Linear vs. non-linear was almost the most important battle of our time. I’ve tried most of the existing methods and created some of my own. Art reflects the crises of society. We are always writing about our world, whether we’re conscious of it or not. The best way of doing it is consciously, surely? That also helps us identify how much “self” plays in the equation. As an editor I learned how much negative self-consciousness works against creativity. Unlike the modernism of 100 years ago, contemporary artists have to find ways of forgetting about the self. Give the outside world their strictest attention. Genre fiction offers techniques for writing about the world without much self-reference. In that sense I suppose it is a reaction against modernism, but I believe what we do is more positive than that, since it works to combine a variety of techniques and approaches, rejecting nothing. This is a moment in our history where we need to look reality right in the eyes.
—Michael Moorcock, interviewed in the LARB
Nearly three years later, Mac, who is now thirty-one, is still walking. He has trekked more than seven hundred virtual kilometres in a hundred and eighty hours. At his current pace, Mac will not reach the edge of the world, which is now nearly twelve thousand kilometres away, for another twenty-two years.
What if science were to conceive of nature as both object and subject? Would we need to abandon our cherished objectivity? Of course not. Despite their chosen field of study, the vast bulk of social scientists don’t struggle to form emotional bonds with family and friends. More so than at any point in the history of science, it’s time to extend this subject-object duality to at least the nonhuman life forms with which we share this world.
Why? Because much of our unsustainable behavior can be traced to a broken relationship with nature, a perspective that treats the nonhuman world as a realm of mindless, unfeeling objects. Sustainability will almost certainly depend upon developing mutually enhancing relations between humans and nonhuman nature. Yet why would we foster such sustainable relations unless we care about the natural world?
An alternative worldview is called for, one that reanimates the living world. This mindshift, in turn, will require is no less than the subjectification of nature. Of course, the notion of nature-as-subjects is not new. Indigenous peoples around the globe tend to view themselves as embedded in animate landscapes replete with relatives; we have much to learn from this ancient wisdom.
To subjectify is to interiorize, such that the exterior world interpenetrates our interior world. Whereas the relationships we share with subjects often tap into our hearts, objects are dead to our emotions. Finding ourselves in relationship, the boundaries of self can become permeable and blurred.
—Scott Sampson, answering Edge’s 2014 question: What scientific idea is ready for retirement?
The New Forest coven were a group of Neopagan witches or Wiccans who allegedly met around the area of the New Forest in southern England during the 1930s and 1940s. According to his own claims, in September 1939, a British occultist named Gerald Gardner was initiated into the coven, and subsequently used its beliefs and practices as a basis from which he formed the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca.…As the Neopagan religion of Wicca developed in the latter decades of the twentieth century, some of the figures who were researching its origins, such as Aidan Kelly and later Leo Ruickbie, came to the conclusion that the New Forest coven had never existed, and that it was simply a fictional invention of Gardner’s to provide a historical basis for his new faith. The historian Ronald Hutton accepted this as a possibility, although recognised that it was not “implausible” that the coven had indeed existed.
One of my favorite things about Wicca is I can’t decide which I like more: the idea that it is a revival of some almost-totally-lost esoteric pre-Christian Northwest European folk-religious tradition or the idea that it was invented from whole cloth, complete with its own vast moth-eaten musical brocade in the 20th century.
Most people are on the whole CV Dazzle-type stuff right now as a way to frustrate increasingly common face-detection software (More chilling example), but this history from Cabinet about how makeup has been used to make sure very limited imaging and transmission technologies can still communicate human emotions is a pretty interesting flipside. Film and TV makeup is essentially solving the reverse problem of CV Dazzle: how can I make this person’s mental state and identity as obvious as possible to a human viewer, given significant image degradation?
“Fordite” is what people call lumps that build up on paint racks that have been slid in and out of spray booths hundreds of times. The lumps are formed of layer upon layer of thick bright auto paint. After they’re cracked off the racks, people polish them, carve them or turn them into things like cuff links, pens, and rings. See also this graffito-based analog.
I am sorry that my whole family of invention tends, by rational acceleration, to sneak up on you and press you for attention. But isn’t this the nature of invention? Invention is always a surprise.
—Buckminster Fuller in a letter to his patent attorney