Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Mac Tonnies

"I keep returning to John Mack's notion of "reified metaphor." The "aliens" may not be what they seem. Of course, to most, they don't seem like anything... except perhaps a useful portal into aberrant psychology or pop-culture run riot."

This was how Carl Sagan left matters in "The Demon-Haunted World," grossly misrepresenting Jacques Vallee's "multiverse" thesis, which posits that we are somehow involved with an unseen intelligence that camouflages itself to fit the reigning zeitgeist. According to Vallee, both "aliens" and "faeries" are equally misleading labels for something that can't be properly addressed using a single-universe model.

Are our perceptions so fragile that our brains are forced to manufacture new and better diguises for our visitors? Is the "visiting" intelligence (given that it exists) responsible for its apparent cultural camouflage, or do we effectively hide its true nature from ourselves, as reflexively as we might swat at a bothersome fly?

Mack's concept of "reified metaphor" might help to excavate something real from the desert of illusion. Perhaps human consciousness exists on several levels at once. "Reality" -- the world we think we inhabit -- might represent a relatively low level of awareness, a crude virtual reality designed to keep us from over-taxing our seemingly meat-based brains."

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Posthuman Blues is the official blog of Mac Tonnies - Sunday, July 18, 2004