BONUS CREATIVE WEEK in Mexico with Pinchbeck, Davis, Gómez Mont, & Rushkoff


I will be speaking at Bonus Creative Week in Mexico City, on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2013, the last slot of the day, and apparently of the whole program (maybe due to my being a last minute addition to the cast).

Douglas Rushkoff and Erik Davis will be there too, and I just found out that I will be part of a discussion panel with these two cyber-giants, as well as Daniel Pinchbeck (who opens the program on the 8th) and Francisco Gómez Mont. The discussion will be on Nov 8th, day one, and about “Culture as an Operating System.”

I was really happy to be invited by my Pijama Surf amigos, especially since I always enjoy spending time in Mexico.

Here’s what I wrote for my presentation. I actually haven’t decided (or “received”!?) what I will be speaking about, since I want to get a feel of the place and people first. I also find that inspiration flows better when I am not overly prepared.

The Smallest Particle In Creation

What if you were infected by a pathogen that interfered with your ability to distinguish the real from the unreal?

To be cultured means to be infiltrated by external forces and turned into a host. Is that really what you want?

Could the End of Culture be a Good Thing?

Am I talking to you? You’re the only one here.

Culture is a viral infection that comes between the signal inside you and the world outside, that prevents the two from becoming one.

Culture is predicated on the reification, deification, and defecation of concepts. Like a virtual economy divorced from the gold standard—it’s only make-believe.

Authenticity is like raw gold in a crumbling economy: almost entirely unknown and seemingly redundant, the forgotten determinant of true value, the standard against which everything else is measured.

It is the smallest particle that cannot die, that is of lasting value.

17 thoughts on “BONUS CREATIVE WEEK in Mexico with Pinchbeck, Davis, Gómez Mont, & Rushkoff

  1. This is so wonderful! Could not happen to a more deserving, and hard-working writer/philosopher:-) There should be excellent intellectual chemistry and the perfect place for you to shine. I hope there will be a recording of your session, or a transcript, but if that is not possible, then please tell us all about it!

  2. “Culture as OS” – what a wonderful topic! What immediately strikes me is the role of virtualization.

    In case you are not familiar: I first came across it as a Mac user in the mid 90s PC business world, one way to overcome the problem was to buy “virtual PC” software to run on my Mac. The remarkable result was to see a Windows screen within my Mac desktop and then I could buy Word software and load it into this “virtual PC” and work with my clients’ documents. That PC/Mac problem has since been resolved, so can forget virtual PC now.

    But the company that made it possible has gone on to become very important in business computing. What used to happen was that every time you needed a new business function, rather than risk problems by loading it onto the existing system you would buy new software and buy a new computer to run it on. The result was thousands of computers all across the organisation, maybe each used for just a few hours each day. Nowadays instead you have a central datacentre containing a much smaller number of computers running all the time and containing thousands of “virtual machines”. If the marketing department now decides it needs to work with computer graphics, instead of buying and setting up a new Power Mac to run it on, it just buys the software and orders the datacentre to create a virtual Power Mac – and they are ready to go in record time.

    Sorry if that was familiar. My point is that you can have an overall culture like Western capitalism (the datacentre’s UNIX OS) and within it any number of virtual cultures: here is a fundamentalist religious community, there is a hippy commune, over there is Chinatown. People can be so into their local OS they forget that it is a virtual subculture.

    For example, Ben & Jerry create a real alternative business model and culture and think they can change the world. But their company gets bought up by some food giant and it merges back into the old culture. That feeds disillusionment, unless you recognise that the alternative OS software remains (albeit unused) in the minds of the survivors, like seeds lying dormant until or unless a new set of circumstances provides a fertile ground for the culture to be reborn in some new form.

    • Hi Lionel (aka Ramsey Dukes for those who didn’t spot the unique intelligence behind the lines)

      Thanks for inputting. I notice how my brain seems to stop working properly when I start reading about computer software and stuff. Then as soon as you start talking about culture, it switches on again!

      The idea of virtual cultures that unwittingly prop up (or provide novelty for) the dominant “Monoculture” I think echoes William Sims Bainbridge’s work on audience cults, such as UFO, spiritual, and conspiracy culture (and fan bases such as Trekkies), and how Capitalist Culture “mines” them for resources.

      Culture itself can’t create because it’s a viral form, so it needs a host to exist. On the other hand, culture-infected hosts are “possessed” by culture, and so they can’t create either, but only recycle the same basic elements that make up the culture. So what’s needed for novelty is visionary types to bring new ideas into the culture, and so permit it to keep growing and mutating, and so avoid entropy and collapse.

      That presents a problem for the visionary types (that’s you and I, no blushing necessary), in that, while we strive to subvert the culture that we live in and break its monolithic spell by finding ways to step outside it (our culture-infected minds), and to bring new values into our lives and the lives of others, our efforts are as likely to be used for the above end as they are to bring about any actual change. In fact, change at anything other than an inner level may be impossible for the reason just stated.

      Hence my own ongoing conflict: loving culture with a small “c” (movies, songs, books, etc) and wanting to add to the cultural pool while directing my efforts towards a mad attempt to break free of and finally subvert Culture, big “C.”

      This isn’t as simple as individual vs collective, because at the deepest inner level of the individual we find the true collective (the smallest particle in creation is the Spirit, or Soul Essence, which is Universal); while at the outer level, what appears to be a collective is really a Borg-like “thing” – the second smallest particle in creation, the pathogen of culture, with seven billion hosts and counting.

  3. Congratulations jason! Finally a place among the giants where you belong! I hope a recording is made available for mass consumption as well.

  4. Auticulture vs. Auto-culture. Glad to hear that you are bursting through the auto-culture lead-based glass ceiling to bring the silent wisdom of auticulture to the fore , and even more importantly (simultaneously) , to the rear.

    — Chris

  5. “Virtual Cultures” (for some reason I wanted to say Vultures, no real reasoning of course, just an association mostly to do with same sound precisely but the hard ‘V’ putting the teeth to the lips consonant at the start does give a sort of vicious connection interpretation. All for the fun of inkblot reading. Perhaps we do eat up our own tail(s) to reach the same old monopoly head of things. Absoring like amoebic dysentery. Discovering itself before burning up in the ‘stars’ in the brain firing up all that much of nothing left, then devour itself over and over again) but yes, Virtual Cultures propping up our singullar son-of-a-MONOCULTURE sounds to me preisely right on. I like that quote from authority. William Sime Bainbridge. Who I might google up if I am in a mood to be more enlightned then just get on to more important things. The MINING bit part of virtual cultures made available for profit. Giving reason for everything to be profit and sucking that entity dry generating a new ‘victim’ better left as nature than to be commodified. Fossils fueling lots of Industry and War progress. Next water, what breath of air is next? This ugly twist in folks, prompting them to promote virtual cultures, alongside an already” monoculture” of virtual cultures. What in the world are we to do? Punt. Likely they, these special cretins who look just like the rest of us, not know they be doing anything other than plain old smart marketing but yes. Everything for ‘them’ including small particles, to play off your words, is commodity.

    Culture itself can’t create because itself is a viral, a virus, you say, and needs a host to operate to create, is a bit of toughy to figure. Cursorily I’d say, culture is like a rock in a hard place can never distinguish itself as anything but itself which is in a hard place which in itself is but rock accumulated hard places and thus fake to begin with sinc rock is all but rock and nothing else to compare to thus defining it. As far as separating rock into parts to reach the truth of impenetrable essence. The mystery, perhaps, is illusion solidifying imagination. Imagination being delusion sourced from . . . connection to something or other. I cheat to cover for no answers. But it seems like within such a stucture of self immolation and rejuvenation that NOTHING but exhaust manifesting NOTHING but shit in that sense. The sense we be virus from the outset so we be virus in the end. But I suppose I got this all wrong.

    Visionary types, as you say, those are whom we need these days within such masque upon masque upon masque over the real face of our real face, the truth of our being. The absolute purity of being is the sake for itself. Purety itself without accumulating the vacuum cosmos encumbrances of disparity, perhaps is existence itself before it starts to accumulate itself which is ALL around, as NOTHING waiting to be observed?

    ” . . . to bring new ideas into the culture, and so permit it to keep growing and mutating, and so avoid entropy and collapse.” Yes. Where do these wisdom and out-of-the-entire SYSTEM, AS IT IS, folks come from? From the self inculturated mutating humanity evolving itself to accomodate the changing, if nothing and dangerous exponentials built in to our self perpetuating forever threatening survival? In order to survive it seems we must become that which is our survival which is our enemy as well. Uncanny the ultimate irony in the search for straight talk within a current “string theory” reason. Everything curlyqueing itself back over itself, paralleling starts to finishes. Or something.

    Now then, an admitted tangent but forefront mainstream, “entropy” and or thus “collapse”, seems to me relative current reactionary Republican modus operandi in fashion, dealing out unilateral and politic/power self interest repeats of wrong solutions to a problematic internal system about which we have no choice but to self perpetuate according to apparent irreversible momentum of System reproducing System so that we ‘survive’ in our current form. Yet unable to sustain the unsustainable from the git-go. Considering that the transformation neessary for Worlds to be BALANCED has no substantive basis or fuel to restart itself afresh according present theory of constant implosion exploding itself. Resurging the mess to begin with, but anew, again. If you catch my drift.

    I agree, as you say, “change at anything other than an inner level may be impossible for the reason just stated. Hence my own ongoing conflict: loving culture with a small “c” (movies, songs, books, etc) and wanting to add to the cultural pool while directing my efforts towards a mad attempt to break free of and finally subvert Culture, big “C.”” Yes, what a dilemma. The only resolution perhaps is to keep IT going, whatever may be ‘calling’, regardless how silly in the impenetrable scheme of things.

    If I am at all near a reasonable perception you seem to say that Soul Essence, first particle, smallest particle in creation, THAT is the SPIRIT. TRUE SPIRIT of . . . what, real first principle, first generation spark ‘realness’ of ‘real’ I presume. Moreover, before soul essence is soul essence perhaps. And you say that the .true collective” is absolute interior first particle while the outer level collective is a “BORG”, An accumulatio of second principles already false to pure essence, beginning pretend things from the real thing. A “second particle”, second generation, “the pathogen of culture, with seven billion hosts and counting.” Oh what adulterated fools we be. I suppose I’ll be sorry for this in the morning.

  6. Words convey much more than verbal meaning, being delivery devices for the pathogen of culture but also, potential for the smaller particle of SOUL, which i think is why the urge to communicate in a “no-sense makes sense” “autistic” fashion as above, appreciated, nothing to be sorry for, reading it gives new experience of words in that the rational mind doesn’t get the meat & potatoes of simple meaning it is used to and so is confounded, maybe also starved, or DISRUPTED, by the right-brain nonlinear rant, yet meaning is still conveyed, perhaps more so for not being restricted to the supposed officIal meaning of the WORDS> marshall MacLuhen rejected the idea that words had fiXed meanings, insisted rather that theIr meaning changed acc. to CONTEXT.


    what do you think?

  7. Sometimes a word can also hold a CHARGE that is distinct from meaning in the common sense of the word. The common sense I refer to is like a dictionary definition, something that CONNECTS it into the knowledge of the local culture. I use the word CHARGE for its analogy with electrostatic charge: you can rub a piece of plastic and build up an electrostatic charge, provided it is insulated (ie NOT CONNECTED) to earth. This trick is used by politicians and the media, and such cultures, when they take once meaningful words, detach them from their literal meaning and rub them against unpopular associations so they become negatively charged. (By detaching from meaning i mean that while they rub the word against unpopular contexts – eg “rumour has it there was a history of autism in the murderer’s family” – at the same time as refusing to address the precise and restricted medical meaning of “a history of autism”). Once the word has become CHARGED in this way, it can be dropped into headlines and deliver a SHOCK to the public.

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