Ming the Mechanic:

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 FutureHi2004-02-24 11:11
picture by Flemming Funch

Paul Hughes has started a new collaborative futurist blog FutureHi - Celebrating the Rebirth of Psychedelic Futurism. Which I'm also lined up to contribute to, which I hopefully get into shortly. Paul has set an exciting tone for the site already, and made it look really pretty too. Here's from a recent article:
One of the primary inspirations behind this new site is that turning on higher intelligence is not only fun and joyous, it is absolutely necessary if we and our intelligent civilization are to survive the coming decades and expand out into the cosmos. By higher intelligence I mean the whole enchilada, whatever that is - not just greater intellect, but greater everything, greater emotional sanity, more love, compassion, creativity, inspiration, and most especially the transcendent experience itself and it's infinite expanse so raved about by psychonauts, shamans and eastern/yogic practioners.
Yeah, there are some important things that really ought to converge more. If we need to avoid killing ourselves and the planet very effectively with the rapidly accelerating wonders of technology, we need to get a whole lot smarter and wiser very quickly as well.

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24 Feb 2004 @ 23:16 by Ashanti @ : Stunning!
This sounds like a superb initiative - hope they have room for cyber-savannahs, digital dreamtime and iSangomas as well. Keep us posted!  

25 Feb 2004 @ 01:40 by shawa : We got to get TOGETHER...
... to see the whole enchilada, and Matrix time has a short fuse!  

26 Feb 2004 @ 23:28 by Ashanti @ : Together?
I just had a moment to actually do a preliminary read of the blog. It is awesome, I read in total awe and admiration. But felt somewhat "handicapped" in terms of anything meaningful to contribute. And that is where there is a problem with "together". If an individual consciousness unit is not up to it, evolutionally speaking, then they simply fall away and become redundent. So, it's not really together. It's for an elite. (that's the viewpoint I currently see).  

27 Feb 2004 @ 00:11 by ming : Together
Are you saying that it is only the few who're up to thinking constructively about the future? Or merely that the site is not for everybody to fathom?  

27 Feb 2004 @ 04:22 by Ashanti @ : Together - clarification
Different people are in different places. Many people in Africa (and elsewhere) are focused on basic survival needs, because these are unmet. (Maslow's heirarchy of needs as a reference point). Food, shelter, housing, health care. Thus, they would not be in a position to think about the future, since their sole focus is on where their next meal comes from, or the fact that they have no roof over their heads, no access to adequate health care and sanitation, and so on.

Those who do have those needs met, are in a position to think constructively of the future, are in a position to construct awesomely wonderful blogs like FutureHi. I think that is wonderful.

But for those who cannot focus on anything other than their basic physical survival needs, who are suffering because of hunger or ill-health - they would not be able to contribute to initiatives like this, until their basic survival issues are met, and they can get past that.

Thus, it is not together, until everyone has their basic survival needs met, and can then focus on the top of Maslow's pyramid, and think constructively about the future.

This accounts for a growing majority of the world population.  

27 Feb 2004 @ 07:40 by ming : Connecting
Yeah, I think the task is to connect things up. Of course somebody who doesn't have clean water or a place to live or who's hungry is not going to have the luxury to sit around and philosophize abstractly about the future. So those who do need to be connected up with those who might implement things in the real world, and with those who actually need new solutions.  

28 Feb 2004 @ 00:18 by ashanti : Yes, absolutely!
That's what is necessary. Anyway, I love the blog so much, I'm linking to it in my Blog.  

28 Feb 2004 @ 18:22 by Paul Hughes @ : On the new blog
Ashanti, thanks for the kind comments. You bring up some very important points. I understand very well what you are saying, that most people are living in dreadful biosurvival sort of conditions. I keep thinking of Bucky Fuller that says we are suffering from a design science crisis. But even knowing about the conditions of the third world is no reason to not continue to actively create a positive vision of these emerging technolgies. They are coming, and coming soon. What's lacking in my opinion, is a positive vision that is absolutely necessary if we are to survive it, and not end up liek Bill Joy who said, "The future doesn't need us". Right now especially, people need a future they can believe in again. That's hard even for most people in the first world who have already stabilized their lower needs. There is such an atmosphere of fear being perpetuated almost everywhere I see, and it is so unneccessary, but worse entirely counter-productive.

I think the more liquid our economies become, the more prosperity will reach more people. I think of the experiment that was done by the IMF when they gave every citizen of Cairo $50, rather than the govermnent the same amount of money in one-lump sum. This initiative resulted in thousands of new businesses coming into existence that were not there before. The challenge then is getting the knowledge and capital to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

The other pressing need is an evironmentall sustainable infrastructure. The thought of the rising middle class of China all driving automobiles running on oil is not a good sign. The sooner cleaner sources of energy become cost competitive the better. Time is running out. And finally there is the growing problem of resouce depletion - especially deforestation. I just read last week how all of Borneo forest will be gone withing 3 years! This is a terribe thing, and I'm not sure how to stop it, unless the people cutting down the forests have an ALTERNATIVE means of prosperity. So the challenge is getting those alternative forms of capital to those countries as quickly as possible before the global ecology goes into a tail spin.

All these ideas are welcom on the new website. Ashanti, if there is anything you would like to communicate to people, and you can formulate into an article like format, I'd be happy to publish it. My editorial guidelines are loose. If you can talk about the third world problems with a solutions-oriented approach I will publish it at Future Hi.  

1 Mar 2004 @ 03:25 by Ashanti @ : Thanks, Paul
I really appreciate your taking the perspective into account. And I agree whole-heartedly that the people who are able to focus on the future, and designing a much better one, should not hold back. I totally resonate with what you say above: "There is such an atmosphere of fear being perpetuated almost everywhere I see, and it is so unneccessary, but worse entirely counter-productive.".

Exactly! And I admit I am so focused on present-time survival issues for the people around me, and dealing with the fall-out of all the conditions that are created by corporate exploitation of the Third World, that I haven't focused much on the future.

It's a new way of thinking, and one I think is essential to our survival. I need some time to start thinking of Africa in this way, and will e-mail you with anything I come up with.  

2 Mar 2004 @ 20:02 by george dafermos @ : isnt'it a contradiction?
while i agree that we should work toward and cater for a more sustainable, more inclusive future, isn't it a fact that the most radical transhumanists (as well as the more radical transhumanist groups like transtopia) advocate a less "inclusive" course of action, or perspective?

and isn't the continuous search for the perfect island that will host all good transhumanists and keep all others away a fine illustration of this?

and is this perspective likely to change, and if yes, why? coz imho i don't see it changing (to my distress and astonishment).

"everyone wants to extend their one lifeform and coscioussness; what happens to the miserable others matters none" (mine. i believe it's true but don't endorse it.)  

2 Mar 2004 @ 22:58 by Ashanti @ : Transhumanist elitism
OK, well I confess I don't know what a "transhumanist" is, but I can guess what you mean by it. And yes, that's why I posed my question about "togetherness" in the first place. IMNSHO, the world is in the current mess due to elitism. (The rest of this comment is my opinion, not necessarily fact) - Elites who think they are above the rest of the human race meet in secret, and set the policies for the world, which destroy the environment, socially ravage the Third and Fourth world, cause immense suffering to animals and many life-forms on the planet. Elites covertly manipulate. Elites have not contributed anything positive to the planet, and in their most extreme form, have manifested in philosophies like Nazism, which advocated the "supremacy of the Aryan race", and the echo of that, apartheid in South Africa. Elites are always, in the end, toppled.

Even an initiative to create a better future which excludes "the masses", or does not take into account the greatest good for the greatest number of beings and realms of existence, carries within it the flaw of separativeness which is elitism.

The view you point to here reflects the social darwinist tendency of the so-called "First World". Ravage them natives, plunder their resources, they're no better than animals anyway - that is the real primitive/savage, for me. Survival of the most ruthless and greedy. If that is to be the prevalent worldview, then it is definitely not a world worth living in.

An initiative that is working toward a better future for everyone is worth supporting. An initiative that is elitist only postulates the same of what we already have, which has already proven unworkable. What the few who are plundering the many don't realise is that if the many go down, so do the few. Like it or not, we *are* all interconnected.

Thanks for highlighting what is indeed a very prevalent view in the West. It is an important aspect to acknowledge, because denying that that view *is* prevalent, is ignoring the reality of what it is we are trying to improve.  

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