Previously, Peter Hipwell at HCRC/Centre for Cognitive Science, University of
We have a GREEDY WONDER at what MORE might be SNATCHED from the
future, a possesive wonder that says we can have EVEN MORE CAKE and
a MACHINE that will EAT THE SURPLUS for us. It seems to have
been working out so far: we've got us a constant stream of MIRACLE
DEVICES that soon become BACKGROUND FURNITURE, and a continual
scratching of the hominid curiosity itch for ETERNAL RELIEF. We're
still itchy, twitchy and thoroughly bitchy, but one day there might
even be a pretty capsular wrapped-up-with-a-bow present from the
TECHNOLOGICIANS who tell us that EVEN that can be CURED.
Humanity is a race with ELASTIC TEETH: it CAN'T bite off more than it
MONEY can't buy LOVE. Machines can't buy THOUGHTFUL CONTENTMENT. But
as they get bigger and better, the RAVAGES they inflict on the world
and on people become vaster, more unforgiving, more
inhuman. Eventually the point will come when we realize that our
gadgets have created Universal Trashcinerator Lives; useless,
hopeless, terminal people living in a MORONIC INFERNO of MISAPPLIED
We know how WRONG such FUTUROLOGICAL PREDICTION turns out to be.
The astronavigator WILL NOT be calculating TRANS-GALACTIC trajectory
with slide rule: but perhaps that's EXACTLY what's wrong with us.
We can see that it SHOULD have been just like we thought it should
have been going to be. Things SHOULD have turned out for the best, or
the worst -- not THIS BEWILDERING MESS -- it wasn't MEANT to BE like
this. We were meant to have ROBOTIC SERVANTS and SHINY SILVER ROBES
and SEXUAL PARADISE and IMMORTALITY and the LEISURE SOCIETY, or we
should have gone EXTINCT in
1) a MASSIVE NUCLEAR CONFLAGRATION that left a new ASTEROID BELT
2) a descent into SQUALID CONFLICT between MEANINGLESS conglomerations
of people feeling HOSTILE for any reasons you care to name.
3) zombiefied TUBE SUCKING passive zero blipformation world
We SHOULD HAVE BEEN either ULTIMATELY GOOD OR BAD.
But we never were before. And we aren't now. And we won't be in the
future. Because the future is EXACTLY the same as now: off-balance
people in a shower of changes.
--Avaunt Garde: A Lifepattern Manifesto--
The ! of the novelties that await, the FRUITS of the future, the
intent gaze of the world upon itself as it BECOMES ELSE: a myopic
saccade, a hiccup of consciousness, a shade of fascination, a focus of
FUTUROLOGY. Every mode of CREATION or ANTICIPATION is a FUTUROLOGICAL
ACT, a NOW-NEXT-THING and a pointless skewing of the "progressive
trajectory" -- a trajectory as convoluted as that of the Peano curve, a
mathematical abstraction, a ONE DIMENSIONAL line that can ENTIRELY
FILL a TWO DIMENSIONAL space.
The light of CATACHRONISTIC RETROINTERPRETATION has already dawned!
Cheesy SCIENCE FICTION is the most glorious flowering of the
Futurological Art. It's mouth-wateringly quaint audacities, it's
enchanting, bewitching and thoroughly liberating elaboration of the
Absolute Futility of Extrapolation: it just couldn't be more WRONG.
These FROZEN ASPECTS of the present as reflected in the fictional
future provide a comforting NOSTALGIC GLOSS of which futurological
analysis of the moment is HARSHLY SHORN.
HOPE for and FAMILIARITY with Life on Planet Earth -- a desperate
coping strategy that unifies all human time, past, present, future,
parallel, into one GLORIOUS FIZZING BALL of self-delusion
MARS *WAS* COLONIZED BY COMMUNISTS
Manifestos are outdated. Can we SERIOUSLY demand REVOLUTIONARY
OVERTHROW OF ACCEPTED PRECEPTS? Let's face it -- REVOLUTION is
outdated. We know that any AMPUTATION of a dictated style just leads
to REGROWTH: some other dictated style is dictacted. And we're sick to
death of STYLE. We're sick to death of FASHION too. Well, OUR "we"
DON'T CARE if it's outdated. We DON'T CARE if this is
unfashionable. We DON'T EVEN CARE if we're dictating a new STYLE,
however UNSTYLISH that might be. No, we may be bogged down in a
QUAGMIRE of paradox about what we/"we" LIKE and DISLIKE, but that
isn't going to STOP us PREACHING the NEW-OLD *AESTHETICAL PALETTE* of
the AVAUNT-GARDE, the OVERINTELLECTUAL SPEWING of "we" people who like
our threats to be FAMILIAR threats, who want the PAST to become the
FUTURE, who want nothing more than to wallow in CATACHRONISTIC
RETROINTERPRETATION -- this IS a MANIFESTO, but we don't propose
ANY creative activity whatsoever. No, there's TOO MUCH in existence
already. We're not saying LESS IS MORE: we're saying that ALREADY
ENOUGH IS NOW.
TIME MUST STOP.
Only IGNORANCE may regard this as the bellowing of a confused
minority, a group of NOSTALGIC LUDDITES who tell you that we can
ONLY take a step forwards by taking two steps back. IGNORANCE will
continue to CREATE: concommitant APATHY will construct its VOID, a
HOLLOW SYMPTOMATIC CHASM indicative of the background assumption that
there WILL BE progress. BIG BUT: the process of creation-progress is a
deeply destructive one, a SKELETONIC DECAY FUNCTION that traces a
trajectory into the "UNKNOWN". PILES OF OBSOLETE "TRASH" SURROUND THE
HOLLOW SHELLS THAT *WE* HAVE BECOME.
"TRASH" is the TRUE "UNKNOWN": an ASTROLOGICAL CRYPTOGRAM assemblage
of FAUX-DINOSAUR SKELETONS.
The malaise of INDUSTRIDOLATRY strikes and we begin to dream of some
new DEVICES that will affect us some years hence. Slobbering panting
futurology. TOMORROW is a combination theme-park ride of whirligig
frantic optimism and queued-up doom-mongering: we have mounds of
extrapolation piled upon extrapolation, we have appreciative
prose-hymns to DEVICES that are based upon theories that DON'T EVEN
EXIST, but MIGHT one day. HOW PERFECT we WOULD BE if we ONLY had 15
more gizmoids... if we didn't age, if we learnt to think in new
patterns, if, if, if we could compute with cells, with light, with
QUANTUUM JIGGERY-POKERY, with tiny machines, with GIANT MACHINES, with
reproducing machines, with thinking machines, with SERVANT machines,
with a race of newts found in the South Seas by a druken old captain
who trains them to go pearl fishing and eventually makes the whole
financial structure of the world dependent on their slave
labour... sorry, must have been thinking of SOMETHING ELSE.
THE FUTURE IS ALREADY DEAD -- AND WE KILLED IT!
We are surrounded by the bewildering outcomes of Technological
Growth, but NO ONE understands more than a mere fraction of the
mathematical/scientific material that generates this PROGRESS. There
just isn't enough time. Much science overturns COMMON SENSE, creating
a new CRYSTALLINE SURREALISTIC VIEWPOINT, a mode of FROZEN GLANCING
that bogglingly slashes at our perceptions of the world we live
in. How many people understand any significant fraction of what we
have done in this one field alone? NO, call a HALT, DELVE BACKWARDS
and let THIS be the WAY FORWARD.
There is a VAST, WILD BEAUTY contained in the "everythingness" of the
"then", a beauty that is not apparent to those who DON'T BELIEVE THIS,
to those who have never stopped to THINK that they can't even read
every book that is published NOW, let alone adding those of the PAST.
TIME MUST STOP.
Everything snatched from the "PAST" is an archival trace of the
FAMILIARLY TRULY ALIEN, a complex indicator of the way things
WILL BE, it is the traces of EVERYTHING WE ARE, hopes and fears and
REAL ALIENS. The INCREASING REPLICABILITY of these complex "PAST"
structures is generating a casual contempt for MEANING: Bill Gates
wants to ENCODE all the "GREAT ART" into a DIGITAL PHANTASMS. Our
fantastic ability to produce TRANSLOCALITY of the INHERENTLY SINGULAR
has sounded a DEATH KNELL, a new view of the world that equates
POSSESSION of information with COMPREHENSION of that information, a
view that the NEWEST BIG GIMMICK, the INTERNET, encourages more than
any pervious GADGET.
It began with PRINTING PRESSES. Yet, still, there is an AUTHORITY to
the printed word, an authority based on the fact that the words have
been WEIGHED and found ADEQUATE to GENERATE INCOME by GREAT
JUDGES... while meanwhile, rivers of EVERYHTING pour between the
cracks. We only latch on to a few isolated fragments of consensus
The AVAUNT-GARDE must BREAK the "eyes front" position, must not
indulge in the transformational gimmickry of Neo-Romanticism or its
Counter-Twin, Post-Modernism. AVAUT-GARDE is a MODE of EXISTENCE, a
mode that notes there is ALREADY TOO MUCH STUFF for an individual to
understand; that therefore there is already -- effectively -- an
INFINITELY LARGE BODY of HISTORICAL CREATIONS to explore, as UNKNOWN
as the FUTURE and as UNPREDICTABLE and ALIEN.
STOP POSTING TO THIS NEWSGROUP NOW.
**** WEB SITE PLUG: http://www.cogsci.ed.ac.uk/~petehip/ZPKIntro.html ****