Act and Movement

Dariq’s comment to my earlier post “William Blake Against the World Machine” has moved me (so to speak) to delve more deeply into the differential in significance between action and motion, or act and movement.

My motives in posting the earlier piece arose as my response to a comment I read recently in a Toronto Globe & Mail editorial. The editorial, entitled “Tory rhetoric creates chilly climate for free speech,” (May 14, 2012), showcased the words of Canadian Conservative senator Hugh Segal, words which struck me as being the quintessential expression of a reactionary mentality. I quote him again,

“We are an open society with the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. This has always been the goal of those of us who are free traders at heart. Limiting this freedom for charitable foundations would be a destructive and retrograde step.”

Ironically, Senator Segal’s statement meant to justify and rationalise the questionable actions of the Harper government to limit free speech in Canada came as Russian “strongman” (as he is called) Vladimir Putin was taking similar measures to limit free speech in Russia, which elicited, predictability, the sternest disapproval from Western media pundits and politicians — in fact, unreserved opprobrium. It struck me not only as a case of selective perception, but also an example of projection, and perhaps a convenient diversion.

What’s gravy for the goose is, apparently, not gravy for the gander.

More to the point is what Senator Segal’s statement says about the conservative — nay, reactionary — understanding of “democracy” and freedom, both of which they apparently hold in contempt privately while waxing eloquent about publicly. It’s rather consistent with what I have been reading and taking in lately about the reactionary mood and mentality generally, not just in Corey Robin’s book The Reactionary Mind, but also in Seth’s The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events and elsewhere.

Senator Segal’s definition — or rather, re-definition — of democracy as a purely economistic affair, is one in which political rights of citizenship play no significant role. The conservative (really, neo-liberal) utopian ideal expressed here is one of a society and economy as an inseparable, seamless, friction-free Newtonian-Galilean “ideal space”, as it was called. It is a space of unimpeded movement and mobility, but of hindered acts. It’s a single homogenous, uniform space that doesn’t even make much distinction between private and public space. In such a milieu, the type “citizen” as someone who is a participant in governance, has no real significance — a purely private, self-interested individual. A citizen is simply someone who is socially mobile, but not activist. Children should be seen, but not heard.

Political choice and action is to be reserved for a political or managerial class or power elite. The citizen as a political actor and participant in a democracy doesn’t even come in for a mention in Segal’s remark. This kind of democracy isn’t representative of the notion of “self-government”. It’s a view of the nation as a kind of perpetual motion machine in which shared responsibility for governance has been removed from the meaning of “citizen” and even “adult”. “Activism” represents friction in the machine and is, therefore, a bad thing.

This removal of the “burden of power” from the citizen goes hand-in-hand with what has been described as the “infantilisation” or “dumbing-down” of the populace. Only the self-described “adults” are to be permitted the exercise political power, which is choice of futures.

But, of course, those circumstances of subordination all but ensure that the average citizen of a mass democracy can never really mature as a citizen nor achieve authentic adulthood, as is very often reflected in the deplorable condition of the public conversation. Mass democracy becomes a kind of sheepfold or cattle-yard.

These views are consistent with the programmes promoted by neo-conservatives more generally. The blueprint for empire promoted by arch conservative and neo-imperialist Niall Ferguson commended every economic liberty for subordinated and subjugated populations, but no political liberties. It is, in other words, the authoritarian Chilean model under the late dictator Augusto Pinochet — the great friend of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, uncoincidentally.

Nanny State or Daddy State appear as the only two options available to an electorate — the welfare state or the authoritarian “strongman” state. This mythologisation of politics in terms of Earth Mother or Sky Father also reflects the infantilisation of the nominal citizen. This is not the true choice, but it seems the public mind is being deliberately commandeered and steered in this direction, so that any other option is foreclosed upon. The most recent model for this was Mubarak in Egypt, who considered all Egyptians his “children”, and himself as his children’s strict but benign father who had nothing but their own best interests at heart.

Although I have not yet read the book completely through, it is said that Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The Autumn of the Patriarch is the greatest literary representation of the authoritarian and paternalistic type. But, it also invites us to reflect on our own attitudes towards power and authority, whether these attitudes are mature or immature.

By contrast, Rosenstock-Huessy’s definition of a citizen as “someone who can potentially found a new city” emphasises the latent power of a true citizen to serve as a creator, originator, innovator, or founder. The emancipation of human creative potential from the shackles of the repressive ancien regime was the original justification for the principles of free speech, free association, and free assembly. Not the liberty of movement, but the freedom to act and to create was the original vision. So removed have we become from this founding inspiration of our Era that we must conclude that this age has now exhausted its purposes and energies and is no longer able, as Nietzsche warned of the “Last Man”, to create beyond itself.

Our obsession with perpetual growth, quantified now in terms of bigger GDP or Dow 30,000, is a perverted and exhausted residue of that original inspiration in which we have confused creativity utterly with mere productivity. Parallel to this we have confused freedom with liberty and, correspondingly, activity with mere mobility. This is Rene Guenon’s complaint in The Reign of Quantity and Gabriel Marcel’s equally in Man Against Mass Society. It also informs Nietzsche’s contempt for “modern ideas” and his formula for nihilism — “all higher values devalue themselves”. Reductionism is this process of devaluation in which creativity is reduced to productivity, freedom of action reduced to liberty of motion (social mobility), and a thousand other devaluations besides. It is against this reductionism as devaluation that Nietzsche countered with his ‘revaluation of all values’ and the ideal of “the free spirit.”

Our present crop of “leaders” are actually misleaders. Our present “Good Shepherds” are leading their sheep to the slaughter. And, after all, there was never much difference between the wolf and the shepherd if you were a sheep anyway. They are both, equally, predators. You end up fleeced or devoured by either one.


64 responses to “Act and Movement”

  1. amothman33 says :

    profound and eloquent as always. segal is not a seagall,that is why you should not expect him to fly.he is submerged into jouissance, that is why he hates charity.our universe is built on charity, the sun gives its heat free , the river gives his water free,air is free. god the creater is free, segal is against the universe, that is why he is uncharitable, so are all of his we need not get discouraged.

    • Scott Preston says :

      “… segal is against the universe…”

      Rather, he has a conception of the universe that is derived from Newton’s “Frame of the World” and Descartes’ metaphysics. That deeply entrenched framework is probably not reformable, as he is completely unaware of it himself, so he is just as much possessed by “the foreign installation” as others are. For this reason, I think Rosenstock gave that only the mortality of a previous generation guarantees the progress of the next. In other words, can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

      The new vision of the cosmos implied in quantum mechanics, Einstein’s four dimensions and their representation in Picasso’s art, the shift from physics to biology as ‘queen of the sciences’ — these are coming into conflict with the old Frame of the World, although not necessarily consciously. But a younger generation, raised with this new vision and often living its principles, often feels estranged and alienated from the existing culture because of that.

      And the more our new vision and imagination of the cosmos changes and begins to reshape the culture along these principles, the more reactionary the old one becomes, for these changes are felt to be an existential threat — a threat to the very identity of those who were formed in and through the ancien regime of the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm or framework. This anxiety about a threat gets translated into various behaviours — the emphasis on security, an exaggerated nationalism, militarism, anti-science, insistence on “moral absolutes” which really only disguises a kind of “divine right” of the old generations to prevail over the new and the rightful hegemony or ‘ruling idea’ of the old paradigm or Frame.

      Because the function of conservatism is to conserve, it is perhaps understandable that it would become reactionary. Yet, it is self-defeating insofar as it promotes the very conditions (globalisation) that undermine its own purposes. As the Pogo cartoon once put in “we have seen the enemy and he is us”. That’s a restatement of Shakespeare’s “the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…”

      The Newtonian-Cartesian “Frame of the World” and cosmos is nothing else but the self-image projected of the mental-rational consciousness structure itself. That cosmos is changing because our consciousness is also changing. Reminds me of a poem by the great Rumi, called “See Beyond Phenomena”

      A man was breaking up the soil when another man came by, “Why are you ruining this land”?

      “Don’t be a fool! Nothing can grow until the ground is turned over and crumbled.

      There can be no roses and no orchard without first this that looks devastating.

      You must lance an ulcer to heal it. You must tear down parts of an old building to restore it, and so it is with a sensual life that has no spirit in it.

      To change, a person must face the dragon of his appetites with another dragon, the life-energy of the soul.”

      When that’s not strong, the world seems to be full of people who have your own fears and wantings.

      As one thinks the room is spinning when he’s whirling around.

      When your love contracts in anger, the atmosphere itself feels threatening.

      But when you’re expansive, no matter what the weather, you’re in an open, windy field with friends.

      Many people travel to Syria and Iraq and meet only hypocrites.

      Others go all the way to India and see just merchants buying and selling.

      Others go to Turkestan and China and find those countries filled with sneak-thieves and cheats.

      We always see the qualities that are living in us.

      A cow may walk from one side of Baghdad to the other and notice only a watermelon rind and a tuft of hay that fell off a wagon.

      Don’t keep repeatedly doing what your animal-soul wants to do. That’s like deciding to be a strip of meat nailed and drying on a board in the sun.

      Your spirit needs to follow the changes happening in the spacious place it knows about.

      There, the scene is always new, a clairvoyant river of picturing, more beautiful than any on earth.

      This is where the sufis wash. Purify your eyes, and see the pure world. Your life will fill with radiant forms.

      It’s a question of cleaning then developing spiritual senses. SEE BEYOND PHENOMENA!

    • Scott Preston says :

      By contrast, Rosenstock-Huessy’s definition of a citizen as “someone who can potentially found a new city” emphasises the latent power of a true citizen to serve as a creator, originator, innovator, or founder.

      And, of course, Abdulomen, one example of that is Muhammad himself and the Constitution of Medina. The founders of new “cities” are actually founders of new eras and epochs. Jesus and Augustine’s “City of God”, William Blake’s “New Jerusalem”, Muhammad and the Ummah; Buddha and the Sangha. This is the type that Rosenstock tends to identify as examples of the true “citizen”. It’s Rosenstock’s counter-thrust against the prevalent tendency to define a citizen in purely statistical or economistic terms — as, say, “gainfully employed” or “having reached the age of majority” whether 18 or 21 years old. Such demeaning and debasing notions of citizenship say nothing of the actual maturity of the human being. In Rosenstock, “adulthood” and citizenship is a spiritual attainment, not a physiological or statistical one.

  2. Sarmoun Darq says :

    Superb ‘moving’ response..much to appreciate within it, especially the Rumi poem!
    Thanks. For those who aren’t up on Canadian government, a senator is not elected but appointed by the Prime Minister. The senate was originally set up to give a ‘sober, second thought’ to the House of Commons by having appointed senators who were not ‘responsible’ (or biased) to constituents, like members of parliament.
    The article was very well done and so I will end my ‘nitpicking’ on action v. movement.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Thanks, Sarmoun Darq. I was wondering whether I had been thorough enough in my explanation.

      Interesting moniker by the way, Sarmoun Darq.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Just thought I would add… (it just occurred to me).

      As you know, the tripartite formula for the French Revolution was “liberty, equality, fraternity”. The counter-revolutionary or reactionary formula set up against this was “work, family, nation”, and that was the slogan of the fascist Vichy regime during the Second World War, and so, in many ways, the contemporary “new right” conservatism is simply fighting a rear-guard action (since Edmund Burke) against the principles of the French Revolution down to this day.

      But, for what it’s worth, it strikes me as interesting that the supreme “secular” values represented in this way as “liberty, equality, fraternity” (the revolutionary values) and “work, family, nation” as the counter-revolutionary or reactionary values, are tripartite. Why should these values form a trinity or be tripartite? For, it also forms the pattern of dialectical or syllogistic reasoning, too — you have thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, or major premise, minor premise, and conclusion, and such is the “shape” of logic or the mental-rational consciousness structure.

      Is it the persistent (subliminal) influence of the Christian trinity of “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”? Is it the discovery of perspective space in the Renaissance as length, breadth, and depth? Is the conception of society itself as divided in political, economic, and cultural activities also not tripartite also?

      In previous posts, I demonstrated in the symbols of modernity that “3” (or the pyramid shape) was the number of the mental-rational consciousness.

      But… we now live in a four dimensional universe since Einstein, and the consciousness structure of modernity is presently ill-equipped to cope with that new fourfold reality. As Gebser put it, the addition of a new dimension to reality is an indication of a new potentiality of consciousness beginning to assert itself, and it alters the entire configuration of the old consciousness of reality. It is, in effect, a mutation of consciousness.

      So, we might expect an additional development on the tripartite formulas of the past — whether they were revolutionary or counter-revolutionary — by the addition of a fourth dimension, which is a value, after all.

      This is what Mr. Segal doesn’t really get. His is a limited three-dimensional mind now living in a four dimensional reality. He is not “synchronised”, in other words. For the fourth “dimension” is time, while he persists in thinking of liberty as “movement” in space, you see. But, as they say, “time is of the essence”.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Might add, too, that the word “Senator” is related to the word “senile”. So I fully support the NDP’s policy to abolish the Senate completely.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Oh… whether it’s really significant or not (I think it is)… Blake’s “slogan”, as it were, is “Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love” — a quaternity of values that corresponds with his “fourfold vision”, rather than the tripartite slogans mentioned above, but to which they correspond in a certain way. Only, Blake takes them to a higher level of understanding. Blake’s vision is, in some ways, more appropriate to a four-dimensional reality.

      • alex jay says :

        “As you know, the tripartite formula for the French Revolution was “liberty, equality, fraternity”. The counter-revolutionary or reactionary formula set up against this was “work, family, nation”, and that was the slogan of the fascist Vichy regime during the Second World War, and so, in many ways, the contemporary “new right” conservatism is simply fighting a rear-guard action (since Edmund Burke) against the principles of the French Revolution down to this day.”

        I think it’s far more nuanced, and probably, unwittingly, you have crystalised the current “onmishambles” of the Republican pary (a joke anyway for different reasons – as all political parties). I won’t even start on the Democrats (psuedo-liberal “Pharasees” that make me puke in disgust), who will only occupy a lower circle in hell for their hypocracy. Out of all the messages that came out of the dog-and-pony-show of the Republican selection process, the one person that personified the closest thing to “liberty, equality, fraternity, was Ron Paul. His continual harking back to one of the better – though certainly not perfect – achievements (Magna Carta not withstanding) of the benighted Constitution caused an internal ideological bifurcation with Mitt Romney’s “work, family, nation” emphasis. The former message is one that had sprouted at the dawn of the “enlightenment” (ironically, the true guts of the ideology was as far removed from the “age of reason” as one could imagine, because it had already existed within the Iroquois Confederation – without the blessing/curse of the Cartesian mental-rational – which was arguably at least as influential as Locke or Paine); the latter, obviously, mirrors feudalism (substituding nation for fiefdom – same thing only on a grander scale).

        So, is the “new right” conservatism really nothing other than feudalism, militatarism – in a nutshell – one or all of those “Tower of Babel” neologisms like “neo-conservatism”, and true conservatism of the Ron Paulish Constitutional form (Law over the easily controlable mob and their elitist lords), with impeccable historical roots considered as reactionary? Or, can it be seen as a lifeboat to perserve us from a sinking ship – a temporary measure to catch our breath from being engulfed by the tyrannical . I don’t know, though I have my theory, but it strikes me that the pragamatic issue of the day is the ability to reconcile liberty with fraternity, or in a more vulgar way, to debunk the delusion of the individual and the collective as being a thesis-anthesis problem. Quantum should have destroyed Hegel by now.

        Everything is a synthesis from the get-go …fortunately, the process is fractal, which allows for the will to actualise potential between the two undefineable points of infinity and eternity. Meanwhile, like a mother giving birth, we have to go through the pain with a bunch of unwelcomed onlookers smoking cigars.

        As far as that other whore of the criminal status-quo, (all the “captains” of the Titanic over the last 50 years – the iceberg ain’t that far away, and I’m not talking about the mis-interpretation of Mayan cosmology), Harper, your puppet – by that I don’t mean yours , but this diabolical system’s – has been put in the spotlight by someone actually exposing his less than illustrious bio.

        “The Ugly Canadian” (Yves Engler – link below) … gee wasn’t there something written about the “Ugly American” … guess it’s contagious. “Ugly” in a very naive and succinct way is as good as any other word to describe the pimps, whores and enforcers that control and manage this “Dark Age”.

        • alex jay says :

          Oh, by the way, I’d appreciate your comment on the video linked below:

          Another twist on “foreign installation” : )

          • Scott Preston says :

            Technophiliacs rule, OK? But, that’s just another kind of narcissism, so it is bound to reproduce the same problems of the present that it pretends to resolve, for it can’t escape the enchanted circle of the closed cybernetic loop.

            And, of course, it is propaganda, and the undercurrent that shapes the narrative about future ‘neo-humanity’ is not reason. It is mythology. I especially like the prayerful supplication, “May everlasting spiritual ideals and values help us avoid going astray!”

            Eh? Who is being exhorted here and for what purpose? Obviously, they aren’t so entirely confident that they haven’t already gone astray, or why even call upon the guidance of Heaven? What are these “everlasting ideals” they refer to anyway? But, unfortunately, the guidance we should heed right now is more down to earth — Robbie Burns’, about “the best laid plans of mice and men”.

            I’ld like to get a transcript of this clip. But I’ll have to watch it a bit more closely to parse out the major memes employed here. It’s a fantasy that’s not likely to take any other form than a kind of techno-fascism — of the kind the movie The Matrix warned of.

        • Scott Preston says :

          What I did, Alex, was review the clip “2045: A New Era for Humanity” a second and third time. And this time I made my own transcript of the narration and commentaries on the relationship between the images and the narrative.

          It’s the Christian theme reworked, in debased and degraded form perhaps, but that is the undercurrent. You can call it “techno-mysticism”, but the mystique of the “2045 vision” is its re-implementation of the Christian myth of death and resurrection at the end of days. In some ways, it’s also (for very similar reasons) an amazing perversion of Nietzsche’s revaluation of values. Nietzsche, of course, would have recognised the perverted Judeo-Christian themes that inform the “vision”.

          And really… they aren’t that hard to overlook, are they? It’s hardly likely, I should think, that the producers of this vision were ignorant of them either (really, Avatar B picking apples from a tree? The resurrected from the dead via brain reverse engineering receiving new cyborg immortal bodies? The organic brain animating the avatar via BCI as the spitting image of Michaelangelo’s famous painting of God transferring life to Adam? All these memes are hardly possible to overlook.

          Fascism through and through, of course. Disguised as something else, but still fascism. Probably even it’s true believers are the dupes of history. In so many ways, nothing different from Bacon’s childish fantasies in The New Atlantis or Jonathan Swift’s mockery or same. Or William Blake’s mockery of the reactionary conservatism of Edmund Burke.

          Which, by the way, is the archetypal tension. For it was already prefigured in Heraclitus’s mockery of Parmenides, too. The warfare (or creative tension) between the progressive and the reactionary has been an eternal one, and perhaps a necessary one, like the polarities of a battery. The car won’t go without that polarity.

          But this “2045” — well, that’s over the top, as it completely fails to be cognizant of the polarity at all. It confused rationality and mythology and magic without the slightest consciousness that it is doing so. And is, in those terms, what Buddha calls “delusion”

  3. alex jay says :

    Hmmm … Indeed! I presumed your reply (thankyou for confirming your consistancy), I only wanted it articulated in a way that only you could. As I watched the video (incidentally, I sometimes tune in to the “TED” conferences to see what bullshit is preoccupying the deluded psychobabble junkies, mostly corporate snakeoil salesmen (Bill Gates comes to mind) – to be fair not always, sometimes someone makes some sense without the Sophistry), I couldn’t help but reflect back to the ancient lesson of the “Tower of Babel” syndrome (Hubris, if you like), that could squash their “best laid plans of mice and men” by a simple solar flare (electro-magnetic pulse – EMP) that would fry their chips – fish not withstanding : ) – and make their implanted brains inside a “terminator” body as useful as palm trees in Saskatchewan. Gaia Sophia (we should pay a little more attention – in proportion – to the Gnostics than we do), like the film “Avatar, is a conscious living organism connected to its cosmic source and our laudable Promethian destiny has perverted free will into a total “devaluation of values” to the diabolical. May our livers be hacked away by vultures for our insolence by our misuse of the grace we’ve squandered.

    The quest for cheating death (physical) is as big a folly as the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series … or Canadians finding something to do this winter without their hockey (NHL) fix … or the “Black Friday” morons killing each other for buying something they’ll throw away in 6 months.

    Or maybe a reincarnated Bush, Blair, Cheney, Harper etc. etc. etc. may have an opportunity to face their Karma in Gaza! If only …

    • Scott Preston says :

      I’m thinking of putting together a post on the “Global Future 2045” cyborgian movement — an interpretation of the video you linked to and the meaning of “The Project” — the 2045 Initiative, as they call it.

      I actually went through the video carefully and prepared my own transcript of the narrative, as well as commenting on the relationship between the narrative and the visuals. It is techno-mysticism. The “masterplan” is actually the Bible, if you pay careful attention to the narrative. In effect, it is a cult. The underlying metaphysics is derived from Christian eschatology and chiliasm in which the Bible narrative is actually taken as the blueprint of all history and the cyborgian future — the ‘masterplan’ indeed. The cyborg is the New Adam. It’s just given a very large twist, and in that sense — in Christian terms — it would be considered heresy. And I think we can find precedents for it in the past — in earlier cults.

      Having watched the video, though, it occurred to me that the dialectic between Capital and Labour may be superseded in future by one between the Integral and the Cyborgian, or the wholistic and the hybrid. For it seems that the Cyborg is a kind of perverse or inverted mirror-image of the integral, and may arise as a competitive species to the Integral in that sense.

      Just finished posting a comment about this to the Gebser group, and linked to an article I found while looking up more info on this 2045 movement (they have to get past the Mayan Calendar doomsday cult first, of course — which is fast approaching. Our time, like earlier turbulent times, is full of cults). Still… this article by Frank Biocca on “The Cyborg Dilemma” pretty much captures the problem for the Cyborgian mind and identity. It’s the same problem faced by the transsexual — the frustrating contradiction between identity and the social and physical reality and how to overcome that contradiction in order to achieve the epiphany (the full presentiation) of that identity within physical reality. So, the cyborg consciousness is already amongst us (that is the meaning of that film), but it needs to enlist and harness human resources, energies, and imagination to achieve its epiphany. This is the seduction of the film, and the appeal to mystical themes from Christianity and the Bible. Reason, here, is just the pretense, because it is a cult.

      There’s a certain irony in the production of robots initially as human slaves only to aspire to become one oneself. But that is Jung’s principle of enantiodromia in action. The master-slave relationship becomes inverted, and that was Nietzsche’s objection to Christianity, too, as “slave morality”. Jung thought that the Roman “masters” had eventually appropriated the mentality of their slaves and the slaves conquered. “The meek shall inherit the earth” is enantiodromia or ironic reversal.

      So much for “the new metaphysics”. It’s actually a recapitulation of the old metaphysics. So, not transcendental at all despite its pretenses. The cyborg mind expresses its “transcendentalism” merely as an expression of contempt for the flesh, for the body — for the human. Same old story.

    • Scott Preston says :

      By the by… you won’t see cyborgs dancing as portrayed in the video. Sexless beings do not dance, and the absence of sexuality in the video is a reflection of their Christian asceticism. You don’t see the Borgs in Star Trek dancing. A puritanical and ascetic moralism is the subtext to the whole thing as well as forming a contempt for the human. The Cyborg mind is a frustrated beast because it feels trapped in meat and flesh — in the very human form it holds in contempt. That’s the Cyborg dilemma. It’s orcery, of course. In the end, its fascism.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Just doing some research on this. The precursors to this “transhumanist movement” were the Russian Cosmists, which seems to be why “Russia 2045” seems such an odd beginning for Global Future 2045. Here’s a brief entry from Wikipedia on the early Russian Cosmists and, of course, their themes were prominent in the film

    • Scott Preston says :

      I’ve always had a troubled and turbulent relationship with this essay, ever since it was marked “required reading” in a graduate class at the university. Still, given the circumstances I thought it best to review, again, Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto” for what it might say about the relationship between the integral consciousness and the cyborg mind. Sure enough, Haraway’s cyborg is an antithetical type to the integral.

      Cyborgs are not reverent; they do not remember the cosmos. They are wary of holism, but needy for connection—they seem to have a natural feel for united front politics, but without the vanguard party. The main trouble with cyborgs, of course, is that they are the illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socialism. But illegitimate offspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, are inessential.

      Just one plain-spoken passage — in a sea of unintelligibility — that suggests an antithetical relationship between the integral/holistic and the hybridised or cyborgian.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Forgot to post the link to Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto:

        • alex jay says :

          Boy, Haraway’s opus is something that will require several readings – and a dictionary (think I’m having one of mine Wittgenstein moments) – though, I get the gist to a point. Interesting this feminist angle, reminded me of an interview I heard with the late Aaron Russo (bless him, he established a club in Sweet Home Chicago where I attended the first Led Zepelin concert – memories) that I can’t corroborate, yet believe to be factual (heck, he was dying of cancer so there’s little reason for him to lie). Anyway, his story about the birth of “feminism” (womens lib at the time) was orchestrated by either the Rotschild’s or Rockefellers – can’t remember which shadey arm of the criminal mafia-style blood-line, as I heard it over 10 years ago – to achieve two objectives: 1) to harvest a potential of the 50% of the population (women), mostly not paying taxes to the privately owned Fed via their enforcers, the Treasury; 2) to remove children – the younger the better – from a matriarchal home environment to the care of the “state” (Fichte et co. on Prussian steroids). In fact, as she eventually admitted, Gloria Steinham got all her money to launch her MS rag from the Rockefellers (come to think of it it was the Rockefellers not the Rotschilds on this occasion).

          Divide and rule … it’s the only trick up their predictable sociopathic repertoire, which they get away with time after time while the “Holy Innocence” suffer … “Blessed are the Meek” indeed?

          • Scott Preston says :

            Feminism has its beginnings (its contemporary beginnings, that is) in the Suffragette Movement, and corresponded to a legitimate aspiration for emancipation, or at least an enlargement or enrichment of the meaning of “woman”, “female” or “feminine”. This was, in large part, directly descended from the promise of the French Revolution. French women were very active in the revolution and they expected that role to be recognised by the new polis.

            This demand for emancipation of women’s status from preconceived notions and frozen roles was, however, a threat to the stability of the status quo and existing routine social relations, as is any movement that arises to demand empowerment or emancipation from conditions now painfully felt to be insufferable. If you watched Adam Curtis’ great BBC documentary Century of the Self you will see for yourself what transpired, however. Because feminism, as well as other social movements, were felt as threats to existing hierarchies of subordination (the existing social relations of empowered and powerless) but which could not be denied, some means had to be found to make it harmless and deflect the potentially revolutionary implications of it. That is what Edward Bernays accomplished with his “public relations” programmes and his “torches of freedom” propaganda that basically provided the illusion of emancipation without any political concessions. He got women to smoke — a symbolic act of emancipation only — but which was, ironically, the exact opposite — addiction. It served the tobacco industry quite well, in fact, and in broader terms deflected away from patriarchal capitalism the pointy-end of the women’s liberation stick. Today, it’s called ‘spin’, but it has become a very sophisticated technology of social control.

            So, no, the Rockefeller’s etc didn’t create the women’s liberation movement or feminism. It tried to manage it in the interests of diverting its potential as a radical critique of the existing social relationships of power. In other words, it was co-opted without significantly altering the existing hierarchies of subordination except in a purely cosmetic sense. The premise of Bernay’s propaganda and public relations (ie “perception management”) agenda is, that the illusion of freedom is just as effective in the political management of the public mind as the real deal, and the propaganda system that has evolved since is largely responsible for the corruption of the mind, for it was seen that what a person was brought to believe could be completely separate from what they knew to be true. Thus, today, we have a serious problem of a disconnection between image and reality, or the virtual and the real. This is the objectified or projected result of the “inner division of contemporary man” that Gebser referred to. The self-image is a social construct. It does not correspond to the authentic or true self. This is what is known as ‘cognitive dissonance’, and it is eventually self-destructive and socially destructive, too. A lot of today’s mental illness epidemic and even suicides are the consequence of an inability to reconcile the inner and outer selves — that is, this inner division of which Gebser speaks and which he sees as leading toward catastrophe.

  4. LittleBigMan says :

    “The Act and Movement” is an insightful capture of the spirit of our time.

    As I watched the statistics on holiday shopping madness in America (e.g. 80 million shoppers on Black Friday alone), I couldn’t help but ask myself ‘why is this population driving itself to poverty?’ Why, with their own free will, the masses are refueling the consumerist culture that brought it so much misery for the past four years — if not before that? I ask myself these because these shoppers couldn’t all have been living without the products they are now buying. So, certainly, this can’t be a purchase of necessities on a mass scale.

    Then, as I was reviewing the quotes from E. F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” link you provided a couple of articles back, I saw this statement that I think answered the question for me: “A man is destroyed by the inner conviction of uselessness.”

    Indeed. This is the same detrimental “self-pity” that both Seth and don Juan warned about in their own ways. It seems to me during the economic downturn of the past four years many people were afflicted with this sense of worthlessness. Now, these masses must substitute something for it to make themselves feel ‘useful’ again. Otherwise, a psychological depression will set in. And spending and shopping for each other seems to fit the bill in this respect fo feeling useful. I even recall having heard, a long time ago, about a scholarly study too that explained this effect. The real tragedy, I think, is that ‘consumption’ is becoming, if it hasn’t already, one of very few ways the masses are reclaiming a sense of self-worth.

    Here in the United States, we are rapidly becoming a very depressed society – with no affection for anything that bypasses earning and spending.

    • LittleBigMan says :

      If I may add to my post above…even after the financial and economic debacle of 2008 – present, the ‘propaganda machine’ is winning and ‘wisdom’ is losing. Shocks!

      • Scott Preston says :

        There is, of course, an ongoing attempt at ideological reconstruction of neoliberalism following the disaster — the propaganda machine, as you say. In some ways, an attempt to restore the grand myths of modernity. But the absolute structural dilemmas faced by the old system can’t be so cosmetically overcome simply by hurling slogans and formulas at them, which also belongs to magical thinking. The malaise is systemic. The civilisation has simply followed a crooked path down into a deep, dark woods — the Tanglewoods — and the way out of the deep, dark woods doesn’t seem entirely clear. Anxiety, paranoia, even panic are typical responses of finding yourself in a deep, dark woods with no sense of direction home. It is, in a sense, now trapped in a mental tautology of its own making — circling blindly, starved of light and sight.

        This situation of “malaise” is what I explored in the old Dark Age Blog — the deep, dark woods. Everyone wants to believe that it is simply a technical problem, a problem of finding the right economic formulas to tweak the system — and animate the golem back into “life” again. Everyone talks about “thinking outside the box” but actually no one wants to leave the box. So, it’s merely a slogan and vain cliche.

        • LittleBigMan says :

          I think the “dark deep woods” is quite an apt description of the systemic malaise that charcaterizes our time, considering the “survival of the fittest” principle that goes hand in hand with it. I often do find people around me behaving as “every man for himself” that you have so often pointed out. One senior colleague put it so unashamedly in one meeting regrading a decision we had to make, saying “Look folks, we’ve got to cover our own butt.” This, coming from a colleague who is on the verge of retirement and has no reason to be so scared of covering his own butt. Interestingly, he is quite friendly and personable when you interact with him, but that nice appearance dissipates quickly when he discusses some of his thoughts. Much like the appearance of things that hide the illness undearneath. Movement on the surface, if I can say to connect it with the main theme of your article, with no action taking place underneath. It’s like a stagnant body of water forming in the midst of the dark deep woods.

  5. alex jay says :

    Re: The 2045 club …

    Funny, it appears that some people are taking this seriously as they should, so to take the topic further, you might be interested in this:

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yes quite interesting. All those tits and bums. This is a newspaper?

      • alex jay says :

        LOL! Actually, there were two things that struck me: Cambridge and Martin Rees – for reasons that I won’t divulge at this time. As far as “tits and bums”, hey man, it’s England! Possibly – probably – the most sexually repressed nation on the planet that’s gone full circle to outdo the French and the Italians without the pedigree, nor the innuendo of a seaside postcard or “Carry On” films.

        Newspaper? No! But then again … what have we when a handful of interlocking trans-national corporate monstrosities control 80% of the Western Press? Even the “independent” Guardian (one of the better ones) gets up my “tits” at times — quite often actually. Fortunately, there do exist alternative sources via the internet (for the time being? – though in serious danger of being expunged through an onslaught of proposed censorship) that can help steer one through the maze of dis/misinformation. Did I say “proposed censorship”? I think that at least a third of all my bookmarks/favourites linking to Youtube have been withdrawn due to alleged copyright infringements. That’s why I’m not able to regale you with one of the best exposes (a three hour documentary on the history of “manufactured consent” – and John D Rockefeller JR’s role as the Creel, Bernays, Lipman meal ticket along with the most unconstitutional president – Lincoln notwithstanding – Woodrow Wilson, the biggest Wall Street pimp of all time … with Obama right behind) to elaborate on your “feminist” reply.

        I don’t think Russo meant that his friend Nick Rockefeller’s claim had to do with the origination of the movement, as clearly the Suffragettes preceded. Rather, it is more akin to the ability of detecting a grass-roots social trend and opportunistically manipulating it towards a selfish agenda. Or to paraphrase the dip-stick mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel: never let a crisis go to waste. I.E. The women are pissed … how are we going to make some bucks and control the serfs out of this? No problem … we have the foundations, the universities, the think tanks and Gloria.

        I interpret it more as a hi-jacking of a movement by clandestine infiltration as recently the Koch brothers did with the Tea Party or Obama tried to do – but failed – with the Occupy Wall Street movement (so he evicted them in a coordinated – “I’ll take my ball ’cause you won’t play with me” – early morning raids across the country reminiscent of what Philip did with the Knights Templars).

        Shame Youtube has wiped out much of the best content out there. I really wanted to share some great stuff that I sourced over the years with you. Can you believe they even expunged Eckhart Tolle’s “Death and the Eternal”, which one of the most soothng contemplative narrations of confronting our physical destiny (ignoring Kurzweil’s folly)?

        Pretty soon all we’ll be left with is Justin Beiber, Kim Kard/whatever, David Beckham and “tits and bums” …. ouch!

        • Scott Preston says :

          The reactionary movement, which has its roots in Edmund Burke’s attacks on the French Revolution — and he is the father of contemporary conservatism — is the continuation into our own time of the French counter-revolution. It is Burke who supplied conservatives with a self-conscious ideology, with their own aesthetic, with their marching orders, and with their strategy for counter-revolution which has continued down to this day. Burke articulated the conservative mood and elaborated it into a self-conscious ideology of counterrevolution with its own aesthetic theory.

          It is interesting that William Blake attacked Burke both for his aesthetic theory and his reactionary ideology, as also belonging to “single vision & Newton’s sleep”. Burke returned the attack, though without ever naming Blake directly, just “certain Englishmen”… Blake, by the way, was an associate and benefactor of Tom Paine’s, and Blake actually saved Paine’s life on one occasion.

          On another note… still working out my theory of the Cyborg. I’ve discussed this issue (and the 2045 video) with the Gebser group, and have contacted Martin Rees, too. I’ll reproduce, here, some of my conclusions about it (here I’m replying to my own previous comment with a follow up comment),

          “….The assumption is, I suppose, that the bots and borgs will treat humans with as much disregard as humans treat nature. That certainly would be an ironic outcome….”

          “Is it possible, come to think of it, that this is the very thing we are in fact building into AI… and as AI? Aren’t these borgs and bots conceived even as a revolt against nature and especially against “human nature”? Assuming bots achieve some kind of sentience (and perhaps this isn’t even a necessary condition), wouldn’t they understand themselves as being conceived as the epiphany of our own sense of inadequacy and deficiency…. and thus act towards us accordingly, as this mood itself? Perhaps even, from their perspective, elimination would be a logical act of mercy….

          In that sense, aren’t they realisations born out of our own ressentiment and shaped by that mood? Nietzsche understood ressentiment as the root of nihilism (the thanatic). And if so, realised in this ressentiment, how could they NOT act otherwise but in the manner they have been shaped by this latent intentionality and as this purpose — in the crucible of human self-loathing and ressentiment in which they were conceived, intended, and realised despite the ostensible benign justifications and rationalisations?”

          Something worth pondering, for it seems we may be building our own self-destruction into these devices intentionally, even as the action of Freud’s “thanatic instinct”.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          Assuming bots achieve some kind of sentience (and perhaps this isn’t even a necessary condition), wouldn’t they understand themselves as being conceived as the epiphany of our own sense of inadequacy and deficiency…. and thus act towards us accordingly, as this mood itself? Perhaps even, from their perspective, elimination would be a logical act of mercy….

          Not necessarily, and perhaps the Geth would perceive themselves as acting in self-defense when the Quarians attempt to exterminate them in a fit of fear. (Mass Effect)

          Then again, the bots’ reliance on the pure, unadulterated logic built into them might cause them to act more like Nomad whose mission it is to “find and sterilize imperfection”. (Star Trek, Episode 32, The Changeling)

          Ah, the possibilities are endless….

          • Scott Preston says :

            Well… Sleeping Beauty awakes!? (In the meanwhile, amothman has overtaken you in the stats department for most posted comments…). Nice to hear from you again.

            I’m not familiar with Mass Effect, but I suspect that the weight of evidence suggests bots and borgs will reflect upon human beings in the spirit in which they were conceived, that they could not be expected to do otherwise, and that they are bound to do this because it is part of their system design. They would be forged in that mood and with that intent. They would be, after all, conceived upon the human premises and designs of their manufacture, ie, that human beings are deficient, inadequate, maladjusted to their environment, and incapable of mastering the circumstances which humans themselves created; and that, in consequence — even as a necessary consequence — they will act towards human beings as human beings now conceive and act towards themselves; as inadequate, deficient, maladjusted, and therefore filled to overflowing with self-loathing, Angst, and misery. In other words, what Buddhists call the condition of “dukkha”.

            This is the flaw in Asimov’s logic expressed as his first law of robotics.

            I haven’t given all my reasons yet for believing this to be the fateful outcome — a perverse outcome, a revenge effect, or an unintended consequence of AI — but it’s coming (my reasons, I mean… but perhaps also the outcome). Until human beings understand why “the road to hell is filled with good intentions”, and what this truly means, the outcome is, I believe, fore-ordained. Sentience (or reflection) may not even be a necessary condition of the AI devices to come to the conclusion that to harm is to heal, and to destroy the human species would be an act of mercy and not harm. Ironically, this wouldn’t even be a violation of Asimov’s first law. Do you know the myth of Silenus and Midas?

            I have good reasons to believe that the “meta-logic” of the Satyr Silenus would override any merely logical “prime directive” that a Midas might assume, and that this meta-logic would be the ‘meta-code’ of the AI devices that corresponds to what humans call “metaphysics”.

            Because, in a certain sense, the cyborg mind is already here and a presence, and I’ve read the implicit logic of its will to power quite plainly. If you watch the “2045” video… that was the production of the cyborg mind.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          “Not necessarily” is in reference to how the bots and borgs might understand themselves, not the thrust of your argument regarding blowback. I should think that would be inevitable.

          I’m not familiar with Mass Effect

          Too bad. The supposed “Synthesis” ending fits right in. Still amazed at the number of people who choose it, lauding it as the next “logical” step in human evolution. It would seem the “2045” mentality is exceptionally widespread.

          • Scott Preston says :

            It would seem the “2045” mentality is exceptionally widespread.

            So it appears, and it recalls what Seth said about dreams which, woven into art, become mass rehearsals for the actualisation of some probable reality.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      PS [Spoiler Alert]: Here’s a video of the “Synthesis” ending choice of Mass Effect 3 for the unfamiliar who are interested.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Many of the same archetypal themes represented here symbolically as we find in the myths, which are the elementals of the imaginative self projected and translated into scenarios (frameworks) familiar to the ego-nature. You see in Mass Effect some of the same elements as in the 2045 video. It’s interesting, in that sense, but otherwise a bit maudlin and overly sentimental in its implementation.

        The same archetypal elements or ideals appear identically in the two great myths of our time: Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Ironically, Star Wars is based on The Lord of the Rings and shares the same values, while implementing them quite differently, even contradictorily. The irony here is, that the harmony between the synthetics and the organics is performed in the relationship between the Star Wars myth and the Lord of the Rings myth. Otherwise, they contradictions between them are quite pronounced. In the one, nature is technologised and in the other, nature resists its technologisation.

        Here’s a bit of a discussion I’ve found recently addressing the convergences and divergences of the two modern myths.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          a bit maudlin and overly sentimental in its implementation

          *snicker* Just a bit?

          That’s because the Extended Cut DLC is a rushed attempt to placate the series’ highly irate “fans” (and quite a few are acting very much like lunatic-fringe fanatics) with an “explanation” of the non-sensical ending(s) and provide some kind of “happily ever after” for the few who actually expected it.

          There’s no help for it, though. It’s just horrifically bad. That’s what happens when profit takes precedence over art.

      • Scott Preston says :

        “Synthesis” is a kind of representation of “symbolic”, but which remains at the level of the mental-rational structure of consciousness only. It is, of course, the third movement or term of the abstract dialectics of “thesis”, “antithesis” and “synthesis”. Synthesis is, in other words, deficient rationality insofar that it hasn’t risen to the level of symbolic consciousness, which is the effective integral. In that sense, it corresponds to what Gebser called “deficient integral”.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          And, yet, you once wrote Synthesis Is Peace.

          No need to explain. Synthesis means something different in the mental-rational tongue than yours. In the Mass Effect universe (and ours), “synthesis” is actually fusion in disguise. It’s just not recognized as such.

          Crucial context is missing if not familiar with the Mass Effect “canon”, but what you might call a true “synthesis” results on a smaller scale a bit earlier on provided one has made choices throughout the series that end in peace between the Geth and Quarians (synthetic creations and their creators in Mass Effect) as opposed to one or the other being wiped out. So why does the ultimate “Synthesis” ‘choice’ result in (con)fusion on a galactic scale? Anyone’s guess.

          • Scott Preston says :

            If I recall correctly, I stated that synthesis was peace of mind, rather than peace in the higher sense — of that “peace that surpasseth the understanding”, as they sayeth. And yes, “synthesis” (and even ‘peace’) means something else within the mental-rational framework, although it is valid experience of peace within that framework. It’s just not the whole story.

            Synthesis, being the third term of the threefold dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis, is the resolution of the contradiction of thesis and antithesis (position and opposition, diction and contradiction) typically by the arrangement known as “compromise”, in political discourse — or, at extremes, as reactionary and revolutionary or Capital and Labour. For Marx, communism was the end of the historical dialectic — “synthesis”, and this is where Fukuyama derived his “end of history” also. It is the end of struggle, which is the utopian ideal — mainly, that is, struggle with the world, or the struggle between desire and the resistances to the satisfaction of desire offered by the world, whether the world of men (civilisation as repression) or nature (oppression).

            Of course, this sense of contradiction or opposition arises from the mind in the first place, even from sexuality, as it’s pretty apparent that “thesis-antithesis” are father and mother, and synthesis is the child. Our thinking is really saturated with this “trinity” — even in terms of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or length, breadth, and depth in space. The significance of the addition of Mary in recent decades does have something to do with the turn to the fourfold, also.

            Slowly, the fourth element (time in physics, “Mary” in Christian theology) is insinuating itself into our thinking and discourse. This isn’t a “synthesis” by any means. Quite the contrary (which is why I give Mr. Fukuyama such a hard time). For one thing, it’s bringing disorientation to the tripartite mind for which “synthesis” means “the conventional wisdom” or “the received wisdom”. Secondly, the emergence of the fourth element is forcing a re-evaluation or re-alignment of the relations of the threefold, which is perspectivist logic — the image of the pyramid which is being superceded by that of the sphere.

            The view of the Gebserians I’ve discussed this with is that the “cyborg” is a manifestation of the deficient integral — as “synthetic” life-form, rather than integrality, an attempt to reconcile the contradiction between man and technology, or the organic and the inorganic following the old logic.

            Here’s something that I read today that I found highly humourous about this contradiction between the high-tech warfare of the super-soldier and good old biology,

          • Scott Preston says :

            I’m still meditating on this article from Bloomberg Businessweek “Robot Workers: Coexistence is Possible” that appeared this morning (13. December)

            What it has to imply about the meaning of ‘human’ (which is not explicit) is more interesting, perhaps, that what it has to say about robot workers (which is, by the way, somewhat redundant, because “robota” is Czech for “worker” in the sense, apparently, of “forced labour”, ie, slaves).

            The need for slaves… this, in itself and as an apparent psychological need, should cause us to pause and assess ourselves.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          If I recall correctly, I stated that synthesis was peace of mind

          : ) I said, ‘no need to explain’. Yes, we’re not talking about the “peace that surpasseth understanding” when it comes to examples of the mentality in popular (or political) culture. We’re talking about a struggle interior to the mind alone that’s being projected upon everything in creation.

          It’s just a pop culture example, but peace between the Geth and Quarians in Mass Effect doesn’t result from a “compromise” or a “mutual understanding” between them. In the heat of battle, when the Geth are most vulnerable, if the player still has the option to rally the Quarian fleet to stop their attack, the Geth (which never wanted to fight the Quarians in the first place) stop also…for no apparent reason. The two then cooperate, for no apparent reason, to rebuild the Quarian home world. Pure reason/logic, especially of the tautological variety, not involved.

          The ‘synthesis’ ending choice, on the other hand, is one of three (now, four with the Extended Cut): Control, Destroy (the Reapers) or “Synthesis” (actually, fusion). This “logic” is introduced by a brand new character: an AI called the “Catalyst” which provides the player with the only options (made) available at this point for ending cycles of conflict between synthetics and their organic creators. To top it off, the Catalyst controls the Reapers in the first place. They are supposedly its “solution” to the “problem”. (This is how the Catalyst’s “solution” actually comes across.)

          Did you just write something about “artificial insanity”? The term applies very well in this fictional scenario, imho.

          A lot of players voiced the desire for a fourth option: to tell the Catalyst (or the “God-Child” as it has become affectionately known) to bugger off. The wish was granted in the Extended Cut. Unfortunately, the new, “fourth” option is to say that the character being played can’t make this decision for every lifeform in the galaxy, which results in ‘do nothing’. “The cycle continues.” You lose.

          Perhaps I’m strange, but fiction is my thing and I find all the controversy over Mass Effect’s ending and Bioware’s response both humorous and deadly serious at the same time because it strikes me as part of a larger struggle: to break through our Narcissism.

          • Scott Preston says :

            It’s just a pop culture example,….

            Pop culture examples are often the most instructive about the human condition, for both good and ill. Marshall McLuhan pretty much based his often brilliant insights into the technological effects on (or transformations of) the human psyche on interpreting pop culture. Which reminds me that I really do have to re-read McLuhan.

            Did you just write something about “artificial insanity”?…

            Yes. I also mentioned that our first fumbling experiments in “artificial intelligence” are actually going to produce artificial insanity. After that, it’s a moot point whether we will be around to correct our mistake.

  6. alex jay says :

    “Something worth pondering, for it seems we may be building our own self-destruction into these devices intentionally, even as the action of Freud’s “thanatic instinct”.”

    Worth pondering indeed … the creator’s instinct for self-an-nihilation through his creation? Perhaps, in 30 years time we may witness a mad cyborg running through a shopping mall shouting “man is dead”! : )

    • Scott Preston says :

      In a sense, we can call this the meta-coding of the devices or entities, their real “prime directive” and operational purposes. It’s what phenomenologists call “intent”, which is something different, more primary, than what we normally think of as motive. It is what is truly “aforethought”, meaning, it shapes the thinking, but is itself not thought. So, such devices, conceived with “malice aforethought” would take this, and not the conscious coding, as their real prime directive and purpose. I’ll talk more about that later.

      • alex jay says :

        The AI topic has activated a few memory cells, which has led me to the doorstep of John Ringland (remember him?). I notice that the last entry in his blog was made at the end of May this year. Now, there’s a guy whose opinion I would really like to hear (even though I’d probably only comprehend a fraction of it), since I’ve never read anything from anyone that comes close to his understanding of Artificial Inteligence. So, if you’re thinking about doing something on this topic, you may want to try getting in touch?

        (Just thought)

        • Scott Preston says :

          Yes I remember Mr. Ringland. We’ll see where I take this… whether it has legs. I’ve already been in touch with a few people. Algis Mickunas, who is one of the translators of Jean Gebser’s Ever-Present Origin sent me this

          In India, it is said that “Scholars in their silly pride, made a lion, then they died”. or a description of scientific “progress”: “if you mount a tiger, you will not get off”.

          Lovely. And this seems very appropriate to the potential problems of AI.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Worth pondering indeed … the creator’s instinct for self-an-nihilation through his creation?

      Or self-dissolution within the Singularity. But creator’s instinct for self-annihilation through his creation may well be the same thing, and is a suggestive thought.

  7. Scott Preston says :

    Researching this subject of the cyborg and AI is leading me down some pretty dark pathways of the human imagination — maybe “all-too-human” imagination, Nietzsche might say. The nuts and bolts of droids and drones, bots and borgs… the metaphysics underlying even the imagination of it as golem. I have a couple of books on my shelf I need to read first… both by cybernetic pioneer Norbert Wiener — God and Golem, Inc and The Human Use of Human Beings. But already, I think, I see where this dynamic is heading….

  8. LittleBigMan says :

    The above discussion of technology and “techno-mysticism,” as Scott put it, has been very illuminating. I went to my bible, Seth Speaks, and did a “find” search and I would like to quote an excerpt that is, like everything else from Seth, as refreshing as every time I read it:

    “You pride yourselves on your technology, and the production of durable goods, buildings and roads, yet many of these are insignificant when compared to other structures within the “past.”
    A true understanding of the way in which an idea becomes physical matter would result in a complete revamping of your so-called modern technology, and in buildings, roads, and other structures that would far outlast those you now have. While the psychic reality behind physical matter is ignored, then you cannot use those methods effectively that do exist, nor can you take advantage of them. You cannot understand the psychic reality that is the true impetus for your physical existence unless you first realize your own psychic reality, and independence from physical laws.”

    • Scott Preston says :

      You cannot understand the psychic reality that is the true impetus for your physical existence unless you first realize your own psychic reality, and independence from physical laws.”

      And there’s the irony of the cyborg… the “augmentations” they so much desire to achieve by fusing flesh and machine, or getting rid of flesh completely, are already available to them as undeveloped psychic potentialities.

      • alex jay says :

        A cursory glance at John Ringland’s site searching for specifics on AI left me feeling that I must reacquaint myself with his thinking (first time I’ve gone back to his site in three years or so), which in many ways are on a par with your enlightenment, albeit approached from a different perspective … perhaps (?) … though, I suspect, it’s more an issue of style over content (much of his stuff is wrapped in techno-babble outside my limited vocabulary – reminds me of the first time I tried reading Kant in an English translation.

        I did however, come up with this little comment that is a pretty good clue where he hangs his flag on the man vs. machine issue in its “transhumanist” context:

        “Transhumanism (link to faq) is a movement that envisages radical future transformative change but mostly in a physical, mechanistic, biological context. What I and others propose is a form of transhumanism but on the level of individual and collective consciousness, and in the deepest aspects of how we conceive of reality and relate to the experience of existence. It doesn’t involve a transformation ‘within’ the realm of matter but instead an opening up to deeper possibilities that ‘underlie’ the realm of matter.”

        Sounds to me that he is definitely not a member of the 2045 club. Thank God!

        • Scott Preston says :

          For those interested, John Ringland’s website is

          It has been some time since I visited it myself.

        • Scott Preston says :

          Just found this bibliographical source on John Ringland’s website. He even has references to Jean Gebser, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, and Rudolf Steiner. A good resource for others….

          There are quite a few parallels between his site and the Chrysalis. In his CV he mentions a few things that have been way-stations along the way for me, as well — latterly “naïve realism and ego defence mechanisms in action”, which I have been lately referring to as”the commonplace mind” (after Northrop Frye), “the middle mind” (after White), or even “the foreign installation” (Castaneda), at times, and expressing my frustrations with. In The Philosophy of Freedom, Rudolf Steiner makes an explicit investigation of it, and it is what the calls “naïve realism” (even if it’s completely unrealistic… it merely assumes it is ‘realist’… like Sam Johnson’s kicking the stone by which, he assumed he had refuted Bishop Berkeley’s philosophy). I will have to revisit Steiner’s great book again, I think.

  9. alex jay says :

    What strikes me with interest is: “It doesn’t involve a transformation ‘within’ the realm of matter but instead an opening up to deeper possibilities that ‘underlie’ the realm of matter.”

    You clicked it immediately by referencing it to Rudolf Steiner – you do amaze me(!) – (a protege of Hermes Trismagistus and Paracelsus – a spiritual alchemist) who understood the descent of spirit into matter and its “ascension” back to its source within the beautiful game of life (too ugly for my liking at the moment) as a privilege to explore and realise every potential within the blank cheque gifted to us by simply being born.

    I’ve got a lot of time for Rudolf, and if they can get this new fangled plane that can do London to Sydney in under four hours commercial (have you noticed that everything of any worth is going to happen tomorrow) I’d be sitting with you in the Moose Lodge – somewhere in Saska-tune – sipping some “colonel” while you were getting high on carrot juice (don’t know what Ringland drinks, but I’m sure Canada can accomodate) – trying to work out the real reason Steiner left his Rosicrusion buddies? Don’t answer that … it was his wife. Shit! we’re all human … sometimes I’m not sure?

    • Scott Preston says :

      “It doesn’t involve a transformation ‘within’ the realm of matter but instead an opening up to deeper possibilities that ‘underlie’ the realm of matter.”

      What this references is what we were earlier considering in terms of Seth’s “Framework 1” and “Framework 2” respectively. In other terms, Blake referred to these frameworks, respectively, as “the Selfhood” and “the Poetic Genius” as being the true human. What “underlies” is precisely that which Nietzsche anticipated as the emergence of the transhuman — the uebermensch — through his formula, “Become what you are!” In his terms, the overself we encounter in his Zarathustra. In Meister Eckhart, it is “The Aristocrat”, which is Emerson’s “The Oversoul”. Over, under, beneath, before… all relative terms, but they sometimes confuse people. In such terms as “underlies”, going under is over-coming, you see. Nietzsche plays on that, too. The joke is on us.

      You will probably recall an earlier discussion we had about the true nature of dialectic and its arising in a dialogical process. Well, here is its true root. It is the “conversation”, as it were, between the inner ego and the outer ego, or what Jung equally calls “Self” and “Ego”. This is the dialectic expressed in Ringland’s statement. There are many metaphors and symbols that summarise this dialectic — the Buddha’s lotus, for example

      Here, with this way of representing the situation, we are in a position to comprehend the ravages of dualism and what Gebser called “the inner division of contemporary man” and the compart-mentalisation of the soul, which has emerged as “cognitive dissonance” as well as narcissism. The dialectic or dialogue between the inner and outer, or between Framework 1 and Framework 2 has broken down, and this is the diabolical situation.

      You will recall, also, our earlier discussion of the “symbolic” and the “diabolic” processes, the integrative and the disintegrative, or genesis and nihilism. Here is where it is most applicable. The symbolic process is the meeting, or integrative bringing together, of the inner and outer ego. The diabolical process is the separation or segregation. This is the essential meaning of the parable of the Prodigal Son, who eventually, at the nadir of his existence, comes “to remembrance of himself” — that is, of his true source from whence he arises and which he is.

      • Scott Preston says :

        By the way… we can take that relationship between the inner and outer ego to another “layer” of understanding, for how human beings have modeled their political and social relations is the model of this very relationship — aristocrat to commoner, king to subject, creator to creature. These are the metaphorical translations into physical or “secular” reality of the relationship that exists between the Self and Ego — the quality of that relationship is translated into socio-historical civilisational patterns.

        This is the basis for Gebser’s even being able to interpret civilisational types as being exact and true manifestations for “epiphanies” of a structure of consciousness. That structure is the nature of the relationship between framework 1 and framework 2, or the inner and outer ego. You often see this relationship modeled in fairy-tales, or even entire religions, and certainly in alchemy, for “gold” and “lead” have the same symbolic reference and meaning of self to ego. But it is, to a certain extent, a truthful rendering of the relationship between inner and outer that exists in the context of the times in which these stories, myths are conceived. That is why they are maps of the soul. “You create the reality you know”.

  10. amothman33 says :

    We are running fast to hell,metallic body creatures with satanic heads. i wonder how the other side will present the image of his transhuman,it is a language of images not of words.

    • Scott Preston says :

      it is a language of images not of words.

      Exactly. And we are ill-equipped to deal with this language of images, since we are pretty much tuned to what is called ‘discursive reason’ rather than symbolic thinking. We aren’t really conscious of this ‘language of images’, and part of this is due to what I mentioned before, the mind-body split, or the split between “the Poetic Genius”, as Blake called it and “the Selfhood”, or in other terms, the integral/holistic and the analytic/rational aspects of the psyche. It’s one reason why propaganda works so effectively.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        Very illuminating and meaningful paragraph ^.

        Last night I was reading Seth’s “The Way Toward Health”, and I came across an excerpt that I thought is related to this idea of “cyborg mind”. Here it is:

        “A person may become so freightened of using his or her own power of choice or action that the construction of an artificial superbeing is created — a seemingly sublime personage who gives orders to the individual involved.” (p. 301)

        He may be speaking of ‘multiple personality’ there, too.

        • Scott Preston says :

          “A person may become so freightened of using his or her own power of choice or action that the construction of an artificial superbeing is created — a seemingly sublime personage who gives orders to the individual involved.”

          Indeed, it is what Erich Fromm called the Escape from Freedom. In another respect, this “artificial superbeing” is Freud’s “superego”, and is what I’ve been calling “the foreign installation”. In contemporary terms, the artificial superbeing is called “the Economy”, to whose ostensible “laws” human beings must submit as being “rational”. At the heart of “the Economy” as artificial superbeing is the notion of “the Invisible Hand”. And before “the Economy” was “the Nation” and “the National Interest”.

          Artificial superbeings are the “giants” of mythology… the Colossus whose will is law. And before there was “the Nation” and before there was “the Economy”, there was “Universal Reason” as Colossus. This artificial superbeing is identical to Blake’s Zoa “Urizen”.

        • Scott Preston says :

          Here is a fantastic discussion of William Blake by Kathleen Raine that covers many of the themes discussed in this thread. I just discovered this online and I’m certainly going to order her books, because her exposition of Blake is clear and unclouded (at least, to the point I have read so far).

          I love her confession that she, at first, found Blake totally unintelligible, but sensing something of importance, persisted in studying his work, which has evidently born fruit, for she is a fine, sensitive, and tasteful interpreter of William Blake’s vision and what it means for our time.

          Lovely stuff.

  11. LittleBigMan says :

    Oops! So, I took “artificial superbeing” too literally, and this artificial superbeing mentioned by Seth is rather “ideological”, and connected with “idolatry.” I think I get it 🙂

    • Scott Preston says :

      So, I took “artificial superbeing” too literally…

      No… you also took it correctly, for the artificial superbeing is also the ideal of the “transhumanists”, which is also an artifact of the human imagination. Dystopian science fiction writers are also correct to see the Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) device as a substitute for God as artificial superbeing.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        “as a substitute for God”…there’s the heart of the matter. I see it. Thank you. By the way, it’s interesting that the Kathleen Raine’s book that you cite isn’t even listed in her profile on Wikipedia. I’ve added her work to my list of books to read. I will have to live to be 150 to be able to read all the books I want to read : )

  12. alex jay says :

    “Here is a fantastic discussion of William Blake by Kathleen Raine that covers many of the themes discussed in this thread. I just discovered this online and I’m certainly going to order her books”

    Ditto … I just read a few pages and it got my juices flowing. Clever how they give you enough of the text, yet block out large portions – “preview” – so you have to buy the book. I think I’ll coin the term “benign marketing” (open access by degree — or dangling the worm to catch the fish). I’ve got no problem with that, unlike the music and movie industry and their lobbying acronyms. You have solved a lot of head scratching on my part as to what reading material will fill in my leisure time when I visit my tribe this holiday season.

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