Apr 13, 2023·edited Apr 13, 2023Liked by Jake Marquez and Maren Morgan

You wouldn't believe how timely this piece is for an essay I am working on myself about agriculture and food sovereignty here in Ireland. A Jungian might even say "syncronicity". Great work Maren 👌

I posted the following comment on Paul's new piece earlier, but after reading your essay it feels unbelievably pertinent to post it here too. (The Ahriman reference will make sense if you read his essay)


A Ukrainian exile, Nikolai Berdyaev, published words in 1933 that resonate here. In his book, The End of our Time, Berdyaev described the “triumph of the machine in the world” by which he meant that “mechanism would take the place of organism”. He saw how our colossal technical progress “enthroned the machine above human life” and how “our times have set up a Machine between Nature and Man.” After living through the Great War period and experiencing first-hand the Marxist Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, his sensitive feel for the spiritual crisis of atomization and disconnection underpinning the social and political turmoil of the time allowed him to recognize that the real chaos was only beginning; that much worse was yet to come. 1933 was, of course, only 6 years before the Second World War, and a dozen years before The Bomb.

Whatever Ahriman is, whether a mere useful conceptual vessel or an actual entity residing outside of the rational grasp, there is a timeliness to interwar writing of a more mystical bent like Berdyaev's that is deeply unsettling. Another major crisis would, after all, be the perfect means to further accelerate the Machine seperating Man and Nature. Perhaps a small nuclear war leading to a decade or so without Northern Hemishere summers? Such a horror show would quickly "usher" in the need for vast technological infrastructures even far beyond what we have today to produce lab grown 'meats' and indoor factory farms since there wouldn't be enough Sun for plant photosynthesis and temperatures would remain too cold. More "body" for Ahriman.

A cold Earth for the cold birth of a cold mirth. What a thought.

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Thank you so much for reading. I finally had a chance to read Paul's essay... I'm more than deeply unsettled, I feel like I'm staring down the barrel of something far more sinister than any of us can imagine.

I think you're quite right to bring in the agricultural element to this. Precision agriculture in general has the express goal of deploying AI technologies to help create more "efficient" agriculture. Precision fermentation is just one other aspect of that.

It makes me so nervous to think about all of this because it's almost like we don't even need a catastrophe to justify this transition: people just accept it. We saw the first percolations of people's propensity to not question this technology with that first wave of AI "art", and I have no doubt that will continue as people keep spreading the narrative of "efficiency" about this technology.

The possession that these researchers are under, compelled to "usher" this technology in, finds perfect parity in a dislocated, meaning-divorced, atomized, alienated public. The state of the culture is so vulnerable to this rise in AI. The inclusion of that essay from the 80's was particularly unnerving to me:

"In 1986, a computer scientist named David Black wrote a paper which tried to answer that question. The Computer and the Incarnation Ahriman predicted both the rise of the Internet and its takeover of our minds. Even in the mid-1980s, Black had noticed how hours spent on a computer were changing him. ‘I noticed that my thinking became more refined and exact,’ he wrote, ‘able to carry out logical analyses with facility, but at the same time more superficial and less tolerant of ambiguity or conflicting points of view.’ He might as well have been taking a bet on the state of discourse in the 2020s."

We've become so dislocated from what is real, tangible, and what makes sense through the infallible "logic" and "exactness" of this Gollem technology. It has created the conditions for us to be incapable of holding complexity, nuance, and even wielding our own intuition, and now it has the power to supply deep-fake propaganda to further the separation... It's almost like the battlefield not only transcends our ideas of left and right, it also, to some degree, might transcend divisions of top and bottom. The true division, in the event that AI becomes completely out of control, might be between knowing what is real and artificial, and that might be a sort of equalizer...

This is a very rambling response to your comment, but thank you so much for your engagement!

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Not rambling at all. Just sounds like you are feeling around in the dark for something solid like I am myself! These topics are mind warping and quite amorphous. Thanks a million for doing what ye do.


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