Sun Ra, Alter Destiny and AfroFuturism
Frequently Asked Questions
By Thomas Bushmeat Stanley
1. Sun Ra’s AfroFuture is Alter Destiny—literally, a region in time-space.
2. Space is the Place. Alter Destiny is a when that creates a where.
3. The migration toward Alter Destiny is not an Imperial Project, nor is it a pro-American enterprise. Alter Destiny, that is, the AfroFuture, is antithetical to Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism.
4. If you were to think of Alter Destiny in a sequence, you might try Pre-History > History > Post-History, where Post-History is equivalent to Alter Destiny. Or BCE > AD > AD, where the first AD is the Christian Era, i.e., the Era of Western Hegemony and Imperialism, and the second AD is Alter Destiny. (Sun Ra was fascinated with the metaphysical significance of the number two.)
5. Sun Ra was a strategic generalist. He knew that specifics could be rebutted and challenged but that the strength of his core idea rests in its compelling simplicity.
6. History is full. Its project (unifying the planetary system through a techno-economic gesture of brutal and sweeping effect) is complete. What leaks out is Alter Destiny.
7. Alter Destiny is resistant to institutional reification. You can’t convert it into a club, political party or church. This often leaves people feeling passive in the face of Alter Destiny’s incessant pull. Our job is to lower the threshold for our migration out of history and into AD by catalyzing our own existence within systems of language and communication. Our mission is to further complexify cultural communication, to blur and ultimately erase the line between signal and noise.
8. “…a planet all their own, without any white people there.” Whiteness is (and always was) an illusion, a figment of the Imperial Imagination created, not by genetics, but by the shifting tactics of a dominator agenda. That planet—the one that is free of white people—is this planet, once evolved out of imperial history and all its fictions. There are no “white” people.
9. As such, Alter Destiny cannot be glibly summed up in a set of pro-Black policy reforms or even specific full-scale changes to the paradigms by which social order is installed and maintained.
10. Alter Destiny dissolves the institutional matrix. Culture is a meta-institution. Alter Destiny does not fit within any cultural system. No existing cultural system fits within Alter Destiny.
11. Imperialism (the AD of white Christendom) is not, by this account, to be viewed as a particularly oppressive program of human organization, but as a structure of mentality. It exists equally and fully formed within the minds of both masters and slaves. Like the tadpole’s tail, this mentality is intended to be used up and exhausted over the course of our development. And, again, like the amphibian’s tail, this tension (master-slave) serves as a source of energy, essential to the metamorphosis of the new people (yes, the coming community) growing within history.
12. Alter Destiny is new human consciousness—a profoundly adaptive ecology of awareness that actualizes Justice and obviates Rape, War, Money, the Nation-State, and a host of other outdated and maladaptive practices.
13. Oddly, this AfroFuture is not just for Black people. It is a Gift originating from the existential struggles of Africans in the West and offered to a dying world. The only sustainable future is to be found within Alter Destiny.
14. Alter Destiny is not a project that we are executing. The planet really is a spaceship and Alter Destiny is its preprogrammed and inexorable destination. Resistance is futile.
15. It’s after the end of the World. Don’t you know that yet?
Thomas Stanley (a.k.a Bushmeat Sound) is an artist, writer and activist deeply committed to audio culture in the service of noetic (r)evolution. In 2014 he authored The Execution of Sun Ra, a critical response to the cosmological prognostications of the late jazz iconoclast. His doctoral work examined Butch Morris' art of conduction as an extended meta-instrument opening unexplored avenues for musical pedagogy and ensemble consciousness. Dr. Stanley is a professor of sound art and critical theory at George Mason University.
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