last updated January 15th, 2008 and is permanently morphing...
(9 Et'znab (Flint) / 6 Muwan (Owl) - 178/260 - 188.8.131.52.18)
critical mass noun
1. The smallest mass of a fissionable material that will sustain a nuclear chain reaction at a constant level.
2. A very important or crucial stage.
The process has not stopped. It is still creating new meme-copying devices. While human language is a vast system for transmitting memes with high fidelity, it took the invention of writing to enable memes to be stored. Now telephones, fax machines, photocopiers, computers and the Internet all increase the speed and ease of meme-replication. We may think that we invented all these machines for our own convenience, but once memes got going, these devices--or something like them--were inevitable. The real driving force is the evolutionary algorithm. And the real beneficiaries are not us but the selfish memes.
- Susan Blackmore - _Meme, Myself And I_
"Never before in all history have the inequities and the momentums of unthinking money-power been more glaringly evident to so vastly large a number of now literate, competent, and constructively thinkingall-around-the-world humans.
There's a soon-to-occur critical-mass moment when the intuition of the responsibly inspired majority of humanity, in contradistinction to the angered Luddites and avenging Robin Hoods, faced with comprehensive functional discontinuity of nationally contained tecno-economic systems, will call for and accomplish a world-around reorientation of ourplanetary affairs."
-- R. Buckminster Fuller, _Grunch of Giants_, p. 89
Think about this for a moment: If
the human mind does not loom large in the coming history of the human race,
then what is to become of us? The future is bound to be psychedelic,
because the future belongs to the mind. We are just beginning to push the buttons
on the mind. Once we take a serious engineering approach to this, we are going
to discover the plasticity, the mutability, the eternal nature of the mind and,
I believe, release it from the monkey. My vision of the final human future is
an effort to exteriorize the soul and internalize the body, so that the exterior
soul will exist as a superconducting lens
of translinguistic matter generated out of the body of each of us at a critical
juncture at our psychedelic bar mitzvah. From that point on, we will be eternal
somewhere in the solid-state matrix
of the translinguistic lens we have become. One's body image will exist as a
transform while one is at play in the fields of the lord
and living in Elysium.
- Terence McKenna - _Tryptamine Hallucinogens And Consciousness_
A sink brims with water.
You pull the plug. The water stirs. A vortex
materializes. It blooms into a tiny whirlpool, growing as if it were alive.
In a minute the whirl extends from surface to drain, animating the whole basin.
An ever changing cascade of water molecules swirls through the tornado,
transmuting the whirlpool's being from moment to moment.
Yet the whirlpool persists, essentially unchanged, dancing
on the edge
of collapse. "We are not stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves,"
As the sink empties, all of its water passes through the spiral. When finally the basin of water has sunk from the bowl to the cistern pipes, where does the form of the whirlpool go? For that matter, where did it come from?
The whirlpool appears reliably whenever we pull the plug. It is an emergent thing, like a flock, whose power and structure are not contained in the power and structure of a single water molecule. No matter how intimately you know the chemical character of H2O, it does not prepare you for the character of a whirlpool. Like all emergent entities, the essence of a vortex emanates from a messy collection of other entities; in this case, a pool of water molecules. One drop of water is not enough for a whirlpool to appear in, just as one pinch of sand is not enough to hatch an avalanche. Emergence requires a population of entities, a multitude, a collective, a mob, more.
More is different. One grain of sand cannot avalanche, but pile up enough grains of sand and you get a dune that can trigger avalanches. Certain physical attributes such as temperature depend on collective behavior. A single molecule floating in space does not really have a temperature. Temperature is more correctly thought of as a group characteristic that a population of molecules has. Though temperature is an emergent property, it can be measured precisely, confidently, and predictably. It is real.
It has long been appreciated by science that large numbers behave differently than small numbers. Mobs breed a requisite measure of complexity for emergent entities. The total number of possible interactions between two or more members accumulates exponentially as the number of members increases. At a high level of connectivity, and a high number of members, the dynamics of mobs takes hold. More is different.
The weakness of conspiracy theory is that human nature is to fuck up. Yeah, of course! I said that in _The Invisibles_, the idea that no matter how many surveillance cameras you put up, the guy in the surveillance screen room is jerking off. He's not watching; he's playing computer games and looking at some magazine or whatever it is he's doing. You don't have to worry about it. I think we live in a self-perfecting system and we just don't know it. Everything is fine. It's working perfectly; just let it correct itself, and do what you can to help it correct itself when you become aware of it.
Isn't that a justification for apathy? It only looks like apathy. It's why Buddhist monks seem apathetic to us. I think it's because they've figured it out. But it's the kind of system that perfects itself. Even if you become apathetic, there's always someone else who'll come up who hasn't reached that stage yet and will do all of that.
- Grant Morrison re: the comic series _The Invisibles_