Friday, August 14, 2009


It’s my favorite new term. I found it in a chat between programmers speaking about the effects of virtual reality’s influence on “meat space”. I like it for a number of reasons, the primary of which is its delineation of the threshold between being absorbed in ideating the potential of infinite possibilities in the mental, meditative, cyber space of the mind, and the singular, final realization resulting from action taken in material, “real” reality, meat space. You need only type “threshold” or “golden rule” into the blog search text block at the top of the page to find my previous posts to see how many times the concept comes up for me and what I feel about the existence of such a separation between thought and action; the interim where golden rule contemplation of ethical intent is required for harmony among humans.

This new slant on the threshold also suggests another pair of halves in my oft returned to theme of a species split. This time it’s between the entertained and the entertainers. Our culture is becoming defined by the amount of energy exerted by a service industry to supplant the energy required for the direct experience of nature so shunned by the served. There was a level of cultural depth not delved by the sifi blockbuster, Matrix: all the humans being milked for their energy were supposedly entrapped into such an existence. The tangent it suggested to me was the quite possible result of humans existing within western culture readily volunteering for the milking in return for being permanently entertained by electronic feed from only the most adrenalin soaked experiences continually being culled from wired sensory systems of humans (entertainers) being rewarded most for experiencing the most sensually entertaining activities in meat space. What a deal all around; meat space life as manna of porn heating cyber space up to room temperature.

The humans not wired at either end in such a future will be those who aren’t now — the indigenous cultures, to which many may repair by merely getting real about life on earth.

Jose Phillip Farmer’s series, Dayworld, described a world whose artificially boosted rate of reproduction was solved just as artificially as western culture seems destined always to try, by keeping dormant 6/7ths of the population 6/7ths of the time so that 1/7th of the population enjoys the world and its facilities one day per week in rotating occupation of meat space with, one supposes, no consciousness of the other six except how the day before left your house, did your job, etc. I imagine such people living seven times longer in a cultural world changing seven times faster would eventually dissolve like anything held too close to the heat.

No matter how we stack ‘em, the planet cannot sustain the population resulting from our insisting on artificially increasing food production and refusing to artificially limit the birth rate with contraception and incentives for smaller families. These are those interesting times the ancients supposedly cursed us with by telling fairy tales we had to close our eyes to believe. Meat space has more going on than any tale can nail. Just trimming off the fat is a lifetime activity.