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Monday, January 25, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Week 16: No one is objective


Chapter One: There Ain’t No Such Thing As An Objectivity Quotient

By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger 

I’m nearing the end of RAW’s theory for this chapter. I imagine I can revisit these last two pages a couple of times over the next couple weeks. But I’ll always be saying the same thing: no one is objective. 

Firstly, can I just say how monstrously dumb I found RAW’s aside that “[i]f you think you have a higher 'objectivity quotient' than either of them [Edison/Tesla], why haven’t you been nominated for the Nobel prize?” Not that I have any skin in this race but winning the Nobel seems like a paltry and overblown honor. A prize funded by a demolitions manufacturer to ease his conscience? Each year seems like a meaningless indulgence (in the Papal sense). This is the same committee of Swedes who denied to nominate Joyce and Borges for the prize...their judgment is beyond suspect. Anyways, fuck the Nobels. As Alan Moore said, on the off-chance he was ever nominated he would take great pleasure in turning them down. 

While I have a suspicion that most human history has appeared as such during its making, it would seem now is a great time to observe the complete breakdown in subjectivity-awareness. I am easily as guilty as anyone else. I can list off ways that would illustrate the breakdown in communication that we seem to be suffering as nations and planet, and while I would try to use examples from a variety of viewpoints my selection would be flawed. One because I’ll be picking out examples that have simply come into my field of vision or that I have decided are worth my attention. These factors are further biased by what news sources I rely upon which in turn relies upon my personality, mores and understanding of the world which is a mess. And even if I were to present ideas, there are those that I am certain are more egregious than others and that judgment is wholly based on my personal ideology. 

It seemed to me that leading up to and after the Inauguration there was a flurry of articles about “whataboutism” or “bothsidesism.” Most of the articles were talking about its pernicious, ill begotten presence in the discourse: in fact, all of the articles were about that. It was simply that some of the authors believed in “whataboutism” and that it is a bad-faith argument to equate two, or more, philosophies based around radically different interpretations of history. (Not to mention the validity of those sides’ motivations.) Others claimed the term was a nonexistent bugaboo meant to dissuade people from differing viewpoints of holding civil conversation and disrupting the vital exchange of ideas. I don’t have high hopes for bridging this gap or correcting the fractious spirit of our times. I don’t know. Reality tunnels galore and the metro stations are indefinitely closed for repairs.

I got into two arguments on the same day the past week -- and not on the Internet, so it was an accomplishment. One was about how fucking stupid, disingenous and laughable a man who talks about how the Ten Commandments are the perfect law system and made a documentary about how’s he a reasonable man who just wants to talk really appears. The second was about how disgustingly entitled, validation hungry and honestly pathetic I find some of the current trends on Twitter. I definitely have a political bias, but I am not comfortable with the world that either side wants to see realized. What troubles me is that it doesn’t feel as if we are reaching compromises as much as waging brushfire culture wars and our ideas don’t check and balance each other so much as grind to a stalemate. 

As someone who desperately wants to see a world with weakened nation-states and crippled corporations, a world where there isn’t a structure for petty tyrants to climb or for a nefarious majority, I feel a lot of despair over the state of the world. But I don’t feel despair overwhelmingly; while I find my anxieties more relevant to the question at hand, I try my best to SMI2LE. I don’t expect too much in the course of my lifetime, but I have a lot of hope for glimmers of a shining future. While I might not get to live for hundreds of years, live in an age where demagogues simply don’t come to power or live in a space colony, I hope and believe that somebody will. 

I’ll be back next time to kick around at Jehovah...I’m getting real tired of that guy. 


Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Underneath all of the maddening political BS, and the apparent deterioration of American politics, I see all kinds of hopeful advances in technology and research. For example, the COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time; news stories last year routinely said there likely would not be any until 2021. Research into psychedelic drugs has been revived and the successful SpaceX launches suggest that part of SMI2LE may not be out of reach.

Eric Wagner said...

Thank you for your post. I wonder what Bob Wilson would have made out of Biden’s quoting Joyce.

Rasa said...

"Reality tunnels galore and the metro stations are indefinitely closed for repairs."
I love that quote, and your optimism despite the "under repairs" signs all over the place. I've been thinking about how to get from "here" to "there" for most of my adult life, and I too find it distressing to see the metro stations indefinitely closed, but like Tom notes, SMI²LEs are visible. I keep hoping for some leaders to suggest creating the Department of Peace, the Department of Better Health, etc. – in short, models that reflect our dreams rather than ones that simply seem to handle our fears and failures. What we got here is a failure to elucidate. All the more reason for Prometheus Rising. Anyway, I guess I don't really have a comment, only well wishes for creative psychonauts.

BFHN said...

Thanks for sharing these thoughts Gregory, you managed to put a smile on my face to start this day. May I suggest you leave Twitter behind? It seems to be doing you more bad than good anyway. I personally never used any social media, and always felt all the better for it. Reading the news online has enough of a negative emotional impact on me, so even on this front I am these days trying to slow down. Sure, one might say that I am voluntarily putting myself in a bubble, but we all do. I just try to make mine healthier by sorting out what does not serve me well. There is only so much time available, and I already have all these nice books to read anyway.

I also agree with your comment on the Nobel prize. I have a similar attitude towards most prizes. For instance, despite my strong cinephilia, I never even bothered watching the Oscars, and I barely take a quick glance at what got acclaimed at Cannes.
Beyond this specific argument, I strongly support openly disagreeing with RAW whenever one feels that it should be done. Bob would be the first to admit that he said many stupid things, but I get the impression that there is a reverence of sorts amongst his fans, as if everything coming from him was Gold, which sounds to me like totally missing his point altogether. There should be no sacred cows.

While going through, I found the Eight Dimensions of Mind course from the Maybe Logic Academy, and realized that as part of the assignments, Bob was asking people to read PR. They had a totally different rythm than we have here (the course was over 12 weeks, and the first two chapters of the book were to be read during the first week), and perhaps PR was more of a complement to the course rather than its focus. I plan on doing the opposite, and follow the assignments in parallel as we go along reading the book here.

Thanks to everyone involved (quackenbush?) for making these ressources available online !

Eric Wagner said...

I enjoyed that Eight Dimensions of Mind course at Maybe Logic.

Oz Fritz said...

I am encouraged by all the great music I've been fortunate to work on in the past few months and what appears like a more competent Federal government.

The blind humans and the elephant parable brought up last week also speaks to the situation of multiple subjectivities, multiple reality tunnels attempting to reach some kind of consensus.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

@BFHN,I find Twitter useful myself -- I get a lot of my ideas for the blog from it. But what I do is put together carefully curated lists that cut out a lot of the nonsense and political BS. I agree with the people who say that if you are constantly getting angry from Twitter, you aren't using it correctly.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Related to what Gregory wrote and to my comment above, I have been re-reading the first parts of "Prometheus Rising" (in preparation for taking my turn at the wheel Monday) and I noticed this passage from Israel Regardie:

"The transition to a higher order of functioning -- or hooking on to a higher neural circuit -- if often accompanied by considerable anxiety or a turbulence in personal life which seems as if the organism were falling apart or breaking up. This phenomena of instability is really the way that every living organism -- societies, human primates, chemical solutions, etc. -- shakes itself, as it were, by myoclonisms or similar convulsions into new combinations or permutations for higher or new levels of development. So perhaps the space-time Utopia of a new area of primate exploration has some validity after all, as indicating that the more vigorous the disturbance or myoclonism the greater the quantum jump into a higher neurological circuit. This is one reason why I firmly believe that the transition to the next spiral will not be smooth nor without much suffering and chaos."

BFHN said...

I might be wrong, but I seem to remember that it is in PR that Bob says at some point that "most breakdowns are actually breakthroughs" (I am quoting from memory here). A sentence that stuck with me, and helped me through hard times.

I get a feeling that the gigantic conundrum humanity has gotten itself into in this globalized information age might very well lead to near-total destruction, or -if we pass the test- a heightened state of consciousness for the whole of humanity, as Isreal Regardie suggests. ie the Age of Aquarius, if one feels so inclined to see it in those terms, or perhaps Mckenna's Omega Point. But maybe I am just being overly dramatic here.

It is a paradox of the internet age that all this instantaneous communication worldwide, rather than bringing about Open Democracy (as of yet, at least), seems to mostly create more and more weird and niche reality tunnels (ranging from seapunk to QAnon).
If you see the elephant as a concept like 'living together', or 'going forward as a species', then the five blind men aren't even talking together anymore, only screaming at each other insisting that it IS a tail, or it IS a tusk. It feels like the Babel Tower all over again.

I wish the solution would be as simple as using planes to drop copies of PR to the whole world, or spike the punch at DAVOS, but I'm afraid it'll take more than that. Best thing to do individually might be to stay optimistic and keep on SMILEing. After all, if entropy can never diminishe, then in order to survive humanity might have to simply welcome the ever-increasing chaos, effectively turning everyone into happy Discordians.

Rarebit Fiend said...

I apologize for the belated response.

Tom- I agree that there are breakthroughs. I hope they can outpace the entropy. Please don't get me wrong: I was lecturing on "A Modest Proposal" last week in preparation for reading the essay. I made sure to differentiate between the "black cesspool" misanthrope that early scholars made Swift out to be and the misanthrope that is formed by disappointment. Swift, in my opinion, was the former. A "cesspool" misanthrope is the bitter and unyielding person who hates and antagonizes without reason because of real or perceived slight on the part of Fate. A disappointed misanthrope is one who understands the heights that humanity can and has ascended to but for the most part fails time and again to live up to. I don't have a lot of faith in our society or humans as a whole despite the fact I know we are capable of astounding feats. I hope we can outpace our own stupidity.

Eric- I have no idea but I do often speculate how the old man would react and change according to the developments of society after his death. I wonder if Wilson would feel any sympathy for Biden as being another East Coast Irish-Catholic.

Rasa- Thank you, and thanks for taking your time to read and share. I can't tell you how much I appreciate everything you've done. I was reading the beginning of "Ishtar Rising" this weekend in preparation for doing a reading group and I was so glad there books are coming back into print. They're so gorgeous.

BFHN- The funny thing is, I don't have a Twitter. I read about it through the news sites I go to. It is distressing to me that I know what is happening on a website that I am not a part of. I should probably take a break from most of the Internet. It is inimical to my self. Boredom makes demons of us all.

I wish I had the cash and time to take Antero Alli's Eight-Circuit course this year. Thank you so much for the link to the resources!