Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

11 August 2009

the days and the ages of the grid

Tonight I'd really like to talk about the Grid.

You see, when you receive a message like the one I received (see previous message), it's kind of difficult to ignore it. Yes, the part about Jesus coming again was sort of a mind blower - because it presupposes that he's been here once already. Definitely not good news for Jewish folk, if there's any validity to it. And the fact that he would come again "as the scholar" is also a titillating detail, as it might be able to help us identify him. But the part about the four days of the Grid intrigued me most, since that pins down when he's to arrive, so we can get ready. That is, if you put any credibility in my ability to prophecy.

But then again, I'm just a fictional character - I'm a slightly delirious character on the internet, sharing her musings with a vacuum. So this could all be flight of fancy, and most likely, it is.

Still, after hearing this message, I first researched the notion of The Grid, mostly because, that particular term was used very specifically in the message. I also know for certain that the voice spoke of the number four, and of the notion of "days." But I will confess, that when I wrote down the message as I woke out of my sleep the night I received it, I was baffled by the idea of Jesus coming in the four days of the Grid, or the fourth day of the Grid, which was the language that still rang in my head when I woke up. Because of that, I jotted down the word "age?" underneath the word "day", as I thought it might be possible that in the language of prophecy, a day could be translated very loosely. After all, we're told God created the world in seven days, aren't we? And that's pretty impossible, if you ask me.

Yes, when I do this kind of interpretation, I take everything as a sort of kaballist sign. Especially natural phenomena, and numbers, like the number four. In the tarot, the number four refers to building a foundation of some kind. So the fourth Age of the Grid would indicate that some sort of foundation has been produced by this time. Four is a very stable number, and it includes two doubles. Doubles mark harmony and balance of opposites. In the number 4, there is double harmony.

But what, I wondered, could be the Fourth Age of the Grid? And what the third, the second, and the first?

I researched grid computing for awhile, because I felt that the computer age, and the age of the internet, no doubt marked the First Age of the Grid. If that is true, than we have a while to go before Jesus shows up, since we're really just beginning to accept grid computing and the internet in a large scale way.

Or are we?

Even in Computer Science, we've moved rather rapidly out of the first age of grid computing, and may be into the second or even the third. So if the term is solidly grounded in computing, which seems to speed everything up, the fourth age may come more rapidly.

And if the term refers directly to computers and the internet, than perhaps the Fourth Age of the Grid will occur when everything has become digital. When we are all fully cyborgs, might I say.

I am not the first to make the observation that every advancement in technology has served to extend some limb or aspect of the human body. The wheel extends the leg; radio extends the ears and the voice; guns extends our arms (and our ability to throw something lethal effectively); the list goes on. And what of the computer?

It extends and imitates our mind. I was speaking to a good friend the other day who just happens to be a computer programmer, and he commented that the basic language of computers relies on pure logic, pure formula. That is a universal language, he kept insisting. So when we have all become automated, we all have access to a universal language. And that language, I would dare to say, would be the language of pure mind.

It would be pure logic. And it would be universally understood. So the language of the Fourth Age of the Grid would necessitate that the messiah be pure mind. The Scholar. Makes sense, eh? Jesus will come as the scholar then, because we will need a pure scholar to lead us into this age.

But then there's another thought I've had, and it's directly related to universal language. It may take a few entries to get this down.

What's troubling, yet exciting, about this Age we may be on the crest of, this Digital Age, is that it is one in which our physical bodies may be of very little value; we can be whatever we are on the web, and it would replace our physical handicaps and shortcomings. Sort of like me. Remember, I'm quite old. But I'm eternal on the internet. Always young; always feisty. I'm here for as long as digital data exists. Makropolis will even transcend my physical body. . . it will persist long after that physical body is gone. Therefore, Makropolis is a representation of what I would like to be - eternally young; however, she relies very heavily on previous representations to make her point.

However, Makropolis lives soley in the realm of digital representation. Which is a different realm from, say, an opera. Or a television show. Thus, the Fourth Age of the Grid constitutes a new age of representation, one in which actual authorship and identity is of minimal value. This Age was preceded by what Walter Benjamin called "Mechanical Representation," that being the ability to reproduced reality repetititively and multiply. This is an age where collaborative work is most effective; its media include photography, cinema, video, radio, television. Previous to that, the dominant representational mode was linear - ie: it could be understood in terms of a beginning, middle, and end. Furthermore, it had to be perceived that way. Mechanical Representation moved us into non-linear experience - ie, artists felt less and less inclined to present things in a chronological progression - time began to be recognized as having multiple dimensions. In the Age of Linear Representation, time was experienced as utterly chronological.

Linear Representation was ushered in with the onset of storytelling and writing. Both are media of narration, demanding that items be presented "in a line." Narrative is one type of linear organization. Other types include poetry and argument. The Age of Linear Representation began roughly whenever humans began placing more credibility on written and spoken words. The Age of Linear Representation, then, is roughly aligned to those periods that make sense of themselves through stories. Fundamentally, it is the Age of the Bible and other Holy Books.

This would mean the first age of the grid precedes that. What would it be called? Prehistoric, perhaps, but it might also be recognized as the first age during which humans felt a compulsion to look at the world and try to make sense of it, or preserve their impressions of it, by imitating it. This would be an age of mimicry and childish drawings - pre-Christian no doubt, not to mention pre-Judaic.

When humans were practicing simple mimicry, they were in early stages of evolution. Why, one wonders, did they decide to start drawing? They were like children, really. I think of Lacan and Freud here. According to Lacan, the first time we feel the compulsion to communicate is when we first recognize our own mirror image as both being us, yet being separate from us - ie: when we see ourselves reproduced. In that doubling of ourselves, we see ourselves as singular, alone, and incomplete. Feeling that loss, we try to reclaim it by reaching out, by creating society.

So we start communicating - thus, the first age of the artistic representation.

Each age of artistic representation has marked a new stage in the development of the mind. Yeah, I'm saying that while all the other technologies (wheels, trains, planes, guns, birth control pills) are an attempt to perfect some aspect of the body and the desires seated in the body, technologies linked with perfecting artistic representation are attempts to perfect how we extend the mind out beyond its limited physical dimension.

I am more expert in the Humanities than in other fields, so I will keep my examples largely in those fields; however, with my pedestrian knowledge of other fields, I would dare to say that in each of these Ages, the Sciences, Logic, and Mathematical knowledge also showed evolution. Indeed, those fields of intellectual study, which tend to be more closely associated with advancements in technology, also mark attempts to extend the mind beyond the physical dimension.

Therefore, each Age of the Grid marks stages in the development of our ability to represent the workings of the mind, and the reality of the mind. But don't forget - the Fourth Age of the Grid, the Digital Age, is seated in digital technology and is therefore global. It is also an intersection age - an age when Artistic Representation intersects with Scientific and Mathematical Representation - and all of these are attempts by humans to extend the mind beyond its physical borders.

Ironically, in some ways, the Fourth Age of the Grid brings us back to some of the features of the First Age of the Grid. Images become dominant in the digital age. Simple, clear messages about shared experiences have more saliency in a global medium than do complex messages about local phenomena. But in their simplicity, the messages that we extend across the globe about our shared experiences also become quite complex, because they acknowledge that we all experience simple life experiences colored by different life circumstances.

The Fourth Age of the Grid, then, demands that we all have a shared literacy. This shared literacy could be manipulated by a central power, if we let it. To keep us from being dominated by one world power, we all have a responsibility to develop our minds. We have a global responsibility to maintain the ethics of the media and develop a literacy grounded in empathy and compassion.

And if we could do that, as a world, well, it seems that we might lay the foundation for the potential of Jesus coming again. . . . . through ourselves.

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