The concept of the project I find useful. Something you do in the present, and can remember doing in the past, and expect to do in the future, in order to create something. A work of art which need not be in the arts per se, but something human worth doing.”
Gravity, mysterious gravity, immutably following its own laws, interacts with matter, and somehow the result is complex motion. Invisible waves slinging rocks this way and that. What if human history has such invisible waves? Because ultimately the same forces apply. What big hits made us what we are? Will some new resonance create a wave and throw us in a new direction?
‘You are not the same person you used to be, you have to admit. You’ve stuffed your brain with augmentations … When you grow the religious part of the temporal lobe, you can turn into a very different person, not to mention risking epilepsy. And that was only the start. Now you’ve got the animal stuff in there, you’ve got Pauline in there, recording everything you see—it is not insignificant. It can do damage. You end up being some kind of post-human thing. Or at least a different person.’
‘Every thing I’ve done to myself I consider part of being a human being. I mean, who wouldn’t do it if they could? I would be ashamed not to! It isn’t being post human, it’s being fully human. It would be stupid not to do the good things when you can, it would be antihuman.’
… she always found it odd to see canvas used as the medium, a bit like looking at scrimshaw or other antique exotica. When you had the world and your body as canvases, why deal in squares of wallpaper?
… they were now their own unavoidable experiment, and were making themselves into many things they had never been before: augmented, multi-sexed, and most importantly, very long-lived, the oldest at that point being around two hundred years old. But not one whit wiser, or even more intelligent. Sad but true: individual intelligence probably peaked in the Upper Paleolithic, and we have been self-domesticated creatures ever since, dogs when we had been wolves.
Do you imagine they must have been fools? Do you think you would never make such a mistake? Don’t you be so sure. Really you have no idea. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. You may think you are inured, that nothing outside the mind can really interest you anymore, as sophisticated and knowledgeable as you are. But you would be wrong. You are a creature of the sun. The beauty and terror of it seen from so close can empty any mind, thrust anyone into a trance. It’s like seeing the face of God…
…they continued to grow — evidence of success. Mitalipov cancelled his holiday plans. “I was happy to spend Christmas culturing cells,” he says. “My family understood.
Shoukhrat Mitalipov, reproductive biology specialist
Human Stem Cells Created by Cloning
via Nature News
Obviously, the faster we process information, the more rich and complex our models or glosses — our reality-tunnels — will become. Resistance to new information, however, has a strong neurological foundation in all animals, as indicated by studies of imprinting and conditioning. Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to “ignore” certain kinds of information — that which does not “fit” their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this “conservatism” or “stupidity”, but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan.
“Natural vs Artificial”, “Man vs Nature” — those are real points of conversation. It’s important that we begin to see through that facade, to create new mythologies that don’t pose that kind of polarity, because it’s going to be a problem if people think it’s a real thing in the world.
How many articles are there now, about how computers and the internet are changing our brains, when actually we’ve been changing our brains for much longer than that — it’s only the most obvious, accelerated changes that are noticed, and the rest pass by as if they never happened. As if we were “natural” before computers, natural before the 1950s, before the 1800s? When? Where is the line? As if these artificial things are not a part of nature…
as if We Are not Nature Itself, Creating.
Stories like Avatar (or Fern Gully, if you like) have their points, and those are important. But we need new stories — stories that contain a different point of view: that of artifice as a manifestation of nature.
Quoting myself. (lol). Had forgotten about this. It’s good, it holds true, and it needs to become something.
We can’t answer questions about ourselves the same way anymore — by just thinking about it philosophically, looking for some metaphysical reason.
Call it reductionist if you must, but it’s beautiful that even weekly we’re ever-closer to answering our deepest questions by looking into our biological, chemical — and deeper still — physical blueprints.
When wondering why we animals do as we do, we can also inquire about what the particles do, and how those activities travel up and down the chain of magnifications to create a whole, and the epiphenomenon we finally witness.
Since the beauty and importance of randomness has no real way of being monetized by corporate entities like Google, it is therefore in their financial interest to go in the opposite direction; in other words, to condition people to demand uniformity, order, and repeatability. *That’s* how they deliver earnings.
Aside: This may be the only time in recent browsing history that I scrolled down to the comments, and left sans regret.
As a kid growing up in the Mississippi River valley I found the variety of places included in local and AAA guide books would often lead us to places we’d never have otherwise gone to. If those books had been tailored to our preferences they would be worse than no books at all.
You exert more of your agency through an avatar when you design it yourself … Your identity mixes in with the identity of that avatar and, as a result, your visual perception of the virtual environment is colored by the physical resources of your avatar.
If your avatar is carrying a backpack, you feel like you are going to have trouble climbing [a] hill, but this only happens when you customize the avatar.
Because building avatar identity is critical, it’s important to let users customize it. You are your avatar when it is customized.
S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, Penn State
Bonding with your virtual self may alter your actual perceptions
By Matthew Swayne
May 2, 2013
I change shapes just to hide in this place
But I’m still, I’m still an animal
“9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Fact”
Please Watch. It’s interesting.
Why is it like this?” [she asked him]. “There’s never been a plan,” [he replied]. … “We’re always dealing with the crisis of the moment. And old ways die hard. Everyone on Earth could have lived at an adequate level for at least the last five centuries. We’ve had the power and resources relative to the needs, we could have done it. But that was never the project, so it’s never happened.
2312, Kim Stanley Robinson
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