We have to pay people for the work done on their behalf by machinery, because otherwise the manufacturer won’t be able to move the goods off the shelf. Now, that seems an outrageous idea, frankly in disaccord with the Protestant ethic. “You mean give people money? Where’s the money going to come from?” Well, money never did come from anywhere. It’s like asking: where do inches come from? It’s simply a question of realizing that technology was invented to save labor. That doesn’t mean in order to dismiss your employees, it means to let them have a vacation—in other words, a shorter workweek—and for you yourself, as the owner, less to do, so that you can go and gaze at the Moon or make love to your lady friend. Why not do it? Well, everybody feels guilty about it.

Alan Watts

On Commerce

Futurism

Futurism, also known as futurology, is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the study and forecasting of future possibilities and trends. It draws on insights and methodologies from various disciplines, including science, technology, sociology, economics, and philosophy, to explore how current developments might shape the future. Futurists analyze existing data, trends, and patterns to extrapolate potential scenarios and anticipate the implications of emerging technologies, societal changes, and environmental shifts. They employ a range of forecasting techniques, from quantitative modeling and trend analysis to qualitative scenario planning and speculative fiction, to explore alternative futures and identify strategies for adaptation and innovation.

Futurism serves as a valuable tool for individuals, organizations, and policymakers seeking to anticipate and prepare for future challenges and opportunities. By identifying potential risks and opportunities, futurists help decision-makers develop proactive strategies to navigate uncertain futures and mitigate potential threats. Additionally, futurism fosters critical thinking about the long-term impacts of present-day decisions and actions, encouraging individuals and societies to consider the ethical, social, and environmental implications of their choices. Ultimately, futurism aims to empower individuals and societies to shape their futures intentionally, fostering resilience, innovation, and sustainability in the face of rapid change and uncertainty.

Documents

Terence McKenna   (1993)

A Weekend with Terence McKenna

“Healing the inner elf through trance, dance, and diet”—the session for true McKenna enthusiasts: twelve hours with the bard himself, in which he touches upon practically all of his trademark topics.

Robert Anton Wilson   (1986)

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!

Daniel Schmachtenberger and Nate Hagens   (2023)

Artificial Intelligence and the Superorganism

Daniel Schmachtenberger and Nate Hagens discuss a surprisingly overlooked risk to our global systems and planetary stability: artificial intelligence. Through a systems perspective, Daniel and Nate piece together the biophysical history that has led humans to this point, heading towards (and beyond) numerous planetary boundaries, and facing geopolitical risks all with existential consequences. How does artificial intelligence not only add to these risks, but accelerate the entire dynamic of the metacrisis? What is the role of intelligence versus wisdom on our current global pathway, and can we change course? Does artificial intelligence have a role to play in creating a more stable system, or will it be the tipping point that drives our current one out of control?

Cadell Last   (2015)

Big Historical Foundations for Deep Future Speculations

Cosmic Evolution, Atechnogenesis, and Technocultural Civilization

Big historians are attempting to construct a general holistic narrative of human origins enabling an approach to studying the emergence of complexity, the relation between evolutionary processes, and the modern context of human experience and actions. In this paper Cadell Last attempts to explore the past and future of cosmic evolution within a big historical foundation characterized by physical, biological, and cultural eras of change. From this analysis he offers a model of the human future that includes an addition and/or reinterpretation of technological singularity theory with a new theory of biocultural evolution focused on the potential birth of technological life: the theory of atechnogenesis. Furthermore, he explores the potential deep futures of technological life and extrapolates towards two hypothetical versions of an “Omega Civilization:” expansion and compression.

John von Neumann   (1955)

Can We Survive Technology?

John von Neumann discusses how rapidly accelerating technological progress is creating a crisis as human capabilities outgrow the limited size of the planet. He explores potential future technologies like nuclear energy, automation, and climate control, warning that while beneficial, they could cause global instability and conflict without proper governance. Von Neumann advocates flexibility, patience, and judgement to navigate this crisis rather than restraining progress itself.

Nikola Tesla   (1926)

Collier's Interview with Nikola Tesla

An interview conducted by John B. Kennedy and published in the January 30, 1926 issue of Collier's magazine.

Richard Buckminster Fuller and Kiyoshi Kuromiya   (1992)

Cosmography

A Posthumous Scenario for the Future of Humanity

An ambitious synthesis of Fuller’s lifetime of interdisciplinary work, spanning geometry, systems theory, design, and cosmology. He outlines synergetic principles underlying natural structures, sustainable architecture like geodesic domes, and humanity’s potential through whole systems thinking and technologies in equilibrium with the universe’s finite resources. Dense but visionary, it encapsulates Fuller’s goal of developing a “Cosmography”—a coordinated model for all knowledge.

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan   (1980)

The Persistence of Memory

Cosmos, Episode 11

The idea of intelligence is explored in the concepts of computers (using bits as their basic units of information), whales (in their songs and their disruptions by human activities), DNA, the human brain (the evolution of the brain stem, frontal lobes, neurons, cerebral hemispheres, and corpus callosum under the Triune Brain Model), and man-made structures for collective intelligence (cities, libraries, books, computers, and satellites). The episode ends with speculation on alien intelligence and the information conveyed on the Voyager Golden Record.

Terence McKenna   (1996)

Countdown Into Complexity

Briefing for a Descent Into Novelty

At his weekend workshop Terence led attendees on an intellectual odyssey traversing psychedelics, virtual reality, technology, culture, spirituality, and the evolution of novelty over time. Blending philosophy, futurology, and mysticism, he explored humanity's relationship with nature and machines, challenging participants to think critically, create freely, and keep an open mind. The goal was to expand consciousness and uncover deeper truths about existence.

Terence McKenna   (1999)

Culture and Ideology are not Your Friends

Delivered at the Whole Life Expo, Terence focuses on one of his favorite questions: what does it mean to be human in this cosmos?

Jonas Salk   (1975)

Determining our Future

Jonas Salk opened the 1975 Lindisfarne Association Conference with a talk proposing that humanity’s becoming conscious of the evolutionary process implies the ability to develop strategies to avoid catastrophe and determine the future.

Terence McKenna   (1998)

Dreaming Awake at the End of Time

Join Terence for an eclectic think along the deconstruction of the deepening worldwide weirdness. With his characteristic hope and humor, McKenna examined time and its mysteries, the nature of language, the techniques of ecstasy, high technology and virtual cyberspace, the role of hallucinogenic plants in shamanism and the evolution of human cultures, and the foundations of postmodern spirituality.

Elon Musk and Joe Rogan   (2018)

Human Civilization and AI

Musk and Rogan discuss the existential risk of uncontrolled artificial intelligence. They explore possibilities for regulation and oversight, the potential for human-AI symbiosis through brain-computer interfaces, and the philosophical implications of advanced AI surpassing human intelligence.

Cadell Last   (2015)

Human Metasystem Transition (HMST) Theory

This article proposes a theory of human evolution termed Human Metasystem Transition (HMST), suggesting that major transitions in human organization have been facilitated by the emergence of new information media and energy sources. It posits that the current convergence of the Internet and renewable energy could catalyze a fourth metasystem transition, leading to a global superorganism with compressed spatial and temporal dimensions of human interaction.

Terence McKenna   (1998)

In the Valley of Novelty

Journeying through multiple dimensions of psychedelic consciousness, Terence McKenna's visionary weekend workshop invites us on an entheogenic voyage to the frontiers of the mind and its imminent conquering of matter. Blending scientific insights with shamanic wisdom, McKenna argues that natural plant medicines like psilocybin and DMT provide portals into mystical realms and alien dimensions, catalyzing revelations about nature, reality, and the human psyche. He urges us to courageously explore these consciousness-expanding substances, seeking the gratuitous beauty and truths they unveil. For McKenna, the psychedelic experience holds secrets to our world and ourselves—if only we dare lift the veil.

Gregory Stock   (1993)

Metaman

The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism

In this visionary book, Gregory Stock gives us a new way of understanding our world and our future. He develops the provocative thesis that human society has become an immense living being: a global superorganism in which we humans, knitted together by our modern technology and communication, are like the cells in an animal's body. Drawing on impressive research, Stock shows this newly formed superorganism to be more than metaphor: it is an actual living creature, which he has named Metaman, meaning beyond and transcending humans.

Hans Moravec   (1990)

Mind Children

The Future of Robot and Human Intgelligence

Imagine attending a lecture at the turn of the twentieth century in which Orville Wright speculates about the future of transportation, or one in which Alexander Graham Bell envisages satellite communications and global data banks. Mind Children, written by an internationally renowned roboticist, offers a comparable experience: a mind-boggling glimpse of a world we may soon share with our artificial progeny. Filled with fresh ideas and insights, this book is one of the most engaging and controversial visions of the future ever written by a serious scholar.

Kevin Kelly   (2014)

Technium Unbound

What comes after the Internet? What is bigger than the web? What will produce more wealth than all the startups to date? The answer is a planetary superorganism comprised of 4 billion mobile phones, 80 quintillion transistor chips, a million miles of fiber optic cables, and 6 billion human minds all wired together. The whole thing acts like a single organism, with its own behavior and character—but at a scale we have little experience with. This is more than just a metaphor. Kevin Kelly takes the idea of a global superorganism seriously by describing what we know about it so far, how it is growing, where its boundaries are, and what it will mean for us as individuals and collectively.

Philip Brey   (2000)

Technology as Extension of Human Faculties

Marshall McLuhan, Ernst Kapp, and David Rothenberg have each written book-length studies developing theories of technology as an extension of bodily and mental faculties: tools act as prosthetics, amplifying the reach of arms or legs; computers extend memory, calculation, and other cognitive capacities. Philip Brey analyzes these extension theories and asks if the metaphor is valid. Do technologies truly stretch out innate human abilities, or is this mere rhetorical flair? Brey investigates whether there is a substantive sense in which gadgets and gizmos can be seen as extensions of natural human organs. As we increasingly integrate tech into our lives, addressing this question becomes pressing: where does the human end and the technical begin? Brey dives into this ambiguous intersection of person and product.

Peter Russell   (1983)

The Global Brain

Peter Russell’s award-winning video explores the idea that the Earth is an integrated, self-regulating living organism, and asks what function humanity might have for this planetary being. It suggests that we stand on the threshold of a major leap in evolution, as significant as the emergence of life itself, and the essence of this leap is inner spiritual evolution. Moreover, Russell maintains that it is only through such a shift in consciousness that we will be able to manage successfully the global crises now facing us.

Peter Russell   (1983)

The Global Brain

Speculations on the Evolutionary Leap to Planetary Consciousness

We've seen the power of the internet to connect people around the world in ways never before known. This remarkable book argues that the billions of messages and pieces of information flying back and forth are linking the minds of humanity together into a single, global brain: a brain with astonishing potential for the Earth. Peter Russell weaves together modern technology and ancient mysticism to present a startling vision of the world to come, where humanity is a fully conscious superorganism in an awakening universe. The human potential movement, he shows, is growing fast and influencing business, politics, and medicine.

Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder   (1967)

The Houseboat Summit

An extended conversation between Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder on the problem of whether to “drop out or take over,” conducted on Alan Watts’ houseboat in 1967.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1955)

The Phenomenon of Man

Visionary theologian and evolutionary theorist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin applied his whole life, his tremendous intellect, and his great spiritual faith to building a philosophy that would reconcile religion with the scientific theory of evolution. In this timeless book (whose original French title better translates to “The Human Phenomenon”), Teilhard argues that just as living organisms sprung from inorganic matter and evolved into ever more complex thinking beings, humans are evolving toward an “omega point”—defined by Teilhard as a convergence with the Divine.

Alan Watts   (1968)

USA 2000

Beginning with his prophecy that the United States of America will no longer exist in the year 2000, Alan introduces us to a possible utopia which he discerned in his vision of the future. Topics include automation, guaranteed universal incomes, the confusion of money with wealth, changing work ethics, and the grim necessity of our learning how to sensuously enjoy luxury if we want to avoid total destruction.