Even by my standards, the last 48 hours have been strange. I’ll endeavour to explain exactly how strange below, although the following snippet of conversation with a shop assistant in my local Co-Op might give you some idea. I plonked my purchases on the counter, he asked me how I was, and in turn I asked him how he was. His reply? “Oh, I’m living the dream. I don’t know whose dream it is, but I’m living it”. I was, to put it mildly, absolutely astonished. I mumbled something like “I know exactly what you mean” and stumbled out into the street, not knowing whether to laugh out loud or just go mad on the spot. I chose the former, and giggled my way back to my flat, where I stuffed myself with apple pie while I waited for a friend to arrive. Twenty minutes later, with my friend seated in front of a microphone, I began re-recording an interview I referred to in Part Two. This, too, was absolutely hilarious. It seemed that every other sentence he uttered contained a reference to something I’d thought or read about during the day. I did my best to explain my grins and guffaws, but I’m not sure the message got through.
It is, of course, completely bonkers. The rational mind recoils in horror, unwilling to accept anything other than a conventional view of a ‘consensual reality’. According to this perspective, X always follows Y and coincidence is just coincidence. Exactly how many ‘coincidences’ have to occur in order for a ‘coincidence’ to be recognised as anything but a ‘coincidence’ is a moot point. Ten? Twenty? A hundred? A thousand? I’m well into the thousands, and have reached the point where I know that any surrender to ‘rationality’ on my part would require a monumental act of self-deceit. To put the above in context, see the front page of my local newspaper from the 19th April, the same date I published Part Two of this series. It’s by no means an isolated occurrence (it’s now a daily one) and the conclusion I draw is this: there are no coincidences.
My local shop assistant doesn’t know whose dream he’s living, and yet he does. He’s “living IT”. That is to say, he is living IT, a form of IT with arms and legs, a torso and a head – or at least the appearance of them. As I asked in Part Two, it is really so hard to believe?
Lest we forget, IT is not just a matter of the wholly artificial, of simulacra built of plastic, metal and silicon.
In the above video, Michio Kaku argues that we’re heading towards a world in which the biological is fused with the technological. But what if such a world were already here? In Parts One and Two, I referred to the ‘network’ of ‘roads’ constructed by ‘the Nazis’, and highlighted strange connections between The Colossus of Rhodes, ancient mythology, and fictional and non-fictional supercomputers. What exactly does this mean? Are our own ‘networks’ of ‘roads’ in some way analogous to a supercomputer? Or are they, in some way, a strange mirror of ourselves as a form of technology, just as so much of what happens ‘out there’ seems to mirror our own thought processes? Could our own technology be a mirror image of what we ourselves really are?
Tribal man is tightly sealed in an integral collective awareness that transcends conventional boundaries of time and space. As such, the new society will be one mythic integration, a resonating world akin to the old tribal echo chamber where magic will live again: a world of ESP. The current interest of youth in astrology, clairvoyance and the occult is no coincidence. Electric technology, you see, does not require words any more than a digital computer requires numbers.
The key word here is ‘akin’, i.e. like ESP. McLuhan never argued against ‘consensual reality’. He did, however, argue that the digital age has created an environment in which information is moved at the speed of light. He called this the ‘hidden ground’. Information technology allows us to see the connections that bind us together. To see, for example, that Facebook ‘shared memories’ are exactly that. Prior to the digital revolution, it was impossible to see these connections, because events were simply not reported quickly enough. By the time a book or magazine had been published, whatever personal connections we might have drawn from it at the time it was actually written would be lost in the mists of time. Thanks to online social and mass media platforms this is no longer the case. Digital technology allows for instant communication and publication of local and global events 24/7. Instant publication and communication throws into sharp relief the connections that exist between us.
To put it in slightly different terms, technologists believe that they are creating an interconnected world. What they are in fact doing is creating technologies that allow us to see that our world is already connected. The true connection terminals are not made of metal, plastic and silicon. They are not the routers in our living rooms or the vast server farms found in data centres. The individual nodes that comprise the real World Wide Web are us. The world is already wired. We are The Network. Our own information technology is still very much in-formation, hence the vast majority fail to see that they are the information. This is a majority with eyes and ears habituated to the requirements of the old media environment, and its underlying assumptions about what is and is not ‘possible’ and ‘desirable’.
In Part Two I referred to the New Age as the Neo Age, and ‘Neo’ does of course mean ‘new’. Almost everyone has heard of The New Age and most will be aware that it is, in essence, a spiritual movement. But what kind of ‘spiritual movement’?
If the work of the city is the remaking or translating of man into a more suitable form than his nomadic ancestors achieved, then might not our current translation of our entire lives into the spiritual form of information seem to make of the entire globe, and of the human family, a single consciousness?
I’m not sure that the transition to the ‘Neo Age’ has anything at all to do with revelation and enlightenment provided by gods and goddesses. It seems to involve ‘mythology’ only inasmuch as mythological accounts appear to be pregnant with latent meaning that points to a very different ‘reality’ altogether. I think the transition to the New Age amounts to being awakened to the artificial nature of the ‘reality’ we inhabit. I say ‘awakened’ because there seems to be much more going on than is being revealed by digital technology alone. If we are, in one form or another, inhabitants of a ‘virtual reality’, then it seems reasonable to assume that something or someone is running the show. Whatever or whoever ‘it’ may be, it certainly seems to be providing additional clues. Consider the following example buried in the description of the ‘Humans’ video posted above.
Gemma Chan, William Hurt and Colin Morgan star in this brand new drama series, set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for a busy family is a Synth – an advanced robotic servant.
Today, thanks to a combination of science fiction and ‘real’ science, most are familiar with the idea of parallel realities and parallel universes. Yet we forget that our ‘reality’ is also a parallel reality.
Parallel computing is a type of computation in which many calculations are carried out simultaneously, operating on the principle that large problems can often be divided into smaller ones, which are then solved at the same time. There are several different forms of parallel computing: bit-level, instruction-level, data, and task parallelism. Parallelism has been employed for many years, mainly in high-performance computing, but interest in it has grown lately due to the physical constraints preventing frequency scaling. As power consumption (and consequently heat generation) by computers has become a concern in recent years, parallel computing has become the dominant paradigm in computer architecture, mainly in the form of multi-core processors.
Which begs the question: are we literally living in a ‘parallel present’? Does our world of ‘shared resources’ and ‘human resources’ mirror our own technological development, or does it mirror a deeper, underlying ‘reality’ that is gradually coming to the surface?
Previously, I’ve written about my experience in Dungeness, and the bizarre links between Dungeness in the UK, Dungeness in Washington State, and a flight simulator (Flight Unlimited 3) I developed software for. Three years ago, I was ‘on the beach’ in Snailbeach, when I photographed a strange aircraft that made no noise whatsoever. As it approached me, I realised it had ‘spikes’ sticking out of its fuselage. I was using a camera with a low resolution electronic viewfinder, so I didn’t appreciate how odd it was until I viewed the image on my laptop. The aircraft was flying straight and level (as indicated by the elevators on the ‘T’ tail), yet the ‘spikes’ I saw appear to be the wings. I observed it for over a minute and it remained in this configuration throughout. Needless to say, if the aircraft were banked hard right then it should have been flying in circles. I posted the image to an aircraft enthusiast group on Flickr, but nobody could identify it, although someone speculated that it might have been a ‘drone’.
Fast-forward to 2015 and I found myself on the beach in Dungeness, where I narrowly avoided being arrested after taking a ‘prohibited’ picture of Dungeness A nuclear power station with my D-SLR. Thankfully, a hidden ground(s)keeper was on hand to save the day…
Fast-forward to 2016. Two weeks ago, I posted the aircraft image and ‘drone’ comment on Merovee, and last week I wrote about Flight Unlimited in another post. Then a friend sent me a link to an article written by an author she knows. The article is entitled The Hive Mind.
As always, real life is overtaking me. There are people out there who seriously want everyone to be part of a hive mind….I can think of nothing more horrific. Every Facebook restaurant meal photo, every Twitter mention of a football match, every cat picture, every inane post on every crazy forum, all the time. No escape….Then, as most humans do already, we will seek out those who are not in the hive mind and make them join us. Humans already do this, and have for many centuries, through religion and now even through atheism. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
The link in my friend’s Twitter comment relates to a story about Patrick Stewart appearing as a drag queen. Helen Mirren, who played The Queen in the film of the same name, also appears in the article. Other than his appearances in the X-Men film franchise, Stewart is best known for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek. In the Star Trek universe, his most well-known appearances relate to The Borg. They have a hive mind.
The very idea of a hive mind is clearly anathema to some. Yet no doubt some of those who find the idea distasteful would be quite happy to roll out the Union Flag and wave it in honour of The Queen Bee, who had her 90th birthday yesterday.
On the other hand, many non-monarchists might be quite happy to weep, wail, and gnash their teeth over the death of a Prince.
As for those who claim not to care for either variety of ‘royalty’ (First Lady? President? Holy Father? celebrity ‘icons’?), perhaps they should at least be willing to question the origin of those little thoughts that continually pop into their heads, literally from out of nowhere.
If we are, in some way, analogous to individual ‘nodes’ in a vast interconnected network, then the emergence of an electronic counterpart – the World Wide Web – makes perfect sense. It is not just the externalization of an individual human brain, but an imperfect mirror of a collective human mind. So, what exactly does it mean to be ‘consumers’ of information if the ‘information’ in question is us? Is the process of ‘devouring’ information produced by ‘someone else’ (who forms part of the same system) akin to something like this?
Are we not eating and drinking our own thoughts?
Are we part of a ‘live feed’? Odd that I should notice the below news stories after I wrote an article titled Feeding Time on my other blog.
Odder still that the article on my other blog should include the below video. Zombies have quite an appetite for brains…
So strange to think that my friend’s son was bitten at school today…
And the offending ‘zombie’ was put into isolation at school for his Extreme act…
Well, I suppose exposing the brain does qualify as an Extreme haircut…
Lost for words? Me too. I included this video in another recent post.
Talking of the World Wide Web, I posted this video on Merovee yesterday. It seems that the spiderman is having us for dinner…
It’s curiouser and curiouser, because the other day I visited a forum where someone had posted a random picture of a bikini-clad woman. Underneath the image, a troll had written this: “I would suck all the juices out of her body, the stickier and smellier the better.” Whatever your own views on the subject happen to be, I can’t think of a spider that would disagree with that sentiment.
Similarly, over on Merovee, Frank has been having a strange time with a customer who has an obsession with ‘box-sets‘. This particular customer always seems to show up after Frank has received a visit from another customer called Lucy. This time round, Frank’s box-obsessed customer wanted the ‘extra juicy’ edition of Desperate Housewives…
Is it ‘extra juicy’ or ‘extract juices’? Perhaps ‘extra Jew see’? Recently, I read a couple of short stories which seem to echo the Nazi’s extermination of the Jews. The first was a short story by Larry Niven called Bordered in Black. It’s about a faster-than-light spaceship called the Overcee, which visits a planet orbiting the Sirius star system. The planet in question is a farm, and its human-like inhabitants exist as ‘food’ for their creator. They have no tools except bone clubs, no food other than edible plankton, and no water other than the water found in the blood of the weak and dying, who they kill and consume as ‘wet meat’. It’s as if the author wedded the Einsatzgruppen’s activities during World War II to the human extinction theme from The Terminator, even though Niven’s story predates Cameron’s film by a decade.
The population is congregated en masse around the coast of the planet’s main continent. They are ‘on the beach’.
After we’d been walking awhile we saw that some of the skeletons were alive. Dying and drying under that overcast blue sun. I’d thought that sky was pretty once. Now it was – horrible. You could see a shifting blue beam spear down on the sand and sweep across it like a spotlight until it picked out a mummy. Sometimes the mummy would turn over and cover its eyes.
I was particularly struck by the name of the ship: The Overcee or ‘Over see’. The Oversee and The Overlook, the hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining and Kubrick’s film of the same name. Oddly enough, Flight Unlimited recreates The Overlook, situating it on the slopes of Mount Rainier in Washington State. Last year, I hacked the sim’s sound files and discovered a WAV file containing a recording of Danny saying “REDRUM REDRUM” buried amongst the engine and wind sounds and pre-recorded pilot conversations. It gave me quite a fright!
In Part One, I recounted how I once said that the nuclear holocaust has already happened. Meanwhile, over on Merovee, Anonymous stated that the ‘hollow cast’ has already happened. At the time, she was, to use her own words, ‘driving under the influence on the Information Superhighway’. It’s when she does her best work, so I wouldn’t have it any other way. Whatever the case may be, her comments triggered a chain of weird synchronicity, which resulted in my Feeding Time post.
The second was a short story by the ‘hive mind’ author I mentioned above. Entitled ‘The Reality Virus’ (Real IT Virus), this too seemed to be full of hidden meaning. There are references to nurses (no sees, gnosis, Nazis) in crisp white uniforms, who change back and forth between voluptuous sirens and withered hags, like Succubi, or the ‘old hag’ associated with sleep paralysis. There’s a war-ravaged ‘reality’ in which a virus creates an illusory Matrix-like world for the benefit of its inhabitants. An imaginary world of sterile cleanliness, drawn like a veil over the post-Apocalyptic ‘desert of the real’ that lies beneath. Only four or five pages long, it took me a full day to read through it. Every other sentence seemed to trigger a fresh wave of imagery and new associations.
It’s as if the hallucination is overlaid on reality, permanently, and sometimes I can see it.
Hallucination? Or a…
nation (n.) c. 1300, from Old French nacion “birth, rank; descendants, relatives; country, homeland” (12c.) and directly from Latin nationem (nominative natio) “birth, origin; breed, stock, kind, species; race of people, tribe,” literally “that which has been born,” from natus, past participle of nasci “be born” (Old Latin gnasci; see genus). Political sense has gradually predominated, but earliest English examples inclined toward the racial meaning “large group of people with common ancestry.”
Madness? Insanity? Am I certifiable? I’ve just received a link to the following article (again by the ‘hive mind’ author) via Twitter. Read on and let IT synch in.
All Roads Lead to Romance.
I reckon the story of Hal and Lucy must be one hell of a tale…but let’s not forget…
So what are we then? What is our technology? Is it a distorted mirror image of our own ‘nature’ as a species, or even as a planet? If so, what might happen if our technological development continues along the path outlined in the below video? Will IT prove to be a ‘jealous God’? Will IT permit the ‘worship’ of an image of ITself?
Or will IT finally lift the veil for us? What will we see? Infinity itself? Or just The Joker blowing us one of these for all eternity?
Inserting the SD ‘memory card’ into the Pi…
Sicherheitsdienst (English: Security Service), full title Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS (English: Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS), or SD, was the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany.
Anyone fancy some pie…? 😉