online: 13 june 2015
modified: 12 june, 13 2015
10 june 2015 beginnings of human
...a field surrounded by tall trees... replanted with wild flowers as if
it were a meadow... air and ground very dry... and sky is cloudless and
tallest trees sway in the wind while at ground level there is only a
...i've seen no one walking here this evening... just a keeper waiting
to lock garden gates at 8:30... and now it's nine o'clock... and a
crow appears at the edge of the replanted patch... and i'm reminded of
the organised experiments of George Stapledon* at the Welsh Plant
Station on the high ground near Aberystwyth (in sight of which my sister
and i were born in 1930 and 1927)...
...but this planting has no such grand idea as had George Stapledon not
only for hill farming in Wales and for grassland farming everywhere but
also for the
beginnings of human ecology...
...while his nephew Olaf Stapledon** was
writing scientiic fantasies of evolution throughout the solar system and
the universe... perhaps without his uncle's knowledge...
...but if those two pioneers did not know of each other's thoughts...
here i am knowing something of technology and art and feeling my way to
the as yet nameless aftermaths of such ideas... (this writing becomes
than coherent as i tussle with these thoughts in approaching darkness...
and so i prepare to leave these fruitful borderlands of thought and
return home to continue writing in the night)...
...as the bus approached a stop a recorded voice announced its name and
the passenger sitting in front of me pressed the button instructing the
bus to stop... then the driver (acting as an obedient robot) drove to
the exact point where passengers were waiting to get out and in...
...thinking carefully about this seemingly trivial event i realised that
passenger control of where to stop (or don't) is quite sophisticated...
if compared for instance with the control of this function by
professionals in aircraft, train, ship or other transport... to the
exclusion of the passengers from any vestige of control...
...this is not yet fully described but perhaps these words are enough to
this use of electronics or cybernetics to enable passengers to take
responsibility for the 'stop' or 'don't stop' command is a beginning of
a workable transport utopia that is unattained elsewhere (except perhaps
in driverless lifts)...
....and i suppose if the Stapledons were alive now they might
try to inspire the creative-auto-democracy that one can
imagine operating not only in transport but throughout the culture...
(and without so many abstract words as these... that i guess were taught
us by the Romans!)
*Waller, Robert, Prophet of the New Age: The Life and Thought of
Sir George Stapledon, F.R.S., Faber and Faber, London 1962.
Stapledon, Olaf, Last and First Men, a story of the near and far
future, Penguin Books, London 1930 (and several later
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