Friday, June 13, 2014

Chad Nelson on Quantum Psychology



Chad Nelson, who discussed Robert Anton Wilson's SNAFU principle in "Libertarianism as Direct Experience," has now tackled RAW's Quantum Psychology in a new piece for the Center for a Stateless Society, a "Left Market Anarchist Think Tank and Media Center" whose left brand of libertarianism seems fairly close to RAW's own politics.

Chad's article, "Psychology for Anarchists,"  does a good job of describing the book and is kind enough to refer readers to this site's Quantum Psychology discussion group (still available on the right side of this page.) He writes, "One of Wilson’s fan sites – www.rawillumination.net – joins readers together to discuss the exercises in a chat forum and, surprisingly, most are completely appropriate for remote participation." I did do my best to stick to the exercises as given in the book, but I did adapt some of them as necessary for the Internet.

Excerpt from Chad's piece:

Wilson refers to his system in various places in the book as “model agnosticism.”Attempting to pigeonhole the world into any one rigid belief system or model must necessarily fail, as new information constantly updates and amends one’s perception of the world. Model agnosticism, one begins to feel, can be a healthy and informed way to approach life. At its most basic, model agnosticism can be viewed as constant skepticism.

Chad is an attorney and his biography is here. One of his specialties seems to be applying family law to special needs persons. He is active in Special Olympics and is an affiliate member of the ACLU.


Chad Nelson

8 comments:

Drew Zi said...

Maybe this is a question more suitable for Michael. But have you looked into how closely Robert Anton Wilson’s model agnosticism fits in with the the Philosophy of science known as model-dependeant realism. There are two synchronicitys here. Firstly Hawkins coined the term model-dependent realism, he also added a similar introduction to his book called a brief history of time as Prometheus rising, in which Wilson first elaborates his Model theory.

michael said...

Drew Zi: I just now saw your comment. I hadn't known that Hawking added bits about model-dependent realism to an updated Brief History of Time. That's really interesting. I did note that Hawking's book - title escapes me right now - that he co-wrote with Leonard Mlodinow: it advocates for model-dependent realism in the sciences. I remember reading this while standing amid the "New Non-Fiction" books in a public library. I wish this idea would gain stronger currency in the population of intelligent laypeople who like to read books on science.

RAW's arrival at his own version of model agnosticism was one he chronicled concisely, and the influences from physics (he seems to see Model Agnosticism as largely a broadening of his understanding of Bohr's Copenhagen Interpretation into a person's everyday epistemology), various "competing" branches of Western philosophy, in which RAW seems extraordinarily ecumenical, incorporating what he sees as valid from positivism, phenomenology, pragmatism, and existentialism, among others; Taoism/Buddhism/eastern mythology; proto-postmodernist thinkers such as Nietzsche; non-Chomskyan linguistics; neuroscience discoveries, esp. in the realms of personal and social perception; ethnomethodology and the strain of cultural relativism that started with Boaz's cultural anthropology, etc, etc, etc: a nice elucidation is in the first section of Quantum Psychology.

There were non-armchair experiments with Crowleyan magick, drugs, yogas, immersion in Joyce and Pound, a culture jamming/guerrilla ontology that convinced him Model Ag was the way for him...

All of this goes a long way in my personal thinking of RAW as one of history's Generalist extraordinaires.

So: Hawking's version seems confined to thinking with models within the hard sciences; RAW's version has to do with thinking with models in EVERY aspect of one's life.

Or at least that's my understanding as of today's date.

Now I need to hunt down the section of text from Hawking you mentioned.

Drew Zi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drew Zi said...

"I just now saw your comment. I hadn't known that Hawking added bits about model-dependent realism to an updated Brief History of Time. That's really interesting."

Actually I do not know if he hawking this, sorry if my comment seemed to suggest it. I have an earlier version of a brief history of time which does not mention model-dependant realism. But if there is an updated passage I would like very much to read it. I was just making the connection between Hawkins work and Wilson's; that they both used slightly different versions of the Turtles-Turtles-turtles all the way down anecdote, to introduce their books, and that it was also strange that they had both converged on a similar theory, though like you say Wilson's is a more generalized theory.

Drew Zi said...

Oh, and thanks for the detailed answer. I have read Quantum Psyhology, along with preetty much all of his other works, and now find it interesting that a lot of people have started using many things, albeit in narrower ways, that Wilson was exploring and talking aboutin the 60s 70s and 80s. I try to keep up-to-date with a few areas which I first started exploring because of RAW, it would be impossible to follow them all.

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