Education

Learning things changes us and binds us to those changes. Once we learn a new skill we are moulded by that acquisition and introduced into the world in which that skill can be applied. Being able to play the piano, bake meat pies, or even ride a bike, locks us into a relationship with those activities and the objects involved in performing them. Likewise, reading a novel, uncovering historical data, or understanding certain laws of physics, alters our perception of the world and moulds us into a different person than we were before we had made the discovery of such things.

Through learning we ourselves become more un-hidden and more available for use in the world. In a sense, we are imbued with more purposefulness because we are more embedded in the world and the complexities of reality. All education as such, is a kind of spiritual experience that opens the essential reality of sapiens before us and allows us access to that reality, not unlike any other initiation ceremony. But unlike most religious or cultural initiations, real learning cannot be restricted by constraining concepts such as purity, or truth. Learning things binds us, but the ties that are made are ropes of freedom, that unleash our un-hiddenness and our accessibility to life. To be open to the world, as such, is to be tied to the things of the world and only by mastering the knots of reality can we be truly capable, truly sapiens, human beings in the world.      

Society of Control (Part One)

We live in a society of control, but not because of the Covid-19 lockdowns. With the pandemic the control is obvious, what we need to remind ourselves of now is that our control-society existed a long time before the coronavirus spread. Of course, the rationale of lockdown in a pandemic is perfectly understandable, it is common-sense logic, the worrying thing is not the present but how easily we swallowed the perverted logic used to justify control before this actuality. The fact is that we have been in Orwell’s 1984 society for some time and the pertinent question now is, for how long have we been here?

When societies accept the controls of searches and inspections, the same society becomes immersed in a neurosis – a fear which is, for the most part, illogical.

We have been enduring compulsory inspections at airports and the entrances of government agencies or large corporations for decades. Any visitor is symbolically treated like a potential terrorist, and this treatment is in itself a form of terrorism. The best way to cope with the military control dished out at society’s checkpoints is with acceptance, which is resignation, which is the same as submission. We are told the control is carried out to ensure our safety. But is this is a valid reason for our uncritical submission?

For example, in order to discern whether or not the incarceration-style controls that we are constantly forced to endure at airports really do ensure our safety, we would firstly need to examine statistics concerning plane crashes before and after 9/11. If we do, we see that the numbers are more or less the same with a slight increase in accidents after 9/11. For while intense security-checks were made the new normal in all airports, the safety standards on the mechanical state of many planes worsened rather than increased. While society concentrated on stopping potential terrorists from boarding planes, it has been neglecting the vigilance of the emotional and psychological level of the pilots, or the thoroughness of inspections on the planes themselves.

Under any dictatorship, the first victim is always the truth. Power will only tolerate its truth, and control is a tool for turning its truth into the truth. Once established, the fact that its truth is actually a lie, is covered up by the acceptance given to that lie. If everyone accepts the lie as the way things are, then it no longer remains a lie, it is transformed into the way things are.

The problem with these imposed realities is that they are full of cracks. Problems are controlled rather than solved. Sometimes this is because the problems favour the measures the System wants to impose. Terrorism creates a need for maximum security controls and allows State repression of freedom. But the roots of the problem are created by the injustices provoked by the voracious appetite of our very same system-of-perpetual-growth (e.g.: capitalism or the neo-liberal economy). Because of this, no steps can be taken to properly eradicate poverty, which is the real root cause of most of our social problems, creating a breeding ground for most fanaticisms and, in fact, almost everything most people fear.

Likewise, the System, which is imperialistic, will not take measures to restrict the imperialist nature of its corporations, and neither will the neo-liberal financers combat the impoverishing effects of its debt-creating loans that are impossible to pay back.

The result is that nothing can be really done to fight the problems created by the System itself.

The Architecture of Air-travel

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The airport could be seen as a gateway to liberty, for, love it or hate it, air travel has given us the wings so many humans must dream of whenever they contemplate the freedom in the flight of a bird. However, the sensation when one is in an airport is not precisely that of being free. Technology has given us the power to fly, but not gratuitously. The freedom to fly comes at a cost: an economic one; a long flight is uncomfortable and expensive, and practicality and profitability demand the design of claustrophobic spaces for travellers. Jet-travel is cramped and stressful, and embedded in the experience is the implicit fact that it if the mechanism you are locked into fails, the metal tube you sit in will hurtle down and crash in a way that will annihilate everyone on board.

Statistically, we’re told, it’s the safest form of travel. Of course, we have to trust the airlines, and hope that their needs to ensure profits will not affect the safety and maintenance standards of the aircraft we are flying in. Nevertheless, each passenger airline is a potential bomb, a potential that was taken full advantage of by terrorists in 2011.

After 9/11 things became more claustrophobic for everyone … or everyone except Power with a capital P. Terror is a liberating force for Power and the latter took full advantage of the terrorists taking advantage of air-travel, to create an authentic space of absolute control in the airports. Rather than feeling that one is passing through a gateway to freedom, airports today seems like an ugly, if thankfully brief, passage through a concentration-camp.

For Power, airports are an ideal laboratory wherein to explore the extents of control that the citizens of the so-called democratic societies are willing to endure, because whenever you travel by plane you are being asked an implicit question: what price (loss-of-freedom-price) are you prepared to pay in order to enjoy the freedom (time-winning-gain) of flying to your destination?

Power knows that the inconveniences, both the excessive controls as well as the possible threats of a hijacking or the likeliness of an accident, gradually become absorbed by society as ‘the way things are’ – an expression which is just as progress-numbing as terms like ‘destiny’ or ‘God’s will’. And this is exactly how things have played out.

To make air-travel less stressful and liberate airports from the concentration-camp models that we have today we need to rethink the whole militaristic conception of air-travel architecture. But, is that possible? Can we make more enjoyable airports? Could flying be a less-claustrophobic and more beautiful experience? Or, does the paradox between the freedom of flying and the measures required to ensure the safety of that experience imply that the airports we have today are the only kinds of airports possible?

The resolution of the paradox is a deep, essential problem, for the paradox is not just a conundrum of airports, but a paradox concerning the human-condition. As with air-travel, so it is with life itself. As with airports, so it is with our cities. The question is the same: Does the conflict between the desire for freedom and the needs of safety imply that the architecture structuring our lives today is the only feasible kind of structure that can deal with that conflict?

Freedom becomes popular when it is safe and safety implies regulation which diminishes freedom. In order to gain anything, how much must be sacrificed? It is a question as old at least as the first magical rituals. But the question we want to raise now is: is there only one solution to the paradox? Might there not be a better architecture than the one we currently have? Why are all the airports the same? How can the best model be so imperfect? Can we design our airports (and hence the entire structure of our societies) in a more comfortable, pleasant, and human way?

Toward a Philosophy of Progress

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Kant divided concepts into those of nature and those of freedom[1], and now let’s introduce a third concept, lying between these two, which is that of nature which has been transformed by freedom.

With the establishment of this third category we can also now envisage a new philosophy between the philosophy of nature and the philosophy of morals that would be a philosophy of progress: which is concerned with what we can achieve through the alteration of nature and which would have an ultimate of creating eternity – because eternity has to be the ultimate aim of all progress.

This philosophy of progress has both technically-practical and morally-practical principles, geared towards that which is not yet practical but which should be, and hence, which should be the aim of freedom.

The existence of progress means that the practical itself is constantly evolving with the development of the technically possible. Or, in other words, the theoretical of today creates the practicalities of tomorrow’s freedom.

 

THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBILITY OF THE IMPOSSIBLE

The philosophy of progress takes, as its first assumption, that anything is possible and that the impossible is a temporary illusion: things are impossible only until we discover how they can be made possible.

Impossibility only exists while a) we are incapable of developing our technological skills enough to be able to render things we desire to be possible; or that b) we lack the desire to render certain things possible. This lack of desire can come about because of b.1) the condition in which the imagined possibility is morally undesirable (e.g.: the creation of a hard-core artificial-intelligence, by which we mean a super-fast, self-conscious computer that would have access to unlimited information instantaneously and the power to control all that information at its own will, should be considered impossible, not because we could never create it, but because it would very easily and likely destroy us if it ever were to be created. Moral undesirability, therefore, renders the theoretically possible a practical impossibility).

[1] Immanuel Kant, CRITIQUE OF JUDGEMENT, Oxford World Classics, OUP, p. 7

SOCIAL FREEDOM AS A FEASIBLE CONCERN

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Human societies are created around human activity and the requirements that come from the organization of that activity. Freedom, in a social sense, has to be defined by the freedom of choice that an individual has in deciding which activity he or she wants to pursue. A freedom-promoting society would, therefore, be constructed in a way that allows each person to pursue the activities they feel are the most suited to them.

Traditionally this idea of society is absurd: because the society itself has its own needs that must be met in order for the same society to function, and, as such, it requires a certain amount of its members to engage in tasks that would be of no interest to them. To compensate for this denial of freedom wages were introduced. In this way, wage-labour can be defined as a compensation for slavery.

Nevertheless, with the development of technology and especially robotics and manufacturing using 3D copiers, the idea of a social freedom can once again be imagined as a feasible thing. The implementation of automation should be seen as a process of liberating salary-compensated slaves in order to liberate their creative, sapiens potentials.

At the same time, the economy has to be adjusted that would guarantee the well-being of each member of society. The most logical evolution would be toward a non-monetary society, but before this revolutionary transition can be achieved, a universal basic-income is the most progressive economic idea. An explanation of UBI and some historical background can be found here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income .

If it is feasible, the promotion of social freedom through the development of technology should be seen as a goal for society and a part of political parties’ programmes.

Organisation: A Human Obsession

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Human beings are obsessed by the way we are organised. We are obsessed by the family, the state, our religions; we live in a gossip loving, envious society that above all loves money … All these factors exert strong organisational fields over our lives. But while it is relatively simple, for some, to stop flag-waving and escape from the grip of their local church, or stop watching reality shows and disappear from their family radar, it seems impossible to remove ourselves from the gravitational force of money.

Money is the perfect form of organisation, itself perfected by the control methodologies implemented through the organisation of the great organiser – the economy.

We are a social-animal species. We are born vulnerable and dependent on those who can nourish and protect us. Until, in theory, we leave the nest, but the independence we imagine we gain in our maturity is a myth that is never truly obtained, because we never free ourselves from the obsession we have with that which is always organising us; an obsession which leads to blind faith, and that is the worst loss of freedom. The way we are organised is the way things are: we sense that; we implicitly believe it; but does that mean that we cannot change it? Is the way things are, the way things have to be?

Despite our obsession with organisation, we also need to believe in the anti-organisation concept of freedom. Most Westerners cringe at the idea of loss of freedom. Freedom is a symbol that all human beings should aspire to. But why? If we are so obsessed with organising our lives according to the way things are, and freedom represents that which is not the way things are, why do we place so much importance on this anti-organisation concept.

Certainly, if one lives under the singular-will organisation of a dictatorship, one can dream of the liberating effects that an organisation like the one we call democracy offers. But what happens when you discover that the free world of liberal democracies doesn’t actually offer you real freedom at all? Where does one go from there? Must we surrender to blind faith, and console ourselves with the absurd, illogical belief that the organisation that controls us actually allows us to be independent and free?

The real problem lies in the fact that we never truly organise ourselves: our lives are always organised for us; within a paradigm built in order to organise most of us in a way that allows us to be exploited for its own purposes. No matter how free we think we are in this world of unlimited possibilities, for the vast majority of us, our relationship is a submissive one, determined by the power that organises us. And yet, do you ever ask yourself why we are organised in this way; or how this organisation came to be taken for granted in the first place?

True, we are a social-animal and freedom from organisation is impossible. Nevertheless, it is possible to break free and escape the nest, just as some of us really do break free from the organisation of the family. Organisation can work for everyone, in a way that allows each one of us the power to develop our talents to the fullest. We don’t have to be organised and moulded according to the will of that seemingly random, abstract force we call the economy. Yet, for a liberating organisational force to be possible, we first have to deeply question the reasons why we have been organised in this anti-liberating way in the first place. In order to see the way out, we first have to understand why we really do need to escape.

THE GREAT CIRCLE OF ANTI-PROGRESS

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THE UROBOROS

Universalism forms the foundation of all monotheisms. Yet it is a foundation badly rooted, for it is constructed on the sediments of separation.

All the separatisms – subject/object; man/God; man/nature; man/woman; man/world; Earth/Universe; Heaven/Hell; master/slave; European/Asian; Christian/Muslim; Muslim/Jew; nation A/nation B – pervert the universalism, rendering it hypocritical.

Monotheism is an intuition for the One. But for the impossible One, for it is the One that is affirmed from a segregation. Only the enlightened can know the one. Hence there arises a new segregation between the enlightened and the ignorant. Even the most universal of religious philosophies, the Tao, makes the separation of Yin and Yang a basis of its whole. To understand the One, we have to understand how it is separated. The pure aspect of the Yin and Yang is not the black and white, or black and red, antagonisms, but the circle around them.

The circle, in the form of the Uroboros, is the oldest symbol of the universal: the cycle is its first limitation. Once the circle is interpreted as a constant, ever-changing form of mobility, it immediately assumes a conservative dogma of anti-progress and a negation of becoming. Inside the cycle, the One is not an expansion but an illusion of progress that merely returns us, through different seasons, to that which is, which always has been, and always will be.

The function of separation, seen through the spectrum of the cycle, is to regenerate and reconfirm the machinery of the One without changing the One itself. In its basic concept, spiritualism is therefore this sense of being in this magnificent, pure, self-generating machinery.

But this sense of being part of the whole is the first thing that monotheisms attack. With the fabrication of God, the Universe itself becomes subordinate to a Master, and spiritualism is relegated to a sense of submission before the All Powerful; a bowing and kowtowing under the omnipotence of the Creator.

What we witness, in this process of hypocritical universalism, is the implementation of all the dogmas of power.

For social progress and individual freedom to be possible and authentic, therefore, the psychological dogma of the circle has to be broken. The tail must be pulled away from the Uroboric serpent’s mouth and turned into a rail that we can drive ourselves forward on. The Earth may be spinning around, but the Universe is expanding.

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.

FEAR AND FREEDOM

Image result for armed police guarding shops

Our global, capitalist civilisation is starting to feel like a training ground in fear and freedom that could be conceived as a deliberately engineered, vicious circle of social manic-depression.

Tests carried out in the 1990s showed that there was a link between depression and compulsive buying. Fear makes us neurotic and depressed, which is good for the consumer-based economy. In this way, bad news is profitable in the long run, especially if the bad news is propagated to as many potential consumers as possible.

Living in a city policed by heavily armed guards, is depressing; but at least it protects the way out of that depression, guarding the way to the ever-open doors of our next shopping spree.

And so, Civilisation tells us: “Fear the worst, but rejoice in your freedom to shop!”

THE ANTI-SAPIENS PROCESS OF CIVILISATION

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Human history has been a steady process of de-Sapienisation through social and tribal stratification. Once knowledge became associated with excess, and subsequently wealth and power, and it was realised that the ownership and protection of technological know-how was a necessary means of maintaining that excess, then humanity lost touch with all possibilities of identifying itself as a species and became a prisoner to the man-eat-man scenario of the stratified species, divided by casts or race, culture or nationality, and measured according to possessions or accumulations, or simply, after its invention, by the quantity of money one possessed or was empowered to obtain.

Through categorising and measuring, humanity has lost touch with its essence and, in even greater terms, with its destiny. Knowledge has become a peripheral aim. Knowledge has lost its primary position in Human-Sapiens identity to become just another tool that can be used to gain advantages in the competitive struggle for excess and the will to be measured highly in the in the economic society of modern civilisation.

For the homo-economicus the idea of freedom means being able to maintain a control of one’s life and keep oneself afloat as comfortably as possible upon the competitive waters of the excess-fuelled, money-edified civilisation. In order to do this, the majority are willing to sacrifice other more Human-Sapiens freedoms such as the freedom to obtain knowledge or the freedom to be granted the power to use any acquired knowledge creatively and productively in the arts and sciences. Instead, intellectual freedom is a victim to a desire by Excess to capitalise the ownership of innovation and ensure, through copyrighting, that profits made from artistic and technological innovations are channelled upward into the sphere of wealth and power.

In this way, it can be seen how the oppression of knowledge is predominantly a political problem. A problem that will never be overcome until the idea that wealth is a sovereign power that must produce privilege, even within democracies, is tackled head-on by democratic societies in order to be transcended.