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Quietening Timelessness

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Zoom presentation to Melbourne Emergence Meetup looking for sense amongst the flood of viral words. Live presentation included ten short video grabs, placeholders stills from which are included in this slide deck or can be found directly at https://vimeo.com/showcase/7095067

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Quietening Timelessness

  1. 1. Quietening Timelessness how to strengthen the better uses of human language while weakening the worse Tony Smith Melbourne Emergence Meetup 14 May 2020
  2. 2. Yarning is more than just a story or conversation in Aboriginal culture — it is a structured cultural activity that is recognised even in research circles as a valid and rigorous methodology for knowledge production, inquiry and transmission. It is a ritual that incorporates elements such as story, humour, gesture and mimicry for consensus-building, meaning-making and innovation. It references places and relationships and is highly contextualised in the local worldviews of those yarning. If we want Life and the best of humanity to have a viable legacy, Tyson's brave and brilliant book needs to become a common base for all the kind of contextualisation and exploration that much more forgettable texts have been granted to prop up colonising cultures. Sand Talk is a telling of biblical proportions right when we need it to lay Genesis 1:28 to rest and replace it with a foundation for returning to Life before we kill it all. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.
  3. 3. https://inmyblooditruns.com/ the land was invaded and people who weren’t here were killed Myron Lysenko Woodend Poet 1 August 2016
  4. 4. Too Funny for Words Abstractions, Category Errors, Epistemic Cuts Life on an Active Planet The Two-edged Sword Multiple Paths to Emergence Constraints and Degrees of Freedom Birds and Others Interweb to Facebook Better than Out of Control Information, Maps and Territories Urban Hydrology out of Sight Going Down with the Egg Basket Self-organising, Adaptive Codification and Communication Exploiting a Dissipating Gradient: creaming, trickle down Dystopian Utopias and Science Fiction Towards Healthy General Knowledge The Inside View: knowing when you're dreaming Verbal Blindness Accepting Cosmological Responsibility
  5. 5. Quietening Timelessness how to strengthen the better uses of human language while weakening the worse This telling is grounded on current scientific understanding of the deep history of the universe and our unique life-bearing planet: • Quietening Timelessness (QT) applies a lifetime of learning in the English language to debunking many of the counterproductive absurdities dependence on that and similar languages has produced, albeit with very limited engagement with those other languages. • QT proposes that the quest to create and apply knowledge representations that are outside of time, to many the definitive mission of science but controversial since at least the time of ancient Greece, has been indiscriminately adopted in critical areas where it is doing more harm than good. • QT advocates applying digital technology to universal open and transparent communication, deprecating normalisation of secrecy and punitive regimes, while encouraging diversity, divestment and local flourishing, for both physical and contextual interpretations of "local". • QT further encourages enriching communication with other species independent of human language, and looking beneath the surface into essential ecological substrates under-ground, soil, sand and water.
  6. 6. Those four guidances pervade this telling which adapts other structuring and some introductory remarks from the Supervenience project, a necessary review of map-territory challenges, plus scattered interpretations of where the evidence appears to be leading. QT is critical to and draws heavily on a broad understanding of complexity and emergence detailed in the Supervenience project, previewing three of its chapters: • Too Funny for Words; • Verbal Blindness; and • The Two-edged Sword. Hopefully this telling consolidates and extends conceptualisations introduces in prior presentations relating to the Supervenience project, in particular: • There may be no time like the present; • World-views as strange attractors; • Combinatorial explosion of historical contingency; and • Addicted Accumulators Anonymous.
  7. 7. The relationship between mappings and their referenced territories is central to QT, with the obscuration of detail implicit in static mapping, whether: • diagrammatic; • linguistic; or • numeric, as consequential as the evolution of Life's dynamic, environmentally-responsive mappings: • metabolic; • genetic; and • neurological. Including those natural precursors, maps focus on being, whereas the territory is always becoming, though across the vast range of timescales at which the various states of condensed matter adjust to physical conditions. Life itself thrives as one of the, and close to other, mixing zones between those states. Creative tension between being and becoming has its own deep history, but QT is more informed by a lifetime of practice in disciplines that once offered the seductive illusion of being able to appear definitively right, or wrong: • mathematics; • physical sciences; and • computing.
  8. 8. While not critical to the discussion that follows, QT is consistent with a view of existence as a process in which the only time is now, each moment locally determining the next moment in accordance with physical laws that emerged with the world and are necessarily conservative in accord with the weak anthropic principle. Whether or not that process is strictly deterministic at the smallest scales is not at issue because a physical analogue of computational irreducibility coupled with independent histories guarantee larger scale details cannot be predetermined. The conservatism, which provides strong continuity from one moment to the next, also allows the world to carry all manner of traces of the past which some cleverness can interpret and use to guide future actions. The mathematics of the block universe model are but one consequence. Free will is the wrong question. It is also significant that these conservative processes are often cyclic. Life can thus be seen as a near hierarchical network of systems for using and leaving those traces dynamically so that Life’s patterns of cleverness persist adaptively.
  9. 9. Australian Fur Seal Entertaining Diver Henty Reef, Marengo Too Funny for Words Sharing a story with occasional reference to mathematical concepts aiming to convince you that cultural reliance on words and numbers both facilitates and impedes our experience of the world and our capacity to act.
  10. 10. There is an old rusted fish trap on the bank, left over from mission times. Beside it I sketch out the shifting economies represented in this vignette: traditional river-based economy, to mission economy, to riverboats transporting cotton and wool, to rail doing the same after the river was destroyed, to the highway with oil tankers and trucks filled with low-grade ore buzzing past. From settlement onwards, locals in each era believed the system to be stable and planned their futures around it. Too Funny for Words
  11. 11. Too Funny for WordsImpasse Words make it too easy to be funny at the shallow end but the bondage and double binds our verbiage-colonised minds have gotten the Status Quo into are funnier than that. So how should we lay the problem open the underperformance of linguistic form without seeming blatantly hypocritical without offending without triggering when words and other timeless media are our primary tools? As a rule of hitchhiker's thumb when there's a problem look upstairs to the containing system which Status Quo demands taken as given abandon all faith look behind curtain and the mirror might have no clothes on. Too Funny for Words is the opening sortie of our Supervenience Project so these perceived questions carry some weight. (Now I am worried. That's two never typed words today spelt correctly before checking though the first is forgotten already.) The Human Experiment aka Status Quo is Going Down with the Egg Basket 18 of 20 in our Supervenience Project leaving no bigger question than what is worth trying to save? given that more generally save and safe are four letter words. (Ever more needing a question comma.) Saving Life as a global system is incomparably more essential than saving the fracked economy. Regenerate cultures that work with Life not against. Try to keep alive the nicest scraps of the most magical achievements of globalised extravagance especially those facilitating transparency. And move our clocks and calendars to a more naturally timely rhythm. Timelessness There are still valuable truths that sit outside of time mathematical idealisations physical sciences is their contexts essential to but far short of full contextual understanding of our complex contingent histories in which everything is connected. Life's mission via ever more complex networks from autocatalytic sets that were precursors to metabolism through ribosomes, cells and genes to multicellular and ecosystem profusion has been to recycle pattern coherence as necessary foundation for recognition and interaction food and sex. Cycling patterns persist in bigger and bigger networks always more comfortable with more accurate repetition so our obsessions with certainty are unsurprising though some fondness for uncertainty is as necessary in our connected contingent world. Quietening The first of those upstairs moves is to downplay deprecate even reliance of timeless idealisations ignorant of context and systemic complexity. This does not mean trashing great art elegant mathematics scientific insight nor the data mountains behind it nor literature, poetry, music, film. But it does mean desanctifying statistical misrepresentations and the drivel that is spewed by administrative systems asserting authority while demanding confidentiality lest anyone get to look too closely. Up Next Liam and Cam are habituated stars of Myron's Cumbo Cabaret so their humour comes easily even after waiting four forgotten years in my recently trawled camera archive.
  12. 12. Jebbs Pool Slide https://vimeo.com/414381340
  13. 13. Wet Galah Acrobatics https://vimeo.com/43325681
  14. 14. 100 Cockatoos Arriving https://vimeo.com/415126864
  15. 15. Dog Person (bonus) https://vimeo.com/215365843
  16. 16. The Cockatoos That last fluke video clip was recorded on 10 January 2020 at 19:20 from Cumberland River beach. It is of a hundred Sulphur-crested Cockatoos from the Lorne mob arriving to be entertained by their Cumbo offshoot mob's experiments with what dimensionally-confined humans came to call “ropeless bungee jumping”. That story starts when Cypress were the main introduced tree around camp and some long ago birds spread seeds around the cliffs. Now with all but one small stand of the original trees long removed, some above the cliffs have become significant with branches extending beyond the cliff face line (top pic). Up there cockies have learnt to hang on upside down before letting go and plummeting until applying their aerial skills at the last moment to pull out in the absence of an ankle rope. And it speaks to the Lorne Community's love-hate obsession with these relatively recent avian arrivals in town, a highlight from which was Lorne P-12 College's writing and performing their own evening of musical theatre: The Cockatoos on 20 September 2018. Bottom pic is of local audience preparing to have a therapeutic laugh at that take. It wasn't the last and almost certainly not the first time a mob from Lorne visited Cumbo, but the more interesting question is how birds that mostly hang out in smaller groups got organised for such a large group visit? Facebook Events and Meetup would love to know. This also adds to a side story with the earlier Wet Galahs, the cover pic of Carl Safina's new book (to come), and bits of video still in the can, about various parrot species willingness to hang about upside down. There is a much longer and older celebration of Lorne and Cumbo Sulphur-cresteds early on in my Birds Channel: https://vimeo.com/channels/593799 Beyond birds, amongst the Showcase that accompanies the flat version of this presentation deck, there is also Dog Person which is longer and better seen as a whole, but in logical sequence could fit right here: https://vimeo.com/215365843
  17. 17. Reading a rapid succession of not wrong articles provoked by the virus, in the context of the ecological and climate crisis and widely variant expectations for restoration of the economy and the failing status quo, provoked this additional focus on the fragmenting of supposedly common language into silo-specific dialects. Long frustrated by a similar lack of commonality as an expanding assortment of authors discover complex systems and emergence within their specialty, but fail to consider inverting the pyramid, this new parallel example shifted focus to the strange attractors that common assumptions about prevailing context provide. It is widely accepted that voluntary and intentional actions of humans and, we contend here, at least other mobile animals, are grounded much more in what has been described as each actor’s “world view” as by any strictly rational intervening process, rationalisation being primarily post hoc as part of the cleverness which fine tunes those traces, aka learning. Such a world view is a neurological mapping in the sense outlined, an attempt to hold an action guide outside of time and thus strongly conserved.
  18. 18. Islets in an Ocean towards a philosophy of complexity Tony Smith Complex’07, Surfers Paradise presented 3 July 2007 http://www.meme.com.au/papers/Islets/index.html 5: Muhonen.T 18: Nilsson.F 2: Bloch.D, Nordstrom.T Foster.J, Lissack.M Sen.A Griffin.D 8: Van der Merwe.J Varela.F 17: Yorks.L, Nicolaides.A Capra.F 6: Schliebs.G Latour.B 20: Allen.P, Boulton.J Jung.C 16: Roodt.J Snowden.D Stacey.R Cilliers.P Prigogine.I Maturana.H 9: Baets.W Bohm.D 12: Sabelli.H Eldredge.N Kuhn.T 14: Smith.T Davies.P Gould.S 1: Baskin.K Laszlo.E Penrose.R 15: Richardson.K 19: Vesterby.V Kauffman.S 4: Bondarenko.D 7: Collier.J Schrödinger.E Gutting.G Dawkins.R 11: Turner.J Bonabeau.E 13: Zelger.J Wittgenstein.L Hempel.C 3: Peroff.N 10: Pareschi.R Crutchfield.J Stengers.I Smolin.L Wilber.K Bateson.G, Piaget.J Damasio.A Goodwin.B Polanyi.M(7 cites implicit) Beer.S This paper reviews ISCE’s February 2007 3rd International Workshop on Complexity and Philosophy (ISBN: 0-9791688-1-3). Aside from some common references to 20 year old work of Ilya Prigogine and Stuart Kauffman, the 20 presentations largely talked past each other, albeit politely. While at least half the participants had strong hard science backgrounds, arguments from hard science were largely neglected in seemingly politically correct deferral to the social constructivist minority.
  19. 19. Verbal Blindness Sensory systems evolve to meet the needs and opportunities of a niche. As humans became more dependent on mapping perceptions into words we lost immediacy and breadth. We became convinced that our way was the only/best way no matter how far astray that lead us.
  20. 20. They thought, ‘We will farm sheep!’ and invested all their money and training and time in that, raising their children in it. They thought the incredibly abundant pasture would last forever, not being aware that these fields had been carefully cultivated by the Aboriginal people who were custodians of the river country, and that the cessation of this custodianship combined. with the introduction of rapacious sheep would destroy this resource completely, along with the topsoil. They didn’t count on the industry becoming dominated by a few giants that would squeeze them out, either. Verbal Blindness
  21. 21. Historical Contingency Starting with deep observation of how mature cetacean communities maintain dispersed cultural bonds, with implicit parallels for our infantile internet-enabled clusterings, Carl Safina rightly promotes cultural assemblages to the status level assumed by ecosystems, species and individuals in untangling the fecundity of evolution. Combining that combinatorial complexity with David Waltham's comprehensive account of the particular astrophysical, geological and emergent biochemical history of our preposterous planet, underlines the inconvenient truth that while we might be alone in the universe, we are far from alone right here.
  22. 22. Illustration by Lina Müller and Luca Schenardi In the Ground of Our Unknowing by David Abram Emergence Magazine I sure hope that we’ll not be drawing upon this time to swivel huge swaths of our public and private life permanently into the virtual sphere, away from the necessarily fraught and vulnerable world of fleshly encounter in the thick of the sensuous—which, I hasten to add, is the only world that we share with the other animals, the plants, and the blustering winds. I mean, do we really wish to render education even more abstract and aloof from the perspectives of other creatures, from the intricately entangled wetlands and rivers, from the many-voiced forests with whom we share this round world? Do we really need to render ourselves still more oblivious to the reality of other, nonhuman lives? (his emphasis)
  23. 23. Swan Song https://vimeo.com/42961266
  24. 24. New Holland Honeyeater https://vimeo.com/415119871
  25. 25. Magpie Matriarch https://vimeo.com/415122743
  26. 26. Reed Warbler Speech https://vimeo.com/393812921
  27. 27. Manly Roosting (audio) https://vimeo.com/415403325
  28. 28. Intelligence Is anything less intelligent than pretending a number represents intelligence? Quora nurtures a diversity of conversations, from Santiago Castro's compendium of the higher effective bandwidth of Bottlenose Dolphin language to a repetitive, seemingly American, preoccupation with individual humans’ measured Intelligence Quotient (IQ). “Intelligence” shares the fate of most familiar words, it becomes used for potentially adjacent concepts, and it collects baggage. Its most precise association might be with problem solving, though it has spilt to data collection that may or may not solve much. Unhelpfully, the standardised IQ test appears to be more about speed than depth and is definitively tied to a human individual, with contested attempts to develop facsimiles that may assign comparably scaled measures to individuals of other animate species. Anthropocentric design bias is just the start of their limitations. Serious problem solving involves multiple components and often multiple contributors. If we have to compare, let alone measure, might it be more meaningful to compare the problem depth capacity of working collaborations? This could put all adaptive/life forms on a more even playing field. Experience in recent years with catchment collaborations in the inescapably complex urban waterways space suggests such processes perform better than Harvard MBA–style hierarchical communication and decision making, though we only pushed escaping traditional assumptions about “governance” so far. Such a classification would appear to make it more realistic comparison with problem solvers as diverse as Carl Safina’s aforementioned cultural assemblages, eusocial insects, mycorrhizal forest networks, and even the growing tip–mediated adaptability of plants to local obstacles. Back when we were riding the first desktop publishing bubble and keen to improve the effectiveness of the disparate group of workers we had assembled, we took them to the local park to propose that each pairing who needed to cooperate at some step should try to build trust into their pair relationship, using well practiced man plus dog as model and making double use of the staff member who was also a serious photographer.
  29. 29. Our life-bearing planet is roughly a third of the current age of the universe, it taking that long for the ingredients to accumulate and astrophysical action to calm sufficiently for Life’s amazing journey to start and to flourish, ever more spectacularly since eukaryotic cells found encoding for the distinctive development programs of the major multicellular taxa, each variant with a capacity for exponential growth given sufficient food and conditions, with the extravagance of reproduction being brought closer to balance by feeding other life in its ecosystem. The oldest traces of such multicellular life are around one eighth of the age of the planet, that last eighth already punctuated by an immediate Precambrian episode of Snowball Earth and five subsequent “mass extinction” events, and counting.
  30. 30. Enforcement and state agencies conspire with and protect contracted killers of healthy, loved and nurturing 130 year old. Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome “If it's not on, it's not on!” Even in the 1980s some bodily parts were considered too private for enforcement to try to look so persuasion became paramount unlike 2020 vision.
  31. 31. The Two-edged Sword
  32. 32. Economic refugees from that catastrophe thought, ‘We will become shearers!’ and invested all their training and time and effort in that career, raising their children to follow the family trade. But the work was variable and not well paid. Some got jobs on the steamboat shipping wool along the rivers, or on the docks. Children had aspirations of becoming steamboat captains. We can all be steamboat captains if we work hard enough. People were trained and educated and built lives around this as though it would last forever. But when the scrub was cleared and the last of the topsoil ran into the river, it silted up and the steamboats stopped running. The Two-edged Sword
  33. 33. The Two-edged Sword Human language has proved to be a tool of unprecedented power for understanding and collaboratively changing the world, and at accelerating pace. But it has proved to be even more efficient at spreading nonsense and mischief, yet abysmally inadequate at spreading corrections. Rhetorical performance too often overwhelms its capabilities for analysis, negotiation and independent verification. Lynne Kelly’s PhD thesis and consequent Cambridge University Press tome showed that there was a very recent human past in which effective power came with thorough knowledge rather than property ownership, the former with a vital role in maintaining community culture which the latter has ever increasingly carved up. Hard won knowledge demanded literal recall, indexing devices and was often prescriptive. Owned property proved vulnerable to the rapid expansion of the scope of commodity exchange tokens into ever grander schemes relying on what Steve Bean calls “exchange belief” to fuel Addicted Accumulators whose lives are soon centred on their financial affairs.
  34. 34. Adversarial Systems James C Scott identifies the homogenising, standardising habits of statecraft, that legacy left when colonialism runs out of exploitable frontiers. Rich local knowledge is quashed in favour of monocultures and uniform measurements with consequent delusions of timelessness and limitless growth. Statecraft and the dying media hooked on its entertainment/advertising value is increasingly crippled by its dependence on ever more easily exploited adversarial systems from representative democracy to rule of law enforcement. Beyond his experience with Occupy and his understanding of Structural Violence, David Graeber identifies a fondness, at least within the colonisers, for the kind of certainty that bureaucracies and codified rules are supposed to bring, alongside our fondness for spectating and gambling on uncertainties.
  35. 35. Back when I still accepted the doctrine that knowledge was a property of a network of neurons and the approaching calendar millennium drew a curtain across the future, I dabbled with “Restarting the Future” which I have just located in my archives but won’t inflict on anybody right now beyond confirming that it was build around the question: what does the caterpillar know of the butterfly? “Imaginal cells” play a knowledgable role in that metamorphosis and in Rebecca Solnit's almost lyrical imagining that something brighter might emerge from the wreckage of our failed status quo. There’s another analogy that comes to mind. When a caterpillar enters its chrysalis, it dissolves itself, quite literally, into liquid. In this state, what was a caterpillar and will be a butterfly is neither one nor the other, it’s a sort of living soup. Within this living soup are the imaginal cells that will catalyse its transformation into winged maturity. May the best among us, the most visionary, the most inclusive, be the imaginal cells—for now we are in the soup. The outcome of disasters is not foreordained. It’s a conflict, one that takes place while things that were frozen, solid and locked up have become open and fluid—full of both the best and worst possibilities. We are both becalmed and in a state of profound change.
  36. 36. After identifying viruses’ coatings as chemical senses, Buhner generalises: Every living organism has to have a means to perceive informational inflows in order to survive; every living organism possesses mechanisms to do so. Once environmental inputs are perceived, all organisms possess specific capacities for processing those informational inputs. Every one of them can determine the nature of the incoming information, its potential impact on the individual organism's health, and can decide what to do in response. They have to be able to do this in order to survive. These truths are fundamental yet their implications are nearly always overlooked; it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this “overlooking” has been intentional. For the implications directly counteract nearly everything we have been taught about ourselves and the world around us. Because all life-forms, irrespective of their nature, must, to survive, have a sense of not me, they all have a sense of self, they are in fact self-aware. Because all life-forms, irrespective of their nature, must, to survive, be able to analyze the nature of the not me that approaches them and, further, must be able to determine its intent, and further, be able to craft a response to that intent, all life-forms are, by definition, intelligent. Because all life-forms have to be able to determine the intent of the not me that approaches them, they also have to be able to determine meaning. In other words, all living organisms can not only process data, they also engage in a search for meaning, an analysis that runs much deeper than linear cause and effect. Thus, three capacities—self-awareness, intelligence, and the search for meaning—that have (erroneously) been ascribed as belonging only to human beings, are in fact general conditions of every living organism.
  37. 37. Synchronised Pelicans https://vimeo.com/296392739
  38. 38. Double Bind Pioneering complex systems thinker Gregory Bateson, in his landmark Steps to an Ecology of Mind identified unconventional habits of communication arising from unresolvable sequence of experiences which he called “The Double Bind” using a page and a half to describe six necessary ingredients. It can arise where a perceived punitive threat arises in the context of an opposing injunction and a prohibition of escape. Originally presented in the context of schizophrenia like other systems thinkers Bateson saw that as an example of a principle with general applicability and was frustrated to his last by others keeping it fenced in. (Thanks to generous communication from daughter Nora Bateson.) It thus provides a framework for understanding our current moment insisting on both saving human lives and resurrecting failing economics the exponentially unviable Status Quo. Late last year we explored Life and Death as Systems Collapse drawing on the most familiar example of the collapse of a complex system each human death as a tool for thinking about what not just the virus has us now facing. Methods of dealing with human death do not provide reason for confidence. Again we are incomparably privileged to be material beneficiaries of the colonial invasion of Australia despite being the original host of Murdochian meddling we still have enough shreds of a balace of power in our Political Economy to have taken our medicine just in time. This virus may shorten the lives of the old and infirm and leave unknown legacies lurking in those infected early but in Oz at way below the global rate in the hope of treatments and vaccines arriving before it becomes endemic. Fifty years ago Liberal Dick Hamer grasped environmental leadership. Can we do it again to escape our binds?
  39. 39. The notion of some perfect timeless existence has proven very seductive to humans stuck on the Us and Them thinking that empowers colonial confiscation, coupled with industrial exploitation of the rest of Life and its essential substrates. The Political Economy mandates growth beyond tolerance limits, crowding the threshold of self- organised criticality even more closely than ecosystems do with Addicted Accumulators extracting ever more marginal efficiencies and so accelerating towards Systems Collapse. We have achieved this through making compliance indoctrination the primary objective for occupying the time of almost all, there being few linguistic constructs more debilitating than the notion of an all seeing gatekeeper determining your eventual admission to some timeless utopian fantasy. Those who genuinely love Life need to see past today’s seemingly temporarily necessary obsessions with safety and regain the courage to resume Exploring Possibilities before the collapse of the human experiment becomes unrecoverable and takes the rest of Life with it. As would be carers for the one Lucky Planet with space-capable technology, it is our Cosmological Responsibility.
  40. 40. There is no Planet B, not even some place we can swarm to and lay over while still searching for a viable home after our industrial waste overwhelms this planet’s four billion year old life support system. So we need to get our act together and fast. Hopefully some other late products of our industrialised epoch may help on that journey, maybe none more so than the late rediscovery of what was long standard understanding that context and complexity are what make life worth living. Despite noisy, often invested, science deniers trading in distraction, reliable and useful codified human knowledge continues to grow exponentially with help in no small part from what Moore's Law has delivered to Information Technology. Other costs of that distraction we will need to get back to, from placating the political economy to looking away from critiques based on connectedness. For now lets stay with the positives that make it possible to talk about a proposition which could not be publicly uttered in the late 1980s, that we can now see “Beyond Democracy: the prospect of an informed age” with subplots including “No secrets and no need for secrets” the last element of which still needs a u-turn. The iPhone has been the second great catalyst of possibility after rock’n’roll in my long life, putting Twitter in the hands of influencers, digital recording in the hands of citizen scientists, Facebook in the hands of the chattering classes, and limitless data in the hands of diverse applications, from transport demand management to health monitoring. And building on the Open Source Software that underpins the internet, cloud and device technologies to divest operational responsibility to transparent collaborations can be had for the asking, so the priority task becomes confidence building re alternative paths.
  41. 41. Writings referred to in order of appearance: • Tyson Yunkaporta’s biblical exploration of context-centred indigenous knowledge; https://www.textpublishing.com.au/books/sand-talk • Robert G B Reid’s biological emergences by natural experiment; https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/biological-emergences • Carl Safina’s explorations of the multiplicity of animal cultures; https://static.macmillan.com/static/holt/becoming-wild/ • David Waltham’s astrobiological perspective on lessons from and risks to Earth; https://davidwaltham.com/lucky-planet/ • David Abram’s quest for reconnection with the more-than-human world; https://emergencemagazine.org/story/our-unknowing/ • Lynne Kelly’s account of the transition from orality to literacy; https://www.lynnekelly.com.au/knowledge-and-power-in-prehistoric-societies/ • James C Scott's compendium of context-denying statecraft; https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300078152/seeing-state • David Graeber’s human want for both certainty and uncertainty; https://www.mhpbooks.com/books/the-utopia-of-rules/ • Rebecca Solnit’s imaginal interplay of disaster and connectedness; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/07/what-coronavirus-can-teach-us-about-hope-rebecca-solnit • Stephen Harrod Buhner’s invocation of plant intelligence into the viral panic; and https://www.amazon.com/Plant-Intelligence-Imaginal-Realm-Perception-ebook/dp/B00KC1DLJO/ • Gregory Bateson’s revolutionary approach to man’s understanding himself. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/S/bo3620295.html Videos: • Jebbs Pool Slide https://vimeo.com/414381340 • Wet Galah Acrobatics https://vimeo.com/43325681 • 100 Cockatoos Arriving https://vimeo.com/415126864 • Dog Person (bonus) https://vimeo.com/215365843 • Swan Song https://vimeo.com/42961266 • New Holland Honeyeater https://vimeo.com/415119871 • Magpie Matriarch https://vimeo.com/415122743 • Reed Warbler Speech https://vimeo.com/393812921 • Manly Roosting (audio) https://vimeo.com/415403325 • Synchronised Pelicans https://vimeo.com/296392739 • Lepidoptera Swarm https://vimeo.com/415129947 Selected publications & videos
  42. 42. Stephen Wolfram’s Physics Project https://writings.stephenwolfram.com/2020/04/finally-we-may-have-a-path-to-the-fundamental-theory-of-physics-and-its-beautiful/ In my life as a computational language designer I was constantly thinking about abstract systems of rules. And every so often I’d wonder if they might be relevant for physics. But I never got anywhere. Until, suddenly, in the fall of 2018, I had a little idea. It was in some ways simple and obvious, if very abstract. But what was most important about it to me was that it was so elegant and minimal. Finally I had something that felt right to me as a serious possibility for how physics might work. (…) But then, at our annual Summer School in 2019, there were two young physicists (Jonathan Gorard and Max Piskunov) who were like, “You just have to pursue this!” Physics had been my great passion when I was young, and in August 2019 I had a big birthday and realized that, yes, after all these years I really should see if I can make something work. So—along with the two young physicists who’d encouraged me—I began in earnest in October 2019. And it wasn’t long before we started finding what I might call “very interesting things”. We reproduced, more elegantly, what I had done in the 1990s. (…) And from tiny, structureless rules out were coming space, time, relativity, gravity and hints of quantum mechanics. Vale John Horton Conway https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/04/john-conway-inventor-of-the-game-of-life-has-died-of-covid-19/ Princeton mathematician John Conway has died of the coronavirus. He was 82 years old. The British-born Conway spent the early part of his career at Cambridge before moving to Princeton University in the 1980s. He made contributions in various areas of mathematics but is best known for his invention of Conway’s Game of Life, a cellular automaton in which simple rules give rise to surprisingly complex behaviors. It was made famous by a 1970 Scientific American article and has had a lively community around it ever since then.
  43. 43. Vale John Horton Conway https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/04/john-conway-inventor-of-the-game-of-life-has-died-of-covid-19/ Princeton mathematician John Conway has died of the coronavirus. He was 82 years old. The British-born Conway spent the early part of his career at Cambridge before moving to Princeton University in the 1980s. He made contributions in various areas of mathematics but is best known for his invention of Conway’s Game of Life, a cellular automaton in which simple rules give rise to surprisingly complex behaviors. It was made famous by a 1970 Scientific American article and has had a lively community around it ever since then. Stephen Wolfram’s Physics Project So—along with the two young physicists who’d encouraged me—I began in earnest in October 2019. And it wasn’t long before we started finding what I might call “very interesting things”. We reproduced, more elegantly, what I had done in the 1990s. (…) And from tiny, structureless rules out were coming space, time, relativity, gravity and hints of quantum mechanics.
  44. 44. What’s Next? Victorian Legislative Council Environment and Planning Committee Inquiry into Ecosystems Decline submissions close 30 July 2020. Promote communities/cultures/populations as peers of ecosystems/species/lives whose decline deserve the same weight. Justification for serious paper with broader contextual insights rise and fall of virtual communities existential risk of tech assumptions healthy substrate regeneration soil, seed bank, hydrological systems respecting geological locality Life's ongoing adaptation. Michel Foucault is always worth interrogating necessarily via an intermediary Paul B Preciado: Learning from theVirus Expand unfashionable themes exposed by TysonYunkaporta in SandTalk: how indigenous thinking can save the world (and Ngara talk). OutsourcingViolence done to other life forms and done with artefacts. Compliance Indoctrination quashing adolescent exploration preparing for wage slavery and consequent casualisation denying context and complexity extinguishing systems thinking delivering robotic servitude to capital, concrete and cars. The Jim Rutt Show Strong complexity background Santa Fe Institute pedigree Several familiar guests 50+ episodes plus viral specials Apple and Melbourne do well enough apart, but Federation Square capitulation to group think cannot have helped progress Myki on iPhone COVIDSafe on iPhone. Time to let go? or for one last play? Having been the only person other than local MD David Strong at all three 1980s Apple Oz Developer Conferences couldn't help noticing that the celebrated form of their World Wide Developer Conference is yet another virus casualty and has been replaced by a more accessible online event which might be worth a little time investment after winter solstice even if I'm out of touch and nowadays out of my depth. COVIDSafe on wearable iDolittle? Order and Chaos found in synergistic coupling searching for productive border of order/edge of chaos discovered where they overlap in cellular automata rule space with analogous application elsewhere Order Emerges from Chaos Ilya Prigogine 1997 Nobel Laureate while expanding Order accelerates the spread of Chaos. Switched loyalty to the Sith. Mustn't throw the bathwater out with the babies in our burgeoning virtuality preserving the circulation is primary lightweight communities easy come easy go c.f. 1996 HPS seminar/poster: “Purposes and Structures ofVirtual Organisations”. https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/epc-lc/article/4453 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFUgHO6j7WM https://www.artforum.com/print/202005/paul-b-preciado-82823 https://www.jimruttshow.com Where to from here?
  45. 45. Victorian Legislative Council Environment and Planning Committee Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline in Victoria Submissions The Environment and Planning Committee invites written submissions from individuals and organisations addressing one or more of the issues identified in the terms of reference. Submissions may include facts, opinions, recommendations or suggested solutions to the issues the committee is considering. There is no set format for submissions. A submission can take the form of a letter, paper or report. Please make submission brief and clear. If a submission is long, it is helpful to include a summary of your key points on the first page. If wishing to give or lend the committee other material such as DVDs, photographs or books, please contact the committee's office. The submission closing date is Friday, 31 July 2020. Terms of Reference On 30 October 2019 the Legislative Council agreed to the following motion: That this House requires the Environment and Planning Committee to inquire into, consider and report, within 12 months, on the decline of Victoria’s ecosystems and measures to restore habitats and populations of threatened and endangered species, including but not limited to — (a) the extent of the decline of Victoria’s biodiversity and the likely impact on people, particularly First Peoples, and ecosystems, if more is not done to address this, including consideration of climate change impacts; (b) the adequacy of the legislative framework protecting Victoria’s environment, including grasslands, forests and the marine and coastal environment, and native species; (c) the adequacy and effectiveness of government programs and funding protecting and restoring Victoria’s ecosystems; (d) legislative, policy, program, governance and funding solutions to facilitate ecosystem and species protection, restoration and recovery in Victoria, in the context of climate change impacts; (e) opportunities to restore Victoria’s environment while upholding First Peoples’ connection to country, and increasing and diversifying employment opportunities in Victoria; and (f) any other related matters.
  46. 46. Suggestions! Questions?Lepidoptera Swarm https://vimeo.com/415129947