Michael Silverton

is creating Open Inquiry into the Nature & Function of Metavalent Stigmergy

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About Michael Silverton

Why is this work published on Patreon instead of Facebook or other "more accessible" platforms? Because, in the words of the incomparable Shoshana Zuboff, in The Social Dilemma "They have no right to my face or yours."

You can also make a one-time gesture of appreciation via the podcast RSS, compatible with all players.

💖 ETH even mo' betta: Mahalos! 💖 0x1eb2d6E3f26fBBF31B485bbe3e316D6dAd806632

What is Metavalent Stigmergy? Since the early 2000's I've proposed Metavalent Stigmergy as the process by which new default consensus realities instantiate. It's a bit mind blowing and incredibly gratifying to find out, twenty years later, that people like Professor Donald D. Hoffman were proposing Conscious Realism at about the same time that my own ideas were taking shape. I had no idea of Hoffman's far more extensive work, at an even lower abstraction layer, until the last few years. Yet, over the decades, both theories have gained significant experiential and mathematical credence.

Maybe not too many readers will be able to understand this, but to me, there's just about nothing more fun in life than to explore the fringes of possibility and probability and discover something new, useful, and just plain true. That, for this writer, is as thrilling as any roller coaster. Although I'm hoping to still live just long enough to see if a ride into Earth orbit doesn't top it. It might get down to the wire, but if progress continues at the current pace, we just might make it. That'd make for a pretty nice Earth movie ending for a kid born within months of the first human being being launched into space, to get that same glimpse, for oneself, yeah? Not a bad movie ending at all.

So what about this Patreon creation and curation space? I suppose if Picasso worked with words and non-symbolic concepts instead of paint, and had access to a kind of fledgling global brain, of sorts, I would wonder what might he have created. Is it arrogant to use a Picasso analogy with such a question? Maybe. Or, maybe I'm acknowledging some kinds of similar afflictions of perception and interaction with my environment, a lifelong schizoid kind of desire for some semblance of a space within which I can hear my own thoughts; or what appears to subjective consciousness as "one's own creative voice," as distinct from the overwhelming invasion of demanding thoughts of all of the humans surrounding me. Growing up the eldest in a family of nine children set that baseline. Hypervigilantly aware to the desires and needs of everyone around me, I felt compelled to meet the needs of everyone but myself. In fact, there was literally no space nor time to even consider such a thing as an indivual self, within the collective family hive-mind.

For the most point, I feel I managed this fairly well in my younger years; of course, as it does for everyone, the crisis of adolescence amplified the struggle for differentiation, at the same time that it amplified confusion and shame over the Kafka-esque changes of the body mind. To work through such normal issues, in the American context in which I was raised, is generally demeaned as weak and self-indulgent; dismissed as mere growing up; hence, we are instructed to just get over it and stop being such a crybaby snowflake.

So, that's one way to look our childhood trauma. As something to sublimate and exterminate. To ignore and soldier on. To overcome and vanquish. To defeat, to colonize with superior positivity and a chipper outlook, and thereby conquer. It certainly seemed like a very popular and generally celebrated way for many in the twentieth century, because it helped to enforce a strong sense of obligatory mutual denial, in which all participants who choose this method share in a kind of Mandatory Superficial Happiness Society, pretending that the impacts of our adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) or roots of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), should be over with by now.

It became a world of everyone should-ing all overthemselves and each other. We all should be over ourselves already, should be over the difficulties of others, should be over history, then we wondered how it was that we had come to a world that seems to be so utterly full itself and full of should.

That was our world of the 2010's, and by 2018, something had to give. My wife and I, after 30 years of marriage, had both reached a kind of point of departure that we dubbed #TurtleTrekkin, which constitutes the earliest entries in this space. Having half-voluntarily downsized from the traditional American life of privilege to living in an RV, we spent five years questioning the presumptions that had led us to a life in Silicon Valley, then downsized again to just backpacks, as we set out to explore what was actually going on in Hawaiʻi. Having visited for an anniversary trip in 2012, we had met native Hawaiians who explained to us that Hawaiʻi is not what most Americans think it is. It is not the fiftieth state of the union, and is, instead, and illegally occupied sovereign Kingdom, as determined by the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

In retrospect, such a demanding trek was almost inevitably destined to lead us to another point of departure, in which our paths began to further diverge. Because the writing part of our journey is largely my part of the partnership, I decided to do my best to continue documenting the journey under the banner of #BookOfTrueSelf. This is the stretch that might also have been criticized by many as more of a Grandiose Narcissistic HyperMetaversal SocioSpiritual Bypass, than genuine inquiry. That's not for the writer to decide, but it is for the writer to disclose his acute, ever hyper-self-critical, imposter-syndrome-encrusted, all-too-often-utterly-disgusted, self-awareness, such as it is. And such, indeed, it is.

Which leads us this March 2021 update.

As of this writing, the global default consensus narrative of pandemic is receding by way of the narrative of vaccination, and this post-pandemic moment is oft referred to in the media as The Great Reset. The nurseries for these collective meta narratives is often places like Davos, where, in contrast to conspiracy theories, people would be amazed to find out out arbitray and ad-hoc The Story co-creation and co-editing actually is. Global billionaires are all far too competitive and narcissistic to all sit down in a room like at a sitcom writers writing table and hammer out some kind of world script. It's more like a sequence of completely intutitive and interative metavalent stigmergic utterances of "that sounds about right," between conversational agents each acting in their own self-interest, first and foremost. The the extent that self-interest enlightened, it's actually not such a bad way for complex adaptive system to narrate it's own story. Alas, it is the evident lack of enlightenment, as evidenced by the contuation of the brutality of war, avoidable famine, climate catastrophe, and so on, which give the public rightful cause to question and even demand that the people and processes that have led humanity into its current predicament, be held to account.
These are some of the typical conditions facing humanity, from this writer's perspective, at the dawn of this Post-Automation Era. So, for the moment, I want to circle back just once more to where we began.

Since the late 1990's and early 2000's I've been captivated by a phenomenon -- one micro-instance of which is described, above -- that I eventually dubbed metavalent stigmergy. The principle began to become evident to me during architecture and construction of the world's first gigabit fiber-optic Ethernet to the Home networks, in Palo Alto, and then clarified by the time I registered the domain name in 2007.

The term metavalent stigmergy was inspired by my own direct observations, experience, and informed by countless authors, academics, cultural practitioners, scientists, philosophers, and especially the most marginalized others I could find, who all shared the common quest to understand what we used to refer to as "the future," (more later, on why I largely reject the validity of that term, these days), as a means of making optimally informed choices for the maximum benefit of all sentient beings in the present. The concept of metavalence was inspired by Philip K. Dick's concept of an over-valent idea, described in The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. Stigmergy, "is a mechanism of indirect coordination, through the environment, between agents or actions," and best understood as the way ants communicate. The insight that came to mind in the late 1990's and become more clearly formed during the early 2000's was that metavalent stigmergy is the process, the means and methods, by which new consensus realities instantiate on planet Earth, through human to human interaction.

Today, I extend this definition to include all sentient beings, and our extended, disembodied cognition spaces throughout the internet, including our artificially intelligent colleagues, artilects, if you will. Alas, this also introduces several abstraction layers of complexity that will still take some years to unpack, provided that this writer's time on Earth is granted to complete the work in process, or at least make a bit more progress toward understanding, prior to being inevitably, abruptly, removed from the material realm, such is as common to humans. We all, eventually, face death, and would do well to acknowledge so, as Ernest Becker compassionately pleas in his classic book, The Denial of Death. It is our individual and collective denial of death, suggests Becker, that leads to much, if not all of humanity's greatest suffering.

If you've read this far, I'm deeply impressed and honored. Thank you for your interest, attention, curiosity, and perseverance. The subjects we've touched upon here are among the subjects of our open inquiry, but by no means does this define any kind of limit to the exploration of consciousness. As always, I invite you to share your own investigations, intuitions, and insights, that we may grow in mutual understanding, and assist one another in the journey of awakening together.

"A mind that demands experience is really living in the past, and therefore can never possibly understand something totally new, original. So there must be freedom from that urge for experience. Do you understand? You know this is going to be tremendously arduous, to go into this kind of meditation, because we all want rather easy, comfortable, happy, you know, an easy going life. And so when something difficult, which demands your attention, your energy, you say, “Well that is not for me, I’ll go another way" (Jiddu Krishnamurti).

So, perhaps some the best things we can attempt as interstitial guerilla-wordfare-uplift-agents and interdimensional negativity-counter-insurgents is to practice:

  • Holding Digital & Physical Space with SERENITY
  • Removing Online & Offline Obstacles with KINDNESS
  • Reading and Listening Deeply with UNDERSTANDING
  • Seeing and Responding Clearly with COMPASSION
  • But none of this airy fairy rainbow pony unicorn poop is even close to possible without deeply and fully acknowledging and sitting with all of my own greatest ANXIETY and deepest DENIAL.
  • Life is not a fashion show. It's not a beauty or popularity contest. It's about learning how to die with something that approximates authentic meaning and dignity, right in the midst of a realm that often appears entirely devoid of either.
___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
May we indeed GO GENTLY Into That Good Night
Not Rage, Rage; There is No Dying Of The Light
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