Archive | March 2017

The Dream Society and The Global Brain

Earlier, I asked you to imagine yourself as being suddenly thrown into a Kafka novel, a Dali painting, or an Escher print, as though these mind-bending scenarios had suddenly become the context of your life — the absurd and the surreal, like Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy in Oz.  Aporia, a sense of bewilderment, perplexity, or sense of chaos, is most likely the feeling you would have within those contexts.

And this is, ironically, not far from the truth of things, already partially realised in and as “the Anthropocene”, and in connected themes like Rolf Jensen’s The Dream Society and Howard Bloom’s The Global Brain. The dreamy quality in Kafka, Dali, and Escher were anticipations of the imagined world made “real”, of the breakdown of the subject-object differentiation that underlies themes like “New Normal” and related issues of “post-rational” or “post-truth” society. Bloom’s “Global Brain” and Jensen’s “Dream Society” are corresponding issues which, together, make for “the Anthropocene”. Accordingly, as William Blake put it, we do not see things as they are, but as we are, for, in effect, the “global brain” corresponds to Blake’s “Urizen” and “the Dream Society” to Blake’s “Ulro”.

We now live inside the matrix of this “global brain” — the thick network of global information and trade flows — and that matrix is the “dream society”. This “new within” is the essence of the New Normal, of “the Anthropocene”, or what Adam Curtis also describes as “hypernormalisation“.

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Our Aporia

Imagine, if you will (as if, these days, you need to imagine it at all) that you wake up one morning and find yourself propelled into a Franz Kafka novel, or into a painting by Salvador Dali or a mind-bending M.C. Escher print. What you would most likely experience is a state of aporia where nothing makes sense. Aporia might be translated as “puzzlement” or bewilderment, but perhaps “stupefaction” is the most accurate translation of the meaning of aporia.

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Shockwave Rider

The mouse-soul is nothing but a nibbler.
To the mouse is given a mind
proportionate to its need,
for without need, the All-Powerful doesn’t give anything to anyone.

Need, then, is the net for all things that exist:
A person has tools in proportion to his need.
So quickly, increase your need, needy one,
that the sea of abundance
may surge up in loving-kindness — Rumi, “Increase Your Need”

I once considered naming this blog “Shockwave Rider” rather than The Chrysalis. Shockwave Rider (1975) was the title of a seemingly prescient science fiction novel by the British catastrophist writer John Brunner (along with other dystopian novels of economic, ecological and environmental disaster like The Sheep Look Up (1972) and Stand on Zanzibar (1968)).

I actually don’t recall if I ever read Shockwave Rider, but the title of the book has always struck me as an appropriate description of our situation, reminiscent, as it is too, of The Doors song “Riders on the Storm”.

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