Technological Resurrection by Jonathan Jones Reviewed

 

 

 

And when we die, they pull our minds through a wormhole in space-time and put us into an awesome brand new body in this ‘heaven’.

 

Review by Giulio Prisco

The recently published book “Technological Resurrection: A Thought Experiment,” by Jonathan Jones, is a little gem. It only costs $1.26, and provides a short and readable first introduction to ideas on technological resurrection.

If you value hours of informative, thought provoking and entertaining reading more than $1.26, buy the book now. It’s so refreshing being able to pay a small sum to a deserving writer, instead of downloading a pirated version of one of those expensive books.

The idea behind technological resurrection is that we’ll all be resurrected — copied to the future — by future hyper-advanced technology based on quantum weirdness, time scanning, wormholes, and whatnot.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept and want to find out more, perhaps because you are looking for scientifically believable alternatives or complements to traditional religion, then this book has been written for you.

In my favorite passage, Jones mentions “Nothingness” as a possible answer to the question of what comes after death, but quickly dismisses the possibility because it tastes like tofu: “We’re told that it’s the most sensible, best option. And it will be good for us. But what’s the point of life, we keep asking ourselves, if all we ever get to eat is tofu?”

I interpret this as a perfect reply to the “cultural” thought police and the bureaucrats of philosophy who want to eliminate what remains of spiritual imagination and hope. Screw tofu, I want pizza. And ribs. And a beer.

Temporal resurrection

Jones’ much better answer, inspired by Nikolai Fedorov and the Russian Cosmists, is very similar to mine: We will be resurrected by future humans by means of science and technology. Technological resurrection works like this:

  • Step 1, looking back through time using some future technology built on quantum weirdness;
  • Step 2, using the information retrieved from the past to “print” a copy of your body and mind;
  • Step 3, retrieving your consciousness from the past; and finally
  • Step 4, inserting your consciousness into your new body.

Simple, isn’t it? Well, perhaps not that simple, but super-intelligent AIs will be there to help.

Most technological resurrection procedures that have been imagined based on this “uploading to the future” concept stop at step 2. If your mind is there in the future, what more can you want? Our grandchildren could even skip printing a physical body/brain and insert your mind into a new robotic body, or a software “body” in a virtual world. Read more “Technological Resurrection by Jonathan Jones Reviewed”

Is Change Good? An Interview with Former Wired Magazine Publisher Louis Rossetto

 

The change has become so complex that it can only be perceived incompletely and then only fleetingly in the quicksilver shimmering pulse of electrons across the consciousness of the hive mind.

 

Louis Rossetto, former Publisher of Wired magazine, and Erik Spiekermann have a successful Kickstarter project — a novel and “a revolution in book printing” titled Change Is Good. According to their Kickstarter site, “Every generation has its creation myth. This is the creation myth of the Digital Generation. A novel about the Digital Revolution, written by Louis Rossetto, co-founder of Wired.” It also promises “A masterpiece of the printer’s art —published by design legend Erik Spiekermann and printed on his own classic Heidelberg letterpress… The proof of concept for a revolution in letterpress printing: Post Digital Printing.” And the thing that really caught my eye (thanks to Eve) is the claim of Post Digital Printing that marries the advances of modern typography & design with the quality & artisanship of letterpress. I liked that they were marrying this artisanal approach to the “edgy” Wired mythology. Erik is even making a customized ink from scratch. 

“What,” you ask? Louis Rossetto, father of Wired, on the MONDO website? Sure. I’ve had my criticisms of Wired over the years, but Louis and his partner Jane Metcalfe (who has her own new project, Neo.Life) have remained friends and they’ve always got some cool stuff going on. Hell, even their chocolates are good.

Kickstarter page

Read On!

 

Why a novel?

LR: With fiction, you can often tell more truth than non-fiction.

When you say change is good, some change isn’t good… or hasn’t been good in the past. What change are you talking about and why is it good?

LR: “Change is good” is what we used to say all the time in the face of the resistance all of us used to get from the status quo. We joked that the only story the New York Times would write about the Digital Revolution was “Internet, Threat or Menace.” It was also a way to keep the disruption moving. If you overthought it, you might falter, or you might miss it. It was a big wave. Had to stay on top. Or if you don’t like that metaphor, there was always Stewart’s: You were either part of the steamroller, or you were part of the road.” But whether change is really good — that’s a question the book tries to address.

I’m intrigued by the classical craftsperson-like choice to use specialized ink and letterpress. Please ell us more about what you guys are doing with that. Is this a mix of the archaic and the novel? 

LR: Erik, I’m sure would have his own — and better — answers.

As for me, my father was a mechanical engineer, worked at Merghenthaler Linotype making hot metal machines — the first breakthrough in letterpress back in the late nineteenth century. Even though he ended his career building computers into his heavy machinery, he was really an atoms guy. How I grew up. Then I became a writer, editor, media guy, web adventurer — my life became increasingly ephemeral, from atoms to bits (pace Nicholas). And then after Wired, I helped start a chocolate company, and suddenly I was confronted with the hard world of atoms again. Chocolate may be based on formulas and scientific abstractions, but when you’re making it, it’s nothing but big machinery, bags of beans, supply chains based on fucking steamships that straddle the globe, and ultimately farmers who are planting, harvesting, and fermenting beans. All to make a slab of atoms that you can only really experience by putting on your tongue.

In other words, I was again immersed in sensuality. And ultimately, that’s what print and paper are about. Screens might have resolution higher than paper at this point, but the experience of using them is not the same. Screens emit, paper reflects — catches the light, which changes as you hold it, changes color depending on the time of day, the source of light. Paper engages more senses — touch, it’s smooth or rough or slick, it’s thin or thick. It smells — the inks, the paper, the glue all have their own subtle yet distinctive odors. Print has a visible past and future, not just a present like the screen; with paper, you can see and feel what you’ve read, what’s to come. I guess you can also hear paper. It rustles or rips. Probably the only thing you don’t do is taste it.

One of the reasons I loved Wired, the magazine, was we tried to push what we could do with print. The press we printed on, we were lucky, was a brand spanking new, state-of-the-art Heidelberg six color press. We were literally the first clients to print on it. Offset is normally four color, CMYK. Six colors means you have two more ink towers you can play with. That’s partially why Wired looked the way it did — we put fluorescents or metallics or double hits of blacks on those extra two towers, and the mag would have colors literally no other magazine was using. We were also on the leading edge of digital production. We used a $100K Kodak proofer at the printer that could not only show us what our pages would look like, but actually replicate the dot gain we would get from the screens we were using on press. So we really knew what a page would look like as we were designing it. We were among the first to go direct-to-plate.

Letterpress has made an artisan revival, because it delivers on the premise of print and paper… the letters being pressed ever so slightly into the paper, creating a well which catches the light, making the page subliminally alive as you move it.

Read more “Is Change Good? An Interview with Former Wired Magazine Publisher Louis Rossetto”

There’s Just A Tiny Infection Between Any Of Us And Batshit Crazy

 

…in combination with species-wide genetic predispositions, bad memes, weird imprints and raging hormones make the possibility of ever having an actual “age of reason” about as likely as Donald Trump suddenly explaining Kierkegaard’s stage theory to Aubrey O’Day.

In an interview that former MONDO 2000 Editor St. Jude Milhon conducted with Richard Preson for Thresher, Preston dropped a bit of knowledge that has always stuck in my head. The conversation was dedicated to the possibilities for bioterror just prior to 9/11. In it, Preston said, “Martin Hugh-Jones told me that his all-time favorite bioweapon is Brucella. It’s a bacterium that gives you a subtle long-term brain infection that changes your personality for the worse. That happens after you’ve received antibiotics that don’t completely wipe out the Brucella in your brain but make you think you’re cured.” The organism makes you prone to irrational rages and it also confuses your judgment. “And the best part of it,” he said to me, “is that you don’t know you’re going mental! Imagine the effects of this on a group of generals and leaders trying to run a war!”

A brief googling found no discussion of any relationship between Brucellosis and human behavior, but I’m going to run with it since I’m probably infected with Brucella and that makes my judgment is poor.

Now, dig this… from Wikipedia. “It is transmitted by ingesting infected food, direct contact with an infected animal, or inhalation of aerosols; also by consumption of unpasteurized milk products.” So I’mm thinking less about some nefarious terrorists than the avenues via which Brucella may be making everybody even crazier than usual (or haven’t you noticed?).

For starters, we’re hearing ever more about the distribution of infected meat as the result of careless factory farming and I suspect that what we know is just the tip of the iceberg. Pink slime sounds like a Brucella factory to me. Regarding direct contact with animals… who has lots of direct contact with lots of animals? Ted Nugent! and the people in the heart of the heartland of America — the sort of people who voted for Wacky President. I rest my case. And who drinks lots of unpasteurized milk? The very sort of people who avoid factory farm-infected meat. Hah! We’ve hit all the major population centers. Operation Zombie Apocalypse complete!

As I was wistfully imagining the scenarios that are likely to occur as people become even more rage-filled and irrational (It seems to crop up lately on airplanes. Apparently, the Postal Service has been displaced as a major vector for Brucellosis.), I happened to go onto facebook where someone had posted a link to this summation of a Scientific American article from 2008 titled “Mind Infected with Insanity: Could Microbes Cause Mental Illness?”

The culprit here is not Brucella but — among other things — the effect of prenatal influenza on children.

I imagine that the list goes on and that there are all sorts of invasive physiological factors that — in combination with species-wide genetic predispositions, bad memes, weird imprints and raging hormones make the possibility of ever having an actual “age of reason” about as likely as Donald Trump (ed: this was originally written in 2012. Brucella makes you a crazy visionary) suddenly explaining Kierkegaard’s stage theory to Aubrey O’Day.

In conclusion, let me make it clear that — although this slight meditation is build on the flimsiest of substance — you can in no way trust your mental ability to judge it as anything less than the most important thing you will read today.

The Invention of Reality Hackers – A “Mutazine” (1988)

Something was starting to surface. Several small subcultures were drifting together, and some of these esoteric groupings included those who were creating the next economy. Clearly, we were positioned to become the magazine of a slow baking gestalt.

 

From Freaks In The Machine: MONDO 2000 in Late 20th Century Tech Culture

by R.U. Sirius

Some time in 1988, we made a rash decision. Despite High Frontiers relatively successful rise within the ‘zine scene (where 18,000 in sales was solid), we decided to change the name of the magazine itself to Reality Hackers.

It was my idea.

We’d been hipped to cyberpunk SF and I’d read Gibson’s Neuromancer and Sterling’s Mirrorshades collection. Sterling’s famous introduction for that book, describing what cyberpunk was doing in fiction — seemed to express precisely what a truly contemporary transmutational magazine should be about. Here are some parts of it:

“The term, (cyberpunk) captures something crucial to the work of these writers, something crucial to the decade as a whole: a new kind of integration. The overlapping of worlds that were formerly separate: the realm of high tech, and the modern pop underground.

“This integration has become our decade’s crucial source of cultural energy. The work of the cyberpunks is paralleled throughout the Eighties pop culture: in rock video; in the hacker underground; in the jarring street tech of hip hop and scratch music; in the synthesizer rock of London and Tokyo. This phenomenon, this dynamic, has a global range; cyberpunk is its literary incarnation…

An unholy alliance of the technical world and the world of organized dissent — the underground world of pop culture, visionary fluidity, and street-level anarchy…

For the cyberpunks… technology is visceral. It is not the bottled genie of remote Big Science boffins; it is pervasive, utterly intimate. Not outside us, but next to us. Under our skin; often, inside our minds.

Certain central themes spring up repeatedly in cyberpunk. The theme of body invasion: prosthetic limbs, implanted circuitry, cosmetic surgery, genetic alteration. The even more powerful theme of mind invasion: brain-computer interfaces, artificial intelligence, neurochemistry — techniques radically redefining — the nature of humanity, the nature of the self. Read more “The Invention of Reality Hackers – A “Mutazine” (1988)”

Who Made The Nazis… Cry?

“If they knew something about human evolution, they’d know that everyone’s earliest human ancestors were African. They’d know that our skin color is a statistically arbitrary outcome of lots of genes cooperating to express themselves.

by Woody Evans

How to respond to the Nazis?  They have rebranded, they are active, and they are moving into our civic spaces. They are recruiting.

My place of employment was recently vandalized with Nazi propaganda — stickers and posters glued onto windows and recycling bins directing folk (or what they might think of as some kind of volk) to join their little shops of terror. I won’t mention the particular flavor of Nazi (the attention might only encourage them), but it was a small outfit (only 22 Twitter followers), and they seem to have struck in the dead of night.

Imagine a half a dozen young white boys crunk up on Monster energy drinks and vandalizing property in the middle of the night. What might be their aims?  What might they be trying to avoid?

First, they are young and inexperienced (or, if aged, immature). They likely haven’t travelled. Perhaps they only socialize with other kids in the “Youth Ministry” of their conservative megachurches. They don’t know much about people who seem different from them, and they’re not yet interested in getting to know others. They claim to be working and fighting for their “culture” and their “history”, but they really don’t know all that much about geography, they don’t know languages, and they don’t know their own genealogies.

Santa Claus was from Turkey, Et Cetera

Jolly ol’ St. Nick

If they knew something about history, they’d know that America was Spanish before it was French, French before it was English, and that North America was dominated by the “Paleo-Indian” Clovis peoples and their variants and descendants for some 13,000 years before the Spanish showed up. There is no basis for a Nazi claim to America as an historical ethno-nation for whites. Europeans crashed this party late.

If they knew something about human evolution, they’d know that everyone’s earliest human ancestors were African. They’d know that our skin color is a statistically arbitrary outcome of lots of genes cooperating to express themselves. If they knew their own genealogies, they would have to square their whispered family stories of a darkly complexioned great-great-great grandmother with the fact that American whites are actually pretty genetically diverse — as are all Americans. Read more “Who Made The Nazis… Cry?”

Steal This Singularity Part 1 (2012)

 

To wit: the clever, logical, programming/engineering monkey-mind should not be allowed to instantiate its limited idea of humanity, the universe and everything, on… well… humanity, the universe and everything.

by R.U. Sirius

It was at the end of the first day of the Singularity Summit 2012 when Ben Popper — the dude from The Verge who I’d spoken to by phone approached. “What do you think?” he asked. It’s been pretty interesting, I responded earnestly.

The absence of a superlative was perhaps telling, but I was not in the mood to think on it more deeply. Ben agreed. And then Eve and I made a wrong turn heading back to the North Bay and we found ourselves moving at a crawl through Chinatown.

Chinatown was throbbing with biological life of the human sort. Old Chinese women were inspecting vegetables on display outside of stores. A group of older men stood on a street corner just hanging out and talking.  The streets were packed to overflow with people going about their early Saturday evening activities.  I don’t think I saw anybody smiling, but I had the sense that people were enjoying their familiar activities.

Once home, I decided to finally watch I’m Still Here, the Casey Affleck film documenting Joaquin Phoenix supposed attempt to leave behind his acting career to become a rap star. Fat; with long uncombed hair and scraggly beard, dressed like a particularly disheveled street person — throughout the film, Phoenix, along with some of his handlers, displays a full repertoire of coarse, vulgar, moronic human behaviors as he tries to pursue his new career. He also appears in onstage performances, rapping… badly. Various media commentators suspect that it’s a hoax, but Phoenix remains in character. He puts Ben Stiller — trying to get Phoenix to consider a script — through the ringer. He acts pathetic and nuts in a famous Letterman appearance. He’s trying to get Sean Combs to produce a rap album for him.

Watching this film… unsure myself whether the whole thing was a bit of Andy Kaufman-like performance art; a genuine descent into madness; or both (I was leaning towards both) and seeing how the various players tried to navigate how to respond given that they were experiencing the same uncertainty that I was — I was struck by the wheels-within-wheels-within-wheels multiple strange loopy character of the thing that I was not only witnessing but participating in by being engaged in confusion.  And I was struck by how many layers of uncertainly could emerge out of very stupid behaviors… behaviors, incidentally, that would likely hold little interest to a proper singularitarian; and all of it done for absolutely no rational purpose other than to fuck with people’s heads. For what? To improve them? To teach them something? No. Just to see what happens. Read more “Steal This Singularity Part 1 (2012)”

Of Watling Street and Communicating with Places — It’s Time To Take The Road Less Travelled… Even If It’s the Street Where You Already Live

 

People already communicate with places. The slow pace we take around cemeteries says something about our relationship with the space… We are responding to gravestones and other contextual markers, and they change our behaviour.

 

By Adrian Reynolds

I’d been hearing stories about Lenny Darnell and his Amazon adventures for a while, always at second hand. It wasn’t until I met the American a few years ago at an event in Edinburgh that I got to hear directly about just what he was doing and discovering. And it’s only now that I’m able to put Darnell’s experiences in the context of the new book by John Higgs. Watling Street explores Britain, and Britishness, taking in mythology, folk history, and personal journeys — a long way from the jungles of South America, but touched by its own quiet magic and feel for the authentic as surely as Lenny’s escapade.

Some of you won’t believe what follows, and that’s fine. I’m just here to relate what the affable Mr Darnell described in a straightforward style one Scottish Saturday afternoon. In the course of his adventures, celebrated pianist Lenny came to be a business consultant who as well as being active in his local community became a member of an Amazon tribe. He lived with them not as an anthropologist, but as one of the group, and part of his interest was in how that tribe got its knowledge of the rainforest they lived in.

It was an answer that perplexed Lenny. Asking the forest? What does that even mean? Do those words even describe a recognizable behaviour?

Lenny spoke to a tribal shaman, and asked how he knew what plants would be of benefit to a person with a particular sickness. He was asking in part to discover if that knowledge was handed down, since that would suggest over several generations that information would dwindle because of the human tendency to forget. Instead the shaman told Lenny — as if it was the most straightforward thing in the world — that when he wanted that kind of knowledge he would ask the forest. It was an answer that perplexed Lenny. Asking the forest? What does that even mean? Do those words even describe a recognizable behaviour?

In chapter 5 of Watling Street, John Higgs relates that London poet and playwright called John Constable was faced with something similarly perplexing –— he’d taken a long walk around roads he didn’t know in the area of an ancient burial site known as Cross Bones. Next morning, he awoke to find he’d written a long rhyming poem from the viewpoint of a medieval prostitute. Where had the words come from, in a form he’d not written before?

The easy thing to do when you mention Amazon shamen and London poets in contexts like this is to suggest that weird substances may have shaped their perceptions. One of the things Darnell discovered was that regardless of the use of psychedelics such as ayahuasca, everyday consciousness as experienced in the tribe was different from what he knew as an American citizen. And the poet John Constable admitted LSD use. Which is handy for anyone looking to dismiss the experiences of either.

Only… Read more “Of Watling Street and Communicating with Places — It’s Time To Take The Road Less Travelled… Even If It’s the Street Where You Already Live”

R.U. a Cyberpunk? Well? R.U? … Punk

 

did we really know anybody who would stand up in leather pants and shout, “I am a cyberpunk?

by R.U. Sirius

 

Every few months the net goes gaga for someone publishing the off-the-cuff “R.U. A Cyberpunk” parody from a 1993 edition of MONDO 2000.

Oh well. Glib amusement and fast attention rules, so I may as well go with it.

When we called the first edition of MONDO 2000 the cyberpunk issue, I don’t think we really had a persona in mind (although Larry Welz did present Cherry Poptart‘s friend Elle Dee as a cyberpunk in that issue).  Rather, I think we saw it as a sort of memeplex that would be pretty well expressed not only by interviewing 4 SF writers who were identified with the C-Punk genre (and I don’t think they actually called themselves cyberpunks — maybe some of them were happy to call themselves cyberpunk writers John Shirley, maybe?); by interviewing the guys behind Max Headroom, by hipping people to Processed World and the latest from the Subgenius; by having mysterious articles on wicked computer hacks by “Lady Ada Lovelace” and “Michael Synergy.”

But did we really know anybody who would stand up in leather pants and shout, “I am a cyberpunk?” I think maybe Michael Synergy was the only one in our circle who embraced the identity. Outside of Synergy, I don’t remember any of the outlaw type hackers we had the occasion to interview or hang out with adopting the ID. Read more “R.U. a Cyberpunk? Well? R.U? … Punk”

Hurricane Harvey & the Blue Shed of Hope

He ejaculates tornadoes for breakfast; he taught Obama to surf

 

by Michael Pinchera 

As Emmy-award-winner and professional storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski shared the chaos and excitement of Hurricane Harvey’s Aug. 25 landfall on the Texas coast through his Periscope stream, memes were born.

The first meme saw Jeff immortalized as a super-powerful, all-knowing and benevolent god among men. Any exaggerated, smartass comment of strength that previously could be attributed to martial artist and mullet-headed ranger Chuck Norris was now an achievement of Jeff. (“Jeff pardoned the hurricane.”) All weekend long, no Periscope comment stream was spared the undying adoration of Jeff.. .it didn’t matter if the video was of rising flood waters narrated by a septuagenarian on a bicycle who was risking his life to share the tragic scenes in Houston or that of a Baltimore #cashmeoutside clone smoking a poorly rolled blunt and verbally assaulting her viewers. Jeff was everywhere. And Jeff is great, and I obviously spent too much time watching his stream as the disaster unfolded, but in those wet, sometimes horizontal, sometimes vertical transmissions I found meaning through an unexpected star.

With the hurricane’s eye wall getting closer, Jeff, along with some of his TwisterChasers.com crew found cover at Island Car Wash (2019 Highway 35 N, Rockport, Texas), a self-serve car wash (or “worsh” after the word escapes from Jeff’s Oklahoma-accented maw, all praise be onto Jeff) complete with a small, ancillary, tropical-blue out-building.

Camera facing forward through the car’s windshield, the square structure known as “ole blue” and then “blue shed” occupied the left side of the screen as rain and debris shuttled back and forth like white noise. #blueshed was born on Twitter at 7:17 p.m. via Logan Johnson — a hashtag that certainly first saw light moments earlier in the overly aroused Periscope commentary.

(“Everything is disintegrating!”). As the office buildings and strip mall businesses around Jeff met a twisted, violent end at 145 mph, #blueshed remained standing

Read more “Hurricane Harvey & the Blue Shed of Hope”

The Night of the 5-MEO DMT Assassin (From Freaks in The Machine)

Feeling like a cosmic assassin on a mission to blow away everyone’s last shred of attachment to any and all social constructs, I set out with my pipe and my bundle.

Another segment from Freaks in the Machine: MONDO 2000 in 20th Century Tech Culture

R.U. Sirius

One fine Sunday, we had a party — it may have been for the release of one of our newsletters — and it was possibly the biggest we’d ever had. The backyard at Quail House looked almost like a small rock festival as attendees found their spots and, no doubt, dosed themselves with favorite hallucinogens.

I had just received a fairly large bundle of 5-meo-dmt, a substance similar to DMT (and the stuff that Queen Mu had discovered was in a certain type of toad venom) — but unlike DMT, a full dose was 5 instead of 35 milligrams. The experience was perhaps even more intense, but rather than entering a colorful infinitely-dimensional funhouse filled with elves and clowns, some of whom may try to convey a message, 5-meo put you into something very much like that tunnel heading towards the white light reported by so many who had been pulled back from death.

I must have been bored, because as the sun was starting to set — and after smoking a double dose — I decided to turn on every person there.

Feeling like a cosmic assassin on a mission to blow away everyone’s last shred of attachment to any and all social constructs, I set out with my pipe and my bundle.

Most of the attendees — veteran trekkers all — accepted my kind invitation and took their journey beyond the veil with aplomb.  Every once in awhile, I would do unto myself as I was doing unto others.  A few partiers rolled around on the ground in fear or clutched my arm tightly while I reassured them that they weren’t actually dead.

Finally, I entered the final room of the house, where some boys — I’d estimate they were in their late teens — were hanging.  Boy One took his dose and settled back calmly into the void. Boy Two, same thing.  I came to Boy Three, the night’s final target. A big dude with a punkish shock of spikey blonde hair. He took his big hit and, unlike most, he didn’t close his eyes.  He stared out at me in terror. His head jerked back and forth. I was ready for him to go totally Linda Blair on me.  Well, his head didn’t spin around in a complete circle, but he did projectile vomit (it wasn’t green). And then he laughed. He blinked a few times. And then he looked at me… “Dude, that was fucking awesome!”