Category Archives: Spirituality

the plastic flowers of perception

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche called psychedelics “plastic flowers for the mind,” meaning that they’re false prophets, insufficient for self-realization. Meanwhile, Anaïs Nin (a psychonaut if there ever was one) described her LSD experience with characteristic lyricism but came to a similar conclusion — its meaning was diminished by its artifice. Of course acid trips are “unnatural.” They do not […]

the darkness of narrative

On the “theory/data” problem, the notion that more data diminishes the need for theorization. Let’s assume this is true for a second: now, instead of developing hypotheses and testing them à la the scientific method, we simply subject our curiosities to computational operations. Feeding more data into better algorithms equals better living (through science!). This vision […]

after life

…the invention of the Morse alphabet in 1837 was promptly followed by the tapping specters of spiritistic seances sending their messages from the realm of the dead. Promptly as well, photographic plates-even and especially those taken with the camera shutter closed-furnished reproductions of ghosts or specters, whose black-andwhite fuzziness only served to underscore the promise […]

masking

“Magic is bloody untruth, but in it domination is not yet disclaimed by transforming itself into a pure truth underlying the world which it enslaves. The magician imitates demons; to frighten or placate them he makes intimidating or appeasing gestures. Although his task was impersonation he did not claim to be made in the image […]

spirituality and surveillance

Turns out, a lot of people have been thinking, writing, and preaching (!) about the connections between spirituality and surveillance for some time now. I found a podcast of a sermon given by Unitarian Universalist Reverend M. Lara Hoke a few years ago. She’s asking people of faith to use their belief system as the basis for questioning government […]

make america online again

My fifth hotel in ten days — three in Virginia, one in New York City, one in North Carolina. These nights have been punctuated by stays at my parents’ house in New York and my apartment in Asheville, NC, whose lease expired on the thirty-first of July. Current location is Christiansburg, Virginia, not too far from the place I’ll be […]

intention and its discontents

In light of the DAO hack (here’s a tl;dr for those not in the know), a lot of people have been talking about intention — the role that conscious will, something we generally ascribe to humans, should play in code-based organizations that are designed to be run without centralized human oversight. The logic goes that […]

note

At the very beginning of my PhD research — which formally begins in August — here’s some stuff I hope to be working on: The  all-encompassing directive of transparency, in particular the role of interiority and personal myth-making in the “post-privacy” age. Power differentials between individuals and institutions re: surveillance and data gathering. Social issues of blockchain development and other “Web […]

being nobody

Who was it that said that in a truly oppressed society, people are not silenced, but forced to speak? “Neoliberalism turns the oppressed worker into a free contractor, an entrepreneur of the self. Today, everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise…the prevailing mode of production is based on lonesome and isolated self-entrepreneurs, who […]