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.

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KNOWING AND BEING KNOWN FOR WHAT WE KNOW

There are two kinds of being: the active being of knowing and the passive being of being known. The human condition, as homo sapiens, is wrapped up in them both. We are what we know and we are also what we are known to be. This is philosophically helpful because from it we can make a measure of human authenticity.

It is not what we have but what we know that is important if we are going to feel authentic fulfilment. It is not what we are known to have but what we are known to know that should be important in a human, Sapiens society.

Of course this is not the case in human praxis. Authenticity is sadly lacking in our nihilistic, consumerist civilisations. Our disassociation with authenticity stems primarily from our illusion of the importance of the “have” and the “have not” against the “know” and “know not”. It could be said that real human progress will not take off until this illusion is rectified. Progress through knowledge rather than through acquisitions.

Of the great “verbs” that describe the drives that create our identity, and through identity our sense of Being, to do, to have and to know, only the latter is truly a Sapiens’ characteristic, being itself rooted in the Cartesian cogito ergo sum. But knowing implies more than the simple thought process. It requires self-consciousness and language.

Knowing is not just thinking. It is a kind of thinking. The kind of thinking that can come to conclusions – that can guard memories and recall things.

Only through knowing can we be creative. Only through knowing can humanity have its greatest hallmarks – art and technology.

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.

BEING AND MEANING

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Knowledge is a metaphysical element, for knowing and being-known are immanent in the Universe’s being-here – or in other words, knowledge is immanent in Being. Because of its relation to knowledge, Being is not that which is, but is constantly becoming as knowledge advances. Knowledge provides clues for meaning, but it also springs from a primordial need to find meaning. Meaning, as such, is the Alpha and Omega of knowledge. It encircles knowledge. This also means that Being and Meaning are entwined, Meaning being the prime mover. Through knowledge, Being and Meaning are also wrapped up in Sapiens organisms and Sapiens can only be fulfilled through this fulfilment of Meaning by uncovering knowledge. Likewise, humanity as a Sapiens entity, can only be fulfilled by the uncovering of knowledge as well.

Epistemology should be an elementary subject of study in a Sapiens’ education system, which sounds absurd. Yet, does that absurdity not merely indicate how deeply disconnected we are from our Sapiens nature?

The three pillars of traditional epistemology: 1) know that; 2) know how, and 3) become acquainted with something – by gaining knowledge of it. But before we can really know, perhaps the wisest course is to discover “why?”. To do that we must firstly search for the meaning of Meaning.

KNOWING THE LIE – CONSCIOUSNESS (2)

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We have seen how Identity and its ideological masks is in essence a separating force, dividing humanity.[i] In the same way it shackles consciousness and freedom by enclosing reality and restricting the progressive need of movement, of becoming. Becoming also needs consciousness so we get a circular situation in which becoming depends on consciousness as its motor and consciousness needs becoming as a car needs a road. Becoming is the space that opens up in existence, allowing us to move freely through it, changing it, and being changed by it. The very act of knowing that consciousness performs is at the same time an act of becoming. Reality is therefore transformed by being known into something else. Knowing and consciousness are themselves the prime movers of human reality, whilst ideology and identity are static elements continually slowing reality down. In this way we can link ideologies and identity to consciousness’s antipathies, i.e. unconsciousness and false-consciousness.

Identity and ideology, of course, are kinds of consciousness. A very strong self-consciousness. So, does this mean that we are essentially always deluded when we tell ourselves that I am this? And yet, if this were the case, how could we possibly exist in society without defining ourselves and the world around us? Doesn’t language, the basis of all Sapien knowledge, imply the necessity for constant naming and definition? How can this apparent contradiction or paradox be resolved?

In order to do this we must remind ourselves that identity/ideology is a separating process whereas consciousness and language are communicating, uniting mechanisms. Again we see that the two categories are opposites. The difference lies in what ideology does with language: it encloses it, making it immobile. Consciousness, on the other hand, tries to open the landscape up for language. The problem therefore is not the process of naming, but the ends to which the naming is carried out. To separate (identify) or to bring together (consciousness). Knowing implies a break down or transcendence of secrecy and privacy. It implies there has been communication. Ideology/identity is a misapprehension of taking part for the whole, whilst consciousness is an awareness of the whole, or at least a striving for such an awareness.

[i] See articles on Identity as Ideology: https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/sapiens-in-the-iron-mask-identity-as-ideology-1/ ; https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/making-the-mask-identity-as-ideology-2/ ;

KNOWING THE LIE – CONSCIOUSNESS (1)

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One cannot be free unless one has the power to change one’s circumstances in a positive way. One cannot change one’s circumstances unless one can see what needs to be changed. Consciousness is therefore an a priori necessity for freedom. Dictatorship can be achieved by simply making the people it oppresses unconscious of the reality that really dominates them.

Consciousness has to be an alert force, if it is not alert it cannot be consciousness. Its power lies in its ability to see through the veil of systemic mystification. Consciousness allows us the right to be critical, sceptical, or even cynical.

Of course consciousness can also be false. False consciousness lacks clarity as it is muddied by its own ideologies: ideologies that stem from identities. For consciousness to be clear it needs to transcend all ideology-mask identities.

False consciousness could also be called misguided consciousness – a consciousness looking for a reality which is simply just not there, and probably never will be, is a misguided one. Consciousness needs to see through the masks, but that does not mean it must cut through all still surfaces. The cutting open can have negative results if the process itself does nothing but churn already clear waters and makes them no longer transparent.

Can we say that reality should be that which needs to be? What about want it to be? If we accept the validity of both possibilities, which is stronger: want or needs? Desires must be subject to needs. Desires can only be gained when needs are satisfied. Likewise, in order to uncover reality and therefore find truth, consciousness must be guided by needs at first and desires only when those needs are satisfied or safeguarded. The first thing consciousness must look for is necessity.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, SAPIENS, AND TALKING TO THE ANIMALS

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The idea of a World Will as a Will-to-be-Known has become a pivot around which our positive philosophy of real necessity is concerned. Through it we hope to find the human-motivator, inspiring a positive impulse for a development of intelligence as a creative movement away from our system of vulgar competitiveness and its anti-human economy of alienation and differentiation.

Let’s sum up our main point of departure: a thorough revaluation is necessary. This needs to be anchored in necessity in order to redirect progress away from the current juggernaut, all-consuming destruction of the biosphere and ecosystem. Now, up to now we have assumed that this revaluation could only come about through a humanity made up of intellectually and morally advanced Sapiens societies, and because of this our philosophy is a new positivism, or positive humanism. Nevertheless, this same positive end may very well be achieved via less human-positive means. The acquisition and perpetuation of knowledge may well be far better ensured not by our Sapiens’ carbon-based minds, but by silicon-brain intelligences created by us. It may well be that the evolution of the homo sapiens will be into this silicon form, fixed in more durable and resilient bodies that can survive in even the most adverse climatic conditions allowing for space exploration and even the survival of intelligence in a post–apocalyptic lifeless-earth scenario.

If real Being in the universe is to come about by the universe itself being known absolutely and perpetually, then humanity, as we now understand it, falls short of guaranteeing such a portentous destiny. However, even if we are too fail as survivors in the universe, perhaps we might be capable of creating the real Sapiens and intelligence and knowing will find its ultimate realisation not through a final evolutionary leap, but rather through a development of our present technological know-how and the creation of an intelligence far superior to our own.

The idea of humanity being superseded by intelligent, self-reproducing machines of its own creation is a common nightmare of science-fiction narratives. From the internecine struggles between machines and humans in the Terminator or Matrix sagas to the madness of HAL in the Space Odyssey or the complex android psychologies in Ridley Scott’s creations, the idea of a collaboration with a robot that has superior intelligence is a deeply disturbing one. And yet, in all futurology it seems that the presence of the super-intelligent robot is essential. We cannot imagine progress, even if that progress is a suicidal one, without it. In fact, the dawning of the nightmare is already upon us and anthropomimetic robots that can think more or less like a human child have already been created.

Yet twenty years ago scientists like Roger Penrose were proclaiming Artifical Intelligence to be an impossibility.[i] Twenty years ago researchers were stumbling through an erroneous association between intelligence and logic, believing that decision making was a logical process. In reality cybernetics tells us quite the opposite. The binary algorithmic brain, whilst being very good at making calculations and winning chess games, can only go so far in answering meaningful questions. Human reason is more poetical than logical and the anthropomimetic work taking place in robotology demonstrates a link between the human corporal reality and our intelligence, or our form of intelligence. In order to construct a silicon brain that can communicate effectively with humans that brain will have to be inserted into a humanoid-type body, with human-type sensors. In other words, if a manufacturing leap into a more than human body is to take place, it will have to to be created out of our own image. We might be able to build robot octopi or robot insects, but we will not be able to communicate with them on any deep meaningful level for even an octopus machine fitted with a cyber-capacity for self-learning would need to teach itself a language appropriate to its own unique perception of the world. A perception that would be incommunicable to humans, or at least at first.

Perhaps the most profound discovery being uncovered by research into Artificial Intelligence will be a mechanism allowing us to interpret the languages of different kinds of animals. Research is being carried out to find ways of communicating with apes and dolphins, but no great in-roads will be made until we decipher how the corporal experience of different species and their very non-human sensory perceptions create their own knowledge of the world around them. A knowledge which we should not underestimate. A true Sapiens will not only benefit from communication on a complete human level, but from an even greater communication with diversity itself. True wisdom may only start once we can talk to the animals.

In this sense the creation of insect-like or octopus-like robots may have an interesting Sapiens purpose. Perhaps such robots could be designed to act as translators, allowing us to have conversations with ants and birds and elephants and dogs. But for we will ever be able to ever do that we have to firstly learn how to communicate properly with our neighbours.

[i] See Roger Penrose, THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

THE MEANING OF THE UNIVERSE IS THE MEANING OF LIFE

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For a scientific understanding of life on Earth (or all life as we know it) we need only study its double helix, DNA. The DNA is an archive, a library and an operating system. Life, as such, is dependent on information that is stored, read and followed. The individual is subject to the complexity and limitations of this information. What’s more, it is this double helix which also determines our individuality as much as our similarities. We are biological computers based on a binary system of base pairs: a combination of adenine and cytosine; cytosine and guanine; guanine and thymine; thymine and cytosine, etcetera … This is our four element, binary combination language – the language of life.

But the question why does life exist is a profound one, as is the question of why does anything exist. Fundamental questions that the scientific understanding of life can only satisfy up to a point. In order to find deep answers to the deepest questions we need to go beyond fact to reasons and purpose; we have to bring science back into the fold of philosophical speculation from which science originated from sometime around the 5th century BCE.

This is not to say by any means that we should abolish or even diminish the science, but, on the contrary allow speculation to fuel a science-based philosophy concerned with meaning that will pull science back into the realm of metaphysics. A future science with pre-Socratic intentions if you like.

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Nothing can come from nothing, says reason, but science demonstrates that a particle can emerge from the void and vanish again. From nothing you came and to nothing you will return. The will to have what we lack. Nothing lacks everything, but let’s start with something. From the void there came a particle. That was enough. A thing, generated by lack of everything and motivated by a possibility of anything, aggregated into a singular complexity of that everything that needed to explode and allow such potential to become forms, perhaps even become everything in an infinite, multi-dimensional way. An everything that needs time and space in order to understand it. But within that time and space it also needs something capable of perceiving it. It needs an objective observer, something fashioned with sensors. Of course if everything exists there will not only be an abundance of these organisms, and an abundance of intelligent forms of these creatures, but also, an absolute lack of them … but that doesn’t make sense, does it? Or perhaps it does …

In order for everything and nothing to exist, time and space must exist, for it is time and space which provides the separation allowing for diversity to be possible. Everything is One thing, a mass that needs to be broken apart in order to be able to perceive the real potential of everything, but included in the One is also an Absolute Zero as well as a never truly achieved Infinity. This breaking apart of the Infinite singularity is managed through the manifestation of time and space.

But what has this got to do with the meaning of life?…

Life: a double-helix DNA executive commanding its single-strand RNA clerk. Our primary communication, which is at the same time the executive communication. Constant, but silent and secretive. The secret Genetic Code. A linear codex as of the steps of a ladder. Letters in a sentence, a punctuated sentence. Life is a language, dictated by DNA. We are built on carbon foundations building other complex language systems on silicon foundations.

The goal of evolution is to produce the perfect brain that will be able to achieve the most complex understanding of the world and the universe it is a tiny part of. The universe is a universe of information transmitted through language but mainly devoid of objects capable of understanding that language and acting accordingly. But by analysing the physical form of the universe it becomes clear that it has an aim. Time and space and DNA exist because the principal aim of the universe is to understand itself; to be able to exist in a conscious and self-conscious, self-fulfilled way. This can only take place through the agent of intelligent life.

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Where are we now? and What’s to be done?

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We live in a two dimensional society: there is length and width but no height or depth. Our world is a flat plane, a cartoon reality replete with caricatures. Lacking is the third dimension that will pull us out of the flatness and allow us to properly see things for what they are, by allowing us to perceive things from all angles. The artist knows that depth is achieved by adding perspective, by understanding illumination and being able to master the shadows cast by the impenetrable and opaque. Depth is added by knowing and only by mastering shadow and perspective can liberation from the monotonous flatness of our two-dimensionality begin. Only when we have depth because we have been able to pull the flatness up will we know what to do.

The tautological knowledge creates knowing is profound. Knowing is a continual process of becoming, it is the process of unveiling, which in turn is a process of pulling forth, lifting up, stretching out, moving around, flying over and crawling under … All the things which we cannot do on the flat plane unless we know how to manipulate the art of generating perspective.

This is not a concern confined to the present: historical and futurological perspectives must also be deepened. Objectification is also required: an artist’s ability to step outside of the paradigm that is being described and lived – to stand at a point outside of the space, and outside of time, in order to perceive everything that has been hidden and understand real necessity. Objectification is needed to be able to stand over the current of the river of time in order to understand where the continuum has been flowing from. In order to perceive the reasons and mistakes that have determined certain courses of history; in order to redirect rivers, ensuring cleaner, more transparent waters that are capable of irrigating the possibilities of our optimistic futurologies. Muddy rivers will only give us a muddy, carp-full ocean of little future hope.

And so we have two tasks to concentrate on: a) the act of discovering perspective and uncovering depth, and b) that of eradicating the factors that cloud our rivers and have been pushing the historical continuum to a false inevitability for centuries.

The answer to the question must ultimately lie between what ought to be done and what has seduced our attention away from the goal. The utopia is No-Place because we are not going there. We will never get to Timbuktu if we are walking across the Americas, but that does not mean that Timbuktu cannot be reached. Maps must be drawn so that we can see why we are trapped in the maze, but in order to draw such maps we must achieve altitude and be able to stand over the labyrinth. It is a contradiction that turns the path back in on itself and to understand the labyrinthine nature of the system we must reveal the tremendous contradictions which work in its favour.

NIETZSCHE’S LEGACY (the danger of scepticism)

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Forget the Übermensch, the Last Man and the Eternal Return, if Nietzsche really did have a determining influence on 20th century intellectual thought it was through his idea of the historical reinterpretation of reality:

“There is no set of maxims more important for an historian than this: that the actual causes of a thing’s origin and its eventual uses, the manner of its incorporation into a system of purposes, are worlds apart; that everything that exists, no matter what its origin, is periodically reinterpreted by those in power in terms of fresh intentions; that all processes in the organic world are processes of outstripping and overcoming; and that, in turn, all outstripping and overcoming means reinterpretation, rearrangement, in the course of which the earlier meaning and purpose are necessarily either obscured or lost. No matter how well we understand the utility of a certain physiological organ (or a legal institution, a custom, a political convention, an artistic genre, a cultic trait) we do not thereby understand anything of its origin.”[1]

Suddenly everything we know becomes suspicious. The accounts we have been given are no longer reliable, in fact they are almost certainly smoke-screens erected to hide the truth. And then comes the realisation that – if everything we know has come from distractions, deliberate lies even, then what do we know? Here we see the best of Nietzsche’s scepticism and cynicism. Like Diogenes, some two thousand years before him, he was looking at the Emperor, saw that he was naked and proclaimed the truth.

 

From Nietzsche onwards history “becomes a continuous chain of reinterpretations and rearrangements, which need not be casually connected among themselves.”[2] Evolution “is a sequence of more or less profound, more or less independent processes of appropriation… as well as the results of successful counterattacks.”[3]

 

The observations are brilliant, but Nietzsche himself does not conclude a subsequent need to discover and unveil the truth from this constant chain of falsities and falsifications, rather he applauds the falsifications as necessary (without using the actual term) and imagines his Will to Power exploiting this condition in which progress “is measured by all that must be sacrificed for its sake”[4], coming to the proto-fascist conclusion that: “To sacrifice humanity as mass to the welfare of a single strong human species would indeed constitute progress…”[5] Unfortunately, there could not be a more perfect Nazi slogan.

 

Nietzsche, who saw the great dangers of nihilism and was terrified by them, just as he was terrified by the negating process of scepticism, needed an anchor for his thought, an anti-nihilistic grounding, for he knew that without one humanity was doomed. The will to power was one of those anchors, as was the Eternal Return. While the latter was indefinite, fantastical and weak, the former was perverse, only succeeding in dragging his most brilliant sun-scorched illuminations into the cool shade of the status quo. His idea of power as freedom would prove to be deeply reactionary and after Nietzsche the 20th century produced a succession of power/freedom regimes that have made humanity more insipid and ignoble than ever before. We now have a power/freedom aristocracy that is driving humanity to the brink of destruction and Nietzsche’s dreams of sacrifice for the good of the single strong species seem hardly any different to Christian fantasies of the Apocalypse.

 

 

[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS, 2nd Essay, XII

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid