent possible

the origins of life

niche construction & niche propagation (which i initially conflate, but he re-differentiates)


the incomputability of the list of all possible uses of a thing

why are there hearts in the universe?

“the universe is non-ergodic and most complex things will never exist”

“there are no laws whatsoever for the evolution of the biosphere”

contingent, or inevitable? enabled, or caused?

the economy creates the possibilities into which it is sucked

Terence McKenna’s strange attractor at the end of time

constraint closure and the release of energy in fewer degrees of freedom

abiogenesis and the protocell as a model of its environment

are there constraints without work?

the number of cell types in an organism is roughly the square root of the number of genes

“information is precisely the release of energy into fewer degrees of freedom”

Paul Davies & Sara Imari Walker

Johnjoe McFadden

Giuseppe Longo

the system will spend more time in macrostates in which there are more microstates (Boltzmann)

Supplemental Materials:

Stuart Kauffman’s essay, “No entailing laws, but enablement in the evolution of the biosphere”


Stu’s co-author Wim Hordijk on autocatalysis at Orbiter Mag:


Michael’s essay, “The Future is Exapted/Remixed”


Michael’s extensive notes on the ideas of this episode, “Toward A New Evolutionary Paradigm”


Original intro music by Michael Garfield, “Birds Waking Up In Trees”


Show outro music by Evan “Skytree” Snyder feat. Michael Garfield, “God Detector”



124 - Norman "Dr. Blue" Katz on Hypnosis & The Mind

Ep. 124

This week’s guest is Norman Katz, aka Dr. Blue – a lifelong practitioner of hypnotherapy and the impresario of 3SidedWhole, nine acres of magical weirdness in the desert outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’ve known Dr. Blue for nearly a decade and he’s deeply enriched my life over the years with his amazing stories, empowering mind hacks, and community of soulful southwestern weirdos. In this episode, he regales us with stories of psychological research into UFOs, past lives, fractals, and flow states; the history of hypnosis, his study under hypnotherapy pioneer Milton Erickson, the psychophysiology of laughter yoga, and – more broadly – the importance, and the surprising ease, of choosing the trance you want to be in…

Dr. Blue’s Website:


3SidedWhole Website:


“We were doing LSD as the patient and the therapist simultaneously…it was quite interesting.”

“There still is no study that verifies that hypnosis is a particular brain state or neurological constellation. Hypnosis is not a brain state. It turns out to be a skill and an aptitude that’s based on combining attention, and fantasy, and a predilection for dissociation.”

“Our perception of reality is at least half constructed by what we expect, what we imagine, and what we pretend. In fact, it’s really hard to teach people new things, because most of the time they’re trying to match new things to their old models.”

“It was the only lecture I’ve ever seen where 300 psychotherapists stood up afterward an gave him a standing ovation. And his theory was, bascially, individual psychotherapy is not only ineffective, it’s wrong, and it disconnects people from their community. He said, the biggest mistake in Western Civilization was when Descartes said, ‘Cognito ergo sum,’ ‘I think, therefore I am.’ And what he should have said was, ‘Convivo ergo sum.’ ‘I celebrate in community, therefore I am.’”

“At any point in time, ask yourself this question: ‘If I had been hypnotized to be doing what I’m doing right now and having this experience, what would I have been told?’”

“Erickson used to tell his students, ‘Pretend, and pretend you’re not pretending.’”

“In the West, most people breathe too much.”

“I had a formal psychology training at Harvard. Most of that turned out to be nonsense. Learn to unlearn. Learn to forget. Learn to be innocent. Let yourself continue to reinvent yourself and discover who you are, because you are more than any of us think you are.”

Support this show on Patreon to join the book club and for secret episodes:


Intro Music: “Undefeatable Optimism Gets Up From K.O.” by Michael Garfield


Outro Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)


Appendix: 51 blackbelt hypnosis skills, a partial list of course

(the master skill is to perceive a coherent reality in one frame ignoring the 27 other timelines)

instant time travel, to past, present and future. multiple timeline realities possible like in string theory in quantum physics

humor, ability to tell self joke and beginning laughing, and see humor and paradox in all situations

increased creativity as needed, transcend functional fixedness, and create new uses for objects, tools, situations 

ability to reframe anything

ability to create synthesis to create positive action altered states of consciousness

ability to make pain disappear

ability to increase pleasure to ecstatic levels

ability to shift mood instantly 

ability to tap into higher consciousness, both neurologically and to source (the universe)

ability to become WISE without thinking (i.e. go into no trance trance in which wisdom flows)

abilities to see life as movie within movie within movies and change the stories

ability to profoundly relax and melt, both physically and mentally

to be comfortable both inside and outside shared realities

ability to balance two nervous systems, sympathetic and parasympathetic, i.e. hypno-autogenics master

ability to come out of shell and act immediately, go fast or slow

ability to tell stories within stories within stories with threaded key meanings or concepts

ability to create useful symptoms as necessary e.g. lust for reading certain materials, exercise, etc.

ability to create amnesia or hyper recall memory (memory palace)

ability to be in the now in slow motion

ability to enter mystical states of oneness or everything-ness and transition through the infinity loop

ability to create and radiate happiness, joy and energy

ability to avoid the DARK SIDE of hypnotic hexes, vengeance or negative energy and to recognize when others are doing such and intervene

ability to do hypnotic shamanic ceremonies to invoke sacred space

ability to intervene in disease or create disease

ability to discern the "truth" or "lies" of self and others trance states

hypnotic protection of self and others, use of attention filters

sensory awareness enhancement (Charlotte Selver) both internal and external

mastering use of breathing

peak performance, for self and others – golf example, 2 holes in one in a row

ability to direct and choose trances for self and others (magic number in psychology 87 plus or minus two)

ability to completely let go

ability to experience and create compassion through mirror neurons

ability to alter blood blow: for healing work, pain control, sex therapy

ability to have too much fun

ability to create and use posthypnotic suggestion for self and others

ability to create health through medical interventions for surgery,

psychoimmunology and general well being

ability to will to live and to enjoy life

ability to find meaning and purpose in any situation, circumstances, and life challenge

ability to control altered states of consciousness both from plant guides, extreme circumstances and as training and for emergency interventions

ability to tap into special energies

ability to erase self and know nothing and be the fool

ability to deal with death, dying, and transitions

ability to hallucinate and now what is not real simultaneously

ability for extreme selective attention

ability to shift identity, archetypes AND PERSONALITY CONSTELLLATIONS

ability to deal with change, both small and large

ability for discernment: what to pay attention and listen to

ability to keep evolving

ability to recognize that we not are the healing force, only the gateways

ability to have supreme confidence

ability to balance

ability to recognize synchronicity and act on it

ability to shift energy, both physically, metaphysically and also medically

ability to recognize when less is more (homeopathy) – see Andrew Weil, The Marriage of the Sun and Moon

ability to see through culture and its assumptions in different cultures

ability to contact the ancestors and invite their presence and wisdom

ability contact DNA wisdom and ancestral memories

ability to do fractal healing

ability to stay open and curious

(note this does not include classic hypnosis suggestions on the Stanford hypnosis scales, which are elementary)


123 - David Weinberger on Everyday Chaos & Thriving Amidst the Complexity

Ep. 123

This week we’re joined by David Weinberger, Senior Researcher at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Technology exploring the effects of technology on how we think. David’s led a fascinating and nonlinear life, studying Heiddeger as a young philosopher, working in marketing for high technology, working as a journalist, and authoring four books on technology, creativity, and knowledge. His new book, Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We're Thriving in a New World of Possibility, explores what changes for us in the age of machine learning.

I have to admit, I was worried this was going to be just another technocratic puff piece when I started. Certainly it’s a Harvard Business Review Press volume, speaking largely to a business audience; but this is a book that doesn’t flinch at the weirdness of a world in which we know things we don’t know how we know. David’s argument is for a creative embrace of the complexity and mystery that has always surrounded us – that we are in fact made of – and that is becoming much more obvious in light of superhuman but opaque machine intelligences that rehab us from the delusions of our modern pretense that the world is knowable, transparent, and controllable. But unlike the doomsayers of the AI conversation, David has an enviable peace about the fact that we never actually had a lock on what is really going on – and argues eloquently for a fresh encounter with a world of wonder, possibility, and the unknown.

David at Harvard:


David on Medium (“Machine Learning Might Render The Human Quest for Knowledge Pointless”):


With open APIs, open access journals, game modding, and other empowering information technologies, we are purposefully making the world less predictable.

Laws are not necessarily the most accurate way of describing reality.

The death knell for the theory of everything - letting go of unifying universal frameworks.

“It’s not really a three-body problem. It’s an every-body problem, because everything with gravity effects everything else.”

“Everything - EVERYTHING in our lives we basically don’t know, and can’t predict. But the picture of our lives has been, until recently, ‘It’s simple and law-like.’ The chaos, this is our lives. The laws, they are real, they are helpful, but they don’t govern as much as we like to think.”

“We think out in the world with tools. There’s no shame in this, but it does mean we’re not locked in our own heads. And now we have new tools.”

“…it depends on what you count as an explanation.”

“We need to leave room for the accidental, because that is the stuff of our lives.”

“I don’t know what a transparent algorithm is.”

Are we willing to trade a thousand auto deaths a year for the explicability of autonomous vehicle safety algorithms? Or fuel efficiency?

“An explanation is a tool. It’s not a state of the world.”

• Relatedly, we just read Liu Cixin’s The Three Body Problem in the Future Fossils Book Club:


• Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield).

• Additional Music: “Single & Feeling” by Michael Garfield.


122 - Magenta Ceiba on Regenerative Everything

Ep. 122

This week’s guest is Magenta Ceiba, Executive Creative Officer (ECO) for the Bloom Network, a worldwide constellation of regenerative design hackers working in ecology, economics, civil engineering, software design, restorative justice, organizational development, and more. Bloom is hosting Pollination, an “unconference” or immersive in-person hack-a-thon, this coming weekend in San Francisco – a place for this amazing extended international network (including you, potentially) to convene for design sprints for new practices and systems to restore the health and value of our world.

I hope you’ll treat this episode as a gateway into an amazing profusion of awesome ideas and people, just the very tip of a very deep and well-furnished rabbithole.

Here are some leads to get you started: 

• See the Pollination 2019 program on Bloom Network’s website.

(If you have friends in the Bay Area who might like to come, here’s a promo code for a $50 discount: BLOOM50 so they can join for just $195. The Bloom Network also has low income/scholarship tickets available: please fill in the form here. I am not an affiliate and get no reward from this, other than knowing that you attended and got to participate.)

Magenta’s personal website.

• Another excellent conversation with Magenta (plus copious resource links) at Abundant Edge Podcast.

• Mark Heley interviews Pollination 2019 MC (and Future Fossils guest) Maya Zuckerman.

These three quotes came in Rob Breszny’s email newsletter today and couldn’t be more appropriate:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

—Buckminster Fuller

“We have to encourage the future we want rather than trying to prevent the future we fear.”

—Bill Joy

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

—Dan Millman

Related Episodes:

Episode 46 - Magenta Ceiba’s first appearance on Future Fossils.

Episode 56 - Sophia Rohklin on the inter-relationship of ecology & economy.

Episode 61 - Jamaica Stevens on crisis, rebirth, and transformation.

Episode 98 - Decentralization Panel at Arcosanti w/ members of NuMundo Project, Unify, & The Institute of Ecotechnics.


• Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield).

• Additional Music: “Single & Feeling” by Michael Garfield.

• Episode Cover Image: Concept Art for The Fifth Sacred Thing by Jessica Perlstein.


121 - Divya M. Persaud on The Ethics of Space Exploration

Ep. 121

This week we dive into the troublesome, urgent, and underdiscussed issue of space ethics with planetary scientist and artist Divya M. Persaud. Can we transcend the traumatic conflict and exploitation that characterize human history, come together in compassionate mutual understanding and respectful discourse, and leave our children with better and more interesting problems? Or are we doomed to transmit the legacy of violence we inherited into fractured futures even more disparate, tragic, and unequal than our own time? A deep dive into the real stakes of space, and a preliminary exposition of the ethical discussions we will need to get there…

Divya’s Website:


Selected Writings:




Intro Music: Evan “Skytree” Snyder feat. Michael Garfield, “God Detector”


Outro Music: Divya M. Persaud, “Orogenesis” for Voice, Violin, Saxophone, and Piano


Additional reading on the ethics of space exploration:





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120 - Ramin Nazer on Cave Paintings for Future People

Ep. 120

This week we surf the fun-gularity with the brilliant artist, standup comic, and podcaster Ramin Nazer! This episode is significantly less a heady philosophy-of-science discussion than usual and significantly more a wank-fest of two people who love each other’s shows going on about all the mind-blowing visionary notions contained therein. Kick back, light some incense, and prepare for a juicy conversation about where we stand in the Cosmic Order and what to do with all of our creative possibility…covering everything from universal basic income to celebrity schadenfruede, visionary art and science fiction to to the psychological impact of trying to stay original in the midst of a tech singularity. If you’re anything like I am, Ramin is going to inspire the hell out of you. Enjoy…

Ramin’s Website:


Michael on Ramin’s podcast, Rainbow Brainskull:



Archan Nair, The Teafaerie, Nikola Tesla, Onyx Ashanti, King Raam, The Rock, Andrew Yang, Yuval Harari, Bill Gates, Star Trek Discovery, Charles Stross’ Accelerando & Glasshouse, Black Mirror, Esperanza Spalding, Duncan Trussell, Richard Florida, Jeff Bezos, William Irwin Thompson, Terence McKenna, John C. Wright’s Eschaton Sequence, Peter Watts’ Blindsight, Eric Wargo’s Time Loops, Colin Frangicetto, Who Built The Moon?, No Man’s Sky, An Oral History of the End of Reality, Ariana Grande, Jimi Hendrix, Amazon Alexa, Life in the Glass Age at Burning Man 2013, Dadara (Daniel Rozenberg), The Mirage Men, Jason Silva, Randal Roberts, Morgan Manley, Alex Grey, Allyson Grey, Michaelangelo, Slavoj Zizek, Marshall McLuhan, Chuck Palahniuk, Jordan Peterson, Aziz Ansari, Louis CK, Julia Cameron, Alan Shelton, Buckminster Fuller, Frank Zappa, Mortal Kombat, Roko’s Basilisk, Norman “Dr. Blue” Katz, Joe Biden, Awake Aware Alive Podcast, Expanding Mind with Erik Davis, Rak Razam, Adam Dipert, Giant Leap Dance Company, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Greg Parkins, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Weird Studies, Brave Browser

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