HomeArticleTerence McKenna Offers Another Reason To Have Hope For Humanity

Terence McKenna Offers Another Reason To Have Hope For Humanity

I often talk about the various reasons I still believe humanity has a fighting chance at rescuing itself from extinction and Orwellian dystopia, like the fact that our ability to network and share information is at an all-time high while trust in the mass media is at an all-time low, or the fact that humans have the capacity to radically transform their relationship with thought in a way that longtime teachers of this art say is becoming easier and more common. I just stumbled across another such reason to hope, and I figured I’d tap it out with a few thoughts in case anyone wants to add it to the pile.

I like to listen to talks from the late philosopher/psychonaut Terence McKenna sometimes while I’m relaxing; I find it to be good mental hygiene. One particular video was on in the background today and something he said caught my ear that I’d heard many times before but never really ingested, arguing that there’s an unbroken trend in the known universe’s history which suggests that humans are going to make it past our challenges after all.

McKenna introduces the bit I’d like to highlight by saying that, while it is difficult to be both well-informed and optimistic about humanity’s future, there are some things science has tended to overlook about the big picture which gives optimism a more rational place in the grand scheme of things.

“What was overlooked was what I call the Conservation of Novelty,” McKenna’s odd, reedy voice said through my laptop speakers. “Now what I mean by this is something very easy for you to convince yourself is happening. The Conservation of Novelty is simply that over time, the universe has become more complicated. New levels of complexity become the foundations for yet deeper levels of complexity. And this phenomenon of the production and conservation of what I call novelty is not something which goes on only in the biological domain, or only in the cultural domain, or only in the domain of physics. It is a trans-categorical impulse in reality, meaning it’s everywhere. Everywhere.”

“The universe was born in a state of great simplicity,” McKenna explained. “There were no atoms, there were no molecules, there were no stars; there was only a plasmic ocean of energy. The physics for describing this were very simple. As time passed, you could almost imagine complexity crystalizing out of a universe that cools. As it cools new properties emerged; what David Bohm called emergent properties come out of the universal mix.”

“Atomic systems form. This creates an entirely new domain of matter, different from the plasma that preceded it. As the universe cools, matter aggregates into stars. Stars cook out heavier elements, among them carbon. Carbon sets the stage for four-valent complex polymer chemistry, that sets the stage for life. Simple life sets the stage for complex life. Complex life sets the stage for multicellular advanced animals, land animals, so forth and so on. You see what the process is here: it’s that each emergent property becomes a building block for a new set of phenomena. The concrescence of atomic systems allows the physical world. The generation of carbon chemistry allows the organic world. The complexification of advanced animals allows the conscious world of human culture and civilization.”

Do you see where he’s going with this? The universe, for some mysterious reason, has been marching toward greater and greater complexity since its birth. Everything we know about our universe and our world tells us plainly that this is true; you don’t need to believe in any kind of deity or woo woo philosophy to see it, it’s evidenced in the behavior of the universe itself.

The most complex structure in the known universe is the human brain. As far as we know it is the pinnacle of material complexity at this point in spacetime. If what we know about this ongoing trend from plasma giving rise to particles giving rise to stars giving rise to elements giving rise to life giving rise to humanity giving rise to to increasingly complex cultural and societal structures is as reliable as it appears to be, does it make sense to believe the human brain would suddenly disappear from the equation and revert back to the lesser complexity of an earth without humans, or without life altogether?

It’s at least an interesting idea to consider and toy with the implications. Maybe we really are all along for the ride in the universe’s playful expansion into greater and greater complexity, a transitionary phase between simpler animal life and whatever vastly more complex thing we’ll give rise to in the future. Maybe our idea that the fate of the world rests in our little monkey hands is as precious and ridiculously self-important as one of the hundreds of side characters in a Where’s Waldo? illustration thinking that the whole book is about her. Maybe we’re just the earliest sprouting from the tiniest seed of what is on its way to becoming a towering tree, but mistaking ourselves for the finished product instead of a brief phase along the way toward something unimaginably grander. Maybe this fascinating adventure necessarily continues after all.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t try, of course we should. Partly because maybe ol’ Terence was mistaken in this particular case, but also because what the hell else are we going to do? Even if we are some awkward transitionary stage between the simpler and the more complicated, our trying and our fight to survive would be just as much a part of that march toward complexity as our little herbivore dinosaur ancestors scrambling to avoid the sharp teeth of carnivorous predators. The only thing to do is fight for life, but this perspective takes the pressure and hopelessness out of it.

So where are we headed, if McKenna’s theory of novelty conservation continues to bear out? Well, the early single-celled organisms wouldn’t have been able to predict the emergence of multicellular organisms. Early multicellular organisms wouldn’t have been able to anticipate the emergence of land animals. A prehistoric land animal never would have imagined that there would one day be humans driving around in cars and making street art and arguing with strangers on the internet. Maybe any attempt on our part to predict where this trend in complexification is headed would be just as futile. All we can do is keep alive, do our very best, and hope.

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Latest comments

  • The increasing complexity which we might hope will deliver us from our problems, is actually the source of many of those problems. “Small is Beautiful” (Schumacher ). Quakers tell us that there is safety in simplicity. Humility undercuts excessive flights of egotism (Icarus).

  • “Way too many links to actual Nazis and far right wing elements. In my view it was encouraged in order to remold and break down a conservative society in order to pave the way for the radical restructure of globalism.”

    Huh? Folks who’ve experimented with psychedelics and had positive outcomes are linked to “actual Nazis”? Citation, please. And since when would the goal of Nazis (who are “national” socialists, after all) be to breakdown a “conservative” society in favor of a globalized one? I also love the guilt by association; because some but not all people who are involved on the far right have clicked “Like” on social media posts by the some but not all high priests of the cult of some but not all entheogens, the whole area of inquiry is now suspect.

    Did you know that Hinduism and its high priests are also connected to the far-right? Google Hindutva. Or that Daniel Pinchbeck, an entheogenic cultist, also trips on Jean Gebser? And don’t even get me started on the dalliances of the far-right with scientific facts. See how that works?

  • Wot happened to my post a couple of days ago? I saw it appear. But, it’s not here.

    Was it too cheeky? There’s really no one I agree with more than you, Caitlin. Mega-respect to you (and your team?). If some part of the post annoyed you, just edit it. I’m fine with that.

    More likely explanation: a comment system glitch gobbled it. In that case, u have no idea what I’m referring to.

  • Basically, McKenna recognizes that a post big bang universe rich in energy can overcome the tendency to go to more entropy and evolve the complex. The big underappreciated caveat is the “over time” bit. Our human form of intelligence/greed/aggression might very well not work out. We might or even probably will destroy ourselves, and still have another creature increase complexity, some period of “over time” later.

    That said, if we survive our own destructive tendencies, we can expect to evolve exponentially from here by intelligently altering our DNA (or making a hybrid biological/machine structure) without the massive suffering caused by the random mutation to evolve paradigm.

  • ‘our little herbivore dinosaur ancestors scrambling to avoid the sharp teeth of carnivorous predators’

    The one-time paleontology nerd in me can’t help observing that Homo Sapiens has no dinosaurs among its direct ancestors.

    As for the rest – others have mentioned entropy. On the other hand, it’s true that precisely the development of life seems to move towards higher complexity. In any case, my beef is with suffering, which I would want to minimise, while maximising pleasure and joy. I am not sure I really have a beef with non-existence; it’s the suffering that would accompany the transition to it that is the great misfortune from my perspective. Should all humankind or all life once be gone, would that be so unfortunate? I’m inclined to think about this as about the disappearance of an individual person. Non-existence, while excluding pleasure and joy, also excludes suffering; non-existence by itself is so opposed to both suffering, pleasure and joy that it is, in a way, indifferent from their perspective. Time is not that different from space – you can’t be everywhen, just like you can’t be everywhere; it’s good that you are at least somewhen and somewhere; you will always have been somewhen and somewhere, with all the pleasure/joy that you have experienced, and that’s good enough and worth it. Complexity is nice – in that it can be a source of pleasure and joy if you live; I am not convinced that I value it inherently, as in the different complexity of minerals in a hypothetical completely universe completely empty of life.
    .
    It would certainly be better if our species could reach a form of life with more pleasure and joy and less suffering, thanks to its complexity, and exist in order to enjoy it as much as possible, rather than disappearing tomorrow. In the end of the day, however, you get as much as you get. If it’s not as much as one could have hoped, well, that’s too bad, but it’s not the end of the world (the end of the world isn’t, I mean).

  • A footnote regarding the possibility of hope. A couple of decades ago I became upset with the excessiveness of civil fordeitures in drug cases. I have not personally taken or sold or in anyway dealt with drugs, but seeing cities and counties seizing vehicles and buildings upon finding small amounts of drugs, as a way to avoid property tax increases—all this seemed very wrong to me, a lawyer by education and practice.. When Jill LePore wrote in _The New Yorker_ on the 1,000th anniversary of the Magna Carta, she made statements to the effect that that old concession of King John had little or no relevance in today’s world. My letter to the editors of that magazine had this paragraph: //
    //
    She fails to take notice of the restriction of amercements in Article 20—in particular the clause reading, in translation, “A free man shall not be amerced for a trivial offense except in accordance with the degree of the offense.” That restriction is of utmost importance today when state and local governments seek to solve their growing financial problems by seizing buildings and vehicles as amercements for possession of small amounts of marijuana or other drugs. (Wikipedia’s entry for “Amercement” collects cases in point from several states.) In the case of Den v. U.S., the Supreme Court held that the Constitution’s assurances of “due process” incorporate the standards of Magna Carta.
    //
    Yesterday, in the case of Timbs v;. Indiana, SCOTUS held that due process does limit the ability of states to impose excessive fines via civil asset forfeitures. Timbs faced a maximum criminal fine of $10,000 for his offenses, but the seizure of his Range Rover gave the seizing governmental body marketable value at least four times that amount. This very welcomed decision of the US highest court gives me hope that increment by increment, the world may get better.

  • “Maybe our idea that the fate of the world rests in our little monkey hands is as precious and ridiculously self-important as one of the hundreds of side characters in a Where’s Waldo?”
    ..
    The fate of the “world” is not in our monkey hands. As it did for literally billions of years before human beings, “the world” will go on just fine without human beings doing their thing — driving their cars, playing with their smartphones, polluting the planet, etc. on its surface. It is humanity’s CONTINUING EXISTENCE that rests in our monkey hands. And WHAT are those monkey hands, genitals and brain cells doing to ensure humanity’s continuing survival?
    ..
    So far, human beings have created roughly 7.7 billion living human beings which Mother Earth cannot support for much longer; and nuclear weapons, which are unlike any of the other weapons human apes have been using to kill each other for as long as human beings have existed. That is an extintion-threatening combination.
    ..
    There were approximately 1.7 billion humans alive in the year 1900 – a living accumulation that took literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years for humans to “build”. It took human beings only an additional 65 years to double their population to 3.3 billion in 1965 (15 years after I was born). Apparently humans got together and decided that there still weren’t enough people, because all it took was an additional 42 years (down from 65 years) of intense humping to once again double the human population from 3.3 billion in 1965 to 6.7 billion in 2007. Finally, according to the “Worldometer” website, the current human population is approximately 7.7 billion consumers/defecaters. Therefore, in only the 12 years between 2007 and 2019, the human population has risen by ONE BILLION people. Looking at that last number a bit differently, that’s ONE THOUSAND CITIES of ONE MILLION PEOPLE PER CITY added to Mother Earth’s biosphere in only the last 12 years! Well done, human beings! Mother Earth is certainly going to give us a great big reward for our procreative effort, right?
    ..
    Then there are those wonderful, peace-keeping nuclear weapons that human brain cells invented. Up to today, they’ve been used only once by The Greatest Nation On Earth. Go to the website “Nukemap” and “detonate” just seven 100-megaton nuclear weapons in “air bursts” over NYC, DC, LA, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle. Notice the fatalities, injuries and the radiation clouds produced by those hypothetical explosions.
    ..
    Speaking of nuclear war, in addition to his and Agent Orange’s “all options on the table” threats against Venezuela, John Bolton YESTERDAY threatened the Nicaraguan government with “regime change”. Will Orange be announcing his chosen Capo in Nicaragua tomorrow? And if that wasn’t enough sabre-rattling, Orange has apparently ordered a US warship to accompany his “Ukrainian” vassal’s vessel in the Black Sea in the near future. Are those two warships going to pass underneath the new Russian bridge across the Kerch Strait by any chance?
    ..
    Is the Greatest Nation On Earth – again, the one and only nation on earth to have destroyed two cities with nuclear weapons — doing everything in its power to provoke a nuclear WWIII?! It sure looks that way.
    ..
    And after WWIII is over in a matter of maybe a week, humanity itself will be “over” shortly thereafter. But always look at the bright side of “life”; Caitlin, maybe you’ll get to live through a real-life re-make of “On The Beach”!

  • mmm. I have learned over the many many decades in my life there are things we can do to change things. Most urgent things will take time and I think we get impatient sometimes and often this can backfire. I don’t kneel inside a church to advertise how good I am. I can talk to the person who made me all day long if I want, and I try to as it makes me happy on the inside. Everything around me, the person who made this all possible and the person who undoubtedly must love me. I sure as hell know too things, I didn’t create myself nor did I come about from some monkey. A family member, Habitual uni student for the last 60 decades, asked me recently had I EVER witnessed a mirical, in a condescending, arrogant tone Just need to look around Uncle Mich. Don’t give me a hard time with YOUR unreliable statistics about Earths age and how you proved it. It was created in pristine condition a little over 6.000 years ago. Don’t hit me with stupid David Attenborough and his Very Wealthy from Gov. grants jibe on an old earth idea of trilians of years old. Nobody on this earth even knows what time is so how can you measure that. If you had lots of money I am sure you could. Just like if you had enough money you could become the President, the Pope, the Prime Minister. All so brainwashed by this cardboard education system. Sorry to go on so much in my first comment for you. Feel free to do what you want with this. I am just so passionate about all this. Today I think I have made a tinch of difference. I purchased a Tshirt from the Wikileaks shop and I will wear it often when out and about. It reads “DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER” HANDS OFF ASSANGE.

  • Cyclical cataclysmic biological end times events notwithstanding?

  • Back in the 1930s, the early science fiction pioneer Olaf Stapledon wrote a book called “Starmaker.” [I accidentally stumbled across it some decades back when it was attached to his more famous “Last and First Men” as a double-header.] It is structured as a hillside dream, but lays out a sequence in which collective consciousness first develops in humans, then in other sentient species, then gradually, over the tens of thousands and even millions of years, expands to include the entirety of organic life forms, followed by the rocks,, the mountains, the planets and stars, and even the galaxies, so that in the end, the Universe is a vast ocean of consciousness, and in a sense, g*d creates itself in the form of the whole self-creating Whole.

    I was quite impressed with the book, and found its premise to be plausible. Some time later, I was introduced to the Plasma Universe by the cosmologist and physicist Eric Lerner {“The Big Bang Never Happened”], with its emphasis on the ever-increasing efficiency of energy exchanges that accompanied the gigantic electrical and magnetic forces that, in the work of the late Swedish scientist Hans Alfven, are the predominant transformative force in the evolution of the Universe.

    I raise these points as a counter-tonic to the despair that permeates our culture of death in the U.S.: that, in the sphere of Creation, we are very small actors indeed, and it is grandiose megalomania and unconscious narcissism that makes us believe that we have the power to destroy all life on the planet, let alone the planet, the solar system, the stars and galaxies, or the Universe. We do not have or deserve the luxury of Despair; as Noam Chomsky wrote a few years back in one of his pamphlets, updating Pascal’s argument for Faith, we can either behave as though what we do will make a difference — that is, make every effort, from teach-ins to strikes to mass gatherings and disruptions, to trip up or stop the rumbling leviathan of Empire before it wreaks more damage by an order of magnitude — or we can do nothing, and thus guarantee that the monsters will take the field, the game, and the death’s-head trophy.

    Ever since I first saw your work in Medium, Caitlin, I have found it insightful, consistent, and sufficiently “outside the box” as to inspire deep thought and the loosening, if not breaking, of Blake’s “mind-forged manacles.” As Gramsci put it, “Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will.”

    • I read “Starmaker” a few years ago and so your comment caught my attention. Thanks for mentioning the Lerner book. I have been following the Thunderbolt Project for several years now and I am now reading “The Big Bang Never Happened”, a nice background to Thunderbolt. One very insightful observation early in the book is that Cosmology went off track when the State started funding the research. At that point, competing hypotheses shriveled up due to lack of funding. I think the same can be said of climate science. Not to say that I do not support a rapid transition to renewables, I do. But not because the world will come to an end if I don’t but rather because it is obvious that sustainable systems are the way to go.

  • Much as i admire you and the your worldview and the stuff you write, i think you are on the wrong tram with being fascinated by the cult of Entheogens and its high priests. Way too many links to actual Nazis and far right wing elements. In my view it was encouraged in order to remold and break down a conservative society in order to pave the way for the radical restructure of globalism,
    I also have my doubts about the linear view of evolution which underpins the myth of progress , essentially the root of much of our travails. We are essentially blobs of carbon and H20 on a mch bigger blob of carbon and H20, our form at the mercy of vast forces beyond our control. The brain could be very much a product of present conditions. I like the Hindu cyclical vision , and i am tripping on Jean Gebsers “ever present origin” as outlined by Scott Preston n his outstanding blog

    https://longsworde.wordpress.com

    Marty Glass “Yuga” is awesome in this direction. Who needs mushies when you can read these guys. When i was reading your piece i was thinking ‘but she has such a big heart’. The heart is where its at for me. I think you will find that the universe, or multiverse is actually dying, not ‘evolving’ and that life is a dance with the lessons of limits and entropy. This is a scientific fact.

    Respect

    • “Way too many links to actual Nazis and far right wing elements. In my view it was encouraged in order to remold and break down a conservative society in order to pave the way for the radical restructure of globalism.”

      Huh? Folks who’ve experimented with psychedelics and had positive outcomes are linked to “actual Nazis”? Citation, please. And since when would the goal of Nazis (who are “national” socialists, after all) be to breakdown a “conservative” society in favor of a globalized one? I also love the guilt by association; because some but not all people who are involved on the far right have clicked “Like” on social media posts by the some but not all high priests of the cult of some but not all entheogens, the whole area of inquiry is now suspect.

      Did you know that Hinduism and its high priests are also connected to the far-right? Google Hindutva. Or that Daniel Pinchbeck, an entheogenic cultist, also trips on Jean Gebser? And don’t even get me started on the dalliances of the far-right with scientific facts…

  • We humans are a sort of filter for the Absolute. When we are born, the brain(thoughts, mind) and the heart(emotions, feelings) are merged. As we grow in physicality, our brain becomes more dominant with linguistic, quantitative thought superseding intuitive heartfulness. While we are expanding the brain we are contracting and repressing the heart. Expanding the brain without the heart has given us murderous technologies, leaving us on the precipice we have today. If we could expand our filter and listen to the heart, we might have a chance.

  • Death is merely a point in time where the living transition from slow entropy to rapid entropy.

  • Somewhere read an article that life originally used COPPER as a building block.
    And later switched over to Carbon.
    I think Octopus is a relic of this, and a few other aquatic animals.

  • For a long time I’ve been haunted by the idea that what is there is, when all is said and done, is a dark expanse of stars flickering in an endless void, where far off in a remote corner of the universe, on an obscure little planet — they call it Gaia, Earth — clever little animals invented for themselves proud words like “being” “truth”, “ethics” and “knowledge”. It was the most arrogant minute in the history of the universe, but it was only a minute…

    For these sentient creatures, preoccupied with their own restless search for something to fill the void, seemed utterly unmindful of how the universe at large took no mind of them. But soon enough, after nature had drawn just a few more breaths — cosmologically speaking, their hot house planet would lose momentum and sink back into its sun, and the clever little animals would have to die and be toast, as would all the stars and all creatures great and small, leaving behind nothing but ashes and the fading echoes of their now dead languages echoing in the void as the universe expands ever more rapidly unto oblivion. And no one will ever know they were here.

    In the end, it will have all been for nothing. The universe is a pure expenditure without return, there’s nothing in it for us and there is no reason why anything ever happens at all.

    But this “expenditure without return” is also what gives life its intensity, because giving it all away for nothing without ever counting the cost is what makes our deepest passions and commitments unconditional.

    That is, if God (by whatever name) is love, and love is unconditional (or its nothing), then by living in a universe hard-wired for acts of pure self-expenditure without any expectation of a return, we are part and parcel of a process of unconditional self-giving love.

  • sorry to see you getting wrapped up in McKenna. This psychedelic jive birthed the politics of feeling- identity politics- by focusing on individual liberation and visionary experiences.

    Evolution is a not actually real or true. Nobody has ever seen a species emerge. not once. the fossil record is incomplete by the trillions for Darwin to be true. BTW, Hitler’s religion was Darwinism and it was the backdrop for Eugenics. Evolution has practically zero scientific validity. It isn’t really science since how can you do an experiment with it? Scientists are abandoning it every year.

    Everything is worse since we started tripping. It was brought to us by the CIA. I read a lot of McKenna back in the day. I have completely abandoned him.

    Don’t do mushrooms.

    Also- do you ever write on local politics? Don’t you live in Australia? Do you get involved locally? Would love to hear how that is going. You are a great writer but are you active where you can actually have an impact? Would love to know! Peace, B

    Berlinski on evolution https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOtGb8hKyWE

    • If evolution and evolutionary theory was a crock than it would be futile to implement eugenics programs(selective breeding), see how that works?

      Only a fool would listen to a non scientist try to explain away something he or she has no real understanding of.

      That fool you linked needs to go study mendelian genetics, ecological niches and at the very least understand what constitutes a species before spouting off his nonsense.

  • What human beings call “the known universe” is really a very, very, very small place.

  • Nice idea. But the picture is painted in very broad strokes, from the big bang to the human brain. Taking a closer look at the finer structure, a broad increase in complexity will reveal many smaller ups and downs. We humans might well be in one of such downs now. It is like if you buy stock: Even if the trend is going up you need enough time to ride out the downs … and the worry is that humanity doesn’t have enough time left to do so.

  • Certainly interesting ideas. However there is also the observation that the more complex the life form the shorter the life span, between creation and extinction. I don’t know if there is a term for it but it’s been noticed.There’s nothing to say we will survive as a species.Actually it looks like we are speeding up our race to extinction. If we do go extinct the damage we will have done to the planet will take a long time to remedy., maybe like previous extinctions, millions of years. But then maybe the complexity increase will return.

    • I always find it odd how in many of these “climate catastrophe” articles, there is never any mention of ongoing proven weather modification and geoengineering.

  • “All we can do is keep alive, do our very best, and hope.” Thanks, Caitlan – I’ve been feeling a wee bit hopeless myself lately re. our global predicament and your thoughts helped me to remember: There’s a spark of hope imbedded deep inside that is ABSOLUTELY INEXTINGUISHABLE!

  • “The most complex structure in the known universe is the human brain.”

    Actually, no. This culture has indoctrinated us to think the human animal is superior in complexity and intelligence, but the counter-evidence is literally all around us. We’re just too blind and narcissistic to see it The human brain cannot even be compared against the complexity of nature’s processes and other large life forms such as fungal colonies that span hundreds of square kilometers.

    As for the ‘tendency’ for life to grow more and more complex, let me introduce you to a concept called entropy. It ensures that at some point, in a cyclical fashion, all life forms and non-biological material or matter such as rock, break down, decay or otherwise become something less complex.

    So, no, we’re not evolving to a better, higher level of awareness as a species. In fact, due to our maladaptation, we’re well on our way to dooming all life on this planet to extinction to the point where it won’t support life – ever. Yes, it’s called ‘going Venus’. Look it up.

    I recommend the book ‘Myth of Human Supremacy’ by Derrick Jensen. It will open your eyes to the incredible beauty, complexity and supreme intelligence of other species – those whose lives we’re extinguishing. It will change you forever.

    The only thing that can save us now is deep humility and a willingness to give more than we take from the Earth. She’s had enough.

    • I’ve often wondered about processes that are either too fast or too slow for us to perceive. Could an information processing system be formed in some medium that worked so slowly that it would take generations of humans for anything to occur? I think Steven Baxter (or was it Greg Bear) postulated a relativistic effect making such a being perceptible. But in the universe we inhabit there is plenty of time for a “life form” working on time scales tens of times longer than ours to evolve. It might look like a bunch of rocks to us. What would we be to them?

    • HERE HEAR, I say the intelligencia is felonious and nature herself is the cosmos of ever-changing imperium. The substance of all that lives will decay and at the pretext within the imaginations of the human mind. The human mind is decaying at an alarming rate in it’s subjective adherence to the laws of nature. Man has put his subjective mind in the place of the creator…the sciences dominate the illusive conjure of the magician and the absence of common sense… live as the birds do! No! Command nature and usurp the order of kind after kind and create the abdominal DNA…the Frankenstein AI… Humans at best will inherit extinction like the dinosaurs and the arbitrary delusions of grander liken to the Inca and Mayans that worship false gods and ignore natures warning of her expungement the criminal decedents of her DNA and the breath we take as the milk of the teat of our holy mother earth. We have forgotten the golden rule of the breath of life… to tend the garden! The killing fields are nigh and the doers of evil that follow the sword die by the sword…kind of a liking to gods judgment, via the insanity of human judgment upon itself… natures way of riding the planet of the unwanted scourge if intelligentsias madness. Here the meek that follow the design of cosmic creation inherit the wealth of natures majic by becoming one with the order of symbiotic stewardship… Ask not what nature can do for you…but what we can do for nature and the commonwealth of cosmic order.

    • In general i agree with you Joy, and i love Derrick J too. i recall hearing him speak way back about 2005 during Endgame era in Camden, Maine. He strode out quietly, sat down, and asked: “Are there any FBI here? (pause) If there are…fuck you!” That’s my Derrick! And, Caitlin, i love you too, but one big question re: humans “as the most complex structure in the known universe”…where did humans derive from? A lesser intelligence? And i’m not talking the big guy/gal/it in the sky. Regardless, keep up the ‘fuck you!’ attitude.

    • The ultimate liberal identity politics – misanthropy and Earth/animal worship. It’s just a fact that other animals have far less of what we call ‘intelligence’, not to mention what we call ethics; the evidence is literally all around us. Your very injunctions (‘giving more than taking’, ‘not extinguishing life’, ‘humility’ etc.) are patterned on norms and moral intuitions that are alien to these animals. ‘Beauty’ is in the eye of the beholder, and we are the beholders; I do not value (my perception of) beauty more than I value humans. As for complexity, ‘structure’ is such a general concept that, of course, it can be made to include the entire universe, inevitably making it more complex than a single human brain. However, comparing an entire colony of organisms to a single organ strikes me as cheating, and even so I would still say that the way a entire fungal colony, spanning hundreds of square kilometres, ‘behaves’ is far simpler, more unvaried and predictable than the behaviour generated by a single human brain. This might shock you as the ultimate expression of Human Supremacism, but I wouldn’t sacrifice a single human brain for a fungal colony even if it were the size of the Solar System. Earth is not a ‘she’, but an inanimate ball of matter, and has no preferences for life or death; the same applies to almost all living matter on it, since it has no concepts of life and death. If you speak in ‘her’ name to proclaim that ‘she’s had enough’ – well, that’s just you speaking, and you’re describing only your own preferences. If you demand ‘humility’ before ‘her’ authority, the authority you demand is really for yourself. If you speak of some sort of social-contract-type relationship with ‘her’, involving ‘giving’ and ‘taking’ – the real addressee of the giving is you. These imaginary human-style relationships with inanimate and non-rational entities are attempts to strengthen your hand in your dealings with other humans, much like the relationships with deities of yore. And, like them, they are not legitimate.
      .
      I do not condone animal cruelty or the destruction of the environment that we are observing currently. However, your kind of arguments are doing more harm than good to these causes.

  • There’s a term for this complexity increase. “The adjacent possible”, coined by Stuart Kauffman. Random stuff happens that creates, out of nothing, new, adjacent possibilities that are not prestatable. The universe bubbles forth.

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