My Hyperlink Academy course on practical endosymbiosis starts soon, and I can’t help but keep finding sources and interesting content on the theme of animal familiars, plant companions, and fungal allies. At this point I have much too much to discuss in class - so I’ll share some interesting stories here!
First is a gentle talk by Stephen Axford on how the fungal world brought him out of mourning and into an electrifying relationship with a planetful of mushrooms.
I notice how much awe he communicates in his speech. Continual interaction with his mysterious friends has left Axford in a state of childlike wonder.
On a more dystopic, technocratic, and archonic note, please witness the unwilling cyborg drone known as the RoboRoach Kit:
When we look back on this in a generation, will this be the beginning of a dystopic cyborg-surveillance state? Or perhaps the start of a wild and free cybernetic world populated by biohackers and trans-humans? Animals like roaches, pigeons, rats, and crows all live exclusively near human habitation. Are we mutually domesticating each other, flirting with intimacy, moving towards permanent symbiosis?
Consider this roach robot combined with the possibilities offered by the Neuralink Project. Personally, both are quite frightening to me, because… they are literally mind control. But, still, we could easily look forward from these projects into a world where human cyborgs are in control of vast interlinked swarms of roaches, or perhaps pigeons and rats and crows and others. Maybe Axford’s beautiful mushrooms will link into the system, allowing direct neural contact with billion-years-old lifeforms. (This is in contrast to the traditional method of making contact with mycelial consciousness by ingesting the more talkative species.) In fact, the idea of the fungal computer is already emerging.
A reflective question: If you could electronically entangle yourself with any species, which would you choose? What could you do together that you could not do alone?
In conclusion, join the first cohort of Fantastic Beasts for the Home and Garden and let’s talk more about co-evolution and purposeful symbiosis.
Thanks to my friend Celeste Moreno for the RoboRoach link!