“Something unknown is doing we know not what” — physicist Sir Arthur Eddington
InfiniteWarrior sent me a link this morning to an article by the astrophysicist Adam Frank. The article, in Aeon, is entitled “Minding Matter” in which Frank explains why materialism ultimately cannot account for “the riddle of consciousness”. More importantly, it provides further insight into what I earlier wrote about the crumbling foundations of the Modern Era, or, put alternatively, the disintegration of the mental-rational consciousness structure, as anticipated by Jean Gebser in his Ever-Present Origin.
Now, strangely as it may seem, the challenges posed by quantum physics for conventional cosmology and our understanding of matter and consciousness, as described by Frank in the Aeon article, tie into the aspects of the pop culture Poppy meme I spoke to in the last three postings, as well as to Caroline Orr’s very interesting work on internet propaganda that I linked to yesterday. In a very peculiar way, they all provide a peek behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain. Put simply, they all, in their own way, point to the erosion of the structural foundations of modern consciousness.
OK. I lied. At the conclusion to the previous posting on “Poppy’s World” I wrote that I would say no more about the Poppy meme. Yet, I left off feeling that I had not at all gotten to the gist of the Poppy meme in a satisfactory way — that there had to be more to it. Something more had to account for the range of responses to Poppy, from seemingly mindless and cultish devotion to indignation and outrage.
So, I returned to Poppy’s YouTube channel and watched her videos all over again, and I followed the evolution of the Poppy meme over the last couple of years. Something so seemingly unserious as “Poppy” might seem a strange topic for The Chrysalis, but I since a fellow student of Gebser, Jeremy Johnson, has also found something intriguing in the Poppy meme pertinent to the issue of culture and consciousness, I don’t think it is entirely frivolous.
Poppy and Poppy’s World are, basically, a riff on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, updated for cyberspace and virtual reality. It’s surprising, then, that so many people find Poppy perplexing, since everybody probably knows the story of Alice. Poppy is Alice, and the characters that inhabit Poppy’s World of cyberspace, which appear in her YouTube videos — a talking skeleton, a talking plant, a talking mannequin, faceless men, computer boy — these are counterparts to the characters that appear in Alice’s Wonderland.
The confusion and perplexity (and sometimes indignation and hostility) about Poppy and Poppy’s World that you find in a lot of commentaries on Poppy teaches us something quite profound about changes in the way we approach story. Poppy actually reveals something also about changes in consciousness and “chaotic transition”, which is what got me interesting in the Poppy meme in the first place.