Mythology about the power of astrological demons, specifically the sun, moon, planets, and constellations of the zodiac, is a fair allegory of the individual’s exposure to the cultural power of reality-distorting ideology and emotional control mechanisms. Proponents of astrology (Hermetism, Cabalism, and Gnosticism, for example) are completely wrong in ascribing supernatural personalities to astral phenomena (angelic or otherwise, mainly intent on controlling and toying with the lives of humans), but they are not wrong about humans being born into a controlling and oppressive system in which freedom involves finding an understanding of the situation that goes deeper than the commonly accepted construct of reality.
It doesn’t take very much reading of history to learn of the historical dominance of crime families and their alpha-trophy-looting bias. Crime family culture permeates the whole idea of merit-based inequality structured into social and economic hierarchies, and that is very popular culture. To go beyond the social and cultural dominance of crime families, to wake from that history, we have to out-think the oligarchy by finding ways of orienting ourselves independently of the propaganda and messaging from their media. Having a critical awareness of relevant thinking from the past helps establishes a framework for orientation, a thinking space for interpreting current messages delivered with the intent of manipulating our energies.
The Delusion of a Noble Lie
Every incumbent of power clings to the myth of the noble lie, originated in Plato’s Republic, the myth that everyone is better off accepting inequality, maintaining the stability of hierarchies, even though every hierarchy, every system of inequality, is founded on lies, usually some variation of the assertion that inequality is ordained by the God of creation, and ordained because it is best. However, that whole perspective and assessment of what is best is a cultural peculiarity of crime families who have no other purpose than to secure their own advantage over others. How can freedom still be possible? Freedom is possible by waking from history, specifically the history of cultural dominance by purveyors of the lie of inequality. Political and historical consciousness is the dawn of that waking.
Political consciousness is consciousness that all claims of radical or profound inequality are lies. Political consciousness is recognition that cultural influences which proclaim the “noble” lie, inequality, are deceivers, manipulators, and exploiters, and as such, enemies. Political consciousness is identification of that enemy as a particular faction with a particular history, carrying the ethos of inequality, the source of the hostility in the cultural context of any person. Culture is an historical accumulation. Without historical narratives a person’s experience of the world resets to elementality. Without history, cultural presences reset to non-natural shapes without any story other than, “this part of actuality was shaped by an intelligence, by an impulse to play and to create a sustainable life in hope of long duration”.
“I am thinking, therefore I exist.” Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
(Please see the brief introduction to Descartes in posting 22, March 1, 2012, Origins of the Concepts of Equality and Freedom.)
There are parallels between the adventure of discovering the ground of equality and the method of progressive and systematic doubt by which Descartes found himself through questioning ordinary certainties, as described in Meditations on First Philosophy, published in 1641. Not much is more personal than doubt. Doubt is a marker of a personal intelligence, the entity with an original questioning voice, the existence of which is unquestionably asserted by every question and every doubt. Descartes’ process of systematic doubt in search of an elemental grounding in a situation possibly pervaded by unidentifiable manipulation and control, illusion and deception, is an algorithm built on a link between freedom and undistorted knowledge (truth). Freedom and undistorted knowledge are inextricably linked. The question is this: Is it possible to be free enough to discover, recognize, and live with the truth? Rather than “The truth will make you free,” we have “The accessibility of truth, the unquestionability or immediacy of some knowledge, is the test, the proof, and the measure of freedom.” Freedom is the power to live with undistorted knowledge.
In that aspect of his work, Descartes represents a stream of practicing philosophy as the craft of waking from history by encountering an immediate and elemental orientation grid. Starting from an encounter with the entity of your personal intelligence (elaborated by, for example, posting 6, October 6, 2011, What is Being Called Thinking: An Introduction). The perspective of such philosophy is an alternative to the perspectives of any socioeconomic class or ethnic “identity”. It is possible to find and know the ground of equality by re-orienting to that philosophical perspective.
The philosophical journey departs from the middle class comfort zone (or any class comfort zone) and finds a way to abide in the elements: nature, culture, monadic interiority (subjectivity), and the deliberate interconnectedness of intelligences. What is gained by casting off from standard cultural moorings is a mature innocence which is a revaluation of elemental reality, a new appreciation of monadic interiority, of embodiment within nature, of the brute actuality of nature experienced through embodiment, of other intelligences with their own creative and unfathomable interiority, of the efforts and strategies required to build interconnectedness with other intelligences, the limitations of interconnectedness, and of culture as projections of intelligent interiority, culture in the light of political consciousness.
To recapitulate and proceed from Descartes, the basic “I am thinking, therefor I exist” corresponds to monadic interiority: doubt, questions, curiosities are blossoms of a coherent entity of creative power. There is authentic personal identity in the unique non-actuality of each monadic interiority. Creative process is more than interiority, but not in the sense dear to American consumerism. When the economic atoms (persons) of capitalist theory think about creative dreams, of “dreaming big” they think the American dream: winning a new car, selecting property or distinctions to covet or desire, acquisition of external property or some other conspicuous symbol of being better than others. That’s a crime family perversion of the creative process. The creative process, understood in its transcendence, is its own reward. Creative process is more than interiority, without ignoring the intrinsic rewards of interiority. Monadic interiority is projected onto the forms of nature in a creation of culture, a transformation of nature into culture via the force of monadic interiority. Personally doubting everything possible, we still have the agency of a creative process guessing at and projecting a sustainable life among the elements, into increasingly remote and improbable futures, deriving meaning and grounding from the inner horizon, the force of creativity.
Equality and Monadic Interiority
With creative interiority there is no ground for hierarchy, and so the universe of monadic interiority is the font of equality. The genius of the non-actuality of interiority is its own reward, and equally so for everyone, establishing everyone’s justification by creative projection. (Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55): Subjectivity is truth.) To embrace your peculiar universe of elemental non-actuality is to make your creative process your new best friend, and not your only friend. Elemental reference experiences include the riches of embodiment and the creative process of intelligence, personal bearings and reorientation processes, an internal fountain of re-orientation possibilities (questions) building a bearing and expressing its voice. Practice a creative process, a voice-expressive process, and celebrate it in others.
You don’t lose identity in casting off from an ethnic cultural setting because identity is intelligence, the spiritual entity of monadic individuality, the entity holding and building your quests, vigils, and bearings. Intelligence is an embodied particular, an entity of individual agency. You don’t lose identity but instead you reclaim an identity which was previously hijacked by a hostile cultural setting. When you cast off from the moorings of control-faction motivational manipulation you aren’t left with nothing, but rather with a launch pad of political consciousness in a grid of elemental orientation. To have political consciousness is to be aware of yourself and every transcendent monad (person) as elemental in the political situation. Political consciousness is also awareness of the ideological force obstructing that vision of equality, awareness of the pervasive ideology which rationalizes the worldview of crime-families, the worldview of inequality, of the display, celebration, and enforcement of inequality, of factional control and motivational manipulation. The journey of political consciousness brings you away from culturally prescribed moorings and off on the quest for elemental moorings. When your motives are not being manipulated by promotors of the ideology of crime-families, you have a chance to develop your personal voice.
Descartes moved quickly from the brilliance of his self-discovery, impossible to doubt, to the dubious deduction of a benevolent God. He then used that finding as the basis for other comforting platitudes. Since Descartes went off the rails so quickly, it remains necessary to re-think the re-orientation he was attempting. From the encounter with monadic interiority, you can remodel a broader orientation from the other elements, resistances which draw us out from, or stand as a setting for, our own universe of non-actuality. (See posting 33, June 14, 2012 Reality is Three Givens: Nature, Subjective Intelligences, and Culture.)
Philosophy is the search for an elemental re-orientation grid that enables disengagement from cultural myths and narratives that depict a reality that is specifically distorted to serve the interests of particular factions such as the partnership of crime families and religious cults. That is the sense in which philosophy is a search for truth. Freedom is possible by undertaking the transcendental adventure, the philosophic journey to touchstones of reality beyond the distorting force-field of alpha-trophy-looting culture, to elemental experiences enabling a reorientation to a more reality-based sense of the situation, abandoning grids anchored to the dictator-alpha-god and his institutional avatars.
In an elemental re-orientation you have cultural-reality as a severely biased political construct, social hierarchies as mountains of counterfeit transcendence. Release that tainted grid by disengaging emotionally from the cultural matrix of inequality and personifications of non-embodied persons. With respect to those, freedom is disorganization. What you gain by casting off from the moorings of conventional ideals is your own monadic spiritual entity. The power of the spiritual entity of every person transcends every social/cultural/economic category. That is a very substantial gain. Something else gained by casting off the standard comfort zone of cultural assumptions is all other human beings as transcendent, as monads of non-actuality, freedom and creativity, able to project original visions into nature and culture. That is a considerable promotion compared with their being cashed out as inmates of boxes on the economic hierarchy. What is gained is sensitivity to the transcendence of everyone around you, all universes of creative non-actuality. What makes sense in that reality is a nurturing attitude to people and honour for those devoted to nurturing.
As explored in posting 37, July 26, 2012, Sharing Awareness, we retain our elemental engagements with other people, built from innate intelligent embodiment alone. Any two people can re-invent language from scratch, (language is inapplicable to a solitary intelligence) and since we always do some degree of that re-invention, society is not monolithic. Every family, friendship, partnership, and personal association is a separate cultural unit to some degree. Such units turn inward and motivate themselves. Human motivation doesn’t come mainly from above, from leadership, the civilization, or the nation. Those factions manipulate and prey on motivation that originally comes from individuals, partnerships, groups of people personally devoted to one another, and groups of mothers and children who collect and depend on each other for support in nurturing, for example. Withdrawing from the moorings of tainted political influences does not harm the basic engagements of interconnectedness and especially the conversation with children. As a force for social stability, the most vastly undervalued asset is children. Couples often reach a point of wanting to part company, but it is very rare for anyone to want to separate from their children until they reach the natural independence of maturity. Even parents who become alienated from adult children reach out again when grandchildren appear. The bond with children seems to be the strongest in human experience. (Children also keep re-inventing language instead of just passively learning it.) As a social foundation, then, we retain a focus on arrangements around the conversation with our children and the innocent love and playfulness they offer. That includes the reality and force of first-language-nurture culture, authentic attachment, elemental bonding, and sharing awareness. (Please see posting 9, October 25, 2011, Political Considerations.)
Also crucial among assets gained by elemental re-orientation is a newly innocent appreciation of embodiment within nature, of the brute actuality of nature experienced through embodiment, and of culture as projections of intelligent interiority, culture in the light of political consciousness. We have the calculus of work-costs and the need to construct a sustainable life with our powers of thinking, building a bearing, bearing into building a bearing. As explored in posting 11, November 10, 2011, Nature: Ground and Sky, we have our embodied engagement with nature and a work-based cost-sense of reality as a particular, personal, situation. That mature innocence of intelligent embodiment is an intense appreciation of what it is to be alive.
Elemental re-orientation brings a certain cultural and political mission, a re-conception and revaluation of freedom and equality. There is widening awareness of vicious intent in addition to incompetence and conceptual bankruptcy on display in the multitude of failures of the controlling faction. Since elemental re-orientation is based in intelligence, we have strategic thinking in our collection of assets: recognizing the enemy, and the enemy’s blind spots. From political consciousness there arises a clear vision of progress: cultivating and asserting the perspective of philosophic elementality, and bringing the orientation of first-language-nurture operations into balance with the lethal alpha-trophy-looting orientation. The problem is to think how it is possible to divert energy from the omnipotence of the ruling crime-family faction when it has projected its ideology so deeply into universal culture. The first strategic advance has to be withdrawing consent from the leadership of control factions, and assuming personal responsibility to re-orient to a realistic assessment of the political situation. The category of assets retained and re-valued also includes cultural elements, literacy and the free market in books and ideas, freebooting reading and writing, especially within the currently open blogosphere.
At the same time as freedom must be projected into the world of physics and politics, an individual’s happiness cannot depend on saving the world, on objective incentives and rewards, or on some possible future evolutionary development. Happiness must derive from expressive agency, bringing good things into the outward situation from the gusher of inward impulses, curiosities, and ideas. Everybody needs some stuff from markets but you can channel creative energy from within with relatively little of the stuff controlled by the hard-boy alpha-structure. It is possible to think of ways to work around the game being run by that structure.
The System of Reality
When we talk about freedom, we don’t mean anything involving separation from human interconnectedness and shared awareness. Rather, we want certain re-valuations, as outlined above, within that sharing of awareness. The system of reality is the political situation of intelligence: Multiple universes of freedom and creativity (monads) projecting into a common world of pre-determined nature and historically accumulated culture, the cultural elements of which generally prevent awareness of being one among multiple universes of freedom and creativity.
Because of the reality distortions essential to the cultural and political dominance of alpha-trophy-looting culture, there is some knowledge (truth) which is subversive. You don’t have a serious theory of knowledge without accounting for that, without including a political philosophy which traces the effects of the dominant factional ideology. Since politics is the dynamics of power and control over people and resources, including over what people are permitted to know, knowledge cannot be separated from politics. Fundamental questions of knowledge (including self-knowledge) cannot be separated from questions of the freedom enabled by individually innate power to elude cultural conditioning and find a grounding in personal innocence.
Individualism and Government
One proposal for individual action to reclaim self-possession in the face of the superstructure of control in modern societies is libertarian individualism. The libertarian individual is very much an alpha-trophy-looting type male, with a few surface modifications. This individualist is a self-sufficient, gun-toting, trigger happy, homesteading separatist, hoarding supplies for the fervently desired collapse of civilization. The only moral advantage of this figure over Genghis Khan, exemplar of the ideal alpha-trophy-looting type of cowboy, is that the libertarian’s declared ambition is self-reliance and self-sufficiency, harming no one unless they trespass on his hoarded property, of which he claims absolute possession, and which he is anxious to defend with his beloved guns. However, that moral advantage is fragile and mutable, since it contains enough self-absorption, self-admiration, and contempt for others to justify looting a few trophies and controlling other persons he considers unworthy of liberty, which is most other people.
As described in the sketch of sovereign law in Episode One, it is true that government as such has thoroughly questionable historical roots. However, efforts to sublimate the predatory impulses at the core of government have had some praiseworthy effects. If the sovereignty of law, the rule of law, could be based on a truly democratic foundation and (cautious) refresh mechanism, then the enforcement of sovereign law looks like the best way of constraining the predatory hostility of hard-boy crime families and religious cults. Those predators are never going away. Unfortunately, current mechanisms of representative democracy have been subverted and brought under the stealthy control of crime family capital, and so innovation in the mechanisms of democracy is necessary. For example, legislatures and parliaments should be conceived as juries and picked the way juries are picked, a random sampling made by lottery of the people governed. That would at least do away with financial and ideological control over hegemonic political parties and bring everybody into the political process. History has now demonstrated that elections do not produce democracy. Participation is more effective than representation.
Transcendental humanism forms the strongest foundation for democracy. If you want to assert bottom-up politics, as opposed to crime family politics, then you have to come from the equal transcendence of every individual as the most thoroughly authentic justification. Current models of democracy are compromises between the ruling crime families and people who perceive benefits from bargaining with them. The point here is that the total rejection of government that is fundamental to libertarian individualism is based on an assessment of government that is fatally over-simple, and on an assessment of individual human value that is inherently hierarchical. It seems likely that libertarians are a movement of nostalgia for feudalism, who reject government exactly because it might be a little democratic, and so contemptible on their view due to representing “everyman”, to whom the libertarian feels vastly superior. Libertarians insist on eliminating the nurturing functions of government but not so much the manly war-making functions.
The rugged libertarian is not the only alternative to Genghis Khan as an individualist. Transcendental humanism conceives individuals as transcendent, each a creative source of futurity, for example, but immeasurably enhanced by interconnectedness with a social arrangement prepared to nurture children and adults, and by contributing to a cultural accumulation over generations. The overall arc of transcendental humanism is a switch from the modern orientation of deriving gratification and fulfillment from absorbing everything from the outside environment (everything from consumer goods, to life agendas, and even personal identity and visions of reality) to an opposing orientation of deriving gratification and fulfillment from fountaining out creations from within. The term “self-possession” in transcendental humanism is meant to point at the latter orientation. That emphasis on universal ‘justification’ from within, as distinct from an emphasis on eliminating government, transforms the notion of individualism.
You can stay with the Dursleys if you want, or you can come to Hogwarts.
Copyright © 2012 Sandy MacDonald. The moral right of the author is asserted.