luka

Well-known member
Staff member
corpsey playing hard to get again... i'm not getting sucked in though! come and join us when you feel ready.
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
golden rule of dissensus is to make a space for yourself in every thread. all this theory isn't my cup of tea, so i introduce my areas of expertise into the mix; migos and wanking. likewise you've got to come in with your own perspective (adam buxton being your best friend is endemic of the internet age, yeats, watching girls aloud on your vr headset). before you know it these ostensibly disparate ideas and perspectives will coalesce into something magnificent. a unified field theory of dissensus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7JAioASm8c
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
that's absolutely right. we only get a partial picture when we're missing inputs.

(the theory stuff is just trippy-jive in different vocabularies. there's nothing austere about it
but equally there's no reason to learn it other than to communicate with people who
only know that language and that language only. it's for translation purposes.
but everyone is talking about the same objects in the same spaces)
 

jenks

thread death
Taken a while to read all of this but I've been thinking about this from a different angle - the dematerialised self who becomes so subsumed by their online self that they no longer function in the real world. I have a friend who has become convinced that her tweets are being read by all the 'famous' people that she follows and that they are talking about her, she feels that she is having a significant impact on these people, as if she has a relationship with them which she doesn't but she is projecting her desires on to that space - yes, this is some form of paranoid delusion but its clearly exacerbated but the ability to become something other, something virtual, In many ways she exists more inside the net than she does outside of it. It's been bothering me a lot recently. I don't know if this adds anything - I suppose maybe the internet just gives us a new way to become insane.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
They've come up with internet-specific psychological conditions now - cyberchondria, cyberhoarding - but it seems to be a case of new tools exacerbating old conditions rather than entirely new conditions.

"... cyberhoarding – reluctance to delete information gathered online – and cyberchondria – compulsively using search engines and websites in the hope of finding reassurance about medical fears, only to self-diagnose further ailments."

 
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blissblogger

Well-known member
Taken a while to read all of this but I've been thinking about this from a different angle - the dematerialised self who becomes so subsumed by their online self that they no longer function in the real world. I have a friend who has become convinced that her tweets are being read by all the 'famous' people that she follows and that they are talking about her, she feels that she is having a significant impact on these people, as if she has a relationship with them which she doesn't but she is projecting her desires on to that space - yes, this is some form of paranoid delusion but its clearly exacerbated but the ability to become something other, something virtual, In many ways she exists more inside the net than she does outside of it. It's been bothering me a lot recently. I don't know if this adds anything - I suppose maybe the internet just gives us a new way to become insane.
Ah this has reminded me of something I was meaning to mention

There is this book by Erik Davis called Techgnosis where he looks into the history of technology and how it's been spiritualized or had religious impulses projected onto it, intertwined with it

So around the same time as the telegraph and Morse Code was developed, the spiritualist movement was also kicking off - and they called their magazine, or one of them anyway, The Spiritual Telegraph.

But another angle on this is how people who are mentally ill are drawn to metaphors based around current technology - whatever has recently been introduced, it becomes part of their delusion

So a schizophrenic in Alexander Graham Bell's era might think that somebody was controlling them through the telephone system

Then, by the mid-20th Century, it's voices speaking to them through the television.

And a little later, it's a satellite that's beaming thought-control into their heads.

And so on...

No doubt there have been delusions based around fax machines, pagers, etc a

I have had a couple of friends who went completely - horribly - crazy. An early sign was the belief that someone (rivals at work usually) was hacking into their email. In the first case - an ex-girlfriend - when she started going on about how university colleagues of hers were doing this, I thought nothing of it - a/ because she always seemed like the most psychologically rock-solid person I knew pretty much, so it never occurred to me she was imagining this, but also b/ I thought 'how typical of academia', it being a rivalrous sort of field - seemed very likely they would be capable of malice and deviousness. (Talking about technology, this is late 90s, pre-broadband, world wide web - she got very enthusiastic about building a giant hypertext project that would connect everything - another characteristic schizo trait, in its manic euphoria stage: projects of system-building)

The next time it happened - a friend who worked at a fashion magazine, convinced her mail was being broken into etc - I knew better.

So your friend with the imaginary relationships via Twitter with the famous is I fear quite ill - but also on the cutting edge of insanity, in a sense.

But then the thought extending from that to the topic of the thread - what is the relationship between dematerialisation tendencies and mental illness?

(Spiritual and religious beliefs that involve body-transcendence are not so far from delusions and psychiatric disorders)

(Before technology as we understand it, schizo disorders would take the form of encounters with demons, sprites, succubi, visitations from angels or God etc)

Clearly Man is a sick animal to start off with, that is basic Freud et al ... already alienated from the body...

Tendencies that tend to further extricate consciousness from its flesh-cage - and forge these mediated distance-abolishing connections with remote networks or entities - would seem likely to foster even worse forms of anguish and psychological malaise.

There is a famous case study of Freud's - the case of Schreber, a judge in Austria who went psychotic, this is late 19th Century - much referenced by your critical theory French types, Deleuze & Guattari etc

I forget the precise nature of the madness (one part of it involved transgendering fantasies of being the wife of the Austrian prime minister or something) or what exactly the latter theorists read into the case, but from Wiki, this bit:

"The fundamental unit of Schreber's cosmology were "nerves", which composed both the human soul and the nature of God in relation to humanity. Each human soul was composed of nerves which derived from God who with "His" own nerves was the ultimate source of human existence. God's nerves and those of humanity existed parallel to one another except when the "Order of the World" was violated which constituted the fundamental premise of Schreber's memoirs- in which the two universes experienced dangerous "nerve-contact" with each other."

reminded me a little of the McLuhan line about the extensions of man and the nervous system becoming expanded through technological interface

And this bit:

"The peculiar universe of Schreber's was mediated by the activity of rays, which could assume a "pure" and "impure" relation; these rays could be controlled by Flechsig or emanated strictly from God, who sought to influence Schreber and his reality by "divine miracles"."

is sort of proto-technology, almost anticipating radio

With all these delusions, there is porousness - the borders of the self / body are violated, invasively interfaced with systems beyond it.

Now that sensation is ecstatic, when chosen voluntarily through drugs or other practices... or a certain use of technology

But when it happens without volition, as an out of order distortion of perceptions, it's terrifying.
 
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luka

Well-known member
Staff member
i think this is where we need to tread terribly, terribly carefully as the temptation here is to terminate lines of thought and conversations. it's very easy and very destructive to simply shout 'MAD' and go back to talking about 'my favourite top ten rave tunes' in a desultory and endlessly repetitive loop.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
which is not to turn a blind eye to the dangers which are real and ever-present. we have to acknowledge the dangers of madness (which is terrifying and destructive) and also to acknowledge the dangers of normalcy (less terrifying, but also destructive in an insidious and life denying way.)

i have had many mad friends, some dead, one in prison, others still with us, and i walk close enough to that line to have been diagnosed once, as a 20 year old, with whatever, so i feel an intense sense of discomfort and unease when people start waving the 'nutter' label around. i feel threatened by it. the threat being what rd laing termed 'the destruction of experience'
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Technology promises a dream and delivers a nightmare. McLuhan had it right when he said "... when the full consequences of each new technology have been manifested in new psychic and social forms, then the anti-Utopias appear".

Lovecraft's thing about the terror of scientific progress feels quite apt too:

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age. “
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
now customary plug for my friends virtuoso essay (in 3 parts) on Mcluhan. The best writing on his work that you will find.

http://groupnameforgrapejuice.blogspot.com/2015/08/meereschal-macmuhun-moon-child-me-1.html
http://groupnameforgrapejuice.blogspot.com/2015/09/meereschal-macmuhun-moon-child-me-2.html
http://groupnameforgrapejuice.blogspot.com/2015/12/meereschal-macmuhun-moon-child-me-3.html


meereschal macmuhun being taken from Finnegans Wake and Mcluhan, not unreasonably, taking it to be a reference to and a prophecy of, himself.
 

Leo

Well-known member
this is akin to some progressives here who feel they are making great strides because their candidate of choice has twice as many twitter followers or facebook likes compared to their conventional conservative opponent...who then goes on to trounce the progressive candidate with an old-school ground game. the illusion that cyber counts for more than it does in the real world.
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
musically, twitzophrenia's reflected in ad-lib centric rap. a sea of voices constantly muttering and commenting in the background.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
But then the thought extending from that to the topic of the thread - what is the relationship between dematerialisation tendencies and mental illness?
well, the internet era has repeatedly changed society by thrusting behaviour that would once have been thought of as at minimum sad, but also borderline mentally ill, into the mainstream (again why I enjoyed The Circle). Leo's example of obsessively counting/tracking Facebook or Twitter followers is a good low-key example to start with. The borders of sanity are entirely malleable, never more so than today.
 
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version

Who loves ya, baby?
now customary plug for my friends virtuoso essay (in 3 parts) on Mcluhan. The best writing on his work that you will find.
I read the one that ran with Pynchon's "Yoyodyne" recently, the section on Sputnik is brilliant and kind of ties in with the earlier thing about man externalising himself via technology.

- - -

... the launching of Sputnik. The stifling stasis of the Eisenhower late Modernist mirage essentially ended on this day.

This came to an abrupt end in 1957 when America was jolted out of its complacency by the shattering news that the Russian Sputnik was orbiting the earth, and started waking from its drowsy, almost Edwardian languor. The Crying of Lot 49 is a record of that slow process of awakening, as new voices "humming out there," at first muffled and faintly heard, began to register.

As per McLuhan, nature and artifact became one with this launch. Collective human consciousness became externalized and identical with the body of the world. Heaven was finally married, in the garb of high technology, to Earth. And yet not unambiguously so. Was this the Day of Pentecost or the Fall of Babel? Was the satellite launched by the Empire or the Counterforce? Was it a triumph of information or entropy, ecstasy or paranoia? None can say.

We are still trapped in this moment. It has only become more complex, more hardwired, more ambiguous. Nothing has been resolved. The energy generated by the conjunction of these opposites -- reducible from one perspective to Ear and Eye -- fuels all activity in the world today. And this same energy drives The Crying of Lot 49 and all of Pynchon's subsequent novels. Everything cries out for resolution, but there is no guarantee that this unstable instant won't loop on forever. There may be no final sorting.

The Earth, the collective body of humanity, is one vast Nefastis Machine, its only purpose to transcend all limitations and to truly awaken the World Soul. In like manner, Pynchon's novel can be described in precisely the same terms as Umberto Eco once applied to Finnegans Wake:

...a complex machine destined to produce infinite meanings, operating beyond the years of it's own Creator.

Both texts are perpetual meaning machines. Artesian wells of signification. What Joyce invokes with thousands of inexplicably cross-referencing, multi-linguistic puns, Pynchon summons with an over-saturation of hyperlinked symbolism and imagery.

Both authors, both engineers, have been rendered obsolete by their creations. For a perpetual motion machine is also an Artificial Intelligence. Once it overcomes, Frankenstein-style, its own creator it becomes enabled to create creators who are then equipped to create beyond themselves. A kind of singularity is the result, a singularity that works of art like the Wake and Lot 49 only mirror and prefigure in the culture at large.

And yet all of these machines -- really just one machine -- are driven by the same engine. As with the Nefastis Machine they are powered by the conjunction and differential of opposites. And ultimately -- as machines -- they are the extensions, since Sputnik stretching spherically on and above the surface of the planet, of human perception.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
this is akin to some progressives here who feel they are making great strides because their candidate of choice has twice as many twitter followers or facebook likes compared to their conventional conservative opponent...who then goes on to trounce the progressive candidate with an old-school ground game. the illusion that cyber counts for more than it does in the real world.
The reverse of this seems to be happening in Brazil. Bolsonaro has a colossal social media following and it actually seems to have translated into votes as he's just won the first-round.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
that's right. i like that one very much too. https://groupnameforgrapejuice.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-four-machines-of-yoyodyne.html
vimothy described znore as my intellectual doppleganger and although he's a bit older and a more advanced student i think that's absolutely right. the degree of overlap between our interests, obsessions and interpretations is extraordinary. im very glad i stumbled on his work and got a chance to meet him.

i've tried to get him to jump into this thread cos it's right up his alley but hes always so busy sadly.
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
Both texts are perpetual meaning machines. Artesian wells of signification. What Joyce invokes with thousands of inexplicably cross-referencing, multi-linguistic puns, Pynchon summons with an over-saturation of hyperlinked symbolism and imagery.
memes
 
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