Robert Rich delivers a satisfying collection of seething electronic ambience on this surrealist electronic journey through the microbiome. Exploding neurons reassemble to build a metamind. If an anthill could talk, what would it say? What would music sound like if we collaborated with fungi? We are not alone in this fractal universe.
We imagine ourselves to be individuals, as if our genome defines us. In fact, we’re each a collective, a network of organisms, with our unique microbiome of bacteria, viruses, fungi, organelles. Some work in harmony, some work in discord, but that shifting collective defines each individual in a blurry but more complete way. Let’s call it the Biode, a biomic node, the nexus or gathering place where a community of organisms combines to become a unit of individuality or consciousness.
Even the mitochondria that power our cells have their own separate DNA, perhaps ancestors of a virus that permeated the cell walls of an early eukaryote. Like those primitive cells, our skin is a porous membrane, a gatekeeper to let friends in, shun enemies, breathe and slough off waste. What we consume becomes part of us. What we breathe becomes part of us. Our boundaries are fuzzy.
Although we think of our consciousness as a continuous stream of self, it too is a system of interacting systems. We can view each neuron as an organism, too simple to know the thoughts that we are thinking. Perhaps an anthill thinks while the ants send their signals. Perhaps a forest thinks while the mycorrhizome interconnects with bacteria, nutrients and rootlets. Perhaps the Earth thinks, as its skin shimmers.
Maybe we can learn how to communicate with these systems, to regard them as minds, to see ourselves as systems like them. Perhaps that will mark a new stage in mind’s evolution.
– Robert Rich 2018