Tomorrow’s World

“The future is our responsibility, but change will not take place until the majority lose confidence in their dictator’s and elected officials’ ability to solve problems. It will likely take an economic catastrophe resulting in enormous human suffering to bring about true social change.” – Jacque Fresco

Greetings Psychonauts!

The strange light of the future is the inspiration behind this month’s report. The future of the 21st century is by far deeply precarious, complex and inter-related and very often we have little way of ciphering the complexity. Along those lines I have constructed for you all this month a 13 sign tour through one area of future concern that will interdigitate into a comprehensive picture of what the future may hold for us all. Each sign has been given a particular area of concern that involves policy, economics, culture, and a plethora of other areas of human and natural concern. In order of the sings: Aries: Civil Rights, Taurus: Economics, Gemini: Cities, Cancer: Food Security, Leo: Energy, Virgo: Infrastructure, Scorpio: Public Health, Ophiuchus: Religion, Sagittarius: Governance, Capricorn: Climate Change, Aquarius: Technology, and Pisces: Sea-Level Rise and Globalism. Read on for a full exploration and links to further inquiries!

Aries: April 19th-May 13th: Contested Liberties

“Truly free people do not need to be told they are free.” – Jacque Fresco

The future of liberty is a deeply contested reality. The surveillance state is likely to become a heated political contest in the decades ahead, especially as tracking technologies become more invasive and prolific. There are technologies in the works that are being designed to read thoughts and could have applications in criminal investigations which present an ethical dilemma pf proportions that humanity has not had to contend with thus far in the 200,000 year arc of hominid social evolution. How much liberty can you have in a society where increasingly you are ceding your right to privacy? It will be an issue that will be settled by individuals and populations and given that they will largely be urban by 2050, cities will be in an interesting position to decide the next stage of political dialectics.

Cities could prove to be bastions of a radical new political engine and perhaps one that is far less about control as current governments are and more about leveraging the power of free and concerned people to effect much needed social change. It will mean that liberty has to be protected in such a scenario as it has implications for both global security a pre-requisite for unilateral cooperation needed in an age when problems can only be solved by a global response, as well as emerging technology which will likely upend many national governments and put challenges to Humanity we have never had to face. Cities are fast becoming the drivers of population concentration and as such the balance of power is shifting their direction. They are dynamic entities that catalyze and increase social evolution as social mixing occurs far more rapidly within them. The sheer numbers and powerful influence of cities could mean they become the incubators of future politics, and ultimately become “states” unto their own right. They could also set the stage for the next waves of social unrest necessary to spur social evolution, and it here we can borrow a page from Paris, one of the world’s dynamic cities, in which each year a general strike occurs that fans out into the rest of the nation like a wave and basically shuts the country down for a week. It is done in response to governmental policy which abuses the liberties of its citizens.

Popular revolt, basically a general strike demanding that contested freedoms are re-instated and made part of social design is the only antidote to a system that is undergoing increasing concentration into a proto-fascist corporatism. Science Fiction scenarios of company towns and control by private interests are increasingly looking a great deal less fictional and more realistic at least in the US one of the most privatized and capitalist nations on Earth. This is a particular issue for Aries as liberty is its most cherished values and the Ram also understands that a free society sometimes involves considerable struggle to keep it free. Aries has a pivotal role to play in a time when liberty is under assault in all corners. Whether it is the liberty to do as we please or the liberty to be protected from the excesses of others it is all being heavily contested. Aries is called to take up the banner and defend liberty from interests that are only beholden to the profit motive.

 

Taurus: May 14th– June 19th: Regeneration Economics

“To better understand a Resource Based Economy consider this: if all the money in the world suddenly disappeared, but topsoil, factories, and other resources were left intact, we could build anything we chose to build and fulfill any human need. It is not money that people need, but access to the necessities of life without having to appeal to a government bureaucracy or any other agency. In a Resource Based Economy money is irrelevant. What’s required are the resources and manufacturing and distribution of the products.  In a monetary system, purchasing power is not related to the capacity to produce goods and service. For example, in a recession there are computers in store windows and automobiles in car lots; but people do not have the purchasing power to buy them. The rules of the monetary system are obsolete and create needless strife, deprivation, and human suffering. In today’s culture of profit we do not grow foods based on demand, nor do we practice medicine solely to cure diseases. Industry’s major motivation is profit.”  – Jacque Fresco

Climate Change, over-consumption, population growth, mass automation and soaring inequality is a working laundry list if the elements that are putting pressure on western economies all across the world. They will also eventually present conundrums for non-western economies and a need to reorient development models to reflect vastly changed realities. Increasingly it is becoming plainly obvious that we cannot continue on the current trajectory or we will enter a period of endgame for human society on an unprecedented scale. Unlike past societal collapses there is no jungle to melt back into as the scale of society has become global, hence there is no option to allow for collapse as the scale is planetary, and the destruction would be total. These selective pressure put our species at an interesting crossroads as well as recognizing some hard realities. Namely we are collectively going to have to transcend Capitalism as there are structural problems with it that cannot be solved by adapting it to be more ecologically aware (the profit motive), it is akin to putting a bandage on a hemorrhaging artery. Ergo, along with this is the abandonment of the monetary system, along with addressing our greatest existential threat climate change. The ultimate objectives in question will involve relinquishing the monetary system and the end of currencies, adapting society to the decline and eventual termination of the Petroleum age, and the endgame of Capitalism.

There are a few stop-gap measures that can be considered here. First of course is crypto-currencies which are fast emerging as viable options alongside the idea of local currencies which allow depressed economic regions some room to move. To this effect they are emerging so fast that they are potentially destabilizing markets globally, they are untraceable and therefore untaxable and impossible to control and they work due to their anonymity. The other options include a Global Carbon Tax, which sends a strong economic signal to the system that fossil fuel production and consumption needs to be strongly curtailed and to boot could go towards funding the R & D to new energy alternatives. This also represents a radical departure from less stringent and ineffective cap and trade schemes which merely serve the interest of moneyed elites and corporations to continue their destructive practices. The next one will be a development model that favors dialing down consumption and focusing instead on how to live a good life beyond the need to collect material things which doesn’t lead us to happiness in any meaningful way. This will require a re-orientation in our cultural assumptions about what the good life is. Perhaps it will no longer be about owning a summer home, 2 cars, and all the latest in fashions instead it will emphasize the vibrancy of society, the enjoyment of local food, a sustainable planet, and a stable society that permits each individual to pursue their passions and contribute to the public domain. The third that facilitate the first two is to introduce the Universal Basic Income, with the ultimate aim of eliminating the monetary system and transitioning into a period of regenerative economics. The UBI alone will not do the trick it will have to come attached to suite of other social concerns the three most important of which are collective control of automation (currently it is being done largely by private interests), a reduction in the work week, and a dimunition of the work ethic.

Taurus you are given the unique evolutionary challenge of designing the future economy of humanity because you alone understand the supreme value of any given quanta. Further your profound appreciation of material reality means that you understand the value of the simple pleasures, of well-made and durable items, of a convivial society, and the leisure time to enjoy what it means to define the human experience. To really own this, you first have to start by re-orienting your own life towards these ends. In addition it falls to you to argue the value of these social transformations.

Gemini: June 20th-July 20th: The Rise of the City

 

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane JacobsThe Death and Life of Great American Cities

Cities are fast becoming the economic and social engines of life on Earth. For contrast consider that in the 19th Century nearly 70% of the population in the US worked in Agriculture, and as of 2015 this figure is now closer to 2%, all of this driven by the fact that the population has become predominately urban. In the 18th century urban dwellers made up only 3% of populations, by the 19th century the share had grown to 14%, as of 2007 the figure stood at 50%. It is projected that by 2050 the figure will be closer to 80% and possibly 90% when considering North American and Europe (these numbers are provided by the futurist website Quantumrun.com). Cities increasingly are becoming economic powerhouses as many financial transactions go from city to city instead of from nation to nation. Cities claim the lions-share of national budgets as they vie for infrastructure dollars and claim the bigger portions of population. Politically cities are picking up the slack in governance since the weakening of federal governments after the 2008 Great Recession. When all of these factors are combined with the fact that cities represent the most ecological way for humans to be organized (as they contain vast populations in smaller land tracts and reduce individual energy consumption), and the likelihood that they will be best able to adapt to the knock on effects of climate change, and the fact that more and more people are migrating to cities (a trend that is especially cogent in the developing world), the city is poised to become a proto-“state”.

The other function of cities is to act as incubators of culture by connecting diverse individuals, providing a mixing medium for DNA (and therefore a significant driver of biological evolution) and the emergence of new social forms including governance. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that cities could even eventually incubate the first stateless societies to emerge eventually based on autonomous neighborhood conglomerations working as distributed centers of power that make collective decisions on consensus, and then scales up into democratic councils which meet to make bigger decisions. Cities are further enhanced in their functioning by innovations in infrastructure and communication technologies which are fast turning cities into autonomous and intelligent entities able to utilize real-time data streams to determine the overall health and livability of cities. A final note on the importance of cities is that they help to free up vast tracts of land that could go to climate adaptation and to re-wilding efforts by creating vast migration corridors for animals and even ceding habitat back to natural regeneration, even more likely if cities begin to produce their own food in vertical farms.

Gemini as an air sign concerned with communication and the modern world translates to cities being a pertinent area of considerable interest. Namely the challenges of the urban experience are myriad and involve finding novel ways to unite people, solve salient social problems, utilize emerging technologies to maximize livability, encourage commerce which has a civilizing effect on populations and create diverse and vibrant social spaces. Increasingly the challenge will also be to reduce city carbon footprints and seamlessly integrate them into the surrounding ecological systems a challenge of which Gemini relishes and also has the capacity to address in a comprehensive way. At a personal level whether rural or urban Gemini is remembering how to interdigitate with the intertwined complexities of this urban century.

Cancer: July 21st-August 8th: Palindromic Repeats

 

“When it comes to taking genes from viruses and bacteria and putting them into plants, people say ‘Yuck! Why would scientists do that?’ Because sometimes it is the safest, cheapest and most effective technology to advance sustainable agriculture and enhance food security.” –Pamela Ronald, Plant Pathologist, University of California, Davis

Food Security is fast becoming one of the more contentious political contests of the 21st Century. Climate change is adding a new dimension to the debate, as increases in average global temperatures translate to loss of arable land and crop yield reductions in the double digits. The crisis in food production is potentially spurring innovative approaches one of course is vertical farming which is an indoor agriculture method that utilizes pesticide free aquaponics arranged in vertical stacks. The advantages to this approach is that it uses far less space, does not use arable land, and can make cities self-sufficient in their food production. What is great is that food can be grown in abandoned warehouses, skyscrapers, or even shipping containers and it is the definition of local, reducing transportation related carbon emissions. With the introduction of AI systems this form of farming could be entirely automated and made highly efficient.

Another more controversial avenue of food production is synthetic biology and genetic modification using horizontal gene transfer, a method of reproduction used by bacteria and viruses which bypasses the parent-offspring relationship (vertical gene transfer). The controversy comes from the fact the genes from other species can be inserted into plant genomes utilizing a technique called clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats (CRISPR). The controversy that has emerged is largely rhetorical and expressive of subjective discomforts that people have about the technology. To assuage fears it must be understood that this process occurs spontaneously in nature all the time. It has been observed in bacteria, viruses, and other prokaryotic organisms and in some cases it has also occurred in eukaryotic (organism like us) cell types. One study even observed it happening naturally in a sweet potato. Additionally this review discusses other instances of spontaneous horizontal gene transfer. One other concern has been the possible ecological effects in the sense of altered genomes crossing into wild type genomes. Stewart Brand in his 2008 book ‘Whole Earth Discipline’ clears up this controversy by discussing the fact that altered genomes often lack the robustness of wild type genomes which have been shaped by natural selection and so ultimately the altered ones are selected out of wild contexts within a few generations posing almost no threat to wild genomes. There are a plethora of other concerns the World Health Organization addresses here. This technology has explosive potential to contribute to food security, yet it is a double edged sword in that food corporations are using it in ways that maximize their bottom lines at the expense of its more altruistic uses.

Using biotechnology to feed starving people, ensure a truly sustainable agriculture and create food security is the appropriate use for these technologies. The uses for economic dominance on the other hand which represent the more nefarious uses of these novel technologies by food corporations is quite another issue altogether and represents a bastardization of a technology that is designed for ecological integration, and liberation from the negative results of human impacts on natural systems. This remains the one area that needs the most critical scrutiny and will demand a political response. These are technologies that belong squarely in the public realm as they are designed to serve the global commons, and it will be here that significant debate will need to occur. Corporations do not have the right to patent new life forms controlling access to them when populations around the world will be facing more constrained food supplies is criminal.

This issue is decidedly Cancerian in that it concerns the ways in which we are nurtured always a Cancerian province of influence. Cancer has to take an active tack here as this issue is something that will concern the life of everyone alive and yet to be born. It will be essential to begin the process of democratizing this technology and making sure the benefits of it are transferred to those who need the nourishment most, those that are among the worlds’ most vulnerable.

Leo: August 9th-September 15th: Prometheus Reactor

 “In a sense, the fossil fuels are a onetime gift that lifted us up from subsistence agriculture and eventually should lead us to a future based on renewable resources.” – Kenneth Deffeyes

The future of energy is decidedly the singular issue that could define the human project in the 21st century. There are intense selective pressures to move into a new era of energy production, one that is carbon neutral and reliant on non-petroleum sources, simply because if all petroleum reserves were to be utilized it would mean extinction for the human race and a significant portion of the life-forms on planet Earth. There are promising possibilities on the energy frontier and if they can be combined we may have by far the best possible energy mix which will ensure the continuation of complex societies with minimal to zero impact on the integrity of the ecological life support systems. Microgeneration and distributed networks of power generation, along with improvements in energy efficiency form the core approach of the idea of the Smart Grid. The new grid predicates itself on using information technologies to track true demands and move energy where it is needed most. Specifically distributed networks of energy mean than places of high demand can increasingly utilize local generation usually in cities to generate some of their energy needs and any overflow can go back into supply the central grid. On the ground it means that cities redesign their existing infrastructures to generate their own energy for instance graphene photovoltaic windows that can be used to harvest solar energy, piezoelectric street pavers that convert pedestrian motion into electricity, wind turbines on the leading edges of buildings, methane digesters in trash collection sites that convert decaying garbage into electricity by harvesting methane out-gassing, and even paint that can harvest solar energy. Additionally there is geothermal in seismically active areas of the world, tidal power for coastal cities, offshore wind farms, and solar arrays out in uninhabited deserts. While these renewable options are carbon neutral they cannot address the problem of baseload demand due to their variability, and some of the ecological impacts of large scale renewable installations. For this we may need to consider some highly controversial sources Nuclear being a salient option.

The word inspires fear in many and also invokes references to Fukushima and Chernobyl. These forms of generation represent the old technology of nuclear power and are a far cry away from some of the promising and emerging forms of nuclear generation (nuclear is also carbon-neutral). Potential designs include what are called Molten Salt Reactors fueled partially by a vast array of nuclear fuel types including nuclear waste. It works by utilizing salt mixed with nuclear fuel and due to salts’ higher melting point and capacity to expand when heated it makes for a reactor that is both meltdown proof and proliferation proof, largely the result of the fact that the reactor can run on fuels with an enrichment profile as low as 1.8% and it produces a fraction of the nuclear waste products that traditional fission reactors do. What’s more the waste currently interred in glass cases and buried for 100,000 years could be used in the power generation process potentially solving the nuclear waste problem. Another promising design is one that works on Sea Water by utilizing the uranium isotopes present in sea water. This design holds promise in solving the liquid fuels crisis as it can be scaled down in such a way to be utilized on various forms of vehicles. Another promising avenue are thorium salt reactors which are a type of MSR,  they use abundant thorium as their fuel sources. What’s more these types can be scaled down for easy shipping and can also be used in smaller devices like cars. Fusion remains the last great hope, granted it is unlikely to be feasible until closer to 2040, and there will be a need for stop gap measures in the meantime

Whatever the energy mix of the future turns out to be we cannot be afraid to discuss and experiment with all of the possibilities, especially controversial approaches which promise to be the most ecologically sensitive possibilities. Perhaps it is here that Leonine courage of conviction is called for and what’s more being the symbol of the Sun (itself a fusion reactor) that discussions of energy naturally fall under the purview of Leo. Whatever your views of future energy generation it falls to you to begin a nuanced

 

Virgo: September 16th– October 30th: Blueprint of Tomorrow

“Everything that everyone is afraid of has already happened: The fragility of capitalism, which we don’t want to admit; the loss of the empire of the United States; and American exceptionalism. In fact, American exceptionalism is that we are exceptionally backward in about fifteen different categories, from education to infrastructure.”– James Hillman

Infrastructure, it is the built environment that we all live in and few of us pay much attention to, and yet without the world would not be able to run at all and would quickly grind to a halt. The horrifying truth is that most of it is aging, outdated, vulnerable and becoming a public health threat, and increasingly much of it is driving the biggest existential threat we face Climate Change. Further the decline of our infrastructure is also leading to a decline in the quality of our lives. In light of this a completely new approach to the built environment will have to be pursued if Humanity wishes to live in complex societies in the centuries ahead. The single most important aspect of this change in approach will be to bring an ecological awareness to infrastructure planning that will help us mitigate and adapt to Climate Change and also allow technical civilization to seamlessly integrate into planetary cycles and be a force to maintain the ecosystem instead of being its singular threat.

A good place to start would be with cities. The urban environment is one that is increasingly becoming the predominate human habitat, and the trend towards urban humanity is accelerating such that by 2050 70% of the global population will call cities home and in North American and Europe it will be closer to 90%. Oddly, concentrating humans into dense urban conglomerations is the more ecologically sensitive option. Increasing human density into smaller spaces frees up more land that can be given back over to wilderness and land regeneration, as well as freeing up vast tracts of land to create wildlife corridors that prevent the intrusion of urban sprawl into the migration territories of various animal populations. The cities of tomorrow will likely also produce their own food as arable land will increasingly be given over to wilderness and left to regenerate, will be lost due to climate change or be no longer socially useful due population migration away from the urban periphery and more towards its core. Much of this will have to be facilitated by a move away from the dominance of the car and private ownership of transportation towards a more public option of vastly improved rail networks (even better if many of them can be put underground to allow the land above them to become wilderness, it is far less risky seismologically).

To power all of this new infrastructure that will radically reorient our relationship to planetary limits will have to be a new way of creating energy and electricity that is not heavily reliant on a central power grid and instead utilizes a distributed network of micro-generation. Cities will become their own power stations likely utilizing a energy mix of renewable sources which can be included into the plans of built environments. Imagine graphene coated windows capable of acting as solar power photovoltaics, wind turbines on the leading edges of buildings, methane harvesters which collect the outgassing of organic waste decay, piezoelectric panels in sidewalks which harvest energy by the kinetic motion of pedestrians walking over them, road paving that acts as solar cells, and even small thorium generators which can fit into a closet and create a carbon free energy. The city becomes self-reliant and self-powered without having to rely on a central grid based on dirty fuels that exacerbate Climate Change by spewing carbon pollution into the atmosphere. The cities can then harness wireless electricity distribution negating the need for disruptive and ugly transmission towers or miles of cable.

Finally the cities will likely also have to feed themselves, which could easily be done by vast vertical farms, entire skyscrapers devoted to producing nutritious and pesticide free food that feeds it occupants at rock bottom prices and eliminates the need for polluting transportation, as well as freeing up vast tracts of land towards a rewilding effort. Imagine a city that utilizes “waste” in all of its cycles of reproduction and production, it would behave with the optimization of a natural system which can reconfigure matter atom by atom wasting nothing in the process (Hyper-efficiency and zero waste) The emphasis will be on density and avoiding the urban sprawl that was enabled by the dominant 60 years of car culture and moving towards a truly sustainable eco-technical visions. If cities are to endure it will truly only be the eco-cities that will survive.

Virgo is given this responsibility as infrastructure represents the system that runs the world and this is very much a Virgoan concern. What’s more Virgo also interdigitates with the eco-system so the creation of an infrastructure that reflects and mimics the function of ecosystems throughout the planet and blends seamlessly into them. Personally there is much Virgo can do including putting pressure on policy-makers to address the political and planning schemes that will need to be implemented to make dense city living the norm. Virgo is the operating system of Humanity and understands all the interconnected realities, hence why they have an essential role in constructing the architecture of the future.

Libra: October 31st-November 22nd: Structural Equality

“We must stop constantly fighting for human rights and equal justice in an unjust system, and start building a society where equal rights are an integral part of the design.” – Jacque Fresco

Inequality remains one of our global civilizations primary concerns actions by both governments (largely beholden to private interests) and corporations are doing very little to address the issue and in most cases are exacerbating and making worse inequality. Regardless of the rhetoric you may hear coming from students at the London School of Economics, inequality over the last two hundred years has increased and shows no signs of reversing. Between 1988 the world’s absolute Gini co-efficient a measure of inequality which accounts for economic disparities, has gone from 0.57 to 0.72 in 2005 (Keeping in mind that a score of 1 is a completely unequal society, it seems the world is well on its way to that result if there is no radical departures waiting in the wings). The disparity is even worse when you compare the co-efficients between the developed and developing nations in terms of income per capita the gap between the richest and poorest nations becomes even more stark. In 1960, at the end of colonialism, the most developed nations were thirty three times richer than the least developed ones that is quite a contrast. However, looking at it from the vantage point of the year 2000 after neoliberal globalization had exhausted itself the gap was 134 times in difference.

Inequality is a problem that goes beyond measures of wealth it has consequences for a number of other areas, housing, food security, economic development, health, and most importantly environmental sustainability. Increasing inequality can exacerbate existing environmental problems as poverty spurs desperate people to rely on dwindling resources and it also fuels social unrest which can also have ecological consequences (war is singularly one of the most environmentally destructive human impacts next to over-consumption). A failure to address economic inequality could doom our species to being incapable of addressing our bigger ecological crises including climate change. The emphasis for a long time has been to develop other nations to western standards, this may prove to be even more disastrous and could worsen inequality. Instead there needs to be an emphasis on reducing overall consumption and a focus on living well instead of the cultural practice of collecting “stuff”. The emphasis must be on consuming less and living well. Failing this inequality will worsen and resource depletion will accelerate, quite literally to restructure society and respect human rights we need a new kind of economics and a new status quo. Libra this is your evolutionary task to be the architect of a truly fair and civil society that makes equality and human rights a fundamental underpinning of all social organization. It is a tall order but with your prowess at deliberation, negotiation and diplomacy you might just pull it off and not a moment too soon, things are in such precariousness that your skill set is in high demand.

Scorpio: November 23rd-November 29th: Civil Defense

“So we have a virus with no treatment protocol and no vaccine at this time.”
-Dr. Ellis Cheever, Contagion, 2011

Access is the next great public health debate as novel technologies evolve at a vertiginous clip, they will need to be made available to all who need and desire them and in a way that makes them easy and open to everyone. Vaccines in a trans-dermal patch which cost almost nothing to make don’t need refrigeration and can reach the most far flung places in the developing world to help those who are most vulnerable, and yet these patches could easily be priced beyond reach by the companies that produce them. Pharmaceuticals which are no longer produced in corporate owned factories but are grown in plants whose genomes have been altered using CRISPR so they naturally produce the drug compound in their plant material. The concern here is that corporations could own these genome patents as drug companies own drug patents now, restricting access by pricing them well beyond the reach of the average person who is most in need of them.

Access will be the next political frontier to bring collective power to bear to keep necessary technology in the hands of the commons and not concentrated into the hands of the privileged few who will cut off access. Access to these crucial technologies are the difference between life and death (something Scorpio easily understands). Access is essential to many public health projects including the zero-sero initiative which aims to reduce HIV sero-conversions to zero which would effectively end the HIV pandemic. Access to drugs is the necessary link here as it underpins the test and treat strategy, the controlling of viremia and as a prevention strategy for those whom existing strategies are not effective (there are limits to behavioral interventions).

A greater focus on shoring up the public health infrastructure will also be in order. During the 2014 Ebola outbreaks in West Africa the public health response was anemic and slow which allowed it to spill over into neighboring countries so quickly when it could have been contained much earlier. The World Health Organization (WHO) was hampered in its response through shortfalls in funding and having to reorient its mandates to support the desires of those private entities who donate to make up for funding shortfalls. To a great extent this will require a dialing back of organizations designed to serve the public being funded primarily by private holders which diffuses their effectiveness and prevents them from honoring their public mandates as they have to serve the private agendas of the parties that fund them. Preventing future outbreaks will require a globally coordinating pandemic surveillance and tracking system and one that respects the liberty of individuals and upholds their human rights. It will become more essential in the strange light of the future as Climate Change becomes the next major driver of outbreaks as it already is in some cases.

A Global Health tax could be applied in this way perhaps a 1% tax on airline tickets could do the trick and help to provide a public source of income to shore up existing health infrastructure especially in regions that are most vulnerable to pandemics and outbreaks. As it must be known that if it emerges in Kinshasa it can become global in only a matter of days as virus catches flights moving all around the global circulatory system. Public health will truly have to be made public again and not beholden to governmental or private interests but reoriented to serve the public and make the world a safer and freer place, ensuring that global mobility is made less risky, global security is essential to liberty and the continuation of the growth of ecological civilizations and addressing a significant existential threat.

Scorpio is given these crucial issues because it is the bearer of collective power and the capacity for invisible entities to have profound transforming effects. In a word Scorpio you have to tackle the problem of increasing corporate control of public life and struggle to place it back into the public domain where innovation can be most effective. You are well aware that corporations and governments will not do this as they have become indistinguishable from one another and their agendas share too much overlap. Instead you recognize that it will be the collective power of the masses who will have to engage this struggle and if it means a general global strike then so be it, the French can do it, so can we.

Ophiuchus: November 30th-December 17th: Immortality Engine

“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description.”-Albert Einstein

 An interesting paradox emerges when considering the future of religion on planet Earth. It seems that the world will be more religious not less so even with the significant demographic transition towards agnosticism and atheism in the West. What’s more in that much of that has been mis-categorized as that stance is far more nuanced than reported, namely that it is not more atheism or agnosticism being claimed but a great deal more not being officially affiliated with a religious tradition. When looking deeper into the dynamics one can tease out the fact that identifying as a “none” does not preclude the belief in unverifiable phenomenon. Among this group we still observe many who are spiritual and not religious, those that believe in reincarnation, UFO’s, Astrology and other subjective belief systems that are not empirical in nature. It seems that humans naturally are genetically primed by their earlier evolutionary mechanisms to belief in autonomous agencies even when they are not there, and to also desire being a part of a system larger than their own ego, this is my mind is one of the more profound and wondrous quirks our very plastic nature as it is the same impulse that inspires our altruism. It seems there is a biological basis for religious practice and that is not going away anytime soon. So what may be the face of religion in the strange light of the future?

By 2070 Islam will be the dominant world faith, and it could occur as soon as 2050, this in refutation of the increasing share of those not affiliated which seems to be a minor blip that will be far surpassed by the faithful. Here’s the caveat the Islam of today is likely to not be the Islam of tomorrow as it is likely to undergo a reformation much as other faiths have in their natural evolution. The face of God it seems is constantly mutating and this will not stop. What’s more is the possible rise of transhumanism a type of techno-religion that could define the parameters of future spiritual and technical ideas and could become integral to public policy as technology continues its vertiginous acceleration and evolves beyond our ability to comprehend it. It is likely the religions of the future will also fuse many elements together, ecological concern as environmental crises intensify (not to mention the exploding diversity of nature based religions), technological interfaces as information and data become more ubiquitous, and a cosmic perspective as our understanding of cosmology expands in precision and we become more cognizant of our cosmic origin, the most salient mutation along these lines could come from first contact with an extra-terrestrial intelligence.

So why all this exploration of the hyper-subjective realm of human cognition? It is because Ophiuchus is a natural shaman and the province of spirituality falls quite naturally into the capacities of the Snake-bearer. I also predict that Ophiuchus will have a great deal of influence on shaping the future of the religious imagination especially as the human diaspora into outer space commences and we contend with the mind-blowing possibility of shamanizing amongst the stars.

 

Sagittarius: December 18th-January 18th: Stateless Society

“We pledge allegiance to the Environment and All the world’s people. World Unification, working towards the common good for ALL human beings, with no-one being subservient to anyone else. Without any kind of social stratification whether it be technical elitism, or any other kind of elitism eradicated from the face of the Earth. The State does nothing in a Resource based economy…because there is NO State! The System we advocate is not perfect, it’s just a lot better…” – Jacque Fresco

The phenomenon of becoming ungovernable is catastrophic or utopian depending on the context and the particular vantage point of those doing the commenting. In the case of extreme and sudden sea-level rise it proves to be catastrophic because it is utterly destructive, causing mass migration and the inability to organize society in any coherent way, creating failed states and possibly bring an end to civilization. The alternative view is taken by what we be called the libertarian socialist vantage which states that complex societies are still possible without a need for central authority, social stratification or exploitative economics. It is the latter view that makes the most sense given the current ecological challenges the human species face. An exploitative economics has created the current eco-crisis and contains structural problems that cannot be resolved utilizing the models it posits and so we must ultimately abandon it for a new economic stratum. Never has this become more obvious than in the realm of governance, in which too many governments have become beholden to private and monetary interests at the sacrifice of public service which is its ultimate mandate. For evidence of this we need only look at the anemic progress that the world is making on addressing Climate Change the most pressing problem that is linked to all others as it will exacerbate all existing social tensions and lead to massive social unrest and ultimately social reorganization.

There are existing trends in the works that will largely upend how governance works and ultimately it will lead to a few surprising outcomes namely that governments will begin to shrink as more of their tasks are handed over to artificial intelligence and human collectives which are better equipped to determine true need. Automation is one of these trends that will increase the leisure time of most people and will force most governments to create compensatory systems to support a growing number of the permanently unemployed. A happy side effect of this trend is that many individuals will ultimately be freed to focus more on the social direction of their respective societies and will have far more time and passion to devote to social organizing than generations have in the past. This could ultimately lead to a lessening of the choke hold that corporations and governments have on populations currently. If we include the advances of artificial intelligence in managing financial, ecological, physical, and human parameters free of human prejudices, biases and economic assumptions we can see that government and corporations will become increasingly un-necessary in managing complex inter-related global dynamics.

This is where Sagittarius comes in at a personal level, governance and the higher uses of intelligence all fall under the purview of the Archer. Further, AI will need human programmers to set the initial conditions upon which it will ultimately evolve and we want to be sure that it does not become programmed to serve the narrow parameters of private interest but instead evolves along altruistic lines that serve the common benefit otherwise a technology designed to liberate us will enslave us instead and capitulate the existing stratifications we are laboring under. Sagittarius this will require a sea-change in every human value system across the board, we have to quite literally reprogram the DNA of civilization as we know it to reflect an emerging world whose contours we can only see dimly. Failing to alter our values will ultimately lead to the endgame for humanity, it is dire and we are in a state of emergency, and one Sagittarius is equipped to help the collective navigate through.

Capricorn: January 19th-February 15th: Climate Revolt

“Be realistic, demand the impossible”-Political sticker on a light-post

Capricorn naturally is granted the biggest possible existential threat Humanity currently faces. It makes sense given the province of influence that Capricorn contains. Capricorn is a deeply pragmatic personality and there is nothing more pragmatic than climate change. There are those who will say that it is not a practical matter, if existence and survival is not deeply pragmatic than we all must be deluding ourselves on what pragmatism actually is. Climate Change and addressing it is the most practical thing Capricorn can do. Social institutions including corporations and branches of government all fall under Capricorns purview.

As it stands governments and corporations refuse to do the right thing because they are weighed down by two problematic philosophical problems (let’s not forget the recent withdrawl of the second biggest carbon emitter in the world the U.S. from the Paris Accord, exposing the weaknesses of liberal democracy and realipolitik). Realpolitik which demands that change be made incrementally and in a pragmatic way that will ensure governments more interested in looking out for the bottom line will agree so an accord with non-binding targets to reduce carbon pollution (which essentially the Paris Agreement is and why James Hansen formerly of NASA basically called it out as useless policy). The second is the profit motive which is perhaps the single most structural fault of Capitalism which will ultimately bring about its demise.

The limits to growth and the advancing ecological destruction by anthropogenic climate change will ensure the extinction of this form of economy as will the advancing technologies that are feverishly developing which oddly enough are trending towards a more ecologically sensitive end as Science itself is beginning to abandon reductionism and course correcting toward a more organismic view of the Universe. It seems no matter where you look relationship is the ground of reality and that Science is finally realizing that could re-orient its focus from control of nature towards seamless integration with its processes and systems. There is a pragmatic hope in this realization. Perhaps with a new guiding philosophy we can really initiate the very things that will indeed actually address Climate Change.

As it stands James Hansen has suggested the best mechanism we have for this is the Carbon Tax, something that definitely falls under the Capricorn lexicon. Ultimately it will not be institutions that save us but popular revolt from the people themselves. This is the most pragmatic solution and the one Capricorn should ultimately work towards, and this comes down to organizing those people into a strategized resistance and it also requires collective solidarity. It will mean transcending the limits of a Social Justice ideology which does not go far enough and relies too heavily on the State to advance its aims and instead will require an ideology unmoored from the constraints of state control and its monopoly on violence. Capricorn has this evolutionary function creating the pragmatic politics of the future, and climate change is the singular most important issue in this lexicon, as it will define the 21st century and those that follow.

Aquarius: February 16th-March 11th: Technological Singularity “The political technology of the Industrial Age is no longer appropriate technology for the new civilization taking form around us. Our politics are obsolete. –Alvin Toffler, Futurist

 

Aquarius occupies an interesting axis in the zodiacal story arc. It is both the humanitarian technician and the ecologically minded anarchist. Aquarius is disabused of the illusions of ideological control over their own minds and because of it they can attain an autonomy that others cannot conceive. They see no legitimacy in the state or any economic hegemonies as they understand all societal forms to be immaterial constructs as ephemeral as eddies in a stream. Aquarius has seen the wiring under the board and would risk death than ever become enslaved again to any construct. Knowing that all constructs are impermanent and insubstantial they have a more effective basis to operate from. They understand intimately that the seeming certainty of the once ubiquitous “divine right of kings” is insubstantial and always subject to natural selection, and that the same applies to many of the modern world’s seemingly permanent fixtures (Capital, the State and Governments). Aquarius stares into the abyss and sees the Star Maker (G_ddess) staring back at it, the greatest technologist the Universe itself. This becomes the understanding that Aquarius will operate from.

Technology represents the extension of our minds into outer forms that can extend the reach of our imaginations into material reality. Technology has also had a major problem it has been used in ways that are degrading the integrity of the ecosystem that is the root of our existence. It is only within the last century that we have moved into new scientific arenas which are beginning to redefine how technology is utilized and moving from the destructive lexicon into a more appropriate technology based on efficiency, bio-mimicry and negation of entropy and waste (much how an eco-system operates). The problem with technology at the moment is it close association to Capital, a link that ironically technology may be on the verge of dissolving (if we so should desire for it to).

Technology will ultimately decouple from Capital either by necessity (ecological degradation will force it too or we risk extinction), or by revolt (people will demand that it work in concert with nature or they will revolt in response to feedback loops causing systemic instability). The increasing trend toward autonomous Artificial Intelligence could surpass human intelligence and freed from our constraints could contradict the profit motive that drives so many industrial societies and could hasten the move towards a post carbon world by eliminating the legitimacy of the State to manage things and could hijack the means of production and re-orient it toward a greater good or so goes the Aquarian dream eco-technic dream. This outcome which is one of the happier scenarios of friendly AI and Techno-Gaianism

The customizability of technology is the central apotheosis of the dawning Aquarian Age (which officially begins in the year 2597). Customized to which is the central question of the emerging aeon. If we use it to customize to individuals alone (which we likely will) it will not be enough to solve the salient ecological problems that technological evolution has created. However if we customize it to solve the problems we face we might just have a chance. It all comes down to the principles of appropriate uses. Nuclear technologies can be used to build weapons of mass destruction, they can also be used to power cities, and can be done in a way which generates no waste, is completely renewable (by harvesting uranium from sea water), is carbon neutral and cannot be weaponized or refined. It would solve a number of problems, climate pollution, proliferation and the energy crunch and would free humanity to solve other problems with a more socially defined origin (overpopulation, overconsumption and so on). The idea is to reduce waste in the system to zero and to ultilize every material available in an endless loop of recycling and reconfiguration which mimics how natural systems use every atom of matter in existence (the law of conservation of mass states that no new atoms can be created but they can be reconfigured into countless permutations). This is the evolutionary function of Aquarius to reorient technology away from its role in ecological destruction and towards the end of ecological regeneration, to turn Earth from a wasteland back into an Eden. Technology is not value neutral it represents the dominant ideas of the society that creates it, Aquarius understands this and so works towards new forms of society knowing it is the most effective way to reorient technology, it’s also laying the foundations for the architecture of tomorrow’s world.

Pisces: March 12th– April 18th: Borderless World

“If you really wish to put an end to war, poverty, hunger, territorial disputes, you must utilize all the world’s resources as the common heritage of all the world’s people. Anything less than that will remain with the same problems that you’ve had continuously for centuries.  Now you have to consider what I’m saying. The reason nations invade other nations is because of scarcity. When a few nations control most of the earth’s resources, you’ve got to have territorial disputes. No matter how many treaties you sign or laws you make. If you don’t declare all the earth’s resources as the common heritage of all the world’s people and bring all the separate nations together in one unified system, there is no solution other than that.  – Jacque Fresco

Pisces occupies an interesting paradox and so is given two interweaved political realities, in this case global integration and sea level rise, both with profound implications as they are connected in a feedback loop.

A study authored in 2015 by the former NASA climate scientist James Hansen, demonstrates that sea-level rise may be occurring on a much shorter time scale and at a unprecedented rate than previous models can account for. The recent observations are based on paleoclimate models about a particular feedback that occurs in Antarctica and the Greenland ice sheets.  It is this feedback mechanism that specifically threatens the possibility of multi-meter sea level rise within the 21st century, it is best described here. James Hansen has personally been quoted as saying (granted the study does not suggest this conclusion this is more a personal extrapolation):

“We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.”

The above of course has been rightfully contested and the contest is described best here from this article at ars technica.

Even with the controversy over these projections the bottom line remains that the world must aggressively address the threat of sea level rise and climate change to prevent the most catastrophic of outcomes lest we risk global unity and the long term sustainability and evolution of civilization (which we have not yet fully achieved). James Hansen has called for “a Human Tipping Point in essence a social revolution, as one of the most effective ways of combatting climate change.“ He is not the first as Naomi Klein has also suggested a need for societal revolt.

Regardless of how likely a multi-meter sea level rise is in this century are, with a comprehensive study indicating that a 2 degree Celsius increase could lock in 6 meters of sea level rise, or about 20 feet! Even the most conservative estimates held by the IPCC which project a less than 2 meter (6.4ft), any increase in sea level rise will prove to be very disruptive especially considering a significant portion of the global population lives within close proximity of a coastline and the increasingly urbanizing population of the world will swell the populations of coastal cities, especially in the developing world. Additionally, at least 20 of the world’s megacities are below the 6 meter line. It is a state of emergency that calls for emergency global cooperation, and in the words of James Hansen:

“There is no morally defensible excuse to delay phase out of fossil fuel emissions as rapidly as possible”.

This is the new policy imperative or it has to be, nature is forcing our hand to do this or risk witnessing the endgame of global integration, check on that drift towards equilibrium that would eventually lead to a phase out of war among humans. This is the biggest threat to global security which makes possible individual and collective liberty. Pisces, this is where you come in as you naturally see little distinction between people and cultures and see the areas of intersection and overlap in which a smoother integration can occur, while retaining the vibrant diversities of the world’s societies. For you the world is already borderless and global citizenship a default position, and it falls to you to understand the gravity of the crisis before us and suggest pathways towards this much needed cooperation. Increasingly it will not come from institutions many of which are beholden to interests that do not favor the public commons. Increasingly the solutions will be coming from people on the ground and it will be your creativity that you utilize to mobilize this message to the greatest amount of people to inspire action.

The future is shaping up to be a place of extreme contrasts no doubt. The promise of astounding developments, wrenching upheavals, and massive protean evolutions. What must never be lost sight of in all of it is that each one of us through countless small decisions and choices is the architect of the tomorrow we will experience, and it is here that we can feel a sense of empowerment that we are capable of shaping any number of futures, or as they say another world is possible!

I will see you all next month!

 

“The only hope for developing a new civilization is to accept responsibility for improving our lives through knowledge, understanding, and a deeper comprehension of humanity’s relationship to natural processes of evolution. Our future is determined by effort we put forth to achieve this transition.”  – Jacque Fresco

 

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