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Your humble writer has had it up to here with infantile arguments concerning mind, free will, pseudoscientific rationales either proving or debunking both, and the usual pissant teenager arguments about God's existence or nonexistence. Having seen enough of this dreck, I've felt it necessary to explain one of these things, and by extension answer some of the stupider arguments that dumbasses continue to raise. It is important to know that no matter what I or anyone says, the dishonest arguments will be reproduced, and the dishonest arguments are seeded by those who know full well that they are derailing discussion and posturing, so that honest people are forced to debate with a gish gallop of nonsensical positions.
I will be taking a naturalistic and materialist view of this problem. If you are familiar with my writing and philosophical takes, you probably know my take is that idealistic views arise from material origins, but because we only have symbolic language to express our knowledge of the world and present models that are communicated, our philosophical systems tend to be idealist, even when we claim to follow materialism. Philosophically, the position of naturalism is that we are attempting to use reason and ideas to describe a material world we have encountered, whose origins we do not know at first. It is important to understand that philosophically, most of the concepts mentioned above do not have anything to do with a material or scientific origin. Formal science is hesitant to make any bold claims about what "mind" is, and has disdained metaphysics. A lot of these bad arguments are just really lousy interpretations of philosophical positivism, or the belief that all genuine knowledge is gained through sense experience, and so metaphysical explanations are not valid. The simplest way to phrase the consequences of someone who does not think through this position is to repeat a quote from Werner Heisenberg:
"The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say clearly and the rest, which we had better pass over in silence. But can any one conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say clearly amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all that is unclear we would probably be left with completely uninteresting and trivial tautologies."
Human experience starts from the position of uncertainty, and through rationality we attempt to determine what is real. We can do this by looking at the material origins of something, or by starting with the assumption of ideas and testing those ideas against sensory data. We can accept on faith that our experience of the world points to something real, and also that our experience of the world is incomplete. There is a belief that rationality could describe everything and anything in the world, including God and all metaphysical concepts; and so, the primacy of "mind" is established, regardless of what this mind is or where it originated, or if mind itself is the origin and the material world is a consequence or illusion of some mind.
A naive philosopher claims mind is the starting point of thought, but the true starting point of our thought is consciousness. It is through conscious investigation that we can ask questions about the world in the first place, rather than the mere fact of rationality. Ideas, or tokens signifying ideas, mean nothing if they are not connected to something we regard as real. A computer with no user is just moving electrons in something that might have been devised by a rational mind, but that no human observer will ever interact with. Because the digital data the computer is processing was intended to be understood by a conscious user, no actual "thought" is produced by the machine that enters our awareness. The computer does not "think" for itself or have any sense of what it is doing. It is just carrying out instructions from a tape, without regard for any purpose. We could imagine a machine that acts as if it were conscious, that receives sensory input and functions as we would expect a living organism to. Why we are conscious, and why we experience the world as we do, has nothing to do with rationality. It is instead a property of how the body is connected to the world, its sensory organs, the architecture of its brain, and the natural origin of its cognitive process, from which its rational faculties are derived in people.
It must be understood that the human brain and body are in constant communication with the world around them. Even while asleep, the body is responsive to stimuli and processing something. Turning off the body as you would turn off a computer means rapid death and decay, such that people who have been truly dead for even a short time lose considerable function. There is no other way the human body could remain constituted as it is. There is not so much "firmware" in the brain. It is possible to use a computer analogy, if we understand how a computer mechanically functions, how memory is stored and retrieved. Computers, unlike human brains, are only designed to interface with the world in ways we have engineered, and are specifically designed to remove interference or the inefficiencies in human rationality. They were built to perform a task that we would perform by rote, rather than "think" in the sense that we do. Humans are different, in that the primary function of its cognition is to survive in the environment, rather than perform algorithmic instructions. We learn by example, pattern recognition, and from our ability to parse a lot of sense data and relate it to ideas that we hold. I elaborate on this in my writing, but it is sufficient to say that the human experience is not some disconnected mind or rationality. Most of the experience we have is a response to environmental stimuli, and has to be. We only develop rational faculties by devising systems that make sense to us, out of the more basic pattern recognition we posssess. So weak are the rational faculties that they are only as developed as they are if we spend time to develop formal systems of thought, language appropriate to express them and teach them, and hone this skill by testing it. The rational faculties of humans are easily fooled, and often we choose to fool them on purpose for some purpose we have devised. After the fact, we tell ourselves that clearly irrational behavior was rationally ordained, if we are arrogant about ourselves.
We are conscious not because we have symbolic language, but because there is a constant cluster of sensory experiences that is attached to a material reality - the sensory organs and the body. Those experiences and nerve impulses are inseparable from the things that are processing the inputs. We do not have a nervous system detached from the body except by a control mechanism that exists in virtual space. All of those nerves are responding to the demands of the flesh, and they developed organically rather than by some rational plan or intelligent design. To speak of consciousness in the first instance as something detached from physical existence is to speak of nothing at all. We do not need to identify some center, some substance where we say "this is where the consciousness is". The basic composition of this consciousness is in the nerves and electrical signals which form a pattern, and it is the patterns we are sensing. We are intimately aware of the parts of ourselves, even if we are not able to rationally understand them in full detail. It would be impossible to shut off those parts of ourselves in full. We could choose a focus on particular things at the expense of others, and certain parts of ourselves are so regular that we couldn't shut them down even if we wanted to, or would only be able to change those behaviors with training and not without consequence. For example, the instinct to breathe is difficult to suppress, and eventually a body will out of necessity breathe or attempt to.
How do electrical signals create a "virtual" space in our heads? Our thoughts are not so detached from the world as we would like to believe. We are responsive to every stimulus we receive, whether it enters are rational awareness or not. We are conscious that we are in an environment, about which we lack perfect knowledge. Things may be beneath our rational notice, but we are certainly aware that there are minute things we do not think about. What we think of as consciousness is, at the basic level, nothing more than sensory responses and impulses which coalesce. The most basic conscious acts are very simple ones.
If our mind exists in a virtual space, we have done a very lousy job of sealing it off from those native faculties. We still can only hold a few thoughts in the mind at a time, and we patched language and rationality on top of a natural structure which wasn't very well suited for it. If we were built with a native language or grammar, it would not take years to learn language and a lifetime to master it, and the progression of language acquisition would be remarkably regular among people. The simpler explanation is that the conscious experience came out of simpler components, about which we know quite a lot if we were only willing to spend five minutes thinking about how we think. Such introspection is discouraged for a lot of reasons, and when it is undertaken, the values of the present society encourage indulgence and circular thinking rather than anything constructive. There are political reasons to keep us in the dark about these basic processes, and to not ask too many questions in the open about how we think. Yet, one of the great projects carried out today involves cutting up brains, with full knowledge that the human lab rats can be pressed like machines to produce predictable outcomes. Everything about social psychology, the methods of propaganda used today, and the repeated beatings and humiliations, relies on treating humans as animals to be commanded. At the same time that this science is advanced, it became verboten to speak too plainly about what it was, and philosophical defenses of human vanity were erected far more than they were in the past. It is especially funny because these pseudo-scientific treatments of cognition, intelligence, rationality, and education are a degradation of philosophy that had already existed, ignoring lessons of the past and encouraging the stupidity of a technocratic subject, so that they are more pliable to the methods of control such a society and its institutions deploy. This is deliberate, and not at all something that was stumbled into or implemented lazily. Every humiliation and every subtle act is calculated and deliberate; the more calculated and deliberate the humiliations, the less we were permitted to speak of the calculations of those who would be the masters, and the more abject the slavery of those subordinated to the institutions. This is necessary for the technocratic logic regarding politics and society to remain in place.
To say that the creation of "self" and "mind" is illusory is to not appreciate that underneath our conceits about ourselves, there is a real process that must go on, for the senses that register as emotions to exist with any potency. The self did not form so much as an illusion to integrate all of the impulses that comprise our body and all that affects it. We built our sense of ourselves many years after we were born, and the formation of memory is spotty at first. Some remember their childhood and events that happen to them with greater clarity than others. The inconsistency of memory among people, and the decay of memory we experience throughout life, is more evidence that we are not what we are purported to be. The subjective experience forms out of parts that have a real existence and cannot be denied. We can only subjectively experience that which is possible, and only think thoughts that are compatible with Reason, whether they are factual or merely theories or fantasies we might hold. There are certain ways in which reason may proceed, and we do not choose them. No matter how much we try to violate those possibilities, we cannot actually do so. We might play with concepts of logic, but it is not possible for us to really believe A is not A in logical, reasoned thought. For us to proceed with any thought that allows us to say anything about the world, we require definitions which are rationalizable. This doesn't mean that every word or token is reduced to a singular concept and that these words are not open to interpretation, but the idea we interpret must be an idea we understand rationally, and if we wished to interpret a word differently, we would mentally make another pass to properly process the different interpretation. We can see a problem with this approach - nothing in this world is exactly what we conceive of it being in our rational thought process. All of our ideas and concepts formed from our experience of the world, rather than being a thing given to us from above. Even things which were inherited biologically are things we experienced, and there was a reason why certain qualities of a person were inborn, and a way those qualities had to come into existence from the building blocks of life. For us to even begin an investigation, we would have to accept certain meanings on faith, and work backward to understand how those meanings arose. Some concepts are so basic to expression that they would have to appear for spoken language to be effective, and so there are usually conjunctions, articles, and basic parts of the vocabulary that mark the transition from someone merely repeating a word they heard, to forming useful sentences and expressing relations between the word tokens and concepts they have acquired. Not all of these basic words are present in every language - for example, many languages do not have an equivalent of the definite article "the" - but enough of them are present because the need of them would have been understood for someone working out a language for themselves. I do not want to be bogged down in a debate over language and its origins, but it is sufficient to say that we start to develop a stronger memory of events if we are exposed to formal language, writing, and some structure that exists in society and in media that is propagated between people. Much of that language is not simply words spoken as matters of fact, but words with imperative meaning, that command and hold authority, and hold meaning that is not merely a matter of some idea being contemplated. Without spoken language and communication, we couldn't have the same variety of tokens and concepts that we have, and to our native faculties these concepts are very alien. They are so alien that, as they accumulate, the way we process our memories and think of ourselves will change; and there is evidence that the way humans think now is very different from how they would think centuries ago, which is more of a departure from the concept of the self from 3000 years ago.
The words do not change us because ideas have some magical power in of themselves, but because those ideas, however alien, stem from some representation in the world, or are constructed out of ideas we held and could realize if we set out to do so. Much of what we do in labor is setting out to construct something we conceived in our mind beforehand, composed of ideas we held before. Those concepts were things with either a similar origin, or their origin is something beneath our rational notice but that follows a pattern we can detect in retrospect, often a very simple pattern that would not be of great interest to us. We learn to associate word tokens with objects, and our memory of many objects is so basic that it would be easier to recognize that object when we see it than to describe all of its characteristics.
The point of this discussion of language is that even during our lives, and in our lived experience, our sense of ourselves changes, and how conscious processing proceeds will change. It can change from ordinary experiences that most of us pass through, and it can change in unusual ways. It is a mistake to envision consciousness as something distinct from natural motion, set apart from the world. It is even more of a mistake to envision gradients or types of consciousness that possess a distinct essence. The only constant is that this thought, in our experience, arises in organic life to meet the demands of that life, and is inseparable from living itself for creatures that are developed with brains and process the world. We are never "fully conscious", in a way we would contrast with sleeping or altered states as a true opposite. If we were, we would have to be aware of everything and anything that enters the sensory cluster, and would lack an ability to focus on certain objects in our thought or vision. Much of what we do as conscious creatures is filter that sense experience, so that we can operate in the world in ways that suit us, rather than simply reacting to stimuli or following a preplanned directive. We do not have full control over this process, to do it as we please. We are only capable of contorting this thought in ways that we learn to do over time, and there are certain ways of thinking that we either cannot change or are fearful of changing for good reason. Our methods of manipulating our own thoughts are remarkably limited, as are the methods of education we readily accept, let alone methods of education that are used in societies where antagonistic relationships are the norm and trust is always limited.
What remains constant is that there is a living experience, and this does not go away even as we sleep. The consciousness is not something that is merely a construct, but neither is it just the sum of its parts. It is not a material we could identify as the consciousness itself, nor is it software in the sense a computer program is really binary digits etched into some digital memory space and read from like a tape. The basic responses which form consciousness have to coalesce into something, and that something senses the world and responds as living animals would to their environment. The parts of the brain would have had to form in the first place because they conferred some advantage to maintaining the integrity of the whole organism. There was no intelligent designer nor was there a level of deliberation in the animal capable of willing the brain to take shape. There was certainly no deliberation in us as babies to become what we did; we have very little ability to express will as infants, and an infant's wants at first are simple. The living experience leading to a conscious organism starts as soon as the most primitive parts of the brain coalesce into something recognizable as an organism with a brain, and does not stop until death. Even if we become brain-dead, and this will as mentioned lead to rapid deterioriation of the mind's integrity as the brain is non-functional, restoration of life will lead to the revived organism attempting to recover the damage, as the recovering mind would inherit that which was stored in neural memory. The stubbornness of life being what it is, this experience of consciousness does not truly die without a fight. We may rationally give up and let death take us after a point, and we might prepare ourselves for death long before it happens. I would hope most of us have given some thought to what the moments of death would be like, because a life without this investigation is devoid of really understanding oneself or what we are. The conscious experience emerged out of something, and created something new. It created an experience of an organism which can construct abstractions, and can tell the difference between what is materially real and what is constructed in this abstract space it might imagine. That abstract space, though, is not truly detached from the world. It can only construct ideas which are sensical, and this sense is informed by what is physically possible for a brain to compute or work with. We can develop abstract ideas that can never be realized in a physical object, or abstract ideas which fly in the face of what we observe as physical laws, but the types of ideas we imagine are not truly limitless or without form. Every form can only be described with rational concepts, even if we substitute our pattern recognition and instinct for the rationalized idea when working with it. We are capable of working with patterns that are very complex and relating them quickly, without stopping to ask every time what makes a house a house, or the minute details of every idea we process. Very practically, we tend to work with ideas that make sense to our everyday experience of the material world, rather than ideas that we formed by living in our fantasies or abstractions. Even our abstractions tend to follow from that which makes sense in the world and society we inhabit, rather than the abstractions diverging greatly from the world we live in. Some people might detach from the typical social experience enough to envision a very different world, or have a great want for the world to be something much different than it currently is. What doesn't change is that we are always thinking, and though we sleep and time may pass, there is always some awareness lurking in case we are startled out of sleep, and while awake awareness will shift based on the situation. The whole of the conscious experience is only sensical to us if we accept that experience that is integrated with our body as one thing, rather than the sum of its constitutent parts, the events that happened to it and that it did to the world, and that which emerged from it and grew. This is something very different from a computer, which is designed to not integrate into any sort of organism or operate with true independence. Even if we designed an autonomous machine governed by AI, the architecture of the computer is designed to not "think" or produce errant results. If we were to build a machine that was more in line with the consciousness I am writing about, it would not architecturally resemble today's computers, but would be artificially constructed brains that likely resemble our own and serve a similar function, with the expectation that they adapt to the pressures of existence just as ours do; or we could imagine some structure that would meet the criteria to allow the coalescing of impulses on a permanent basis, that would create emotions and a structure that could be compared to how our own brains and minds would have formed, but would architecturally not resemble it. If we imagined that, we would be able to describe the different architecture and different process, and how such a creation would function differently than us. We can already do that with different types of people, or people who have experienced different things, or people who have been conditioned to different social positions or work tasks. We know that no two humans have virtually identical experiences, and if we wanted to understand each other, we would be aware of that instead of insisting on a universal form of consciousness that precludes anything else as "real consciousness".
So far this has concerned only the concrete "consciousness", or what the body is actually doing to create this phenomenon. This is not what is usually referred to as consciousness, but the equation of mind with consciousness is erroneous. It is not that the waking state is essentially different from the sleeping state, or that parts of the entity that allows for conscious experience can be sectioned off into conscious or unconscious parts. There is that which is rationally considered, or the parts that we recognize as our will and what we are choosing to think, and then there is the actual experience which is necessarily much more. The distinction is an abstraction we make, but the body is what makes this experience possible at all. I remind the reader again that this consciousness is something that had to emerge, rather than the material itself. We are not reducible to neurons and body parts if we wish to speak of a conscious entity. In a strict material sense, consciousness does not have any relevance. We could imagine the consciousness as a black box and nothing would be different in analyzing behavior. The pattern of electrons in of itself does not contain the information we are processing. All of the ideas we process are context-sensitive and require interpretation for us to associate them with meaning and understanding. To use another computer analogy, imagine a computer program producing some output to a monitor that is to be read by a human. How the human interprets the information on the monitor is entirely up to the user, and the computer does not have any awareness of what it is doing by nature. We don't even know ourselves well enough to know in full detail why we think as we do, or what the ideas we process mean in full. It is why we ask questions of ourselves. Deriving meaning from the raw data is something we have to do through deliberate methods, if we are to truly analyze why we think as we do. A more natural method of contemplating our thought would be limited. If we want to know what a program or some thought pattern means, we are considering first some system by which knowledge is formally organized by us, for our use. Nowhere in nature is this provided for us. We built these formal systems so that we may better understand knowledge of any sort, including knowledge of ourselves. For human consciousness, we have to consider all factors that can be sensed and affect the meaning of the ideas being processed. If we want to read others' minds, as many an inquisitor do, the work requires an understanding of social mores and ideas pertaining to the whole society - that is to say, it requires an understanding of political consciousness and political thought, as the very existence of a beast called "the state" is an impression everyone in the society must contend with at some point.
The way we are trained to think of ourselves, down to the core definition of the self as a concept, is very artificial, and in this society it is provided by thought leaders who have a concept of the self that is highly peculiar and starkly contrasted to the concept of self and identity from even 100 years ago. This is the great divide between the world before science asserted supreme spiritual authority, and the world before where science was on the rise and had to compete with religion and humanistic doctrines. That religious view was never fixed in place, but developed over centuries and displaced an earlier mentality. There has always been a stark divide between different social classes and members of different institutions. There has never been a human society in which all are politically equal, and no attempt has been made to seriously consider the world where they would be. Had this been considered, the only outcome would be to conclude that the entire apparatus ruling human society was an unwelcome intruder; but when philosophers conceived of this, they only could envisioned an automated, natural version of the existing political order. Philosophical anarchists sought only to make permanent and natural the imperial belief about the world, make individuals internalize it, forbid any social institution which countered this tendency, and then make it impossible for people to conceive of the beast ruling over them. It was only possible to impose this by forced ignorance. Philosophical anarchism only has its appeal to a certain segment of the populace, but the political thought has asserted itself for many reasons which are beyond the scope of this post. So confusing is the barrage of propaganda and lies that we are not really permitted to speak of these beliefs as what they are, without shriekers derailing the conversation. In particular, members of the lower class are not permitted their own ideas, or to even be heard or to express themselves as anything other than peons. That is the holy shibboleth of the intellectual establishment, that workers who lack the mark of expert status remain where they are and dare not speak of things which have been stripped from them.
If we imagined our consciousness without the existence of an overarching power claiming the world - ourselves in a world without the state as such - we are considering a very different existence. We would be tied more to the simple reality of sensory experience, and we would concern ourselves primarily with doing rather than being. This is not in search of some objective handed down to us, but rather because what we do on a daily basis is what we actually are in the most basic sense. There is no great cause to create an awareness of artificial social constructs that are made real by threat of force, and nothing about our social arrangements has been constructed because we wanted them. The most basic institutions we accept were things we did not choose, and the form the family and most of our associations took were co-opted long ago by those who believed they would manage society. How this was done varied throughout the ages, with the earliest influencer being religious practices, cults, and scams that were conjured by someone with enough intelligence to trick the gullible or enough intelligence to hire some brigands to make common people obey the faith. The world where this didn't happen would be a very different construction from what we are used to. We have been made to chase after money tokens that clearly weren't our choice, whose issue and value are largely assigned at the apex of institutional power. The value of money and its meaning have little to do with what ordinary people wanted it be, and it is only a barely acknowledged necessity that the money reflect social relations at the base of society. If we were to value cooperative relations among each other without the mediation of an overarching influencer, we would value trust, honor, kindness, friendship, and the promise of beneficial relations continuing. We would not need to bicker at great length about minute value, when the important aim of this interaction is for both parties to coexist. Human societies, as we are well aware, have been premised on antagonistic relations in close quarters, in which there are dominant influences asserting themselves over most of the people who are left out of the ruling institutions. The democratic idea scarcely involved actually listening to the ordinary people for any length of time; so far as democratic government has ever existed, it has only demanded the assent of people, usually in elections that are rigged to produce an aristocracy. Had the common people held genuine power, it would first entail power over themselves - a concept only partially accepted and dishonored every time the institutions decide they can - and then the power of those individual commoners to resist the dominant institutions and their plan for us. The arrangement would not be the philosophical anarchism which has always obfuscated a state and proclaimed it to be natural, but an arrangement in which the people individually had freedom in a genuine sense. It would mean the imperious, cajoling instinct common to modernity would have no place, and its advocates would have been chased away before they could assert by deception what they have done to us. There is no concept in the past century that such a thing is possible, as the modification of people at the very basic level of consciousness has proceeded so far that the only way such an arrangement could be understood is if it were some sort of criminal, occult enterprise. The concept of institutions not having the force they hold over actual people simply doesn't exist in a real sense, because those institutions have insinuated with greater intensity what we are and all possible things we may do, and have insisted that they alone can teach us how to truly think. They have, in short, claimed consciousness and mind entirely for themselves, and excised the actual bodies and persons where thought exists. This is not a new idea, for it has its precedents going back to ancient times, but its imposition has never been so thorough and has never been able to invade private space and insinuate control over our most basic processes until recent times. Even over the past century, older people can recall a time where this invasion into our minds and very consciousness was not what it is today. It is possible that with each new generation, the older generations will become incompatible with the new programming. This is certainly the design of the social engineers, who believe all but the chosen are senile after 40, with some lowering this age to 30.
We like to believe the core consciousness is inviolate, and the way we are socialized requires us to believe that we are always of sound mind, unless we have been ruled insane or retarded in which case socialization is designed to destroy and exclude us and deny that there is any conscious process. This political belief has to be assumed in order for our expectations of law and social order to hold true. Yet, it is always violated. We are expected to shift our entire way of thinking depending on the situation, and know when to strategically lie to uphold the dominant political reality. Games are played to define political insanity in new ways, and in modernity and in liberal thinking, this concept of insanity, retardation, intelligence, and cognition became central to the entire understanding of the state and society. It had always been relevant. The first distinction in human societies was to sort out the smart from the stupid, with the stupid facing the ultimate punishment for the crime of being stupid. The true original sin was to be a fool, and it is a sin that is never, ever forgiven if the fool is exposed. No insult is greater than to be called a fool, and no man of standing would allow it to persist in such a way that he will forevermore be declared a retard. If he did, he is submitting to a fate worse than death or simple torture. To tell anyone to accept the designation of fool is to damn them. Yet, this is what happens every day. The chief method of education is humiliation and beatings, rather than something that would make sense like giving people actual textbooks or expectations of what they are to learn. The reasons for this educational method is to specifically exclude those who are not favored from knowledge they are not supposed to possess, and to place a premium on reliable information and education, with special attention to secrets that are only relevant because of politics. Knowing the secret handshake means far more than genuine scientific knowledge in our experience, and in the end that is what education was intended to impart more than anything else. The educational regime was designed to perpetuate the priesthood and the regime itself, with any learning being a secondary effect at best, and usually only tolerated as a necessary concession to attain that which education sought to perpetuate. No one in state schools wanted to actually give the commoners knowledge, which is why the instruction is so pedantic and people are trained to accept that they are cogs in an alien machine, and that they must accept predation in every area where social interaction occurs. Those who resist the predation or even attempt to flee it are hunted down. Those who enable the predation, or have the fortune to take part in it, are protected and valued by the educational regime, and it is those people who create the value judgements more than any other. They only pay as much fidelity to concrete reality as they have to, and in the past several decades, these people engineered a situation where no one and no thing will ever tell them "no" again. Such a regime will seek to invade the most basic conscious act as its final and ultimate enclosure, after it has claimed all of the land worth owning and policed the environment we inhabit. It seeks to create a new conscious behavior out of that which existed before, such that any conscious act inimical to it can be subverted. To do this, it must declare at once that political sanity is absolutely paramount and above prior expectations of law, and that the conscious act can be invaded by its immense propaganda and all of the mechanisms available to a state. Reality control creates a strange situation where political sanity is narrowly defined, yet exceptions to this sanity are everywhere and must be tolerated. The truth of the situation is that much of its people wander through life being insane both in the real, concrete sense that they are unable to see what is real, and in the political sense where those who rule society presume their subjects are insane. This applies even to the valid and accepted members of that society, whose particular insanity is controlled and activated as needed. Anyone who is important will be shrunk and tracked, and then manipulated by those who are in a position to manage and control their subjects. The populace that is not worth tracking in this way is simply discarded as insane from the outset, spoken to as if they are purely retarded no matter what they contribute, and their product is always taken away in full. The token money they are given is only distributed so long as they behave, on the terms that the issuer of the money permits. It should be clear that money, in the form of state-issued currency or currency schemes recognized by the state, is and always was a tool that could be revoked at any time. There was no special value to gold or silver, and no real value at all to slips of paper that represented claims to gold in some bank. The gold and silver might have had some value because there were other states in the world that would take your gold, and while states rise and fall, coin and possession of wealth is a constant between regimes.
Having thought about this matter extensively throughout my life - both because I had to due to my circumstances, and because of an usual fascination with the concept even for someone in my station - I am surprised at just how malleable humans are to mind control, and disappointed at how readily humans line up to be controlled despite knowing how and why they are manipulated. There are those who eagerly crave their dose of brainwashing, begging the masters to tell them how to think, and it is not simply among those who enjoy the loss of control. A while back, I set out to answer for myself why this was so easy, and on what basis mind control would be best pursued if I had the resources of a state and its monopoly on legitimate force. It is not simply a given that biological creatures are infinitely malleable or pathetically easy for the superior mind to control. There are methods that have been demonstrated, and they typically revolve around the presumed authority that humans are conditioned to accept, or a few patterns of behavior that may as well be inborn or that have perpetuated themselves over the centuries. Those who are more integrated into the society and its political structure tend to be more receptive to this control, while those who are cast out - who may very well desire nothing more than to be a happy slave rather than face predation or humiliation - can't submit to the methods even if they try hard to comply. For the latter, there is usually a lack of desire from the managers of society to make these people comply. The damned were written off a long time ago and it would be a waste of resources. Even when the managers of society do wish to elicit compliance from this damned population though, the traditional methods of authority do not work. Those who have not been socialized or initiated into the mysteries of proper society do not recognize the relevance of signs and concepts that are readily accepted by those of good standing. Typically, due to expedience and the general attitude of hatred towards those who are not welcome in society, the method of control is simple fear and terror, which technocratic society produces in abundance. That is one reason why carpet-bombing the entire city and mass media with coordinated propaganda is undertaken - less because it convinces anyone of the truth of the ideas presented, and more because it contributes to the general fear and a sense that the beast ruling society is too large to ever defeat. Any reality the propaganda is pointing to is less relevant than the sheer force of it, and this propaganda is primarily intended to corral the weak and despised and cow them into submission. It is not very effective at manipulating public opinion in the minute way that would be demanded of an educated workforce, or pursuing very specific policy goals. For this to work, many myths about consciousness and the mind must rise in prominence, and become so accepted that they become second nature to everyone in the society. Every minute way people are trained to communicate has the ultimate goal of shifting the type of consciousness to one that is more amenable, and because of the different classes and assignments in this society, there are multiple types of consciousness that are encouragd. Some of this variance is rooted in whatever consciousness was inherited from the past constitution of the person, and then the variation in consciousness is herded to types which were defined by the managers of society as the best fit for these purposes. The valid are given expectations of themselves, and the invalid and insane are tagged with a number of labels so that the system and society at large processes them in proscribed ways. Not one of these "types of consciousness" are based on an actual method of thinking or an internal logic that someone possesses at first. They are rather models which the subject is habituated to, and that society as a whole are taught to expect from others who are labeled so. The stereotypes of the categories of invalid consciousness - schizophrenia, autism, emotional disorders, "negritude" for those who believe in such things, and plain old retardation - are deliberately insulting and obviously in service to the suppression of anyone marked so. It is politically necessary to assert that the invalid lack some substance that allows them to desire basic things an animal would want, and that the valid are the only ones who can have real consciousness and thought. This validity is then something which can be doled out solely by an expert class, and the valid live under constant fear of being marked as invalid. For the controllers, this fear is not truly felt. They know they are operating nothing more than the world's biggest mafia, a mafia that has not faced any significant failures, and they have their own methods of policing consciousness. Those who are enmeshed in bourgeois and professional-class thought buy into a number of fads, some of them conjured in their own fevered imaginations and encouraged if they serve the value system of the present society.
Identity would move to the forefront as eugenics became the dominant law and de facto governing idea of the world. Identity had always figured into the socialization of people. Their identity with their family, clan, tribe, nation, race, social class, membership in particular institutions, was something openly contested. Usually, these identities were based on some real relationship, and could not stray too far from reality. Social classes were never so arbitrary, and in historical society, the number of social classes was necessarily few in number. People were to identify as slaves, free men, nobles, kings, courtiers, lawyers, soldiers, beggars, artists, and so on. The relevance of these groups as distinct social classes varied, but there would be for any profession a set of expectations and a mentality. Within a workplace, there had long been a hierarchy of which workers were superior to others, and this is a method used to discipline slaves since ancient times. Liberal society had, in some ways, dissolved the relevance of many of these social classes. The tendency was to abolish overt slavery, or at least recognize the consequences of slavery as an institution. The workers, who were in most respects treated like slaves, could not be trampled on too openly and told that they were now outright chattel. The managerial methods of capitalism did everything they could to suggest that workers were slaves through and through, but it was not possible to assert this reasoning in a way that could invade the mind of the worker, and there were those in the liberal classes who found such invasions counterproductive or ruinous, or only sought to apply slave treatments selectively so that the working class would be sorted into grades of civic worth. The conflicts between social formations, from the simple family or association of a few people to a whole nation, could not become total, or else the liberal society would rapidly disintegrate and there could be no society as such, and no state to regulate it. There was a recognition across class lines that there was no good reason for national wars, and these wars in modernity were more often than not wars against social classes rather than the war between nations that was purported to exist. The wars between definite associations of people that were most relevant were those waged by colonizers against the colonized, and these wars were not pursued out of a sense that men of different races simply could not coexist, or that their reasons for fighting were arbitrary. The wars against the natives of America were pursued because of a desire for land, territorial integrity of the United States, and exploitation of resources; the motives of the natives in resisting the settlers as soon as they stepped off the Mayflower should not be surprising. Racist slavery was premised first on the need for slaves, and had always been pursued out of a need to preserve the slave system at all costs. The narrative of racial identity in the American context had always been created to obliterate historical knowledge of why the conflicts took place, and why they remain relevant to the present day. But, the advance of identity was not simply a cynical excuse. By repeating the identity narrative ad nauseum and habituating people to accept it, it would produce a change in consciousness and create, by association, a mind which was inured to the actual relations between people and accepted them. The first target of this would be the black slaves themselves, who were presented with image after image of their defeat and failure and told to identify with this. This is not a complicated strategy, but it did not matter whether the slaves knew what the strategy was. All that mattered was that it could be presented day after day, and that there was nothing you could do about it nor anything that would change it from outside. It was most important to eliminate any possibility that it could be any other way. The slave relation didn't just have to be identified with a particular group, but naturalized. The Nazis learned this lesson well when they decided they were going to enslave Europe and as much of Asia as they could grab. They did one bigger than the Confederacy, and made this strategy not just the center of their economic engine, but their entire society.
The purpose of identity politics is not merely symbolic, or a narrative people tell themselves to feel better. Attachment to identity would be elevated to an art form starting with the Nazis. Where past identifications involved things which had some tangible history, the fascists and neoreactionaries perfected an approach where identities could be manufactured into something new. No longer was "German" referring to a national project with a definite history or a race of people who may have differences among them. It was instead to be reduced to a staccato where anything the Nazis wanted to tell you was German would be that, and then the concept of a German would be processed through Nazi education and manipulations to modulate their subjects and their thoughts. Did you think Hitler was a screaming idiot? Why, that's un-German of you! Perhaps this could be attributed to something in the German project long before the Nazis, but the Nazis brought it to a new level and opened the door to making an identity out of everything. A whole list of stereotypes of every conquered nation would be constructed to regulate a planned pan-European slave system. The Nazis were not the only ones doing this. This project had been the dream of social engineers for many decades, and it is a signature initiative of the eugenic creed wherever it took root or would be exported.
If you can command identity in this way, you can psychologically mold subjects who are indoctrinated from birth with ideas injected into them by thought leaders. This had been an expedient for a long time, both for formal education and in the instruction mothers and fathers gave to their children. The most basic task of consciousness is to make whole the parts of the body, so that it can accomplish tasks suitable for it; and then it would relate to the world and all that it acquires, such as tools and so on. This had been understood from the moment we started developed political consciousness, and had to out of necessity think of ourselves as people rather than animals. Political consciousness could only be influenced so far in the past, and there was no consistent method to adjust this education to produce different types of people. The new reactionaries in the late 19th century were figuring out an ethos which could short-circuit entirely the political consciousness that would be necessary for someone to function in society, so that the subject could be atomized and reduced to a being of "pure mind" - to have every sense of what they are and what the world is supplied to them by education and pedagogy, and eliminate the native sense someone might have developed about themselves and the world. Political consciousness would have to follow from the restrictions placed on development in nature. It could only assert certain political truths if it were able to maintain them and if those truths comported with some real condition that was useful, or could be imposed. The new advance would be to isolate individuals and present to them the great beast, "Society", as something utterly alien to them and something imposed on the material world. Rituals and training would, repeated often enough, reinforce the individual programming appropriate to that person; and so, the drive to become an insufferable pissant who hated God and had the correct beliefs regarding mercy for a fascist society could be cultivated. This was only possible when enough rot had entered society, and there was an army and command structure that could threaten anyone who was noncompliant. There would also need to be a buy-in for the true believers, a grand mission that they hold for engineering society that meets their self-interest. The eugenic creed, or something like it, was perfect for the task; it purported to root political power in biology, and asserted violently nonsensical positions about hereditary intelligence. There was a native understanding in people since time immemorial that intelligence was generally hereditary and had to be, and generations of hatred for fools had demonstrated it that enough people believed in it. It was necessary to make these judgements absolute and place them above all other laws and concepts of society, and then substitute any actual judgement of intelligence or heredity for a political myth which allowed an imperial clique to seize the meaning of intelligence and reason for itself. To defend the myth, the first identity people would learn, and this is a new identity, is who should be the true intelligentsia and thus who had the right to rule. This identity was never spoken too openly, but it was always felt, and the religion that "the smart" should be worshipped would be elevated to a whole new level, and it was not difficult to see who was selected by the imperial apparatus as the rightful stewards. The rest of the people could either comply and fit into this, or rail hopelessly against the new eugenic conspiracy. Those who had reasons to join this conspiracy were the first to lock ranks, forming a phalanx and identifying the group that above all others must be hated and scorned. This by itself would not be enough; there were only so few people that most of society would agree were too stupid to be allowed to live, and most people have a higher opinion of themselves than the eugenists wanted them to have.
It is expected that anyone would establish concepts of who and what they are, and their relationship to the world. We couldn't be as functional as we are if we lacked any sense of our constitution and history, and so adopting an identity of some sort is expected. It is no great sin to be limited to this identity, or to accept that you are some thing or another. We are likely to receive our concepts of what we are from society, rather than generating our own concepts of ourselves, and this makes a lot of sense. Individual experiences are, however detailed, largely similar and uninteresting, and cannot vary too much from person to person. We are all hominids and our basic abilities and wants conform to a set of expectations we assumed were default for humans. Even those who are markedly deficient are trying to conform to these expectations, and those expectations are not an expectation placed on them by society alone. These expectations exist because there are drives in any man or woman that will require an outlet in all realistic social environments, and social class cannot imprint as successfully as it liked a wholly alien ethos.
Slaves will desire freedom in most cases because they have seen the alternative and imagine a world where it did not have to be this, and they know that the most basic assertion of slavery - essentially a lie that must be upheld by violence and an institution pervading the society - is incompatible with their situation being different. Perhaps the slave has given up on this being a realistic possibility, or convinced himself that his current form of slavery is preferable to other forms or a false freedom where he has no means to actually live. At the root of any slavery will be threats and lies that never can go away, and no master is unaware of what is needed for slavery to survive. Masters in practice have never needed to obscure in great detail the nature of the institution, and found it counterproductive to do so. Managers have calculated every sneer specifically so it would uphold the thrill of seeing their slaves suffer, and the manager himself is not the beneficiary of the slave's product. He is there to collect his salary, and his specialization is the torture of slaves. Managers as a rule disdain any sort of constructive intervention that would make their slaves more effective, even if the cost of doing so is low and obviously beneficial to the entire operation. The managerial task is rarely held by the owners of the slaves, but by overseers who have every incentive to keep the institution as ruinous as possible. The more ruinous it is, the greater the cost of management, and thus the managers extract their cut from the institution, like any good mob boss or criminal would in their operations. Gangsters are not known for their efficiency.
Now you may think, I've gone far afield with what is really a philosophical and spiritual question, in talking about the political. There is no reason why we need to consider the political as essential to the world - most of us do fine without politics in our lives, and seek to have as little to do with it as possible. It is important to remain aware that there are those who very much want us to be subjugated by their mission, and they have progrmmed their subjects to believe things which are clearly to the benefit of the leaders are natural and inevitable. So insidious is this that so many clearly political conceits about the mind are taken for granted, and those who dissent have to argue against an establishment position which is insane. They will insist that people who are clearly suffering and unhappy have no mind whatsoever, and people who would be happy to rid of a menacing society "need help". It is so self-serving and imperious, and it requires only a predatory minority to impose this system on the whole society, if they are enabled. Control over minute behaviors and thoughts is deliberate and calculated towards the end of keeping certain people enslaved and forever hopeless, and the masters and drivers petulant and desirous only of the next thrill. That is the imperial philosophy through and through, and there really is nothing more to it than that. There is no secret plan or "greater good". There is only the drive to control, to cajole and demean, and the rest of us live in their world. They do not build anything we would consider good, and I'm not seeing how the masters are exactly happy. They have succeeded primarily by degrading the conditions of life, with the expectation of making free life so miserable that people will be herded to the most abject slavery possible. It may be possible to pretend this isn't happening for a while, and it is understandable why ordinary people would rather not think about it. If they have really thought about it, they likely determined that there is nothing stopping the kind of slavery the masters of the world today want to impose and shout from the rooftops. Freedom cannot persist if no one can make an argument for it except "me wantee", and it is precisely that argument of "me wantee" that has supplanted any understanding of political freedom, or the concept that the rule of the authorities and experts is not absolute and not ordained by the heavens. The utilitarian mindset is a cancer upon the human race, and certainly hasn't served anything actually useful for the vast majority of people. All that it leads to, predicted in advance, is a petty-managerial instinct that has ceased to even think about its actions beyond what advantage they can gain in the next instant, and a ruling dogma that has to convince its partisans to converse with space aliens just to tell themselves it is actually a world worth living in.
This discursion brings me to something Americans are likely familiar with - Maslow's so-called Hierarchy of Needs. Now, if you thought about your own basic needs for five minutes, you didn't need Maslow to tell you what you need, and by extension what you are. The needs of a man are very simple - sustenance and security. People do not, at a basic level, need "freedom" or "self-actualization" in the sense that these words are assigned meaning by the thought leaders. Freedom is only intelligible as a desire by people who have seen enough of the alternative and have considered that a different way was possible, that did not involve imperious masters telling you what you are allowed to think and what you should desire. Many of these concepts in the so-called hierarchy of needs either rely on the presumption of liberal technocratic values as natural and ingrained in the human body, or they aren't actually needs at all. The needs of the libido, for example, are things many men throughout the ages have had to dispose of, finding them wholly a burden since they have clearly failed at the reproductive game. Even if they somehow won, "winning" just means consigning your offspring to the same cycle of slavery, and likely granting the wife leverage over them because she is likely to involve herself with her offspring more than you. For the woman, child-rearing becomes a social obligation and an invitation for the state to say she's a bad mother. If we think of it like this, anyone has to ask if there is any purpose to this, and whether that urge in the lizard brain should just be ignored or disposed of in all of the ways we've learned. For the ruling ideas to hold, though, the sex drive must be a constant pressing, which will be manipulated in various ways by the thought leaders who hold access to affection and sexual success. It is not a surprise that the so-called "sexual revolution" happens as this idea of what our needs are is promulgated, though it is far from the sole cause. The values at the apex of the pyramid are those which are essentially controlled by the esteem of those who hold the dominant institutions. It is not possible to "actualize yourself" if you are under constant pressure from a beast that will never struggle in the way you and I have to just to be left alone. At no point is it admissible to speak of the general violence and death threats throughout the entire technocratic society, or if it is possible, it is only permitted so long as it is presumed the violence and state of permanent war is natural and unchanging, with certain people and professions and ideas proven dominant forevermore. Even if you did somehow overcome this, it would become clear that such goals of "self-actualization" are nonsensical and meaningless, and they hinge on a particular view of the self that is habituated to accept liberal or fascist institutions. It is effective asking people to chase their own tail, doubt the level of their "actualization" until an expert inquisitor has assessed that someone has mastered the art of actualization, granting them the degree that gives them political and social sanity in the eyes of the institutions - which is to say, giving people back the thing they had from the start, but that was taken away from them by the institutions, so that they can imperiously dictate who and what we are and what we will do from here on. It wasn't a great mystery to many in society what this was, and the point of these explanations is not to fool people or convince them by reason that the explanations are correct. It is rather to present a whole ethos and dogma for the slaves, that omits intentionally reference to the actual ruling ethos, while cleverly dropping hints to those who engage with the actual ruling ethos - which, as you can guess, is the eugenic idea. A false egalitarianism where there are no conspiracies is presented as totally normal, despite being clearly artificial and with clear evidence that the vast majority of people will never receive the things they supposedly must want and need. An artificial expectation of what you want is given with full knowledge that you will fail in some regard, and this must mean you were at fault. Somewhere, an influencer or manager can raise or lower the degree of bullshit an individual subject endures, thus selecting at will who can rise and fall. These levers, which are held entirely by those who control the institutions, now become your fault. It's "your fault" for failing to comply with institutions which set out to eliminate you or put you in a servile position, and if we are aware of any slavery, no master wants their slaves to ever feel too comfortable. Comfortable slaves will start to find some small way to defy the master's will, if only to catch their breath and do a few of the things they would have done if the obligation of slavery weren't a concern. Even if a slave were committed to pushing himself for the master's benefit, it is a constant that however hard a slave pushes himself, it will not satisfy the master. The master in any slave system will always want more, because if the master's command lapses or he takes it for granted, he risks losing control of the thing he wanted in the first place. If the slaves ever start to manage the master, that is worrying, and it is a fear that masters have considered, especially when dealing with their educated and learned slaves and freedmen, who could take on imperial duties out of necessity.
A great difficulty in overcoming this is that we would have to face a reality that humans really are a kind of animal, and we're not too clever. It was easy for the present society to assert its control over people, because there was scant knowledge of just what we are and what this really was. Even those who engineered this machine were not fully aware of what they were creating. They had a better idea of the end goal, and there were imperious types who have always wanted some form of slavery. It is simple to say that people should be free because a free society is good, having seen the alternative and how ruinous it has been. We would have to accept that we are malleable, and that sanity and truth are precious. The present ethos and value system declares the exact opposite - it is the ethos of the Big Lie and pointing nuclear weapons at civilian population centers to terrorize them into compliance. They have known the truth that people are malleable, and spend great effort cutting up brains and torturing hominids to see how they can be manipulated, but their ethos insists on reality control and very disfigured concepts of the self and what the mind and consciousness are. That is why we encounter so many stupid people suffering from magical thinking, and why these errors have to be corrected so often - or worse, the dumbasses dominate the discussion, making it impossible to speak truth regarding anything. You can see some of these shitheads snigger when they get away with it, having chased away anything that could actually offer participants in forums and conversations meaningful content they could apply to their lives. A good number of them are quite aware that they are only there to derail and make sure no one questions the key shibboleth. They may not have thought of the matter beyond the level necessary to spew shit and make us "debate" clearly insane positions, and we see this in pseudo-scientific discussions regarding quantum mechanics and especially biological pseudo-science. But, the consequences of humans being an animal, and thought being nothing special, reach further than many could investigate.
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