Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In Millennial Eyes 3: Abandoned Buildings, Left to Rot

Abandoned federal gold exchange bank, Part 1 (29 June 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

This post is the first of three - respectively on the economy, politics, and war - which describe how a negative Millennial history is emerging from disconnections between perception and reality. For today, see urbex explorer Josh wander through an abandoned bank, somewhere in America. It appears that this bank closed in the 1980s. To protect properties from vandals, Josh does not reveal names or locations of many of the places he visits. He does not remove anything from the sites, he only films and photographs them. You can see Josh and his friends explore dozens of abandoned sites in the USA and abroadhere.

Urban explorers are now poking through the wreckage of a transformed economy. That transformation depended on the 'virtualization' of property. Before 2007-2008, the economic value of property lay more in its assessed worth as a tangible historical object. During and after the Great Recession, the temporal perception of property changed to become a fleeting and mutable virtual investment, divorced from its actual physical condition and connection to society. The process started before that, but the recession was the hard turning point. In order to understand this change in terms of its long term consequences, it is important to separate the official story of the recession from the post-recession reality which urban explorers have uncovered.

Abandoned federal gold exchange bank, Part 2. Video Source: Youtube.

Although urbex is the new Millennium's historical pastime, the perspective is based on experience, unmediated by historical knowledge, except for a Google search or two. Information on abandoned properties is suppressed on the Internet to discourage vandals and scavengers. Urban explorers seek history out, independently of the way it has been presented to them in the system. Josh thanks all his viewers, "even the haters," who jeer at his lack of knowledge. While urban explorers may not always know the historical context through which they move, they discover many things their viewers do not yet know.

Urban exploration reveals how rapidly the present is becoming the past. For some, the late 20th century and early 21st century are too recent to be considered historical. Urbex videos indicate how time is accelerating in everyday life, and why the past is being discarded at an alarming rate. It is not a pretty picture. Urban explorers document a secret history of incredible losses, shameful waste, and a throwaway culture which appeared over the past thirty years. Abandoned buildings and infrastructure are monuments to materialism, property bubbles, recessions and bankruptcies. The economic shocks are one thing. But the wreckage also confirms a deeper anti-historical malaise. Urbex confirms the need to revitalize historical awareness.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Photos of the Day: Particle Detector and the Orion Calendar

Friday, July 15, 2016

In Millennial Eyes 2: The Inversion

The next three posts on the blog (on the economy, politics, and war) deal with discrepancies between perception, hard reality and the history that emerges from both. I will discuss the way the gaps between the contemporary framing of events and actual events created distorted narratives around the economics of the Great Recession (poverty recast as prosperity - 21 July 2016); the revolutionary origins of modern politics (violence underpins order and ideological ideals - 28 July 2016); and drone warfare (war presented as peace - 5 August 2016).

I wrote these posts before the tragic events in Nice, France on 14 July 2016 and Turkey on 15 July 2016. In particular, the second post on politics considers the historic impact of the Terror during the French Revolution; no comparison to the Bastille Day attack in Nice and no disrespect to those killed or injured is intended.

These posts explore my blog's hypothesis that Millennial media unhappily combine an Age of Reason with an Age of Faith. Cold, hard facts become matters of opinion, and vice versa, in competing cultures of truth. The posts will consider why attempts to reassert rationalism or sanity lead to opposite results, horrible outcomes, and an inversion of meaning.

Photos after the 14 July 2016 truck terror attack in Nice, France. Images Source: Time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In Millennial Eyes 1: I Remember the French Revolution

Screenshot from Assassin's Creed Unity (2014). Image Source: ABC News.

In Millennial Eyes is a new series on this blog which explores how historic events are depicted and discussed from Millennial perspectives. 14 July is Bastille Day in France. One Millennial depiction of the French Revolution is the 2014 video game, Assassin's Creed Unity, developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Neo-history emerges from the game's virtual reality combat.

The location of the Assassin's Creed Unity developer, Ubisoft, in Montreal is interesting, because if you ever wanted to know what France would have been like had there been no French Revolution - or at least, a different kind of revolution - you need to go to Quebec. Like many former colonies, Quebec, originally known as New France or Canada, and later Lower Canada, followed a real path of 'alternate history' compared to that of her mother country. One glance at the map of New France in 1750 (below), compared to the map of Lower Canada in 1791 (below the jump), tells you what a devastating loss France and the French people suffered in North America in this period. Voltaire (1694-1778) famously quipped that losing New France was no great loss. In Candide (1759), he asked what use France had for a "few acres of snow (quelques arpents de neige)?" It was a lot more than that! New France once extended west to Saskatchewan, and south through the American Great Lake states, down to Texas and Lousiana. French Canada struggles with that loss to this day.

New France in 1750. Image Source: J. F. Lepage/Wiki. After the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and other British victories over the French during the Annus Mirabilis of 1759, New France became British under the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Canada (light pink) came under British control. Under the 1774 Quebec Act, the British placated the French population by maintaining their civil code laws and Catholic religion; the Quebec Act angered settlers in the Thirteen Colonies who had moved into Canadian territory over the Appalachians. This was one of the causes of the American War of Independence (1775-1783). Image Source: US Department of State via Wiki.

Image Source: pinterest.

Quebec's provincial motto, present on all post-1978 automobile licence plates, is Je me souviens, which means, I remember. The motto carries a mixed message. The architect of Quebec's provincial parliament building, Eugène-Étienne Taché (1836-1912), invented the motto in 1883 to express the greatness of New France and Lower Canada's founding role in Canada. Taché's provincial legislature displays the motto alongside statues of figures whose work collectively came to express a dual French-English historical meaning. Wiki:
"[The original statues] included founders (Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain and de Maisonneuve), clerics (de Laval, de Brébeuf, Marquette and Olier), military men (de Frontenac, Wolfe, de Montcalm and de Lévis), Amerindians, French governors (D'Argenson, de Tracy, de Callières, de Montmagny, d'Aillesbout, de Vaudreuil) and, in the words of Taché, 'some English governors the most sympathetic to our nationality' (Murray, Dorchester, Prevost and Bagot) and Lord Elgin, who was given a special place for he was seen as an important player in obtaining 'responsible government.'"
The Amerindian statue group by Louis-Philippe Hébert (1850-1917) outside Quebec's National Assembly (provincial parliament) building commemorates Quebec's native peoples in the establishment of New France and Quebec as a Canadian province (click to enlarge). Image Source (August 2013) © Paul Gorbould via flickr.

In 1978, when the motto was revived by Quebec separatists, Taché's granddaughter controversially informed the Montreal Star that the motto's whole verse confirmed a dual memory: Je me souviens/ Que né sous le lys/ Je croîs sous la rose. ("I remember/ That born under the lily/ I grow under the rose.") In this view, Quebec is the child of France and England.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Time and Politics 20: Brexit

The statue of Winston Churchill at Westminster. Image Sources: The Atlantic and The Telegraph.

Although the blog is on a break, Brexit is a momentous historical event. It made me think of a quotation* from the Younger Pitt: "Depend on it, Mr. Burke ... we shall go on as we are to the Day of Judgement."

Perhaps. Although the UK will not leave the EU for two years, Irish and Scottish support for the European Union may lead to the reunification of Ireland, the separation of Scotland, and the break-up of the United Kingdom. Because the campaign became so dark, ugly and tragic, culminating with MP Jo Cox's murder, I will not comment at length on the arguments for one side or the other. I can see both points of view, because the Brexit debate confirms trends I have observed here while researching posts on the economy and the cultural impact of technological change.