Richard Doyle earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. He was the Mellon Post Doctoral Fellow in History and Social Science of the Life Sciences at MIT in 1993. Professor of Rhetoric, Doyle holds appointments in English, Science Technology & Society and the College of Information Science and Technology at Penn State University and was Visiting Associate Professor at UC Berkeley, Department of Rhetoric in 2003.
Doyle teaches courses in the history and rhetoric of emerging technosciences – sustainability, space colonization, biotechnology, nanotechnology, psychedelic science, information technologies, biometrics – and the cultural and literary contexts from which they sprout. Professor Doyle has published two books: On Beyond Living: Rhetorical Transformations of the Life Sciences (Stanford, 1997) and Wetwares:Experiments in PostVital Living( Minnesota, 2003) – in a putative trilogy about emerging transhuman knowledges. These knowledges and practices, linked to molecular biology, artificial life, nanotechnology, psychedelic and information technologies render the experiential distinctions between living systems and machines frequently dubious and often indiscernible. This excited and confused rhetorical membrane between humans and an informational universe nonetheless broadcasts a clear message: humans, in co-evolution with the technical matrices transforming the planet, find themselves in an evolutionary ecology that is as urgent as it is experimental.
Continuing his collaborative work on the “transhuman imperative”, Doyle ( aka mobius) has now completed the trilogy with a scholarly book about archaic and contemporary psychedelic media technologies and the evolution of mind: The Ecodelic Hypothesis: Plants, Rhetoric and the Evolution of The Noösphere, currently in press with University of Washington. Other current projects include a book, Admixtures: Dialogues After Genomics with Anthropologist Mark Shriver. The Admixtures Project has grown The Penn State Center for Altered Consciousness, currently investigating the genetics and phenomenology of legally altered consciousness with the help of a flotation tank.
Doyle directed the Penn State Composition Program from 2004-2006, and serves as Expert, Wetwares and Human/Machine interaction for international organizations and a volunteer to the Penn State Center for Sustainability. More about mobius’ work and teaching can be found by browsing his web site.
Richard speaks with Joanna about language and the ecstasy of creativity, ego-death as a revelatory practice, eco-humility, Timothy Leary, freedom & Imagination…
Introductory music: “Amazon Beginnings” (At Play In The Fields Of The Lord, soundtrack) by Zbigniew Preisner
You can listen to PART TWO of this interview here.