In order to understand the issues with objectivity we should first look at how the concept and definition have changed over time.
What they used to mean…
Objective – The measurable qualities of an object.
Subjective – The qualities of relationship between object, observer and environment.
What they have come to mean…
Objective – Absolutely true beyond individual observation, perception and analysis.
Subjective – Just, like, your opinion, man.
As a method of empirical investigation, objectivity is the best possible attempt to create a reliable map of reality based on consensus. A map that gives us the best predictive power for future navigation of the territory. That map, however, is not the territory.
The modern thinking about objectivity is that it is an infallible method that produces absolutely True results. Those things which we say are objective have come to be endowed with an ideological faith in their eternal certainty. Even though we cannot measure anything all throughout spacetime, we have come to belief that our small snapshot of it from this perspective in place and time can be assumed to be true everywhere forever so long as it is ‘objective’.
There are many problems with this belief system, and make no mistake, it is just that.
Most obviously, in the dichotomy in which objective means absolutely and subjective means merely personally, we have a self-refuting axiom. If I am only able to recognize subjective truths through my individual powers of perception and analysis, then how could I ever verify something outside of the subjective realm? Objectivity, by the logic of objectivists, should be beyond my ability to observe, identify and verify. If there are objective truths, then what objective process outside of our own minds can we use to verify them?
The answer generally given is consensus. If many of us observe the same thing, the properties of the thing we agree upon must be true. Yet this is irrational for a number of reasons. If we start from the premise that our minds -the instrument of observation, measurement and conclusion- are unreliable due to their subjective nature, then we cannot fix the problem by overlapping unreliable constructs. This is like taking a hundred broken and randomly set clocks and attempting to determine the actual time throughout the day based on an average of their readings.
The assumption that something beyond individual experience can be determined through democratic means is rooted in our cultural bias that might makes right and that the majority view is always the truth. Nevermind that we already understand the psychology of mass hysteria, groupthink and crowd behavior. When it comes to covering up the existential dread of uncertainty we are willing to ignore our proclivity towards group ignorance. When it confirms our biases and validates our egos, we are willing to overlook all of the obvious issues with any version of Absolute Truth.
Often the reasoning given to validate objectivity is that it produces positive results. This is flawed as well. Star charts made by people who believed the earth was at the center of the universe produced positive navigation results. Long after Einsteins theory of general relativity unraveled Newtonian physics, those physics are still being used to produce positive results. The ability to produce positive results does not prove a central premise. That is reverse engineering Absolute Truth from the faulty premise of result-orientated pragmatism.
Our government and media have profited most from this mass delusion. By defining what constitutes truth they are able to control it and use it as a tool of manipulation. By assigning absolutes they narrow the field of possibilities to make their own agendas seem favorable or necessary. The myth of objectivity is the most powerful ideological tool today in preventing critical thinking, individual autonomy and competition. It is a tool of monopolizing information and knowledge.
And even more insidious is that we are conditioned to feel inordinate amounts of pride and satisfaction in thinking what we are told to think, by having those majority opinions rewarded and validated by experts, officials and authoritarians. When you continually reassure people that what they believe is true, there becomes no reason to question it, especially not when it is made to appear that everyone either believes the same thing as you or is a total nutjob.
Objectivism is just a form of consensus gathering. It is an ideological net that is used to ensnare people in the ideas and agendas of those who are able to control and manipulate them most effectively. It is far easier to get people to believe you if they have faith in your method of conclusions then it is to make them believe all of your conclusions independently based on their own merits.
You can sell lots of cereal if you tell your consumers it stays crunchy in milk, even if they all know in their hearts and mouths that it takes about eight bites for the remainder to turn to soggy mush. Objectivism is proving the claim by only considering those first eight bites as evidence.
Atheists in their Almighty Snark like to make absolute statements and poorly constructed arguments that their worldview does not constitute a belief. They are also keen on insisting that their statements and arguments contain no claims, and are rather just a rejection of the unsubstantiated claims of non-atheists. The problem that generally arises from this rhetoric is that these assertions are based on the inability of atheists to unpack their own ideologies and recognize the underlying premises and metaphysical assumptions they entail.
First let me say that if you clicked on this article with some idea that the author is a theist, you would be completely wrong. Even if I tried to use pre-existing labels for my beliefs, they would still need endless explanation, and if I am doing that right I would probably end up having to adjust those beliefs by the end of it. In the same manner, if your atheism applies only to a rejection of the specific doctrines of theism laid out in Judeo-Christianity based on it’s claims, this article will not be about you. This is for the hard atheist, the truly faithful adherents of the belief that only our physical senses can detect reality and who have rejected any type of creative force, divinity or cosmic intelligence besides our own.
The Hidden Claims of Atheism
The first argument out of the atheists mouth is going to be something along the lines of – “Prove God exists.”
First of all, ‘proof’ does not apply to the question at all. Proof is a term used in axiomatic knowledge to acknowledge that the parts of an axiomatic model do not contradict one another. Therefore nothing in nature -or- reality can be ‘proven’.
This is actually a very important function of the empirical system the atheist is attempting to appeal to. Empiricism ‘proves’ nothing. Its goal, in fact, is quite the opposite. It is meant to ‘disprove’ knowledge that does meet methodological criteria or contradicts its dependent models. And actually it does not even disprove, but rather, sets it aside as knowledge that is currently subservient to one or more ‘better’ models.
Even if empiricism did ‘prove’ absolute objective knowledge eternally, which is the most fantastically egoic form of afterlife imaginable, it would still not be reliable because we cannot ‘prove’ that empiricism actually produces meaningful results. While the central tenet of modern scientism, the sect of atheism most adherents belong to, is that only science (the empirical method) can provide meaningful, valid statements about existence – empiricism cannot even validate itself. You cannot use the empirical method to prove the validity of the empirical method, so such thinking is circular logic built upon faith and not reason.
This does not mean that science is useless. It just means that like every other human endeavor, it is limited, and that its value comes from subjective human experience and not some objective source. There is no external source. We are using our subjective consciousness to make supposedly objective statements about reality, which is a lot like using tinted glasses to prove that all colors within the wearers perception contain the hue used in the glasses tint.
However the biggest unacknowledged claim made by atheists, and the one they are most likely to avoid using even more denial and circular logic, is that the fundamental nature is primarily physical and all mental contents are just fantastic illusions magically emerging from the complexity of matter. But the adherents of this belief, materialism (physicalism, naturalism, dualism, etc.), are gonna need more than one free miracle.
Buried in this claim is a metaphysical premise, or rather, a whole set of metaphysical premises. In order to make the claim that physical existence is primary, you must be willing to claim that you have come to this conclusion using your consciousness. And if you believe that your consciousness is an illusory side effect of matter, than you have already marked it as unreliable as a tool for making such claims. This would be like a cake recipe that claimed that only cakes exist, and that cake recipes are just illusory side effects that arise out of cakes. A rational person would put this cookbook down and find another. The hardcore atheist would take a picture of the recipe and snidely share it online with their friends that enjoy baking.
One simply cannot escape metaphysical premises. They underlie every single human question and answer. Rather than acknowledge their metaphysical premises, such as the nature of reality and methodological validity, atheists will just outright deny metaphysics altogether. This is the secular version of claiming that “God planted dinosaur bones to tempt the unfaithful away from His truth.”
Atheism Is A Belief
Again we are caught in the circular logic of denial. While the atheist likes to think that their account of reality is just a retelling of ‘proven’ knowledge, they fail to understand what ‘proof’ means and that objectivity is what is being attempted – not what is being produced.
The attempt at objectivity, while impossible and often misused, is indeed a noble attempt. Trying to understand what is ‘true’ outside of our individual experience has a lot of utility purpose. Yet an ability to produce results does not prove the validity of a method.
For instance – even though people believed that the earth was at the center of the universe, their model of the universe aided human navigation for centuries. The premise of geocentrism was later determined to be false, but the models it created still provided the desired results in an efficient manner.
Or let us consider gravity. The Newtonian model of gravity was the basis for the entire branch of classical physics for a few hundred years. Then some smart ass patent clerk came up with the Theory of Special Relativity which rendered the Newtonian model of gravity obsolete. Just kidding. Newtons model of gravity is still used by physicists and engineers to produce results – even though it has been usurped by a model that relegated it to recycle bin of scientific accuracy.
In order for the atheist version of reality to escape its confines as a belief, it would have to be validated by a completely infallible source. And since atheists firmly deny the existence of such an entity, even if such a source did exists, they would either be forced to deny it or dismiss the rest of their claims.
Whatever you think is true is a belief. Whatever you think is not true is a belief. Whatever you think is probably partially true or almost completely false is a belief. Pretty much the only statement that can be made which does not express a belief is – ‘I don’t know’. And even then you are expressing a belief that your intuition and guesses are false.
Modern religion can certainly be a drag. It is used by opportunists to manipulate people of all faiths. The worst offenses are those in which it claims absolute authority over all knowledge forever, which is exactly what both most modern religions and atheists do exactly alike. The only difference is that while the former makes absolute claims about what is, the latter makes similar statements about what is not. Both ideologies are equally flawed for nearly the same reasons.
Yet the atheist, in modern intellectual circles, enjoys a position of superiority. While it is pretty easy to dismiss an ideology that an all-loving omnipotent being wants you to hate people who use their genitals in ways that do not gain it new subscribers, most people are unable to navigate the claims of hard-lined atheists simply because they do not understand the flaws in their argument. Which is the result of a recursive feedback loop created not from rational skepticism, but from a denial rooted in faith in premises and assumptions that go unacknowledged in the foundation of atheists arguments.
Every once in awhile I like to take a look at the development of the new technologies that will lead to the post-scarcity reputation economy I have discussed here at AdvancedApe.com many times in the past. Four recent stories caught my eye and so I will share them here with you.
The first two involve light, which is essentially energy, and which makes up everything in the experienced universe.
The basic unit of light is a photon. The interactions between photons create a singularly unique signature. This signature can then be used as an encryption code. This is called quantum encryption, and it will someday replace passwords made of alphanumeric symbols.
A reputation economy will require information sharing that absolutely depends on authenticity and security, and since it would be impossible to replicate a quantum entanglement’s signature, it will be impossible to hack a system which uses them.
Manipulating light in order to create matter would free us from dependency on earths naturally occurring resources, as well as the disastrous consequences that relationship with the planet can entail. Once we can remove dependence on limited resources, we will gain unimaginable freedoms through self-sufficiency. No more wars fought for control of resources and land will be necessary when you can just replicate what ever you need right in your own home.
At the end of that last bit you may have rolled your eyes and thought, oh here he goes with that Star Trek replicator nonsense again. Well, it appears that I am not the only on, as NASA has issued a challenge calling for youth to engineer 3D-printed meals for future astronauts. They are calling the contest the Future Engineers Star Trek Replicator Challenge.
Before you protest that a 3D printer is not the same as a replicator, consider that replicators will have to utilize 3D printing technology in order to rearrange basic matter created from light into complex matter like food, pants or bike parts. You can’t make a moon pie directly from moonbeams, but with 3D printing mediating the process, it will someday be possible. And having the clout of NASA behind the technology makes it seem far more feasible to the skeptical.
Between now and the post-scarcity reputation economy, there is going to be an awkward transition period. As more jobs are automated and processes streamlined, an economic system based mostly around labor is just not going to function any more. Voices from all ends of the political spectrum and many great philosophers and scientists have been calling for a Universal Basic Income for awhile now. That is, everyone makes a living wage without having to work.
The greatest opponents of this idea are those distrust the state to redistribute wealth without creating greater problems than the ones that the proposal would claim to solve. But what if a UBI were funded and coordinated by private interests? One experiment is attempting to find that out.
It may seem impossible to imagine this working, but in some ways it already does. Consider a bowling ball or a roller rink. Those facilities provide the basic equipment necessary for their use. Sure, they could make more money selling balls and skates, but that would limit the use of their facilities to those willing to make such an investment. By providing the basics, the alley or rink stands to attract more customers, and thus do better business.
Now consider that if jobs are going the way of the cassette tape, value will no longer be produced through labor. In fact, it never really was. Value is produced through market interactions. So if labor is no longer creating value, it will need to be replaced by consumption. Buying will be the new earning. A basic living will be provided, and the profiteers of industrialism will still get to keep their mansions, yachts and child sex slaves.
And if you want nicer bowling balls or skates, you can work to create new products of your own to add to your spending power. And much of that will likely be done digitally, in the form of software, 3D printer plans, replicator recipes, information sharing, entertainment and other non-tangible goods.
The future is creeping up on us faster than we can imagine. Technological development is so rapid we cannot even imagine the possibilities that await us. It is truly a terrifying and exciting time to be alive.
The Principia Discordia [PD] lends itself perfectly to obfuscation and prankster ambiguity. For this reason Discordianism has come to mean as many things as there are Discordians. Yet despite this obscurantism I believe that there is an actual point to the teachings passed down to us by Kerry Thornley, Greg Hill, Robert Anton Wilson and others, that there is a core message that stands out among the parody, humor and cunning self-effacement of those original teachings.
The most troubling interpretation of Discordianism in its modern context is the tendency to view it only as a parody, and to not only reject it as a religion, but to use it as a justification for the rejection of religion in general. I have fewer reservations about calling it a religion than a parody, or a satire, for that matter.
Parodies reshape existing narratives using new subjects. A parody need not even be humorous. The PD and it’s related works do not directly ape any pre-existing works, and certainly none by the major religions.
Satire is a reactionary form of literature whose aim is to address an idea or ideology that came before it. They are narratives of negation. It is not always necessarily humorous, either. However Discordian works do far more than just negate other ideologies, they create new ones.
I think that the tendency to reference Discordianism as a parody or satire comes from the false belief that literary humor automatically equates to those forms. It is aided by the inability of the unimaginative to believe that religious truth can take the form of humor while still remaining intellectually and spiritually fulfilling.
When we remove the humor and take the paradoxes referenced by Discordian works as zen riddles of enlightenment, rather than self-refutations or total negations of meaning, what emerges is a set of ideas and principles no less profound than those found in other religions. And like other religions, people have joined together under the banner of these principles. To deny the religious nature of Discordianism is to deny Discordianism itself.
The people who like to deny the religious nature seem to attach themselves to Discordianism merely out of a desire to be edgy by associating themselves with the most potent modern archetype of chaos. Every religion has an embarrassing sect of followers who get a little too heavy handed with their literalism, and Discordianism has it’s fair share. The ‘I Fucking Love Chaos’ contingent do just that. I recently addressed this attitude and behavior on social media:
“Those of you who think that the point of Discordianism is to be an ‘Agent of Chaos’ are sorely missing the point. Eris is THE agent of chaos. Yours is to understand and accept so that, in fear, you do not try to swim against her tides and wind up drowning in her waters in the struggle. Chaos is not to be promoted and worshipped. It was chaos that threw that apple and led us into the first major war. Trying to one up Our Goddess is not going win you Her favor. You let Her divvy up the chaos and do your part by being creative with it.”
It is a vanity and a conceit to believe one has any control or influence over chaos. Chaos is simply that which exists before all else. We are all products of that primordial swamp of all possibilities. How could a drop of water in a bucket have more water to add to the bucket?
Another issue I see in many Discordianism circles is equating all of the ideas of Robert Anton Wilson with Discordianism. While there is no doubt that RAW is a Discordian and has produced some of the finest works based on it, that does not make everything he has ever said or done Discordian Doctrine. One of the most refreshing things about RAW was that he was constantly forcing himself to shift perspectives, which no doubt took him beyond Erisian ideologies. In fact, I am pretty sure that ol’ Bob would have been disappointed to see his entire intellectual and creative output all labeled under that one banner.
This is illustrative of a mistake I see often in the world. People have a tendency to try to group their favorite things into a single category. All of the single things that we like or don’t like do far more to define us than the things themselves. This kind of categorization is flattering to our self-image, but it also creates entropy in the symbols and archetypes in the process. When we shove Discordianism into a broader collection or category and redefine it by incorporating the other symbols and archetypes we have placed there, we water everything down. It is like getting a plate full of your favorite foods and putting them in a blender. All those things that once tasted great on their own have now just become an unpalatable mush.
It is in the interest of rescuing the One True Religion of Our Goddess that I suggest we start walking it back down and rein Discordianism into a meaningful religion that we can use to understand our existence and guide us through Eris’ primordial waters ever more joyously. Which, considering the amount of depression and mental instability that is prevalent in Discordian circles, is exactly what our religion needs.
So spit shine your pineal gland and fire up your frop as I propose to you the idea of Transcendent Discordianism.
The problem with all genuine religious experience is that it cannot be described using ordinary terms and concepts. Religious truths are not measurable, objective facts. Religious truth comes from transcendent experiences in which revelations beyond words reach from behind the veil of the illusory physical universe to share the deeper nature and meaning of existence. Through these experiences we can gain gnosis, which is to know something beyond the limitations of human experience.
This is synonymous with ‘Eris speaking to you from your pineal gland’. I suspect that the reason some people are so dismissive about Discordianism is that they have never experienced its revelations through transcendent experience. Or that their transcendent experience was so skewed by the kind of watered down ideology I mentioned that they failed to get a distinctly Erisian message out of it. Before I go further, let me give my own history with Discordianism.
In 1998 I was working at a headshop and was given the responsibility of ordering product for our book, magazine and comics section. Going through the Last Gasp catalog I came across the PD. It seemed interesting enough so I added a copy to our order. When it arrived, I took it in in a single sitting. I have been a Discordian since.
In the early days it was difficult for me to find other Erisian adepts. I found a few scattered around the web, but I was just figuring out the internets and so I didn’t get involved in many online groups until social media became prevalent years later. I would also put up flyers with absurdist text and Discordian references, as well as my email address, and this sometimes turned up a conversation. For the most part, however, I was forced to make my own Discordians by preaching the word and selling copies of the book.
Yet the social context of Discordianism is never really what I was after. I did not need others to grow and learn from the teachings. And I think this is very different for Erisians now in the context of social media. Discordianism has become sort a of a church. Like any other church, not everyone there has the same amount of faith. Some are just there for the community it provides. And I guess that is fine, but perhaps we shouldn’t let those sisters and brothers erode our theology in the process.
What really stuck out from the first time I read the PD was the Anerstic/Eristic philosophy. I began applying those philosophical models to everything I ever knew. I was also chasing transcendent experiences via entheogens like a madman. As I continued to re-read the PD and experiment with my consciousness, I saw that everything in the book really leads back to the central premise of Aneristicism vs. Eristicism. It was all variations on that one theme. And so I delved further and further into my mind and beyond, using that central thesis as a way of exploring myself and the universe around me.
What I discovered blew my mind. The trouble with having your mind blown is that there is no possible second person experience of it. What happens in a blown mind stays in a blown mind. Ain’t nobody got words for that.
Whenever I meet a fellow Discordian who seems to have navigated around all of the koans, fnords and absurdist humor and penetrated into the depths of their own pineal glands to find the illuminated truths hiding behind the punchlines – they all seem to agree to some extent that Discordianism is a religious experience with a central tenet, and not just some wacky literary catch-all for chronically misguided and disenfranchised misfits.
Another consequence of taking Discordianism to it’s logical conclusion is a realization of the unassailable fact that the state (not religion) is the ultimate institution of Greyface and his followers. A Discordian who is not an anarchist is like a Christian who uses the Ten Commandments as a daily to-do checklist.
These are the ways you can tell a true Discordian from the endless masses of pink fanboy clones. They are anarchists who observe the Eristic Principle and have gone beyond books and words to find answers through transcendental experience.
So what I propose is Transcendent Discordianism, a form of Discordianism in which adherents hold the Eristic Principle as the core teaching and virtue, and to use it every day as a filter in considering all things -and incorporating meditations on it into induced transcendent experiences. Drugs, deprivation tanks, Tibetan chants…whatever you gotta do to take you beyond you, do it. And bring the Eristic Principle along.
See if the incomprehensible doesn’t soon seem all too obvious, and if the obvious no longer seems worth the trouble of comprehending.
Watch as the senseless horror of our existence transforms itself into an occasionally entertaining dramedy.
Behold a new reality tunnel in which you don’t always somehow end up taking a wrong existential turn somewhere around Albuquerque.
Transcendent Discordianism is not about new teachings or methods. It is about getting back to basics. It is about rescuing our fellow freaks from the dark swamp of nihilism and relativism by giving them a map to their own light switch.
May it shine upon all whose hearts seek it like millions and millions of dancing stars.
Transcendence makes bullshit glow, and that is beautiful.
I am not a scientist. This article is not an attempt to create a scientific hypothesis. I am a shaman, and the following ideas are a philosophical exploration combining the paradigms of evolution and non-duality.
Evolution is change over time.
Non-dualism is the idea that mind and body are one substance.
Materialism, the current metaphysical model under which most mainstream science, philosophy and psychology rely on as the underlying premise of their hypotheses, tells us that our mind (consciousness) is little more than a complex illusion arising haphazardly out of the complexity of matter. It dogmatically insist that everything you think and feel is just some side effect of having a brain, which itself seeks only to trick us into taking care of our bodies. In evolutionary terms this care is referred to as ‘fitness’, and materialists insist that the ‘illusion of mind’ produced by the brain has no purpose but to seek fitness. Our joys and pains, our ecstasy and despair, all of these are just meaningless phenomena whose purpose is solely to survive and reproduce. You are not important. You are just a link in a causal chain that has no purpose or destination. Everything is an accident and your existence means absolutely nothing.
As you can imagine, die-hard materialists are a lot of fun to talk to at parties.
The materialist model of evolution, known as natural selection, similarly insists that evolution occurs only to increase the fitness of a species. It has no value to individuals, but is just a way of nature seeking further complexity by favoring the survival of mutations that increase fitness. Once again, materialists want us to believe that evolutionary adaptations are just random events, meaningless and irrelevant to individuals, serving only to increase the complexity of almighty nature.
The Judeo-Christian model of evolution is called intelligent design, and its proponents claim that evolution is the gentle push of an all-powerful, human-like deity perfecting its creation over time.
In both cases, evolution is something happening to individuals and species by an external force, for the purpose of fulfilling its own momentum and desires. Natural selection and intelligent design both presuppose the same idea, that is, that change over time is imposed by something outside of the things which experience and manifest that change.
What I propose instead, is that the things experiencing and manifesting evolution are at least partially responsible for the changes/mutations affecting them.
When I write fiction I generally start from a basic idea. A scenario and a few characters prime my creative pump and as I begin writing, the narrative seems to unfold before me as I hustle to keep up with a story that is marching along from the momentum of a single push I made. The same happens when I write music or make visual art. The process of creation is often like pushing a boulder down a mountain. Once you unlodge the rock from its resting spot and get it going a bit, the rest of the journey mostly takes care of itself. Yet this does not mean you will be able to control the path, velocity or final resting place of the boulder.
Non-dualism states that consciousness is the fundamental source of reality, not matter. This is not reverse materialism, as matter is not considered an emergent property of consciousness, it is simply the language which expresses the symbols and archetypes of consciousness. As these symbols and archetypes become more numerous and complex, so does the language which expresses them.
This is what I mean by Intelligent Selection. It is the idea that as the individual and collective symbols and archetypes increase in complexity, the narrative itself evolves towards complexity. And this change is manifested in reality (nature) slowly over time. Evolution.
Unlike the evolutionary paradigms that require something external to that which is evolving, Intelligent Selection supposes that how we live, think and feel creates a momentum which selects traits for the fitness of individual experiences over time. In this model we are no longer floating in a sea of meaningless accidents with no purpose. Our reality and our selves are very real. Our experience is not just some illusion, but a quest to see harmony and pleasure, and to create more of it over time for ourselves and those who follow in our footsteps.
Intelligent Selection eschews the inherent nihilism of natural selection and the predeterminism of intelligent design. It puts our experience and will at the forefront of our existence, rather than relegating it to subservience to the experience and will of an external agency. We are not accidents. We are the story of eternity unfolding itself through our individual experiences and interactions. The universe is a stage in which we write our own parts, expanding on the narratives of those that came before us, while setting the stage for those who will come after.
Only intelligent selection is able to accommodate the narratives of the objective and subjective. It is inclusive of science and spirituality. It does not compete in a brutal environment for dominance. It just takes the best parts of all that we know and combines them in a way that contributes to, rather than detracts, from those narratives.
Understanding the ways in which our symbolic and archetypal narratives create the reality we experience is a way of taking a more conscious approach to guiding our own evolution. Unlimited vistas of experience await us, and we are lucky to be participants in their creation. Evolution is not something happening to us; it is a tool for us to get something happening.
Please submit your appreciation and/or criticisms in interpretive dances, paintings and poetry.
In his upcoming book More Than Allegory: On Religious Myth, Truth and Belief, Bernardo Kastrup continues his fascinating exploration into the depths of the human mind and nature of our existence. His newest work focuses on the importance of religion in creating and weaving together the symbolic narratives of existence into the fabric of our reality. The book will most likely be shunned by the narrow-minded community of atheist intellectuals and adherents of philosophical materialism who so desperately attack religion in the construction and defense of their own worldviews, yet who would benefit most from its ideas. These types are prone to the same thinking as religious fundamentalists, which is that of literal interpretation of the ideas, rituals and texts of the worlds various religions. A tendency to focus so much on explicit religious messages that one tends to lose sight of their implicit ones seemingly renders religion meaningless. But when we focus on the implicit messages in both specific religions and religiosity in general, we find a treasure of symbolic, archetypal and allegorical knowledge. Bernardo lays forth an argument that reconnecting with the more meaningful implicit messages in religion can save us not only from the insanity of religious fundamentalism, but from the follies of new dogmas like materialism.
While I remain a great fan of Bernardo’s work, his academic style and lack of color and humor represent a different path to knowledge than I have chosen, which is the shamanic route. While he elects to understand those old religious narratives in a purely intellectual way, I am more prone to creating my own, or turning the old on their head through satire, absurdist-deconstruction and dadaist recombination.
When the phrase The Quran Drugs came to mind, a play on The War On Drugs, I decided to follow this silliness down the rabbit hole of creative writing and see where it would lead. I ultimately decided that the best way to do that would be to explore the ideas, verses and parables through the Quran, yet replacing certain words and concepts with those you would more likely hear from lotus eaters than suicide bombers.
The first one is from the parable known as The Light of Allah, and in it I replace Allah with Cosmic Mind and Light with Consciousness and then adjust the rest of the language and syntax accordingly, while keeping the logic and linguistic structure intact. What at first looked like a boring old religious text suddenly took on the shape and feel of a late night toke session in a dorm room.
“The Cosmic Mind is the consciousness of the heavens and the earth. The parable of the Cosmic Mind’s consciousness is as if it were a nothingness containing a thought; the thought is in mind, the mind like the sum of all knowledge: imagined by a blessed being – a body that is neither of existence or non-existence, the ideas whereof would well-nigh give consciousness even though thought had not touched it: consciousness within consciousness! The Cosmic Mind guides unto it’s consciousness they that will it; and thus the Cosmic Mind propounds parables unto humankind, since the Cosmic Mind has full knowledge of all things.”
The next parable, The Spider’s Web, describes the sort of anarchism understood by those whose explorations in ego death have brought about the knowledge of the total uncertainty of all things, and the folly of battling that uncertainty through systems of governance. At least it does when I replace the concept Allah with Self, and Idols with Government.
The likeness of those who choose rulers besides the Self , namely government from which they hope to profit, is as the likeness of the spider that makes it’s net it’s nest. And truly the frailest, the weakest, of homes is the home of the spider – for it neither protects it from heat nor cold – likewise, governments cannot benefit those who are caught in them – if they only knew this, they would not get caught in them.
Materialism, physicalism and naturalism are similar ideas. They are all metaphysical propositions stating that our reality is an emergent property of objects or things within a primal physical universe. In the Parable of the Mosquito, we don’t have to do too much bending, since the original meaning will be similar to our remix. I replace Allah with Universal Consciousness and Gnat with Laws of Nature As anyone who has undergone the little death of the self in the psychedelic process can tell you, the apparent universe is not the universe itself, but a virtual narrative of the experiences of the universe and those within it.
Surely the universal consciousness is not ashamed to set forth any parable- neither the laws of nature or any thing above them; then as for those who have tuned in, they know that it is the truth from the universal consciousness, and as for those who are square, they say: What is it that the universal consciousness means by this parable of natures laws: universe causes many to err by it and many consciousnesses are led aright by it! but the universal consciousness does not cause to err by it except by the literalism of the unawakened.
I could continue this exercise indefinitely. I could take any sacred text from any place or time in history and, by skewing a few concepts here and there, use their forms to express knowledge that would be palatable by even the greatest critics of those religions and their supporting texts. That is, if they could keep an open mind long enough to comprehend the artistry of such things. Those who outright reject religious teachings are guilty of the sin of anti-intellectualism. The only things we cannot learn from are those we have decided not to. Religions and their beliefs and parables and holy books are all goldmines of allegorical information. They are full of immense truths that are potentially meaningful to people of any belief system who are willing to go beyond the surface and find the poetry of truth that lies beneath.
While many social critics take every possible opportunity to lash out against religion, they fail to understand that their reactionary response differs little from those religious extremists and radical fundamentalists. Both groups want their truths served up in easy to swallow, bite-sized pieces. Both want to reduce everything to black-and-white absolutes in order to protect themselves from the uncertainty of our existence, a task which is foolish and impossible. Absolutism is the false-sense-of-security-blanket that fools swaddle themselves in to protect themselves from the imaginary monsters in their closets.
Religion is not the problem, authoritarianism is. Authoritarianism is the institutionalization of absolutes. No human tragedy seemingly born of religion has occurred outside the auspices of authority. The ideas of religion are only harmless when they are co-opted by authoritarians for maligned purposes. Discarding all human religious notions is not just throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Besides doing that, it discards the bathtub, and leaves us without an important vessel for cleansing ourselves in the healing waters of allegorical truth. Those who believe that the only meaningful truths are the literal ones are like existential whores who have forsaken bathing for a sickly overabundance of perfumes. When death removes the clothing of the ego and spreads the folds concealing our most intimate parts, eternity can smell right through us.
Back in 2004 I wrote a pamphlet entitled The Malcontents Manifesto. It was a sort of unified theory of all of the ideas I was attached to at the time. It is a quasi-religious tract that sits somewhere between the Principia Discordia and the Unabombers Manifesto. It is a rough synthesis of absurdist philosophy, panentheism and anarchism. Many of the ideas contained therein I have since abandoned. Some I have abandoned and then later recaptured. Most notable is that since this writing I have gone from a sort of leftist primitivist anarchism, filtered through libertarianism, and eventually landed in the camp of Anarcho-Futurism, where I sit today.
This tract was written and compiled before I was very internet savvy. Instead I chose to use the old school DIY zine format to get my message out there. I printed the scripts and then pasted them to patterned paper. I then went and got them printed from these ‘plates’ and distributed them to anyone I could get to take them. Since I was the owner/operator of a local headshop, it was not difficult to find folks to pass them off to. Hundreds of copies are now floating around out there somewhere and one was even archived at the University of Iowa Special Collections.
I reprint this here at Advanced Ape in the interest of highlighting the evolution that has occurred in both my ideas and my writing. I submit them for review by those who might possibly enjoy seeing a major part of the path I have taken to get where I am today as a thinker and writer. Parts of it are terribly embarrassing, while others still incite and inspire me. I have done my best not to change it, except a few minor tweaks to fix absolutely unreadable bits, which I could count on one hand. I have also provided photographs of the original plates that I used to print the original zine version. Whether it brings you laugh-out-loud revulsion or inspiration, I hope you enjoy this little peak into my mind over a dozen years ago. I can only imagine how I will feel a dozen years from now reading the things I wrote recently!
Page 1 (Cover)
The Malcontents Manifesto
A Book of Discontent
as revealed to Joshua Scott Hotchkin
Philosophy, politics, religion…
Nothing is safe when The Malcontent gets his say.
A guide to freethinking.
If you think that everything is okay, reading this might be dangerous to your false sense of comfort and security.
Page 2 (Front inner-sleeve)
What you are about to read is utter nonsense, but that’s no reason not to read it. In fact it’s precisely why you must read it. If you think that the answers to the questions regarding existence can be summed up in nice shiny logical statements, then you may never get the punchline. It’s a fool who chooses his logic to the sound of his own laughter. The reason I have went through all of the effort to produce this is not for your (the reader’s) benefit. It is simply the case that I must purge myself of all this excess nonsense so That I may move on to newer more exciting games of nonsense. Maybe, if you are anything like me, you will find something in this nonsense to ease your own discontent. Or maybe it will just give you the courage to think and say some crazy shit outwardly like I have here. Actually, none of the ideas contained within are very radical, nor are they original. You will find similarities to many religions and philosophies here. Hoever instead of a model of existence relying on esoteric superstitions or cold in human logic, I have used discontent to ‘solve the problem of the question of existence. Whatever that means. Everywhere you look there is discontent. The neighbors dog barks endlessly at nothing. You cannot ever eat, drink, sleep, intoxicate of fornicate enough to fulfill all of your pointless urges. And change is the only constant. Well, its become increasingly clear to me that discontent was responsible for all of this. Perhaps I am just a malcontent, projecting my own inner struggles on the whole. Either way, I feel a whole lot better knowing what I now think I know.
Book of Precepts
There is no false, this is the only truth.
There are no duality’s, only paradoxes.
A paradox proves absolutely nothing
A paradox disproves absolutely nothing.
Paradox is responsible for hypocrisy, but hypocrites are not responsible for paradoxes. Therefore all are alas free from hypocrisy and free to explore new ideas without any inner-turmoil about contrary speaking.
There can be no individual progress among individuals under the delusion that they are perfectly content to begin with. If you don’t know you are discontent, START PAYING ATTENTION.
I agree that nonsense makes perfect sense and that I am the Dungherder. I can put my foot right in the pile and get my slice-o-the-pie.
The Cosmology of Discontent Or “How we got into this whole mess.”
In the beginning there was nothing but the one mind, and the one mind was without form or identity.
The one mind was composed of every aspect of the universe.
The one mind was unchanging for many eternities.
At some point the one mind began to be overcome by a single aspect- Discontent.
Eventually the one mind, overcome by Discontent, shattered into individual aspects.
In order to maintain their individuality the aspects created the illusion of the physical universe.
The physical universe contains all of the aspects of the one mind, but the individual aspects do not contain the one mind.
Because the one mind was overcome by Discontent each aspect in the physical universe contains within it the seeds of Discontent.
It shall come to pass that someday Discontent shall overcome all of the physical aspects and they shall collapse once more to a state of one mind.
And so I have observed the nature of existence and non-existence to be not only cyclical, but paradoxically simultaneous, resulting in the absence of great meaning or ultimate truth…therefore I am.
The Parable of the Pancakes
Two wise men did come to dine within a Village Inn
The den of antiquity and patriot of pancakes
Upon finishing their meals the first wise man was gazing upon the second
Who was busying himself with an act of tidyness
The first wise man saw that the second wise man
Was dipping his napkin in butter
And using it as though it were a cleaning solution
Upon discovering the success of the solution
The second wise man did cryeth out – “Eureka!”
“The butter cleans up the syrup.”
Hearing this, the two wise men were enlightened
Pages 6, 7 & 8
An Anarchist’s Manifesto Since we are trapped in the illusion of a physical universe and therefore subject to all of its complexities, I think we should be free to discover and explore our own complexities without being subjected to one another in any manner which limits this freedom.
Human beings are individuals. As individuals we have varying interests and drives and different attitudes about our relationship to others. Some people are born with a very strong drive to seek out and win power struggles. Some people do not often feel the need to play games of order, or seek dominion over others. While some incidents during early childhood probably have much to do with the power drive of an individual, it is clear to this author that there always has been and always will be those who adopt the role of powerful, regardless of any advances in parenting that brain-pickers may invent.
Thousands of years ago the powerful and the common had a balance in which the powerful were allowed to exercise their power in a manner that didn’t detract from the commoner having control over their own lives. But the powerful were driven to as much power as they were allowed. Then at some point the common people committed atrocious acts of chicken-shitterly cowardice and began giving up portions of their own lives to the powerful. And inch was given and many light years since have been taken.
The powerful, in ancient times, declared themselves spiritual masters. They claimed to be the key to esoteric mysteries and divinities that the common were not in touch with. These divinities, it turned out, were higher beings who created us for the purpose of obedience and worship. These deities were useful inventions by which the powerful introduced the master and dog concept. With the powerful as intermediaries between master and dogs, they gained a status not granted to common man. And using fear the powerful were able to subject the common man to his own fancy. (This author believes that games of power and status are mostly male orientated/invented traits.)
Now that the powerful have franchised the common person to positions of obedience through fear and insecurity (Alas, the Gods had not made us equal, an idea very useful for exploiting privilege.) they were ready to expand upon their domination. So they created geographic boundaries over which they appointed themselves leaders and created and enforced policies to keep others out so that nobody sane could come in and ruin the whole gig. And thus have we brought upon ourselves the stench of religion, government and property which rob us of freedom and autonomy and set the stage for war, greed, prejudice and hatred.
For the next several thousand years the powerful refined their control. ‘Dark ages’ are interrupted by brief periods of ‘enlightenment’, but its never quite enough to dismantle the masters. And then along comes the industrial/technological revolution. Where the planet was once able to only support a few thousand scattered humans, we now had the resources for several billion. And the masters encouraged us to create these new human beings in larger numbers than ever before so that our hands would be tied with parenthood for most of our lives and we would hardly notice anything else going on. And certainly large populations justified the new system of human survival. -Wow, can this snake really swallow its tail!- Moreover, the more people, the larger the bureaucracy, and therefore the larger the gulf between the people and their masters. A chasm so wide they made it almost impossible, from their positions above us in their system, to dismantle.
As technologies increased and populations sky-rocketed, the community lost its purpose.They now acted merely as property lines and served very little function in creating a social framework from which humans could connect. We grew further and further apart, yet more and more suspicious of one another. Since we had lost almost all of the control over our own lives, we began exercising power in a cowardly fashion by sicking the system on one another to get revenge for the frustration we felt as a result of the system itself.
Fistfights became intolerable and wars fashionable. The ability of individuals to exercise their power, or even act on their own whims, became unthinkable. We have created physical and mental barriers that force us to deny our own truest desires. We have even suppressed the suppression of these desires. It is more acceptable to ignore one another than show love for one another, which is more frowned upon than flipping one another the bird in traffic. We deny our own animal nature and abide by rules that are unnatural to the conditions our species evolved in. We have even begun acting in a manner which is contrary to our own long-term survival.
Some of us have the malignant feeling that things aren’t right. We are aware that our lives are not brand names to be bought and sold. We have discovered that our purpose is not blind obedience to ideas larger than us, but to search out and find what makes us happy. We wish a place to live our lives in regard to our own truest ideas about happiness and fulfillment without notions of success or achievement created by others for their own selfish purposes. We wish to seek our own shelter and food, our own survival. We will not stand in line for handouts from hands that fasten our shackles.
We are taught all of our lives that it is no practical for us to feel this way. That we must accept the world as it is and conform to it. That we should lie down and take our beatings, for it is much easier than a struggle. We are told that we are weak and we cannot make difference, even in our own lives. We are taught that we are stuck. Those who abandon this loss of hope are are feared and despised by those who do actually feel weak and stuck. We are also hated by those who stand to gain from this infighting at the bottom of the power chain, for they know that we can overcome them.
They know they are powerless to control us without our own permission. We give our permission whenever we go to work at a job that does not provide personal satisfaction, whenever we pay our taxes, whenever we are silent, whenever we follow rules compulsively, even though we see no value in them, and certainly whenever we go and vote for the masters. It is unfortunate that we have come to accept the masters to such a degree that we actually take an active part in pretending to select them. And we wonder why we are a bubbling cauldron of frustration and insecurity whose lives seem dull, meaningless and over-before-we-know-it. But it is not the masters who are the enemy. As we stated before, the powerful are just acting on their own natural impulses. The masters have also become enslaved to this system. Do you think the president would rather be talking with soldiers in a foreign land than at home making love to his wife? Do you suppose CEO’s would rather be making pointless decisions in a tall building rather than lying in the sand on the beach any more than the garbage man would rather be collecting trash rather than playing with his own children? Hell no! Now think again on it long and hard. Are you free? Truly free to do whatever you wish so long as no others are harmed and you are prepared to accept the consequences? Or do you define your freedom as the ability to choose from a set of preordained choices set before you? Is that what freedom means to you?
I do not wish to end this by telling you what you should do or how you should live your life. I just want you to know that you still have a choice to live the life you have carved out for yourself and abandon the life that was prepackaged and marketed to you.
Discontent As Salvation
If you are like most people you probably have a preconceived notion that Discontent is ‘bad’, that it is undesirable and that its opposite is the penultimate achievement of an individual. It is of no surprise, as we were all similarly brainwashed through the oversocialization that is rampant in our modern society. Those who would fool themselves with the idea of having reached contentment are so far removed from their truest desires that their lives are being lived for popular notions rather than for happiness, which is not to be confused with contentment. Happiness is reaching the top of the roller coaster and enjoying it despite the fear of the upcoming plunge. Contentment is watching others ride from the sidelines and not really feeling anything because you were too meek and afraid to be willingly and joyfully alive through the act of consciously facing your own fear.
In fact, not only is contentment the greatest betrayal of human complexity and desire, but those who believe they are content are the greatest enemy of happiness because through their consent to ideas larger than themselves they have weakened the position of those displaying the true human nature- The Malcontents.
Engage in warfare with contentment everyday. Either through direct action or by simply engaging in activities that which you would formerly not have because something besides your own true desire told you not to. I do not suggest you go out and hurt anyone. As a matter of fact you can start by alternately hurling compliments and insults randomly at strangers. Play in a mud puddle like a child. Go to work naked. Better yet, don’t go to work at all. Take the day off and instead spend it nakedly ranting at strangers from a mud puddle! In conclusion and in accord with the dissolution of duality’s, contentment is not ‘bad’ or undesirable. It is simply not the best, and certainly not the only path for achieving freedom, autonomy and happiness. Comfort and security are a piss poor consolation prize for the denial of your true nature.
Those who worship the past are doomed to repeat it
How many times have you heard someone argue the impossibility of of a better tomorrow using the past as their proof? How often has it been argued that we need our masters to protect us from ourselves, and then justified the observation by pointing to the folly of humans of the past? Does an undesirable yesterday really prove that tomorrow will be just as hopeless? History as we know it is an account of only those who have won power struggles, thus it hardly serves as an objective signifier for what we could achieve if we so desired. Those who write history have much to gain by defrauding you into believing that things have gotten as good as they are gonna get. Those who worship history are forever stuck in their ruts. They can see no way to get out of this mess. But we are not stuck in the past. Tomorrow can be better than every yesterday that came before. Humanity is not doomed to repeat the errors of its past unless we actively decide it to be so. The old adage ‘Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it,’ is useless in that it teaches that we should learn primarily from our mistakes instead of our successes.
Tomorrow will be whatever you make it. The decisions you make to get there need not be haunted by the ghost of human folly. Tomorrow can be the place of your dreams and fantasies if you use your imagination. Pragmatists need not apply.
The future is unwritten…
Page 11 (Rear Inner-Sleeve)
The following is a list of books, authors, organizations and other sources of guerrilla information that I find insightful and helpful in dissolving useless mental polarities. Check them out at your library, bookstore and in most cases online.
The Principia Discordia
The Church of the SubGenius
Robert Anton Wilson
The Unabombers Manifesto
Disclaimer The Malcontents Manifesto is not a substitute for freethinking. Its ideas are not to be worshiped or held accountable. The ultimate goal is to encourage individuals to think and live for themselves rather than blindly adhering to the strictures of popular culture with its systematic dogma and inconsideration for individualism.
Please copy and pass this along to your friends accompanied by your very own manifesto.
To contact the author send e-mails to email@example.com
Please use the subject title ‘Discontent’ so that I do not mistake, and therefore erase, your email as spam.
Page 12 (Rear Cover)
The Malcontents Manifesto In which everything is explained, yet nothing is learned.
I blink, therefore I am.
In the vacuum of space subatomic particles blink in and out of existence. From nothing and back in barely enough time for the most precise scientific instruments to record their passing. Wait, did I say from nothing? How can that be? Can something come from nothing?
Of course you can’t get something out of nothing, but it happens all of the time. The universe is a lot more complex than the tiny brains we use to observe it with, so don’t worry about any of the mechanics. I have gathered all of the facts and they are not only contradictory to one another, but completely irrelevant to how I choose to think, feel and act most of the time.
Thus \, I recommend using facts only when they are beneficial in helping you attain you truest desires, and not for the tiresome practice of compulsively trying to make your point to others. This human folly of making and accepting blanket statement has caused enough needless confusion, hatred and suffering among us.
From nothing we come, to nothing we shall return. Everything else is in between.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is a household name. His is one of the most well known faces in the western world. He is an icon for those who prefer to get their understanding of science through television and internet memes and pop science tropes. People hold him and his word as final truths on just about any topic he speaks on, regardless of how little he knows about or understands it himself. He is the Jerry Falwell of Telescientism. An infallible demigod for the pious and faithful.
He also happens to be almost entirely full of shit. On a number of occasions he has made disparaging remarks about the discipline of philosophy, claiming that it is meaningless and unnecessary, in no uncertain terms. This is always done with the insinuation that science and empiricism are superior methods opposed to, and competing with, philosophy. So let’s talk about the first area where NdGT has no idea whatsoever what he is talking about.
The history of science clearly illustrates that empirical methodology emerged from philosophy itself. Science is just an extension or branch of philosophy. In fact, pioneers of science such as DaVinci referred to their discipline not as science, but as natural philosophy. Going back even further, it was Greek philosophers who brought to the western world the foundation of reason and logic upon which modern science eventually was formed. So to say that philosophy is in competition with, threatens or is opposed to science is like saying that ice is opposed to the water from which it formed.
In order to make any estimation of the value of science, one has to use the forms laid out by philosophy. The reason that we know the empirical method is meaningful and useful to begin with comes from premises that emerge from philosophical thought. Even further, for NdGT to make any statements about the relation of philosophy and science is itself a philosophical activity. His assertions have no basis in the empirical method whatsoever. They are philosophical statements, albeit, really low quality ones easily dismissed with simple logic. In fact, empiricism itself is unable to demonstrate the validity of empiricism. Therefore the mindless scientism, the idea that only science can provide meaningful answers about nature and reality, spouted by NdGT is self-refuting. Perhaps his real problem with philosophy is just that he is abysmally terrible at it.
Yet the biggest issue with the wonky worldview of NdGT and his followers is that they beat their fists on their pious pulpit dismissing metaphysics wholesale. Metaphysics is the philosophical study of what precedes, or lies below, physical phenomena. According to NdGT and his followers, philosophy and religion and everything besides science is just fluffy crap for scandalous metaphysicians, whose method they feel should be discarded entirely. Again, the irony is almost too much. NdGT does not eve recognize that his own worldview and the ideas he espouses are based on a metaphysical model. To say that nothing caused or is primary to physical phenomena is itself a metaphysical statement. Just a very naive and ignorant one.
The idea that the qualities of all physical phenomena are emergent properties of matter and physical states is the metaphysical position of physicalism, materialism or naturalism. NdGT’s espoused ideologies are all dependent on the superiority of this metaphysical premise. This makes him just as ideologically dangerous as religious figures who make pseudo-scientific claims. Claiming authority over ideas that one fails to understand their own self, while using their public position to spread these misguided dogmas, is exactly everything he claims to be opposed to.
The physicalist position is that a phenomena’s physical properties are the only ones worth considering. Physicalism is the idea that the entire truth of a thing rests solely on it’s measurable physical properties. This is, in fact, the same reasoning employed by every racist, sexist, homophobic and otherwise bigoted belief system ever. The Nazi scientists went to great lengths to attempt to illustrate the superiority of the Aryan descendants based solely on the physical differences between ‘races’. The most backward hillbilly klansmen similarly justify their own superiority via claims that the physical differences between ‘races’ define them. Every backwards thinking, arrogant and dogmatic bigotry in history was predicated upon the same physicalism that underlies NdGT’s entire ideology.
The persistent cultural ideology that this Telescientismist is a beacon and champion of human progress fails to recognize that he contributes almost more than any other living being (Go away, Bill Nye, nobody is talking to you.) to the greatest hurdle to scientific/human discovery and progress in modern times.
Physicalism is the geocentrism of our times. It impedes ideological progress both culturally and scientifically. An emerging paradigm of philosophers and scientists are beginning to reject that notion. These mavericks are pioneering new theories and models that are able to hold up to scientific scrutiny far better than physicalism, while also being more consistent with other methodologies like philosophy and psychology. While the public are still enraptured by the pervasive physicalism that has endured since the dawn of industrialism, the new ideas that lead to even greater human progress are under construction. People like NdGT are dangerous charlatans pinning people to the past and impeding the evolution of human civilization. And while he does so, strutting around with the self-assurance and conceit of a celebrity, he is profiting from and rubbing elbows with people (Koch brothers, FOXtv) whom his followers generally tend to be ideologically opposed to. NdGT stands for something in the public eye that he is not. He is not an anti-establisment champion of reason and progress, he is a spokesman for that establishments ideas and agendas, and a barricade against the reason and progress that would expose them.
It is time to stop putting Neil on a pedestal. He has not earned that position, nor is he using it to lead to the human and scientific progress that the people who put him on it claim to be seeking. It is not just that he is so completely and utterly full of shit, it is that he is a dangerous megalomaniac peddling garbage that reinforces the greatest threats to humanity.
Pretend that you have just opened a cool, crisp can of your favorite soft drink. You take a few short sips and savor them, then take in a long gulp of that sticky sweet stuff. Now, if I ask you to describe that can of soda, how would you respond? My guess is that most of us would use adjectives like- cold, sweet, refreshing, etc. A huckster might instead describe the can rather than the beverage it contains and say it is- cylindrical, opens at one end, is predominately red and black. These are all of the directly observable qualities or experiences of the can of soda. They are its explicit messages.
Now let us say that you wanted to start a soda company of your own. What are the things you would have to know about soda to do so? Surely you would have to understand the explicit nature of soda in order to make a product that is enjoyable and marketable. But you would have to know some things about cans of soda that can not be related directly by cans of soda themselves. You would have to know about ingredients and the supply chains by which you attained them. You would have to know about properties of the packaging to be used.
If you followed those bits of explicit knowledge further down the rabbit hole of implicit messages you might learn about the resources used to create the ingredients. You might also learn of the labor used to harvest and adapt them and the socio-political implications of that process. And from this you could continue branching off endlessly into infinite new paths of knowledge that all contribute to a fuller knowledge of a can of soda. Eventually your description of a can of soda might be something like, ‘a sticky sweet beverage, often chilled, and reliant on resources, labor and supply chains associated with industrial era global oligarchs who often exploited their laborers/consumers and the environment in order to increase profits from selling a product with disturbing health implications, and gaining a monopoly on socio-economic paradigms in the process’.
Everything you observe or experience has both explicit and implicit properties. Before we go further, lets get a better understanding of what those two concepts mean.
Explicit properties are obvious. Those properties are apparent through observations and direct experience. They are the properties on the surface. They are the content of the subject. Explicitness ‘is what it is’.
Implicit properties are not obvious. They often require further thought or research of properties or connections not immediately apparent to an observer. They are beneath the surface of the thing itself. They are its contextual information, knowledge that creates a big picture of a world in which soda exists and its implications and underlying effects in that world.
I have spoken a lot recently about implicit information. Recent articles on Chaos, Like Buttons, Institutions, Facts, Niceness, Survival and Memes (and more Memes), as well as others, have all been an attempt to describe the often overlooked implicit information all around us. I have spoken about content vs. context and signifier vs. signified, as well as other semiotic confusion I often encounter with people. I have discussed Marshall McLuhan’s idea that The Medium Is the Message, which is an excellent example of understanding the difference between the explicit and implicit; as well as why implicit information has greater effects and consequences than explicit info. Because it is easier to attain the explicit and ignore the implicit, we often find ourselves ignoring implicit information and its importance.
Here is an interview with McLuhan that, although long, contains an incredibly rich amount of information and explanation on the topic.
When McLuhan spoke up there of mediums he included social systems and other cultural artifacts and ideologies. Besides the obvious mediums that appear in media, he was talking about how the implicit information about a thing always says much more about its meaning and effect on individuals and society than the explicit.
As our world grows more technologically and socially complex, we are bombarded with ever more cultural artifacts and social systems. There are always more and more mediums being created. And through media we are consuming more and more of the explicit information contained in them. As the bombardment of explicit messages increases, the implicit messages become increasingly hidden and faint. In order to keep up with the increasing amount and complexity of the explicit we have had to ignore the implicit to make room in our expanding collective consciousness. As a result we are constantly applying this shortcut compulsively. We have turned off our implicit thinking, critical thinking, in order to manage the avalanche of explicit information in our environment.
One strange outcome of this paradigm is that modern studies and tests assure us that we are growing increasingly more intelligent as a species, based on scales which measure our ability to regurgitate explicit information. And what determines the sort of explicit information test results reward us for regurgitating often depends on external agendas or attempts to specialize. The agendas are intentional attempts by power structures to condition our thinking and responses to be amenable to the power structures those agendas were created by. They dumb us down to manipulate us using explicit information overload and engineering. The specialization is a response to socio-economic paradigms which reward us for filling in areas of labor necessity that also often works in the overall favor of power structures. Yet the specialization narrows our knowledge to such a degree that even most specialists are buried in the explicit knowledge of their area of expertise to the degree that they cannot see where it fits in the bigger picture.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
-Robert A. Heinlein, from ‘Time Enough for Love’
Before we continue to analyze the problem of implicit-blindness in our society on the surface, lets look at another form of explicit information that behaves in very much the same ways as memes. In fact, many memes past and present have incorporated this far older medium into their own. The medium I am discussing is ‘platitudes’. Platitudes are common sayings that convey what generally seems like universally agreeable statements. But those explicit statements are always loaded with implicit context. And even when the explicit seems universally agreeable, deconstructing the implicit messages within it can reveal a platitude as being poorly thought out or outright deceptive or false. Yet because the assumption of universal agreement is also a part of sharing that platitude, those who reject it on the terms of implicit falsehoods can face social rejection, or be told that they should ‘chill out’, ‘stop overthinking it’ or not be so ‘unreasonably disagreeable’. Yet when the reason for disagreement comes directly from an investigation of the platitude using reason itself, intelligent responses to intellectual automata are not only considered acts of aggression, but make one susceptible to acts of counter aggression by those who reject the implicit. Lets look at a simple platitude-
Love is all you need.
This one is really simple because it has only three main areas we need to deconstruct to view the implicit information which negates the explicit message of the statement. Due to structure we will work in reverse with the three concepts.
Need- What is need? Need means that a condition must be fulfilled to avoid negative consequences. Human beings have several needs, but only a few of them must be met to basically live. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a standard often used for identifying the needs of human beings in their order of importance. Love is somewhere in the center of the pyramid of these needs, although one could, in theory, live without it.
All- How long do you think you would survive if all you had was love? How happy and mentally/emotionally healthy would you be if the only need being met was love, or even just stopped there on the pyramid? Does ‘all’ have any meaning in this context or is it just a small word with lots of hyperbole?
Love- Of all of the qualities of human experience, love may be the most subjective. Though we all agree that it seems to exist and even have similar experiences of it, we cannot say exactly what love is. Yet there are some things we know about love. Love can make you feel good, and it can make you feel bad. Loving someone, therefore, means that you will both make the other feel good sometimes and bad others. In fact, sometimes love requires us to hurt others, in order to protect them from dangers they are unable to recognize or protect themselves from.
When John Lennon wrote that trite crap, do you suppose he meant to say that ‘sometimes hurting other people for their own good is the only requirement for survival’? It is possible that he meant that. He died from an overdose of admiration before I was old enough to even consider that question. Yet what 99.99% of people think he is saying is that ‘so long as we make each other feel good, everything else will take care of itself’. In this case, even the explicit message is pretty dopey and vacant. Yet when examined even further for its implicit message, it is a completely idiotic and meaningless statement. Yet it has become so culturally persistent that it is now essentially a universal platitude.
(Exercise: Try reading the lyrics to Imagine by John Lennon while uncovering the implicit messages and see if you can get from one line to the next without wanting to knee his rotted corpse in the groin.)
Explicit information is subjective experience calling itself objective knowledge backed by the certainty of majority consensus. We are able to prop up our own self-awareness and identity on the explicit with very little danger to those concepts. Agreeing about the explicit forms the basis of social interactions and becomes a path to popularity or other social rewards. The explicit is often the feel-good content of daily interactions. Because it often makes us feel good or rewards us otherwise, it becomes a path of least resistance at best, and a total crutch at worst. When you add this to the fact that it is far easier to deal with the explicit, implicit messages are constantly being ignored, denied or scorned.
Yet explicit messages are like dots in a ‘connect-the-dots’ exercise. They are a necessary part of the end product, but are meaningless themselves. It is the lines between which gives shape and life to those dots, and the lines are the implicit. Our ignorance, distaste and rejection of the implicit is creating an intellectual environment of all dots and no lines. Even while humanity is acquiring more dots all of the time, we are becoming more like white noise than a clear signal. If we do not learn to be more connective in day to day life, to see the bigger picture or the forest through the trees, then we will eventually be awash in a cosmic sea of useless information. Dots that connect to no other dots. The noise of which will be too great to concentrate upon the implicit and save us from the feedback chamber of horrors that is explicitness overload.
It is critical that we begin to stop thinking from so many assumptions and operating from the micro. For our intellectual evolution to continue, humanity must train its minds to operate more often from the macro, and from that bigger picture to never take any information for granted. The society on the surface is one in which critical thinking is replaced by assumptions, in which we are always zooming in and never out; and in which explicit messages do not act as paths to implicit investigation, but become barriers to thinking about anything beyond its mere appearances.
“Let me hit you with some facts.” – Is this a metaphor about relating facts or about our growing misuse of them as tools of aggression?
Since the dawn of the ‘Age of Reason’ western culture has been heavily concerned with transcending the subjective nature of the individual by seeking out methods that aspire to some degree of objectivity. This was all set in order with the understanding that absolute objectivity was not possible. Even if an objective truth existed, we could not experience it without running it through our subjective perceptions and interpretations. Yet while objective methods are a noble achievement that has done immeasurable good for human progress, over time we have increasingly come to believe too literally in the validity of objective truths, often observed as an over-reliance and unshakable faith in facts.
“As a matter of fact.” -Although this term now carries a connotation of facts as sole mediators of logical validation, it was originally used to separate statements of facts from those of laws, facts being irrelevant in the eyes of the latter.
What exactly is a fact? A fact is a single piece of information that we are able to verify through observations, predictive models, repetition and consensus. A fact is a single factor we can use to draw logical conclusions from. But facts are not themselves conclusions, nor is any conclusion based upon a single fact worthy of rational consideration.The most useful and durable conclusions are often those consistent with the greatest number of facts. Yet even with millions of supporting facts a conclusion may be useless or irrational. Facts are always subject to our subjective perceptions and interpretations, so facts alone are not reliable enough to be the sole basis from which conclusions are drawn.
Example of Misuse of Facts:
Police and their supporters often attempt to use a limited set of facts to make very broad conclusions. One of the most commonly misinterpreted and misapplied facts is this- “Violent criminals are unpredictable and can commit violence against LEO’s at any time.”
The conclusion they draw from this is- “An officer is justified in using deadly force whenever the feel they are in danger.”
The first and most obvious reason this is a bad conclusion is that not everybody who makes cops ‘feared for my life’ is a violent criminal. Often they are sick, scared and confused individuals who are in need of patient and compassionate assistance. It also ignores a number of other facts, especially the facts of law, morals and decency. The singling in on a single fact to support a conclusion which codifies violence into an acceptable part of police routine fits with far fewer facts than it negates. And so the use of facts here is often too limited to support the conclusion that police are justified in so much wanton killing.
A better way to interpret the real fact of danger might be this- “Protecting and serving the community is a dangerous job, so those who are more concerned with their own safety than with that of every member of the community should not become police officers.”
A strong conclusion often owes far more to logic and consistency than to facts. Logic is a basic set of rules we can use to measure the validity of any statement. Thus logic can dictate what facts are relevant to our questions, statements and conclusions, and which are not. It can tell us the relationship between individual facts or sets of them, and suggest a pattern of analysis appropriate to our basic premise. Yet even after you have made conclusions from logical interpretation of facts, those conclusions are unreliable until they have been tested against entire networks of interdependent and complexly related conclusions. The more consistent they are with the bigger picture of human knowledge at large, the more useful and durable they become. Conclusions that negate more outside knowledge than they confirm are considered weak, regardless of how strong they may appear a single entity. Rational thinkers are therefore more concerned with overall ideological consistency than with individual facts.
This highlights another prominent problem in our modern intellectual climate, which is that most of us are far less concerned with being consistently rational than we are with being Right. Our competitive and dichotomous nature often eschews the evolution and improvement of our individual intellectual landscapes, so instead we seek out symbolic gestures of truths that can be weaponized to obliterate our ‘opponents’. This describes the average persons relationship with facts. They are mental bullets fired from the barrel of our egos.
“Time to face the facts.” -Does it say anything that we think of facts as potentially harmful, or as some kind of punishment?
The misguided obsession with facts as the only meaningful part of human knowledge is not only irrational, it is another factor contributing to our dumbing down. When we treat facts as commodities to be consumed and excreted for our self-gratification, we move ever further away from the holistic models of human knowledge that provide us a view at the bigger picture. Factnaticism becomes a method by which we zoom in to a single facet of knowledge out of ignorance or intolerance of wider views. They become mental crutches by which we validate our emotional states and confirm our biases while at the same time shutting ourselves off from new ideas, information and perspectives.
In and of themselves there is nothing wrong with facts. But an over-reliance on them based on a misunderstanding of their purpose and function for the sake of self-gratification, identity and external validation is a massive problem. Firstly because it is wholly irrational, in-compassionate and destructive to our critical thinking faculties. While at the same time it is also a problem because it undermines the value of facts; as well as their analysis and interpretations. When facts become weapons of mass instruction, the reasonable epistemological faith in their meaningfulness and usefulness will erode under the intellectual attrition created by this small mindedness.
And on a personal level, if you don’t use facts wisely you will be used by them, or used by those for whom facts are only convenient tidbits for controlling the contents of your mind.
Facticuffs- The use of facts to draw wide conclusions from limited intellectual vigor for the purpose of ‘winning’ a discussion.
These are the questions that we hear in relation to problems that we encounter in our civilization. The central tenet of our belief system is that ‘doing’ is the only meaningful activity. We assume all problems just need a fresh coat of action in order to stop being problems. Yet this critically misses the obvious truth that under all those layers of action past the fundamental problems still remain. No matter how many times you try to freshen up an error, it still remains a failure at its core.
Even more insidious is what is meant by ‘doing’ most of the time. In our state-based social/economic/political systems, ‘doing’ often means employing the force of the state or of majorities. ‘Doing’ often means creating new systems to impose your will on others, or reforming old systems to do the same. More often than not, ‘doing’ is an act of aggression, or a contributing factor to other paradigms of aggression.
The old lady who eventually died of horse swallowing after a series of escalations following a fly ingestion incident was stuck in a feedback loop of ‘doing’. A rational person would have stopped swallowing things after the fly (not doing) and attempted to cough or vomit up the fly (undoing) if it posed a real threat, which it did not. It was only the act of repeated doings that escalated the situation to fatal levels, which is usually the case in these kind of matters.
Undoing may be argued to be a form of doing, which is right in some sense, but false in others. When I speak of undoing I mean tearing down, not to make room for building anew, but just to be rid of a thing that was not working. Too often our undoing is just part of the process of doing something else in its place. So I would suggest that what differentiates true undoing from doing is that it is followed by not-doing.
Doing nothing. Leaving things be. Minding your own business. These are things humans are not very good at. When we talk about ‘doing’ we do so with the urgency of belief that we must have a plan of action at all times. Yet we compulsively ‘do’. We need never worry about that. We should concentrate instead in where we fail, which is undoing and not-doing. These are the skills we should be developing as individuals and as a species.
I think the reason we have this problem is that extroverts have, by their very nature, become the default keepers of social systems and mainstream ideologies. Introverts who want to be left alone and leave others alone in the process are usually hiding out in a safe place while the extroverts are out ‘doing’ things. But as anyone whose tendencies lay nearer the introversion end of the scale knows, that ‘doing’ can make coexisting with extroverts extremely painful. Their insistence on compulsive interaction, and social systems which require and promote it, forces the rest of us into institutions and cultural paradigms that do not meet our needs.
Yet intelligence seems to be on the side of the introverts. And the internet has given a forum in which that intelligence can be heard, shared and adapted into solutions. If the pen was mightier than the sword, then the keyboard is hundreds of times more powerful. And it is here where we need to launch an attack against the primacy of ‘doing’ and the tyranny of extroverts. And to do so we must dismantle the false narrative of compulsive, busy-bodies who insist that we must keep swallowing larger critters following the unfortunate thing with the fly.
It is time we recapture the lost arts of Undoing and Doing Nothing. This old jalopy of a planet already has enough ‘doing’ on it to keep it going for a long time to come. Before we can do anything that doesn’t just add to the problems created by doing, we must undo much without worrying about what will take its place. Doing will happen as a course of human nature. Undoing and Not-Doing are far greater challenges for individuals and our species. Lets put our time and energy there and see if maybe we haven’t just been trying too hard and suffering from our overachievement.
My interest in the philosophical implications of chaos and order were piqued in 1998 when I first read The Principia Discordia, a humorous book produced by an absurdist religion based on an arcane bit of Greek mythology. Discordianism is the faux worship of Eris, goddess of chaos, and while it is thought by many to be a merely satirical piece of surrealist art, its metaphors resonate on a level of great truth. Yet it would be difficult to understand these truths if one were to hold onto the mainstream misconception of chaos and were unable to distinguish it from disorder.
Let me explain the difference in the most basic terms possible.
Chaos is a large grocery store with every ingredient ever imagined from which an endless amount of possible food combinations could be used to create unique meals.
Order is the shopping list, the recipe and the process of prepping and cooking. And sometimes you get a tasty meal.
Disorder is when you get something else. Disorder is when the meal is inedible or poisonous or burns the kitchen down in the process.
Disorder is what happens when the conversion of chaos to order goes awry. Which becomes more likely each and every time you apply order, and becomes a certainty when you apply it destructively (more on destructive vs. creative order below). Disorder, distinct from chaos, is usually what people actually mean when they use the term chaos. However, the failure to be able to distinguish means that people react to disorder by attempting to bandage the wounds it creates with a misapplication of order.
Let us examine the Principia Discordia’s retelling of that arcane Greek myth:
THE MYTH OF THE APPLE OF DISCORD It seems that Zeus was preparing a wedding banquet for Peleus and Thetis and did not want to invite Eris because of Her reputation as a trouble maker.
This made Eris angry, and so She fashioned an apple of pure gold and inscribed upon it KALLISTI (“To The Prettiest One”) and on the day of the fete She rolled it into the banquet hall and then left to be alone and joyously partake of a hot dog.
Now, three of the invited goddesses, Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite, each immediately claimed it to belong to herself because of the inscription. And they started fighting, and they started throwing punch all over the place and everything.
Finally Zeus calmed things down and declared that an arbitrator must be selected, which was a reasonable suggestion, and all agreed. He sent them to a shepherd of Troy, whose name was Paris because his mother had had a lot of gaul and had married a Frenchman; but each of the sneaky goddesses tried to outwit the others by going early and offering a bribe to Paris.
Athena offered him Heroic War Victories, Hera offered him Great Wealth, and Aphrodite offered him the Most Beautiful Woman on Earth. Being a healthy young Trojan lad, Paris promptly accepted Aphrodite’s bribe and she got the apple and he got screwed.
As she had promised, she maneuvered earthly happenings so that Paris could have Helen (the Helen) then living with her husband Menelaus, King of Sparta. Anyway, everyone knows that the Trojan War followed when Sparta demanded their Queen back and that the Trojan War is said to be The First War among men.
The point here is that by being selective about the guest list, an act of order on Zeus’ part, the conditions were set for the disorder that was the first major imperialist war in our written history. An ever-increasing trend that has done little to enrich our existence.
Perhaps you are familiar with the adage that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could lead to a hurricane halfway across the world. This is known in chaos theory as the Butterfly Effect. It essentially describes the interconnectedness between all things and how even the slightest action could snowball or lead into much greater ones.
Yet we are a universe in motion and have little choice but to remain active. This is why Discordianism suggests that we do not create a dichotomy between chaos and order, but between the creative and the destructive. It is thought that creative chaos is more favorable than destructive order. Yet if we wished to apply this knowledge to our actions, the subjective area where creative/destructive are defined is still problematic.
However, this problem is simple to solve so long as we define the two aspects relative to the theory, and not necessarily with linguistic preciseness. Creativity is that which seeks to enrich the individual (and perhaps others) without intruding upon or limiting the choices of others. Destruction is that which seeks to enrich the individual (and perhaps others) by intruding upon or limiting the choices of others. Creativity requires and nurtures self-discipline. Destruction seeks control. The cost of that control often comes in the form of disorder. Or at least that is how it would be experienced by everybody outside of the destructive force.
It is therefore authority over others which is the destructive force of the universe. Authority is often recognized falsely as a valid attempt at order. But true order, that which is not just a conduit for disorder, comes only from voluntary cooperation and mutual consent. The opposite of mutual and voluntary is aggressive, which takes the forms of force, coercion or compulsion. Our existence as individuals is a strong indicator that whatever our meaning and purpose in this existence are derived from must have something to do with that individuality. When authority organizes force to impede on individuality it doesn’t just violate the meaning and purpose of the individual and existence, it leads us down the destructive path to disorder.
Yet because we have misunderstood all of this, because we have created a false dichotomy between order and chaos and have failed to distinguish between the latter and disorder, we have become blind to our own predicament. As the disorder spawned by our faulty outlook increases, so does entropy. There must be some limit to how much entropy reality can contain. So besides being a philosophical nuisance, the misleading ideologies surrounding these terms and concepts, may actually pose a threat to our existence. We have seen this on a smaller scale. The empires of the past have fallen, such as Rome, collapsing under their own weight. Yet a danger much greater than nation states could befall us. The advancement of our knowledge and technology and other tools of order continues to increase exponentially. The resulting disorder which may follow in the collapse of all of this order may pose a threat to existence itself.
While it is not a certainty in any empirical sense, authority could theoretically collapse our entire universe. Not just in the physical sense, but in the sense that we are conscious beings whose ability to bend our nature to accommodate authority could at some point result in a critical mass. That critical mass might be a psychic implosion of our sentient consciousness, or it might just drive us mad enough to destroy ourselves through desperate attempts to correct our trajectory with yet more destructive acts of order.
Authority is not just the enemy of an individual. It is the enemy of ALL individuals. While it may currently only have the power to damage us one at a time, or in isolated groups, it could very well snowball into a disorderly frenzy of entropy which causes the heat death collapse of our universe, metaphorically or literally. There is a threshold where they become indistinguishable.
Before we can begin to correct the problem we must understand it. And to understand it we must first understand its most basic terms. Familiarize yourself with the distinguishing characteristics of the three terms as I have presented them. Think in them and speak in them and act accordingly to them. See if it doesn’t change your entire worldview. And share them. This one seed of knowledge may be the most important lesson for humanity, a species at the cusp of its own maturity. Peering into the uncertainty of that future is perhaps frightening. Which is why we tend to avoid it at any cost. But we may not always have that luxury.
The favoring of order over chaos, of authority over anarchy, is that final attachment to our immaturity. It is like the fear we face when we first leave our parents home. Yet there comes a time to leave behind certainty and security and head out into the vast possibilities of our own individuality. And even though we may fumble and make great mistakes, we will also be learning and adapting and evolving as individuals. Authority may have been a useful tool for fashioning creative order from chaos, but at some point it becomes a detriment. This is where humanity stands. We can step out from under the safety blanket of authoritarian ideologies and accept the consequences of the learning process, or we can rot in our parents basement while we bleed the household dry with our refusal to seek independence.
Embrace chaos, for in it lies all possibilities, great and tragic. Yet with an attachment to destructive order alone, there is no doubt what the outcome will be for our universe as well as our species and everything else within it. Do not let fear or ignorance keep you dependent on authority and its intrinsic tendency towards disorder.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
The number of earth-like objects being found in photos from the Curiosity Rover continues to rise. Most recently a bear, a dog, a mouse and a bearded man were all supposedly spotted in photographs beamed back to Earth from Mars. While it is entirely possible that these anomalies are simple probable false images or that the interpretation is pareidolia in action, some believe these objects may actually literally exist there. Which is going to sound incredibly reasonable compared to the theory I am about to lay down.
For most of my life I would look into the night sky and marvel at the grandeur of it. The sheer immensity was humbling and afforded enough possibilities to keep my imagination well-stirred. Recently, however, I look out there and wonder if it even exists and is not just an illusion. Is the entire sky and the billions of points of light within it really there, or is it all just a projection of consciousness?
So what of the sky? Was Earth once surrounded by primordial blackness? Did some single phenomena cause the first star to appear, only to be followed by others as that star caused us to consider greater possibilities for the hovering blankness above? Before the invention of telescopes, were there fewer stars in existence? Did creating a tool which would allow us to see more of the sky create an interdependent belief which allowed our consciousness to form more of them? And once we created those pinpricks of light, wasn’t it inevitable that we would try to observe them more closely so we could create more complex beliefs about them, and thus widen the scope of our reality?
So lets say, for arguments sake, that everything that exists is just a manifestation of consciousness. And that the night sky itself is nothing more than a projection of our own beliefs about the night sky. If this were so, and we created tools to go and investigate the manifestations of our belief, what would we see?
What have we seen on Mars so far? Mostly we have seen the things we expected or hoped to see. Very few real surprises have appeared. Rocks, dust and evidence of water. But what if our ‘exploration’ of Mars is really just a creation? What if we are adding complexity to a manifestation by investigating it with tools we believe show us something more real than ‘mere’ conscious projections? And what if by using our consciousness to sculpt this manifestation out of our beliefs, we are mixing in other signals from our consciousness? And what if those symbols are appearing to us in photos as bears, mice, dogs, men and the other number of things we have seen in these photos?
What if existence is not a thing? What if taking reality literally is foolish, yet necessary as a tool for creating it? What if there are no really real things, but only ideological forms of them manifested in the intersection of individual consciousnesses we call reality? And what if Mars is only in our head, along with symbols, like animals and humans and other Earthly objects? What if we are terraforming the red planet with our beliefs and while it is taking place random symbols from our consciousness are filling in the blanks until we create a more complex picture? What if the entire night sky is just a blank canvas which we paint on with our beliefs?
Does that sound crazy?
Okay, maybe it is…but what if it is also true? What then of alien species? If an alien species were created from our consciousness and beliefs, what would that mean for humanity? Consider a few things here. First, we would have to imagine a species more intelligent than ourselves, as any ‘aliens’ capable of reaching us first would have to be more intelligent, according to the narrative of our beliefs. In artificial intelligence theory, the point at which a computer can create a computer beyond our ability to understand the new technology is called a singularity. There are any number of theories about what would happens to humans after a singularity, after our own intelligence is surpasses by one superior to us. Many of these theories do not bode well for what might become of us, while others just leave us so transformed we would be unrecognizable to our current selves.
So what if we were to manifest a species more intelligent than ourselves, who could then manifest a species more intelligent than itself, and so on? Would this be a way of rapidly increasing the complexity, interconnectedness and size of our own consciousness; or a way toward extinction through obsolescence?
Or what if we are the product of an earlier manifestations consciousness? What if the only thing evolving is consciousness and we take its manifestations so literally that we believe the manifestations are evolving themselves?
So the next time you look at the stars, try not taking them literally. Or anything else for that matter. Even if they do exist as actual matter that preceded human consciousness, you are missing out on a lot of interesting ways to view your tiny little insignificant corner of existence by only experiencing stars, and reality in general, in this way. And that you are experiencing something at all is pretty much all that any of us know for sure.
An unfortunate tendency of otherwise reasonable people is to evoke ‘Natural Rights’ in their arguments against the ever-encroaching advancement of the states authority. While I find no fault with the argument that the state is an invading alien force against the individual, when the basis of that ideology is that nature has inalienably bestowed some set of specific rights upon us, it begins to feel vaguely like the ‘social contract’ and other precepts of statists and authoritarians.
Natural and legal rights are two types of rights. Legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system. (i.e., rights that can be modified, repealed, and restrained by human laws) Natural rights are those not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable (i.e., rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws).
The concept of natural law is closely related to the concept of natural rights. During the Age of Enlightenment, the concept of natural laws was used to challenge the divine right of kings, and became an alternative justification for the establishment of a social contract, positive law, and government — and thus legal rights — in the form of classical republicanism. Conversely, the concept of natural rights is used by others to challenge the legitimacy of all such establishments.
Natural rights are considered ‘negative rights’, which are those which protect you against actions by others, whereas ‘positive rights’ are those which supposedly guarantee you specific actions which may be performed by you or on your behalf.
Natural Law is the basis of Natural Rights, and is said to be the basic principles bestowed upon humanity by God, nature or reason, depending on whatever wacky belief system you subscribe to.
Since a personal supernatural entity refuses to confirm or enforce natural law, let alone its own existence, ‘bestowed by God’ is not a rational argument.
Since nature is the sum of all existence and the interactions of its parts, and since we see the violation of natural rights occur regularly within nature, ‘bestowed by nature’ is not a rational argument.
Since ‘reason’ is the ability to provide coherence and consistency between phenomena, perception and conclusion, reason implies not a singular objective set of principles, but rather a way of arriving at them, ‘bestowed by reason’ is not a rational argument.
Any concept of rights that are granted are logically flawed. Natural rights depend on agency and volition by an external force. Which leads us back to the statist idea that rights only exist when backed by force. Giving that force a metaphysical cause does not change the idea that force is the enemy of the individual. Whether it is subservience to the protection racket of the state, or to that of God, nature or reason, rights that exist as the extension of forces more powerful than the individual violate the same Non-Aggression Principle that ‘Natural Rights’ advocates often adhere to.
The entire concept of rights is flawed. A ‘right’ is an attempt to turn a belief into an absolute objective constant. While those beliefs may be rational and beneficial, the attempt to codify them into the answer in the back of the book of existence is illogical. Positive human interactions are not formed by rights. They occur only with mutual voluntary consent of all involved parties, the details of which will change from one interaction to the next.
It is constants that interfere with humans right to interact in mutually acceptable ways. Rather than arguing for constants, liberty minded people should be arguing against them. Natural rights are, contextually, nothing but another immovable framework. While their content may appear beneficial, adopting the rigid context to apply them is using the same ideological tools of the state. There is no way to evolve beyond that institution so long as we are using the same sort of thinking it employs.
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law; love under will.” -Aleister Crowley
For a more detailed and humorous argument against Natural Law and Natural Rights check out this book, free to read online, by the greatest philosopher of the 20th Century- Robert Anton Wilson.
The Golden Rule (TGR), which states that one should treat others as they themselves wish to be treated by others, is pretty much the standard moral foundation of all cultures; especially in the western world. However, the entire premise in helplessly flawed, which can be demonstrated logically, emotionally, spiritually or by any other metric. A simple explanation will suffice for a beginning.
No two people are exactly identical. Not only do we vary by shape, size, genetic make-up and other physical factors, our entire subjective world is completely unique to each one of us. Our inner world- our thoughts, our desires, our fears, our passions, our joys, pains and everything else about us is completely one-of-a-kind. Given this basic understanding of the nature of individuals, it would be absurd to assume that other people wish to be treated how we do. Let us explore some obvious examples.
The most glaringly obvious demonstration is the existence of masochism. A masochist is an individual who likes to experience domination, insult or injury at the hands of others. The opposite is the sadist, who likes to experience the same things, only at the expense of others. It would be quite simple to dismiss masochism as a valid argument if all masochists were extreme examples whose proclivities were simply mental aberrations or psychological deviants. Yet there is a whole range of masochism and the large majority of of those displaying this characteristic are otherwise normal, healthy people who just happen to like pain, humiliation and surrender in safe doses. While that is perfectly valid, if these people assumed we all desired such treatment and attempted to provide it, many of us would not be very happy about it.
A still somewhat obvious example of the problem of TGR that has a lot more real world application is the personality division between introverts and extroverts. Again, the scale here is entirely grey with all possible points between represented by some individual in the world. Introverts, not necessarily opponents of human interaction, prefer some control over the timing, duration, subject and method of interaction and often require processing periods without which they are stricken by anxiety. Extroverts, on the other hand, prefer most kinds of interaction over none at all; with loneliness as the chief cause of their anxiety. We can see how an extrovert might attempt to avoid their own negative states by initiating interactions, however if their target is an introvert, that attempt to alleviate might become a cause of stress for the other person. While both personalities and sets of expectations are valid, they do not necessarily mix well, which can create a zero sum game. Even two introverts or extroverts might ‘rub each other the wrong’ way if timing, method and other factors have differing levels of desirability to the two participants.
The Golden Rule is inflexible in navigating the desires and needs of others by starting with the faulty premise that they are the same as our own. Besides the two above examples there exist as many differences between individuals as there exist individuals. Even though a large part of the human experience bears some categorical similarity between us, the details differ absolutely. Even when we wish to do right by others via attempts to cause them to reach universally pleasurable states through our actions, we may have no idea how to get them there. The map to pleasure, pain and everything in between differs absolutely for all people. When we send others on a journey that they find insufferable where we found it delightful, the destination is unlikely to be the same or to bear the same effect.
Yet there is a rule almost as simple and beautiful as TGR that we can use to guide our interactions with others-
DO UNTO OTHERS AS THEY WOULD LIKE DONE UNTO THEM. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT THAT IS, ASK. IF YOU DO NOT CARE TO ASK OR HONOR THEIR WISHES, LEAVE THEM ALONE ENTIRELY.
Almost every social, political and economic institution in the modern world denies the basic right of those who just want to be left alone; or at least have some control over when, where and what kind of interactions they have. Because the modern world is predicated on force, only the needs of very few individuals are ever met, and never even then completely, no matter the expense to others they compile in their attempts. Centralization of power and control made up of systematic hierarchies are attempts by the few to have all of their needs met by the many. That is why collectivism is never about the greater good, but about the good of those who are able to define and enforce their own ideas about the greater good, whether directly or through subterfuge. A civilization predicated on authority is one that ignores the most immediate and enduring truths about our existence as individuals.
We are not the same. No package meant to contain and serve us all could ever please any. By allowing these forces of authority to command the central tenets of existence for all individuals, we only insure the misery of all. We have attempted to create a balance between good/bad (right/wrong, happy/sad), etc.) by removing the opportunities to ever reach the heights of these possible states. In doing so we have robbed ourselves of our very meaning, sentencing the individual to a life of servitude to an idea that no single individual holds.
The Golden Rule is a great example of our faulty moral ideologies. By following its faults we can begin to see the world we live in a more honest way. The world we live in is largely constructed from fear, which we then try to alleviate through absolutes like TGR. Yet when we see how incompatible absolutes are with the variance between individuals, and since we undoubtedly exist experientially as individuals, we should not allow ourselves to be guided by or force others to obey absolutes. Unless they want to, which you should verify via their own answers first, and not just what you would want.
This is the first in what will be several articles regarding the Game Metaphor, so let me start by explaining that. It is really simple, actually. Just imagine the world, the universe and all of reality is the most complex game in existence. Not literally, but metaphorically. Not that this existence is an actual game, but by studying reality in the language of games, we can understand it in useful ways. Since video games are the most complex form of games, it is that model I have found it most useful to draw metaphors from, even though I am not at all a video game enthusiast.
Further explanation of the Game Model will be provided as we discuss reality through this lens. Where we will begin is via an explanation of the people who exist within this reality. I have long noticed that a great number of people tend to display a lower amount of sentience. They possess less metacognitive facilities (thinking about thinking) and display less awareness of their selves and their environment. However, this distinction is not so much about intelligence as it is about the ability to perceive and process.
For this reason I think that any scale of a persons sentience would be far less like an IQ test and much more like an obstacle course. Highly sentient people move with grace and purpose stealthily through every day life, whereas many people are prodding, poking, fumbling beasts who seem to be navigating the world with toddlers body and mind. I can spot a low sentience being whenever an individual or groups crowds needlessly together, especially in busy passageways or near choke-points like doors or intersections. The highly sentient person cracks a door and slips through, while the low sentient folks open it all the way and then amble through. The lowest sentience types may even just stand in the doorway holding the door, despite the fact that there is a reason that the door exists, which is to separate things inside from those outside, like bugs or temperature. While I used to think that these people were merely stupid or selfish, I now see that they are quite unable to understand the bigger picture and thus the context in which their behavior is not in line with meaning and purpose of things around them. You may think I am just venting about a pet peeve here, but how we react to our environment really is an indicator of our awareness.
If you have ever played a game, you have undoubtedly encountered non-player characters (NPC’s). NPC’s are those figures in a game who do not represent a game player. They make up the shop keepers, the townspeople and the other game characters who are more like props than they are like actual people. They are mere functionaries, serving a specific limited purpose in the game, from selling magic swords to simply filling the empty space. If you have ever watched these characters react to the game environment you have likely noticed that they either have very narrow behavioral patterns and that these are often graceless, blocky and clumsy. Exactly how low sentience humans behave. So this was my first clue that reality may have its own NPC’s, those who I earlier labeled low sentience individuals.
For a long time I have been concerned with predeterminism and free will, specifically, which of these is the correct way to view human behavior. I had argued very heavily against predeterminism, predicated on the fact that I could logically deduce that predeterminism necessitated a serious self-contradiction. However, this was also centered around the idea that humans were logical beings, which was an obviously flawed precept. It was when I began to use the Game Model that I realized it was not an either/or proposition. I began to see us as programmed with a basic set of scripts. Evolutionary traits and instincts are part of every humans composition. Yet in some the ability to break free of this limited programming and act as conscious agents with full volition will occasionally manifest. However, since it does not in most folks, predeterminism really does steer many peoples behavior most of the time. Thus, reality has its own share of NPC’s, that is, individuals with limited scripts and an inability to expand them on their own. Often it seems the only drive for these game entities is to fancy up their Avatars, which is the reason for a civilization increasingly engaged in so much materialism and compulsive consumerism.
And then there are those who, through some combination of accident and self-design, become more aware of the bigger picture. Their own awareness and that of their environment expands until their behavior becomes a measured action in response to their environment and not just a prescribed reaction. Unlike NPC’s who play the board one move at a time, a Player is the person who who looks many moves in advance.
However, there are not just Players and NPC’s, but also Programmers. Where Players are those who evolved beyond their initial conditions as a NPC (the true meaning of Original Sin or the Fall From Grace), Programmers are those who have evolved past merely playing the game into shaping and creating it.
Reality is nothing more than our collection of beliefs about reality. Reality does not exist, but is in a constant shape of flux, being recreated in every moment of our existence. So if you want to change reality, you have to change what we believe about reality. This is not easy, since you cannot change any single aspect of reality on its own. I could not, for example, change the color of the sky simply by getting a majority to believe it was a different color. The color of the sky is an interconnected belief, dependent on many other beliefs about reality. To change the color of the sky you would need the belief that does that to be consistent with other beliefs, which is to say, you would have to change a greater number of beliefs to do so. This is why we cannot magically recreate reality with our will, as some New Age adherents often propose. We cannot do so because every aspect of reality is dependent on many other aspects and requires a great consensus in order to manifest.
And this is the very reason why the world needs NPC’s. They are those whom, by imprinting new beliefs upon them, become the sort of canvas on which reality is painted. They are, in effect, the battery that powers reality through their belief. So while my ranting may seem an effort to justify the superiority of some individuals over the majority, that is not my intention or belief. What I am attempting to illustrate is that our Universe is not an object. Existence is not a thing. It is the numerous manifestations of the consciousness within it, of which we are all agents. And as agents, we have different roles to play. And as such, it is necessary that we not exhibit the same levels of sentience as one another. It is the contrast between levels of awareness which allows the game to evolve, rather than being stuck in the same game screen forever.
This is why certainty is bad. Certainty is a glitch in the programming which prevents evolution. Modern people seek what IS true rather than what CAN or SHOULD or MIGHT be true. However, what IS true once belonged to those other categories. Be defining reality as a permanent structure, we are making it so. By empowering people a sense of false intellectual equality, we are preventing programmers from instigating further evolution by imprinting new realities on NPC’s who think they know it all, or at least that all can be known as eternal objective absolutes.
There is no awakening. There is no spiritual endgame in the works. Quite the opposite is true. Reality is becoming more unstable. It is weighed down by dogmas of objectivity and permanence. It is stuck in its current permutation because a handful of programmers are using the beliefs of the masses not for evolving or improving the game, but to bending it towards their own narrow agendas. Their purpose is not expand the parameters of play, but to narrow them in order that they might exercise power and control.
And this brings us to the final truth, since NPC’s cannot be seen as fully responsible for or able to understand their own actions, they cannot be blamed for what they do. However, the Players and especially Programmers can and should be held accountable for the evils they manifest. That evil takes the form of authority, and so long as the only Programmers that NPC’s recognize are those in authority, the game is going to stagnate. Until at some point it freezes up and we have to power down, blow out the cartridge and restart from the beginning, as has been the case with so many past civilizations. I believe that an awareness of the functions of reality and the individuals within it can disrupt this. Recognition of the game model may be the secret weapon that allows our reality to beat the boss and level up. The goal is not to transform every NPC into a Player or Programmer, not some great awakening, but rather just refocus the content of their beliefs from ideas implanted by authoritarians to those ideas created by the seemingly insane programmers who are seeing a possible future that is at the same time unimaginable and beautiful.
“Reality is what you can get away with.” -Robert Anton Wilson
Answer the following question: Why does a car drive?
Now ask other people around you. Did your answer and theirs attempt to explain the mechanics of internal combustion engines? If so, you were not paying close enough attention to that question. Yet you would not be alone. As a culture we have begun to obfuscate the meanings of why and how by using them interchangeably. Many people will answer the ‘why’ question with a ‘how’ answer. This simple bit of semantic confusion has become more widespread, leading us away from a more complete understanding of the world we live in.
Just in case you do not understand the difference, let me explain.
How does a car drive? That question asks us to understand the car as an object or mechanism. It requires that we explain the functions which allow the object (car) to complete an action (drive). To answer this question we can give an explanation of internal combustion engines, transmissions, wheels and any other number of practical insights into the physical attribute which allow a car to drive.
Why does a car drive? That question asks us to understand the car as conscious entity exercising its own will and volition. Without going into panpsychic philosophies, we will just assume the car contains no consciousness, volition or will. Therefore we cannot answer this question because it is a nonsensical question with no possible answer.
Yet we do not like unanswerable questions in our culture. And we most often deal with them by either avoiding those questions or reframing them so that there is an answer. This is often the case with ‘why’. Since ‘why’ is not subject to methods that use attempted objectivity, we either diminish the importance of the answer if not the question itself. And where we do not do that we often just replace the ‘why’ with ‘how’ so we can come to a gratifying answer.
It is rather a shame that we have allowed ‘why’s stock to plunge. While we cannot answer it with the empirical methods that our culture gives preference and precedence to, it can still provide us with answers even more meaningful and useful than ‘how’. Answering ‘how’ gives us simple practical solutions, but when it comes to the motivations and intentions of conscious beings will their own will and volition, there are no easy answers. When answering ‘why’ reveals a problem, the solutions it presents can seem insurmountable.
For instance, ‘Why did that man in Oregon commit a mass shooting at a community college?’ is not only hard to answer with any reassuring accuracy, it is also capable of providing an answer that we cannot easily work with. Yesterday I spoke about a possible explanation for why the shooting, and others like it, occur. However the reasoning I gave was that violence escalates as a result of a power imbalance between individuals and their society and its institutions. Given that my theory was correct, solving that problem may seem impossible to many, since it requires a total rethinking of political, economic and social structures and calls into question the existence of the state.
Meanwhile our president and media pundits immediately used the tragedy to prepare us for more laws and assaults on our liberties, the very problem that I believe creates these kind of mass killers. This was done quite slickly by reinterpreting the school shooting as an issue of ‘how’ and not ‘why’ it happened. Since it involved guns, it is falsely reasoned that if we remove guns (how) then there will be less or no more of these tragedies.
Yet guns were not the reason that this happened. They did not provide the motivation or intent to kill. They did not exercise their own volition or will. The killing happened for subjective reasons that only the shooter fully knows, yet may not be completely aware of himself. Even if we removed every gun from the planet, if the reason he committed these atrocious acts still existed then there is still a likelihood that the individual would have committed awful violence in some other way, since guns do not have a monopoly on killing.
Yet since we can address the how more easily then the why, it is supposed that this is the most logical way to proceed. However, it is far less logical, even if it is more practical. In much the same way that it is often easier to treat the symptoms of a disease than the disease itself, we use our existing structures to treat social symptoms without daring to look at the disease. And that is because the disease may be the very same existing structures we ask to solve the problem. And unfortunately, too many of us still lack the imagination to understand how human societies could function without structures modeled and reliant on the force and violence they are created to alleviate.
As we continue to answer shove every social problem through a how-shaped hole, we continue to produce only the sort of quick gratifying solutions that eventually become problems themselves. Using ‘how’ as the hammer that see’s every problem as a nail has kept us from asking and attempting to answer ‘why’ these things occur. And so our problems only get held off. The future of humanity is quickly becoming a closet stuffed full of the junk we didn’t have time to find a proper place for. Someday it will buckle and its hinges and latch will no longer contain the big problems we only had time to give little answers to. So it is becoming ever more important that we end our intentional ignorance of all the ‘why’ questions we have avoided by throwing a quick ‘how’ over it.
The why/how problem is an issue we have created through many social influences, from statism to scientism. Many people are now unable to distinguish the difference between those questions as that difference becomes more and more important. It is a sort of secular nihilism that we use as a smokescreen to deny the questions that have no easy answers. Why portends that our questions are not small problems to be easily be fixed, but large ones with cosmic significance. When we dig into why we are often unable to rest easily on our assumptions and dogmas. And often we never find completely satisfactory answers, but in attempting to search for them anyhow, we often ask ourselves new questions that help us to expand our overall thinking.
And this may be the reason that we ignore ‘why’ and replace it with ‘how’. Thinking is like doing the research that cures a disease, when most people would rather just take a pill that helps them forget it exists.
I am both a huge fan of the Star Trek Franchise (especially TNG) and a huge critic of the widespread interpretation of the show as some sort of perfect and attainable utopia. Widespread militarization, existential malaise and a number of other issues actually depict a sort of perverse, juvenile sketch of utopia. Yet there is no doubt that it has been highly influential in how we think about the future as well as an inspiration in the development of technologies.
The most common reason given for the perfection of the fictional Star Trek universe is that it has evolved past money. It is often suggested that money was the greatest cause of past evils and ridding our species of its use allowed us to make leaps and bounds forward. This is a rather unsophisticated simplification of human economies that does not apply to current humans who do not possess the technologies that make Star Trek possible. However, we are beginning to see some of the technologies in the show become real possibilities. Take the medical device, the Tricorder, which inches closer every year thanks to the sort of competition that people in the ST universe are too evolved for.
Yet the real reason that the ST universe can afford the luxury of abandoning currency lies mostly in the very specific technology of the replicator, which can provide humans with basic needs with matter created from unlimited energy. Well, it seems that we may be close to taking some of the first steps towards replicators as scientists claim they will soon be able to create matter from light. Now all we need is the free unlimited energy to power it and Voilà! Utopia.
As other technologies already available begin to make large scale production and centralized political and economic systems obsolete, we are already beginning to see the rise of new economic paradigms. It has suddenly become likely that the luxuries afforded to the ST universe will be available to us in the near future. As that luxury increases we will move away from Industrialism and most of its economic paradigms, as well as its social and political ones. Soon it may be possible toleave the slavery of wage employment and produce things of value to ourselves and others, not for mere survival, but for living.
“Predeterminism is the idea that all events are determined in advance. Predeterminism is the philosophy that all events of history, past, present and future, have been already decided or are already known (by God, fate, or some other force), including human actions.”
The question of predeterminism is a very old one, prevalent throughout the history of philosophy, religion and science. In a general sense, the opposite of predeterminism is ‘free will’, which is the idea that individuals are capable of determining future events and making choices of their own agency and accord.
Through Catholicism the prevalent thinking in the western world was that man was given free will to exercise in all matters, whether or not they chose to exercise it. The Protestant movement through Calvin and other theologians marked the widespread rejection of free will and the advancement of predeterminist notions.
This thinking has been extended in the modern western world to even the secular worldviews in the forms of naturalism, physicalism, materialism and others. This is not the only example of Protestant beliefs creeping their way into secularism and science. For instance, the Big Bang is a repetition of the philosophy that the universe is mechanistic, linear, causal and has a finite beginning and end. For this reason, the Big Bang was rejected by scientists at the time of its inception for being too similar to Judeo-Christian theological notions. It was, in fact, a man of the clothe who originated the idea.
Scientistic materialism continues to rehash predeterministic notions even to this day. The fields of genetic biology and neurology are ripe with the idea that our every thought, perception, reaction and decision have been determined by forces independent of human consciousness itself. This thinking extends itself to the idea that human consciousness itself is nothing more than a circumstantial byproduct of material substances which were themselves the result of another coincidence, ad infinitum.
However, both the religious and scientific claims of predeterminism carry self refuting statements. For the religious, determinism endangers both the doctrines of faith and acts, for which all religions depend upon one or the other.
In science, determinism violates logical principles, the same logical principles that uphold the veracity of the scientific method. It is of little wonder that the adherents of determinism in either science or religion tend to be the most literal minded fanatics whose truths are often accompanied by hypocrisy. Predeterminsim is a toxic foundation for any ideology or worldview because of its inherent inconsistency, as we shall soon see.
The problem with predeterminism is that it is self-refuting. Whatever basis is used to make a claim of predeterminism would itself be rendered invalid by predeterminism. Predeterminism would become the cause of the claim itself. Let me be more specific.
In religion, faith and/or acts form the basis for salvation. Yet we must choose to act or have faith. This choice determines our eternal fate. However, if our lives are already written and known by a divine force prior to the creation of the universe, even our faith is predetermined and we are able to make no choices of our own agency or accord, even those of faith or deeds. This eliminates the entire purpose of religion, unless, we were to suppose that a God of infinite love and wisdom created the majority of people for no reason other than to experience eternal suffering or agony. I cannot take the suggestion of such an omnipotent sadistic force very seriously.
Scientifically, predeterminism is self-refuting in the following way. If our genetic and neurological patterns produce a consciousness determined by biology, than any claim to predeterminism would be said to originate from biology, and therefore it cannot be claimed that predeterminism has logical or empirical causation. If you say that our thoughts are caused by our physical bodies, then you cannot claim that the thought that predeterminism is correct is caused by anything except the same biology. Logic and empiricism are removed as factors by the necessities of predeterminism.
Simply put, if you believe that everything is predetermined, so is your belief. You can no longer claim that belief has a basis in rationale or faith. Predeterminism erodes faith and rationality equally alike. The fundamentalism of religion and materialism are products of the incongruency intrinsic to predeterminism. While both groups, the religious and the scientistic materialists, make radical claims that the other side is responsible for all that ails humanity; they may do much better to focus on their common problem, on that which they are both wrong. The problem of the world is not religion nor science, but the idea that our choices and agency are limited or do not exist, so that all the problems of the world become somebody else’s fault. We are crippled by the blindness and repetition allowed by a species who does not believe that individual responsibility or accountability are amongst the most meaningful values.
I will be writing much more on this subject very soon and hopefully finding a name for whatever strange belief it is I have developed. Here is the teaser…
It has recently become apparent to me that the source of all things was a simple question…
‘What am I?’
The limitation of the primordial consciousness was an inability to experience itself. While within it existed all possibilities, these possibilities were an unknown. Knowledge requires interaction. Interaction requires a plurality of consciousness.
So the source asked this question by creating a simple equation which would facilitate an evolution towards complexity and fragmentation of its own consciousness. This equation is a code. It has its own basic rules which we experience as the reality of the natural world.
Yet the true nature of the equation is that it is ‘open source’ or subject to improvement by better codes. We are the programmers. Every bit of the material universe is conscious and alive and yet is unconscious of its role as programmer. We are programmers within the body of the source, which appears to us as light. It watches patiently and curiously, learning as we do.
And when our ignorance, or darkness, is vanquished, then so too shall be the gulf between us and the source as well as all the evil and suffering of existence.
Here in the body of the source we are learning to build paradise from not just our knowledge, but our creativity. If we were to awaken as a species to our role as creative agents programming existence towards optimal conditions, it would transpire almost immedietally.
Heaven is the culmination of the self knowledge gained by creating the answer to the question-