Counterculture Blooms

Counterculture blooms wherever and whenever a few members of a society choose lifestyles, artistic expressions, and ways of thinking and being that wholeheartedly embrace the ancient axiom that the only true constant is change itself. The mark of counterculture is not a particular social form or structure, but rather the evanescence of forms and structures, the dazzling rapidity and flexibility with which they appear, mutate, and morph into one another and disappear. Counterculture is the moving crest of a wave, a zone of uncertainty where culture goes quantum. To borrow the language of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ilya Prigogine, counterculture is the cultural equivalent of the ‘third thermodynamic state,’ the ‘nonlinear region’ where equilibrium and symmetry have given way to a complexity so intense as to appear to the eye as chaos.

The Energy Level of the Noosphere

It is possible that the noosphere contained thought patterns in the form of very weak energy until we developed radio transmission; whereupon the energy level of the noosphere went out of bounds and assumed a life of its own. It no longer served as a mere passive repository of human information (the ‘Seas of Knowledge’ which ancient Sumer believed in) but, due to the incredible surge of charge from our electronic signals and the information-rich material therein, we have given it power to cross a vast threshold; we have, so to speak, resurrected what Philo and other ancients called the Logos. Information has, then, become alive, with a collective mind of its own independent of our brains…

Philip K. Dick, Man, Android, and Machine

The Attributes of Liminality

The attributes of liminality or of liminal personae (‘threshold people’) are necessarily ambiguous, since this condition and these persons elude or slip through the network of classifications that normally locate states and positions in cultural space. Liminal entities are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremony. As such, their ambiguous and indeterminate attributes are expressed by a rich variety of symbols in the many societies that ritualize social and cultural transitions. Thus, liminality is frequently likened to death, to being in the womb, to invisibility, to darkness, to bisexuality, to the wilderness, and to an eclipse of the sun or moon.

Victor Turner, Liminality and Communitas