The Puppet Shaman – An Ouroboros Short Story

“Einstein proved that time is relative and that there’s no reason why time should always be moving forward. There’s the time’s arrow thing; that something happened before and it caused this. But, what if they’re not sequential moments in time but are momentary snapshots that we, because we have memory, phase into and out of in a linear way,” Alex said excitedly.

“Okay, maybe I’m just high, but I didn’t understand any of that, Alex,” Greg giggled. After the service, those of the Mokeyists who indulged in hallucinogens stayed behind for a kind of second service. Usually, it was only Alex, his girlfriend Faith, and Greg. Nathan and Laura usually attended the second service but he hadn’t heard from Laura since the breakup and Nathan would only just be arriving in Korea.

“Okay,” Alex paused. “What if every moment in time exists simultaneously however we can only experience one snapshot at any one time and after we phase through that one snapshot it goes back to the whole where every snapshot in time exists simultaneously.”

“Sweet!” Greg’s unfocused eyes were almost completely dilated. Alex knew Greg had grey eyes. But the three of them had just taken mushrooms so now the colour was swallowed by pupil. Part of Alex wanted to check the mirror to see if his eyes looked like Greg’s but he knew that mirrors were often unfriendly on psychedelics. While all that was going on inside his head, he’d forgotten that he had a body outside of his thoughts and just sat there with a slack spine, staring into Greg’s eyes.

“Posture!” Faith reminded him sweetly, stroking his shoulder lovingly. Continue reading

Zeros and Ones – A Philosophy Of My Personal eLegacy

After my time in the universe reaches its end, the values and arrangement of zeros and ones that have made up my digital existence will live on far far longer. (and thanks for the NSA data storage program, maybe infinitely) I really hope that if some future being should ever decide to trace the events that made up my digital life, he, she, it, or they do not stop reading at my immature beginnings and  decide against following the extent of my experience. I want the electronic legacy that extends beyond my own life to be one full of meaning, of compassion, of love, integrity, of acceptance, of understanding. I want to uplift not tear down, to support not discourage, to expand and extend my awareness not shield myself from being challenged in my ideas. In short, I want to be proud of the  way I have conducted myself if, in the far off future, some cognizant beings ever wished to recall the information imprinted in my chosen arrangement of zeros and ones.

*to future beings: I want you to enjoy reading the arc of my eLegacy and I want my story to end happily. I hope I didn’t disappoint.

Grey Spade’s new album: Sol

in the year 2284, the last homo sapiens reside in the underground city of Atlen. After the great global war, the surviving humans built Atlan as a refuge from the machines. Over the generations, Atlen devolved into an oligarchy. Years of corrupt leadership has left the populous on the verge of revolt.

Google Glasses – Never Stop Playing – Ouroboros

Watch these two videos and then watch Ouroboros. Augmented Reality glasses … video games we can take with us anywhere … it’s only a matter of time before we start creating worlds to jack ourselves into ….. and thus: Ouroboros.

Google Augmented Reality Glasses

Playstation Vita – “Never Stop Playing”

And my short film – Ouroboros Season One

Ouroboros – The Complete Season One

Season One:

A 5 episode web series about the discovery of self and perceptions of reality. It follows the residents of an apartment building through their interconnected journeys to find the truth about their identities and the worlds they have created around themselves.

Written, Filmed, Directed and Edited by Joel Nickel
Original Score by Grey Spade

The ancestor of all life on Earth might have been a gigantic planetary super-organism


The ancestor of all life on Earth might have been a gigantic planetary super-organism

All life on Earth is related, which means we all must share a single common evolutionary ancestor. And now it appears that this ancestor might have been a single, planet-spanning organism that lived in a time that predates the development of survival of the fittest.

That’s the idea put forward by researchers at the University of Illinois, who believe the last universal common ancestor, or LUCA, was actually a single organism that lived about three billion years ago. This organism was unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and was basically an amorphous conglomeration of cells.

Instead of competing for resources and developing into separate lifeforms, cells spent hundreds of millions of years freely exchanging genetic material with each other, which allowed species to obtain the tools to survive without ever having to compete for anything. That’s maybe not an organism as we would comprehend it today, but that’s the closest term we have for this cooperative arrangement.

All that we know about LUCA is based on conjecture, and the most promising recent research has been in figuring out what proteins and other structures are shared across all three domains of life: the unicellular bacteria and archaea and the multi-celled eukaryotes, which are where all plants and animals evolved from. This isn’t a foolproof method — it’s possible that two extremely similar but not identical structures could evolve independently after LUCA split into the three domains — but it’s a good starting point.

Illinois researcher Gustavo Caetano-Anollés says about five to eleven percent of modern proteins could be traced back to LUCA. Based on the function of these particular proteins, it appears LUCA had the enzymes needed to break down nutrients and get energy from them, and it could also make proteins, but it probably didn’t have the tools necessary to make DNA. This fits with other research that suggests LUCA fed upon many different food sources, and that it had internal structures in its cells known as organelles.

The big difference between LUCA and everything that came after, of course, is DNA. Because LUCA didn’t have the tools to deal with DNA, it probably used RNA instead, and it likely had very little control over the proteins that it made. The research suggests the ability to precisely control protein manufacture only came long after LUCA split apart, which means that protein-making was probably always a big crapshoot.

That’s why LUCA had to be cooperative, with any cells that produced useful proteins able to pass them on throughout the world without competition. This was a weird variation on what we know as natural selections — helpful proteins could go from a single cell to global distribution, while harmful or useless proteins were quickly weeded out and discarded. The result was the equivalent of a planet-spanning organism.

So why did this paradise of cellular cooperation give way to the last three billion years of cutthroat competition? The simple answer is that some cells probably outgrew this arrangement, as they had finally developed all the structures needed to survive without help. We don’t know quite why that happened, but it appears to coincide with the sharp increase of oxygen in the atmosphere. Whatever the cause, cells began eking out their own independent existences, ending the reign of LUCA that had lasted hundreds of millions of years… while beginning a new order that is still going strong 2.9 billion years later.

BMC Evolutionary Biology via New Scientist. Image by fusebulb, via Shutterstock.