Saturday Links of the Week — March 15, 2008 — The Heavy Ideas Edition

Last Monday by SuperNova K
Image: Last Monday by SuperNova K, taken in January at UBC during a storm. 

The Ghost in the Hologram: Back in 2005, my friend Joe Bageant was invited to be part of a conversation on “the condition of the world”. The result was published in the long-running e-journal Swans (thanks to Jon Husband for the link). Teaser:

Now with the approaching death of widespread yeoman textual literacy, and the advent of technology driven quantum experience among our species, it is understandable that folks of our type are frustrated, anxious and depressed over what is ahead. Certainly the lush, funky, sexy, organic planetary experience as we have known it through human history is ending. The progression of technology is geometric, self-squaring, and what we are now witnessing is sort of a Doppler shift in which human perceptive experience approaches warp speed. The man becomes the holographic man, then the ghost in the hologram animated by the very mechanism he created, grown complex and labyrinthine and self-manifesting through man himself. Unintelligent, soulless, but self-manifesting nevertheless. I think too many idealists in our neurological caste (artists, visionaries, pimps, heart burglars, whatever) cannot grasp that the masses, the majority of modernized technical humans, find the hologram just peachy. They are made for it because they were created by it.

Holons in Holarchy: The Cell, organ, body, community, Gaia — Elisabet Sahtouris provides a circles-within-circles model of the living universe and how its elements all co-conspire to optimize, continue and evolve life. It’s too bad she gets sucked into the ‘progress’ myth (that evolution is moving ‘forward’ rather than just adaptation to change) and pays homage to the progress mythologists (spiral dynamics etc. — ugh), because the rest of her model is brilliant. Thanks to Don Dwiggins for the link.

Imagine Why The World is So Sad: An interesting video by a religious group suggests that there’s not much point in getting angry or upset with people — we’re all struggling in a world of quiet desperation, and if we understood what others were struggling with, we’d go much easier onthem, and save ourselves and them a lot of stress. Thanks to Mitch Ditkoff for the link.

Dolphin Rescues Beached Whales: Humans had tried in vain for hours. It only took the dolphin a few minutes to communicate with and lead the whales to safety. Thanks to Cassandra for the link.

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3 Responses to Saturday Links of the Week — March 15, 2008 — The Heavy Ideas Edition

  1. Dale Asberry says:

    Re: Holons in Holarchy, I would have to agree that there is a fundamental sort of “progress”. I believe that there are two fundamental forces – static and dynamic. Static captures patterns while dynamic causes a flow between patterns. As long as the dynamism is not too great to completely disrupt the static aspects of various systems, there will be a tendency for those systems to store more patterns, and more subtle and sophisticated patterns. Think of it in terms of learning… until something is learned, it is unknown. As soon as it is learned, whole new areas are then opened up to be learned. So if evolution is a learning process of living systems adapting to their environment, they will invariably get better at adapting to more aspects of their environment. Progress. All of this assumes though, that the dynamic aspects of the interrelating systems do not overpower the static aspects.

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Hey Dale: Stephen Jay Gould’s Full House is the best refutation of the myth of ‘progress’. He shows that evolution is effectively a random walk, the successful mechanism for introducing small variances in the status quo, testing them, and keeping those which increase the diversity, not the sophistication, of all-life-on-Earth. The purpose of self-continuation is best served by resilience, and diversity (and hence complexity) increases the resilience of Gaia. The purpose of life is not greater self-knowing or knowing (‘progress’), because that, as we are finding out, can best be advanced by overloading the system with ‘smarter’, more self-aware creatures, which produces less diversity, then fragility and, ultimately and inevitably, extinction.

  3. Thanks for the video link. Good message. We so often make assumptions about people, without knowing anything about them beyond what we see on the surface or how their behavior affects us. Sometimes those who might annoy us most are not who they seem if we look a bit deeper, and bother to care.

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