New Weird Potential Futures

Detail from The High Priestess by Paul Watson

Detail from The High Priestess by the author

“If living in a new weird ontology is the only way for people to keep living, what do we want to keep of ourselves?”

— Elvia Wilk, Toward a Theory of the New Weird

This single sentence has been reverberating around my head all morning. It describes one of the underlying themes of my Acid Renaissance series better than the thousands of words I’ve managed to write so far.

When we collectively dream of potential futures they usually fall short because we simply imagine ourselves unchanged, but transported elsewhere - tourists exploring pleasing diversions. They simply say: this is us but with more technology or less technology, different laws, different social structures, different systems of government. As if changing the environment we have collectively created could possibly change the underlying problem of ourselves.

Any dream of a potential future needs to dream changes to the way we think, the way we are. I don’t just mean being more conscious of the environment or treating people better, I mean fundamental changes to cognition and self and being, changes so vast that any one of us experiencing this potential future would not be able to comprehend it. It would be completely disorientating, alien, unreal. It would be (the) weird.

Which leads on to the quotation of the question posed by Elvia Wick at the beginning of this post - if a truly weird future is the only possible way to continue, then what do we want to keep of our current selves, and what do we have to give up?

I highly recommend reading Elvia Wilk’s article Toward a Theory of the New Weird if you haven’t already done so.