i have a crush on the future…

today was a good day for pushing the emotional futuristic quadrant of my brain (if that’s an actual scientific part i don’t know where it is).

first my Friend’s favorite artist william kentridge (or one of the top 5) surprisingly has an exhibit at sf moma, so we went. The exhibit was breathtaking, brought tears to my eyes, made me gasp with delight and wonder, and feel like someone had seen my whole life story and turned it into a delicate mechanical puppet dance and set it to opera and south african funeral songs. dude is a south african artist who makes these videos by drawing in charcoal, filming the drawing, erasing and adjusting the drawing and filming it more. the effect of this erasing is that the image grows in fading layers upon itself, it imitates life, nothing is gone, only faded, leaving residue. he creates these intricate worlds, engulfs the viewer in an entire emotional process, like looking at the inside of the heart of apartheid, or love.

one collection was self portraits where his self seemed to live within a larger simpler drawing of a monster – the monster felt what he felt, or responded to him with rage.

another theme was processions of people with belongings on their backs and heads, or in a frozen dance, reminding me of another shadow puppet artist who focuses on slavery-era images of black people. dance and displacement.

in each piece, things are constantly transforming, moving into flight, away from gravity, beyond what we know to be true of the physical world. in a room with 7 or 8 projections of him creating, there is a video at the end in which a naked woman follows him around, touches him gently, but when he senses her, she disappears – it’s everything about love and longing and grief, that subtlety, ah.

i cannot express how much this experience pleased my mind.

also, one of the arias used in the puppet show that made me cry was sampled in the kelis song “Like You”, so that rediscovery was nice.

then we strolled across the yerba buena gardens to the imax theater for star trek. false advertising in effect – star trek wasn’t playing on the imax screen for 6 hours, so we went to a normal big ass screen. it was my second viewing and i was just as thrilled as i was the first time.

anyone who has read just about any post on here knows this already, but it never ceases to amaze me – i have the biggest crush on the future. i love the toys, and the possibility of space and other species. i love how large and unknown the universe is and how that makes our painfully slow emotional development on earth more bearable.

i’m not talking about the Actual future, but the amazing future as imagined in the past. the future as seen from the 60s and 70s is particularly delicious, because it has the best of that period of style against the wildest imaginings of what exists. even the amazing future as we are imagining it now – the best of technological advances with some sort of moral evolutions that make us not want to kill and consume everything ASAP.

the anticipation makes me blush, i want to write notes to the future – will i like you, check yes or no? i imagine new toys, capabilities, and norms, particularly around moving from one place to another, and organic, grown structures as opposed to dead and temporary ones.

and in terms of this movie, i like the boots. older spock’s coat?? i want it. beaming? i want some! i already do a lot of nonviolent empath here, i want the right outfit.

my Friend laughed hard at my obvious excitement, but the future is cooler than any composure we keep about this moment. this moment is exciting, and i am doing better work on being present, but the biggest challenge is that my heart is light years ahead of me, and sometimes i feel like i have a butterfly in my chest, mostly when deeply engaging with william gibson, octavia butler, samuel r delany, phlilip dick, or a really well-made sci-fi movie or show like battlestar or star trek. some days i feel more there than here.

walking out of the movie with the view of yerba buena gardens and the sf moma rising in the distance, i could see it everywhere, coming. its a great way to create, to look at the world now and think of what would make it more awesome.

ok, now to try and pull my brain back into here and now, there’s a lot to deal with.

“human evolution has ended”

i just read a blogworthy sentence in the december 2008 Harper’s findings, which is my favorite part of the magazine. it used to be harper’s index near the front, which – some months – would be the only page in the magazine i read. then i found the Findings on the back page, and my heart leapt. the conclusions, the minor benchmarks of science and math, the accumulation of research of the sort i would never do, as it takes years and degrees (and i have no intention of spending the former to get the latter).

at some point i realized that i couldn’t find any sources for the findings, no name of who collected the information, they could be made up and i would still believe. i like to imagine that collector in a trench coat, sidling up to secret laboratories with a notebook, flipping through files with a camera hidden in his/her watch, submitting each month’s findings as a bullet-pointed handwritten list.

often the findings give me hope, or at least an explanation for some illogical behavior i observed myself or other humans engaged in. but this one…:

“a prominent geneticist concluded that human evolution has ended.”

i didn’t think this was possible. evolution is the only exit strategy i believe in! the idea of being stuck with this many arms and this pattern of behavior is mindnumbing. if we cannot change at the gene level, then my whole language for learning and changing has to morph. is the gene level where we advance our capacity to emote? does compassionate behavior evolve over time? that is, do living creatures learn to be more compassionate, more accommodating?

our story since our nights in the caves has been one of establishing territory, and then spending our lives protecting or expanding that territory. but i thought that was a temporary calling. i thought at some point we would start to see earth as a only a starting point, a galactic womb, that we were Octavia Butler’s ‘earthseed’. and that we would have to evolve in certain ways in order to make it possible to go into the rest of the universe. alongside my dream for us to begin to see each other as fundamentally valuable (which would literally be like an On switch at the molecular level, jolting us out of the darkness of competitive mindless accrual), i’ve envisioned the addition of capabilities in our anatomy that make us opt in and out of gravity, or have an expanded ability to experience very high or very low temperatures, or a knowledge in our hearts of how to process the vast matter of space as if it’s breathable air.

the popular or experiential education models i engage in have always been grounded in the idea that reflecting and learning wasn’t just tied to things we already knew, but to learning in ways that expanded the knowledge of the collective, building off the wisdom of ancestors, towards the great discoveries of the future. if human evolution has ended, if this is it…

well it would account for that funny feeling i get sometimes, when it becomes apparent that a person or group of people is reverting to the lowest common denominator as a mode of bonding, i.e. racism that allows patriotism and the sense of belonging to a set of ideals (even if those ideals never manifest, i do write this as an american after all). or that other feeling that there is nothing new under the sun.

i have scraped myself out of that hole of meta-familiarity with the cycles of life by remembering that the internet came into existence in my parents’ lifetimes, and so i can at least be patient and creative because something i cannot possibly yet imagine will most likely change my world completely before i die. but assuming something is evolutionary because it is fast or easy or awesome might be my error…maybe the internet has only made us lazier, and less likely to evolve! what i have experienced as a different way to defy time and physical constraints in terms of communication has perhaps begun our process of devolving, our bones forgetting how to survive, our hands and spines shriveling into new shapes, running without purpose or distance, our memories and eyesight deteriorating, even our language reduced 2 tha shrtest pssble thng u cn txt.

this one line makes me rack my brain for evolution stories – we crawled out of the muck, went through an awkward monkey phase, and developed a capacity for reason instead of flying. birds share the bone structure of some small dinosaurs, and when certain frogs are left in a monosexual environment they develop a skill for immaculate conception (makin’ babies minus all the fun part). maybe our species just isn’t up against the wall of extinction yet.

perhaps its because we treat every sort of different human like a mistake, and it’s stunted our cellular creativity. perhaps our concepts of normal and beauty have convinced our genes we are not interested in evolving anymore.

the only way i can read this sentence as uplifting is if the “human” aspect is seen as a flaw, or the distinct characteristic of repeating mistakes – with mistakes being grand things like war, domination, nation building, jealousy. if we’re “only human, born to make mistakes,” then i can let it go. so human, as a distinct species, has reached its endpoint, and now the next evolution will be to shed the useless tendencies which only lead to our ultimate self-extinction. and a new species is set to emerge from us – enlightened in some way, bound by new rules. yes maybe we are the matter for something utterly different to come forth, butterfly style, a new word for a new DNA, cocooned in this moment after crawling around for years on 100 tired legs.

human could then be a term like limbic, a phase of development we move through, post reptilian, post-mammalian, carried in us but not nearly all of the brain, and we move to accessing 50, 60, 80% of our brains, the next species focused on completely different experiences.

like flying.

and pollination.

i can get with that.

on a much less geeky level, i took some friends to Butta tonight, the oakland convergence of lgbtqwoc. the level of grinding and popping and push-up bras and stud posturing and winding hips and role play and role reversal and spilled drinks is truly intoxicating, and for a few hours there is a completely merged space where class walls fade away, everyone in an undulating mass, massive butch, femme and everything-in-between-and-beyond smiles in all directions, beautiful gay men deferring in corners. whenever i am in this space, or another space categorized by a gender challenging, sexuality-embracing post-normality, i think that we are not done evolving, because we still think the world is a this-or-that world, black-or-white, male-or-female, us-or-them. its such an untruth, its such a vibrant gray world, all things can coexist in constant transformation. the biggest threat to our survival is not external, its the internal surrender of the knowledge that humans are complex, that all things physically and emotionally possible in all of humanity are possible in each human, given the proper accepting space.

if we were an accepting species, then we would not war with each other over difference. knowing the pain it is to Be all that you are, the lifelong journey of developing belief systems and survival skills and a tendency towards joy, we couldn’t begrudge another life, couldn’t take life, couldn’t judge so much. in an accepting world – even a temporary one – it becomes easy to see how beautiful everyone is, which unilaterally improves the experience of life.

i am not a geneticist, but i have experience of genes, and i have something in me still yearning for the next internal, psychological, spiritual evolution.

or maybe that’s just the feeling i get when i dance.

i cooked a lot of carrot soup today, as i hold a dated belief that it will help me regain my 8 year old 20/20 vision. its delicious.

tomorrow is MLK, Jr day, and i’ve so far seen over 20 different groups claim their work is the continuation of king’s ideas. was he a genius, or are we taking him out of context…after all, radical agape is hard to find anywhere right now. perhaps tomorrow i will write on that.

no promises, i promise.

i wish this country was better

this may be an obvious thing to say, but i wish this country was better. that’s in the context of wishing the whole human experiment was going much better.

i just finished two books – The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson, and Survivor, by Octavia Butler. Both left me sort of amazed at human potential and disappointed with human reality. at some point i will write out reviews of both of them here. or not. they were awesome, go read them, that’s my review.

as i was finishing those books, the crazy world upped the ante a notch in gaza and in oakland. two days ago i saw the video footage of a man, Oscar Grant, being shot in the back while laying face down by a BART police officer (who’d become a father a day or two before) here in oakland. i also watched tons of video footage of the aftermath of airstrikes and now ground strikes in Gaza, on Arab news stations in Dearborn and pieces forward to me by friends. lots of death, wounds, blood.

a friend says she thinks the BART popo mistakenly believed he was using a taser gun. he hasn’t given any statement saying what happened, or why. with gaza, the israeli government says it is acting in self-defense. no one takes blame for the fact that they are acting like we’re in a global game of Lord of the Flies.

the thing i like about this moment in time is the resurgence of pirates, real live pirates. its like thumbing a nose at the world…y’all want to regress to the basest behavior possible? then we will have some swashbuckling, and some redistribution of goods. so there!