Getting to Austria is relatively relaxed; as I'm flying out of Pula Airport. I get an influx of messages from Moritz which internally liquidates some kind of blockage while I queue for security. Landing pretty late, I grab a hostel for the night and then move onward to the Commons Hub via public transport in the morning.
Walking to the hub I'm surrounded by beautifully tranquil rivers, meadows and mountains. I'm early for the conference by a few days, along with a few others so we spend the week getting to know each other juggling with various chores. Slowly other participants begin to trickle in for the gathering; a number of whom are relatively known from my various travels over the years.
As I settle in, the first person I speak with is Jelle; he's interested in all kinds of things and asks for thoughts on the connectivity of his home studio setup. After dinner in the evening he's discussing applied category theory with some others which I dial into. Eventually I ask if he's talking about Statebox and it turns out he's the progenitor; he begins to inform me of the beautifully complex theoretical underpinnings as well as some of the more metaphysical implications.
After discussing various wisdom and magical traditions with Jerome (I think Bhuddism was the trigger); I asked him about his more cosmic role in things and what brought him to this space. His answer was "vision, but not in an egoic kinda way - I don't really talk about it much but ideas arrive in my head fully formed and then I only need to articulate and express them... I'm a game designer by trade".
"Woah, that's a pretty interesting sense gate you've activated; I'm somewhat aphantasic myself - would you mind telling me more? Do you have any recollection of when or how this gate might have opened for you?" we sit down and begin to scratch these depths.
"yes, I think it happened somewhere around age five; my parents had split up and I found myself sitting on a fence asking 'what happened before this?' answering myself and then - like a five year old does - asking 'what happened before that?' over and over again... Eventually I reached the point of 'I guess I was born... so what happened before that?' at which point I began to imagine what I must assume to be previous lives".
Wow, if this 'tracing the source' was not fascinating enough, he goes on to say that this type of phenomenological experience didn't resurface for a while until he was about age eighteen. He was apparently drinking with his buddies sate into the night, while also cleaning up his act and getting into meditation. Sleepless from an all nighter he found himself struggling to stay awake during meditation until something snapped, at which point a clear energy suddenly filled him - not unlike what's been said to happen in formal Sesshin - after which he immediately drove home and had an out of body experience while lying on the couch.
Lying there he realised an ability to zoom in on a corner of the roof. Deciding to test this phenomena further he found was also able to zoom in on the opposite corner. The perspective however was directly parallel to the first corner which should have been hypothenuse from his position on the couch...
"I wonder if I can look at myself?" "turning round, I see myself down below lying on the couch". "At this point I realise I'm having an out of body experience and bewildered with awe, I decide to see if I can see out the window. I move towards the shutters to peer out where I can see the lawn and all the people moving about in the street".
"At this point I turn round and head back to my body, unsure if I can actually get back in or how to do that. Reentry is like pushing through a membrane after which I wake up and the phones ringing. Picking up the phone I say 'you wont believe what just happened to me Margret', who responds 'how did you know it was me calling?' as I'd just picked up the phone!".
"I kept this experience to myself until later in life as it was pretty strange to talk about. When having dinner with my aunt and uncle, my aunt started telling us about her out of body experience and so I shared mine from back when I was eighteen. My uncle didn't know what to say when we finished and it was about this point that the visions started to come back again". Dinner is served so we hop outside - what a frigging story!
My room mate Josh "the blockchain socialist", is delightfully serendipitous in his sleep - randomly exclaiming comments like "oh no, not again!" once a night before settling back into his dreams. In the mornings he has no memory of the imaginal landscapes he's traversing but we get a laugh from the breath of possible speculations.
New people are arriving for the gathering the meme pool gets richer and richer; folks like Orion bringing the history of computation and interaction design and others like Daniel and Jorge bringing the philosophies and learnings of ECSA (Economic Space Agency). My dear friend Ome arrives, as do Art, Moritz and some of the Olbia contingent.
Jelle is going full Richard Feynmann with us; mathematically encoding my triads in a matrix and explaining topology - or more appropriately - the end of topology to us...
Here's my recollection: topology begins with a point, which has no length breath or depth - infinity as emptiness - and turns into a line or vector between two points. The line then turns into two dimensional planes by connecting a third point, from which we can break out a dimension by joining edges.
If we do this with a square it turns into a cylinder, and by inverting the edge connectivity we get a mobius strip. Adding another dimension to the mobius strip we get a Klein bottle - which we can also somehow fold to create a special kind of half sphere, that can also be paired with another to create a full sphere. Theres a problem to note with infinitely thin slices, but from here we can select two points on the surface of the sphere to get 'the line of infinite projection'.
As the distance between points on the line of infinite projection get closer to each other they become whats called 'the single point of compactification'; a sort of infinite fullness thats a point with infinite length, breath and depth - is where the field essentially ends. Mind blowing stuff, kinda like the mathmatical recipe of god; a theme that would recur over the week.
Such theme kept coming back predominantly due to Lio's love of philosophy - in particular Hagel, encoded as a game he was calling 'play'. Access to this game was through a deeply codified ChatGPT prompt about interfacing interfaces that change their shape from interfacing with each other. This prompt was a pretty potent brew for generating poetics and led to a number of fun GPT inquiries around the shape of shapelessness or the shape of all shapes, or perhaps even metatrons cube - idk, but it was fun.
Other memories include a glorious massage circle that Shannon and Noemi started, which seemed to grow exponentially as people happened across it. I got pretty lucky as I initially had Shannon behind me who was intuitively zoning in on trigger points that needed some soft tissue work, after which I got Orion, a human power house to crush the knots in my middle back. If memory serves me well, there was a decent dance session to shake ourselves out again in the conference room initiated by Ome.
Traversing the weeks more structured sessions were workshops by Matt Slatts on 'money' and Art Brock on 'currencies', both of which provided a lot of structured information for systematically encoding as knowledge in my notebook. Matt's contribution was a week long course funded as an ECSA performance, while Arts workshops were more thematically in line with methods of 'Agile Learning' and so he tailored his talks to the audience in attendance. The latter had many beautiful diagrams of his own to draw on as content; which I compressed and codified for myself through the lens of General Systematics (see bottom of page for original slides):
The evenings were always eventful; one that comes to mind being the cybernetics 'movie night' presenting Cybersyn2023 and some other loosely related productions from Youtube. I'd already seen Cybersyn at Metaphorum but found it too dense for a single viewing so was only too happy that it came round again. The other screenings felt like memetically troublesome info-hazards; propaganda and subliminal brainwashing - highly salient computer graphics, strobe effects and other means of messaging that spike neural energy to create associations and indoctrinate the viewer with memetic ideologies. I quietly drew a pentad encoding the VSM on the flip chart for anyone interested and went outside.
The events close was another interesting evening which came plenty of eventuality; most people were swaying so after a jam session kicking off some rythmic chaos, I decided to drift around the hub to see what was happening. Ome and Orion were into the AI eschatology discussing prompt injection and the implications of a post truth internet on society; ultimately demanding provenience tracking and encryption extended as deep as the hardware level and possibly beyond.
While sitting outside around the fire with Lio and GPT, 'the green dot' (a (LARP or psyop) wandered over and sat down with us. Those mimetically infected by the game were assuming tribal factions based on a sticker and then role playing the conflict into existence... or at least thats what seemed to be going on to those situated outside the memetic bubble. On that note don't get me started on 'the bubbles'! (iykyk)
Another salient moment that come to mind from the gathering was getting called a 'wise old gnome' on the last night after walking with some friends as a DMT trip sitter. Talk about a flattering comment; I laughed and promised to bring a pointy red hat on my next visit!
The next morning my friends Ome, Pekko and Eva departed to Vienna without me due to our travel itinerary and I made my own way to the flight a little later, meeting Ome at the departures terminal. We then rendezvous with the others during a transfer and fly onwards to Olbia together where an exceptionally grumpy taxi driver transports the final stretch to our accommodation; driving off with the boot open and while shouting at us in Italian about the windows...
Gute Fhart commoners, gute fhart! Ad Astra✨