Remix Metaphors to Shift Perspective, with Jonathon Keats
Keats explains how marriage can be treated as a metaphor by explaining the process by which two people can become married not by government definition, but by a law of nature, thanks to advances in quantum physics.
Jonathon Keats is a San Francisco-based experimental philosopher who has, over the years, sold real estate in the extra dimensions of space-time proposed by string theory (he sold a hundred and seventy-two extra-dimensional lots in the Bay Area in a single day); made an attempt to genetically engineer God (God turns out to be related to the cyanobacterium); and copyrighted his own mind (in order to get a seventy-year post-life extension.
Keats's bold experiments raise serious questions and put into practice his conviction that the world needs more "curious amateurs," willing to explore publicly whatever intrigues them, in defiance of a culture that increasingly forecloses on wonder and siloes knowledge into narrowly defined areas of expertise.
Jonathon Keats: Marriage is always seemed a little bit problematic to me. The idea that a government gets to decide whether or not you are married according to a given set of laws. Or a religious authority gets to do so. I was thinking about this as I was in the process of getting married. And thinking about the fact that honestly as much as that paperwork would matter to the government it wouldn't really matter much to me or to my future wife. So I wanted to find a way to get married that was deeper, that was more universal than whatever sort of legal framework could be thrown my way by the United States government. I wanted to instead be married by a law of nature. That is possible today, perhaps for the first time because of advances in quantum physics. You wouldn't think it, quantum physics tends to be either highly theoretical or a system that is used for instance in cryptography. However quantum entanglement, one of the essentials systems that comes out of quantum mechanics, is one that has the potential I believe to serve as a way in which marriage can be based on a truly universal foundation.
Quantum entanglement involves two more particles becoming effectively one in the same even if they are separated across the universe from each other. When they are entangled anything that happens to one instantaneously happens to the other as if it had been done to the second particle. That quality seems an awful lot like what marriage is about, this way in which you can lead separate lives and yet you still are somehow bound and whatever comes the way of one person in a relationship also applies to the other. So I set about building an apparatus that would allow my wife and I and others as well to become think entangled, to become married in a way that no governmental authority, no religious authority could say that it was not allowed that it was inappropriate. That gay marriage for instance would not be an issue that a government could regulate. That any sort of relationship at all, if it was meaningful to you, could become fully manifest as an entangled relationship as a marriage at the basis of all reality. The apparatus was very simple. I used a special sort of crystal which was able to take sunlight, photons, and to bombard two people standing below the apparatus with those photos in a way that they themselves became entangled by the entanglement of the photons. So that while it would not necessarily be all of them, while it would not necessarily withstand all time and space, they could partake in this process of entanglement.
And they could then take away from it what they wanted to take away. That is to say that any quantum system is extremely delicate. Entitled is no exception. Any management that you make has the effect of collapsing the system. In other words two particles that are entangled, if you check to see if they are entangled will become disentangled. And so likewise two people who are married by the process of quantum entanglement should they question that bond and start to interrogate it will become disentangled as well. So in a sense the entanglement operates both literally and metaphorically. Literally because I'm using real equipment that is used for entitlement for purposes of encryption for instance, to entangle people and people are becoming genuinely entangled by the process but it is also I think more importantly the knowledge that that process has taken place. And the way in which that makes those people behave that is what makes for an entitlement so special as a form of marriage; the fact that it really has to be taken on faith ultimately because the quantum mechanics demands it and relationships are that way too. Relationships are delicate in the sense that quantum systems are. So I think that we can actually learn from subatomic particles how to behave toward each other in a caring long-term relationship. I think that the metaphor that is inherent in language and in the common understanding of a quantum process can be something that we can apply quite literally and highly productively in our everyday lives.
You might say that metaphors are just metaphors like a poem how important can it be? How seriously can you take something that was meant for the enjoyment that you might get reading a book? To what extent can you really make use of it? I think that metaphor actually is something that can be used incredibly productively by taking it literally. Not by taking it literally and leaving it at that but recognizing the metaphor for what it is and finding what happens if you apply it literally in your life. So that in the case of quantum physics, because quantum physics is so weird, because quantum particles behave in ways that are so totally foreign to the way in which we live, to our experience of the world, much of the discussion of quantum physics happens metaphorically. And the metaphors can be mined I think and can be applied I believe in ways that lead through their literal application to different ways in which we can relate to each other in the world. That is to say that quantum particles relate to each other in ways that are entirely different from those with which we are familiar, from those which we relate with each other on an everyday basis. And the way in which we relate to each other on an everyday basis doesn't always work so well.
We fight, we have problems communicating, we go to war. So might it be possible taking the quantum realm, the metaphors that are used to explain how quantum particles interact and applying those metaphors literally in our lives that we may realign the way in which we live that makes us somehow unlike how we were before. And that repositioning, while it need not be absolutely or permanent, at least can be something that we can try out, can be another way in which we can consider our relationship with others and through that process give us more perspective on the myriad possibilities as far as society where there are seven billion of us for how that society can interact and interrelate.
When Jonathon Keats got married, he wanted to find a way to do it that was deeper than whatever sort of legal framework could be thrown his way by the United States government. He wanted to instead be married by a law of nature which, as he explains, is possible today thanks to advances in quantum physics.
As Keats explores this thought experiment, he explains the value of interpreting metaphors literally. Doing this, he says, will open up your mind to the workings of thought and language while shifting your perspective on myriad social normalities.
Physicists create quantum entanglement, making two distant objects behave as one.
We're in an era of 'megafires'.
A headline that reads 'The Worst Year in History for Wildfires' should be a shocking and dramatic statement. Instead, it's in danger of becoming a cliché, a well-worn phrase, an annual event.
Researchers have just discovered the remains of a hybrid human.
90,000 years ago, a young girl lived in a cave in the Altai mountains in southern Siberia. Her life was short; she died in her early teens, but she stands at a unique point in human evolution. She is the first known hybrid of two different kinds of ancient humans: the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.
What does sports fandom look like in the new normal?
- With the masses huddled at home and glued to our screens, the last several months of frozen competition provided an opportunity for sports franchises to experiment with creative modes of fan engagement, often involving multiple media channels.
- On another level, this is a challenge that wasn't prompted by COVID-19 and won't go away when COVID-19 does.
- Franchise marketers are accelerating their digital transformation processes, finding innovative ways to connect with fans online, with VR, community building and repackaging classic content.
Head back to the stadium – virtually<p>After months of deprivation, fans are panting to see their favorite teams. For the moment, they are so eager to return to live sports that they are ecstatic over any live game broadcast. On July 5, some 5.7 million people tuned in to the Southampton v. Manchester City match, making it the Premier League's most-watched match ever. </p><p>But as time goes by, the shine of live sports will wear off. An empty stadium is disappointing both for viewers at home and for players. The NFL's "virtual draft" event in April drew a larger audience (15.6 million) than Monday Night Football did last weekend (14 million), even though the former was little more than a televised Zoom call while the latter was a marquee matchup between two of the hottest teams in the league, the Chiefs and the Ravens.</p><p>The time has come for the sports industry to find creative ways to harness technology for the next generation of fan engagement. What can we learn about the future based on what worked best during the pandemic?</p>
Breathe new life into regurgitated content<p>Filling up gaps in the programming schedule with reruns of classic games worked well at first, but returns are diminishing. Success requires networks to put more work into their content choices.</p><p>Tommy Stimson, managing director at Qualitative Insights, <a href="https://marumatchbox.com/4-actions-fan-engagement-sports-covid-19/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">points out</a> that fans aren't very interested in games from the last 10-12 years. Footage from these games is already widely available online, plus "The known outcome and familiarity with the content makes the reruns less-than-satisfying." Instead, Stimson recommends showing iconic, historical sports moments that most of today's fans haven't seen or experienced. </p><p>Fans appreciate reruns far more when the footage is interspersed with new analysis and commentary, either from current players or from the athletes who were playing at the time. One of the darlings of Netflix's pandemic-era programming lineup, Michael Jordan's <em>The Last Dance </em>documentary, which followed the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls on their title run, drew an average of 5.6 million viewers for each of its ten episodes.</p><p>Many teams hosted social media-integrated "watch parties," where former players shared their personal memories and fielded questions from fans while streaming classic games, and fans were delighted with the multi-screen experience, which dovetailed perfectly with game rerun telecasts. <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/survey-sports-with-empty-stadiums-means-millions-of-americans-will-be-engaging-from-home-301094037.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">One poll</a> found that 76 percent of U.S. fans want more watch party-style viewing options moving forward.</p>
Screenshot of New England Patriots re-watch party ad
Credit: Facebook<p>Networks would also do well to tap into the <a href="https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/money-sports-success" target="_self">deeper reasons</a> why people follow sports, by sharing narratives about how teams come together as a unit, or times when players overcame adversity. Viewers are eager for behind-the-scenes content that reveals how players stay in shape, how managers set strategies, or the motivating factors behind decisions to trade, draft, and otherwise acquire talent.</p><p>As brands collect more viewer data, they can also deliver more personalized content experiences that engage fans more deeply. </p>
Invite fans to vote for in-game elements<p>Giving fans ways to have a real effect on in-game elements is another winner for the sports industry. Juventus has long been a trail-blazer for digital transformation, so it's no big surprise to see the storied soccer franchise leading the way again.</p><p><span></span>Juventus <a href="https://www.socios.com/new-goal-celebration-song-for-juventus-is-revealed/" target="_blank">invited fans to vote</a> for its new in-stadium goal celebration song using Socios, a token-based voting and rewards platform, to ensure that the results wouldn't be sabotaged by rival fans or manipulated by hackers.</p>
Credit: Twitter<p>Fans overwhelmingly chose Blur's "Song 2," and were rewarded by <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7868543/Juventus-fans-chose-iconic-Blur-track-goal-anthem-pioneering-blockchain-vote.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hearing the song four times</a> in the first back-to-business game between Juventus and Cagliari. </p> <p>Socios has been doing some interesting work in the digital fan engagement realm beyond the Juventus example. Its parent company, Chiliz, partners with teams to issue blockchain-based, franchise-branded coins. Apollon Limassol FC decided to put on a head-to-head skills challenge between players, with <a href="https://medium.com/chiliz/apollon-fc-apl-fan-token-sells-out-in-6-minutes-generating-100k-f3bc6a98e75d" target="_blank">fans using tokens to vote</a> on the matchups. In esports, itself a social distancing-friendly concept, fans of Spanish team Heretics were able to vote on which players would go head to head in Fortnite death-matches.</p>
Encourage fans to connect together at home<p>Part of the beauty of sports is that it forges relationships. Season ticket holders connect with neighboring seatmates in the stadium; families bond over a shared love for their teams; friends come together to watch the big match and analyze it ceaselessly during and after the game.</p> <p>It's difficult to translate this to a situation where even private socializing is frowned upon, but it's not impossible. </p> <p>To build hype as the NFL season neared, Pepsi <a href="https://www.marketingdive.com/news/pepsi-delivers-tailgate-in-a-box-to-football-fans-hankering-for-game-day/584016/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tapped into this demand</a> with a "Tailgate-in-a-box" kit that includes an outdoor projector and a range of Pepsi products. The kit is valued at $5,000 and was delivered to sweepstake winners, so it's unclear how this will translate into the general market, but the opportunity is clear. Pepsi is also experimenting with a "tailgate tour" that brings live music and outdoor games to fans viewing from home. </p> <p>The <a href="https://www.sportbusiness.com/2020/09/nba-leverages-microsoft-partnership-to-revolutionize-virtual-fan-experience/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">NBA led the way recently</a> by offering 320 fans the opportunity to "attend" games in the Orlando bubble. At-home viewers logged in through Microsoft Teams, and their streamed likenesses were beamed onto 17-foot video boards set up around the courts. The tech made it look like viewers were sitting next to each other, plus participants could interact with each other and see and hear their reactions in real time. The NBA has other plans to allow fans to chat during games, display a real-time statistical overlay, and introduce gaming elements as well. </p>
Credit: Instagram<p>Technological advances, including <a href="https://bigthink.com/what-would-it-take-to-create-a-fully-immersive-virtual-reality" target="_self">virtual reality</a> (VR) and augmented reality (AR), offer teams new ways to offer virtual fan experiences.</p> <p>Another option that could become very popular is <a href="https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/05/27/virtual-reality-sports-fans-broadcasts/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">audio AR</a>. Powerful recording equipment picks up the minutiae of sounds that make up the audio backdrop of in-stadium viewing, and then broadcasts it to at-home viewers. AR allows the noise to grow louder or fainter as viewers "move" closer to or further away from the action. Brands can even add crowd sounds, like gasps at a near miss or the shouts of vendors, to enhance the experience. </p> <p>In Japan, an app called Remote Cheerer allowed fans to capture their real-time reactions to on-field action and actually play triggered sounds in the stadium, instead of the canned crowd noise we've hearing in our MLB, NFL and NHL telecasts. This type of solution keeps fans at home more engaged and makes even the passive TV watching experience more authentic.</p>