The Labyrinth and the Fall from Freedom

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The labyrinth as a loss of transparency, as the creation of the “world’s opacity” as Borges called it. As if a confounding net were woven over us by Chaos or some other confusion-loving Titan. In the labyrinth we are without a map, and it is so difficult to explain or understand the real reasons why things take place. Without a map and lost we are, lost from our essence, our knowing, our sapience, and, because of that, reality is very murky here.

It’s not being in the maze that is the problem, rather it’s the fact that we don’t know how to find our way around it that is disturbing; that we don’t even know what it is we are moving around in. We have been modelling a new home in here according to our own fancies, and we think this model we have created is reality itself. We are lost because, unlike Theseus, we entered the labyrinth without Ariadne’s thread to guide us.

That thread we ignored is knowledge: not a periphery knowledge or a superficial understanding of the things that we have imagined our self-created world in the labyrinth to be, but the authentic map that shows us how to move within the corridors of the real world.

From this perspective the Judaic myth of the Fall from Paradise is turned on its head. It was not the consumption of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge that caused the expulsion of humanity from Eden, but rather the fact that they lost sight of the tree itself. Lost sight of it precisely because they were told to flee from it. The flight from the Tree of Knowledge, or the banishing from it, is the first anti-democratic crime in human pre-history. The Tree had to be rendered taboo to the tribe so that the king as priest could take total possession of it for himself. What is taboo for the tribe is power for the leader.

In the Greek myth of the labyrinth the Minotaur represents power in its most cruel and perverse form – the power that will demand your innocent children to be taken from you and devoured by power itself. Such a cruel power necessitates resistance. It incites rebellion, sows seeds of democratic revolution. But real democracy can only be obtained by acquiring the knowledge on which all power is based. To penetrate the labyrinth knowledge is needed, and the Spiderwoman Ariadne provides it for the hero Theseus by giving him her thread. With its aid the hero is able to kill the Minotaur, but he does not return knowledge to the people. Instead the hero clings to the Minotaur’s secret in order to increase his own power – and this has been the situation throughout human history, even unto our own imaginary democratic era. Knowledge is power whenever knowledge can be appropriated in select, closed circles; at the centre of labyrinth that everyone else is lost in.

Real democracy – democracy as a human phenomenon – is not created through the casting of votes, but through the freedom of knowledge possessed by the demos. Only by being granted access to all knowledge can a demos be considered free. Likewise, censorship and the concept of Classified Information has to be a criminal concept in democracy. Knowledge exists for the community, discovered by the community. In this way we arrive at a democratic communism of knowledge. The patent and intellectual property along with the Top Secret become inhuman crimes.

Perhaps in the information age we see a new chapter being written into the myth of the labyrinth. In this epilogue, humanity, in a world of patents and other totalitarian controls of knowledge and the power granted by its control, is finally pitied by the gods, and especially by the Titan Ariadne. Because of this a new web of knowledge is woven around the whole, allowing a free exchange of itself to all.

This new chapter is called: Ariadne’s WWW.

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WHAT HAPPENED TO HUMANITY?

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Psychiatry reveals our greatest nightmare: there is a subject within the subject that not only transcends the subject, it controls the subject. The result: we must hold even our own thoughts and beliefs in some distrust. But, how can this be? How can one not believe one’s own beliefs?

The psychiatrist encourages us to turn to the psychoanalyst for help, and perhaps we can believe that until we realise that the subject within the subject that is the analyst is also controlling that same analyst-subject who is supposedly objectifying our condition.

In the meantime the real manipulation is carried out. We are constantly programmed by the complex-culture civilisation, the Moloch system that envelops us. The socius seems to be designed in a labyrinthine way in order that we lose perspectives of what we really are, or could be looking for, and we become a tiny part of the machine which tells us that it is working for us, but is really working for them. We are stamped with codes and pressed into moulds which define and identify us. But, who are we really? Like Alice in Wonderland, we hardly know any more. We thought we did when we woke up this morning, but now – all certainty has gone.

Or perhaps we could protest:

“We are human – at least we’ve got that, haven’t we?”

The answer bellows. It is a cruel, hollow – No!

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Where did our identity with the species go? Or, more correctly, have we ever had a human identity?

In order to discover what we are, we need to discover what, and how what, we really are has been taken away from us. We need to understand how our humanity has been removed from us.

Paradoxically, our greatest enemy has been what we really define ourselves to be. It is in the intelligence of the homo sapiens from which all our problems stem. The metaphor in Genesis was quite right: humanity had lost its place in the world as soon as it ate from the Tree of Knowledge. As soon as it began to reinterpret everything symbolically and communicate those reinterpretations through language, humanity itself began to lose itself inside what it itself was re-creating. Not that this had to be the case: our study must grapple with the erroneousness of the process of our re-creation of ourselves. Through the invention of the word we have been able to re-create reality into our own image of it. We have names: names of places in which we live, names that we call countries, words that belong to us and make us different from the other users of words. There are names that make us proud. We are capable of doing almost anything to defend a name – capable of even the utmost sacrifice. This power makes us unique in our world. But the time has come to ask ourselves, once again – is this gift a blessing or a damnation?

Our re-creation has always been subject to the interests of power and a manipulation which has no interest whatever of allowing us to have any sense of being human at all. Power has spent millennia using human knowledge to redefine humanity and separate its components into malleable groups that will operate according to its own selfish wishes. Civilisation, the Empire, the Nation, even the microcosm of all power, the family: they are all power created, and therefore anti-human re-creations of reality.

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The first human error was a linguistic one: when we established a blind faith in opposites and opened the door to all dualisms and made legitimate all separations. This error lead to a belief that good existed and therefore evil as well; that good had to be championed and evil vanquished. But the error itself lies in the fact that there are no real opposites beyond the specular reality we find in the mirror, or abstract inverses in a mathematical or geometrical sense. Consciousness is not the opposite of unconsciousness – they seep into each other, and the same is true of most opposites: bad seeps into good; the instinctual into the intellectual; spontaneity into control; passion into the rational; and the individual into the group – and vice versa. Of course we know, from our dualisms, that all pure notions are best understood through an equally pure opposition – white is best known by placing it within or next to black; we can only know great sadness if we have experienced great happiness, etc.. But this also displays the seeping nature of these opposites, which linguistically has been overlooked by our anti-humanity cultures and civilisations. Instead of enjoying the fluid nature of experience we have chopped reality up with an axe and tried to push its parts as far away from each other as possible. In this way we can call the reality created around our own group good and invent an imaginary gap separating us from the others – who are evil. The same is done with rich and poor; the strong  vs. the weak.

But what is the result of all this cutting up and constant process of selection between us and our opponents; between our space and the intruders or potential invaders? The real victim is not us or them. The real victim is our sense of humanity.contribute.gif