Fragment 155, word count: 1,234.
It is impossible to understand history without some insight into human hive mind, since the conflicts of national hive minds loom large in historical narrative. Hive minds are not merely societies in which the vast majority of people hold the same ideas about what has value and why hierarchy and authority are noble and worthy of trust, they are societies in which a majority habitually turns to institutional voices for explanations and narratives that define them in relation to some pivotal and essential drama of human existence. Philosophy is a problematic presence in all such societies because a crucial aspect of philosophy is discovering or inventing ways of de-culturing, ways to negate hive mind influences for a personal experience of things from Socratic innocence. In Euro-American capitalism, various degrees of deception, selective presentation and de-contextualizing of facts, outright propaganda and censorship, are always required to glorify a drama of conflict and competition; incentive and reward systems focused on scarce trophy properties and gradients of prestige, precedence, and celebrity as prizes for strength, conquest, and dominance. Science, claiming final authority on reality, endorses this as the drama imposed by nature.
Before we declare any set of psychological purposes to be definitive of being human, it is necessary to shift perspectives by asking what kind of existence is required for the occurrence of any purpose, and the answer is existence as ideality. Any purpose is anticipation of non-actual situations as settings for self-initiated actions, and as such pure ideality. No sentient being could consistently deny the existence of such ideas, and all forms of ideality occur in clusters commonly recognized as embodied personalities. The existence of a personality is precisely a living with purpose, and purpose or reason is a specifically directed bearing of creative ideation, the opening of a pathway with many branches into possible futures. Time is not something of sensation. All that is ever in sensation is some particular condition or stimulus. Perceiving objects is always the act of a personality reading a shape of surroundings into sensory stimulations from a personally constructed universe of ideality. Time has to be posited in ideality, by a living/ forward thinking personality. Time as future is an indeterminate world of possibilities and impossibilities, probabilities of various degrees, from the point of view of a knowing, learning, and purposive gaze. Since purposive ideality is always transforming itself in a creative arc, it is the source, the fountain of creativity from which value comes into existence. There is no competition for the gratification of creativity.
Ideality is a violation of the mechanistic conception of the world. It is a supra-actuality with some power, at the level of the embodied individual, to override the mechanistic fall-lines of what would be predictable from iron laws of nature. The existence of purposes isn’t a bounded structure in the manner of objects, since it must include the spontaneous creation and realization of novel purposes and so breaks through the limitations that the perspective of mechanistic explanation would impose on human nature. Self-recognition as the living transcendence which is ideality, consciousness, teleology, as the personal future-designing of a self-thinking idea, is both discovery of deep individuality and of the universality of the predicament of embodied agency, of a being who enters a condition of living freedom by positing (creating and projecting) the non-actuality of time. The essential drama of human existence is here. Nature is dead weight within the iron laws of falling. There is no freedom without teleology and teleology necessarily posits the continuous approach, arrival, and passing of specific possibilities.
The main discovery enabled by de-culturing is, obviously, your own personal existence, and the kind of existence it is. The example of Descartes’ method of skeptical doubt illustrates this. It brought Descartes very directly to such an encounter, to Cartesian innocence. The only reality we can possibly experience is reality as experienced, and such reality must always be partly formed by being experienced. Through de-culturing you become conscious as the experiencing dimension of reality, spiritual existence. This living of personality is a drama poised between misery and ecstasy, and drama is no part of brute actuality because it is a fabric of caring ideality, a desperate process of opening an existence. Since that is constant reorientation, constructing purposes and bearings within a sense of placement and context far more elaborate than the brute actuality of what is perceived here and now, the de-cultured encounter is the discovery of ideality or spirituality, the knowing and desperate gaze of consciousness.
In the ideological context of science, in which human behaviour is conceived as the strict working of mechanisms, say, biological mechanisms forming psychological mechanisms, there is inevitably a political race to control the mechanisms. There are many groups with great wealth working diligently to control mass behaviour for their own profit via such service providers as Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, in addition to legacy advertising media. Developments in behavioural and social science in combination with mass data analysis have added sophistication, effectiveness, and stealth to such control efforts. Academics do not work for free, and large scale investors and corporations control the flow of money. Modernity is an age of scientifically engineered messaging, of corporate, political, and ideological efforts to control public opinion and population behaviour, streamed pervasively through mass media, all at the command of groups with the ability to mobilize great wealth. The function of government is to keep the majority compliant in support of the value-culture of the class of the wealthy, within its tradition of proclaiming a national hive mind. The value-culture is a celebration of trophy property, consumption, and competition as primary values, maintaining the existing profile of value in capital property, sparkly wealth trappings, and effective control over the patterns of work and consumption that support this cultural edifice. Elected officials with advisors and assistants spin out narratives based on a perceived duty to mediate between factions with established wealth/power and the ordinary majority of wage-earning and tax-paying people. The message that serves the purpose of politics will always be what seems to reconcile a mass audience to the expectations or whims of the most powerful. What that propertied class insists on is the reliable increase in the value of their possessions, driven by a vision of human nature as primarily motivated by competition and trophy possession, by belief in competitive envy and greed as core drives. Adherence to that idea is crucial to the capitalist hive mind. Of course science has been marshalled to champion this as the brute mechanism of nature. Philosophical de-culturing is the only counter-force available to any individual, the single exception and portal to universal dignity from inherent creativity. From the perspective of de-cultured consciousness the individual is always bigger than any particular drama declared foundational for a hive mind collective, bigger than placements on offer within competitive hierarchies or culturally identified functions (tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor). If government weren’t a lynchpin in controlling the mechanisms of human motivation as an instrument of a propertied class, it could instead express and cultivate a sense of human personality as creative spiritual autonomy at the level of the individual, and defend that against groups which strive to profit parasitically from narrating a collective drama as the rhythmic buzz of a hive mind.
Copyright © 2019 Sandy MacDonald.