I was DISTINCTLY TOLD, in the 1990s, that if we put computers into all the things it would make us all super-smart and super-sexy and super-kind and we would all live in houses made of translucent plastic and acid dance and rainforests and we would specifically NOT become a society of giant raging dumbass jerks selling fake nutritional supplements to Nazis.
There were RECEIPTS. Money changed HANDS.
I wish to complain to the MANAGEMENT.
@natecull My mentor in graduate school once wrote a book that expounded the former.
He now writes books mostly about how money and technology have formed an unholy marriage that is ruining the whole world. He's the most gentle and kind and wonderful human, and the most heartbroken person I know, because not only did he believe, he was one of the *prophets*.
<<a very special moment in our recent history – a moment when anything seemed possible. When an entire subculture – like a kid at a rave trying virtual reality for the first time – saw the wild potentials of marrying the latest computer technologies with the most intimately held dreams and the most ancient spiritual truths. It is a moment that predates America Online, twenty million Internet subscribers, Wired magazine, Bill Clinton, and the information superhighway.>>
In 1993, I was at Bible college and wrote a paper on how I thought the future of the church was going to be on electronic discussion forums
(cos I was doing Fidonet at the time)
I don't know what my tutor made of it.
tbh that year was in the middle of my my 'finding myself 'period and I... am still somewhat lost, though maybe less so
I think that most people who have practical meditative / contemplative / psychedelic experiences are glimpsing part of the same reality. At least, from the stories I've heard, I see repeated elements that match up.
The idea that we're all united under the hood, so to speak, and it's more about how long it takes us to *realise* that.
@TheGibson @natecull Yeah, I mean, I've been on Mastodon for about a year and a half, and it often still feels like that first breath of potential and connection and the kind of globalism that's about knowing people all over the world instead of exploiting people all over the world. The global village, instead of the global factory, if you will.
As the fediverse expands, though, I've felt the tremors of the other internet, like thunder you can't hear yet but can feel, and it makes me nervous.
I know Susan's thunder is ever present... but we are building something good out here, in the void.
And as our generation ages, it may indeed end up being our legacy that we reclaimed the internet.
Regardless of their rules, regardless of expectation.
Simply because it was good, and right.
I think it's a great goal.
Look, we know the silos are vulnerable... we see it daily now.
People are ready to walkaway from the spying and harassment.
And when the people like us begin to leave, their gears begin to rust.
I want to leave the rust upon their gear.
I want to be the rust upon their fears.
Imagine if everyone had been on the same IRC channel?!
@TheGibson @natecull I haven't, yet, except for my best meat space friend who was on those old channels. Which surprises me, in some ways, but doesn't in others, because, for the most part, even though we sent each other snail mail and physical photos and exchanged comic books and the like... I didn't actually *know most of their names.* But I can reel off their handles to this day, and it's been 20+ years.
I have already decreed to my circle here that I do not want to know their given names.
My name, my server... they pose the age old question... is Batman Bruce Wayne, or is Bruce Wayne Batman?
Which one is the mask.
I believe that The_Gibson is the best me.
I believe the same about many others out here.
It was around 1999 that I logged into the Interactive Fiction MUD and met the circle of wonderful folks there (Emily Short and others) and for nearly a decade that was my spiritual home.
It was a haven on the Internet and one of the reasons was that it used old technology so there was a sort of a built-in wall against spammers and abuse.
The door was always open, but to want to get in you had to *care*. And then you picked up the culture, which was kind.
@natecull @TheGibson Yeah, that's the thing I LOVE about and am fiercely defensive of on Mastodon. The culture is defended by practicing it daily, and encouraging those who are new to practice it, too.
That *does* happen on those other sites, but the culture is toxic and destructive, but wow, are you "rewarded" for falling in line with it.
@natecull @TheGibson He kept a pair of Timothy Leary's sneakers in his office that Leary had given to him when he knew he was dying with the note saying, "I trust you to walk in my shoes when I'm gone." 😭
I also own the toy glockenspiel that he played on "Godstar" when he was briefly in Psychic TV. Douglas is one of the greatest humans, and the reason I went to that school in the first place. They say don't meet your heroes, but in some cases, it's GREAT.
I find it interesting that this early 'cyberdelic' moment was circa 1992... at the latest.
I have my own extremely weird theory on why that might be.
But basically the years from, say, 1989-1993 were like this massive planet-wide psychedelic event. The fall of the Berlin Wall opened up something in our collective soul for a brief moment.
Which rapidly closed again. But that's the time period when the Web was born and cyber-gurus shared weird trippy dreams.
I mean whatever energy it was that saved us from WWIII went 'dark' almost as soon as it began. The fall of the USSR collapsed into gangster capitalism and the Yugoslavia civil war. The new 'occult revival' spiralled into really nasty black helicopter UFO conspiracy theories, and those are still with us. Capital accumulation and climate change and species extinction went into overdrive.
But... there was a still a moment. A year or so when we all held our breath.
Anyway, I dunno. I just feel like in 1989 'something' intervened, briefly, to override our self-destruction instinct. Like there was a brief 'pulse' of something bright that lifted us up for a moment.
And, um, a year or so before, 1987, the Harmonic Convergence, a whole bunch of people on the planet got together to seriously focus their minds on asking whatever might be out there (or inside ourselves), to do just that.
Maybe that wasn't a coincidence.
My own theory though is this and the urge toward VR is simply a modern expression of an ancient human drive.
We have always framed our imagined spaces as though they were physical. Heavens and hells, fantastic landscapes of platonic ideals. The lands of adventures and myths that exist in no material place..
Dimly I think we know what is coming. That writing, the networked world, VR, and what it will eventually become all lead to the same place. We all know in the primitive back of our minds that for the first time in 200,000 years, the human race may be able to finally fulfil that desire to walk in anothers dreams.
I think there is a very strong connection between people who have the mystical impulse to explore their own inner psychogeography, and people who are interested in machines of logic and writing, and how to make explicit the implicit.
Like Leibniz, for instance. Or Wittgenstein. Or centuries of monks and scribes, who combine those same two disciplines: one about intuition/imagination, one about logic/communication.
@natecull @SuzanEraslan @TheGibson Terence McKenna has been a good source too, bridging shamanism and technical imaginings. That cusp between the fields. It's been interesting reading what he imagined VR would be used for, in particular visual representation of the spoken word, which these days just means a spectrum analyser, but infers a contextual or emotive side-channel in the form of a sort of regulated synaesthesia. A hypersensorium.
@natecull @SuzanEraslan @TheGibson oh damn, haven't thought about Douglas Coupland in a long long time. I remember really loving 'Microserfs', his 90s novel about socially inept but lovable Silicon Valley programmers, in the early 00s when the internet just started taking off.
I wonder how/if that books holds up from a 2018 perspective... well, I know what I'll be reading this weekend!
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