Conversations

Salon Culture: Network of Ideas

[10.2.14]

 

Despite their intense scientific depth, John Brockman runs these gatherings with the cool of an old school bohemian. A lot of these meetings indeed mark the beginning of a new phase in science history. One such example was a few years back, when he brought together the luminaries on behavioral economics, just before the financial crisis plunged mainstream economics into a massive identity crisis. Or the meeting of researchers on the new science of morality, when it was noted that the widening political divides were signs of the disintegration of American society. Organizing these gatherings over summer weekends at his country farm he assumes a role that actually dates from the 17th and 18th century, when the ladies of the big salons held morning and evening meetings in their living rooms under the guise of sociability, while they were actually fostering the convergence of the key ideas of the Enlightenment.

Ever Brockman

[9.19.14]

Click here

The artist Richard Hamilton once remarked that we only remember exhibitions that invent new rules of the game. This welcome new edition of Brockman's work is a thoroughly inspiring reminder of the fact that this observation can also be applied to books. —Hans Urich Obrist

HANS ULRICH OBRIST is the co-director of the Serpentine Gallery in London. He is the author of Ways of Curating.

Hans Ulrich Obrist's Edge Bio Page


[ED. NOTE: Publication day—45 years later. This week marks the re-publication of the new and expanded e-book edition of my early trilogy. By the Late John Brockman was first published in hardcover by Macmillan in 1969, 37 in hardcover by Holt in 1971, and Afterwords, a paperback that included the first two books and a new work, in 1973. The publication of Afterwords was followed that year by a volume of essays entitled After Brockman: A Symposium, essays by artists, poets, writers, scientists about my writing. On it's publication, I stopped writing.

This 2014 e-book edition of the trilogy takes the original title, By The Late John Brockman. The following is the foreword to the new edition by Hans Ulrich Obrist. —JB]

EVER BROCKMAN (Foreword to By the Late John Brockman)

Since the 1960s, John Brockman's pioneering activities have been diverse and multidirectional, marked by a fearlessness and fluidity of thought. He has been a writer, a literary agent, a junction-maker between science and art, a curator, an avant-garde-film programmer, has worked in industry, for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and for The White House. He is also the founder of Edge Foundation and editor of Edge.org, an important platform for the exchange of knowledge between different fields that aims "to arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge".

Stewart Brand has called Brockman an "intellectual enzyme … an adroit enabler of otherwise impossible things". As Brockman himself puts it, "I look to … those who through their empirical work are changing the nature of ourselves and reality, whether they are scientists or not … people who are using technology and new communications ideologies to radically reboot the whole idea of human communication." First and foremost, he is driven by the question: "Who … will take us to the epistemological crossroads where everything has to be rethought? My entire career has been in pursuit of this vision."

Central to this approach is Brockman's fundamental opposition to the separation of art and science. Instead, he sees art as science and science as art. This way of thinking beyond the boundaries is a guiding theme that defines his activities, which focus on establishing networks. He "celebrates thinking smart versus the anesthesiology of wisdom", where experts ask questions not "in front of their peers in their academic discipline or their field, [but] in front of people who are their equals in other areas." This is why, when I first met him in the summer of 1998 at his farm in Connecticut, he became one of my great inspirations, reinforcing my conviction that pooling knowledge across disciplines is the future.

In one of our many conversations over the last fifteen years, Brockman remarked that "Life is the theatre of one chance." His life and work have been greatly informed by this idea. In 1964, he met the artist and filmmaker Jonas Mekas, who was running the Film-makers' Cinematheque for underground cinema. Brockman was already working with underground film-makers, and video artists, which was at this time a revolutionary art genre. In 1965 Mekas asked him to take over the Cinematheque and to initiate an Expanded Cinema Festival there. He invited many great New York artists working in all fields, including Nam June Paik, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Whitman and Claes Oldenburg, to make a work integrating film for a special performance. These activities led to an invitation from leading scientists in biophysics, computation and cybernetics to bring a group of New York artists, film-makers and musicians to MIT in Cambridge Mass., for what was probably the first art-science symposium—an event that would have a lasting impact on his thinking and methods.

Social Pain

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  • Conversations
http://vimeo.com/103954726

When I think of the work on social pain, and showing that some of the same neural regions that are involved in physical pain are involved in social pain, that can be very validating for people. For anyone who's felt the pain of losing somebody or who's felt the hurt feelings that come from being ostracized or bullied, there's something very validating in seeing this scientific work that shows it's not just in our head. It is in our head because it's in our brain.

Maybe he was the only true futurist-humanist

A Conversation with
[6.18.14]

Maybe he was the only true futurist-humanist

Literary agent John Brockman, Internet pioneer Jaron Lanier, science and technology historian George Dyson and computer scientist and artist David Gelernter remember Frank Schirrmacher. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. (June 13, 2014)
 

 


A visionary thinker

Schirrmacher's death is a loss that will be felt not just in Germany but throughout the world. He is irreplaceable. It's fair to say that he has no equivalent here in the United States. He was a beacon of light, a visionary thinker who initiated international conversations on the emerging questions that mattered, including the human genome, the third culture, the role of technology in a society. He will be greatly missed.

John Brockman is a literary agent. [link: faz]

 


Essential voice

The sudden loss of Frank Schirmacher is not only shocking, not only devastatingly sad, but also a tremendous challenge to all of us. The whole contemporary world is now missing one of its essential voices. We are challenged to find some way to continue without an irreplaceable companion.

Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, artist and entrepreneur. [link: faz]


A class unto itself 

"Isn't the financial crisis the first event where the machines have taken over?" Frank Schirrmacher wrote to me, in response to an essay co-published by FAZ and Edge in 2009. "Today I had lunch with the German secretary of Treasury to find out how far the computers and the quants were responsible for the crisis," he continued. "What he said was, that there were 5 days when nobody could explain what was happening and what would happen. At this very moment everything was dependent from the computers. "

Frank Schirrmacher's combination of convictions, intellect, and connections was in a class unto itself. Whenever he asked me to write something, I could be sure that his response (often within minutes) would be as interesting as what I had labored over for days to send to him.

Isn't it possible to conceive that before the machines become intelligent," he wrote in response to another essay, "the human being, by taking over the signals, instructions, and distraction of the computers and the web becomes not only less intelligent, but starts to communicate with his inner self in the same way the computer communicates with him? In a deep sense thinking is degenerating in a totally new way, which even makes it questionable how to teach and learn. Before the machines take over, man is surrendering.

Not without a fight—and Frank Schirrmacher was leading it.

George Dyson is a historian of science and technology. [link: faz]


A fighter for Europe

I have never known a man to fill a room with energy and optimism and pure life and sheer unreasonable happiness the way Frank Schirrmacher did. No man I've ever known combined such optimistic openness to everything good about the future with such humane kindness; with such care and attention and thought for the human beings around him. He was one of the only true humanist-futurists I've ever known. Perhaps he was the only one.

For Americans saddened by Europe's wasting, bitter cynicism, its seeming lack of confidence in its own past and future, Frank made us remember that Europe created modern culture, and therefore world culture (created science and antisepsis, surgery and abstract algebra and Degas and Matisse and the Missa Solemnis); he made us remember above all that Europe would take her place again, one day, at the head of the parade. The world needs Europe badly, now more than ever; needs Europe to inspire and to lead—and that's why the world needed Frank Schirrmacher so badly, and why this is such a sad and serious night for everyone, everywhere, who knew him. You could not help admiring him—that is true for many men; but you could not help loving him, either. And I could never help smiling when he entered the room. What is more rare and valuable than the gift of making people think of the future, think of the past, and be happy? He will be remembered for as long as Europe and European journalism stand at the center of the world of art and ideas — God willing, forever.

David Gelernter is a computer scientist and artist. [link: faz]

 

Farewell To My Friend Frank Schirrmacher

[6.18.14]


OBITUARY BY HUBERT BURDA
Farewell to my friend Frank Schirrmacher

by Hubert Burda, Focus Magazine (June 17, 2014)
 

FAZ co-editor Frank Schirrmacher died at the age of 54 years

[Rough translation:]

The editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frank Schirrmacher, died at 54 years. Germany has lost a great thinker. An obituary by Hubert Burda.

Thursday last week: I had invited Frank Schirrmacher and his wife Rebecca Casati to have dinner with Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York, in the "Hotel Adlon" in Berlin. Also on the list were German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and a group of donors, philanthropists and intellectuals. Days earlier he had emailed me:

"Dear Hubert, we are looking forward to this apparently exciting evening! Yours, Frank. "

This is the last message I received from my friend, an unusually ingenious thinker, a brilliant helsman of debates that moved our country forward in the last two decades.

When he began as co-editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on January 21, 1994, he was just 34 years. old. We German publishers all wondered whether it would work. Joachim Fest, his predecessor in office, and to some extent also his teacher, the legendary historian of the Nazi period and subtle art lover, could hardly conceal his skepticism.

The dashing, youthful literary editor of the FAZ (from 1989 on) who liked to pit the realism of an Ernst Jünger against the ideological literature of the day, soon became a stubborn culture czar seldom given to a moment of self doubt.  Eventually, his orchestration of the  Ignatz-Bubis-Martin-Walser debate in 1998/1999 made him someone that everyone was talking about. Even the international press was impressed by him.

BRILLIANT HEAD—FRANK SCHIRRMACHER

He began his career at FAZ as one of the youngest editors ever with a doctorate in literature, soon followed Marcel Reich-Ranicki as head of the literary department and finally, at only age 34 years, he took over from Joachim Fest as a publisher. His books are bestsellers.

In July 2000, we met for a long walk on the island of Rügen. He had gone through a dramatic change. After having passionately participated with great passion as a Feuilleton journalist in the affairs of literary and political life, he had morphed into a a stupendously erudite diagnostician, exploring the revolution of science and technology at the end of the last century which he was clearly fascinated by.

On 27 June 2000, the FAZ devoted six pages to the publication of the abstract set of letters of the human genome first deciphered by the genomics researcher Craig Venter. The headline: "Craig Venter's last words."

On our tour of the romantic island we talked a lot about Craig Venter, John Brockman, the New York agent who had great success in selling rights to the works of the most important scientific authors of the English-speaking to international book publishers, and of course, in his activities via the Internet. Our one-to-one talks ever since were always about the future of journalism and the fate publishers in times of Google. "Lousy pennies", nothing more was left for us by the media giant, we agreed. Our optimism for the future was mixed occasionally with anger.

Of course, Michael Bloomberg and Schirrmacher at dinner would have resulted in dazzling talk about Google, its visions of the future and attempts at transforming the lives of people. Both would have come to an agreement that rules must be established to limit global monopolies at the European and transatlantic level.

Frank Schirrmacher was an entirely new intellectual type, a non-ideologue who wasn't interested in preaching a right or left worldview. He was especially interested in the processes of social upheavals, the intellectual and technological revolutions. First of all, he wanted to understand them without any prejudice, which was what he was after.

The range of his interests was greater than that of his teachers and sometimes disciplinarians, such as Siegfried Unseld, Joachim Fest, and Marcel Reich-Ranicki. He was the first to note that because the world we live in is one of global change, for responsible journalists "culture" and "science" must be seen in a new context of applied natural sciences.

Information, communication, our thoughts and feelings are changing rapidly. Schirrmacher's concerns: In an IT-controlled environment, is there still a place for humans? Are we, as responsible citizens, capable of retaining our commitment to freedom?

I bow before a great journalist. One of the transcendent minds of our time will henceforth be the silent partner of my thinking.

[Link: Original German Language article]

 

MAN OF THE FUTURE: Frank Schirrmacher has died at the age of 54 years

[6.16.14]

[Excerpt...]

. . .  Not a traditional man of culture 

Schirrmacher had a large double talent: he could create new topics and get them out early. He knew—months before others knew it—what would be the language in the Federal Republic. And he was great in terms of the agreement with important people. He wrote his articles rather quickly. In addition, however, he wanted to get involved, to have his fingers everywhere.  He succeeded in both.

Frank Schirrmacher was not just a traditional man of culture, although he had followed in the footsteps of two pillars of post-war cultural life in Germany, namely historian Joachim C. Fest and literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki. He was not only a fierce social critic of the conservative mold, He was not only a great journalist, having launched one of the last newspaper projects to be both successfull and profitable, which is FAZ's weeked edition FAS. He was one of the first "digerati", i.e. one of those 21st century intellectuals on the cusp between the humanities and natural sciences who detect a technology-driven future that opens up new worlds. But because he came from the European tradition of critical thinking, he was largely immune to the seductive euphoria that was blowing from the American shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sure, there seemed to be no limits to the enthusiasm with which he threw himself into the new themes. Unforgettable was the Features section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 27 June 2000, in which the only thing to read on the first six pages were abstract letters of the human genome which were first completely deciphered by the biochemist Craig Venter. The headline read: "Craig Venter's last words."

The persistence with which Schirrmacher presented his themes not only continued, but the illumination from all sides, from all involved and uninvolved, was unique. Just the recent debates about the dangers of digital culture due to the monopolistic tendencies of the Silicon Valley companies, and the global spying programs of the NSA alone, showed the intellectual verve he brought to debates, illuminating the ups and downs which had been kept hidden behind impenetrable techno-jargon and a blind faith in the future. There aren't that many great critical minds in this field so far.

Journalistic Instincts

Schirrmacher not only recognized kindred spirits early, he gave them his full support: David Gelernter, Evgeny Morozov, Constanze Kurz, George Dyson, or this year's recipient of the German book seller's association's prestigious peace prize Jaron Lanier. In the pages of FAZ's Feuilleton he gave them the type of space and the continuous presence normally known only from academic journals. Still he edited them with the journalistic instincts that enabled him and his authors again and again to aquaint Central Europe's educated public life with California thinking.

This side made Frank Schirrmacher also part of the debate on the other side of the Atlantic. You could even encounter him in America much more often than he actually travelled there. You could for example be high above Central Park on the terrace of New York literary agent John Brockman, who is something of a global Weltgeist of science, which Schirrmacher perceived in the very Hegelian way. It happened quite a few tines on occasions like this, that Brockman's cellphone would be ringing, followed by Brockman greeting the caller with a delighted "Frank!", followed by a lengthy phone conversation about the latest in evolutionary biology, behavioural economics or genetic engineering. If Schirrmacher was in hot pursuit of a topic it could happen that the cell would be ringing five, ten times a day, each call greeted by an excited "Frank!" That's when you knew that in this instance the future would arrive in Europe much faster than usual.

It was not only his insatiable curiousity and his almost childlike excitability that helped him in his search for ever new topics. He also had very powerful gift to win people over. When he met the visionary Yale computer scientist David Gelernter during prep for a panel discussion at the DLD conference in Munich in January of 2010, he immediately recognized in him one of those kindred spirits.

That's why he didn't leave it at the panel. For two days he more or less didn't leave the American scientist's side. He circled Gelernter's complex thinking first with probing questions, he discovered common thoughts and passions. A bit later he sifted through his enormous body of readily available European knowledge and was able to bring intellectual nuggets to the table himself. The encounter lead to a transatlantic friendship that enriched the pages of his Feuilleton for years to come. ...

...Protagonist of future debates

Soon it was Frank Schirrmacher not just a participant but the protagonist of debates about the future. In 2009 he published his book Payback, which became a bestseller, then The Methuselah Conspiracy, his warning of the coming generation gap of an aging society,  and his book MinimumPayback was the first intellectual engagement with the digital culture that appeared in Germany. 

The subtext of his agenda: Why are we forced in the information age to do what we do not want to do, and how do we regain control over our thinking. It was one of the first great intellectual struggles with the dangers of digital technologies that did not come from the digital circles themselves, and thinking not from the strongholds of the computer scientists, but from the tradition of European humanities. It was a sharp reckoning with the zeitgeist that looked something like a promise of salvation in the digital media. And he made himself so at first not only popular. 

"It is very important to emphasize that we are not talking about cultural pessimism," Schirmacher said in an interview with John Brockman, published on edge.org in autumn of 2009. "We're talking about a new technology, which is de facto a brain technology that has to do with intelligence, thus with thinking, and this new technology collides in a very material way with the history of ideas of European thinking.”  However, it was not holy for him. But he saw the danger that arises when one breaks with the gesture of revolution with the story. When idealism becomes ideology.

When John Brockman first learned of Frank Schirrmacher's death, he was not just sad and shocked like many others. Immediately he exclaimed: "This is a loss that will be felt not only in Germany, but all over the world. He is irreplaceable. He managed to make intellectual life in Germany trump that of America because he dared to put issues on the table that no one in America wanted on the agenda". 

After Payback, his next book was Ego: The Game of Life, in which he analyzed the effects of a Internet-based world economy driven by greed. At the same time he presented an ever-sharper critique of capitalism in the once very conservative Feuilleton of the FAZ. On Thursday Frank Schirrmacher died in Frankfurt of a heart attack. . He leaves his wife, an adult son and a small daughter. Not only the man will be missed, but also his many unwritten books, his unguided debates. He was 54 years old. 

[German language original article.]

Frank Schirrmacher 1959-2014

[6.18.14]

[Photo: Copyright © Julia Zimmerman]

We are apparently now in a situation where modern technology is changing the way people behave, people talk, people react, people think, and people remember. And you encounter this not only in a theoretical way, but when you meet people, when suddenly people start forgetting things, when suddenly people depend on their gadgets, and other stuff, to remember certain things. This is the beginning, its just an experience. But if you think about it and you think about your own behavior, you suddenly realize that something fundamental is going on. There is one comment on Edge which I love, which is in Daniel Dennett's response to the 2007 annual question, in which he said that we have a population explosion of ideas, but not enough brains to cover them.

—Frank Schirrmacher, 2009

Frank Schirrmacher died on June 12th of a heart attack. He was the influential German journalist, essayist, best-selling author, and since 1994 co-publisher of one of the leading national German newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), where he was Editor of the Feuilleton, cultural and science pages of the paper. FAZ is a non-profit company based on a foundation mode. He was one of five "Herausgeber," literally translated "publisher," but in reality he was a mix of head of Feuilleton, co-editor in chief and CEO. 

Schirrmacher's death is a loss that will be felt not just in Germany but throughout the world. He is irreplaceable. It's fair to say that he has no equivalent here in the United States. He was a beacon of light, a visionary thinker who initiated international conversations on the emerging questions that mattered, including the human genome, the third culture, the role of technology in a society. He will be greatly missed. 

We were introduced in early 2000 by German media mogul and digital pioneer Hubert Burda, and began a conversation which lasted until the week of his death. In May of 2000, based on our several long telephone calls, Schirrmacher wrote a manifesto,  a call-to arms, entitled "Wake-Up Call for Europe Tech," published in FAZ, which called for Europe to adopt the ideas of the third culture. His agenda: to change the culture of the newspaper and to begin a process of change in Germany and Europe. In the final paragraph he wrote:

"Over the next few months, to ensure we are informed slightly in advance, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung will be running a series of articles by the theoreticians of what John Brockman has dubbed the 'third culture'. Europe should be more than just a source for the software of ego crisis, loss of identity, despair, and Western melancholy. We should be helping write the code for tomorrow."

The manifesto, and Schirrmacher's publishing program, was a departure for FAZ which at that time had a somewhat conservative profile. It was widely covered in the German press and made waves in intellectual circles.

Within weeks following publication of his manifesto, Schirrmacher began publishing articles by notable third culture thinkers, began to provide extensive FAZ coverage of Edge features and events, and became an Edge contributor himself.  On many occasions we published pieces simultaneously on Edge and in FAZ. In 2009, I interviewed him in his Frankfurt office, the result being the publication of "The Age of the Informavore: A Talk with Frank Schirrmacher." "The term informavore," Schirrmacher noted, "characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food." Among the Edgies commenting on the piece in the ensuing Reality Club conversation were  Daniel Kahneman, George Dyson, Jaron Lanier, Nick Bilton, Nicholas Carr, Douglas Rushkoff, Gerd Gigerenzer, John Perry Barlow, Steven Pinker, John Bargh, George Dyson, John Brockman, David Gelernter, and Evgeny Morozov.

Writing a few months later in Stuttgarter ZeitungGabor Paal took note of the effect of FAZ's sustained coverage of the third culture on German intellectual life. Researchers such as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, anthropologist Gregory Bateson, mathematician Roger Penrose, biologist Lynn Margulis, geographer Jared Diamond, psychologist Steven Pinker ..."come from the 'exact' sciences, take care of basic questions of human existence. And they write about their work in thick books in which they—like 'real' humanists—take hundreds of pages to present their own thesis. Inspired by Brockman's thesis beginning in the late 1990s, the FAZ Feuilleton began to deal with developments in the natural sciences. At about the same time, Der Spiegel regularly began publishing "third culture" topics on the front page, and entices its readers with article on the origin of language, the end of the universe, or about Neurotheology." 

It's now been fourteen years since publication of his manifesto, and the national conversation he began in Germany continues in the pages of FAZ, and has also been joined in a robust way by the Feuilleton of Süddeutsche Zeitung, the other of the two national newspapers in Germany.

As a tribute, Edge turns over its front page to remember Schirrmacher by presenting "Maybe He Was The Only True Futurist-Humanist," a piece organized by Schirrmacher's long-time colleague Jordan Mejias, FAZ's U.S. Cultural editor; an excerpt from the Süddeutsche Zeitung obituary "Man of The Future," co-authored by  Andrian Kreye, editor of the SZ Feuilleton and Edge contributor; impressions in the German press regarding his involvement with third culture ideas in "FAZ Co-Editor Is Dead: Frank Schirrmacher Set The Central Issues Of Our Time," a piece by Peter von Becker, in Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten; a re-publication of Schirrmacher's Edge feature "The Age of the Informavore"; Hubert Burda's obituary in his Focus Magazine, "Farewell to my friend Frank Schirrmacher"and finally, the 2010 EDGE @ DLD panel, "Informavore," featuring a video of Schirrmacher, Andrian Kreye, David Gelernter, and myself.



Frank Schirrmacher & John Brockman, Munich, January 2010

At some point I plan to write more about Schirrmacher, the man, his agenda, and the intellectual inspiration he provided in the quest for a second enlightenment, one which would be built on the ideas of the third culture. But now is not that time. Now is a time for remembering.

John Brockman

Frank Schirrmacher's Edge Bio Page



MAYBE HE WAS THE ONLY TRUE FUTURIST-HUMANIST

Literary agent John Brockman, Internet pioneer Jaron Lanier, science and technology historian George Dyson and computer scientist and artist David Gelernter remember Frank Schirrmacher. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (June 13, 2014) [MORE...]



FAREWELL TO MY FRIEND FRANK SCHIRRMACHER
by Hubert Burda

The editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frank Schirrmacher, died at 54 years. Germany has lost a great thinker. Focus Magazine (June 17, 2014) [MORE...]



ON THE DEATH OF FRANK SCHIRRMACHER
MAN OF THE FUTURE

An Obituary by Gustav Seibt, Franziska Augstein and Andrian Kreye

... Not a traditional man of culture ... Schirrmacher had a large double talent: he could create new topics and get them out early. He knew—months before others knew it—what would be the language in the Federal Republic. And he was great in terms of the agreement with important people. He wrote his articles rather quickly. In addition, however, he wanted to get involved, to have his fingers everywhere. He succeeded in both. Süddeutsche Zeitung (June 12, 2014) [MORE...]



FAZ CO-EDITOR IS DEAD
Frank Schirrmacher Set The Central Issues Of Our Time by Peter von Becker

What is happening today in the Internet or in the biotech laboratories, raises pressing legal and moral questions. Frank Schirrmacher had the intellectual antenna and the fire of passionate journalist. Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten (June 13, 2014) [MORE...]



THE AGE OF THE INFORMAVORE
A Talk With Frank Schirrmacher 

We are apparently now in a situation where modern technology is changing the way people behave, people talk, people react, people think, and people remember. And you encounter this not only in a theoretical way, but when you meet people, when suddenly people start forgetting things, when suddenly people depend on their gadgets, and other stuff, to remember certain things. This is the beginning, its just an experience. But if you think about it and you think about your own behavior, you suddenly realize that something fundamental is going on. Edge (October 25, 2009) [MORE...]



Edge  & DLD: INFORMAVORE

In 2010, Edge was in Munich for DLD 2010 and an Edge & DLD event. The event, entitled "Informavore," is a discussion featuring Frank Schirrmacher, Editor of the Feuilleton and Co-Publisher of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Andrian Kreye, Feuilleton Editor of Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Munich; and Yale computer science visionary David Gelernter, who, in his 1991 book Mirror Worlds presented what's now called "cloud computing." [MORE...]


Touched By The Tremendum (March 27, 1990)

From the Reality Club Archives
[6.24.14]

 

This is our birthright. It is profoundly our birthright in the same way that our sexuality is our birthright. The notion that a person would call themselves intelligent and aware and present in the world and that they would go from the cradle to the grave without ever having a psychedelic experience is nothing short of obscene; it's absurd. It makes my flesh crawl in the same way that celibacy and virginity make my flesh crawl. What a horrible, horrible waste of a human life.

TERENCE MCKENNA (1946-2000) was one of the leading authorities on the ontological foundations of shamanism and a fixture of popular counterculture. An innovative theoretician and spellbinding orator, he traveled extensively in Asia and the New World Tropics and specialized in shamanism and ethnomedicine in the Amazon Basin and emerged as a powerful voice for the psychedelic movement and the emergent societal tendency he called The Archaic Revival. He is the author of Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide; The Archaic RevivalFood of the GodsTrue Hallucinations; and coauthor, with his brother Dennis McKenna, of The Invisible Landscape. Terence McKenna's Edge Bio page


TOUCHED BY THE TREMENDUM (March 27, 1990)

First of all, I am delighted to be here. The great thing about being here in New York is you don’t have to worry that you’re the smartest person in the room. What impels me to talk to groups like this is the conviction that a major aspect of what it means to be a human being has received short shrift in our civilization for at least a couple of millennia. And that, to some degree, the solution to the mega-crisis that is bearing down on Western institutions is to be found in a revivifying of the archaic. And this takes many different kinds of forms. It's nothing to do with what is popularly presented as the new age. It's, to my mind, a much larger and deeper and persistent phenomenon than that. In fact, the entire intellectual tone of the 20th century can be seen as a groping toward a recapturing of this archaic mentality.

This is what psychoanalysis was about. This is what cubism, surrealism, and, in the political zone, negative phenomena such as national socialism. All of these various intellectual concerns, to my mind, can be traced back to a kind of unconscious nostalgia for the archaic.

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