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.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bidding Farewell to the 20th Century

20th Century Fox logo. Image Source: flickr via Yoda_56.
The hardest thing about living through a turn of a century, let alone a turn of a Millennium, is that it is serious business. It isn't just a throwaway fact. 9/11 and the recession should have been a warning, a demand for some soul-searching. But even through the economic downturn, I know loads of people who have superficially surfed the wave of change with enthusiasm, and with scant consideration for what is going on around them. And, on the basis of their ability to go unfazed, they have really profited! But if one is sensitive at all to the deeper meanings in things, then it becomes difficult to absorb all that is happening. It is like having the volume turned up to maximum on everything, and the noise becomes debilitating.
In addition, many things are lost forever, and quickly. Anything suddenly and arbitrarily consigned to the dustbin of history becomes impossible to hold on to: there is no going back. Commonplaces of 15 years ago are unheard of today. The same goes with people and history.
You might see a Gen Y diatribe against the late Marxist historian, Eric Hobsbawm, totally dismissing him as a product of the evils of the 20th century, in a way that would have been unheard of a few years ago, even from his critics. A friend of mine was recently talking to a guy in his early 20s. The latter had never heard of Alfred Hitchcock or Joan Rivers. I hyperlinked them, because I figure there are other people out there who have never heard of them, either.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Enforced Memory, Enhanced Humanity?

Would losing our ability to forget be a recipe for a future utopia? Surely, forgetting is part of the healing process after painful experiences? BBC reports that some argue for caution against enhancements of humanity, including enforced memory, so trumpeted by pro-Singularity commentators:
A race of humans who can work without tiring and recall every conversation they've ever had may sound like science fiction, but experts say the research field of human enhancement is moving so fast that such concepts are a tangible reality that we must prepare for. 
People already have access to potent drugs, originally made for dementia patients and hyperactive children, that boost mental performance and wakefulness. 
Within 15 years, experts predict that we will have small devices capable of recording our entire life experience as a continuous video feed - a life log that we can reference when our own memory fails. 
There are a range of technologies in development and in some cases already in use that have the potential to transform our workplaces - for better or for worse” Advances in bionics and engineering will mean we could all boast enhanced night vision allowing us to see clearly in the dark. 
While it may be easy to count the potential gains, experts are warning that these advances will come at a significant cost - and one which is not just financial. 
Four professional bodies - the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society - say that while human enhancement technologies might improve our performance and aid society, their use raise serious ethical, philosophical, regulatory and economic issues. 
In a joint report, they warn that there is an "immediate need" for debate around the potential harms. 
Chairwoman of the report's steering committee Prof Genevra Richardson said: "There are a range of technologies in development and in some cases already in use that have the potential to transform our workplaces - for better or for worse." 
There may be an argument for lorry drivers, surgeons and airline pilots to use enhancing drugs to avoid tiredness, for example. 
But, in the future, is there a danger that employers and insurers will make this use mandatory, the committee asks. 
... Several surveys reveal that many students now use brain-enhancing "smart" pills to help boost their exam grades, which raises the question about whether colleges and universities should insist candidates are "clean" in the same way that Olympic athletes have to prove they are drug-free to compete.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Clawing Back to Recovery

Image Source: Media Bistro. 

Rarely have the domestic elections of one country meant so much to so many people inside that country and across the world. After the economic nightmare of the past four years (ironically delayed until now in some places), the United States stands at a fork in the road. Whatever choice the Americans make at the polls today, their collective decision may determine historic events in the 21st century.