[Paleopsych] Original of Grim Meathook Future, ext'd
checker at panix.com
Mon Sep 26 23:54:30 UTC 2005
Full text of the Grim Meathook Future thing
[Thanks to Eugen for this.]
So a lot of people seem to be wanting to track this down. This was originally
posted on a private message board as a response to a post by Matt .Blackbelt.
Jones. This is what I originally wrote:
.What are the fictions of .the long now. (what is the relationship of the
long now and the long tail . does abundance and narrowcast-culture lead to the
feeling of a thousand million divergent futures - the future got wide, again).
I think the problem is that the future, maybe for the first time since WWII,
lies on the far side of an event horizon for us, because there are so many
futures possible. There.s the wetware future, the hardware future, the
transhumanist future, the post-rationalist (aka fundamentalist) future.
And then there.s the future where everything just sort of keeps going on the
way it has, with incremental changes, and technology is no longer the deciding
factor in things. You don.t need high tech to change the world; you need Semtex
and guns that were designed by a Russian soldier fifty-odd years ago.
Meanwhile, most of the people with any genuine opportunity or ability to effect
global change are too busy patting each other on the back at conventions and
blue-skying goofy social networking tools that are essentially useless to 95%
of the world.s population, who live within fifteen feet of everyone they.ve
ever known and have no need to track their fuck buddies with GPS systems.
(This, by the way, includes most Americans, quite honestly.)
You can.t blame them for this, because it.s fun and it.s a great way to travel
and get paid, but it doesn.t actually help solve any real problems, except the
problem of media theory grad students, which the rest of the world isn.t really
interested in solving.
Feeding poor people is useful tech, but it.s not very sexy and it won.t get you
on the cover of Wired. Talk about it too much and you sound like an earnest
hippie. So nobody wants to do that.
They want to make cell phones that can scan your personal measurements and send
them real-time to potential sex partners. Because, you know, the fucking
Japanese teenagers love it, and Japanese teenagers are clearly the smartest
people on the planet.
The upshot of all of this is that the Future gets divided; the cute, insulated
future that Joi Ito and Cory Doctorow and you and I inhabit, and the grim
meathook future that most of the world is facing, in which they watch their
squats and under-developed fields get turned into a giant game of Counterstrike
between crazy faith-ridden jihadist motherfuckers and crazy faith-ridden
American redneck motherfuckers, each doing their best to turn the entire world
into one type of fascist nightmare or another.
Of course, nobody really wants to talk about that future, because it.s
depressing and not fun and doesn.t have Fischerspooner doing the soundtrack. So
everybody pretends they don.t know what the future holds, when the unfortunate
fact is that . unless we start paying very serious attention . it holds what
the past holds: a great deal of extreme boredom punctuated by occasional horror
and the odd moment of grace.
I.m also working on a long essay expanding these ideas. Keep your eyes open for
September 22nd, 2005 at 1:41 pm Posted in General
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