Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Interview: Generation Y: Real World Praise, Virtual Control

I am pleased today to interview Matthew Duhamel. He is a writer and animator who recently wrote an opinion piece (here) at the Website Kotaku. The piece is entitled: All My Life I Was Told I Was Special. It Was A Lie.

Matthew, thank you for doing an interview with Histories of Things to Come to follow up on your Kotaku piece. You spoke in general terms about your age group. Your background chimes with some of the experiences commonly associated with Millennials. Therefore, I’ll include some generational questions, even though obviously an individual perspective can’t pinpoint group attitudes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Reservoir Gods

Image Source: Armenian History.

I was thinking about my posts on the collapse of heroism in Postmodern and post-Postmodern fiction and cinema, especially the Revolving Door of Death, in which heroes in pop culture over the past 25 odd years have been killed off for thrills and then brought back to life. Peter Chung explored that cat-came-back trope with his animated character, Aeon Flux, around 1991. Chung used that trope to comment on its moral nihilism.

Each age in the Great Year brings new standards of heroism as the Precession turns.

In the Age of Aries, classical heroes were not immortal. Whether they were warriors or prophets, their deaths in myths and religious legends were a huge breaking point in the heroic story.

In the Age of Pisces, the classical hero became a religious saviour through sacrifice, transcendence and immortality. He could come back from the dead, which made the human hero must become divine.

In the Age of Aquarius, heroes can come back from the dead; they are immortals, like vampires or zombies, but they still bear the daily drudgery, weaknesses and flaws of real human life. Humans don't become gods, gods become humans.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quote of the Day: Neil Gaiman

Gaiman's character Tim Hunter in the Faerie Market © DC Comics. Image Source: Best Comics Quest!

The quote of the day comes from Neil Gaiman in the Books of Magic, Vol. 1 (Jan. 1990):
"Science is a way of talking about the universe in words that bind it to a common reality. Magic is a method of talking to the universe in words that it cannot ignore. The two are rarely compatible."
The Books of Magic are one of the sources from which J. K. Rowling likely lifted her original Harry Potter ideas. Gaiman's series was listed in 500 Essential Graphic Novels.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Going Post-Political in the Siberian Forest

Image Source: Vice.

It is hard to believe how many people subscribe to simplistic political explanations of the way the world works, when the world is plainly so messed up that it defies easy labels. That discrepancy between reality and the explanations which we (and the media) project onto reality inspires cognitive dissonance, moral confusion and misunderstandings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thank you

Modern Forest Villa at dusk, Artechnic Architects, Japan. Images Source: Architecture Buildings.

The blog passed 1 million hits today! Thank you very much to everyone who spends some time here and reads the posts at Histories of Things to Come. The research and writing are gifts in themselves, but readers who write in always enlighten me and expand the blog's content. I have also met some great fellow writers within the blogosphere, who are changing the world for the better. I hope you will continue to follow this blog's exploration of what it means to live through the turn of a Millennium.

Secrets of the Vitruvian Man

Vitruvius, Roman engineer and architect, wrote: "“No temple can be put together coherently unless it conforms exactly to the principle relating the members of a well-shaped man.”

Last year, Bloomberg reviewed a book by Toby Lester on the origins of the basic principles of classical architecture, which derived from the male body; in the ultimate act of anthropomorphizaton, these principles were later applied to cosmology:
In “Da Vinci’s Ghost,” the journalist Toby Lester peers closely at Leonardo’s “Vitruvian Man” -- its origins, its meaning and the circumstances of the artist who drew it.

It’s called “Vitruvian Man” because the idea for it came from “Ten Books on Architecture,” written by a Roman military engineer named Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. For the Romans, architecture meant proportion, which meant the body.

... Vitruvius wrote ...: “If a man were placed on his back with his hands and feet outspread, and the point of a compass put on his navel, both his fingers and his toes would be touched by the line of the circle going around him.”

Similarly, for a perfectly proportioned man with feet together and hands outspread (a posture that later would inevitably betoken the crucified Christ), “you would find the breadth the same as the height, just as in areas that have been squared with a set square.”

Over time, the notion of the body as the locus classicus of proportion became tied to the relationship between the body and the cosmos -- the microcosm and the macrocosm. The 12th-century mystic Hildegard of Bingen put it this way:

“The firmament, as it were, is man’s head; sun, moon and stars are as the eyes; air as the hearing; the winds are as smell; dew as taste; the sides of the world are as arms and as touch.”
The core geometric archetypes, the triangle, the circle, the square, were mapped onto the male body. Buildings conceived on these patterns symbolized the spiritual, mental and physical gifts of the ideal human male.

Although I have previously questioned the health of global societies which have for the past two thousand years relied upon male divinity as the measuring stick of civilization, it is also true that diminished masculinity is a cause for concern.

The post-World War II media, technological and communications revolutions have spawned a lot of cyber Cassanovas and deskchair quarterbacks. These not-men cultivate the anti-heroism of our age, who contradict everything to which Theodore Roosevelt referred in his famous 'Man in the Arena' speech at the Sorbonne in Paris on 23 September 1910:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
We, by contrast, live in a crumbling patriarchy whose points of reference are the sensitive vegetarian vampire or drone-assisted democracy. There is a world of difference between real masculine virtues and patriarchal domination based on masculine weakness.

Are men really becoming less manly? This development caught the attention of the bloggers at The Art of Manliness, who observe that testosterone levels have been falling in America over the past decades; in fact, this problem is happening worldwide.