[quote] Part 1: Transhuman
Part 1 gives an overview of recent technological developments (biogenetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, implants, nanotechnology,‚Ä¶) and prognoses made by leading scientists about the impact of these developments in the near future.
Part 2: Preparing for the Singularity
In this part advocates and opponents of a transhuman future are weighed against each other; prognoses are done when we can expect the transhuman revolution and how people are preparing for it already now.
the coincidences abounded this week again - or perhaps I could refer to it as the interconnectedness Starhawk mentioned in week 1's class. she spoke more about the connections between the Gaian world though. apparently these messages are always there but when you start learning or noticing something new, then you are more open to seeing these messages. I noticed Dan, a facebook friend, joined a Sydney Permablitz- Changing the World One Garden at a Time fb group. so I took a look and joined also. this led me to the permablitz website. and friends of the earth website. I noticed one of the forum messages was for an Introduction to Permaculture - Sydney - Jun 08 - it's being held on the last weekend in June. I might even be back in Sydney by then, but I'll have to wait and see before signing up in case there's a delay. I took a look at their flickr photos and saw some of the previous projects they've done. the hidden garden in Newtown looks great.
then I noticed the flickr user was cicadas and the person was Kirsten Bradley - I've never met her but I've seen her name around heaps - at electrofringe and different festivals. she's always working on a great project! I was looking at flickr contacts and somehow I ended up on one which had INSPIRE!, a street / artist from Israel / Tel Aviv - who's messages I see around the streets all the time, bilateral, and a couple of the guys who do the ShiftSpace project (who are Israelis in USA) - I was trying this out earlier this year but after Angus died I didn't feel like doing much for a while. this is lifting now though so the links in the labyrinth are unwinding. it's amazing how interrelated we all are. I had an email from Daniel Liss of pouringdown.tv from videoblogging list (some of my favourites!) who said he knows the ShiftSpace guys too and is using it - I think he went to uni/course or something with one of them? there really is only 1 degree of separation. I'd love to do a festival and have them all in Australia - what an amazing collection of artists they would be!! if only I could afford it ...
anyway, it's week 2 already in the Earth course - time seems to fly. I've been doing the MLA courses pretty much non-stop since the PKD class last year. each has been interesting and I've learnt much - some I hadn't known much about to start with.
this week we've had readings and audio talks and forum questions about AIR. we were asked to share our observations about Wind - especially if we've been noticing any differences in our weather patterns.
here's my reply. I might start keeping the course journal online (I won't include the course specifics - just my notes / impressions)
this morning I walked into the city to the post office - it was a little cool but I didn't put my jumper on so I could feel the sun & the wind more whilst I walked. I noticed some of the trees' leaves flutter only on the edges whilst with others, the whole tree sways in the wind (even if the trees near it just have the light fluttering leaves). so it was interesting to notice the difference. also next week is the 60th year celebrations so many of the cars have flags on them and also people have hung flags and banners from their balconies. so the wind is very noticeable at the moment - it's adding life & movement to the ideas and celebrations of the people. similarly for the protesters banners being held outside the prime ministers house in the city. the wind moves the banners and makes them more noticeable as people seem to notice movement of things around them.
the wind for me also brings relief on a hot day - a light breeze is enough to cool your skin when you're overheated. a couple of weeks ago (I was overseas) there were a few days of 40degree heat - unusual for this time of year. now it's back to being cool in the evenings again.
the city here doesn't have tall highrises casting shadows over the streets so it doesn't seem as cold as some cities I've been in. and the wind doesn't catch between them. I've stayed in highrises in Auckland where the wind howls past the buildings. I used to record some of the sounds it made. it was almost like the sky was making the noise to annoy the building as the wind & sky's space was being taken up by the buildings! it's a strange feeling being up so high and hearing the power of the wind around the building. the sounds are much more pronounced than what you hear from the lower & ground levels. Auckland is known for it's wind at certain times of the year so it can get pretty strong.
some Hakim Bey & related links gathered from the MLA forums
Hakim Bey's website - hosts his articles including the well known Temporary Autonomous Zone. The Ayahuasca Reading is interesting, especially since it sounds like it was written in the late 1940s / 1950s? at least written about events during that period. it was originally appeared in the Psychedelic Review in 1965 and Hakim Bey read a reprint of it from the Psychozoic Press on a New York radio program in 1994. interesting since Ayahuasca has become 'flavour of the year' so to speak, with even hollywood stars heading off to South America to experience it.
This weekend I've been trying to catch up on some of the MLA courses. the PKD course has finished. Rushkoff's Technologies of Persuasion finishes this weekend. I've enrolled in another self-study class called Tales of the Tribe - by Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) who has since passed away.
I've been doing an online course called "The Crazy Wisdom of Philip K Dick" at Maybe Logic Academy for the past 8 weeks. the teacher is Erik Davis, a PKD scholar (amongst other topics). it's been great. each week we read parts of a book (The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch & VALIS) or watch a film (Bladerunner & A Scanner Darkly), then answer questions posted on the MLA course forums. the discussions have been great - I've learnt so much from it and have many things to keep researching. lots of different topics - religion, technology, parallel worlds, different meanings of time, gnosticism, philosophy, modern culture, and many more.. I'm sad it's over really.
I'm also doing the Technologies of Persuasion course with Douglas Rushkoff teaching - though I've fallen behind in this one. Also I've just enrolled in a self-study class of Robert Anton Wilson's (RAW) called Tales of the Tribe - so far it's about studying ideas in different literature works.
so if you're looking for a short course to do that will make you think - I highly recommend these!!
Agency considered in the philosophical sense is the capacity of an agent to act in a world. The agency is considered as belonging to that agent, even if that agent represents a fictitious character, or some other non-existent entity. The capacity to act does not at first imply a specific moral dimension to the ability to make the choice to act. Moral agency addresses issues of these type. Human agency is the capacity for human beings to make choices and to impose those choices on the world. It is normally contrasted to natural forces, which are causes involving only unthinking deterministic processes. In this it is subtly distinct from the concept of free will, the philosophical doctrine that our choices are not the product of causal chains, but are significantly free or undetermined. Human agency entails the uncontroversial, weaker claim that humans do in fact make decisions and enact them on the world. How humans come to make decisions, by free choice or other processes, is another issue. The capacity of a human to act as an agent is personal to that human, though considerations of the outcomes flowing from particular acts of human agency for us and others can then be thought to invest a moral component into a given situation wherein an agent has acted, and thus to involve moral agency. If a situation is the consequence of human decision making, persons may be under a duty to apply value judgements to the consequences of their decisions, and held to be responsible for those decisions. Human agency entitles the observer to ask should this have occurred? in a way that would be nonsensical in circumstances lacking human decisions-makers, for example, the impact of Shoemaker-Levy into Jupiter. In certain philosophical traditions (particularly those established by Hegel and Marx), human agency is a collective, historical dynamic, more than a function arising out of individual behavior. Hegel's Geist and Marx's universal class are idealist and materialist expressions of this idea of humans treated as social beings, organized to act in concert. A similar use of the term agency can be found in social psychology, referring to the self-efficacy of a person, the ability of a person to act on his own behalf. 
everything stays pretty much the same
he doesn't think twice about anything
that's where his power really comes from
he's got an other type of brain
it's this other type of brain that dominates
media literacy / teachers
trying to break 2000 years or more of cultural programming
this is the centre of something more radical than any revolution
DR: "I don't think we can quite frankly"
whenever a new medium arises
we end up teaching the "literacy of the last one"
history : we get text
God says to Abraham, "you'll be a nation of priests"
which means, you'll be a nation of people who can read and write
priests - heiroglyphs - the only people who could read & write; and pharoahs
we actually got a small number of rabbis / priests who could read and write, mostly just read..
plus a nation of 'hearers'
printing press - renaissance period
a way to write books
did we get a civilisation of 'writers'?
no - we got a civilisation of 'readers'
now we get a civilisation of writers
what we should have by now, is a civilisation of programmers
either you're programming, or you're programmed
the technology that people are using on internet now, the interface / internet / conduit they are using is still circumscribed by the same corporate interests that controlled your parents
time warner / AOL
now, instead of people paying to watch Warner Brothers content, people pay them to upload their own content. who cares? it's the same money - going to the same people
now, instead of doing this thing we think of as consumption, we're doing this other thing, that we think of as production, which is actually consumption
we work during the day, we come home and buy a video camera and pay the ISP and then upload the videos / productions that we made. and maybe they won't sue us for using their ideas & icons from popular culture
the money equation is the same
we're not actually looking at money and it's biases and how it's created
people's activity - renaissance / corporate way of creating people's media that we're building
what is energizing the rhizome?
the real currency that is moving through all of this
they speak the language of this new media
they are developing the new languages
are we anthropologists?
studying the kids? looking for the next big thing
or are we looking at the kids from a corporations pov
eg how do we subvert this behaviour
how do we make what they're doing, about what we're doing?
how do we make this communications revolution into a content revolution
"content is king" - the message of the past decade
first there was devaluing of personal contact & communication between people
and instead, value what content the corporations were outputting
then people started using that content as a medium of exchange
and the corporations replied with 'oh you can't use that - we own that'
which shows how little the corporations know about interactivity
and how much the corporations know about marketing
childrens tv programmes
they needed funding to produce the shows so the plush toys industry was started
idea came from Japan where this was already successful, eg Transformers toys
biases of media
if the bias of the media is to create the promotion & selling of the toys, then the stories themselves will change
eg fantasy universes that are unconciously designed to promote the sale of toys
that's why evolution became popular in Japan
when you have evolution, you constantly have new models
basic media literacy
the bias of the media changes
this was the opportunity to change focus
when TV was introduced there was an initial small change in focus
people watched and produced educational programs
but these didn't turn out to be the most popular in the end
emails, laptops, computers everywhere
on one hand, we have these tools that give us an inkling of our power as human beings to be the authors of our reality, of the very society that we're living in
on the other hand, we're in a society where we are so pressured to create applicable skills, that we lose sight of that
education conferences these days
are often about creating the "marketable student"; the "marketable graduate"
there's a lot of people putting money into creating these marketable skills
they're saying "how're we going to compete with the Chinese, the people in Bangalore"
but they may have to let students in on the fact that there is a conflict - between trying to promote real lateral thinking and the ability to create, and construct an argument.
same things they're trying to do in academy
some of the students are asking, 'why do we have to read McLuhan - these old white Europeans'
Walter Jackson Ong, S.J. (1912-2003) was a professor of English at Saint Louis University for over thirty years. Over the course of his career, Ong wrote a number of groundbreaking studies in the fields of orality and literacy studies. Some of these works include Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, The Presence of the Word, and Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue.
I'm doing the Technologies of Persuasion online course with Douglas Rushkoff @ Maybe Logic Academy. it started today. there's already a few discussions happening in the course forums - they're moving so fast!
" Sit at a table with pen and paper; put yourself in a 'receptive' frame of mind, and start writing. Continue writing without thinking of what is appearing beneath your pen. Write as fast as you can. If, for some reason, the flow stops, leave a space and immediately begin again by writing down the first letter of the next sentence. Choose this letter at random before you begin, for instance, a 't', and always begin this new sentence with a 't'. "
this is pretty much how I write all the time. occasionally I go back and re-read it and correct any obvious spelling / grammatical errors, but sometimes I don't even do that.
" Once a purely cult figure, Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) is now widely recognized as a pulp visionary of the highest order. This course will approach his work not as science fiction but as crazy wisdom. We'll explore how his texts seem designed to illuminate our posthuman problems and our most ancient philosophical questions ‚Äî and to then scramble those insights with a cheap ray gun. We will read two of Dick's major novels, both chosen for their heavy gnostic themes. We will discuss drugs and archons and machines that break down, including, possibly, yourself. We will also explore the two greatest examples of the many PKD movies to date ‚Äî further evidence that Dick's spirit will only continue to permeate the culture at large. "