Listen, kids, don’t look for clarity in this piece; it’s more like a disjointed symphony.
We’re neck-deep in the age of information, in a muck teeming with mental quicksand and deceptive clarity.
Think of this as a roadmap, scribbled in crayon on the back of some cosmic napkin something I’m leaving behind in the hope it helps you.
The space we inhabit now is uncharted, volatile, and seething with the essence of a thousand burning libraries.
I believe I’ve stumbled upon something —a process, an effect, a byproduct of grander schemes. It’s not headline news, but it’s true and it’s pertinent.
To some, it might be an apriori notion; to others, a maddening absurdity.
It functions for me, and perhaps it could serve you as well.
- “Comrade” Vernadsky’s concept of the noosphere: an emergent planetary layer of cognition, culture, technology, and information resting on the ‘geosphere’ and the ‘biosphere’ like a newly (comparatively) opened eye in the pyramid.
- Father Teilhard (of the thistle) waking from dreams of globally interconnected networks of information to argue the noosphere is vascularized and interlinked by communication and knowledge. His writings suppressed by the Jesuit masters of his own order for decades before the creation of ARPANET, before the fuse was lit.
- Consider that In the not so distant past, its reasonable to assume that a single individual could have a coherent and complete model of the noosphere as it related directly to their “mode of life”, the patterns and structures that govern daily existence. ( a general concept which here is churlishly attributed to Vaneigem [because FUCK YOU! he showed us how it was weaponized to turn us into slaves] ).
- Consider the concept of an API (Application Programming Interface) a set of basic requests, rules, or functions that provide access to a more complex system.
- In small, less complex, more homogeneous societies, the “API calls” needed to interact effectively with technology, cultural heuristics, and social norms, the fundamental skills, knowledge, and social cues that everyone in a given society would need to know were sufficiently simple and limited. A single individual could “master the API”.
- Now as the fibrous tendrils of ultra-pure silicon dioxide glass encircle and link the planet, as staccato pulses of modulated electromagnetic waves saturate our environment from hilltops and orbital transmitters the “API” has scaled to where even a single mode of life requires greater and greater specialized cross domain knowledge.
- In today’s globalized, interconnected world, the “API” for the entire noosphere is unimaginably complex, far exceeding the cognitive capacity of any individual.
- We all now collectively suffer from “Noospheric Myopia.” The specific error of drawing conclusions about reality without considering the current state, topology, and vector of the noosphere. (my fallen comrades and spiritual mentors whisper from across the great divide: “because it’s sentient…” but that is a different discussion for a different day.
- Yet, despite our cognitive limitations, our permanent curse of inability to scale, rationality compels us to seek some form of anchoring within this vast, complex noospheric web.
- Like explorers waiting for the clouds to part so they can see guide stars through uncharted waters, we have to find or invent new techniques to center our thoughts and actions accurately within the greater informational context.
- New tools, rituals, or even mental heuristics that allow us to momentarily grasp the unfathomable and align ourselves with larger currents, lest we drift into existential irrelevance and wind up like penned feedstock sucking down pleasure food and grinding out the occasional orgasm. – Or cargo cultists binding and burning our own children, watching the skies for the next delivery. (note: cargo cults did not do this but you see my point unless you’re a pedantic asshole)
- Is this search for an anchor, a rudder and an astrolabe in this new sea of information quixotic? Perhaps. Necessary? Absolutely.
- Heed Hadit’s caution that “the rituals of the old time are black.” The traditional “API calls” —those age-old patterns, rituals, and social norms—have been obsolesced, corrupted, or co-opted.
- They are no longer effective scripts for navigation; instead, they’re vestigial codes, they are Leviticus in the face of sanitation, germ theory, and rationalism.
- Hewing slavisly to ANY OF THEM risks misrouting us into cul-de-sacs of irrelevance or pits of despair. To persist in using them is to court disaster, like reciting outdated incantations in the face of new and angry gods.
- The search for these new navigational techniques transcends professional and intellectual silos. Whether you’re engaged in fine arts, writing briefs, pedagogy, science, the search for inner truth, or any other possible endeavor —this quest is not a sidebar; it’s the main plot. It’s the universal passport to navigate this vast, unknowable realm, elevating our endeavors from mere occupation to existential imperative.
- As we lumber through this era chained to our biology, our narrow perspectives, our low bandwith sensoriums, the noosphere’s complexity swells exponentially, what takes form from this churn will not just unnerve almost all of us, but may possess sentience beyond our understanding.
- Avoiding this engagement doesn’t just leave you unprepared; it makes you irrelevant. Your duty to reckon with this emergent complexity —conscious or not—is both inescapable and urgent.
Anyway, back to the point.
- My personal strategy? Dive headlong into the churning sea of complexity. Allow it to overwhelm your senses, test your semblance of control, and penetrate your core. In doing so, you’ll find obscure waypoints in the chaos, possibly leading you toward a new purpose or at least some semblance of stability in this rapidly swirling data vortex.
- Whether those faint signals are traps set by some new and more dangerous information predator—an infovore—or outdated paradigms masked as innovation, the imperative remains: move, act. To stand still is to become food for whatever entity is rising from the abyss. Longing for the past and urging your offspring to do the same is as futile and destructive as turning into a salt statue while staring at a long-gone utopia.
- If the thought of leaping into the abyss of trying to comprehend the noosphere is terrifying pause and reflect. By hesitating, you cease to be an active participant, nor do you function as a agent; you are demoted to mere irrelevance. You become nothing more than the fertile ground from which the next phase of complexity will sprout and evolve.
- To entertain the illusion that anything could halt or reverse this tide is not just naïve; it’s an absurdity bordering on the farcical. It evokes a melancholic pity in me.
- The terrifying possibilities that make you hesitate from participating… are already unstoppably emergent. Every. single. one.
- Conversely, the very outcomes you fear to even imagine—knowing that one more dashed hope might shatter your resolve—are also relentlessly inevitable. every. single. one.
- The only thing I know for sure is that: There will come a day of reckoning, a moment foreshadowed by both the relentless expansion of the noosphere and the most ancient religious texts, when the question will be posed, “Did you help?” and you will have to respond naked and fully seen in the gaze of an entity or principle far surpassing your own significance.
- Therefore, it stands to reason that asking yourself this question daily is not merely an act of self-inquiry, but a moral and existential imperative. In doing so, you prepare for that inescapable moment, while also aligning your actions with the greater forces shaping our collective destiny.
- Given the spectacle’s mesmerizing pull and our habitual reliance on obsolete APIs (see above), I have to be honest and admit I don’t yet know how to make this approach widely replicable. But that doesn’t diminish its vital importance; on the contrary, it only intensifies the urgency of our collective search for new navigational tools.
- A technique that resonates with me currently is to watch a specific video by Orbital, fully committing to not diverting my attention. We’re all afflicted by shortened attention spans, a condition deliberately engineered, yet enduring the experience, akin to Alex strapped down: the screen flickering, is critical. The objective is to perceive the bigger picture, to grasp the gestalt.
- While this video and its accompanying music might offer only a temporary lens, for me it serves as a fleeting but reliable snapshot of the noosphere’s architecture. It might offer you a similar perspective.
- In the final analysis, the quest to locate these provisional maps and techniques—or even to generate our own—stands as the defining imperative of our lifetimes. All else, is incomplete narratives, polarizing social dynamics, or identity and issue politics, they are tangential, they are broken and incomplete tools and destined to mire us in confusion and discord.
I ain’t saying it’s gospel.
The point is to get you thinking about how to sail the seas of the noosphere without getting shipwrecked.
I’ve thrown in my two cents, a navigational hint or two—like that Orbital video.
Might work for you, might not.
Either way, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can just be a spectator or sit back in the balcony and say things like “kids these days..” This voyage—navigating the monstrosity of interconnected thought and data—is the crusade of our generation.
Anything less is mere sideshow, a distraction leading you to cul-de-sacs and shouting matches.
Keep your eyes on the compass and maybe, just maybe, you won’t get lost in the chaos.
Now head out, scuttle or swim, but for God’s sake, do something.
-Rally point delta (fall 23)