You may have noticed it’s been quiet on the blog since the summer. I prepared a couple of in-depth presentations, one on gamified smart cities for a conference in Tucson in June and another on nanotechnology, defense contracting, and programmable matter the following month in Utica. Then I hit a wall. I’m in the process of trying to climb over it. The purpose of this post is to give you a glimpse of where I’ve been, and where I see things going for me over the winter.
In the months immediately after the pandemic was declared, I felt driven to share research I’d assembled over the course of about five years on digital identity and social impact investing as most people were narrowly focused on health concerns. I knew augmented / extended / mixed reality was coming along with behavioral nudges, and that biometric identity was needed to scale social impact investing and human capital futures markets.
Starting last spring, I put out a lot of content out on my blog and YouTube channel, which is not monetized. I am fortunate that at this point I can self-fund my research. Not everyone is in my position, so I’d like take a moment to put in plugs for Jason Bosch and Raul Diego, two friends and colleagues whose creativity, intellect, and bodies of work I very much value and respect. If you have an affinity for the work I do and are in a position to make a contribution, I invite you to direct it to them, or my friend Chas Jewett a Lakota water protector. Jason is going to be working on a film using footage from our interviews. Raul is building out an amazing website called Silicon Icarus that digs into topics around blockchain and digital enclosures that many alt media personalities are still loath to touch. I set up a “support” page on my blog with their particulars. You can access it here.
I covered a lot of ground that first year, applying the social impact finance lens to everything from World Bank pandemic bonds and smart textiles to gamified food assistance and Cardano’s blockchaining of Ethiopia’s children. For a while I thought I was making progress and finding community. Now, I’m not so sure. To be perfectly honest, it feels like the information I’ve been attempting to share is just adding to the static that pervades the social media sphere. Either my signal is getting jammed, or there are few receivers tuning in.
Over time I began to discern a complex landscape of information warfare – layers of managed narrative, shock and awe, attention misdirection, group think, and media celebrity culture. Navigating betrayed friendships and negative experiences with certain influencers and their followers left me feeling emotionally spent and needing to reevaluate where to put my energy. Why exactly am I doing this work, especially since my loved ones have started to resent the hours I put into it?
Is it for “the movement?” Well, I never signed up for any “movement,” though there are some who continue assert that my decision not to fall in line with the crypto-blockchain media narrative has somehow undermined their idealized “unified front.” I admit that being an anti-capitalist, terrain-theory leaning, semi-luddite, blockchain skeptic, keeper of natural life, who attempts to center Indigenous worldview and the Doctrine of Domination has put me on the margins of resistance culture. I’m ok with that.
At the end of the day, we’re all trying to figure out a story we’re comfortable living in – one that offers us hope and healing, a sense of purpose with a measure of camaraderie, if we’re lucky. Gifted dandelions and botanicals arriving by post carried me through the warm season. A big hug and thanks sent out to everyone for their support. I offered quiet interventions where tentacles of the militarized Metaverse had taken hold or in places where wounds needed to be acknowledged. Along with highly publicized rallies and videos with tens of thousands of views, I feel these small acts, and the internal work and realizations behind them, also have the potential to be transformative.
We are living through a time of profound social reckoning. Much of the work that needs to be done is internal, and it’s admittedly challenging to do it in environments besieged by frequencies and engineered nanoparticles. As I type this my ears are ringing. We have more and more 5G small cell installations even as my connectivity gets worse. Brain fog is real, as is pervasive, low-level anxiety. We’re in a struggle for soul, spirit, and consciousness. Just when we need stability most, we realize many of our cultural anchors were actually shallow rooted myths, dangerously eroded by decades of psychological and economic warfare. We are adrift in swirling debris of what we thought the world was, trying to figure out what comes next.
Amid the flotsam and jetsam our task is to find a way forward; and yet it is a slog. Twenty-one months and counting IS a marathon. Over the past few months I admit my energy has evaporated. I am trying to figure out life outside the career I had for seventeen years. I am feeling increasingly disconnected from time and place – fighting the Metaverse, but also being pulled into it. The initial excitement of adding my two cents to the conversation has faded. Many predictions I made back in March and April of 2020 have started coming to fruition and are finally acceptable for bigger outlets to start talking about. These developments continue to be presented in a piecemeal fashion, often missing important context.
I have to practice letting all of that go.
As my friend Cliff says you cannot change anyone’s mind. You put your intentions out into the world, and the intercessors take them where they need to go. Our assignment, if we choose to embrace it, is to progress towards becoming coherent thinking human beings who can bear witness to and refute the misguided attempts made by predator energy mining interests to hijack all of natural life on our watch. It helps to remember that our essence is and has always been safe in a valley of love that lies beyond the limits of our current sensed reality. I keep having to remind myself of that.
In October I had the chance to spend a restorative week with two of my favorite people – Lynn Davenport of the Social Impact Podcast and Jason Bosch of Argusfest. We crashed the Texas Blockchain summit and filmed site visits at over two dozen locations around Austin and Houston. You can check out our fieldwork here.
When I got to Dallas Lynn and I paid a visit to Pegasus Park, a new biotech / social impact incubator set up on the former Zales Diamond / Mobil-Exxon property that had been featured in the dystopian 1976 film “Logan’s Run.” We wandered around a construction zone that looked much fancier in the architectural renderings than it did in person. Being a water person, I was drawn down to a walkway along a flood zone at the base of the main building. The “park,” if you could call it that, had seen better days. The pavement was buckling under tree roots and the retaining walls of brown 1970s brick were cracked and tilted. The stream and pond next to the highway was full of duckweed and tires, but that didn’t seem to be a deterrent for a few local fishermen who had pulled up after work.
As we were strolling back to the car, I looked down to see what I thought at first was a giant cricket. I stopped and bent down to look more closely and realized it was a dead crayfish that must have washed up the walkway during a storm. I hadn’t seen a crayfish up close since I was a little kid and a bunch of us used to hang out after school at a creek on the outskirts of the development where we lived.
Well, the last time Lynn and I had been doing fieldwork in Dallas, we’d seen a live beaver on the side of a suburban boulevard, which we took to be a sign. Beavers represent teamwork, diligence, and transformational potential, which felt was very much in keeping with how we approached our work. I looked up the significance of a crayfish. According to Chickasaw tradition, the crayfish played a central role in creating the Earth, which was at first only water. See? Another transformative character. The crayfish diligently made many, many trips bringing claw-fuls of mud up from the bottom of the sea to create a landmass that would become the earth. That mud ball was then contoured with valleys and mountains by the flapping wings of the raven. I also learned that a crayfish appears on the moon tarot card and speaks to leaning into one’s inner guidance while navigating distractions and uncertainty in the journey of progressing towards one’s higher purpose. Sounds about right.
When I got home, I felt it was time to start writing again, but writer’s block is a bear. I need to break my mind out of the Twitter-verse rut. It’s fascinating and scary to see how my cognitive apparatus has been re-engineered by these technologies. I didn’t want to cover the same ground as I had before. That’s not what lights me up, keeps me curious. I asked my friend Raul for some thoughts about what might be a good direction. He suggested drawing on my background in art history, which felt like a good idea as I’d just finished a pretty cool project investigating Diego Rivera’s frescoes, in particular the vaccination panel at the Detroit Institute of Art.
Art and Dallas – two topics came to mind. The first was the neon Pegasus sign, a symbol of the city that Lynn talks about a lot. The original spun on the top of the Magnolia Hotel downtown for decades, a 40-foot glowing red beacon that later became the logo for Mobil Oil. The second was Robert Malina, a professor at UT Dallas in the ATEC program – Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication and son of rocketry pioneer and kinetic artist Frank Malina. Art, imagination, and creativity must be contained in order to advance a post-human technological future. Texas offers a landscape that’s perfect for exploring the intersection of art, oil, “sustainability,” and the creative finance behind it all.
Where to start? I decided to make a map, a BIG map, with Lynn’s help. She fed me information she’s gleaned on the ground, and I began putting the dots together starting with Pegasus Park and UT Dallas. After three non-stop weeks the project turned into a behemoth, a bramble of misguided intentions that probably only she and I could decipher.
Yesterday, a friend was telling me about an energetic entity in a vision he’d had, an encounter with a powerful object, an information storage system that had taken on the shape of an intensely black organic antennae. The object exuded a cautionary aura. Engage with it and risk becoming enmeshed in the vast amount of information it contained, and I’m thinking YES maybe this Texas map holds a similar energy. I thought I was doing my normal deep dive, but it felt like I got stuck on the ocean floor. The past few weeks I have left me feeling unfocused, draggy, and unproductive. I can add new dots to the map, but that’s about it. It felt like I’d bitten off more than I could chew. I’ve been feeling guilty about that, which stressed me out more, keeping me in a negative spiral holding pattern.
As I was mulling over this image of a sticky, treacherous black antennae of compressed information, a memory surfaced of our time in Austin. We’d rented a little house pretty far outside town where you could see the stars. One evening we were coming back from a long day of filming and Jason noticed a magnificent orb weaver doing her thing just beyond the porch. So, under that big sky we stopped to watch the weaver at work. For me making this map was like that spider putting together her web. When we came out the next morning the web was gone. It had served its purpose.
I am convinced Texas is in the crosshairs of a program of blockchain human capital predation that has been in the works at least since the 1950s. They’re coming in the back door with digital identity tied to electronic government, precision medicine, personalized learning, and equity-based workforce re-skilling tied to the Dallas Federal Reserve. Academic institutions pumped up with government life science grants and defense sector partnerships are in on it, as well as back-slapping non-profits waiting on their next philanthrocapitalist cardboard check. I have seen the web of this agenda. I have mapped a good bit of it. I’ve been caught up in it too, in the enormity of it. Now I finally think I’ve mustered up the psychic energy and clarity to deconstruct it and lay the parts out for all to see. Teasing apart the Texas blockchain web might help me regain my sense of purpose, which started to slip away these past few months.
Why do it? I do this for myself and for the record. What’s happening in Dallas is likely a template that will be replicated in cities around the world. I don’t kid myself that there will be much of an audience for this work, but I take it up anyway. These are my gifts to use and use them I will. Who knows where the intercessors may blow the dandelion fluff of these random blogged thoughts?
So, my intended winter project will be to pull out chunks of this web, the brambly map, and examine various bits against a backdrop of Greek and Roman mythology. I spent a semester in a graduate program for art history and in that short time I became pretty well acquainted with the attributes of saints and gods featured in paintings and sculpture. This week I dug around my library and dusted off my Bullfinch and started an outline. So far, I have identified a few dozen stories that align with the content of my map. Lynn knows the importance of Pegasus to Dallas, and we both know powerful actors speak through the language of symbols. Like Bellerophon, those at the top of the heap think they’ve paid their dues and should be able to ride Pegasus up to the gates of Mount Olympus to take in the view. Well, I think we all know what comes of such hubris in mythology. It never turns out well.
Let us hope that I emerge from the grips of the Texas blockchain web with the with grace of the orb weaver who consumed her evening’s handiwork after its purpose was fulfilled. I welcome folks who may want to follow along and see what there is to see. My gut feeling is that this series probably won’t be like anything else in your media stream. It will be an interesting exercise at the very least.
This interactive version of the Pegasus Park map can be found here:
Here is a preliminary list of story ideas. We shall see how many I get written.
Myth and Narrative Control – Malinas, Maxwells, ICT and the Cosmos Art Machine
Lethe and Antaeus – Forgetfulness and Earth Disconnect
Bellerophon and Chimera – Gig Bio-Hacking and Directed Energy Weapons
Cyparissus, Mourning, and Transformation – Pegasus Park, Cypress Trees, and Life Extension
Medusa Decapitation –Violent Emerging Metaverse Markets
Phorcys, Ceto, and Sea Monsters – Submerged Hazards – Commit, Strive, Blue Meridian
Helios and Phaeton – DOE, Human Genome and Moonshot Projects
Vulcan – Zyvex Labs, Rice University, and Programmable Matter
Jason and the Argonauts – Acton Academy, Free Markets, and Badge Valuation
Texas Instruments and Supercomputers – Daedalus, Lithography, Markets and the Minotaur
Argus Panoptes – Stemuli, Reasoning Mind, Smart Cities, and Mental Health
Sirens – Carrier Waves, Transistor Radios, and NFT Money Laundering
Zeus and Io – Central Bank Strawmen and “Going Direct” Avatars
Midas – James Tour and the Graphene “Touch”
Venus, Psyche, and the Golden Wool Gathering – Capital One’s Braintone EEG Program
Pygmalion and Galatea – Hanson Robotics + Andromeda, Ethiopia And Cardano
Hippocrene – Hersh Family at the Intersection of the Arts and Mental Health Data
Muses – Commodification of Culture, Virtual Dallas Museum of Art, Elizabeth Merritt AAM
Medusa’s Rape By Poseidon – ALICE, the United Way, Gaslighting / Objectifying Victims
Pegasus Carrier of Thunderbolts – Texas Aerospace and Defense, Simulation Modeling
Athena Birthed From The Head Of Zeus – IoBNT, Machine Learning, Brains, and Old Parkland
Bellerophon and the Golden Bridle – Blockchain, Cybernetics, ID2020, and the Dallas County Promise
Minerva and Arachne – Wrap Around Services, Career Impact Bonds, and Permanent Indenture
Nephele, Centaurs, Hercules and the Shirt of Nessus – Hydra, The Microbiome, and Smart Textiles
Hesperides and Atlas – HEB, Hunger, and Blockchain Conditional Cash Transfers
Silver coin in the paneling of the Debate Room at Old Parkland