This is reblogged from CK MacLeod’s (nee Zombie Contentions) where I was a contributor for a while writing under the unlikely nom de zombie “bob”.
Walking in the Nature Preserve yesterday, I didn’t see this. The colors were there, and it was morning, but instead of clear light, steady rain alternated with downpours. This picture suggests what I saw a few years ago. I have seen nothing close to this again.
Binghamton University own the Preserve and the Biology Department uses it for a laboratory. So what I did see was a 40ish woman knee-deep in the pond, scooping up the water into a bus tub, with 15 or so young people, not dressed for the weather watching her. She heaved it to the edge of the pond and all but yelled, “What do we see?”
Inaudible. “Yes, water spiders! Where did we see water spiders last week in the river?”
Inaudible. “Yes clinging to the rocks! She then thrust her hands at head level and spread her finders as if she was about to grab onto the last rock.
The young people stood mute, perhaps flashing back to the life and death struggles they had witnessed only a week ago.
“Yes it’s so much easier for them here…they can just relax…near the pond edge the weeds make it harder for the fish to eat them.’
If I describe my first shamanic journey on my own behalf, not Coleen’s journeying for me, mediating an entourage of power animals and beings, not her extractions of misplaced energies, not her soul retrieval journeys, but my own journey, not with the powerful bear, or the gregarious wolf or the insightful owl, but with beings I won’t name and with salamander then there’s only this:
Salamander vibrates between animism and naturalism and so even before the Manhattan Project, before digital computers, salamander was and is digital.
Salamander collapses subject and object, figure and ground, living not just in the ground and the water but of ground and water like pouring water into water.
The object has a similar interiority and a similar physicality and this I call digitism.
Part 2 asserts that from the Uncanny Valley’s forest floor, the drone seems both an uncanny robot and a living nonhuman species. Of course neither is true.
The drone is a remote appendage of a cyborg. The parts of this entity includes a human at a control panel and all the technological infrastructure the drone needs to complete its mission. Distributed across the world, it is a functional human/machine hybrid, just as a human immersed in an electronic device, or in union with a pacemaker is.
Looking down at the Valley’s forest floor for a moment, perhaps distracted by a sound, or just overwhelmed by the vigilance of looking at the sky, I see this:
Destroying Angels (a group of closely related Amanita species around the world) are among the most deadly mushrooms there are. Humans eating the various species of Destroying Angel (or the closely related the Death Cap) result in up to 95% of mushroom deaths.
These visible mushrooms though are only a projectile of the underground organism, the mycelium. This part of a fungus can be huge. Depending on the criteria one uses, a fungus in Oregon is the largest living organism on earth.
Additionally, the fungus lives in symbiosis with the surrounding trees, fungus penetrating into tree roots cells, becoming a functional entity, becoming one thing, becoming a non-human/non-machine cyborg.
Standing on the forest floor of the Uncanny Valley, the potential of death hovers above me and stands as witness at my feet.