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Greg Bear
This nOde last updated November 9th, 2003 and is permanently morphing...
(2 Oc (Dog) / 18 (Zak (White) - 210/260 -

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C Theory: First, we would like to begin with a general question about internal linkscience fiction, and your position as an SF writer. How would you characterize your work in relation to the actual sciences of genetics and biotech? What do you see as the role of SF in relation to the sciences?

Greg Bear: Science fiction has always functioned as an internal linkinterface between scientists and the interested lay public. A fair number of scientists write SF, in part to relax, in part to publicly explain ideas near and dear to them and also perhaps to play with ideas their colleagues wouldn't appreciate seeing in formal journals. Many, many more scientists enjoy reading it (if they have internal linktime, after the journals, to read anything!). But SF also opens up the playing field to artists and writers who can explore scientific issues in ways scientific journals don't or won't. Social modeling of the implications of scientific discoveries is necessary to both science and society whether it be positive or negative or balanced!

the Network... the quest for the first molecular assembler...nanotech

CTheory: Your SF novels _Blood Music_atomjacked inventory cacheand _Darwin's Radio_ both deal with the ways in which genetics and biotech transform the human condition.  But they also seem to be very different versions of what that transformation entails. What was the driving internal linkforce behind these two books? Is there a connection for you between them?

Greg Bear: _Blood Music_ followed hard on the dawning of my realization that internal linkDNA is a self-organizing internal linkcybernetic system a kind of neural internal linknetwork. The implications of that were staggering and at the time, working off my debt to visionary science fiction, I wanted to carry the idea quickly to its ultimate conclusion which came to resemble the worst nightmares of the early pioneers of internal linknanotechnology. It's a parable of the consequences of knowledge and internal linkevolution of what happens when biological systems acquire supreme control over their environment. Some view it as a scary horror novel others as a tale of religious transcendence. To me, it's both change is both scary and enlightening.

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"We are not who we think we are. The mind is the brain and body working together and reacting to the environment; the brain by itself cannot explain mind. In Western culture in particular, our inheritance from the Greeks and the Enlightenment is a kind of fiction about the role of Self and mind that people in other parts of the world  internal linkJapan or India, for example find internal linkpuzzling. The human mind is made up of elements that, if analyzed objectively, turn out to be remarkably "unhuman" in the Western conception. In other words, we are made of layers of different sorts of biologically based minds, strongly interconnected, but performing different tasks at different times in our lives, using shared resources. The conscious mind which is still consistently regarded as the true and reliable Self in our culture reacts after the fact to what these other minds do. Consciousness is a social interface, mandated by our nature as social animals. The conscious self is very useful, sometimes serving as a critical judge, after the fact, of our emotions and actions, but it's not the one in charge much of the time. (Marvin Minsky's _Society of Mind_ is a key text in this debate, as well as Julian Jaynes and William James, internal linkJung, and Freud, all of whom had different approaches to the same fascinating problem.) "  - Greg Bear

Carl Jung

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internal linkambient release _Blood Music: Pentamerous Metamorphosis_ CD by Global Communication on Dedicated #13 (1993)
Chapterhouse -  _Blood Music_ retranslated by Global Communication into _Blood Music: Pentamerous Metamorphosis_.

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