Thursday, October 18, 2012

From the Posthuman Blues Archives (Part 5)

Still Life with Spherical Mirror - M.C.Escher - 1934

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"I've sometimes found myself in the preposterous position of "defending" my desire to live, if not forever, then as long as scientifically possible.

So, why do I want to live forever?

Easy -- for the same reason that I want to wake up tomorrow. There's nothing especially disturbing about negligible senescence unless one approaches the idea with at least some degree of emotional bias. And to be fair, we've been forced to grow used to the seeming inevitability of death in much the same way that our ancestors were forced to accommodate plagues instigated by an inability to understand germs.

But to make it short: there's a lot I want to see and do . . . but, unfortunately, not much of it's on Earth. Barring the abrupt invention of practical interstellar flight, my best chance of experiencing the Cosmos is by surviving the temporal gulf between "now" and "then."
And who knows? Maybe I can make myself useful in the process."

- Mac Tonnies, via this PHB post


Friday, February 27, 2009

"I struggle ceaselessly with the aspect of myself that clings to the fragile comfort of words and sentences. Our familiar Western mode of thinking -- purged of intuition and leery of experiences not reproducible in written form -- is like a clear membrane stretched taut around our senses, but no less insidious in its seeming transparency.

Lately, especially, it seems as if my real life unfolds in the narcotic oblivion of sleep; my dream-world, for all of its ominous vistas and intimations of cataclysm, exerts an inexplicably nostalgic allure. For whatever reason, I feel oddly welcome strolling the ruined hotels and depopulated suburbs that have come to dominate my sleep. There appears to be coherent, if tenuous, logic to this silent and jaundiced realm -- arguably more so than what greets me while awake and rational.

I've come to tentatively identify with the role of the shaman. Upon waking, my mind feels ponderous with ideas seeking escape; a portal has been opened, but a portal to where, exactly? And what, if anything, should I do with this freight of unsolicited weirdness?

My dream-world grows less diffuse -- more palpable -- with every visit, recalling the idea that powerfully envisioned thought-forms can assume fleeting physical existence. If such an alchemical process is indeed at work, the repercussions for my "real" existence are troubling. Maybe the only way to break the feedback cycle -- to decisively sever the ouroboros that my psyche's inexorably becoming -- is to opt out of the wide-awake domain of language, syntax and the necessarily diminishing fiction of "either/or."

- Mac Tonnies, via this PHB post


...Death on the internet is almost a contradiction in terms.

The internet - the information highway - doesn't really allow for death, cut and dry, because information doesn't just dissipate... information just moves along ad infinitum. Here today, here tomorrow. So, in a very weird, conscious sense, Mac did gain a type of immortality by embedding his memes into digital form... as we all do, following his digital trails. Yes, we're all immortal, you and I, so, dig on this, Kats & Kitties, as we mark the third year of Mac's untimely, tragic passing (October 18, 2009).

Several years ago, I wouldn't have imagined I'd still be blogging on Post-Mac Blues. Closure - that insipid term, so over-used, it's almost lost meaning - was the goal I was trying to achieve when this blog came into existence. Little did I know that the internet does not allow for any such thing. Mac is probably laughing his incorporeal ass off somewhere. Or, so I'd like to think... and, we'd probably all like to think... and what we'd give to hear that laughter.

In a previous post, I remarked that " there's always the possibility that one of these days the juice may suddenly, inexplicably, be cut off and all our electronic media will just shut down like a zillion blinded eyes..." but, that's not really true, is it? I can't  wrap my head around "wireless", but data can be transferred in so may ways, there's a regular aether-net surrounding us. Like it or not, we've all become wired and wireless at the same time. It boggles the mind, but, then again we're living in a "mind", a matrix comprised of millions of minds, so entangled that... Okay, that's just down the street from a place they call Madness, so, let's not go there.

Meanwhile, if you've read the comment section of the "previous post" I mentioned, you are probably already aware of a piece of delightful news. That is, Mac's good friend, Paul Kimball, has been a very busy man these days. He's just published his own book "The Other Side of Truth", and is currently laboring over the index of the first volume of Posthuman Blues, the Book! Yes, the "dead-tree" edition - The real deal! I know I remarked on Trans-D - my other blog - that Mac's strength as a writer lay in his fiction, but, that's not really true. As I was choosing the Posthuman Blues passages for this and the previous series of posts, it really came home to me that Mac had refined essay-writng down to a science... he was a master at it. So, kudos to Paul for attempting to gather so many memes together and virtually carve them in stone. When Paul makes a formal announcement, I'll include a link here.

Before I commit this post to the aether-net, however, allow me to put in a word about the graphics used for this and the previous 4 posts... just in case you're wondering about that little human-headed bird of Escher's.  As it happens, if that creature didn't insinuate itself into my brain at some point, these posts would never have occurred.

Apparently, the human bird hybrid was actually a meat-space statue M.C. Escher actually owned - a gift from an uncle. I read here that the statue was supposedly a representation of a "simurgh", but I doubt this is altogether true, because the simurgh - though sometimes human-headed - is generally considered to be griffin-like and female. Not, so, Escher's bird, which to me, immediately brings to mind a far more interesting creature. The Egyptians - yes, here comes those Egyptians again - had a word for the human soul: Ba. The Ba was also depicted as a bird with a human head - exclusively.

In a different article, I read Escher's bird in the above graphic described as "sinister"... but, in my eyes, it appears serene as it patiently watches the tiny reflection of Escher in the spherical mirror. It knows something about the human condition that we don't. Perhaps it knows everything.

The Egyptians also had another aspect of the human soul, Ren. Ren was a not only a person's name but it was the embodiment of the personality, and the Egyptians believed that, as long as the name was spoken, a person continued to survive.

Death on the internet is almost a contradiction in terms...

(and that's all she wrote...)

Now on Trans-D: Remembering Mac: Somewhere, Under a Rainbow


  1. Wonderful post! I was going to say that I am amazed that Mac Tonnies was uneasy or uncertain in some way about conveying what he meant through words (although I get the perpetual sense that words can't ever fully convey meaning), because he was so obviously gifted in that regard. But you grasped the essence of what he was getting at *and* how he finally achieved it, and still achieves it. I am happy to hear that Posthuman Blues is being published in book form, and Paul Kimball has a book coming out.

  2. And if I may add, the little Escher bird somehow exactly encapsulates it all!

    1. Thanks again, ToB! I'm so glad that you grasped the essence of what *I* was trying to get across... Let's face it, out here in cyber-space, there is no Polar Star.

      Yes, Paul took on quite a project, but, if all goes well, I can imagine a pretty phenomenal boxed-set!

      Oh, yeah, that bird was key... He knew where this was all going before I did. ;-)