Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Impossibility of Immortality

My last post was about the inevitability of death & perspectives on our mortality.

Despite our brief flash of existence in this world, mankind has always strove to achieve immortality, or at least a more enduring legacy. Part of the reason is the fear of what happens when our life force leaves the body. Another motivation is the desire to connect with other people in a different time & place.

I see the situation both ways. On the one hand, it's human nature to want to preserve some aspect of ourselves beyond our physical lives. On the other hand... a billion years into the future, it's possible that absolutely no trace of humanity will remain anyway!

The idea of our existence being completely devoid of inherent "purpose" or "destiny" is terrifying to most people. It's incomprehensible to the ego-driven mind that the entire enterprise of human civilization could one day... vanish.

The Buddhist are wise to emphasize non-attachment to the world, because it is a fundamental truth that "All Composite Phenomena Are Impermanent".

I think the creations with the best chance of surviving the ages are sculptures carved into granite mountains, like Mt. Rushmore, Georgia's Stone Mountain, or the Crazy Horse Memorial. I can imagine post-apocalyptic humans coming across these monuments in the far future, and wondering if these were carvings of leaders, mythic heroes, or perhaps even gods.

Here are a few proposed projects that seek to defy impermanence & extend human presence into the (relatively) far-off future:

• The "10,000 Year Clock" is an interesting attempt to defy our impermanence. It is a massive, yet precise timekeeping system that will be enclosed inside a mountain! It is being designed to operate with minimal human intervention for many millenia. The only major human creations that have lasted anywhere near that long are Stonehenge & The Great Pyramid. (These structures were also primarily designed to encode knowledge of time.) 10,000 years is a mind-boggling time span, however, it's only a cosmic blink of the eye!

The Long Now:

As an engineering feat, this clock will be one of man's most impressive & lasting to date.


The main problem I see with this idea is how people of the future would know the clock is inside this particular mountain.

If humanity is still around thousands of years from now & they can find the clock, it would be interesting to see how people react to it...

"The Last Pictures" conceived by artist Trevor Paglen, is another far-sighted project- to preserve remnants of humanity on a disc of photos.

Singularity Hub:

Again, the problem I see would be in the possibility of humans actually finding this artifact in the distant future. If it's in a satellite & ends up in an orbital junkyard, it may never be found... or it may be collected by space robots & treated like scrap.

"Voyager's Golden Record" This was NASA & Carl Sagan's approach to creating a vehicle for preserving the record of humanity indefinitely. Launched in 1977 (the year before I was born), the Voyager spacecraft are the first human creations to have left the solar system, containing media that may (...or may not) be able to be interpreted by other lifeforms if it's ever encountered.

• The next major hurdle is the preservation of the massive amounts of data now being generated & shared in the digital age:

Science Daily:

Besides the durable media needed to record the data, we also need a place to keep it all secure:


Ultimately, the only way humanity can have a continued legacy is to travel into the Universe &  beyond our home world. To stay connected, we will have to figure out how to network throughout interstellar space:


Our main functions, into the foreseeable future, will continue to be survival of the species & increasing connectivity on all levels. 

As time goes on, we will also evolve and change into new forms- for as long as the human lineage endures.

Monday, April 29, 2013

On Being a Bag O' Bones

I'm not generally a morbid person, but it is healthy to reflect on our mortality. It makes us appreciate the fleeting beauty & infinite mystery of Life much more consciously.
Death & violence are glorified in our culture, but nobody really wants to examine the transience of their own existence.

I came across these meditations on the human condition, in the unlikely form of playfully-drawn cartoons.

The first comic is based on a story about the Greek philosopher, Diogenes.

 "Diogenes and the Bones" by John Porcellino

This is a more direct commentary on the eventual fate of every human being:

It's reminiscent of the skull racks of the Mayans & Aztecs, in which the heads of victims were stacked up in a gruesome display of power.

Most of historic death cults were controlled by people that we would consider to be psychopaths today. However, the fear and awe associated with The Great Beyond has been around since humans became self-aware, in both an individual & social context.

Awhile back, I saw this gallery of dignified portraits of terminally ill people, before & after their passing. As their faces begin to sink away, the bones of the face become more defined. It is obvious why the skull is such a powerful symbol in the human mind.


 Finally, Salvador Dalí's famous photo (taken by Philippe Halsman) of a skull formed by the bodies of living women:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Area 101: Apes & Aliens

I saw this crazy collage of monkeys & UFOs on fusionanomalog

Soon, I intend to do a post on the role of the magician (or creative person), as a nexus between our monkey past and the future human.

Art is Hard

Bad art can be hilarious, though....

seen on The Chive

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"What Plants Talk About" - The Hidden World of Plant Life

I have house plants of different kinds, & sometimes I'll take a minute to just study these life forms that are so different than us.

While eating breakfast one day this weekend, I was watching this fascinating documentary about the world of plants existing beyond our normal perception.

Watch What Plants Talk About on PBS. See more from Nature.

Here is a link to the full episode- which I fully recommend to anyone with a love for the outdoors & the natural world:


Closely observing the infinite complexity of Life is endlessly illuminating... 

Green Earth @
The Monkey Buddha Bazaar

Gorilla X-Ray & Magician's Monkey Comics

I saw these funny, no-context-needed, comic panels with monkeys on Panels to Ponder, via BoingBoing:

"Super X-Rays Burn the Facts in the Book 
into the Gorilla's  Brain."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Sanctuary / Matrix Meditation" by Paul Micarelli

I've been adding images to my online album of 3D art.

This is a scene that is kind of my idealized tranquil space- a minimal, secluded area with a Zen feel to it & opening to nature:

click images to enlarge

 After I made the original image, I decided that it was all an illusion- the "Sanctuary" exists only as computer code, pure information & light:

I made these images many years ago, but I recently made a looping animated GIF with these scenes. I wanted to make it look like there is "a glitch in The Matrix".

Who is the hidden avatar, meditating in the virtual realm?...

Patton Oswalt's Star Wars Filibuster

Star Wars is one thing I'm unashamed to be a total geek about. On Reddit I saw this great video of comedian Patton Oswalt doing an epic improv rant, for the show Parks & Recreation, that is SW geekiness on a different level.

Patton usually cracks me up. He's been on some really funny episodes of 'Reno911' & 'Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!'

In this uncut & hilarious segment, Patton is making a "citizen's filibuster" to hold up a city council vote.

He launches into a hypothetical synopsis of the upcoming "Star Wars VII" movie. As funny as it is, he actually has some great ideas for the new movie! He then also unexpectedly ties in elements of the Marvel universe, in an awesome 8 minute rant that I had to watch several times because I was laughing so hard... 

It's hard for me to pick out any favorite parts, because the whole damn thing is great.

Thanks to the vast power of the Internet, I also just saw on Reddit that someone already made a movie poster of this vision for the new 'Star Wars / Marvel / Greek Hero' movie.

The design is a homage to the Infinity Gauntlet comic book series, which I thought was awesome when I was a kid:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Should Genes Be Patented?

Short Answer:


The U.S. Supreme Court is currently taking up a case regarding the legality of patenting genetic information. Allowing this kind of legal ownership would denigrate living systems to the status of intellectual property.

 Singularity Hub:

The idea that a biotech company can claim rights over a gene sequence or DNA from a certain organism is simply unethical. It also inhibits research... & is completely insane.

Here are some articles on this case, which will have a serious impact on many fields regardless of the outcome:


• A Federal judge ruled against the gene patents in 2010:


• In 2010 the Justice Dept. also came out against the practice:

• Then, the Federal Appeals Court overturned the decision:

 Raw Story:

• Now, it's up to the Supreme Court, with it's Corporate Conservatives, to decide:

NBC News:

Yahoo! News:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Terence McKenna & The Artist's Calling

I have posted about the late, great 'Crazy Wisdom' master, Terence McKenna, here before. He passed from his monkey body in 2000, but he still continues to inspire & expand the consciousness of wisdom seekers today.

After a little research, I found out that the graphic below was made using the visionary art of Mark Henson. It features one of my favorite McKenna quotes:

"The artist's task is to save the soul of mankind.
If artists cannot find the way, 
then the way cannot be found."

Here is the partial quote, from Terence himself.

That clip is from a longer (but worthwhile) talk about the significance of art:

I also came across this excellent clip- in which Terence talks about the shamanic calling of artists & others with creative vision.  

The ultimate goal of both art & science is continual investigation of the Universe's infinite mystery.

 Here is the entire video of that talk:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Laughing Monkey with a Gun

This is the latest reaction of America's top fear-monger lobbyist, NRA President Wayne LaPierre, to the pending debate over gun legislation in Congress:

Ok, enough making fun of that obnoxious, corporate tool of the firearms industry. Here is a more serious analysis of America's relationship with guns, which I wrote after the Newtown Shooting:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Infinite Nothing

This is a brilliant graphic I saw on Oerbital, from a quote by Kurt Vonnegut:

"Everything is nothing-
with a twist."

'Infinity' & 'The Void' are both just words, used to describe different aspects of the reality we perceive.  

Monday, April 08, 2013

Wonderfully Distinguished Monkey Portraits

This past weekend, I was at the Three Monkeys Cafe in Philly. It was a pretty cool place. There was an outside area called "The Monkey Court," so I felt right at home.

Inside, there's also a dining area where, much to my amusement, the walls were lined with painted portraits of distinguished monkeys & ape characters.

They were hilarious, so I took a couple pics.

The sophisticated, wine-drinking chimpanzee was my favorite... but I also thought the Ape Admiral was great too.

^ This might surpass the Mona Lisa as the greatest painting in history.


Friday, April 05, 2013

Messages From Our "Cosmic Friends"

I recently came across a true Internet gem, which features some of my favorite things:  conspiracy theories, aliens, & (most of all) crazy graphic design:


I highly recommend bookmarking this page, and exploring the wealth of information & awesome imagery on the website.

Basically, it seems to be a channel for communication from benevolent alien beings. It is also meant to warn against humans being eventually "chipped," with a computer implant like the "Apple iThink" I came up with:

Monkey Buddha Archives:

Apparently, being "chipped" will allow evil aliens to exert complete control over humanity. These malevolent beings, called "Saurions" seem to be the same kind of entities David Icke calls "Reptilian Shape-shifters".

Of course, the way to defeat these negative forces is through the usual means- self-awareness, cosmic consciousness, love, intelligence, etc.

Regardless of the legitimacy of it all, I can appreciate the effort that it took to create all the absurdly intriguing graphics featured on the site.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Dali with a Crazy Eye Patch

After posting my 3D rendering of Salvador Dalí's "Crucifixion," I came across this great photo of the surrealist master, from 1947.

He has his left eye covered with a bejeweled patch, which he decorated with a mystical diamond false eye.