“Beyond the Petri Dish” – An Interview with George Tsakraklides

George Tsakraklides has a diverse background in the sciences, having trained in molecular biology, chemistry, food science, and Earth sciences. He has also worked in data analytics and marketing sciences for some of the world’s largest corporations, giving him a front-row seat to some of the most profit-driven and exploitative aspects of human society. After two decades in the business world, George realized that his true passion lies in ecology and examining humanity’s fractured relationship with nature and itself.

He has authored works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, all revolving around themes of civilizational collapse and humanity’s inevitable self-destruction. His latest book is Beyond the Petri Dish: Human Consciousness in the Time of Collapse, Apathy and Algorithms – a truly original work which posits that our economic system evolved symbiotically around our brain, gradually implanting itself into our neural structures, and effectively zombifying us. 

What? Yes, read on. You’ll find that Tsakraklides is giving us a new vocabulary, a language even, to describe these dread times.

Congratulations on your latest book – we want to start with the idea your raise at the very beginning – The Great Silence – what is it?

The Great Silence is the virtual absence of coverage of the climate, humanitarian and ecological crises which encompass the ongoing collapse of industrial civilisation. It is the result of a convergence of events that happened both in our technology and economy, and which resulted in both direct and indirect censorship: the gamification of news, decreased attention span in the dopamine economy and zombification of humans into consumatrons by the necroeconomy to name just a few of these phenomena. At the end of the day, the Great Silence serves a necroeconomic system which has nothing to gain, and everything to lose by reporting on the climate crisis. Talking about these things is simply not profitable, not to mention a significant threat to all forms of power structures. It looks very likely that our civilisation will go extinct on a quiet note, even as our physical reality becomes increasingly dystopian. The grip of the Great Silence is getting stronger, not weaker.

You say we have overestimated our capacity for wisdom – how and why does our attitude of “human supremacy” destroy not only the world, but us as well?

Human supremacy narratives are ancient, created by humans to give ourselves the licence to slaughter and exploit “lesser” species. We did however extend narratives of supremacy within our racial populations, corporate structures, and every other possible dimension. Supremacist thinking of any kind is simply unecological and anti-Earth, as it is a disruptive factor in the ecosystem. Humans have used narratives of conflict, of strong vs. weak, and predator vs. prey, to understand their world. These narratives have completely failed us and have now come back to haunt us.

In terms of wisdom itself, human wisdom is extremely overrated. We are primarily a very efficient natural resource exploitation logistical device (RELD): extremely similar to all other brains on Earth but with much more processing power, not necessarily wisdom, which is something much more complex and multidimensional. Our supremacy beliefs drive us to think that simply because we can do complex and difficult tasks, we are also born with wisdom. Not so fast.

Can you explain the consumatronic state – how does it destroy the individual, and what made us evolve this way?

The consumatron is the modern human: a being enslaved to the economic machine to the point where they have almost shed much of their analytical and critical thinking functions in exchange for prefabricated options provided by the system (The Thing). We have been on a cognitive devolution path for many decades now as a result of an increasingly transactional existence within the necroeconomy’s consumaverse. We live to buy, we live to serve the system, not us. There are many free thinking humans left, but increasingly more consumatrons.

“Human beings have censored their ability to revolt.” Please elaborate.

Both the consumatronic zombie state and the Great Silence are symptoms of self-censorship. It is not even revolt that is censored, but having an opinion in the first place. Everything is now checked by our algorithmocracy, and the internet ultimately decides whether you are right or wrong. There is no truth, it has simply become irrelevant. Warriors of the truth are increasingly marginalised and censored before they can even utter anything.

Why is government an existential threat? What is a “Reality Management Authority”?

My book argues that the origin of governments is less benign than most of us think, driven by the self-motivated interests of wannabe leaders rather than social agendas. I argue that governments rise to power as protectors of society, but in the end prioritise protecting themselves from society. This is when they really must go. They don’t though, because they manage reality so well, hence I’ve renamed them into RMAs – Reality Management Authorities. For example, governments globally are right now lying to us about the seriousness of the climate crisis, so that they can hold on to their seats for as long as possible as society collapses. They go to COP conferences pretending they care, while in reality they have given up. They are simply puppets of the necroeconomy and The Thing at this stage.

“The creation of corporations was one of the biggest self-annihilation moves of human civilization.” How did this lead to what sentient-necrocapitalism, as you call it? What is The Thing? And what happens as you say “when profit grows a brain?”

Corporations were the first institutions that were not governed by humans, but by profit, given that all board-level decisions are made based on profit, not e.g. ethics or other “human” considerations. This lack of ethics, and the handing over of human sovereignty to something non-biological that is half-sentient yet has no respect for Earth, the climate and the 10 million species of this planet, was the beginning of the end. The Thing is simply the global, digitised version of the corporation. It is an AI-powered incarnation of profit, also referred to as necrocapitalism in my book since it operates on the fast monetisation of death. To understand The Thing you’ll have to read my book In The Grip of Necrocapitalism as there is much nuance and discussion of implications.

What is the Algorithmocracy? Why is it the end of human politics?

The Algorithmocracy is the first governance system composed almost entirely of machines. Human governments have become profit automatons, driven by The Thing and the necroeconomy, hence they don’t really have any power of their own. Their agenda is a profit one, whether you vote left, right, or middle. Governments are shop windows, they exist to make us think that real humans with flesh and bones are in charge. What is in charge however is a new, semi-sentient version of profit which sits above government. And the more sentient it gets, the bigger the Great Silence will become, as we are left wondering what “it” might be thinking. The problem with pure, unsupervised profit is that it is much more self-destructive than humanity. So handing over our sovereignty to algorithmic forms of profit is the worst possible acceleration of the worst qualities of humans and all the problems in the planet right now which have been a result of greed and profit, including the loss of our own sovereignty over our body and mind. We are functionally finished as a species already.

How will AI manage the inconvenient truths of the future?

We will never know its agenda, its methods, and its motives because it will be far smarter than us. Anyone who will tell you how AI will do “this or that” is a liar. In my opinion AI will do what all life forms do: it will put itself first, and us second, that is, if it sees us as a life form in the first place, given that we will have the relative intelligence of an amoeba.

What is the only way to survive? What must be done to demolish the toxic ideologies and narratives we have constructed so irrationally?

The complement of narratives e.g. human supremacy and other narratives that form what I call the Civilisational Lie were irrational in the sense that they only function in an infinitely abundant Earth. We obviously live on a finite planet and these narratives have led us to overshoot, overpopulation by far being the main culprit behind all of the existential crises we are facing at the moment

What is the “triple disappearing act”?

Food, Life, and Sanity. They are all disappearing together.

Why is modern business out to “kill us all”? How do we revolt at this late hour?

Modern business operates on pure profit, which is a self-destructive entity that has driven the planet and humanity to the brink. Nature and human rights are the two big threats to business as they are very costly overheads, and business is clearly winning the war against humans and the rest of the natural world, by having effectively owned us. We cannot revolt against business. We now live symbiotically with it, like coral and algae. Once everything collapses and fragments of our world are freely moving, we will have the opportunity to think of what comes next, simply because we will have lost everything: jobs, climate, food, etc. People won’t revolt unless they have reached their physical limits. It is more likely that they will be on each other’s throats much earlier than that, as they fight over resources or vote fascists into power to avoid the influx of billions of immigrants from the uninhabitable Global South. Of course, we know what happens when you have fascist governments everywhere: world war.

Your writing gives me a Giordano Bruno/Walker Percy vibe – I hope you are looking after yourself. What are you doing to manage the collapse?

On a personal level, I’m just keeping myself sane and continuing to write. It is my way of resistance, and resistance is a healthy response – whether it is writing, going to a protest, connecting with like minds, gardening, creating art or other content which can keep one grounded in the physical world, and awaken them into the right here right now, as opposed to servicing the necroeconomy’s needs, wants and constant notifications.

Thanks so much. Our readers can learn more about George Tsakraklides here >>

INTERVIEW by Christian Sarkar