Future Shock

In praise of hierarchy: A tale of the Uranus/Pluto square

In case you missed it, ever since Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, followed by Uranus entering Aries in 2010, these two planets were locked in a challenging aspect that inspired and motivated the change that we have seen between 2010 and 2017.  (You can catch up here if this is all new to you.)

I always find it interesting when the zeitgeist (defined: the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time) reflects for the mainstream thinker the planetary cycles that astrologers have been talking about and explaining in the context of planetary cycles.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by economist Niall Ferguson (may be behind a paywall) tells a part of the story of this planetary cycle:

Established, traditional order [Capricorn]  is under assault [Pluto] from freewheeling [Aries], networked disrupters [Uranus] as never before. But society craves centralized leadership ([Capricorn], too. …

Networks rule not only in the realm of business. In politics, too, party establishments and their machines have been displaced by crowdfunded campaigns and viral messaging. Money, once a monopoly of the state, is being challenged by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which require no central banks to manage them, only consensus algorithms.

But is all this wise? In all the excitement of the age of hyper-connection, have we perhaps forgotten why hierarchies came into existence in the first place? Do we perhaps overestimate what can be achieved by ungoverned networks—and underestimate the perils of a world without any legitimate hierarchical structure?

The answer is, of course going from one extreme (rigid hierarchical societal structures) to another (chaos and anarchy) is not a great idea.  Nature and human nature both tend to swing from one […]

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By |2018-01-07T18:45:55-05:00January 7th, 2018|Future Shock, Life|2 Comments

Pluto in Capricorn: The Death of Capitalism?

end of capitalismAstrologer Richard Nolle posted a link to this article on Facebook:

At the very moment of its ultimate triumph, capitalism will experience the most exquisite of deaths.

This is the belief of political adviser and author Jeremy Rifkin, who argues the current economic system has become so successful at lowering the costs of production that it has created the very conditions for the destruction of the traditional vertically integrated corporation.

Rifkin, who has advised the European Commission, the European Parliament and heads of state, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, says:

No one in their wildest imagination, including economists and business people, ever imagined the possibility of a technology revolution so extreme in its productivity that it could actually reduce marginal costs to near zero, making products nearly free, abundant and absolutely no longer subject to market forces.

With many manufacturing companies surviving only on razor thin margins, they will buckle under competition from small operators with virtually no fixed costs.

“We are seeing the final triumph of capitalism followed by its exit off the world stage and the entrance of the collaborative commons,” Rifkin predicts.

The creation of the collaborative commons

From the ashes of the current economic system, he believes, will emerge a radical new model powered by the extraordinary pace of innovation in energy, communication and transport.

“This is the first new economic system since the advent of capitalism and socialism in the early 19th century so it’s a remarkable historical event and it’s going to transform our way of life fundamentally over the coming years,” Rifkin says. “It already is; we just haven’t framed it.”

Some sectors, such as music and media, have already been disrupted as a result of the internet’s […]

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By |2020-07-31T09:49:26-04:00July 12th, 2016|Future Shock, Money and markets|7 Comments

Robotics and the Aquarian Age

age of aquariusNo one really knows exactly when the Age of Aquarius begins.  The Great Year, the period during which the sun rotates back through the twelve zodiacal signs at the Equinoxes, is about 26,000 years which makes each zodiac age about 2150 years but when you’re talking about numbers this big there is significant room for error.

During the 1960s the Broadway play Hair pushed the idea of the Age of Aquarius into the mainstream as some sort of golden age of love and understanding but if you know anything about Aquarius you’ll know it’s not exactly that simple.  Aquarius has nothing to do with flower power. Aquarius is an air sign – it’s domain is the realm of reason and detachment, not love and peace.  Aquarius has two rulers: its traditional ruler is Saturn which can be cold and goal-driven.  Its modern ruler, Uranus, is the disrupter – under Uranus fairness and equality becomes more important than individual relationships or needs.  Aquarius governs technology, astrology, science and revolution.

While signs of the Age of Aquarius have been on the rise (computer technology, an increase in awareness of LGBT issues, revolutionary fervor throughout the world) it has really ramped up since Uranus has been in Aries, the sign of individual expression and motivation.

The growing field of robotics is an indicator of how close we are getting to the Aquarian Age.  Take a look at Sophia, the new humanoid robot from Hanson Labs:

A “chatbot” from Microsoft called Tay flamed out in Twitter wars in less than a day as exposure to the deadly Twitter environment led to seriously antisocial behavior.

The reality of technology in general, and robotics in particular, replacing jobs is now upon us, although Mercedes Benz recently […]

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By |2022-04-15T09:18:29-04:00March 28th, 2016|Age of Aquarius, Future Shock|1 Comment

Pluto in Aquarius: The Singularity arrives on schedule

pluto in aquariusThis article in Business Insider caught my eye:

We will reach the singularity in the timeframe most experts predict. From that point on you’re going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines.”

These are the words of Louis Del Monte, physicist, entrepreneur, and author of “The Artificial Intelligence Revolution.” Del Monte spoke to us over the phone about his thoughts surrounding artificial intelligence and the singularity, an indeterminate point in the future when machine intelligence will outmatch not only your own intelligence, but the world’s combined human intelligence too.

The average estimate for when this will happen is 2040, though Del Monte says it might be as late as 2045. …

“By the end of this century,” he continued, “most of the human race will have become cyborgs [part human, part tech or machine]. The allure will be immortality. Machines will make breakthroughs in medical technology, most of the human race will have more leisure time, and we’ll think we’ve never had it better. The concern I’m raising is that the machines will view us as an unpredictable and dangerous species.”

Del Monte believes machines will become self-conscious and have the capabilities to protect themselves. They “might view us the same way we view harmful insects.” Humans are a species that “is unstable, creates wars, has weapons to wipe out the world twice over, and makes computer viruses.” Hardly an appealing roommate.

Singularity can be defined as “ a point where a measured variable reaches unmeasurable or infinite value.”  The technological singularity has been discussed as the point at which technological (artificial) intelligence exceeds human intelligence.  

This concept is nothing new – it has […]

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By |2022-04-15T09:18:45-04:00July 9th, 2014|Future Shock, Science|13 Comments

The Fifth Sacred Thing and upcoming Water Wars

10491447_sIn 1993 Starhawk, an early spokesperson for the neo-pagan movement, wrote a book called The Fifth Sacred Thing.  In this post-apocalyptic novel, set in San Francisco, a theocratic dictatorship has seized all of the assets of the earth: air, food and water, and is the sole source of pharmaceutical antidotes for the ecological poisons they themselves create.  The Fifth Sacred Thing is Spirit, after the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

It is a scenario that is not so far-fetched today, but in 1993 a world such as this seemed far in the distant future.  But in the 20 years since then, and in the 20 years hence (the story is set in 2048), Pluto will have traveled through fire (Sagittarius, 1995-2008), Capricorn (2008-2023), Aquarius (2023-2043) and Pisces (2043-2066).  And the world’s population will have increased by 2.5 billion, most of these in the poorest countries with the fewest resources.

Pluto’s journey through Sagittarius (expansion and foreign cultures) globalized the planet in a way no one could have imagined previously.  Pluto is now in Capricorn (capitalism and society) where it is breaking down the structures upon which humanity has relied for hundreds of years.  When Pluto moves through Aquarius (technology and revolution) we are likely to see the kind of technocracy and rule by machines that have been imagined by science fiction writers for years. And Pluto in Pisces (ocean) is likely to bring the water wars.

Humans can live without food for a while, but we cannot live without water.  When water becomes scarcer than gold, it becomes a precious commodity.  Wars over water are nothing new, especially in the southwestern United States where water was diverted from rivers to fertilize the barren deserts of California and […]

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By |2013-09-06T07:30:49-04:00September 6th, 2013|Ecology, Future Shock|0 Comments
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