Exiting Reality

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Just listened to an episode of Hermitix with John Cussans, whom I hadn't heard of but is apparently close to the whole ccru milieu. His main point was a point that I've encountered a couple times, perhaps here, but one that hasn't quite clicked until now. Namely, that the more you traffic through discourse/cultures that treat capitalism like this kind of emergent archon that we are inextricably bound up in, the more you become bound up in it.

He talked about Mark Fisher in this way, that much of the weight of this looming cybernetic capitalist matrix was brought on by how much time he spent plugged in, online. Cussans made the simple point that "unplugging" from the highway could actually serve to rearrange your reality such that capitalism no longer appears to be some kind of emergent frankenstein puppetmaster.

He said that most of his leftist academic friends, whom he made out as being dysfunctionally depressed, kept exposing themselves ever more deeply the sort of discourse that informs their depression.

And James, still don't know his last name, pointed out that the reason more leftist academic types don't try unplugging from their discourse-environment, is because they think unplugging is futile, that you cannot unplug and therefore shouldn't try.

And I started wondering if this principle can be generalized beyond the "deification" of capital, as Cussans put it. And it connected to a thought I had earlier, that perhaps I shouldn't get too used to listening to the same podcasts, or reading from the same news sources - that such things might function to territorialize ones reality. Such isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if your reality involves in ineluctable reign of capitalist energy over any and all contending motives, then perhaps a proper unplugging is worth exploring.

And it also ties into a point we made in the Teaching Machine thread, wherein one's ideological trainer is one's reality, rather than an actor or agent within a neutral reality. The "thing" doing the training is, itself, what appears to be the neutral backdrop behind the actors, and this backdrop defines/territorializes itself according to what you are exposed to. Reality ossifies, at least according to the average course of a life in the West.

So my broad question is: Can one strategically modulate their reality in order to indirectly modulate themselves? That is, can one willfully inform the matrix that is constantly informing them? I think this kind of modulation may be felt as a perpetual withdrawal, seeing as unplugging is, itself, a sort of breaking-away from an addiction.

But "plugged in" in a general sense, rather than specifically meaning online activity. One is plugged in to their reality, or, rather, plugged into the information sources that inform their reality. The longer you are subject to a constant set of influences, the more deeply their influence sediments into you, no?

This could perhaps be a key strategy in the effort to superimpose all ideological positions - this would just be a sort of converse expression of it. Instead of investigating differences among positions taken within a shared reality, we would be exploring the differences among the impressions that the shared reality makes based on how/where it is viewed.

Personally, I feel the shifting plates of reality as a sort of oscillation of baseline positionality. That is, one moment I may feel a subtle but poignant frustration with the ostensibly constant bombardment of guilt I'm being commanded to feel - and another moment, I feel rather clearheadedly that it really isn't unreasonable at all to request that someone respect preferred your pronoun choice.

I feel more attracted to the latter than the former, but the only reason I don't attempt to permanently pull myself away from the former position is that I think it needs to be better researched, how one can undergo ideological transformations. But these transformations are largely retarded/obstructed because of the tendency to find and defend a certain territory. That is, one looks for sources that feel closest to right, rather than approach "what feels right" as a dynamic factor in a system.

So what are your experiences with seismic shifts in your reality? Revelatory experiences, breaks from addictions, etc. Do you still feel a pull back to the prior reality? Or do you drift in and out of it?

Personally, this may change certain key elements of the capitalist techgnostic cosmology I'm always ranting about, namely that it may be too impacted by the kind of discourse that presents capital as this mass psychic energy that is always able to predict your next move. So advice there would be welcome as well.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Or, what are your experiences undergoing transformations of your values? Does it feel like you were misled, ill-informed, ignorant, unconcerned, etc in your previous values, and then something clicked?
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
This was and might still be music fandom for me. If you can will it, deliberately alter the way you expose yourself to pieces of music, you can make major changes to the preferences once thought to be immutable aspects of the self. And its a visceral and base change, you feel it in your gut, not just a heady 'appreciation.' Music was very formative for me in that way, it showed me the self as a laboratory or switchboard, and that experiences can be reality modulators. used, not consumed
 
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Linebaugh

Well-known member
As for ideology, likewise its about the manner of exposure. It wasn't until I started consuming trans made content, going to spaces with trans people, interacting with the culture and etc. that I was able to completely snuff out that atavistic repulsion for the Other, despite mentally understanding the legitimacy the entire time.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Yeah I also think the exposure is key. I'm still lagging on the LGBT front, but my general opinion is that, if you want to broaden your understanding of a demographic/culture, expose yourself to as much of the variety within that demographic/culture as possible. The variety of opinions and beliefs can serve to bust open a singular and stereotype-dependent conception one may have of a given people. The difficulty in reducing a people down to a single position/character.

"The longer you are subject to a constant set of influences, the more deeply their influence sediments into you, no?"

The argument can be made here, namely that if you are raised in a demographically narrow social environment, its all the more difficult to exit that reality.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
In terms of willfully altering/informing the realities of other people, it seems a tried-and-true method involves convincing a person that there is a majority/consensus agreement.

If you make a case, or issue a sort of proposition, for an opinion you think should be held, the person you are addressing will likely feel within their rights to express skepticism.

But if you make the same case, and claim, implicitly or explicitly, that there is already a collective agreement on the opinion in question, the person you are addressing will likely feel less comfortable expressing skepticism.

Even if it is the same opinion as in the previous case, even if the person has reservations about it. The degree to which this person perceives a collective agreement on a given opinion, is the degree to which any reservations will be barred from expression, no?

So a lot of this would be low-hanging fruit for those with sufficient platforms for reaching enough people, attempting to convince each person that everyone else already has been convinced. Trump proves the effectiveness of this, albeit in more of a brute force manner. If there is a higher sophistication to the tactics he employs, I'm not sure its evident to me.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
But I think a key dynamic here is that, in altering Alice's reality, you alter the very matrix in which her opinions materialize, you alter the status quo which provides feedback to her life-strategy. Its not that you are altering something which appears to her as coming from another subjective source - rather you are altering something that appears to her as the objective base to which all of subjectivity has to refer.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
And so what are some of the differences between altering your own reality and altering someone else's reality?

As I understand it, the former is never really, willfully practiced, save for perhaps some esoteric practices - while the latter is practiced with a numbing, day-in-day-out frequency.

That is, its much, much tougher to alter the fabric of your own reality than it is to alter the fabric of someone else's reality. Why? Because, from the perspective of someone else, you are a part of reality, one head of the big other (?). Whereas, from your perspective, you are distinct from and in response to your reality. To someone else, you are an indicator of a potential consensus. To you, you are evidently distinct from your reality and thus ought not to be trusted in truly representing it
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Half the problem is these people are really, really terrible at knowing what's good for them, at being honest about their preferences/desires, completely unable to actually go through with their desires, feel "oppressed" by the Big Other's formulation of social reality b/c they themselves are too weak to break out of it, etc
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
@Linebaugh makes a good point about music, and how it can serve as a sort of training space for uprooting and informing your taste/opinions. How can that be applied to other areas?

Can we consider our set of values, our particular ideological framework, as a response to, and strategy for navigating, our reality? But it seems as if this ideological framework is erected upon the presupposition that what is presenting itself as reality is the whole picture.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
"Maybe if you weren't scrabbling alongside overqualified elites for work as a branding consultant in the most expensive city in the world, you'd think modern culture was less deadening, atomized, and economically oppressive"
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Gifted children who don't realize they were suckled on middleclass visions of meritocratic prestige; now they're hooked and can't get off it, even as the ideology slowly sucks the lifeforce out of them

EDIT: Inb4 lefty Dissensians come in and think I'm talking about them; no, I gossip about you guys to other people, similarly, I gossip about my New York friends to Dissensus
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
so I'll say that first: I have no tolerance for elites who have more privilege and freedom than basically any human in the history of the world, going around thinking they themselves are stuck in some unprecedented cage that is actually of their own neurotic self-formulation.

obviously this is a different issue than worrying about those who are left out/by the wayside in neoliberalism or whatever; my point is that elites are precisely not those people

whether there's an issue with exiting society, or whether you have an obligation to stay inside it & try to help, I don't know. but you certainly don't have an obligation to be unhappy or miserable all the time, which is what basically all my politically active college/NYC peers think. Indeed, arguably you have the opposite privilege: to make the most of your privilege, which most historic and contemporary human beings would kill for, rather than squandering it. kinda the "eat your food because kids are starving in China" argument—it's not literally true, but it's spiritually true.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
@suspendedreason wow, every so often I get a glimpse into minds like that and they seem almost entirely alien to me.

But yeah, I also think part of the issue is that people don't ask themselves, or aren't good at asking themselves, what they want. Or they confuse superficial and phenomenal pleasures with what they want, because the former is more marketable and thus more widely presented/accepted as an answer to the latter.

And your other point about suckling on a sort of neoliberal priming ideology is acute to. A sort of parasitic or symbiotic relationship, wherein the intersubjective ideology of neoliberalism, if we consider it an entity unto itself, depends upon host subjectivities that perpetually refresh and mobilize it. Without these hosts, it would atrophy.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
to the main question, I'm an "Another Green World" guy—pro-seastead, pro-heterotopia. exit and go start a new experiment. figure out a new way of living/being in the forest, like they do in Shakespeare comedies, and then come back, bring the wisdom or knowledge to town. if you're sick of the current society, figure out something better; complaining is self-gratifying but unproductive.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
But yeah, I also think part of the issue is that people don't ask themselves, or aren't good at asking themselves, what they want. Or they confuse superficial and phenomenal pleasures with what they want, because the former is more marketable and thus more widely presented/accepted as an answer to the latter.
Yep I think that's exactly the issue. They live in a mirrorland of mimetic desire. If it isn't sanctioned by peer or recognized as prestigious, they don't want it. So they all get stuck striving to get the same thing, a job or position that isn't even inherently desirable but is desirable purely because other people want it. The way poor people blow their money on loans to get some overpriced SUV that has no utility other than impressing their neighbors, privileged urban elites scrabble over shitty, underpaid, overworked admin jobs in the arts posting social media updates for for-profit galleries—jobs no one would ever want except that everyone wants them.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
so I'll say that first: I have no tolerance for elites who have more privilege and freedom than basically any human in the history of the world, going around thinking they themselves are stuck in some unprecedented cage that is actually of their own neurotic self-formulation.

obviously this is a different issue than worrying about those who are left out/by the wayside in neoliberalism or whatever; my point is that elites are precisely not those people

whether there's an issue with exiting society, or whether you have an obligation to stay inside it & try to help, I don't know. but you certainly don't have an obligation to be unhappy or miserable all the time, which is what basically all my politically active college/NYC peers think. Indeed, arguably you have the opposite privilege: to make the most of your privilege, which most historic and contemporary human beings would kill for, rather than squandering it. kinda the "eat your food because kids are starving in China" argument—it's not literally true, but it's spiritually true.
This touches upon points made a while ago about the degree of uselessness of guilt brought on by privilege, and how it does little to impact the lives of the unprivileged, and instead serves primarily to perpetuate itself, at the cost of seemingly everybody. @padraig (u.s.) , I believe, made some good points about basic empathy being a more effective psychic practice than guilt.
 
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