Embassy of the Free Mind: Alchemical Shadows in Artificial Intelligence

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Lecture by Patricia Pisters at Embassy of the Free Mind Amsterdam, 10 July 2021

In his famous poem ‘Eidolons’(1876) Walt Whitman extends the Greek concept for the idealized or spectral image of a person to include the soul of the Earth (‘the mighty Earth eidolon’) and even the stars and planets. In this presentation I will depart from Whitman’s cosmic interpretation of these mimetic eidolons and reframe these figures within contemporary debates on posthumanism where human fate is entangled with nonhuman forces beyond the nature/culture divide. I will focus on the question what our perception and interpretation of our high-tech and posthuman self-image can learn from ancient sources of the alchemical tradition, a tradition that is full of mythical images of human’s connections to the non-human. As such, alchemy itself can be considered as the low-tech (fore)shadow of our high-tech future that still holds infinite wisdoms that are worthwhile reconsidering and updating for the protean future of mankind.

See for more information the website of Embassy of the Free Mind, or here