Plus News and Notes
Thanks for this. I am definitely gonna remember that Neil Young line! I was also thinking about the technological proximity to the pearly gates when I read Virginia Hefferman's "I Saw the Face of God in a Semiconductor Factory" longread in Wired, about the Taiwanese microchip fabs. Very worthwhile! https://www.wired.com/story/i-saw-the-face-of-god-in-a-tsmc-factory/
I love it. This is just the kind of thinking and feeling I am interested in. I hear your perspective loud and clear -- and yet, and yet. If you look into imaginative literature and the history of paranormal machines, etc, there is so much uncanny weirdness in earlier technologies. The simulacrum is part of the weird, the uncanny valley, etc. But its different...or is it...or do we need to insist on the difference regardless! Thanks so much for thinking through it with me, and I am afraid I can hear your apocalyptic thoughts all too clear. I think about Ahriman all the time., I need to know more about Al-Dajjal...
For more on plushy Cthulhu (as well as the weirdness beyond the weird/banal dialectic), please see one of the funniest and more entertaining (for me) things I have ever written: https://techgnosis.com/cthulhu-is-not-cute/
Hi Arthur. Fascinating. I saw an interesting podcast interview with McGilchrist about his new book, and he was more overtly spiritual/transcendentalist than I had expected. I would be very interested to hear his neurological/spiritual explanation for the simulacrum, which is a fascinating problem in philosophy -- both in Plato's day, with Sophism, and with 20th century thinkers, especially French (Foucault, Deleuze, Blanchot, Klossowski, etc). I think McGilchrist would consider all these folks "schizos" -- and they would probably agree happily!
I hadn't thought about ELLCD as it manifests in politics, but I can't imagine anything that has bipartisan possibilities at this point not pursuing that inverse "ideal." This is part of my rising concern about China, because one of the reliable common denominators is binding together for conflict against an external enemy.
Thanks for your comments. Heidegger talked a lot about tools as a (sometimes) extension of human relations with the world. But he also a difference between tools and what we might call technology, or industrial technical systems. These are the systems that "enframe" the world in a certain way according to H, rendering the potential and possibilities of the world into "resources" useful for the systems development. Everything becomes a resource under advanced technology, including us! In a way thats what surveillance capitalism does: use our thoughts and desires and identifications as material to extract more value. MORE MORE MORE.
And yes, it is sometimes hard to keep tuning to flexibility and possibility, but I think it can be done without unsupportable illusions--almost as a practice in itself.
LOL. Weird BanAl actually lived right near one of the places I grew up in SoCal, so I have always felt close to his weird genius.
Apologies but I'm still infected with twitter brain worms so while your writing sends my thoughts in many directions, I gotta type the words "Weird Banal" Yankovic or it will be bouncing around in my head for the next 24 hours.
I like it. Sounds like you’re developing a whole metaphysical system. The Weird vs. The Banal. Tricksters vs. Archons. Azathoth vs. Ahriman. We could almost turn this into a religion, complete with weird priests and holy high weirdness books. ;)
To me AI is the False Weird: Archons pretending to be Tricksters; the “Dajjal” (Islamic deceiver and Antichrist) who creates counterfeits of everything and makes hell look like heaven and heaven look like hell. And this AI-Dajjal will attract hordes of minions who promote the False Weird while they engineer the Archonic dystopia. This whole thing really does get bizarrely religious.
I don’t believe the Weird will come from corporations, algorithms and computers operating from Enlightenment paradigms, but that’s just a gut feeling. Weirdness is analog, unknown, and it can’t be engineered, controlled or understood by rationalist technocrats. All they can do is model and mimic known things, which isn’t Weird, but Banal.
I recently read a chapter in Ian Mcgilchrist's book "the divided brain"- It's called the modern and post modern worlds, with more than enough evidence to support a link between the schitz worldview and the cultural echoes of Descartes. I've heard you say simulacrum before but it really struck me how much you might enjoy this chapter when i was reading your latest piece AI eeee. Mcgilchrist somehow captures in science lingo this Blakean fear of the infernal machine, and in exploring the famous "les lunettes d'approche", a painting which is archetypal of the simulacrum, he somehow manages to pin this self referential 'closing-in' process neurologically...(from your piece: "don't chuck consciousness under the rug as well"). The link with a bad trip never made more sens, all very much up your alley... good going <3
AI EEEEEEE!!! I heard that word lots growing up, it can mean great joy, pain, or other things between.
I remember being quite exited when I read “The Singularity is near “ now I’m experiencing a let down sort of how I feel now about the cannabis legalization movement and the clusterfuck of laws n bs surrounding it.
When I think about AI in general, I think about Neil Young’s lyric “when the aimless blade of science slashed the pearly gates”
I do want to keep n open mind and balance my fears and wonder about it all.
Thanks for the continuing great writing. Peace ☮️
Ah! More food for the mind.
"Is AI actually wild, or is the enchanted emergence just another version of the ideology that naturalizes technology to disguise its social origins and what Heidegger recognized as its pitiless enframing of resources?" I don't know a thing about Heidegger, but this rings bells in the dark of my pondering.
Tool making is part of being human, but my thoughts bend to how tool making functions within human cultures. Specifically ours. Culture rules the flow and vision of humans, and we've become one culture now. Its delusion and destructiveness has taken our tool making and turned it into a monster reverb of "MORE MORE MORE." We keep using science and tech to beat the undead donkey of our ways further down a road of flaming consequences. This is a Very Bad Outcome.
To be born to witness these omni-unprecedented dark and astonishing times is something else! I'm trying not to be totalitarian in my reasoning, leaving room for flexibility and possibility, but I'm a wayward fool and that means public displays of limitations. Can any of us claim to be well adjusted to the supercollider event of The Great Weirdening & The Banalularty?
On my less doomy side, Alli's video is pure wonder and awe. Thanks for sharing it and for helping keep me open to the mystery of everything.
"Ever lower lowest common denominators" is interesting. In congress the most bipartisan bill bans Tiktok, though really the RESTRICT act allows unelected officials to broadly ban media from foreign adversaries (congress can add to the named 6 or remove from the list) and this is based upon the vague "undue or unacceptable risk" to National Security. Furthermore, if a challenge to any ruling is not “practicable" discovery and other matters of due process can be restricted if they are not “consistent with … national security and law enforcement interests.” This is a ELLCD (lowest common denominator! I shudder to think about what else most leaders have in common!
"Cthulhu goes plushy." Good stuff!