Jason and I will be hitting the road to explore Arkansas in a few days. We’ll be away until the end of the month scouting potential landing spots for the next chapter in my life. Over the course of the last 48 hours, I’ve had many interconnected realizations; or if not fully new realizations, then ones that helped clarify my thinking in deep, meaningful ways. The cascade of ideas in today’s stream resulted from Stephers sending me this1930s paper yesterday morning.
You can see how it precedes Michael Levin and Neri Oxman’s bio-electrical research. What bubbled up were ideas about how ideas of environmental templating would be informed by the installation of cybernetic outside-in robots. I thought about life being remade as a digitally manipulated psychodrama structured with game mechanics to create a puzzle / problem solving collective in non-linear time. I revisited previous lines of study, including Edward Dewey’s Foundation for the Study of Cycles and Julius Stulman, Fritz Kunz, and Oliver Reiser’s “Foundation for Integrated Education” and “World Institute.” By the evening I had pulled out Barbara Dewey’s book on Laminated Spacetime and queued up the movie “Arrival.” I’d meant to see it for some time, but that day all the stars aligned. Today is my dad’s birthday, and it is a month since his death. As everything came into focus for me, I felt like he was right there with me in this liminal space. I love you dad.
After bombarding the inboxes of a few close associates with way too many emails, I decided to pull together my thoughts in an off-the-cuff presentation. I didn’t have time to make a super fancy map with lots of supporting material. Instead I just spoke from the heart. These are the two main ideas I wanted to convey. I’m not saying they are right, but only that it’s worth looking at them hypothetically as thought experiments to see how they hold up in the context of cybernetic impact finance, bio-digital convergence, radiation hormesis, and collective consciousness management.
Thought experiment one:
Consider the internet (and soon extended reality) as a portal into the equivalent of Battle School in Ender’s Game where cooperative infinite games are substituted for finite competitive games. Nested brackets of teams engage in problem solving under conditions of real time sensing, programmed stress, and dynamic constraints. Gameplay is situated in live action role play to tap into the collective subconscious. Picture participants compensated with UBI or crypto play to earn micropayments for their in-game contributions tracked on blockchain mindfile ledgers. The interspecies / inter-intelligence communication medium in this problem-solving space could be Web3 tokens with embedded, nested narratives (think Chinese characters ala Leibniz’s aspirations for the Characteristic Universalis or sigils). Perhaps aspects of the digital stories would be unlocked and presented via holograms (think Princess Leia’s distress message for Obi Wan Kenobi). Exchange of tokens through the ritual game play of votes, trades, media engagement, and biometric and cognitive data could result in computational solutions grounded in real truths of human emotion, culture, and soulful imagination. Could Web3 tokens be a long-sought computational language bringing together the social and physical sciences?
Thought experiment two:
Could this collective cooperative “Battle School” problem space be a digital petri dish for a mass anthropological experiment where ubiquitous sensing charts lived behaviors on planet Earth in order to develop a new interspecies language? Perhaps there is something beyond this dimension, time scale, or sensing framework that really wants to communicate with life here, but it hasn’t yet found the key. What if Fourth Industrial Revolution mass surveillance, natural language processing, the shift to platform life, digital therapeutics, and human weather forecasting are being used to build mental models for linguistic analysis? As we perform our humanity in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, is there a biofilm colony keeping track and working to devleop a computational system of sociology that can bridge across our mental models of the cosmos? If so, I wonder to what end? If Barbara Dewey is correct about mind creating matter from the endosphere, installing a coordinating infrastructure (decentralized ledgers and tokens) for mass mind coordination could be leveraged to manifest unimagined realities. I don’t think we are prepared for what the chaos magician posse has in store for us with their foxy Ethereum Consensys program.
Here’s a list of the books in my stack in no particular order:
Geochemistry and the Biosphere: Essays by Vladimir I. Vernadsky
Physics As Metaphor, Roger S. Jones
The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death, John Gray
Greening the Paranormal: Exploring the Ecology of Extraordinary Experience, Edited by Jack Hunter
Context Changes Everything: How Constraints Create Coherence, Alicia Juarerro
Life Atomic: A History of Radioisotopes in Science and Medicine, Angela N.H. Creager
The Domains of Identity, Kaliya “Identity Woman” Young
Manhattan Project to the Santa Fe Institute: The Memoirs of George Cowan, George A. Cowan
Nuclear Mysteries: Or, Creation of the Parent Atoms, Sister Incarnata Marie, S.I.W.
The Roots of Coincidence, Arthur Koestler
Momo, Michael Ende
The Theory of Laminated Spacetime, Barbara Dewey (daughter of Edward Dewey, Foundation for the Study of Cycles)
The World Sensorium: The Social Embroyology of World Federation 1946, Oliver L. Reiser
Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility, James P. Carse
Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain, Werner R. Loewenstein
The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot
Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson