Along the Way to the Group Mind 1
Once more in the spirit of giving here is another series of
After the fall of the Romans, the Franks and Byzantines got
blasted. So did the Carolingians. New invaders also kept the
west constantly off balance and thus European classical civilization
never recovered like China, India and the Middle East after
periods of turmoil. It never got refined enough. Somehow this
chaos led to a cultural mutation. The Crusades then led to the
Renaissance and the modern era and now the post-modern one.
All of these ages got faster and faster until they engulfed
the classical kingdoms of Asia and the rest of the planet.
Somehow, someway, artisans and philosophers united during the
middle Ages in Europe to create geater productivity through
science. This never happened in classical times. Ordered speculation
and practical experience were seperated and technological stagnation
set in. The ancients and the classicals were not really hooked
on speed and neither were most medievals, but in Europe lightning
quickly struck. From ancient to modern times Eurasian unification
was always being advanced, but it was the confusion, isolation,
exploration, and consolidation of the west in medieval times
that led to global unification as the modern era came racing
forth. This is something probably not seen since Atlantean times.
The huge land invasions of Asian nomads led to the sea invasions
of the European sailors. Now air and cyber invasions are flooding
us. I speculate that a pre-ancient global history gave way to
ancient and classical Eurasian history and finally modern and
post-modern global history.
With the rate of historical acceleration increasing both space
and time seem to have become inverted. Space-time cushions nowadays
have contracted and dead forms of spacetime have increased where
you sometimes can't do much of anything. Psychic stress has
been building with little hope of release; and paralysis and
alienation in the psychic sphere has become a reality as the
speed machines of today are eating up material aswell as psychic
forces at an ever increasing rate.
Speed today is destroying psychic redundancy and diversity as
all minds are being forced to keep pace at the same frantic
rate. WW1 was a superb example of this. It was the first climax
of the big speed up since the start of the industrial revolution.
Psychic escape or inner migration was the only way out of this
new psychic slavery and technological homgeneity. The 60's revolution
was a reaction to this technological build-up, but it oddly
got consumed by it. Our psychic antennas are always picking
up signals from the enviornment, but now there's a regular flood
History can be very strange. Somehow five hundred years ago
slow Europe turned into a kind of strange speed " accelerator
" and it smashed the other Eurasian " brake "
civilizations. Which were faster than ancient societies, but
as classical civilizations were still much slower than midieval
and especially modern civilizations. Ancient societies were
before the classical Roman and Greek cultures.
concept of the " retarding lead " was a key concept
here. European civilization was the laggard of Eurasia and it
finally took off quite late and it ultimately conquered the
world especially when it discovered the science of speed and
used it as a sledge-hammer via the oceans first with ships and
then on land via rail-roads. This speed imposition on the rest
of the planet forced every single culture to speed up and then
hit the west with a counter-speed strategy. 9/11 is a superb
example of this counter-trend. A trend still not fully understood.
Speed transformed Eurasian history into world history. Regional
isolation and autonomy led to global contacts and global unity.
But as always nothing fails like success. Eurasian unity giving
way today to global unity has occured unevenly. There is now
an unequal global consumption rate for the newly integrated
global production that is occuring. Tyrannical speed is now
generating a kind of soul erosion. This is happening even as
the USA is turning from a melting-pot into a world nation.
Speed has allowed inter-regional migrations to turn into inter-continental
ones. Inter-planetary may have occured long ago. All ages have
abused the ecology of the planet, but the abuse is now global.
Not just regional. It's also extremely speedy.Massive global
over-production and global under-consumption are due to a skewed
distribution and purchasing power enviornment. 2-ss in the Bombay
chapter attempts to look at this problem and offer a few solutions
in an acidy satirical style.
We cannot really tame our technological speed. We still lack
the conceptual social, and political skills and militaristic
tendencies have hijacked this accelerating speed syndrome. Now
terrorists are also using speed to their own ends. A slow down
is possible though. Labor-saving technology has led to labor-replacing
technology. Marx and Smith never fully understood the concept
of technological speed. Kerouac did however in his novels.Technological
engineering is still ahead of social engineering. A massive
momentum has arrived with no one really understanding its implications.
Speed is now king and there are no brakes anywhere.....
Along the Way to the Group Mind 2
This is the concluding letter to yesterday's speculations. Enjoy!
Fast changes on the planet have created an unstoppable momentum
that could push it over the edge. Biological speed, technological
speed, and psychic speed are all being speeded up. Speed has
become instantaneous. Slow local speeds on earth have become
usurped by faster global speeds originating from the industrialized
west and now this faster speed is becoming both non-local and
possibly even non-global. A strange kind of psychic and social
non-development is beckoning over the horizon. A non-development
based on peaceful investment in the pursuit of total war. It's
a statistical and logistical vision based soley on speeded up
consumption and production. A systems vision of accelerated
fractal waves spawned inside computers and war-rooms. Where
does one home-stead in this new kind of speeded up global enviornment?
The mind and the way it looks at itself seems like the last
Nowadays the strange dissolution of western civilization through
the process of increasing mechanized and digitized speed is
today creating a strange kind of psychic paralysis. Speed is
becoming a form of mental violence that's creating a global
space-out. A psychic overload which is increasing individual
fears worldwide. How can the Teihardian global mind handle this
Will Black Stress work? Today total military mobilization at
the expense of consumer development is becoming the norm now.
Cultural death is being speeded up by a technological momentum
which is now defined and perpetuated by the global military
brotherhood and its corporate parents. Non-development is the
norm now as states collapse and the global human species becomes
the main unit in this new era of technologcal speed.
is always a riddle with it's strange accidents and mutations.
But technology is a riddle too. It has its own strange accidents
and mutations too. The computer fractal ethos is on the rise.
An increasing de-centralization is probably leading to a world-wide
consciousness even as centralizing groups are trying to manipulate
and control this new decentralization. We are facing a paradox.
Everything seems now like this montage of quick and rapid fragments.
Yet this montage is also becoming a superfical form of mind
The world is now a multitude of micro-narratives which hint
of a new hidden mythological dimension lurking seemingly somewhere
in the shadows. It's a global epic founded on top of a vision
of civilizational collapse. The human species is becoming prime
now. Not the nation state. The idea of speed as a form of psychic
violence is also interesting in this new context. Power came
first from this speed. Wealth was second. Up until the 19th
century the brake was more important than the gas pedal. Today
with cyber-industrial speed as king multinational corporations
and the militaries that serve them are the new feudal lords
of the global civilization based on this hyper-speed. Instant
time is taking over from lasting time. Things are flipping.
A strange inversion process is now occuring that nobody understands.
A universal civilization based on speed is being born. This
could end everything. Secular states still have a politcal process
that can prevent a complete release of military energy in the
wrong direction. Religious movements often do away with this
political brake in the name of complete psychic release. Complete
release is always death and this is the domain of traditional
religious movements. Consensus is usurped by apocolypse. This
apocolyptic process is now being harnessed by the new speed
of technology and it's an explosive mixture indeed. It's like
the crusades with ICBMs. It's the end of all politics and ethics.
The warrior of holy war fusing with the technician of nuclear
war. The corporate overlords of today are facing new challengers
who have even less scruples than they do. A global unity based
on artifical means is on the radar of these new rivals. Yet
both sides seem to be heading in the same direction for different
The draining of society through increasing expenditure and preparation
for war is not a new phenomena. It's speed and its global scope
is. It's a choice between slow death and fast death. 9/11 was
the event that showed this choice clearly. The appetite of the
western war machine is turning the developed world into a new
third world as resources are misappropriated to the point of
public collapse. The fall of the USSR was a vivid example of
this. So was the carnage of WW1 and WW2. Now the new terror
war could be the latest chapter.
In today's world of accelerating speed there is less and less
time for mental reflection. The market life is super-fast, the
internet life is super- fast too. The economy of speed is poorly
understood. It's critical now to take back the knowledge of
speed away from the military and put it back in the civilian
sphere. Too much speed is causing stress flip. A clampdown of
political discourse both at home and abroad is now causing a
strange psychological space-out.
We were inabiting now time more and more instead of space in
our minds.It's also an accelerated kind of time. All is non-local
now and juxtaposed with big tensions constantly present. Instantaneousness
with ubiquity is today generating a strange psychic stasis.
Everything is being pushed to an extreme and this is generating
an extreme backlash. Technology coupled with reason is pushing
us towards a final solution. Not an optimal one though. The
world is possibly ending in eco-nuclear collapse. We were no
longer controlling what we were producing. We understood how
we produce things, but not what we do with them.
Speed is forcing a strange non-identity on both individual and
collective identities. The past is being rapidly confused with
the present and the potential future. This confusion of non-identity
is becoming the crucial identity for all of us now. This identity
of speed and constant change is our new unity, but it's terribly
fragile. Speed is destroying variety. It's hitting our redundany
pool hard. Everyone is now running at the same speed. The only
escape is psychic. The Yopi in Harvest of Gems dropped out of
the material speed machine. He was an anti-Kerouac of no cars
and no physical speed. It was all inner-migration. It was an
attempt at not becoming a speed automotan.
Speed is about the conquest of time. This is even hairier than
the conquest of space. It's a trip without a destination. It's
about an identity without value. A situation of oneness, but
not necessarily a healthy kind. Things arrive before they leave.
Hurrying to go nowhere. Expanse and time were being reduced
to nothing. All is being enveloped in a shrinking fabric. Spacetime
was becoming illusory. The field of freedom maybe shrinking
with this kind of speed. Today's speed is creating an immediate
and absolute form of control. It's a tyranny of speed and no
one is in control of it. Including the ones who think they do.
This is creating severe time restrictions. People today are
trapped in a speed prison. The planet was shrinking, but free
time is dwindling too. A psychic paralysis is now setting in.
We could all be one, but this oneness could be a strange prison
with psychic tensions that need deeper kinds of understanding.
The speedy 19th century led to the even speedier 20th century
and now we were in the 21st century with quick 9/11 moments
becoming the norm. Space and time constraints are accelerating
even as their boundaries are dissolving. How can we escape a
breakdown coming from this space/time contraction? Dead space
and dead time are leaving us with very little free space or
free time. Fear, paralysis, and alienation are settling in.
The peak of speed is the extermination of space and the end
of time. It's an extreme form of de-territorialization which
leads to the end of all physical movement. Speed ultimately
inverted everything. It's almost Biblical in it's finality.
Material life is being replaced by a nascient form of psychic
life. Teilhard saw this. But if the current speed/mind inversion
is not understood total psychic paralysis could set in. Speedy
and material automation leads to psychic and physical uniformity,
but more so psychic dislocation and the reaction it spawns often
symultaneously. This double inversion could lead to political
chaos and religious holy wars using the new speed at its disposal.
Unless it's all transcended through some kind of global meditation
The world is falling into an enviornmrnt of disappearance and
stable cultural forms are vanishing. It's a flash-box syndrome
with everything at your fingersteps digitally. Yet too much
speed is like searing, blinding light. A strategy of pure logistics
is leading to a shadow world of high-tech suicide bombers and
Total guns over butter led to the collapse of the USSR. Will
it lead to the collapse of the USA? The civilian and welfare
states in the west are being taken over by the corporate/military
machine that are competing with them. This is also now occuring
on the rest of the planet too. The message of Harvest is clear.
Inner migration leads to a slower life materially in a quest
for escape from the fragmentation of the high speed material
machine. But this inner migration also allowed for a new kind
of inner speed which could be more holistic and life encompassing.
Speed pollution creates a strange kind of psychic confinement.
You break out of this confinement by getting out of the insidious
This summer, Eric and I were living a paradox. We had plenty
of free-time on a daily basis, but not on a monthly or yearly
basis if we didn't harness the tryanny of speed found in the
financial markets. It was an experiment that failed. Some kind
of automated system to exploit the speed of the cyber-markets
could not be successfully negotiated in order to have plenty
of free-time to expand our minds. Resources and enough time
With more evidence of extra-terrestrial and " Atlantean
" life coming out on the internet nowadays our vision of
our past and of our potential future needs to be expanded. The
problem of speed and it's spiritual solution is now more critical
than ever too.
This letter is for the French philosopher Paul Virilo who inspired
it. Also for Evgueni who likes thinking out of the box....