GOAL-IMAGES & HUMAN SURVIVAL

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Macro-systems like cultures and civilisations are driven by a goal-image stimulus so powerful that it permeates the habitus[i] and doxa[ii] spheres and seeps into the formation of all our identities. This is seen clearly in monotheistic religions with their goals of reaching ‘Heaven’ or at least avoiding ‘Hell’. But even materialistic drives, like consumerism, have goal-image motors (the drive to attain as much money as possible, in order to buy anything and everything one wants).

the most radical rejection of the macro-system, would therefore be a decision to have no goals: become a cynic and live in a barrel like Diogenes, or become a nihilistic saint like E. M. Cioran. Yet, to stay adrift after such a reaction, one would also have to have faith in the veracity of your cynicism, which means that your rejection of goals itself becomes your goal.

So, the goal is the essence of all motivation, and is the basis of all political, religious, cultural and economic ideologies. Our world-life narrative is an exposition of goals, moulding our personal aims into a doxa: a popular, cultural movement that gives us a sense of habitus and normality.

In order to make the world a better place, therefore, we have to create better goal-images.

Human history has been an anti-human dividing process, yet the basis behind each of the greatest goal-image ideas, has been the desire to unite the whole of humanity under one great singular motivation. The attempt to find such a singularity has had the most tragic consequences and has been the reason for countless conflicts – and yet, the need to find the answer to a viable world-uniting goal-idea may now be tantamount to our survival as a species.

For that reason, it is imperative that we keep asking the question – the question that all religions have asked: What idea would be strong enough to bring us all together?

In its time, the monotheistic idea was a great one, and it could have been perfect if (a) there had been some scientific basis to it, or (b) no one had come up with the idea that there could be very different interpretations of what the One God’s will actually was.

The singular goal-image won’t be found until the best goal-image is found. And the best goal-image will only be found if we have the faith to keep looking for it.

The discovery of the best goal-image is almost certainly a long way away, and it may well be impossible, or may simply never be found. But by trying to find it, at least we start a process towards discovery, which is much better than the dangerously decadent and depleted state of macro-system induced passivism we currently waddle in.

The first step to beginning this process of goal improvements must come from an acceptance that what we have so far is not perfect, and because of that it can be improved. Nor is it the least worst of all bad scenarios: we also need to get beyond the cynical idea that all the alternatives are likewise imperfect and therefore futile. The acceptance of this cynicism breeds Sisyphus-like rock-pushers, happy with in their labour until the rock slips back and crushes them. There are better goal-images, and we must look for them – we need them.

The first thing that has to be dismissed to get the now better ball rolling, is to accept that nothing perfect exists and that perfection is a process of becoming. This gives us the dynamic stimulus to act creatively and purposefully, but that creativity needs to be anchored in a goal-image, something meaningful that should be for the whole of humanity. We presently have such a concept: Our survival as a species. Our survival in the world, leading into our permanence in an eternal Universe.

SURVIVAL

Survival has always been a real human concern, as it is an authentic concern for any biological entity. So, what we are proposing should not be essentially anything new – and yet it is.

Survival is something that has come to be taken for granted in the so-called developed world of western Civilisation. And yet, it is the technological complexity that ensures our comfort and protection from the hostilities of our natural environment that has led us to the looming collapse of the equilibrium allowing the biosphere to be the life-supporting atmosphere that defines it.

There is something necessarily nostalgic in almost all goal-images. Religions yearn for the world driven according to the will of the original creator and harken to ancient texts to support their arguments. Nationalisms are maintained by cultural traditions. Marxism hopes to correct the exploitive course of the history of civilisations. Only consumerisms have a generally non-nostalgic drive, which is what makes consumerism the most dangerous force against the human-in-the-world partnership.

Of all our goal-images, therefore, consumerism is the worst.

The first step to imagining a better goal-image must come from a deep revaluation of consumerism. Here lies the first step forward.

 

[i] For more on Habitus see Paul Adkin https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/habitus/

[ii] Doxa, see https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/doxa-and-aletheia-truth-and-the-artist-part-one/

FREEDOM IS KNOWLEDGE

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A BRIEF GENEALOGY OF INTENTIONAL OR UNINTENTIONAL EXISTENCE

ONE: The Universe, intentionally or unintentionally, creates the world, our Earth, in a way that the possibility of generating living organisms exists.

TWO: The existence of life is subject to the rules of the constructed World in the constructed Universe.

THREE: The World, intentionally or unintentionally, creates life which, intentionally or unintentionally, evolves into ever more complex forms, eventually becoming conscious, intelligent, self-aware organisms.

FOUR: These sentient organisms are subject to the rules of their own constructed biology, as well as the rules of the Constructed World and the Constructed Universe.

FIVE: The intelligent life-form can use its intelligence to construct a reality within the reality (societies and cultures). Part of this construction is intentional, part of it is unintentional. It could also be said that the intentional decisions can often create unintentional results.

SIX: These unintentional results modify intentionality and provoke a need for deeper understanding of the rules of the Constructed World and Universe in which intentional social constructions must take place in order to return a metaphysical authenticity to the social construct of existence.

SEVEN: Unintentionality is a result of an imperfect understanding and/or control of the laws of the Constructed Universe.

EIGHT: In order to create freely, one must understand the already constructed.

NINE: The individual is subject to the laws of the constructed social reality as well as the laws of its constructed biology and the laws of the constructed World in the constructed Universe. The individual, intentionally or unintentionally, must succumb to the necessities imposed by this chain of constructed forms in order to exist as an individual in the World.

WHERE DOES FREEDOM LIE?

Given the complexity of this chain of command that makes it demands on the individual, we must ask ourselves how individual the individual really is. Or, ‘where does freedom lie?’

The only space freedom can move in here, is in that of intentionality.

Freedom lies in one’s capacity to carry out one’s intentions.

As we know that an imperfect knowledge of the laws of the constructed worlds will cause unintentional consequences from intentions, the ability to carry out intentions will depend on the acquisition of knowledge regarding the laws of the constructed worlds.

This means that the acquisition of knowledge is the essential requisite for all freedom.

From the political point-of-view: any human construct that values democratic freedom must, therefore, ensure that all the members of its demos are empowered with the means to develop knowledge and, as such, favour their ability to realise their own intentionality.

A principle law of a constructed freedom would be that no individual or collective intentionality may retard or inhibit the intentionality of any other individual or group.

THE UNINTENTIONAL RESULTS OF OUR CONTEMPORARY, INTENTIONALLY- CREATED WORLD

The systems that exist today manipulate intentionality in a way that restricts the fulfilment of intentions to the compressed spheres of power, condemning the immense area of the rest of humanity to a very limited and cramped field of intentions.

Education is not encouraged, or is given gratuitously in a way that cuts it off from any freedom empowering sense.

The system’s economic paradigm is created in such a way that intentions have to be constantly directed towards desires to consume through the acquisition of tokens like money, made through their own participation in the creation of other consumable products. In this area knowledge has to paddle in very shallow, constantly-receding waters.

The fantasy of acquisition creates an all-consuming monster that reduces individuals to the status of consumers and knowledge to something that is only interesting if it can be sold as a consumer good.

Human beings are measured by their power to consume and intentionality is degraded into a simple vehicle that is driven toward the acquisition of that power. Education and understanding become peripheral objects, equally subject to the laws of acquisition. The only laws necessary are those that lead to or protect profit. However, once the acquisition of understanding is belittled in favour of acquisitions of power, unintentionality blossoms.

The result is a chaotic scenario, continually moving closer toward more unintentionality that no-one really wants.

POPULISM

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‘Populism’: what a feeble term it is. So weak that once it has been uttered it almost immediately needs a clarification. In reality, it could be changed to ‘anti-system’ or ‘radical’; or for certain specific kinds of populisms: ‘anti-capitalist’, ‘neo-fascist’ or ‘neo-Nazi’.

All of these terms, however, carry far more weight and symbolic punch than ‘populism’, which gives us an insight into why the newspeak had a need to invent this new terminology in the first place.

‘Populism’ makes the radical sound legitimate. By diluting the radicalism, it makes it possible to analyse the opponent in a decaffeinated way. But why is the light-discourse necessary in the first place?

The necessity for diluting the radical comes from the very popularity of the anti-systemic feelings. If we call populisms ‘anti-system ideologies’, then we are admitting that the system itself is being deeply questioned by society in a radical way. The ‘populist’ term, however, envelops the radical within the system itself. It turns it into just another political current within the system and eventually, therefore, it hopefully makes it lose its essential pulse and swallow its own tail – even though the success of ‘populisms’ seems to indicate the opposite.

Likewise, it wraps all radicalisms into the same sack, with a belief that this will confuse support for them – how can we support the radical-left if they are fundamentally the same as the neo-Nazis? And vice versa.

Nevertheless, the term itself carries a dangerous charge for the ‘democratic’ system that could blow up in its face. By calling the radical threat ‘populists’, the system puts the radicals on the side of the demos. A ‘populist’ is popular because he/she understands the demos. In its hermeneutic essence, by calling the radical a ‘populist’ there is an insinuation that that same populism reflects a clearer, more popular, more democratic will than the questionably democratic system does.

Of course, if the radical is more popular than the system, then the system really is under threat. In any case, whether you want the system to collapse or not, it is not a good idea to keep using the term ‘populism’.

PROGRESS VS THE GRAVITY OF WEALTH

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PROGRESS

Progress is change with continuity. Revolution breaks continuity.

However, when the change gravitates into a cyclical motion, revolution is needed to reinstate progress.

In a positive, progressive sense, revolution is a poor term for the idea of this interruption of cyclical motion because it implies a new kind of cyclical motion rather than a positive redirection with a continual-change momentum. In a practical sense, however, all revolutions have in fact been redirecting-breakaways that have gravitated back into cyclical motion.

An analysis of this reality indicates a pessimistic vision of a never-ending cyclical reality. But, does it have to be so? And if so, why?

Nietzsche and Deleuze argued that this had to come about because ideals and purposes cannot be sustained once they are achieved. But, what happens if purpose has a deliberately unattainable objective? That purpose becomes the purpose of always becoming rather than the maintenance of what is? That it becomes motored by progress and creativity itself? Could this not be the basis for a forward pushing drive for humanity?

Yet, if this is possible; how is it that we’ve never been able to manage it before?

 

WEALTH

What is the gravity that has constantly pulled progress back around itself into a cyclical form?

That gravity is “wealth”. “Wealth” as a driving force within the libido of our very civilisation itself.

Any deep analysis of civilisation will always indicate (either positively or negatively, depending on the stand-point from which the analysis is carried out) the role of Wealth in the creation and maintenance of all civilisations. In other words, civilisation is a construct erected by Wealth in order to move all accumulations in an upward way that benefits Wealth itself. All revolutions, so far, have been simple replacements of Wealth without ever removing Wealth from the central position of society.

Wealth uses its own gravity to bend continuity, drawing it back and looping it in cyclical knots.

For this reason, the main foe to human progress is Wealth.

Cycles are necessary for the perpetuation of Wealth – and this explains why we have always had a cyclical reality. For Wealth to perpetuate itself it needs cycles. Wealth has always been the centre of Civilisation; therefore, Civilisation has always had a cyclical form.

If we now interpret Lampedusa’s famous political axiom: “In order for things to remain the same, things have got to change” from this point of view, we see the clever reversal that Wealth itself needs to bring about in order to maintain itself, takes place by bending the curve of progress so acutely that it can curl down and around and perpetuate itself as a cycle.

So, is continual progress impossible, or is it merely inconvenient for Wealth?

If progress is defined as economic growth, then continual progress is impossible; but if progress means an advance of humanity as a whole in the fields of learning, creativity and general well-being, then the answer is the latter – it is not impossible, it is only inconvenient for Wealth.

Wealth is diminished in authentic human progress, and maintained by a politics based on slave-creating economies that function in cyclical forms. For human progress to be possible we have to declare war on Wealth.

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The End of Purpose and the Crisis of Creativity

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In his 1981 thesis, ‘Simulacra and Simulation’, Jean Baudrillard lamented the ruination of the university: “non-functional … lacking cultural substance or an end purpose of knowledge.”[i]

Perhaps we should not victimise the universities, the same can be said of our entire nihilistic culture, nevertheless, the idea that a university lacks a reason for learning is a tremendously sad one.

The crippling result of the lack of purposiveness allows societies to throw in their own self-interested crutches: the university becomes a simple place to prepare people for the work-force, or, on a more hopeful level, an environment that will stimulate creativity. But if there is no purpose or reason, why be creative? In fact, how can one be creative when nothing matters? Or the opposite is true: it’s very easy to be creative when nothing matters – too easy.

Either way, the result will always be a crisis of creativity.

“Today’s nihilism is one of transparency, and it is in some sense more radical, more crucial than its prior and historical forms, because this transparency, this irresolution is indissolubly that of the system, and that of all the theory that still pretends to analyse it.”[ii]

Baudrillard regarded Romanticism as the first great manifestation of nihilism; the destroyer of the order of appearances. The second great manifestation came through Dada, Surrealism, the Absurd, and political nihilism – corresponding to the destruction of the order of meaning.

But, destruction is inevitable when appearances and meanings themselves are devoid of substance; when they are castles made of sand. It wasn’t the Romantics or Dada that destroyed meaning; they were merely realisations that meaninglessness had evolved around them. The real destroyers were those in the institutions themselves, trying to maintain a system which made no sense.

Such a condition can only be perpetuated by dissimulation, and only whilst society swallows the performance in the staging of an ersatz purpose that the system offers them. Once the society grows tired of the theatrics played out before them they will start to yawn, or grimace if they are injured by it, and through that yawn or grimace they will see through the stage-craft to the emptiness behind it. When this happens on a massive scale, real revolution or a brutal reaction can take place.

This awareness is happening today, it has been bubbling for some years, but the train is turning toward the Dystopia rather than any purposive Utopia.

Buadrillard observed a similar scenario in the student revolts of Paris, 1968. Why didn’t a revolution happen then? Why is a purposive revolution unlikely to happen now?

According to Baudrillard, the staging carried out by the media is no longer a staging. He calls the media: “a strip, a track, a perforated map of which we are no longer mere spectators”. All that remains, he says: “is the fascination for desertlike and indifferent forms for the very operation of the system that annihilates us.” [iii]

In other words, we are enchanted and enamoured by the same media that is strangling us and numbing our brains. We love to see the violence and perversion that the society produces so much that we would probably fall into a kind of spiritual crisis if the brutality of the system was taken away from us.

[i] J. Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, Michigan, 1994, digital version p. 98

[ii] Ibid, p.104

[iii] Ibid

Let’s Rock: The Essence of the Independent Artist — P.D. Adkin Singer Songwriter

We have a few physical instruments; a microphone; an audio interface, lots of cables and a computer with software that allows us to do all the rest. Our statement is: we have no power, but we do have the will to make our musical statement.

via Let’s Rock: The Essence of the Independent Artist — P.D. Adkin Singer Songwriter

THE HOLY GRAIL IN THE MINOTAUR’S LAIR

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We have been driving a juggernaut along a road leading directly to a cliff edge. If we continue going straight, we will topple into an abyss. Obviously, we cannot continue the way we are going. To avoid annihilation, we have one of two choices: we can either turn left toward a Utopia, or right into a Dystopia. It seems obvious to us which decision is the best one. And yet … most of those on board started screaming to the driver to turn right … and he has. Why? Why did we choose to go in the direction of a Dystopia before a Utopia?

Part of the problem rests in the common perception that Utopia is an impossible space. That it is no-place and therefore must be dismissed straight away. Dystopia, on the other hand, is an inevitability and therefore linked to reality. If reality and pragmatism tells us that we cannot make the world a better place, then at least we can try and protect ourselves against the evil mess that surrounds us.

In truth, our present reality is limited. But limited only by the labyrinth built around us that we call Civilisation. This maze has always been a way for managing the limitlessness of potentials in order to control them for a central cause: The cause being, the accumulation of Wealth and the protection of the wealthy classes. However, existence in the labyrinth has become precarious. The world around it is being devoured by the Minotaur that we feed at the centre of the labyrinth itself. But soon there will be nothing left for any of us to eat, and storms will come and wash us away. If we don’t get out of here, we are doomed. In order to escape we need a map, and we have to tread carefully. But how can we manage a labyrinth from within?

First, one must get a mental overview of it. It requires an intellectual transcendence through reason and the abstract; through mapping and synthesis: and this is a philosophical process.

Secondly, one has to have an anchoring in order to move confidently and lucidly within the maze. An Ariadne’s thread that will enable the hero to retrace his/her steps. With the anchoring one can creep into the unlimited enclosure and look for a way out into the limitlessness beyond its walls without feeling lost; always in touch with the overview, the mental map which provides the hero with an understanding of the maze.

The maze of our Civilisation is infinitely complex and the way out is too far away for any individual to find it in a single lifetime. In fact, it has required tens of thousands of years of intellectual mapping to get to this point we are at now. But that does not mean that a way out is impossible. There is a parallel between the labyrinth and the Grail myth.

The Grail, which cannot be reached, is the goal. It is the learning made on the journey which makes the Grail. So, in reality the Grail does not exist now, but will exist, created out of our endeavours to reach it. The goal/Grail is only holy and spiritual until we see the physical reasons for finding it. Once the physical purpose of the Grail is believed in, then authentic purpose becomes manifest.

Psychologically, the Big Other is resolved. The Big Other doesn’t exist but will exist, through rational, human endeavour.

But to get there, we have to start believing in the possibility of Utopia. In order to get the perspective needed to map the labyrinth properly and see the potential of Utopian limitlessness, a revolutionary thread is needed that will anchor humanity in partnership with the Universe as a vital element in the Universe itself. Only be flying above the maze into the ever-expanding space outside can we find a way out of our doomed enclosure. The enemy to this anchoring-in-the-absolutely-unlimited, is Wealth, which is the force maintaining the labyrinth that we call Civilisation. Utopia is an antithetical concept for Wealth, which thrives on models of Dystopia. Our Wealth-Civilisation is the enemy of Utopia, maintained by an anti-human historical narrative that it itself has created.

Nevertheless, once the lethal aspects of Dystopia are recognised, the Utopia becomes a necessary driving force; a Utopia which is itself envisaged out of necessity.

Patriotism, Fascism, and the Death of Democracy

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Our Civilisation of Wealth has used very different kinds of political ideologies to sustain itself but its ugliest version is undoubtedly Fascism. That a vulgar and fascistic, personality-cult leader has now become President of the USA is shocking, but not so surprising if we consider that the fascism has always been there in a latent form.

The Great War against Fascism of 1939-45, that we call the Second World War, did not actually defeat fascism. Yes, it defeated Hitler and Mussolini and the personality cult regime in Japan, but it did not defeat fascism. It did not defeat fascism because it did nothing to eradicate the patriotic pride of the national states. There were victors and losers in the war: one way of perpetuating the patriotic spirit defeat another manifestation of those sentiments; in the Second World War “democratic” fascism defeated “authoritarian” fascism with the help of the national-socialist regime of Joseph Stalin.   

Authoritarian fascism is best defined by the term National Socialism and the key word in fascism is National. The patriotic spirit behind the democratic forces that defeated Hitler were nationalistic and therefore fascistic forces. All forms of wall building and border defining ideologies are inherently nestling fascist frameworks. All nationalism and patriotic feelings are essentially fascist sentiments. Even the great bridge building ventures since World War II, like the European Union and Globalisation have always clung on to the maintenance of state sovereignty, and by doing this we have maintained the roots of fascism under every progressive tree.

The problem of fascism is that, once the National State establishes its power it needs to extend its boundaries if it wishes to keep progressing. The fascist state is always a little empire, and the Fatherland Empire will always want to expand into neighbouring Fatherlands. The same expansionist need is also an essential part of neo-liberal capitalist growth. However, the capitalist powers that defeated Hitler, knew that they did not need the muscle of dictatorship to perpetuate itself and its growth, in fact, they understood that tyranny was counterproductive to expansion. Fascism had to be subtler, and democracy was a far more efficient machine for allowing the rich to get richer and for Wealth to legitimise itself. Civilian upstarts like Hitler, or military reactionaries like Franco were themselves a bigger threat to Wealth than the pseudo-freely elected parliamentary systems. Control from the unquestionable legitimacy of the ballot-box, contained within an easily controllable patriotic ambience, is the apotheosis of power that Wealth needs to maintain itself.

In theory, Democracy should be the system that favours the masses, but by restricting it within the patriotic bubble this is hardly ever the case. The seemingly illogical results of the Brexit referendum, the Colombian peace referendum, or the seemingly impossible election of a fascist president in the emblem of the Free World that has been the USA, seems to indicate that the democratic process no longer works. But, really, veiled with the mask of patriotism, democracy has always been an easily manipulated motor for the National Socialisms that pull the strings.

As for the United States, where democracy is so widely revered, a heavy paradox has always lain over that system; for an idea of politics favouring the masses is associated there with the “evils” of socialism, that most Americans think is an un-democratic process. By rejecting socialism, the Americans reject the role of the people in democracy. When the will of the people rejects the power of the people, then the situation lies in an essential paradox that is profoundly absurd and invites dangerously ridiculous solutions like authoritarian fascism.