Bumps Along the Way to the Group Mind 1 & 2

Bumps Along the Way to the Group Mind 1

Dear Team:

Once more in the spirit of giving here is another series of holiday letters....

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 of signals.

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.

The 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.....

Bumps Along the Way to the Group Mind 2

Dear Team:

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 frontier here.

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 White Stress?

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.

Nature 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 control.

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 reasons.

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 practise.

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 military/industrial complexes.

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 speed trap.

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 were lacking....

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....

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