Notes in Transit

En route from New York to Tampa Bay.

It was great to (finally) reconnect with my family and friends after 1.5 years of lockdown. A homecoming! New York has changed, and hasn’t. The same, but different; intermingling melancholy and triumph. Refitted subways. Towering cyberpunk architecture completed during lockdown’s interlude. Masks and sanitizer kiosks and outdoor seating pods, some now permanent fixtures in the archeology of Greenwich streets. Heartened to celebrate the mayoral victory of India Walton. Manhattan’s mayoral race less so, but it’s good to see my city alive, teeming, again.

Wifi signal at La Guardia just strong enough to zap in the acoustic tunes of my friend, Turquoise, and well-wishes from the beautiful Integral Leadership club.

Yesterday’s patreon call was a rich orbiting discussion on decolonization, animism, and the commons. I recommend Andreas Weber’s work to readers here, as well.

Perhaps it’s the metamodern tension we ought to be leaning into. The unbearable awkwardness in our becoming non-modern (Latour), all while cultivating the vastness of a simple, friendly gesture: the open hand (Han). We are “always coming home” (Le Guin), we are Earthbound, seemingly in spite of ourselves and because of our selves. This tension, its betweenness, its metaxy I hold to be an exquisite one, a kind of medicine, a dynamically creative intelligence—this learning to become placed-based and bioregional in our thinking and non-linear in our time. The news may be dire, but our cultural attitudes are what are being disassembled and recast into a “slower urgency” (Akomolafe). The great aperspectival world is boundless here, and open, and so, if we are less than hubristic and more than clever we may respond in kind…

Now back to the work editing Mutations anthology1 and writing Fragments of an Integral Futurism. See you on the pages.

MEA Conference: Media Ecology as Remediation

Next Thursday, June 18th, I have the honor of presenting a paper at the Media Ecology Association’s annual conference. This year the theme is “Communication Choices and Challenges,” and my paper is entitled: “Media Ecology as Remediation: Marshall McLuhan and Jean Gebser in Dialogue”.

My abstract is shared below:

In this essay, I draw from the work of Swiss phenomenologist of consciousness Jean Gebser, and his magnum opus of cultural phenomenology, The Ever-Present Origin (1949) to reflect on some of the more enigmatic insights that Marshall McLuhan provided us with on the characteristics of electronic culture. Although there is little historical evidence that Gebser and McLuhan corresponded directly with one another, Gebser’s publication of Ever-Present Origin anticipates McLuhan’s emphasis on considering the media as environment. It also highlights potential comparisons between McLuhan’s electronic culture and Gebser’s integral-aperspectivity (see Ever-Present Origin, by Jean Gebser, xxix). Like McLuhan, Gebser posited a series of cultural transformations across human history. Gebser’s structures of consciousness, William Irwin Thompson writes, are “isomorphic to McLuhan’s,” and that, “like McLuhan, Gebser holds out a visionary possibility for a transformation of consciousness” (see Coming into Being by William Irwin Thompson, 14). In addressing the question of “Communication Choices and Challenges,” our era of hyper-mediated communication technologies presents us with the Herculean task of overcoming the fragmented culture wars, the so-called “post-truth” world, and ecological devastation. I will explore how our media ecologies might work to engender a form of remedial electronic culture that McLuhan suggests is “the means of living simultaneously in all cultural modes while quite conscious” (see The Gutenberg Galaxy, by Marshall McLuhan, 75), or as Gebser describes as: “a consciousness of man’s distant past and his approaching future as a living present” (Ever-Present Origin by Jean Gebser, 6).

If you’d like an early look at the paper, I’m publishing it to Patreon next week as we kick off the Teilhard book club (incidentally, McLuhan was deeply influenced by Teilhard’s cosmological vision). Become a patron here, and thank you.

The Mutations Project

Welcome to the Mutations podcast. Why a blog? you ask.

I’m admittedly nostalgic for having a dedicated blog page to write from. These, I think, were a much bigger deal about a decade ago. There’s something to be said for finding eddies in the stream; a complement to the transient flux of social media.

Plus, often enough, so many of the notes I take for podcast episodes don’t make it into the actual audio. They’d go on too long. It’s a good excuse to write; thinking, talking, walking, writing through ideas is what I do.

So, yes, a blog.

With this year winding down, and the Mutations anthology coming out in 2020, I’m aiming to ramp up podcast production and get more authors and writers into the mix.

Continue reading “The Mutations Project”

8. Building a Case for an “Integral Futurism” [Solo Show]

The difficulty with talking about time is knowing when to begin. So, I might as well start with this, here.

I’m working on a new book for Integral Imprint called Fragments of an Integral Futurism (202o), and have begun curating a humble bookshelf exploring, first of all, the origins of futurism itself.

Franco “Bifo” Berardi’s After the Future (2011) and Futurability: The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility (2017) have both been illuminating.

For the curious, Berardi was recently interviewed on Conner Habib’s podcast (AEWCH) talking about “breathing in the end of the world.”

In my book, “Bifo” Berardi’s work, alongside Mark Fisher’s (Capitalist Realism), is brought into conversation with Jean Gebser’s cultural phenomenology (kulturphilosophie)—and integral philosophy in general—to help us understand the crisis of sensemaking and civilization. I know. Tall order. But, this is where my writing and reading takes me.

Continue reading “8. Building a Case for an “Integral Futurism” [Solo Show]”