Future Fossils with Michael Garfield
199 - The Great Decoherence of Android Jones

199 - The Great Decoherence of Android Jones

...in which old friends reflect on art, love, loss, and life.

This week I have one of the most vulnerable, personal, and profound conversations ever shared on the show — and it’s one that speaks directly to the deepest and most persistent themes addressed on Future Fossils. Android Jones is one of the world’s pre-eminent digital painters and an utterly singular and inimitable visionary artist. He’s also a loving husband and father of three, an old friend (even if we don’t talk as often as I’d like, or as perhaps we should), and someone I regard as a torch-bearer along the paths of both professional uncompromising creativity and openly psychedelic parenting. And now he leads the way in helping me and his planet-wide fanbase learn how to process grief and rise from the ashes of loss like a badass phoenix…

A few weeks ago, the barn he inherited from his father — in which he kept all of his creative technology and projects — burned to the ground. Here is the intense and vulnerable two-hour conversation we had about his loss and the spiritual transformations he has undergone since. For the first time ever, Android gives a play-by-play recounting of what happened that fateful morning and how he has grown in the aftermath of losing his “dragon horde” of technology, art, and personal records.  And we explore the science and philosophy and esoteric interpretation of what it means to grow beyond the envelope of the human organism into our “extended phenotypes” of technological augmentation — and then to lose it all in a single incandescent moment, laid bare by an Act of God to face the world with sudden and intense rawness.

This is a powerful, one, folks.  I’m honored to share it with you…

(Big thanks to Lucid News for inspiring me to do this. You can find a very, very tightly-edited transcript of this discussion on their website.)

Editor’s Note: I mention a passage from William Irwin Thompson’s The American Replacement in Nature in which I misquote him as speaking on “prophets and pastoralists” when in fact he wrote about “mystics and moralists.”  You can hear the correct quote in this track from my 2016 Boom Festival performance, which plays at the end of this episode:

"The moralist tends to think the laws of God are more on his side than on his enemy's, so he will try through faith and religion and the exercise of ritual to get God to settle down with him and go along with his way of life. The mystic, however, is not a moralist, for motion, complexity, and an angelic-demonic ambiguity in which one's enemy is also a part of a divine manifestation in history are all part of a cosmic life on the other side of the fence. Home means a lot to moralists, but the mystic is society's alien and is not allowed to have a home smaller than the universe. Any time he tries to settle for less, to settle down and set up fences, God appears as the moving whirlwind."
- William Irwin Thompson

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✨ Mentioned & Related Links:
Future Fossils Episode 111 - Android Jones on Analog/Digital, Painting the Sutras, & Being an Artist Dad
Complexity Episode 90 - Caleb Scharf on The Ascent of Information: Life in The Human Dataome
Complexity Episode 35 - Scaling Laws & Social Networks in The Time of COVID-19 with Geoffrey West (Part 1)
Ben Ridgway
A Manifesto For Live Painting by Michael Garfield
Death of a Salesman
Trezor Cryptocurrency Wallets
John Perry Barlow
Theme Music: “Olympus Mons” off the Martian Arts EP by Michael Garfield

✨ A Special One-Off Sneak Peek at A New Offering for Subscribers:
I recently promised members of my Patreon/Substack members-only Facebook group, where I ordinarily share on the order of ten cool external links a day, that I’d be moving my Web curation into a special newsletter supplement for paid subscribers.  Here is a public-facing glimpse at yet one more thing you can expect in return for supporting the intense love’s labor that goes into the show and my other creative work:

Recommended Reading:
Copyright won't solve creators' Generative AI problem (Cory Doctorow)
We’re in a productivity crisis, according to 52 years of data. Things could get really bad. (Michael Simmons)
What kind of a "metamodernist" am I, exactly? (Scout Reina Wiley)
Successful AI Will Usher in a New Era of Theology (Caveat Magister)
Developers Created AI to Generate Police Sketches. Experts Are Horrified (Chloe Xiang at Motherboard)
Getty sues Stability AI for copying 12M photos and imitating famous watermark (Ashley Belanger at Ars Technica)
How to Practice Long-Term Thinking in a Distracted World (Bina Venkataraman at Wired)
How a 'time of crisis' creates a 'crisis of time' (Richard Fisher)
Why Civilization Is Older Than We Thought (Samo Burja at Palladium)
The Edges Cases Where Computing and Physics Intersect (Samuel Arbesman)
Cosmic Connection: an anecdote about the Pioneer plaque (Roger’s Bacon)
Japanese Philosophies That’ll Help You Spend Money Consciously (Rahul Chowdhury)

Recommended Music:
Vertigo Gambler — Juvenile Drama (lush folk-electronic pop co-written and mixed/mastered by fellow Santa Fean Toni Dear)
David Forlano — Shiver Like Dust (iPad electronic ambient improvisations)
Starling Arrow — Cradle (gorgeous all-star group of female singer-songwriters writing and recording together)
fy00g — Mummy Fart! (my old friend and collaborator William Allan Ross’ latest trippy glitchy bass single)
Master Margherita — The Sound of Science (new dubbreak 436Hz mix by Moreno, former curator and stage manager of Boom’s Chillout Gardens)

Recommended Video:
View From The Other Side (Drew Brophy on NDEs, shared by Charles Eisenstein)
How to Watch Hundreds of Free Movies on YouTube (via OpenCulture)
Cause and Constraints (Alicia Juarrero at The Complexity Lounge)
Residuality Theory: Philosophy and Practice (Barry O’Reilly at The Complexity Lounge)

Future Fossils with Michael Garfield
Join paleontologist-futurist Michael Garfield and an avalanche of amazing guests for deep but irreverent discussions at the edge of the known and knowable: on prehistory and post-humanity and deep time, non-human agency and non-duality, science fiction and self-fulfilling prophecies, complex systems and sustainability (or lack thereof), psychedelics as a form of training for proliferating futures, art and creativity as service and as inquiry. New episodes on a roughly biweekly basis. Get bonus material and support the show at patreon.com/michaelgarfield or michaelgarfield.substack.com