This is the pre-amble to my column Nothing New Under The Sun for Spirit and Flesh. The world is at an interesting place in time. There’s a lot of conflict, historic tensions, and paranoia. Populism is on the rise, and at the high-noon of the internet’s young life in the information age the world is suffering an epistemic crisis.
Tom Wolfe’s famous book The Right Stuff, successfully adapted into an Oscar winning film, is a story about a public mainstream fascinated by astronauts largely unaware of the more dangerous and sophisticated advancements being made toward breaking the sound barrier.
There is a similar dynamic happening in our world today. Our society is increasingly dependent on technology and organized technological systems, while remaining mostly oblivious to the nuance of scientific advancements and cybernetic infrastructure on which our future depends.
With more available distractions than ever before, our culture is beyond fractured. This is in part due to information’s proliferation, and in spite of it. The internet is like an open fistula, seemingly vulnerable to the infectious world of ideas.
In this cacophonous storm some fringes disturbingly fester, while others harmoniously synchronize. Different narratives ripple through our collective consciousness, polarizing some while pulling others together. What was considered mainstream is losing the strength of its signal. National and international identities are both calcifying and eroding as more individuals awaken to the potential of their glocal citizenship in our digital world economy.
Author of the Birdman-esque Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace said before regrettably killing himself, “the problem is I think that postmodernism, has to a large extent, run its course.” In my view this is true, and is partly what it means to be lying in the rubble of the post-truth age today. We have graduated from what Milan Kundera might call “The Festival of Insignificance” or “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”
Now more than ever, it is time to keep in mind our machines kill secrets, that privacy is becoming more of a luxury, and that sousvellience and decentralized systems threaten to erode future concentrations of what many consider ill sources of power and authority. The message is abundantly clear, we must adapt to survive together or pay the price. That’s before even mentioning the dawn of quantum computing, the development of artificial intelligence, and a robot economy.
For these reasons our national and international marketplace is being challenged by necessity to provide solutions to our shared histographic and epistemological uncertainties through conjectures and refutations. Ones that don’t solely rely on ad hominems or appeals to authority to equilibrate, but ones that depend on criticism, demonstrable falsity, critical thinking, and objectivity in the pursuit of truth as both virtuous and worthwhile. We must closely examine the pillars our reasonable faiths rest their piers on because I believe the statement “I don’t want to understand” is evil, and it is up to us to deal with that mindset.
DNA is a metaphor of our time. It communicates the idea our essence is reducible to unambiguous information. It’s a powerful notion about what composes identity, and so we hear references invoking it all the time. Past December, Land Rover launched a clever campaign boasting “Adventure. It’s in our DNA.” In education, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center advertises for new students with “Excellence. It’s in our DNA.” And Kendrick Lamar’s track “DNA” on his album Damn. memorably opens “I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA.“
In a misleading way, the DNA metaphor has challenged the religious concept of “soul” with the scientific one of “gene.” That’s an oversimplification, but it helps raise the question here, so what is the DNA of Spirit and Flesh?
Spirit and Flesh is for digital cosmopolitans who embrace culture as a pool of ideas. As a bastion, the culture of Spirit and Flesh is like an oyster. Tender at its core, it opens itself to an immense ocean of possible content, as nourishment, transmuting what might not seem to fit into beautiful pearls.
We are living through a shift age. Technology is progressing exponentially, and with the proliferation of internet culture, our world and old organizations are disrupting. As above, so below.
The DNA of Spirit and Flesh is a crystallizing unification, integrating information to luxuriate, enlighten, and uplift consciousness. Draped in art and fashion, it’s a zeitgeist magazine inspired by the Kemetic notion of oneness. Spirit and Flesh is a renaissance.
These are the reasons I am choosing Spirit and Flesh as a platform for myself because I share its DNA and vision. We must learn, unlearn, and relearn again. Acculturation depends on cultural appropriation. So in this context, we must think of the acculturate as our new accult.