Thursday, November 13, 2014

The nomad

Aesthetic:  Steampunk meets cyberpunk meets post-apocalyptic hippie tribalism.  Style is pragmatic; every piece of jewelry, adornment, etc. has a purpose.  Many wrappy, tattered layers.  See pinterest.

I'd like to give him some rudimentary chemistry and/or medicinal knowledge and skills.

Name:  Damon is an anagram for nomad.  Andariego = Spanish for wanderer.  Girovago = Italian for rover.

Damon and Pythias, Greek myth

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rewilding Witchcraft

Rewilding Witchcraft, Scarlet Imprint

we begin with wolves. ... The apex predator was shown to be the vital element in biodiversity. Man is the only exception to this rule.

I once reasoned that, in a long slow decline of living standards, witchcraft as a low tech, local response could perhaps survive the coming storm and that hand in hand with rewilding habitats as re-enchanted sacred spaces it offered the potential for a post-industrial recovery of bio-diversity.

Now everything has changed.

Rewilding is alas the final position of an ecological movement facing catastrophic losses. ... Yet the essential failure of rewilding is this: we cannot simply introduce new predators, or species such as bison or beavers, into small isolated environments whilst industrial culture is destroying the entire matrix of life on the planet. ... I am not suggesting quitting. ... These small victories will make a difference as we approach the choke point and particularly for those who have or choose, in spite of the facts, to have children.

with climate change animals and insects are being born out of sync with their food sources. As I have said before, the wheel of the year has been broken. 

For witchcraft to be anything other than the empty escapism of the socially dysfunctional or nostalgia for bygone ages, it needs to feel the shape of its skull, venerate the dead and the sacred art of living and dying with meaning.

Orientation, Presence, Imperative. We are not simply losing it all, it is being stripped from us as surely as those accused of being witches were by their inquisitors in the torture cell. ... The witch has been created by the land to speak and act for it.

However, I predict the next generation are going to be angrier and their witchcraft more radical than you or I could dream. They will realise that there is nothing to lose, rather than this generation which seems concerned only about the size of their pension pots – not the fact that they have cost us all the earth.

These technological and scientific responses do not account for the wider environment which we do not control, but which now seeks to redress the killing balance and is doing so with storm surge and wildfire and tornado and flood and drought regardless of what is playing on your headphones or how high the gates are to your compound. I welcome this storm.

a shift to the local and a disengagement from power structures are necessary steps. Find the others has become an imperative.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mythology of resilience sandbox 2

As I'm sketching out this vision of the future, I'm using energy per capita (EPC) as a basic budget for running the apparatus of economy, governance, culture, etc.  Now, I have no way to tell yet whether this will be accurate, but I'm supposing that EPC peaks somewhere in the 2005-2025 crisis turning and follows a more or less symmetrical decline from there.  The following forecast from shows a more drastic, sharp decline following peak.  I'm not sure my future's quite as dramatic as all that.

Now, the stories being told won't really be detailing the technical ins and outs of this energy budget.  Narrator(s) and characters may or not be aware of this reality underlying that of their day-to-day, but the sorts of technologies, economies, etc. available will be a manifestation of the limits imposed by the energy budget.

Note that declining energy per capita doesn't necessarily mean that everyone on the planet will necessarily adopt a lower-energy lifestyle.  There will be winners and losers.  There will be hoarders.  There will be centers of high tech whizbangery and swaths of no places, rewilding ruins of modernity and industrialization, and everything in between.  That is, there's a place in these stories for patches of civilization that continue research in AI, drone warfare, virtual worlds, genetic engineering, whatever technograndiose fantasy you wish.  Kurzweil's singularity may exist in a heavily guarded compound in this world.  That said, in a world with falling EPC, if these high tech, high energy processes proceed, it can only mean greater stratification between the energy haves and have nots.  Further, energy sources will play a part globally.  USA's well past its own oil production peak (1970) today, and geopolitics can play out in a number of ways.  Wealth and income distribution will follow energy distribution, and that's where you derive your divide between walled, shining cities from the squalid, earthy lands of barbarians.  For my part, I want to primarily tell the stories of the barbarians.

I'm not sure I want this to be a class struggle story, a proletarian revolution.

Looping back to "everything in between", I'm interested in exploring what it looks like when you start dismantling what remains of industrial civilization and bring it closer to earth.

Besides the EPC component, I'm using Strauss and Howe's saeculum and generational archetypes as a template for the cycle of stories.  As mentioned, they're calling for crisis in 2005-2025ish, and as I turn the wheel forward, I'd like to pick up the narrative roughly 2065, in an unraveling period.

2065-2085, Unraveling
EPC ~  1945-1965, similar EPC to postwar boom
Artist entering elderhood
Prophet entering middle age
Nomad entering young adulthood
Hero entering childhood

2085-2105, Crisis
EPC ~ 1925-1945, pre-petroleum boom equivalent, post-suburban

2105-2125, High
EPC ~ 1905-1925

2125-2145, Awakening
EPC ~ 1885-1905

Great prophet myths emerge from awakenings with aging heroes.  This is a spiritual and cultural awakening, led by the great prophet character.

2145-2165, Unraveling
EPC ~ 1865-1885

The more I play with this layout, the more I want to start the stories in 2125, during the awakening.  It may not matter when they start.  I'm not sure I want to reveal them in a linear, chronological fashion.  Maybe I'd like to write books, but I'd like to incorporate multimedia, alternate reality gaming into the storytelling.  The stories may be told as dispatches from the future, scattered in various ways across the landscape and current media.

A band of barbarians reaches the white tower of singularity and broadcasts their message of hope to the faithful in the past.  Kurzweil's ilk began building the infrastructure for cross-temporal communication long before they had the means to use it.  The techno elite use this to market to the past to plump up current investments.  Hackers use this to leave breadcrumbs on another path.  Maybe.  Regardless, I think I've got my factions.  See Atlantis, The Institute.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The prophetess

Beatrice Moon was the initial inspiration for the prophetess character.

Exodus 15:20-21
20 Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them: "Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea."
Possible tie in to Atlantis mythology?  Hurled into the sea?

Exodus 2:  Miriam watches as Pharaoh's daughter discovers Moses, and suggests a Hebrew nurse.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Insitute

Flyers in streets
Message with invitation to suite, "To those dark horses with the spirit to look up and see... a recondite family awaits."
Physical place, get a key, instructions to multimedia room
Socio-reengineering, expand trust, leader identified, advanced voodoo tech, algorithm . . . mathematical code that will bring world peace
You will feel the divine.
Temptation, forbidden fruit, induction card, become a spy
Scavenger hunt, unanswered questions
New terminology
No distinction between real and fake insanity
The world looked like a different place, with a different purpose, I was looking for clues
Text message, radio station, email
Assemble a group, choose a leader, confrontation, victory, handshake, then cessation of contact
Rabbit hole, magic key, story box, wonder & discovery . . . Why is it contained within the walls of this little park?
There should be this kind of play infused into the architecture of our real world.
People will accept a billboard, but be upset by street art.
Use multimedia to tell a story.
Urban playground movement, alternate reality game
Giving people a mission and permission to be an agent, explore & discover the hidden, spontaneity and play in civic spaces
Blurring absurd & real
Rogue participant rewrites rules of the game, not a game, abandons experience, recluse, paranoid, experience was "spiritually harmful"
Elsewhere Public Works Agency vs. Jejune Institute (goons)
Elsewhere & Eva
Cell call from commander, mission, codewords, dance in public, physical jamming, joined by b boy and sasquatch
CD with hidden track, walking tour narrated by mother and daughter, Eva
History, fairy dwellings, comments on utility boxes, descriptions of abandoned, demolished houses, book in bookstore, esoteric, box with secret diary of missing Eva, transcendent and ephemeral
Home videos of Eva, cuts her own hair, reads her sad poetry from the diary
Eva suggested potential to transform world
Experience was to tell Eva's story, not just fun and games
SFPD witness recording (?) . . . night of Eva's disappearance . . . mystery
Eva's father . . . algorithm, real person with real house
Rescue Kelvin Williams, tunnels under streets of Berkley, chalked walls, crystal oscillator recovered underground to activate algorithm
Eva was a doorway to elsewhere
Group mailed postcard, directions, codewords, meet couple blocks from destination and walk there following ground markings, boombox, message from Eva, blindfolds, replace with trust
Covert ops, steal bioforce globe to destroy Jejune, prescreening for final event led by man in white coat, gadgets & instrumentation, questions pertaining to dreams, deja vu
Images, word slideshow set to music
Seminar: guru type welcome, protege of Jejune master, glasses of hot water (drink the kool-aid), guru urges retrieval of bioforce globes, creates resistance, "That's how we make tea." laugh, dance, parachute, videoconference with dolphin, emergence of leader of institute, talks about nature of the game/reality, reminds of the promises at induction, fulfilled.
Stopped short
The book was good, but the ending was weird.
Maybe if you don't look down, you'll never fall (referencing Wile E. Coyote)
Elsewhere, a way of being and playing in the world that changed everything.  Powerful & enchanting
Creator & Eva meditated and travelled to elsewhere during creator's treatment
It could still be happening, as far as I know the war is still being waged in the streets
Underlying messages were real
There is all this amazing stuff happening, having something to believe in

I don't know if Eva is a real person or a character.
I don't know if Kelvin Williams is a real person or a character.
Blair Lucien real or not?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Werner Herzog quotes Martin Luther re: apocalypse

It doesn’t make me nervous that we’ll become extinct, it doesn’t frighten me at all. There is a wonderful thing that Martin Luther the reformer said when he was asked, “What would you do if the world would disappear tomorrow in the apocalypse?” And Luther said, “Today, I would plant an apple tree.”
 Interview with Werner Herzog

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tolkien's Numenore

From The Silmarillion, "Akallabeth"

. . . Manwe put forth Morgoth and shut him beyond the World . . . Yet the seeds that he had planted still grew and sprouted. . . . A land was made for the Edain to dwell in . . . nearer to Valinor . . . raised by Osse out of the depths . . . established by Aule . . . enriched by Yavanna . . . Eldar brought thither flowers and fountains . . . Star of Earendil shone bright in the West as a token that all was made ready . . .
. . . beginning of that people . . . called the Dunedain: the Numenoreans, Kings among Men. . . . grew wise and glorious.
. . . while Middle-earth went backward and light and wisdom faded, the Dunedain dwelt under the protection of the Valar and in the friendship with the Eldar, and they increased in stature both of mind and body.
. . . they were become men of peace. . . . ship-building and sea craft . . . mariners . . .
. . . Lords of Valinor forbade them to sail so far westward that the coasts of Numenor could no longer be seen . . .
 . . . at times the Firstborn still would come sailing to Numenor . . . gifts:  birds of song, and fragrant flowers, and herbs of great virtue. . . . White Tree . . .
... sailed about MIddle-earth... took pity on the forsaken world... Numenoreans taught them many things.  Corn and wine... instructed Men in the sowing of seed and the grinding of grain, in the hewing of wood and the shaping of stone, and in ordering of their life, such as it might be in the lands of swift death and little bliss.
Then the Men of Middle-earth were comforted... unlearned their terror of the dark... revered the memory of the tall Sea-kings... Eastward they must sail, but ever west their hearts returned.
...yearning grew greater... desire for everlasting life... and ever as their power and glory grew greater their unquiet increased.  Thus it was that a shadow fell upon them...
'Why do the Lords of the West sit there in peace unending, while we must die...
'Have we not become mighty among the people of Arda?'
...Manwe was grieved, seeing a cloud gather on the noon-tide of Numenor.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dmitry Orlov's Communities that Abide

Communities that Abide:  Part I

Communities that Abide:  Part II

Communities that Abide:  Part III

Communities that Abide:  Part IV:  Causes of Failure

Communities that Abide:  The XIII Comandments

I. You Probably Shouldn't come together willy-nilly.
II. You Probably Shouldn't trap people within the community.
III. You Probably Shouldn't carry on as if the community doesn't matter.
IV. You Probably Shouldn't spread out across the landscape.
V. You Probably Shouldn't allow creeping privatization. 
VI. You Probably Shouldn't try to figure out what to do on your own.
VII. You Probably Shouldn't let outsiders order you around.
VIII. You Probably Shouldn't question the wonderful goodness of your community.
IX. You Probably Shouldn't pretend that your life is more important than the life of your children and grandchildren.
X. You Probably Shouldn't try to use violence, because it probably won't work.
XI. You Probably Shouldn't let your community get too big.
XII. You Probably Shouldn't let your community get too rich.
XIII. You Probably Shouldn't let your community get too cozy with the neighbors.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Uncivilization & Dark Mountain

Words and images can change minds, hearts, even the course of history. Their makers shape the stories people carry through their lives, unearth old ones and breathe them back to life, add new twists, point to unexpected endings. It is time to pick up the threads and make the stories new, as they must always be made new, starting from where we are.
Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto (2009)

Freeing Space for a New Cosmology
On a deeper level, the invader incursions represent the replacement of countless grounded cosmologies with an increasingly singular cosmology rooted in longing. And the farthest conceivable reaches of the invader’s longing is the sky.
 divinity found its source in the dependability of the heavens, up and away from the increasing messiness and unreliability of earth, never mind that the biotic abundance on which human corporeality and wellbeing depended originated in the soil’s translation of sunlight into life.
 I imagine many of those stories would be about a long overdue homecoming set on a world that grows ever more wild, verdant and beautiful every day. A world with people struggling, longing, ceaselessly living to be grounded, integral parts of it all.


From Greer:
According to the mimeographed lessons I studied back in the day, as it became clear that Atlantean technology had the potential to bring about terrifying blowback, the Atlanteans divided into two factions: the Children of the Law of One, who took the warnings seriously and tried to get the rest of Atlantean society to do so, and the Servants of the Dark Face, who dismissed the whole issue—I don’t know for a fact that these latter went around saying “I’m sure the priests of the Sun Temple will think of something,” “orichalcum will always be with us,” “the ice age wasn’t ended by an ice shortage,” and the like, but it seems likely.
First Inundation . . . the shock managed to convince a lot of Atlanteans that the Children of the Law of One had a point . . . immediate memories of the Inundation faded . . . and went back to their old habits . . . Second Inundation . . . Children of the Law of One were marginalized even further . . . years between the Second Inundation and the Third and last one, so the story goes, Atlantis was for all practical purposes a madhouse with the inmates in charge . . . Children of the Law of One . . . sailed off to distant lands to become the seedbearers of the new age of the world.
From Wiki:

Plato borrowed some of his allegories and metaphors from older traditions, most notably the story of Gyges,[7] causing some scholars to investigate possible inspiration of Atlantis from Egyptian records of the Thera eruption, the Sea Peoples invasion, or the Trojan War.[8][9][10]
The early Christian apologist writer Arnobius also believed Atlantis once existed but blamed its destruction on pagans.[47]
Early influential literature
The term "utopia" (from "no place") was coined by Sir Thomas More in Utopia, his 16th Century work of fiction.[54] Inspired by Plato's Atlantis and travelers' accounts of the Americas, More described an imaginary land set in the New World.[55] His idealistic vision established a connection between the Americas and utopian societies, a theme which was further solidified by Sir Francis Bacon in The New Atlantis (c. 1623).[53] Bacon describes a utopian society that he called "Bensalem," located off the western coast of America. A character in the narrative gives a history of Atlantis that is similar to Plato's and places Atlantis in America. People had begun believing that the Mayan and Aztec ruins could possibly be the remnants of Atlantis.[54]
Impact of Mayanism
The Europeans believed the indigenous people to be inferior and incapable of building that which was now in ruins and by sharing a common history they insinuate that another race must have been responsible.
Ignatius Donnelly
The 1882 publication of Atlantis: the Antediluvian World
. . . attempted to establish that all known ancient civilizations were descended from Atlantis . . . parallels between creation stories in the Old and New Worlds, attributing the connections to Atlantis, where he believed existed the Biblical Garden of Eden.[59] As implied by the title of his book, he also believed that Atlantis was destroyed by the Great Flood mentioned in the Bible.
Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophists
 Blavatsky took up Donnelly's interpretations when she wrote The Secret Doctrine (1888), which she claimed was originally dictated in Atlantis itself . . . Atlanteans were cultural heroes . . . racial evolution (as opposed to primate evolution), in which the Atlanteans were the fourth "Root Race", succeeded by the fifth and most superior "Aryan race" (her own race).[54]
...destroyed itself through internal warfare brought about by the inhabitants' dangerous use of psychic and supernatural powers
Atlantis in Popular Culture wiki
In The Sandman: Brief Lives, by writer Neil Gaiman, a chapter called "The People Who Remember Atlantis" speaks of "echo-Atlantises" and (many) other equatable prehistoric civilizations, and explores the theme of the bulk of human history and knowledge being lost to the modern world.

Plato's Timaeus
There were of old, he said, great and marvellous actions of the Athenian city, which have passed into oblivion through lapse of time and the destruction of mankind, and one in particular, greater than all the rest.
he began to tell about the most ancient things in our part of the world-about Phoroneus, who is called "the first man," and about Niobe; and after the Deluge, of the survival of Deucalion and Pyrrha;... There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water,... once upon a time Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt... 
 you do not know that there formerly dwelt in your land the fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, and that you and your whole city are descended from a small seed or remnant of them which survived. And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word.
Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others,... But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.

Mythology of resilience sandbox

I never keep these blogs going for long, but I'm just going to turn this one into a sandbox for now.

I'd like to start working on the Mythology of Resilience.  I'd like to tell stories in photos and words about the decline of industrial civilization.  These aren't optimistic stories, but they're hopeful stories.  That is, they imagine a world that is much poorer in energy and material wealth, but as with all crises, offers opportunity, opportunity for a world both more grounded in reality rather than abstraction and representation, and maybe a bit more spiritually fulfilling.

I'll acknowledge some influences here.  James Howard Kunstler and John Michael Greer have been most influential in the past 5 years or so in shaping my picture of the future, maybe a bit of Dmitry Orlov thrown in for good measure.  In broad strokes, we're on the jagged plateau of peak oil right now.  From this point forward, available energy per capita is going to decrease, and along with it economic activity and material wealth.  I've yet to read Greer's Ecotechnic Future, but I'd like to give it a whirl.

I'm interested in myth.  I'd like these stories to have what you might call a mythical element . . . maybe some dabbling in the supernatural, but not in a deus ex machina sort of manner.  Perhaps it's just a reclaiming of intuition, a sixth sense, after our minds are able to think their own thoughts after most of the screens have blinked out.  There are no rings of power in these tales.  Anywho, it'd be nice to create a system of symbols, signs, stories, characters, etc. that are archetypal in a way.  Along these lines, I'd like to draw from Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, even Strauss and Howe's generational archetypes they lay out in The Fourth Turning.  They identify the Prophet, Nomad, Hero, and Artist archetypal generations, and we hear a lot in our stories about the prophets and heroes, and I'd like to focus more on the artist and nomad.

Taking a note from Greer, Atlantis seems a good place to start . . . a myth of the decline and collapse of civilization.  For that matter, Tolkien's Numenor will work.