Blog Archive

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Intrusive Distractions and Boredom

Socratic Perplexity, and Resistance to Doublethink+ Theocracy+a Lament=Meander.

” ἓν οδα τι οδν οδα ”-Socrates(attr.)(1)

It’s hard, almost to the point of impossibility, to be Objective.
We are not only surrounded by Cognitive Dissonance, we are filled with it(2,3)…it comes from within.
Madison Avenue has learned to use this feature, inherent in the Human Mind, and present in our Collective Mind(4).
Politics necessarily encompasses this Feature, as well…it being a rarified form of Salesmanship.
I identified the Distortion quite early…and almost entirely by accident. This was in the form of a Preacher, who preached one thing, while doing the opposite. Although I was only 7-8, it stuck with me…I could not ignore it, as I saw everyone else doing.
I have been resisting Certainty, ever since. All Knowledge is Provisional, even that of Gravity.(!)
Having this as one’s Foundation has been anything but Easy….and I Understand , therefore, that few choose to join me on this Island. Dogmatic Certainty is so much more comforting, in most cases. The sky appears blue, and it is relatively unimportant to our everyday lives to question this with thoughts about the Spectroscopy of Nitrogen, etc.
We each carry within us, a number of default prejudices and positions, and ways of interacting with the World.(3) The World is very complex, and most folks have neither the Time, nor the Inclination…let alone the Ability…to approach every Datum with such Rigorous Skepticism. This has, to the best of our knowledge, always been so…but it has gotten exponentially Worse, these past 35 years.
This Worsening is the intended effect of a Deliberate Policy of obfuscation and Confusion, undertaken by what I have called the Machine…especially that Faction within the Machine, who are most unapologetic…the Right. (We are beyond such simplistic concepts as Party, here… Remember, Republicans were once the Liberal Party)
In the (provisional) Model I’ve built, Machine is a largely Unconscious Super-Organism, containing many constituent  Super-Organisms, from Countries, to Religions to Corporations, all accepting sets of Foundational Assumptions about the World, and having become “PseudoConscious”, for lack of a better word. These are the closest we’ve come to AI, without even being aware of the accomplishment.
When I think about this, I have, somewhere in mind, Lovecraft’s Mindless Gods…the Logic of such Creatures are incomprehensible, outside of their own Logic Systems, with their various Foundational Assumptions about Reality.

Read that again:” the Logic of such Creatures are incomprehensible, outside of their own Logic Systems, with their various Foundational Assumptions about Reality.”

This is our Problem, in Apprehending Reality.(ugh. Font confusion!)


” Abstract

The theory of cognitive dissonance (Festinger 1957) states that inconsistency between beliefs or behaviors creates an aversive motivational state akin to hunger or thirst. This tension is typically reduced by changing one of the dissonant elements, or adding new ones, until mental consonance is achieved. There have been three major revisions relevant to modern interpretation of dissonance phenomena. Aronson's self-consistency model ( 1968) proposed that dissonance resulted from behaviors that were discrepant with one's conception of oneself as a decent and sensible person. Steele's self-affirmation theory ( 1988) proposed that dissonance emerged from threats to the overarching self- system, and that dissonance reduction relied on re-establishing the integrity of the global self-concept. Cooper and Fazio's `New Look' model ( 1984) proposed that dissonance resulted from creating unwanted aversive consequences and did not require cognitive inconsistency. A recent synthesis discussed by Cooper ( 1999) and Stone ( 1999) suggests that dissonance is caused by a discrepancy between the outcome of a behavioral act and the standard to which it is compared. According to this self-standards model, contextual variables determine the comparison standard, and it is this standard that determines which dissonance process is most likely to be operative.”(5)

From this, it appears that one’s relatively Positive Self Image guards against Dissonance.(mostly)
This is important, in my opinion, because of who is counted, and counts themselves, in the Machine Supporting Group.
In my Taxonomy, simplified, there are 2 “kinds” of folks…what I call Right Wing, and Left. This labeling generates much confusion, due to historical misuse, as well as purposeful muddying tactics, by Machine.
LW, in my Taxonomy, is what falls under the Enlightenment…scrutiny of beliefs and other automata, and conscious application of Reason….leading to greater and greater Freedom, and more Knowledge about the Universe.
On the Contrary, RW equals Fear Based Retrenchment, adhering reactively to comfortable Tradition and Habit, rather than daring to “Disturb the universe”(Eliot).
These opposing “forces” can be discerned throughout History, and deduced in Prehistory(Gimbutas, Campbell).
It is the Perennial Human Struggle.
The LW, I think it’s safe to assert, will generally tend towards a more Positive Self-Assessment, as a result of eschewing Fear…which is a necessary precondition to the Thinking Outside the Box, so emblematic of this Mindset.
Beginning in the 1940’s, when the current incarnation of the Machine was born(marriage of “Intelligence”, Industry, Government, Media, in the Maintenance of Power Relationships, using, in many instances, the new field of Social Psychology….and , apparently, using Orwell as a Manual, instead of a Warning(6&7))
Despite my attempt at Perplexity, I find that one must accept at least some Foundational Assumptions. Gravity is Real, for instance. The Sky is Blue. When thinking about Philosophy, including Politics and Economics,  while the necessary Assumptions are fewer and must be more carefully assessed, they do present themselves, as one moves foreword.
I’ve been Antiauthoritarian, as I’ve said, from very early on…this is a Bias, and I try mightily to account for it.
However, Authority,”Power”, seems to Exist….ie: it’s Objectively Real. The problem, is how we think about it…and how much weight we give to our Assumptions regarding Power and it’s effect on, it’s Operation in, the World. Remember that a mere 500 years ago, almost everyone on the planet lived in a Surreal World of Mythological Constructs. Since then, the Enlightenment has allowed much improvement, but this improvement is by no means Universal.
Jefferson’s Assertion, that “All men are created equal…” is not an accomplished fact, rather it is a statement of Hope, of Potential. The vast Majority of Humans are quite stupid, when you get right down to it. I’m with Jefferson, and other Enlightenment figures, that this can be Modified, for the better, by Education, etc…but we ain’t there, yet.
That said, the Majority of Us are still stuck in various Mythological Systems…some perfectly Natural, like the various Cognitive Biases; many constructed from whole cloth, by the various factions of the Machine.
There has been a Deliberate Confusing of Tongues, a Muddying of the Water, this past almost-Century.
I found that the “Conventional Wisdom” was Contradictory, Incoherent, and , largely, False. It did not accurately describe the World.
Thus, a better Model was needed.
The Left-Right Thing is a Continuum, rather than a Dichotomy.
Left, leans towards Reason, and Thought, and a careful weighing of available evidence, but is still subject to the Myths and Assumptions of Conventional Wisdom….at least to some degree.
The Right, on the other hand, leans towards Habit, Instinct, and the Gut.
The Former is a relative Minority in any given Population.
The Machine, itself, Leans Rightward…necessarily. That Logic is inherent.
Change is Disruptive, and the most effective way to ward off Change is to keep the Masses in perpetual Ignorance.
This is a Balancing Act, because the World is Changing, despite the wishes of the Machine and it’s Constituencies. Balancing How Change is allowed to Manifest, and controlling the results of sundry Exploration, is the business of the Machine.

Almost every person, above the Bum…and every Group, …believes that it is in Control, to some degree….of their own, personal lives;  of the actions of their Business…
The Administrators of the various Constituencies of Machine believe, more than most, in their own Agency.
The Reality is that No One is in Control.
One must Surf the Wavefront of Events, Riding the Crest of History.
No One’s in Charge.
This is both Liberating, and Terrifying.
From, “Heretics of Dune”:
”By your belief in granular singularities, you deny all movement-evolutionary or devolutionary. Belief fixes a granular universe and causes that universe to persist. Nothing can be allowed to change because that way your non-moving universe vanishes. But it moves of itself when you do not move. It evolves beyond you and is no longer accessible to you.”(8)

In other words, float above Events, and accept the Chaos of Change, that is the defining Feature of Universe.

(five days later…)
Necessary interruption. Mom-Sitting, due to Slug’s absence, and the lingering effects of the Prowler-Problem.(jimmied the door, see (9)
There’s no Reverse.
More from Dune Universe:
”Enter no conflict against fanatics unless you can defuse them. Oppose a religion with another religion only if your proofs (miracles) are irrefutable or if you can mesh in a way that the fanatics accept you as god-inspired. This has long been the barrier to science assuming a mantle of divine revelation. Science is so obviously man-made. Fanatics…must know where you stand, but more important, must recognize who whispers in your ear.-Missionaria Protectiva” – Chapterhouse Dune.
So many little Gems in these Tomes.
(at least the original six…the son has done well, but he ain’t his daddy)

How does one “Defuse” the American Religious Right?
I think this is a very timely question.
The Violent Parasitical Elite are one thing….a tiny minority. They are Nothing, without great hordes of True Believers, Secular, and no.
That part of the True Believers who really are True Believers is what concerns me, here.  The Secular Faction is Materialist and Opportunistic, quite cowardly when in extremis.
The American Jihadis(Xian) have God smiling on them!
Given the correct stimulation, and they will make a corpse of the World.
The Elite are playing with Fire.
After three decades of poking and prodding, is it too far gone to simply Defuse it?
I take Douthat’s admonitions of restraint, of resistance to Generalizing Hysteria, seriously (10).
However, there are Patterns.
While I haven’t systematically Infiltrated (Jane Goodall) the Fundy-Web, I have Lurked, extensively.
There are worrying trends, out there.
It is obvious, on the one hand, that Good Ross is correct, Secularism and assorted Godlessness,is on the rise….Americans are less and less “Churched”, with every passing year, despite all the hollering and seeming omnipresence of “Apostles”, and Preachers and “Prophets”(by their own words, no less)…saying the darnedest things.
But this Unchurching is a slow process.
Looming Crises, from Resource Depletion, to EconomicEnd-Points, to all manner of potential Flashpoints, including more Blowback….not to mention large “issues” with the Biosphere…all of these play into the hands of the most dangerous Lunatics in the Faith-Based Community.
Thanks to Lil George, the Federal Bureaucracy(damn!) is shot through with Fundamentalists…(11)
Ironic that the long sought after “Fifth Column” would be of  their own making. (12)
Our Military, as well…if the numerous reports are to be believed.
Oh, well.
Started with one thing, ended on another.
A perpetual Lament…for being unemployed, and cripple, and even often bedridden…World Intrudes, and I am Scattered. I want nothing more than to read Deleuze, etc and Think…and, Milagro!, discuss such esoterica…but I am continually Flung into Mundane Concerns: Political Philosophy, and all that goes with it…including the Still-Ongoing History of Humanity(Fukyama is a Fool,lol)(14)
The even more mundane concerns, too…from the above mentioned Mom-Sitting, to Soccer, to the Imperatives of Bringing in Wood(the Pain!)…a Distraction.
The lack of a Book-Budget…and the current Bunch at the Library(implying,”don’t bother us”…no more,de facto, interlibrary loan:”I forgot”, coupled with ,”why do you want that book?”…sigh.)
Hopelessly attempting to Re-Engage the tiny community of left-leaners, out here, in what is admittedly, a Hopeless Endeavor…
I recede. Retreat.
I fully use the excuse of Handicapped…to stay in the truck, at soccer.
No one there I really want to engage with…”How are You?”
“What have you been up to?”
Like they want to know!
I’m so frikkin Tired of the Eyes Glazing…the Uncomprehending Stare.
The World as High School.
Is it Different someplace else?
Are there Others, of my Species, hiding in their Caves, perhaps just over the Hill?

8. I recommend the six original Dune Books, for an unconventional Understanding of Geopolitics, Macropsychology and Economics.

9   More on this, later. Mentat Projection,lol!
11 I’m thinking, specifically, of the Justice Department, now full of folks from Regent and Liberty and bob Jones.
14 Fukyama has since recanted, and renounced his association with Neoconservatism….if I remember correctly. I don’t care enough to go there,

No comments: