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FUTURE FOSSILS

It's About Time!

Provocative, profound discussions at the intersection of science, art, and philosophy with paleontologist-futurist Michael Garfield and new amazing guests each week. For anyone who digs the geeky, unconventional, free-ro... More
Latest Episode
2019-7-22

119 - Jeremy Johnson on The Integral Time of Jean Gebser

Ep. 119

“The human being is actually this kaleidoscope of different ways to relate to time and space. And to be present with it all, to be awake with it all, is what we’re doing.”


Jean Gebser mapped the mutating structures of human consciousness, the topology of mind from archaic to magic to mythic to mental to integral. His work inspired generations of inquiry by authors like William Irwin Thompson and Ken Wilber. Now Jeremy Johnson’s latest book for Revelore Press expands into the truly visionary and unique “amensional” reality that Gebser posits as the next mutation for our planetary culture.  


“We’re not just going to have an ‘archaic revival’ and dump what we’ve been doing with the nightmare of history. There’s something that’s been achieved in this kind of coalescing of the self and the emergence of spatial linear time that’s true, as well.”


“The endgame of perspectivalism and the mental world…is eventually breaking down to the point where everyone has their own little perspectival ‘reality tunnel,’ where nobody’s able to talk to one another and everybody’s in this sense of cultural warfare and fragmentation and social isolation.”


“You should know by now that things are ever-present.”


Jeremy’s Book:

https://revelore.press/product/seeing-through-the-world/


Jeremy’s Podcast:

http://www.jeremydanieljohnson.com/mutations


Discussed:

James Joyce

Marshall McLuhan

Martin Heidegger

Sri Aurobindo

Grant Morrison

Timothy Morton

Doug Rushkoff

Eugene Thacker

Graham Harman


Support the show on Patreon for an avalanche of secret episodes, writing, art, music, and the Future Fossils Book Club:

https://patreon.com/michaelgarfield

2019-7-22

119 - Jeremy Johnson on The Integral Time of Jean Gebser

Ep. 119

“The human being is actually this kaleidoscope of different ways to relate to time and space. And to be present with it all, to be awake with it all, is what we’re doing.”


Jean Gebser mapped the mutating structures of human consciousness, the topology of mind from archaic to magic to mythic to mental to integral. His work inspired generations of inquiry by authors like William Irwin Thompson and Ken Wilber. Now Jeremy Johnson’s latest book for Revelore Press expands into the truly visionary and unique “amensional” reality that Gebser posits as the next mutation for our planetary culture.  


“We’re not just going to have an ‘archaic revival’ and dump what we’ve been doing with the nightmare of history. There’s something that’s been achieved in this kind of coalescing of the self and the emergence of spatial linear time that’s true, as well.”


“The endgame of perspectivalism and the mental world…is eventually breaking down to the point where everyone has their own little perspectival ‘reality tunnel,’ where nobody’s able to talk to one another and everybody’s in this sense of cultural warfare and fragmentation and social isolation.”


“You should know by now that things are ever-present.”


Jeremy’s Book:

https://revelore.press/product/seeing-through-the-world/


Jeremy’s Podcast:

http://www.jeremydanieljohnson.com/mutations


Discussed:

James Joyce

Marshall McLuhan

Martin Heidegger

Sri Aurobindo

Grant Morrison

Timothy Morton

Doug Rushkoff

Eugene Thacker

Graham Harman


Support the show on Patreon for an avalanche of secret episodes, writing, art, music, and the Future Fossils Book Club:

https://patreon.com/michaelgarfield

2019-7-6

118 - Nathan Waters on The Future of Housing, Mobility, and Work

Ep. 118

“I want to break the idea that housing is an investment vehicle. I mean housing is a f-cking HUMAN NEED.”


This week’s guest is Australian futurist Nathan Waters, whose vision for a mobile, modular mashup of apartment living and driverless cars offers a solution to a trifecta of wicked problems in affordable housing, cost of living, and enjoyable work. We’re talking about a mature and equitable sharing economy that goes asteroid-to-dinosaurs on the exploitative systems of corporations like Uber and Airbnb…this is an episode for anyone who dreams of a fairer and funner world, a world that reconciles the yearning for flexibility and adventure with the desire for a nice place to call your own:


Nathan’s popular essay on “driverless hotel rooms”:

https://hackernoon.com/driverless-hotel-rooms-the-end-of-uber-airbnb-and-human-landlords-e39f92cf16e1?gi=cecb64856db9


Nathan’s blockchain-based skill-sharing economy website:

https://www.peerism.org/


Nathan’s futures-oriented social media channel, Futawe:

https://twitter.com/futawe?lang=en


Nathan cohosts this YouTube talkshow about the singularity, Hive45:

https://www.youtube.com/user/hive45com/videos


Somebody either ripped off his driverless hotel rooms idea or just stumbled on it independently:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2018/11/27/self-driving-hotel-room/2123668002/

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/autonomous-travel-suites/index.html


From this episode:


“A job is a terrible, terrible concept. I think of jobs as modern-day slavery. It’s a bunch of wasted mind and human capital.”


“We have material abundance because of capitalism, but now it’s almost an existential threat. And we need to transition quickly to something else.”


Most of the housing space and vehicle space we own is unused most of the time.


We can’t legislate affordable housing because the incumbent politicians are real estate speculators.


Modular hotels made of autonomous vehicle components (adding a z-axis to the not-a-trailer-park for hip young professionals).


A new resolution for our age-old dialogue between sedentary and nomadic communities, wanderers and people of place.


How to fit 9 billion people into 100K apartment buildings; see also: Paolo Soleri’s Lean Linear City.


Building a blockchain-based, decentralized skill-sharing economy.


A/B testing modular cities to find the optimum layout for human happiness.


Mark Lakeman of City Repair and restoring streets to a safe commons.


Can we handle constantly fluctuating and re-organizing architecture?


Geophysical filter bubbles.


Support Future Fossils Podcast on Patreon and get access to dozens of secret episodes, book club calls, live concert recordings, and more:

https://patreon.com/michaelgarfield 

2019-6-25

117 - Eric Wargo on Time Loops: Precognition, Retrocausation, and the Unconscious

Ep. 117

This week’s guest is Eric Wargo, author of Time Loops: Precognition, Retrocausation, and the Unconscious


Contrary to your most likely first impression based on the title of the book alone, this is a supremely carefully constructed argument that anticipates its critics, understands statistics and their abuse, appeals to our desire for simplicity in scientific explanations, and single-handedly reorganizes the entire field of parapsychological research beneath a new and rational umbrella that allows for major weirdness without sacrificing mechanistic causation or parsimony. Telepathy and spooky action at a distance, Jungian synchronicity and many worlds quantum physics all get re-evaluated under Wargo’s tesseract-brain model, in which there’s no such thing as entanglement, but living systems co-opt quantum post-selection to “steer” toward evolutionarily significant events. 


If you have ever dreamt of something that then happened in your waking life, this episode’s for you. And if you think that time’s an arrow and this all sounds like high nonsense, this episode is also for you.


I can’t possibly attempt to cover all the subjects we discuss in these two hours, but here are books and essays that we reference (some of which I haven’t read):


Eric Wargo - Time Loops

https://www.amazon.com/Time-Loops-Precognition-Retrocausation-Unconscious/dp/1938398920


J. Scott Turner - Purpose & Desire

https://www.amazon.com/Purpose-Desire-Something-Darwinism-Explain/dp/0062651560

(I have to make a personal note that without having read this book, I’ve read enough reviews to caution anyone against taking it as legitimate science. I’ve argued for the importance of beauty and desire, purpose and effort in the evolutionary process – and I’ve argued evolution in general does have a kind of direction. So I’m sympathetic to the author’s desire to re-introduce these ideas into the discussion. But from everything I can tell this particular book misrepresents evolutionary theory in its attempts to get where it wants to go, and I can’t support that.)


Paul Davies - The Goldilocks Enigma

https://www.amazon.com/The-Goldilocks-Enigma-Universe-Right/dp/0713998830%


Matthew Fox - “The Return of the Black Madonna”

http://www.matthewfox.org/blog/the-return-of-the-black-madonna-a-sign-of-our-times-or-how-the-black-madonna-is-shaking-us-up-for-the-twenty-first-century


Seth Lloyd, et al. - “The quantum mechanics of time travel through post-selected teleportation”

https://arxiv.org/abs/1007.2615


Eric Wargo - “Dream Paleontology”

http://thenightshirt.com/?p=4215


Eric Wargo - “What Lies Under The Skin”

http://thenightshirt.com/?p=3198


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

https://skytree.bandcamp.com/track/god-detector-ft-michael-garfield


Additional Music: “It All Turned Out All Right” by Michael Garfield

https://michaelgarfield.bandcamp.com/track/it-all-turned-out-all-right


Support this show on Patreon to join the book club and for secret episodes (and the last ten minutes of this conversation):

https://patreon.com/michaelgarfield

2019-6-10

116 - The Next Ten Billion Years: Ugo Bardi & John Michael Greer as read by Kevin Arthur Wohlmut

Ep. 116

This week is a watershed moment for Future Fossils Podcast: the show’s first guest host! My friend Kevin Arthur Wohlmut is an engineer who creates occasional one-shot podcasts of fiction and nonfiction, and (according to him) worries about the future too much. We met at InterPlanetary Festival last year on the visit that inspired me to move to Santa Fe, and ever since we’ve had a rich correspondence of mutual far-future fiction recommendations and armchair philosophy chats.


Kevin sent me his very cool readings of two essays with the same name, each portraying very different version of “The Next Ten Billion Years,” and both so provocative I felt like sharing them here on the show’s main feed – with my own commentary at the end, on blind spots in imagining deep time and our own psychedelically weird future.


You can find Kevin active in the Future Fossils discussion groups at Facebook and Patreon.


Professor Ugo Bardi blogs at https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com and http://chimeramyth.blogspot.com. You can read his essay here.


John Michael Greer posts longer works at https://www.ecosophia.net and shorter works at https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org. You can read his essay here.


Outro reading excerpted from Michael Garfield’s “How to Live in the Future Part 2: The Future is More of Everything.”


Cover Artwork by evolutionary robotics researcher Andrew Lincoln Nelson.


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


Additional Music: “On Higher Ground” by Michael Garfield


Additional Music by http://www.daikaiju.org & http://www.evanbrau.com

2019-6-6

115 - Eliot Peper on The History of Technology and The Future of Society

Ep. 115

Eliot Peper (Episode 47) is back on the show this week to talk about the themes around and within his Analog trilogy of very adjacent and believable sci fi novels (Bandwidth, Borderless, and the new “conclusion” Breach): that is, about the complex interactions between people and technology, both the layer cake of deep utilities we take for granted and the new affordances that disruptive tools produce – and how we shape our lives within them.


https://www.eliotpeper.com/


“One of the most fun things for me as a novelist about writing fiction is that it is very much about the questions, rather than the answers…if the answer’s obvious, I don’t need to write a book about it.”


“You can’t really tell history without the history of technology.”


“Congress writes laws about what’s going on, not what might be going on ten years from now. Policymaking is largely a reactionary measure.”


“We haven’t figured out the new societies we want to build, given the new realities we’ve already invented.”


“If you start thinking about the entire internet as an AI, then Google is not a company that is building what could be in the future some kind of AI program. Rather, Google and its status as a corporation, all of the corporate hierarchies that exist within it, and all of the people working on teams there, are actually just one part of that AI.”


“I’m not a big believer in unitary self as an idea. I think we are all made up of MANY selves. We have these competing elements within us, and part of what it means to be human is to stitch these together into a coherent narrative. And we do that on the fly all the time.”


“Your solution is going to create new problems, and the best way to best way to deal with that knowingly is to try to keep an open mind, try to maintain your beginner’s mind, maintain your state of awareness about the world and continually challenge your own assumptions.”


“We are living in an age of acceleration – and yet, we have ALWAYS been confronted by a universe that defies our limited ability to make sense of it.”


“My hope is that by using it like reasonable, mutually respectful people, we can turn the digital world into a place that is still gonna have some of the nasty stuff, but is gonna have a lot of the good stuff.”


Mentioned: Kevin Kelly, Geoffrey West, Douglas Rushkoff


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

https://skytree.bandcamp.com/track/god-detector-ft-michael-garfield


Additional Music: “On Higher Ground” by Michael Garfield

https://michaelgarfield.bandcamp.com/track/on-higher-ground


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

https://patreon.com/michaelgarfield

2019-5-30

114 - Bernie Taylor on The Prehistoric Art of El Castillo & An Ancient Hero's Journey

Ep. 114

This week’s guest is Bernie Taylor, whose novel interpretation of ancient cave paintings suggests an overlooked and deeply significant alternative take on the subjective experience and world-space of prehistoric human culture. Finding animals hidden in the interplay of paint and rock forms unnoticed by other archeologists, and corresponding with a diverse array of experts over decades (including legendary animal researcher George Gamow), he argues that these murals depict a heroic journey across continents, the crossing of the Iberian Peninsula, an ancient rite of passage coded in time and story that, if accepted by the scholarly community, would transform our understanding of our ancestors.


Bernie’s Website: beforeorion.com


We Discuss:


• How Bernie noticed an entire parade of African and European animals in the El Castillo’s Cave of Disks that no one had seen before;

• The ancient animal versions of the constellations that became the modern ones (crocodile > Draco, great auk > Cygnus, etc.);

• The prehistoric origins of the Twelve Trials of Hercules and the origins of the monster from misinterpreted shamanic lore;

• Did the ancients really use cave art to track the precession of the equinoxes?

• How Bernie reconstructed the ancients’ mapping of the annual calendar to various animal life cycle markers and visible stars;

• Was the El Castillo mural testing for the ability to find hidden images - evidence of a shamanic apprentice’s ability to think differently?

• The role of neurodiversity in prehistoric AND modern human society, and how that may relate to the function, not dysfunction, of dyslexia and autism;

• How this initiatic journey is the earliest record we have of the heroic monomyth, which modern secular artists like Billy Joel continue to express even without knowing why these archetypes persist in human dream and story;

• What we might learn from these ancient stories, and the minds of those who made them, to inform our strategies for an(other) era of massive change on Earth;

“Modern art isn’t even modern art. It’s a recreation of paleolithic art.”


Future Fossils theme music: “God Detector” by Skytree (ft. Michael Garfield)


Additional music: "On Higher Ground" by Michael Garfield


Join the Future Fossils Book Club and get secret episodes, free art and music, and more: Patreon.com/MichaelGarfield

2019-5-22

113 - Sean Esbjörn-Hargens on Exostudies: Philosophical Explorations of the UFO Phenomenon

Ep. 113

My graduate advisor Sean Esbjörn-Hargens is one of the most consistently inspiring and refreshingly different thinkers I’ve ever met. In our first Future Fossils conversation, we discussed his work to apply a profoundly “meta” and pluralistic philosophy to the everyday work of organizational development and social impact. In this discussion, we turn over the rock and examine his decades of inquiry into some of the world’s most puzzling and confounding phenomena – namely, those surrounding the UFO and its aura of science-challenging incursions into mundane reality. 


Might “Exostudies” be the locus of a transformation in how we understand reality? This is not your normal New Age conversation about aliens, but a rigorous look into the persistent weirdness and problematic implications of one of humankind’s greatest mysteries. As Phil Dick famously said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” If UFOs are here to stay – with all of their attendant provocations to our oversimple categories (self and other, artificial and natural, hallucination and perception, physical and immaterial) – then we are overdue for a new definition of “reality.” In preparation for his Exostudies online course this fall, we look at how to make sense of the stubbornly ineffable – an evolutionary call to take up higher-dimensional logic and more nuanced understandings of What Is…


http://www.exostudies.org/


“When you go into the UFO field, at least with an open heart and mind, you come across some really crazy shit. It is a freakshow. There are so many bizarre claims being made by standup citizens who are quite believable in what they are saying, even though what they’re saying just does not map onto our general view of reality.”


“The truth is stranger than science fiction. Not just fiction, but science fiction.”


“The phenomenon is subjective and objective; it’s subjective and objective simultaneously; and it’s neither. So I think what it’s asking us is to re-examine the relationship between mind and matter, and how do we relate to subject and object, and how has our current scientific methodology failed us horribly in having a more sophisticated answer or framing or understanding of how these two aspects are related.”


“There are really good, legitimate photographs, and trace evidence, and all kinds of physical evidence for UFO craft and other otherworldly realities…and yet, there are so many fakes. And how do you sift through all that? You almost can’t.”


“We’re entering into an augmented and virtual space that’s going to be ontologically fragmented, and highly pluralistic, and solipsistic. So how do we navigate that culturally? I don’t know, but I think we’re largely unprepared.”


“We’re not that far from discovering some form of mini-life elsewhere. And as soon as that happens, then the floodgates are going to open in considering the implications of that.”


“So many UFO or ET enthusiasts often want to put everything in one box, like ‘they’re all bad,’ ‘they’re all good,’ ‘they’re all future versions of ourselves.’ I think it’s much messier than that.”


“I think one of the core strategies is hermeneutic generosity. A sense of critical thinking, but from a place of generosity, where we stay open. Postmodernism has been so jaded – the hermeneutics of suspicion – I think when we approach these phenomena, we need a different orientation.”


“To really bring any kind of justice to this inquiry, we need to draw on the best thinking from as many kinds of disciplines as we can – because the phenomenon is that big, and that mysterious, and that paradoxical. So anything short of a meta, integrative approach – and even that – is going to fail.”


Mentioned:

Diana Slattery, John Mack, Avi Loeb, Ken Wilber, Jeff Kripal, Whitley Strieber, Arthur Brock, George Knapp, John C. Wright, Olaf Stapledon, Stuart Davis, Jeff Salzman, Richard Doyle, Carl Jung, Terence McKenna, William Irwin Thompson, DW Pasulka, Eric Wargo, Jacques Vallee


Sean’s appearance on the Daily Evolver Podcast:

https://www.dailyevolver.com/2019/02/taking-aliens-seriously/


If you liked this episode, check out Episodes 60 & Episode 91:

https://shows.pippa.io/futurefossils/episodes/60

https://shows.pippa.io/futurefossils/episodes/91