Future Predictions

  • Software pandemic
  • tech corps lose your money
  • 3d bioprinters
  • transparent kitchens
  • end of empire aesthetics
  • ok boomer<boomer-remover< boomer parties
  • Universal healthcare
  • millennial inherit boomers DNA, Zoomer inherits Xers DNA
  • Consumerism rebrands as mindfulness (stays the same)
  • bumper to bumper:  cars mimic the speed and steering of the lead vehicle
  • all weather clothing (peltier plates)
  • nano particles pandemic
  • mass media become anxiously fascistic propaganda became mass marketing becomes propaganda
  • electric cars the way of jetpacks
  • Infraestructure redux sef-lhealing concrerte
  • Tablets < Scrolls
  • mass extinctions
  • earth scrapers
  • compost capitalism
  • arcologies
  • car handle payments
  • IP 3D printing wars
  • Ex-Rad
  • password obsolescence
  • isoprene tires
  • free radicals, break down grime into nitrate. washes away in the rain.
  • titanium dioxide helps cotton shed stains and eliminate odor-.
  • Drone legislation
  • zettabytes
  • genetic testing Uncomfortable truths
  • terminator vision
  • nurse jackie still human
  • pulse detonation engines
  • new siri/alexa is a carpet
  • chips via droplets of nanoparticle-infused liquid
  • cities for vertical farming
  • personal farms
  • rental everything
  • binge protection
  • charitable shopping (new virtue signaling)
  • stomach chips
  • brain chips
  • cultural jamming
  • aesthetics of de-growth
  • reification of good decisions as new capitalism
  • rent seeking rebrands as maintenance
  • deep adaptation
  • homeless migrations
  • Xers become home owners through inheritance – get off my lawn
  • china goes hyper nationalistic
  • Failed states collapse (doctors & nurses die – no replacement rate – collapse
  • Siliconb valley plummets after software pandemic
  • netflix ennui
  • CGI nausea
  • high peasant rules
  • starbucks up on caffeine or dies
  • Deep state fragments/for hire
  • capital its done with fiat, moves on
  • deflation
  • stagflation
  • new currency(still called $)
  • Expertise becomes a grift
  • star economy dies
  • terrible art for a while
  • air travel down 50%
  • Tik Tok die
  • Information Physics
  • IDW collapses
  • Rock music denies collaboration with late stage capitalism
  • Burning man meets Coachella
  • 10 terabytes for $1000
  • fake Turing tests
  • Internet resets to Ted Nelson’s Xanadu
  • Google is broken down in Europe
  • Alphabet antitrust
  • Exponential Thinking fad
  • Quantum computers $10000
  • Practical Quantum Circuit
  • Real State down 50% in 10 years
  • 3 speed European Union
  • Scottish independence
  • Scottish re-union
  • MCU 3 flops in a row
  • 6 more trillions lost in oil wars
  • California goes 65% Solar
  • Trump re-elected=8 years of centrism=neofascism
  • Disney Bailout
  • Texas referendum
  • Indian brain drain
  • Australia desert
  • Florida population down 50%
  • Health Coke
  • China colonizes moon
  • Avocado Politics 
  • t-rex goes the way of pluto
  • Oil supports $<Gold+Crypto supports $
  • Amazon antitrust
  • McKinsey hires Greta and AOC
  • Probably war 
  • Walmart and the meth trade are largest employers in the Midwest and South
  • Haptic suits
  • Time travel ( a few seconds into the past)
  • Haptics
  • cowschwitz ca doubles size
  • DC comics bailout
  • Netflix makes a good movie
  • Stock market for untouched nature areas
  • Miami underwater
  • Fukushima 2
  • $721.5 billion up in smoke by swarm drones

Appetite For Distraction

As human beings, we have an almost infinite appetite for distractions. Whether it’s checking our phones every few minutes, binge-watching our favorite TV shows, scrolling endlessly through social media feeds, or simply daydreaming, we are constantly seeking ways to occupy our minds and avoid boredom. This is not a new phenomenon, but it has been exacerbated in recent years by the explosion of digital technology and the internet.

In his book “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” media theorist Neil Postman argues that our society is becoming increasingly preoccupied with entertainment and distraction, to the point where we are losing our ability to think critically and engage in meaningful discourse. He writes, “We are a culture that worships at the altar of entertainment, and as a result, we are losing the ability to distinguish between what is important and what is trivial.”

This is a sobering thought, especially given the many pressing issues facing our world today, from climate change to social injustice to political instability. If we are constantly distracted by trivial pursuits, how can we hope to address these challenges in a meaningful way?

One reason for our infinite appetite for distractions is our fear of boredom. In a world where we are bombarded with information and stimuli at every turn, it can be difficult to simply sit still and do nothing. Boredom is seen as a negative state, something to be avoided at all costs. But in reality, boredom can be a powerful catalyst for creativity and self-reflection. When we allow ourselves to be bored, we open up space for new ideas and insights to emerge.

Another reason for our love of distractions is the constant pressure to be productive and achieve. We live in a culture that values productivity above all else, and we are constantly encouraged to do more, be more, and achieve more. But this relentless pursuit of productivity can be exhausting, and distractions offer a welcome escape from the pressure.

Of course, there are also more insidious forces at work, such as the algorithms used by social media platforms and streaming services to keep us hooked on their content. These algorithms are designed to keep us engaged for as long as possible, using tactics such as autoplay, recommended videos, and personalized content feeds. It’s no wonder that we often find ourselves mindlessly scrolling through our feeds, unable to tear ourselves away.

In his quote, French philosopher Blaise Pascal suggests that those who oppose tyranny may have failed to take into account our love of distractions. In other words, we may be so preoccupied with entertainment and trivial pursuits that we fail to notice when our freedoms are being eroded or our rights are being violated. This is a chilling thought, and one that should give us pause.

The Alice-like landscape described in the second quote, with its upside-down logic and distorted reality, is a fitting metaphor for our current situation. We are bombarded with so much information and distraction that it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction, or to separate what is truly important from what is merely entertaining.

Despite all the cable channels and streaming services available to us, we are often locked in a cycle of mindless consumption, unable to break free from the distractions that surround us. It’s as if we are living in a virtual Guantanamo, where our attention is constantly under siege and our freedom to think critically and engage with the world around us is severely limited.

The Long Tomorrow

One of the limitations in the conception of cities in mainstream American science fiction was the lack of understanding that cities are like compost heaps, just layers and layers of stuff from the past, present, and future, all totally adjacent. This radical concept was introduced by Moebius in his comic book “Metal Hurlant: The Long Tomorrow” in 1975, which preceded the popular sci-fi movies “Empire Strikes Back,” “Blade Runner,” and the works of William Gibson. Moebius’ work, which was written by Dan O’Bannon while he was working with Jodorowsky on DUNE, was able to depict the intricacies of urban archaeology in every frame, something that was not obvious in mainstream American science fiction at the time.

While this concept of cities as compost heaps may seem commonplace in Europe or Asia, it was a revolutionary idea in American science fiction, where the city in the future was always depicted as brand new. It is fair to say that the way the future looks in sci-fi is heavily influenced by Metal Hurlant and its groundbreaking approach to depicting cities.

This limitation in the conception of cities in American science fiction is an example of how mediums, in this case, sci-fi, define the limits by which we can think. The medium creates an environment that makes certain things possible and certain other things impossible. In the case of sci-fi, the genre allowed for the depiction of fantastical worlds and futuristic technologies, but it was limited by the prevailing ideas and concepts of the time.

This is not unique to sci-fi, as all mediums have their limitations. For example, in literature, the medium of the novel has certain limitations that make it difficult to convey certain types of information, such as visual or auditory experiences, in the same way that film or music can. Similarly, in art, the medium of painting may be limited in its ability to depict movement or sound.

However, these limitations do not necessarily detract from the value of the medium. In fact, it is often these limitations that force artists and creators to innovate and find new ways to express their ideas. It is the medium itself that provides the constraints that inspire creativity and new ways of thinking.

Fire & Ice

This scene from Fire and Ice (1983) shows how fluid rotoscoping animation  can be. The entire movie is done in rotoscope animation. :  r/interestingasfuck

Fire and Ice is a 1983 animated film, directed by Ralph Bakshi, that tells the story of the struggle between the forces of good and evil in a fantasy world. The plot is set in motion when the evil Queen Juliana and her son, Nekron, send forth a wave of glaciers, forcing humanity to retreat south towards the equator. Nekron sends a delegation to King Jarol in Firekeep to request his surrender, but this is a ruse orchestrated by Queen Juliana for Nekron’s sub-humans to kidnap Jarol’s barefoot, bikini-clad daughter, Princess Teegra.

The film features a cast of memorable characters, including the fierce warrior Larn, the mysterious Darkwolf, and the beautiful and courageous Princess Teegra. These characters are brought to life through the use of rotoscoping, a technique in which live action footage is traced onto animation cels. The result is a visually stunning film that combines the best elements of live action and animation.

At its core, Fire and Ice is a classic tale of good versus evil, set in a fantastical world that is both familiar and exotic. The film’s creators drew inspiration from a variety of sources, including the works of fantasy artists Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo, as well as the classic tales of Robert E. Howard and J.R.R. Tolkien.

But Fire and Ice is more than just a retelling of these classic tales. It is a work of art that pushes the boundaries of what animation can do. By using the rotoscoping technique, Bakshi and his team were able to create a sense of realism and fluidity that is rarely seen in animated films. The characters move and behave like real people, while the fantastical world they inhabit is rendered in stunning detail.

Rotoscoping is a technique used in animation to create fluid and realistic movement by tracing over live-action footage frame by frame. The process was invented by Max Fleischer in the early 20th century and has been used in various forms by many animators since then. However, one of the most notable examples of rotoscoping in animation is the work of Ralph Bakshi and his team, who employed the technique in films like “Fire and Ice” and “The Lord of the Rings”.

Bakshi and his team of animators were able to create a sense of realism and fluidity in their films that is rarely seen in traditional animated films. The characters move and behave like real people, while the fantastical world they inhabit is rendered in stunning detail. This is due to the fact that Bakshi used live-action footage as the basis for the animation, allowing his animators to capture the nuances of movement and behavior that are difficult to achieve through traditional animation techniques.

One of the benefits of rotoscoping is that it allows animators to create a more detailed and realistic world without sacrificing the flexibility and creativity that animation offers. By using live-action footage as a guide, animators can create a world that is both believable and fantastical, seamlessly blending reality and imagination.

In “Fire and Ice”, Bakshi and his team used rotoscoping to create a world that was both epic and immersive. The film is set in a fantastical world where glaciers are threatening to engulf humanity, and the characters are larger-than-life warriors and sorcerers. The use of rotoscoping allowed Bakshi to create a sense of scale and grandeur that would have been difficult to achieve through traditional animation techniques. The result is a film that is visually stunning and immersive, with a sense of realism and depth that is rare in animated films.

However, rotoscoping is not without its challenges. It is a time-consuming process that requires a great deal of skill and patience. The process of tracing over live-action footage can be tedious, and animators must be careful to capture the nuances of movement and behavior that make the animation believable.

In conclusion, the use of rotoscoping in animation has allowed animators to create a sense of realism and fluidity that is rarely seen in traditional animated films. Bakshi and his team were able to create a fantastical world that was both immersive and believable, using live-action footage as a guide for their animation. While rotoscoping is a challenging technique, the results can be stunning, as demonstrated in films like “Fire and Ice”.

The film also features a strong script, written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, both of whom had written Conan stories for Marvel Comics. The dialogue is sharp and witty, and the characters are well-developed and believable.

Fire and Ice is a testament to the power of animation as an art form. It shows that animation can be more than just a medium for children’s entertainment. It can be used to tell complex stories, explore themes of good and evil, and create characters that are as real and compelling as any live action performance.

In the end, Fire and Ice is a film that deserves to be seen and appreciated by a wider audience. It is a masterpiece of animation that combines stunning visuals, strong characters, and a compelling story to create a work of art that is both timeless and unforgettable.

The Great Silence

Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence, released in 1968, is a Western film that is both captivating and unforgettable. Set in the late 19th century in “Snow Hill, Utah,” the film depicts a place where farmers have been forced into banditry, leaving them at the mercy of sadistic bounty killers, such as Klaus Kinski’s Tigrero, who embodies the brutal Darwinian world that governs Snow Hill. However, a solitary avenger known as Silenzio, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, stands up to Tigrero and his minions.

Silenzio is a tragic and poetic character, a variation on Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name. Silenzio is not a man of few words, but a survivor of horrific violence. When he was a child, the bounty hunters who murdered his parents severed his vocal cords to keep him from talking. He has grown up into Tigrero’s double and opposite, meting out justice for money and following a strict code of ethics. He will never draw his gun first, but he will always shoot faster than his adversary.

The film’s political ideology is also a prominent theme, as Silenzio’s services are solicited by Pauline, the widow of one of Tigrero’s victims. The fact that she and her husband are black is both a casual detail and a sign of the film’s anti-authoritarian, democratic ideology. The couple seems to have been welcomed by the other good people of Snow Hill, but their race is a big issue for the bad guys.

One of the film’s most striking aspects is its brazen mixing of incompatible elements. The Great Silence is anarchic and rigorous, sophisticated and goofy, heartfelt and cynical. The score, composed by Ennio Morricone, is as mellow as wine, but the action is raw, nasty, and blood-soaked. The story is preposterous, but the politics are sincere.

Sergio Corbucci’s “The Great Silence” is a powerful allegory that draws inspiration from the deaths of two prominent figures of the 60s, Che Guevara and Malcolm X. The film’s plot takes place in Utah prior to the Great Blizzard of 1899, subverting various conventions of the Western genre.

Corbucci chooses a snow-bound Utah as the setting, in contrast to the desert plains that are typically seen in Western films, American or Italian. This creates a unique atmosphere that heightens the sense of danger and isolation felt by the characters. Jean-Louis Trintignant’s portrayal of the protagonist, Silenzio, who is completely mute, adds a sense of vulnerability and sensitivity to the character that is rare in the Western genre.

The film’s subversion of the Western genre reaches its peak with the deaths of Silenzio, Pauline, and the outlaws at the hands of Klaus Kinski’s character, Loco, and his gang. This is in stark contrast to the deaths of characters in other films of the era such as Ben in “Night of the Living Dead” and Wyatt and Billy in “Easy Rider,” where the characters are also killed. Corbucci’s subversion and commentary on the genre culminates in the final shootout, which is not a face-to-face gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but an ambush committed by Kinski’s character.

The virtual possibilities of the 60s represented a new frontier, an unexplored world of imagination and creativity. It was a time when the boundaries of what was possible were being pushed, and people were dreaming up new ways to connect, create, and communicate.

As the virtual possibilities of the 60s were being explored, the cynicism of the post-WWII era and the noir genre seeped into the cultural consciousness, leading to a new type of creative expression. The optimism and idealism of the 60s collided with the disillusionment and skepticism of the previous decade, resulting in a fusion of styles that was both exciting and contradictory.

In literature and film, this fusion was evident in the emergence of the new wave of noir, which was characterized by a more fragmented narrative structure, ambiguous moral landscapes, and a heightened sense of existential angst. The virtual possibilities of the 60s, on the other hand, were marked by a utopian spirit that sought to transcend the limitations of reality through technological innovation.

This juxtaposition of styles explored themes of identity, reality, and technology in a world that was both dystopian and utopian. Corbucci’s’s work captured the contradictions of the era, reflecting the optimism and disillusionment that coexisted within the collective consciousness.

The 60s can certainly be seen as a kind of collective unconscious dark matter. The decade was marked by a profound cultural shift that had far-reaching implications for society as a whole. It was a time of great upheaval, with widespread social and political movements challenging traditional modes of thinking and behavior.

At the heart of this shift was a growing sense of disillusionment with the status quo. People were no longer content with the established norms and values of their society and sought to break free from the constraints that had held them back for so long. But this shift was not just about rebellion and revolution. It was also about a new way of thinking about the world and our place in it. The virtual possibilities of the 60s, such as space exploration, computer technology, and new forms of media, represented a new frontier that promised to expand our understanding of the universe and our place within it.

In conclusion, the virtual possibilities of the 60s were marked by both optimism and cynicism, reflecting the contradictions of the post-WWII era and the emergence of the new wave of noir. This fusion of styles produced a new form of creative expression that challenged traditional modes of storytelling and opened up new possibilities for exploring the human condition.

Liminal Space and 4D

Liminal space, by definition, refers to a transitional or in-between space that is neither here nor there. It is a space that exists in the threshold between two places or states, and is often associated with ambiguity, uncertainty, and transformation. This concept of liminality can be found in various fields, such as anthropology, psychology, and art. In my opinion, liminal space can be visualized as a mathematical extension of the concept of three-dimensional space into four-dimensional space.

To understand this analogy, we first need to explore the concept of four-dimensional space. In mathematics, four-dimensional space is an abstract space that extends the concept of three-dimensional space by adding an additional dimension. While three-dimensional space has length, width, and height, four-dimensional space adds another dimension of time. This fourth dimension is known as temporal dimension, and it allows us to visualize objects and events as they change over time.

Similarly, liminal space can be seen as an extension of three-dimensional space, where the fourth dimension represents the transitional and ambiguous nature of the space. In other words, liminal space exists in the threshold between two different states or spaces, and the fourth dimension represents the process of transformation that occurs within this space. For example, a doorway can be seen as a liminal space, as it exists between two different rooms or environments. The fourth dimension in this case represents the act of moving from one room to another, and the transformation that occurs during this movement.

The idea of liminal space as a four-dimensional extension of three-dimensional space can also be applied to art and literature. Many works of art and literature explore the concept of liminality, using it as a way to express themes of transformation, uncertainty, and ambiguity. For example, in the novel “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, the protagonist Gregor Samsa transforms into a giant insect, representing a liminal state between human and animal. The fourth dimension in this case represents the process of transformation, as Gregor undergoes a physical and psychological change.

Similarly, in the artwork of M.C. Escher, we see a representation of four-dimensional space in his famous “Ascending and Descending” lithograph. The artwork depicts a staircase that seems to lead both up and down at the same time, creating a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty. The fourth dimension in this case represents the perspective of time, as the viewer is able to see the staircase from different angles and moments in time.

In conclusion, I believe that liminal space can be visualized as a mathematical extension of three-dimensional space into four-dimensional space. The fourth dimension in this case represents the process of transformation, uncertainty, and ambiguity that occurs within the liminal space. This analogy helps us to understand the complex nature of liminal space, and how it can be used to express themes of transformation and change in various fields of art and literature.


Foxtrot is a 1976 British-Mexican drama film directed by Arturo Ripstein and starring Peter O’TooleCharlotte Rampling and Max von Sydow.

The story follows a Romanian aristocrat, Alexander Petrovic (Peter O’Toole), who retreats to a desert island with his wife, Gabrielle (Charlotte Rampling), and their servants on the eve of World War II.

At the beginning of WW2, Liviu, a Romanian count, and his wife Julia come to live on an uninhabited tropical island, where they hope to escape the war and their past. They bring with them all conceivable provisions and their servants, and live in luxury in a mansion-like tent on the beach. After a short time, a group of uninvited friends arrive. They decimate the supplies and, in the course of a frenzied shooting party, kill every living animal on the island before leaving, bringing most of the servants with them. The only people left on the island are Liviu and his wife, their friend Larson, and one servant, Eusebio. The expected supplies do not arrive, the party has no way of communicating with the outside world, and passion is rife between the one woman and three men on the island. As supplies run short, mistrust, greed and jealousy threaten their idyllic life style.

The movie explores themes of isolation, desire, and human nature, all of which are reminiscent of the principles of Antonin Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty.

The Theater of Cruelty, as developed by Artaud, was a form of theater that aimed to evoke strong emotional and physical responses from its audience. It rejected traditional forms of theater, which relied on dialogue and character development, in favor of more primal, visceral experiences. This was achieved through the use of intense sound, movement, and visual effects, all of which were designed to shock and unsettle the audience. The central idea behind the Theater of Cruelty was to create a space where the audience could confront the raw, unfiltered aspects of their own humanity.

Similarly, Foxtrot is a movie that explores the raw, unfiltered aspects of human nature. The characters in the movie are thrust into an extreme situation, isolated on a deserted island with limited resources and no way to contact the outside world. As their situation becomes increasingly dire, they are forced to confront their own desires, fears, and flaws. The movie depicts the struggle between civilization and primal instincts, as the characters’ relationships are strained by mistrust, greed, and jealousy. The tension and conflict that arise among the characters are reminiscent of the intense emotional responses that Artaud sought to elicit in his audiences.

Another key aspect of the Theater of Cruelty was its use of ritual and symbolism. Artaud believed that theater should be a kind of spiritual experience, one that transcended the boundaries of language and rational thought. He sought to create a kind of “language of the body,” a series of movements and gestures that could communicate deep, primal truths. This emphasis on ritual and symbolism is also present in Foxtrot, particularly in the movie’s use of imagery and visual motifs. The barren landscape of the island, for example, serves as a powerful symbol of the characters’ isolation and helplessness. The recurring image of the foxtrot dance, which Liviu and Julia perform on the beach, serves as a metaphor for the characters’ attempt to maintain a sense of order and control in an increasingly chaotic world.

In conclusion, the movie Foxtrot shares many similarities with the principles of Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty. Both explore the raw, unfiltered aspects of human nature, using intense emotional experiences to elicit a response from their audiences. Both also emphasize ritual and symbolism as a means of transcending language and rational thought. Foxtrot is a powerful and thought-provoking movie that offers a compelling exploration of human nature and the struggle between civilization and primal instincts.

In Accordance With The Logic of Their System

One of the hallmarks of great fiction, whether in film or literature, is the ability to present complex and nuanced characters. While it may be tempting to present characters as clear heroes or villains, the best fiction often eschews this approach, instead presenting characters that are more true to life. These characters are not necessarily good or evil, but rather are simply acting in accordance with the logic of their system, pursuing their own interests without regard for the consequences or for the greater good.

There are many examples of this type of character in fiction. In Martin Scorsese’s film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the protagonist Jordan Belfort is not presented as a traditional hero or villain, but rather as a complex and flawed individual who is simply pursuing his own interests. Belfort is a stockbroker who becomes incredibly wealthy by exploiting loopholes in the system and engaging in illegal activities. While his actions are certainly unethical, he is not portrayed as a cartoonish villain. Instead, the film presents him as a complex individual who is motivated by his own desires and who is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve them.

Similarly, in the novel “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis, the protagonist Patrick Bateman is a wealthy and successful investment banker who is also a serial killer. While his actions are clearly evil, the novel does not present him as a traditional villain. Instead, it presents him as a product of his environment, a wealthy and privileged individual who is completely detached from the world around him.

This type of character is not limited to contemporary fiction. In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet,” the titular character is a complex individual who is motivated by his own desires and fears. While he is often presented as a hero, he is also capable of great cruelty and violence. His actions are driven by his own desires for revenge and his fear of the unknown.

Masks, Spontaneity, Storytelling, Status

Keith Johnstone’s theories on spontaneity, storytelling, status, and mask work are well-known in the world of theater and improvisation. His ideas on improvisation go beyond simply teaching actors how to think on their feet; they explore the deeper psychological and neurological mechanisms that underlie creativity and performance. In this essay, we will explore Johnstone’s theories through the lens of neuroscience and psychology, and see how they fit into our current understanding of the mind and consciousness.

One of the key ideas behind Johnstone’s theories is the concept of spontaneity. According to Johnstone, spontaneity is the ability to act without conscious thought, to simply allow oneself to be carried by the flow of the moment. This is a concept that is well-understood in neuroscience and psychology, where it is often referred to as “flow” or “the zone.” In this state, the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for conscious thought and decision-making, is quieted, allowing other areas of the brain to take over. This can lead to a sense of effortless action and a feeling of being “in the zone.”

Masks signaling spontaneity:

  1. Anonymous masks used by members of the hacktivist group Anonymous to conceal their identities while engaging in online activism and spontaneous protests.
  2. Masks used by street performers such as mimes and buskers to draw attention and create a spontaneous atmosphere in public spaces.
  3. Masquerade masks used in parties and events where participants are encouraged to act spontaneously and engage in social interaction without revealing their true identity.

Another important concept in Johnstone’s theories is storytelling. Johnstone emphasizes the importance of creating compelling narratives in performance, and he encourages actors to tap into the power of archetypes and mythological themes. From a psychological perspective, this is an important aspect of human cognition. We are wired to understand the world through stories, and our brains are constantly looking for patterns and narratives in the world around us. By tapping into these innate cognitive processes, actors can create performances that resonate deeply with audiences.

Masks signaling storytelling:

  1. Masks used in traditional theatre performances such as Noh and Commedia dell’arte to represent specific characters and emotions in a story.
  2. Masks used in storytelling traditions such as Native American and African tribal cultures to represent characters and spirits in folktales and myths.
  3. Masks used in contemporary theatre productions to represent metaphorical or symbolic concepts such as death, love, or fear.

Status is another important concept in Johnstone’s theories. He argues that status is not simply a matter of social hierarchy; it is a fluid and dynamic phenomenon that is constantly shifting in response to social cues and context. From a neuroscience perspective, this makes sense. Our brains are wired to be acutely sensitive to social cues and status hierarchies, and we are constantly processing this information on a subconscious level. By understanding the nuances of status and social dynamics, actors can create more believable and nuanced performances.

Masks signaling status:

  1. Masks used in ceremonial or religious contexts to represent higher beings or deities, such as the masks used in the African masquerade tradition.
  2. Masks worn by high-ranking officials and dignitaries during formal events or ceremonies to signify their status and authority.
  3. Masks used in traditional cultures to represent social status or caste, such as the mask traditions in Bali, Indonesia, where masks are used to represent royalty or warriors.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Johnstone’s theories is his work on mask work. Johnstone argues that masks can create altered states of consciousness and even induce trance states or amnesia. From a neuroscience perspective, this is a complex phenomenon that is still not fully understood. However, we do know that our consciousness is not solely located in the brain. Our bodies and our environments play a crucial role in shaping our subjective experiences, and our sense of self is deeply intertwined with our physical and social contexts. By using masks to alter these contexts, actors can create performances that transcend the boundaries of normal conscious experience.


Johnstone’s theories on improvisation and performance rely on a situated cognition and embodied theory of the mind. This approach emphasizes the importance of our bodies and environments in shaping our subjective experiences, rather than viewing consciousness as solely located in the brain.

Situated cognition is a theory that posits that knowing is inseparable from doing by arguing that all knowledge is situated in activity bound to social, cultural and physical contexts.

Situated cognition is a perspective that argues that cognitive processes are not solely determined by internal mental representations, but are also influenced by the context in which they occur. This means that our cognitive processes are situated in our physical and social environments, and that our environment plays an active role in shaping our subjective experiences. Johnstone’s theories on improvisation and performance are consistent with this perspective, as they emphasize the importance of the actor’s physical and social context in shaping their performances.

Embodied cognition is another perspective that emphasizes the importance of the body in shaping our cognitive processes. This approach argues that cognition is not just a matter of mental representations and computations, but is also grounded in the body and its interactions with the environment. Johnstone’s theories on mask work are consistent with this perspective, as he argues that masks can create altered states of consciousness and induce trance states or amnesia. By altering the actor’s physical and social context, masks can fundamentally change the way they experience and interact with the world.


Notes: Keith Johnstone, “Masks and Trance.” (Impro, Theater Arts Books, Routledge, 1992)

“It’s true that an actor can wear a Mask casually, and just pretend to be another person, but as Gaskill and myself were absolutely clear that we were trying to induce trance states. The reason why one automatically talks and writes of Masks with a capital ‘M’ is that one really feels the genuine Masked actor is inhabited by a spirit. Nonsense perhaps, but that’s what the experience is like, and has always been like. To understand Mask it’s also necessary to understand the nature of trance itself. ” (143-144)

“Masks seem exotic when you first learn about them, but to my mind Mask acting is no stranger than any other kind: no more weird than the fact that an actor can blush when his character is embarrassed, or turn white with fear, or that a cold will stop for the duration of the performance, and then start streaming again as soon as the curtain falls…Actors can be possessed by the characters they play just as they can be possessed by Masks…We find the the Mask strange because we don’t understand how irrational our responses to the face are anyway, we don’t realize that much of our lives is spent in some sort of trance, i.e. absorbed. ” (148)

“The Mask…exhibited without its costume, and without film, or even a photograph of the Mask in use, we respond to it only as an aesthetic object. Many Masks are beautiful or striking, but that’s not the point. A Mask is a device for driving personality out of the body and allowing spirit to take possession of it. A very beautiful Mask may be completely dead, while a piece of old sacking with a mouth and eye-holes torn in it may possess tremendous vitality. (149)

“Many actors report “split” states of consciousness, or amnesia; they speak of their body acting automatically. or as being inhabited by the character they are playing. Sybil Thorndike: “When you’re an actor you cease to be make and female, you’re a person with all the other persons inside you. (Great Acting, BBC Publications, 1967.) Edith Evans: “…I seem to have an awful lot of people inside me. Do you know what I mean? If I understand them I feel terribly like them when I am doing them…It’s quite odd you know. You are it, for quite a bit, and then you’re not.”

“In another kind of culture I think it’s clear that such actors could easily talk of being possessed by the character. It’s true that while some actors will maintain they always remain ‘themselves’ when they’re acting, but how do they know? Improvisers who maintain that they’re in a normal state of consciousness when they improvise often have unexpected gaps in their memories which only emerge when you question them closely….Normally we only know of our trance states by the time jumps. When an improviser feels that two hours have passed in twenty minutes, we’re entitled to ask where he was for the missing hour and forty minutes. ” (152)

“Most people only recognize “trance” when the subject looks confused–out of touch with the reality around him…I remember an experiment in which deep trance subjects were first asked how many objects there had been in the waiting-room. When they were put into trance and asked again, it was found they had actually observed more than ten times the number of objects than they had consciously remembered.” (153)

Meta-Logic and the Absurd

Meta-logic is a concept that challenges traditional logic and reasoning. It is the idea of communicating beyond the semantic level and conveying a truth that lies beyond ordinary meaning. This concept is often associated with the absurd, but the term “absurd” is misleading. Instead, the expression “meta-logical” is a more accurate description of this phenomenon.

To communicate at the meta-logical level, one must construct apparent contradictions in terms of ordinary meaning. This is akin to the use of koans in Zen Buddhism, which are paradoxical statements designed to provoke a deeper level of understanding. The purpose of using such language is to project an image just beyond the belief structure of the target person, conveying a deeper meaning that lies beyond ordinary language.

The use of meta-logic raises the question of whether most concepts are diversionary, making the real, infinitely more complex nature of reality. The answer may be that meta-logic does not refer to itself, and it is not logical. It is a manifestation of a much more complex technology, a way of understanding reality that has been seen throughout history in the form of myth, religion, magic, and science.

Throughout history, meta-logic has consistently received or provided its own explanation within the framework of each culture. In myth, gods were often used to explain the mysteries of the universe. During the Middle Ages, magicians and alchemists attempted to understand the natural world through ritual and symbolism. In the 19th century, scientific geniuses like Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison pushed the boundaries of what was possible with technology. Today, the idea of aliens and extraterrestrial life is often used to explain phenomena that defy explanation.

Meta-logic is a concept that goes beyond traditional logic and reasoning. It involves the use of paradoxes and contradictions to communicate a truth that lies beyond the surface level of meaning. While the term “absurd” may be misleading, meta-logic has been observed throughout history in various cultural and intellectual contexts.

One individual who has explored adjacecent territory to meta-logic is Jacques Vallee, a French-born computer scientist, author, and ufologist. Vallee has written extensively on the subject of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and their impact on human culture and consciousness.

He argues that the seemingly illogical and contradictory nature of UFO reports and experiences serves a purpose beyond simple explanation or proof of extraterrestrial life.

Instead, Vallee suggests that UFOs may represent a kind of “control system” that is manipulating human consciousness and behavior for a specific purpose. He suggests that this purpose may be related to the evolution of human consciousness and the potential for a radical transformation of human society.

The origins of meta-logic are unknown, but it may be a manifestation of a natural occurrence that we have yet to discover. The key to understanding meta-logic lies in the psychic effects it produces. It is an awareness that we approach under conditions controlled by the absurd. Everything works as if the meta-logic is a product of a technology that follows well-defined rules and patterns.

In conclusion, meta-logic is a concept that challenges traditional logic and reasoning. It is a way of communicating beyond the semantic level and conveying a truth that lies beyond ordinary meaning. The impact of meta-logic in shaping human understanding of the universe has been enormous, and it is a phenomenon that continues to fascinate and inspire people today.