Acceleration of Knowledge
Throughout history we hairless primates have been jumping higher, living longer, and getting smarter every century. From Thai stir-fry to Roman roads, knowledge doubled faster as it drifted West—till now it jumps each year! Space migration? Check. Intelligence increase through yoga, drugs, or machines? You bet. Genetic tinkering? It's coming. And indefinite lifespans? We're on the yellow brick road to divinity, to roam the stars forever, to boldly go where no ape has gone before. The future's so bright I gotta wear shades. Keep hope alive and party on!
In the interdisciplinary tradition of Buckminster Fuller’s work, Gregory Bateson’s Mind and Nature, and Fritjof Capra’s Tao of Physics, Metapatterns embraces both nature and culture, seeking out the grand-scale patterns that help explain the functioning of our universe. Metapatterns begins with the archetypal patterns of space, both form-building and relational. Tyler Volk then turns to the arrows, breaks, and cycles that infuse the workings of time. With artful dexterity, he brings together many layers of comprehension, drawing on an astounding range of material from art, architecture, philosophy, mythology, biology, geometry, and the atmospheric and oceanographic sciences. Richly illustrating his metapatterns with a series of sophisticated collages prepared for this book, Volk offers an exciting new look at science and the imagination. As playful and intuitive as it is logical and explanatory, Metapatterns offers an enlightening view of the functional, universal form in space, processes in time, and concepts in mind.
The Overview Effect
Viewing the Earth from space has often prompted astronauts to report overwhelming
emotion and feelings of identification with humankind and the planet as a whole. In this
article, we explore this experience, known as the “overview effect.” We examine
astronaut accounts of the overview effect and suggest existing psychological constructs,
such as awe and self-transcendent experience, that might contribute to a psychological
understanding of this experience. We argue that the overview effect suggests directions
for future research on altered states of consciousness in new contexts, with potential
implications for better understanding well-being in isolated, confined, extreme (ICE)
environments such as space flight.
Published in the March 2016 issue of Psychology of Consciousness by the American Psychological Association.
Virtual Reality and Electronic Highs
Terence discusses virtual reality technology, which allows people to have immersive experiences in digital worlds. He describes the state of VR in the 1990s and speculates on its future implications, both positive and negative. He reflects on how VR could lead to new forms of communication and imagination, but also trivial entertainment. If used thoughtfully, he concludes, VR holds tremendous transformative potential. Published in the Winter 1990 issue of Magical Blend.