I have been exploring Artificial Intelligence and Earth Intelligence this year. I want to give some practical examples of how Earth Intelligence can be used. As a first step, I have been developing a set of common terms. I have grouped the discussions below, simply, with a summary on every topic, so you can see the progression of the argument. It began like this…
Introduction to Earth Intelligence
I argued that the call of the Earth and the organic response to the call is intelligence. Another word for it is creation. It is not to be confused with “creativity.” Explorations of this call-and-response can be found in the following posts.
Augmenting Human Intelligence with Earth Intelligence
I extended call-and-response into an explanation of how it is possible (and desirable) to use the Earth to augment human intelligence. This partnership exceeds the capacities of robotic and information technologies put forward by champions of AI such as Elon Musk and Gary Kasparov and the concepts of “creativity” which prepare humans for machine thought. Do note, however, that this kind of intelligence is designed to create something other than self-driving cars. That’s rather the point.
Poetry is Earth Intelligence (and an antidote to AI)
As an example of a form of this partnership, I offered poetry as one form of Earth Intelligence within humans. Although it has largely been replaced by artificial intelligences, its skills are still known and replicable. What’s more, it offers opportunities for resisting AI, whether lodged in humans, societies or machines. I will be picking up this theme later with arguments for considering farming as another form of this paying of attention.
Humans Think With Bodies Within Environments
I then opened up the notion of poetry as an environmental balance into understandings of humans as environments, focussed (as opposed to the common colonial notion of humans moving as independent actors through empty space. It’s time to set that to rest.) I developed this observation further, with notions that machines are focussed environments as well. However, their environments are profoundly different and are not interchangeable with human ones. I left it as an unstated given that such machine environments will profoundly change human life, in machine ways, or that this is happening. There is still, however, serendipity and the foundational principle of resistance.
Social Environments Are Artificial Intelligences
In the next post, I extended the notion of environments into its mirror version: if social environments are actually relationships to humans within the Earth, Earth environments are also social. Environments are part of the human social group. The sign below is family.
Choose Your Environment Carefully.
On that foundation, I offered the advice to be aware of how environments control people, and to what ends. Human choices matter, because they are the self, and the connections, a person has to weave a world with. I left the obvious conclusion unstated, that only a self with such connections can do the weaving; otherwise they are using the connections to weave something else.
All Art is a Form of AI
To make sure I was clear, I pointed out that all humans are complicit, not just the members of elite social classes such as Elon Musk.
Environments Create the Artifice of Creative Response
I then brought the first thread back to its opening and tied it off with the observation that creation is part of the capacity of environments. I left it for readers to draw the conclusion that “creativity” is an art form made out of this force of creation and only able to actually create within the environment. In all other senses, it can only elaborate artifices and draw down the power of creation.
Old Tech Still Functions
To take the discussion into its second level, that of human interface with Earth, I then laid down the observation that the absence of this understanding in neo-colonial North American culture is cultural and racial only. With that observation, I was laying the foundation for an ongoing discussion of the limits of opposing understandings, such as wilderness or nature (to use neo-colonial jargon “the other” [sorry for the linguistic lapse, but I want to be clear]). I left (I hope) the subtext that cultural and racial history, however profound, is a bad reason for promoting the romantic myth of individual heroism, or for diminishing interactions with the Earth, body to body, by fitting them into frontier narratives of heroism. I used an ancient (and still living) non-narrative, non-linear form of technological interface as an invitation to consider the limitation of contemporary understandings.
The World of the Umwelt
To support an entrance into the functional process of this technology, I reintroduced the understanding that environments are an active force. They do not work on us.
The World is a Revolving Circular Space, Specifically Human
In other words, humans are part of the Earth’s processes — if humans work with the Earth’s processes. If they work against them, they are working against them. In both cases, human environments are artworks created in union with other natural forces. Deviations from that union lead to alienation. People will begin to pace like tigers in zoos. It is with this argument (centred on an image from Iceland [below]) that I linked the indigenous world with the world of AI. I left the connections unstated. It bears repeating that one reason for leaving the connections unstated is that human minds can follow them. Earth minds can follow them. AI is stumped. I left for further development the notion that the transformation of poetry into a populist art form in our time is part of the process of developing AI and making humans more harnessable by machines, whether a populist poetry is desirable for social ends or not (which it certainly is.) This is a big discussion, and one to look forward to later on, as we build a common vocabulary towards it.
The Ecosystem of Thought
In this post, I provided specific information on how the human-Earth interface works, with five levels of consciousness occurring at the same time. The loss of any one diminishes human consciousness by 20%. A sobering thought.
Consciousness Crosses Elemental Boundaries
I then stated the obvious, that the role of consciousness is to cross elemental boundaries. I left it unstated that this is also the role of the sun: particles that take 100,000 years to leave the core of the sun, arrive at Earth a few minutes after escaping the sun’s gravity, and take on form by joining with matter. As Earth’s creatures, we embody this process. Also food for thought (and for a later post.)
Actualized Intelligence is Predatory
I then returned this foray into indigenous intelligence to the colonial interface, with observations on how individual, North American intelligence surgically removes parts of Earth Intelligence and replaces them with artifices. I left it unstated that this is an embodiment of the process of colonization that transformed this continent from an indigenous space of creation to an individualized space of creativity (and environmental death). These forces are not always in direct opposition with each other. They are, together, both the formative force behind human society and the source that tears it apart. One thing is foundational, though: the Earth is part of the social group.
Creativity is Independence from Unity
I closed this series of observations by noting that intelligence sustained by artifice alone is neither intelligent nor artifice, as it lacks presence and volume. As a fantasy, it creates powerful fantasies. It cannot, however, approach the Earth. It will always be at a remove.
It is my experience as a person in close conversation with both the Earth and my ancestors within language, that the destructive dichotomy between creation and creativity, and the indigenous Earth-based technologies of manipulating it, still have strong force within the English language, that English is, in fact, an indigenous, environmental language, and that a common language for both working with the Earth and communicating this knowledge and its ways to others is still strong within the language. To move the discussion forward, my next step was to lay down, step by step, an outline of the dimensions of Environmental English, or Earth Language. My first word is a form of whirling energy called Orkan. It is the most elemental energy of all.
I then showed a changed state of this energy, called Ore, as a demonstration of how human society and consciousness can work as an elemental switch, in synch with elemental changes in the world.
My next step in unfolding the language of Earth Energy was to show the language that speaks for its very capacity to open, and offer, in the twinned terms “bright” and “breadth,” to which humans (and others) respond (as the Earth’s speech.)
I then introduced the form of energy which allows for a bright or breadth space to be crossed, and followed up with an observation of gapping energy at work while I was away for a week pruning an orchard in the Similkameen.
The Energy of Breakage
For every crossing of a gap, there is an initial breakage, a falling energy with creates not only breadth, but flats and crossings. It propels human attention forwards by removing the sense of being held up by the earth. This word is placed here to extend the depth of the gapping energy introduced previously.
Next, I introduced yet another dimension of bright energy: width. It is to flat space what breadth is to a line. It is, in other words, falling that has spread out the fall, whereas breadth is a fall propelled forward until it closes a gap. Width is thus open. Because I love them, I offered you some Icelandic reindeer, grazing.
Next, I opened wide energy into a term for its inhabitation. I left it as unstated that was I was describing was not “wild” in the common colonial or neo-colonial sense. After all, you can’t enter that space if you distance yourself from it. You will remain at a distance. (That might be valuable, but it does have a context.)
Flat and Float
I then approached the notion of flatness as the environment of width, to help remove traces of colonialism from wildness, and to show how the energy of landing, or being held up, which existed before the break of a fall, necessitating the crossing of a gap, remains after a fall. In this new dimension, however, the human sensation is projected into the landscape, and humans enter it. We are beginning to enter the realm of intention.
Mind, Thought and Memory
On the foundation of the translation of width into will described above, I then introduced the concept of wilderness as a form of minding, or memory. It has many dimensions.
Next, I opened up a discussion of consciousness of space-as-body into a discussion of the nature of will, experienced not as an isolated consciousness but as an embedded one. Questions like this are at the heart of human survival in the face of the AI threat. (I do not limit the notion of AI to machine intelligence, as should be clear by now.)
I then introduced a new class of energies, energies of concentration, materialization and movement, with a discussion of the nature of run energy, as an extension of will. It is movement in place. A river, a run, after all, stays where it is. It is in place. So is this energy. I left for a later discussion the link between this energy, petroglyph technology, tracking and reading.
Next, I discussed stopping-energy, an energy form akin to the breakage that propelled a fall into will. I discussed positive and negative forms of stopping, and ambiguous ones, such as the Christian iron cursing the ancient rock shine below, among the vineyards at the mouth of the Rhine Gorge. I did, however, lay down a theme to be picked up later, that negative forms of stoppage are nuclear compression technologies, deadly to human life.
On the foundation of stopping-energy, I introduced its positive form, the stand, as a demonstration of how an intervention into Earth’s creation can participate in it towards increase, if done within its bounds. It’s worth remembering at this point that this discussion, and this laying-down-of-language is a way of exploring those bonds and their bounds, where our ancestors found they could be broken to increase energy, and where not.
Public or Private
I thought it would be useful to show how these notions worked out within the dominant colonial motifs of Canadian society: the class-based delineations of public and private space. I had fun. I need that. Don’t we all.
And then I went on a walkabout, to see what I could see. I saw a lot. I deepened my ability to read. It was profoundly anchoring. I met the wood ticks of springtime. I reaffirmed my respect.
And now we can continue, with the next opening of our language, ever-deeper into indigenous space. The next discussion will be about an extension of a watering and a run in wilderness in the form of minding called a “wander” or a “meander.” Talk to you then. Until then, mind the ones you’re with.