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

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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.

IDEALITY AND IDENTITY … and freedom

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There is nothing until it is perceived. The thing itself is nothing until it is “discovered”. This Idealist concept can be applied to our own identities. We are not how we perceive ourselves to be, but how we are perceived to be when we are “discovered”. Nevertheless, we want to be known in the way we want to be perceived as being and not in a way that those who don’t really know us misconceive us to be. Freedom, therefore, becomes a struggle against mass-perception which is itself a molding force, an attempt to make the individual conform to the way it tells us we should be perceived.

Perception, and therefore identity, can be measured qualitatively and/or quantitatively. In an oppressive regime of imitation, the quantitative is promoted to the detriment of the qualitative. For example, it may be more important the number of likes or friends on your Facebook site than the depth of communication you have with those friends. Nevertheless, without depth of communication the quality of perception remains superficial and regarded as weak. To be superficially perceived has a reciprocal effect on one’s identity. My life is more meaningful and satisfying if I perceive and am perceived in a deep way than if I am conceived of in a wide-spread way. Nevertheless, that is not the trend. In the future we might measure the meaningfulness in our lives through the quality of information that arises from a Google search of our name. This sounds terrible, but the Internet has already become a determining factor in our being perceived and our quality of perceiving.

But if transparency is a vital force in our identity, how do we explain or qualify our fundamental need for privacy? Our need to hide ourselves for whatever reason: because we want to transgress; because we want the peace and silence of privacy; because we are tired of being misunderstood …?

Privacy, in this sense, is linked to freedom. A distrust is found of the way we are perceived because we are perceived in a way we don’t want to be perceived. Very few of us have the strength to openly flaunt our vices for fear of the judgement that will fall on us. De Sade is still the great hero of freedom: by standing naked before society he sacrificed his identity to society’s conceptions, relegating that identity to that of transgressor. In reality, he must be admired for his freedom, but un-esteemed for his superficiality and for the psychological and physical cruelties that his emancipation inflicted on his own victims. In fact, if we examine de Sade’s case closely, we see that freedom is intrinsically impossible. If our identity is always suspect to perception, it is forever subject to judgement.

We cannot escape perception in order to be free, quite the contrary, we have to confront it with our transgressions. With that which, for the eye of the perceiver, are our darkest perversions. The free spirit must inevitably dirty itself in order to obtain that freedom. In this paradox we find reflected the Faustian concept of a pact with the Devil. The soul can only be freed if you are prepared to stain it with your perversions. But who dares?

Can there be a better control mechanism than this?

Globalisation and The Death of Democracy

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One of the aims of globalisation was to separate politics from economics, and yet in practice it has merely reduced the political to a slave-status, servicing the dictatorship of the global marketplace. The Economy, the economic world and its institutions, are not chosen by the people – the polis is for politics. Given free rein, the market will transcend politics, creating its own cultures that are totally at the mercy of Wealth. The creation of global, macro-economics is, therefore, an immaculate fraud against democracy and freedom. The logic of the fraud being that: in order to create a firm and unquestionable dictatorship, the people should firstly be given the illusion of democracy by allowing them to vote for their local and state governments while, at the same time, shackling those same governments to the dictates of the world market place. As such, no matter who the people elect for their governors, it can have no effect on the will of the market. What pushes wealth unto the wealthy is the economy, not the parliaments, and the polis are never asked to vote for any of globalisation’s economic institutions, even though the World Bank and the IMF are the real forces shaping our lives.

Without control of the economy, the life-blood of the State (money) is also pushed out of the realm of political control. The politicians try to put on a brave face, but even the neo-liberal parties are made to look like helpless buffoons before their electorates when the power that really runs the economy (Wealth) decides to get tough and make sure everything is flowing completely in its own favour. Local anger is vented at the local government – the economic regime is too abstract, or too distant. After all, how can it govern us if we didn’t vote for it?

Democracy melts away. There is no democracy at all. We didn’t vote for those who make decisions now. We all live in one huge global dictatorship.

It does not matter what the international financing institutions do or might do, whatever is done is carried out without any democratic mandate. Yet, they can do whatever they like. And though they may assure themselves that they are acting responsibly they are still acting without our blessings, and operating behind our backs.

A Diachronic reminder about Freedom and Democracy

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In linguistics, a diachronic study concerns itself with the evolution words. How does a word’s meaning change over time?

Freedom and Democracy were hoisted up onto a golden pedestal and worshipped, but, like all things that are worshipped, the true significance of their adoration is painted over with interested reasons and appropriations of the original meaning. The success of falsehood lies in an ability to manipulate language so that words maintain the power of their original definition whilst actually meaning something quite different – something that the manipulators want it to mean. Ideologies have manipulated words like Freedom and Democracy in order to create a belief that some original moral purpose is being maintained whilst in truth it has been completely undermined.

The truth, however, can always be found by re-evoking that original meaning of the word. By so doing, one can drill into falsehood by resurrecting the etymological measure in order to calculate the perversity of the reasons contained in its deformation.

HOW TO FIND YOUR TRUE VOCATION IN LIFE?

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Imagine a future civilisation in which our technologies are so advanced that money has been rendered obsolete. Work, as something that one needs to do to earn an income which will pay for your survival or improve your standard of living, no longer exists. Now think: in such a scenario what would I do with my time now that I have all day to do what I want? Try and imagine something that you could spend most of your time doing without really needing to do it. If something comes immediately to mind that is probably your vocation in life. If nothing does then you’ll have to look harder for it. Or perhaps you can think of many things, in which case you probably have a holistic vocation that does not limit itself to specific areas and you’ve got a Renaissance soul.

What this also gives us is a measure of progress. The standard of living in a society improves when we can all actually do what we really want to do. Only when we have liberated society from the money system will we be able to make it a vocation-driven one.

THE CHEATING GAME

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It is obvious that the triumph of Western liberal democracy[i] and its subsequent process of Globalisation has done very little toward bringing humanity more closely together. Quite the opposite is true: we all seem to be drifting further and further apart. But, if it has failed with humanity, what has two centuries of liberal democracy achieved with the individual? How successful has it been in its attempts to forge a society of strong-selves? If we have failed with the whole, then surely we must have succeeded with the individuals who are the antithesis of the whole?

But again it is obvious that we haven’t? In Nietzsche’s terms, we have achieved neither the Human nor the Superman, just the Last Man. The pathetic Last Man, bumbling through a cheating-game world of relativity and conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories because, whether we accept them or not, they point an accusing finger at the basic fabric of the system, undermining all responsibilities and moralities with scepticism. How can one be morally responsible in a system which is inherently corrupt? The individual, rather than standing strong and finding a good position in the competitive world, finds him or herself immersed in a society of cheats. The system has now become a cheating-game and the strong-self has to be identified in such an environment as a morally irresponsible subject.

One can only be a strong, successful player in the cheating-game by being a good cheat. This of course makes all success seem suspicious. Eventually decisions need to be made in which “honesty” is needed, but… who can we trust anymore? A strong leader is obviously a good liar and a very good cheat. This kind of leader is useful at convincing us that we are happy in a world that in reality offers us very little… Useful that is until we start to understand the truth. And the simple truth is that we are being cheated.

The first great lie is freedom as individuality and its idea of the unfettered individual along with the creation of a passion for strong individuals. Freedom is now a term used to propagate the unfettering of power: freedom to dominate; freedom to manipulate. The second great lie is democracy itself. The lie of free choice. The lie of majority rule. The lie of the individual’s capacity for achievement in the system.

The only way to combat the lie is by establishing positive, human objectives. We must look beyond the individual and the tyranny of egos in order to establish goals that are out of the cheating game. Goals without any other reward except progress towards human fulfilment. Goals that would pull us out of the cheating-game into another game with real rules that we know will really protect us and protect the world we depend on for our survival. All the rest is petty bickering, which is inevitable when you’re playing the cheating-game.

[i] See Francis Fukuyama’s thesis THE END OF HISTORY AND THE LAST MAN http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_History_and_the_Last_Man

OUR CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

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Bad-conscience, Superego, Freedom: how much are these three things intertwined? Our Superego gives us a bad conscience, a sense of what should be done that we are not doing – it inspires an action. Freedom is to be moved to act – either because we want to or because we need to – and in the choice of either consummating or not that act. Only if we are inspired to act can we be free, and we will only ever be inspired to act if we have a sense of an action that needs to be carried out, of something that has not yet been started or finished. And this sense of duty is mainly generated by our bad conscience or our Superego.

When will humanity start to see itself as humanity? When will we start to judge the value of our lives according to what humanity has done? Not as a race, or nation; not as a competing thing – and all nations, classes, religions are competing things – but as Humanity.

                When humanity does do this, if it ever can, it will have to fall into a depression caused by the guilt of a terrible conscience. That guilt which will be the realisation of how much has been wasted; how much history of non-progress, of movement away from the humanity that has never ever been realised. Humanity is that which we are but have never been. Humanity: our great family that we have always been avoiding; that we have never been able to embrace.

If we look at history, the creation of the polis and its politics, the creation of the Nation State, and the empires of trade and religions, we must see a steady process of division rather than any unification. This should weigh on our consciences. What kind of guilt gnaws at us for that loss, not of innocence, but of unity and the potential civilisation that could have been born out of that unity? What kind of guilt for all our crimes against those of our own species? What kind of perverse diversion from reality made human beings the objects of fear and hate and the exploitation of one another?

 Raskolnikov[2]

But is this guilt, this bad-conscience for doing so badly at fulfilling our true human potential a bad thing? Doesn’t the guilt not remind us of a duty? Does it not evoke a direction for all of us? Knowing what one’s duty is liberates one from having to search for it. Duty anchors and liberates at the same time. Anchored we become free to float without fear of being carried away into waters we cannot possibly get back from.

                Has there ever been a more depressing age than our own nihilistic one? What is worse, nihilism has submerged guilt to far deeper subconscious levels than the religions ever did. Guilt and duty can only be positive forces if they are conscious ones. In Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment Marmeladov is healthier than Raskolnikov, but only because he is aware of a duty, albeit a phantasmagorical one. Both Raskolnikov and Marmeladov are disillusioned by the duties they think they must follow, because both of them ignore their most real duty, which is the duty towards humanity. Both become afflicted by the fantasy of sin, and become incapable of comprehending the real humanity they are told they should love. They are incapable of finding love for humanity because it is overshadowed by a love of the fantasy figure of the monotheistic God. Raskolnikov’s guilt is tripled by turning his back on Christianity to embrace nihilism, which unsatisfactorily maintains him and he finds himself struggling for the anchor of guilt. A guilt which is of such a nature that punishment cannot absolve him from it. The nature of guilt is in the non-fulfilment or in the losing of one’s way. It seems it can only be remedied by putting one on the tracks toward a real purpose and aim.

                And the only real aim for humanity can be the aim to be human and to recognise all other humans as human beings the same as we are. The only real aim can be the non-competitive aims of creativity and invention, not for personal gain, but for the satisfaction for having contributed in the furthering of human fulfilment as a knowing creature, as Sapiens.