If there be any lingering skepticism about our fundamental thesis — that the modern mind, intellect, or “mental-rational consciousness structure” (Jean Gebser) is presently in the throes of its own disintegration, fracturing, and decoherence — and if the abundance of compelling evidence for this examined in this blog, and evident in current events, still fails to convince that the personality and character structure of “modern man” is disintegrating or losing integrity, consider what is happening to the meaning of “politics”.
It is not alone the decay of the university into the “multiversity” of overspecialisation that reflects the decay of the unity of knowledge (and thus of the consciousness structure of Late Modern Man), or “the post-modern condition” we now refer to as “the New Normal” of “post-rational, post-truth society”. The commonplace assumption, today, that politics is “war by other means” — a gladitorial contest, a bloodsport such as assumed by Mr. Bannon and his circle — belongs also to the decay and degeneracy of the consciousness structure we refer to as “modernity”. Politics as war is just another aberrant symptom of the disease of post-truth society. It’s here, in this equation of politics with warfare, where the proverb “live by the sword, perish by the sword” finds its proper interpretation and meaning.
If you want to understand what “technocratic shamanism” is, and its connection with techno-fascism (and why we should be concerned about this), Carol Cadwalladr, writing in today’s Guardian, has an excellent article on just this — where, we might say, the Shadow of “dark money” meets “dark data” in the “propaganda ecosystem” of the internet. It reveals the very sinister side of artificial intelligence that largely proceeds “under the radar”.
Those behind this are fools. They have no understanding of the consequences of this destruction of the intellect, and the confounding of our perception, and its functions of discernment between the true and the false, or what is and what isn’t.
While I was reading a profile of Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s controversial political leader in the UK, in today’s Guardian, I recognised in his profile the classic “trickster” archetype. (Actually, it could be a profile of almost any one of our current political (mis)leaders. It’s a type that is presently quite pronounced and hyper-active). Nuttall’s apparent penchant for self-aggrandising, but untruthful and counter-factual, autobiographical details (– in today’s idiom, for polishing up the “Me Brand”–) has become, rather, part of the “New Normal” of the Great Con — burnishing the public image for mass consumption.
That brought to mind the North American indigenous figure of Trickster — Nanabozho (or Nanabush) amongst the Ojibwe of Eastern Canada or, as he is known in these parts, Wisakedjak amongst the Plain’s Cree or Inktomne (or Iktomi) amongst the Sioux (and whether the name “Bozo” the Clown is derived from Nanabozho is, perhaps, an open question. Also, one of the classic counterparts to the trickster figure in European lore is Baron Munchhausen.)
“The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.” – Gary Kasparov
I cribbed that quote by Gary Kasparov from Xraymike’s blog The Collapse of Industrial Civilization, from a recent post entitled “The Trumpocene: Darkness Gathers”. It is true that this short-circuiting of reason is the aim of propaganda. But in broader terms, what we are witnessing in the absurdities of the present period of history, which we find so “surreal” with its self-negating and self-devouring logic we call “chaos”, is better described as the self-immolation of the Modern Mind.
I know we all feel a certain sense of anguish about this. We would like to intercede and intervene in this process of self-immolation and attenuate that process before it completes its logic in total self-annihilation, which seems to be where we are headed presently. Spaceship Earth appears to be falling apart at the seams, which is the echo in physical terms of the disintegration of modern man’s consciousness structure.
In today’s Guardian there is a review of the book The Making of the President (that is, Trump) by the notorious “ratfucker” Roger Stone, who I’ve had occasion to mention in the past in connection with the” creepy clown” or Trickster archetype. There is a kind of fraternity of such types — the dirty tricksters — in contemporary politics, including the Australian “political operative” Lynton Crosby. Mr. Stone insists, like Kellyanne Conway’s justification of “alternative facts”, that people today have “a choice of truths“. So, Ms Conway’s “alternative facts” wasn’t a momentary aberration or a transient lapse of reason. It’s deliberate and in the nature of post-modern politics. It’s one of the chief features of the “New Normal” (or Adam Curtis’s “Hypernormalisation“).
Here, I want to explore how this situation reflects the fragmentation and disintegration of the personality and consciousness structure of modern man in duplicity, as examined also by Jean Gebser also in The Ever-Present Origin.
In 1972, Lewis Yablonski published a book entitled Robopaths: People as Machines. Not just the date of publication is interesting — it follows writings about “Organisation Man” and R. Seidenberg’s “Posthistoric Man” from the 50s, while predating Christopher Lasch’s Culture of Narcissism (1979) by a few years — but also because it speaks to one of Marty Glass’s five characteristics of the Kali Yuga (or “Dark Age”) — “the Mutation into Machinery”.
One of the things I’ve noted about climate change deniers is their assumption that all thinking is mere self-interest. In those terms, climate scientists are beholden to the self-interest and so have confabulated the climate crisis for self-interested reasons of monetary gain.
Once you assume that all thinking is just self-interest (except that of their own — the “righteous mind” — of course) then you must assume there is no such thing as “objective truth”, but only self-interested “points-of-view”. “Truth” becomes whatever self-interest decides it is. This is also an aspect of the egoic “isolation” of the perspectivist consciousness structure, ie, the “point-of-view” consciousness.