Exiting Reality

constant escape

winter withered, warm
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.
I tend to agree, about incrementally progressive experimentation, which by definition is liable to yield insufficient or ineffective results, but is also liable to secure a progressive step, here and there. Largely what I think can be done here on Dissensus, at least what I'm trying to do.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
to be fair I should say there are diminishing marginal returns on complaint

obviously it's important that people are aware other people aren't satisfied by something—that "I'm not alone" feeling is crucial for getting things off the ground
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
I'm not sure I follow - you mean that complaining about the current status quo, or the effectiveness of the current system, prompts decreasingly progressive improvements? Sort of like a plateauing of progress?

What are the key differences between complaint and critique, in your mind?
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Timur Kuran talks about how a major dynamic of societies and politics is "preference falsification," which on a large-scale becomes/is enforced by "preference regimes."

If there is an opinion you can get punished for, in any way—which does't have to be centralized, can just be people avoiding you, or thinking less of you—then you'll publicly falsify (which often involves some degree of self-deception, see the work of Bob Trivers) your opinions. That might just look like fogging/fuzzing it up, nudging/massaging it. This is a known issue with opinion polling, for instance.

But it becomes much more dramatic in situations where the punishment is greater than a pollster thinking less of you. You could have a dozen guards standing watch over a corrupt King. Each of them might privately despise the King and want an overthrow, and they're all standing there, could easily enough overpower him, but no one individual knows any other individual's preferences, and it's too personally dangerous (being put to death for treason) to try express his preferences. So they never find out. Emperor's Clothes stuff.

But if one guard expresses his true, private preference, either verbally or tacitly through action, others may rally around him; they may all realize at once that each feels the same way. This is a "preference cascade," switching from one preference regime to another very rapidly. There may be one or two guards in the group who support the King, but when the rest of the group is mid-assassination, are they gonna say something?

We saw flips like these with e.g. Loyalists before/during/after the American Revolution.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Complaining publicly seems like a good way for people to be made aware that there are issues with the present state of things. But once that foothold of public awareness has been made, blaming/finger-pointing/unproductive anger see diminishing returns. This is almost too obvious to say—"unproductive," it's in the name—except it's surprisingly not the operating assumption in our society.

A lot of our issues come not from a general dearth of doers. If everyone who bitched about boomers and climate change instead went into climate science & engineering, and worked their ass off to make some real contribution to technologies for reversing/mitigating climate change, we'd be a lot better off in twenty. Not many people are going that route, of trying to concretely discover/theorize actionable solutions, and/or gain the position or influence to implement them.

Not to say that more technological improvement is the only valid opinion on how to fight climate change—just that it's an example of actually working on the problem yourself, rather than complaining other people aren't working on it.

Mandatory lip-service: Obviously there are marginalized/people lacking privilege who aren't in the position to do anything about it; I'm not talking about them.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Very interesting points, I hadn't been aware of "preference falsification/regimes/cascades". And you also brought ethnomethodology to my attention maybe a month ago - could that be a means of tracking/analyzing how preferences are suppressed/repressed/expressed on a micro scale, a conversational scale?

The cascade concept is especially interesting, seeing as it seems to describe how a rapid quantitative shift can result in a qualitative shift. If enough people express some shared dissenting opinion, then a change can occur. Not that there is necessarily a crisp threshold in such situations, but you get what I mean.

And its all complicated further, seemingly needlessly, by your point earlier: that people aren't clearly enough in touch with their desires/motivations, and therefore don't have a clear enough point of departure for strategizing how to reach that unrecognized goal.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Perhaps I'm simply reverting to a fixation with optimals, but I think its safe to treat this kind of introspection as if there is an optimal clarity you can reach, a clarity of what you think you want, or what you think you feel.

Granted, articulating such things is liable to lose something in translation, seeing as psychic energies seem to operate on a pre-articulate level - but that doesn't mean that the translation itself cannot be optimized. That is, by trying more diligently to attune your rationality with your emotionality, you may be better able to formulate genuinely satisfying strategies that amount to a more robust psychic health.

Could something like this be taken to by the sort of neoliberal spirituality of mindfulness? How can something like this be rendered appealing to capitalism?
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
I still don't know what neoliberal means so I'll have to pass on one of the questions

As for the other, EM could maybe say interesting things about preference falsification, but it's hard because EM stays away from the personal interpretations of actors other than in these interpretations' expressions through action. So, for instance, if you say, "Well, it was so great to see you" at the end of a conversation, and I immediately say, "Yes, look at the time I gotta run!" and leave, there's a kind of objective "meaning" happening in the transaction as evidenced by my response to your utterance. So that could be one obstacle for thinking about the private/public preference split.

Signaling theory might be worth bringing in, or game theory, but I'm not sure they'll tell you much interesting other than what we already know—that there are risks to disclosing information you can get in trouble for, that people go to lengths to mitigate such disclosures, and that many people develop strategies for "feeling out" whether it's safe to voice something—ways they can't be held responsible. Innuendo, indirect speech, veiled bribes and threats, etc.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
I guess what I mean is, Conversational Analysis stuff could get you the surface negotiations, but then you have to compare them to the person's "private" opinions. And accessing those is almost definitionally difficult or impossible—as Trivers talks about, we deceive ourselves because that makes it easier to deceive others. He thinks there are "layers" of consciousness, and the unconscious strategically hides things from the conscious mind because it is a liability to know those things. "Productive ignorance." If you're interested I can post some excerpts from Trivers' writing. I think there's good evidence people do this self-deception-to-deceive-others work constantly, but it's the kind of argument that takes Trivers like 600 pages to show the full spectrum of, so it's hard to sum up or defend here.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Good introspection is probably the best technology I can think of for this kinda thing, shoddy as it may be. "Where did I get this desire? Why do I desire it? Would I desire it on a desert island?" and maybe cultivating a kind of disagreeableness, recognizing when someone's voiced opinion doesn't sit quite right, and interrogating that.
 
I guess what I mean is, Conversational Analysis stuff could get you the surface negotiations, but then you have to compare them to the person's "private" opinions. And accessing those is almost definitionally difficult or impossible—as Trivers talks about, we deceive ourselves because that makes it easier to deceive others. He thinks there are "layers" of consciousness, and the unconscious strategically hides things from the conscious mind because it is a liability to know those things. "Productive ignorance." If you're interested I can post some excerpts from Trivers' writing. I think there's good evidence people do this self-deception-to-deceive-others work constantly, but it's the kind of argument that takes Trivers like 600 pages to show the full spectrum of, so it's hard to sum up or defend here.
Yeah I’m interested post the links. Productive ignorance is a great phrase
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
My crack at neoliberalism is that it is economic liberalism that has gained access to more integral spheres of the psyche than merely the sphere of economic belief. The neoliberal orients their life around self-marketing, the market as an end in itself, self-improvement in socio-economic terms. I think it also has to do with taking economic failure as a purely personal reflection, rather than a reflection of the external system. In that sense I think it is associated with the Thatcher/Reagan days, but I really don't know anything about those two.

Still reading through your last couple posts though. Just wanted to throw this out there.

edit: a reflection primarily of the internal, rather than a reflection of the external, or a reflection of a balance of the external and internal.
 
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DannyL

Wild Horses
Hung out with John a few times. Lovely guy. Don't know what he's up to now but I'm currently reading his book about the Zombie, which is amazing. I listened to an interview he did on Hermitix earlier this year a few weeks ago but didn't really rate it, didn't seem to say much new to me. I'm feeling too lazy to write a long post but you might find Hakim Bey's idea of the TAZ interesting, also his works on Immediatism - all about escaping capitalism while being in enmeshed within it. I occasionally note the former crop up in US leftist discourse.

A lot of what you're writing about sort of reminds me of practicing magick. That's pretty much trying to enter a different reality more meaningful reality and stay there.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
I get that sense too, about magick, whenever it crops up, but I suspect I still have a hindered understanding of it - still don't know the significance of the -k at the end, for example. I pretty much use the -k to distinguish it from the kind of performative stage magic that may come to mind for most people.

Personally, I tend to refer to how emotional conductivity as psychic energy, how it is sort of contagious and can be quite impactful, in terms of how it can inform judgement. And I tend to think of any kind of willful practice regarding the harnessing/directing of these energies as magickal. As opposed to merely being passively and reactively subject to these energies, which seems to be the mode under which the vast majority of people operate.

And then going up an order higher, I'd be interested to elaborate/explore the systems which may tend to be formed by these psychic energies, if there are any physically localized sites wherein certain energies swell and others dissipate. Or perhaps if there are any patterns to detect within a single psyche, certain periodic or otherwise oscillational states of these energies.

I would think its sort of a zero-sum oscillation around a neutral psychic zero-point, a sort of apathetic rest state. That is, if you experience a peak here, you can expect a valley to follow, and vice versa - such that if you zoom out to "see" the whole psychic function, you emotive oscillations from birth to death, it may average out to some kind of regular sum. Or if you were to superimpose the life-function of every psyche, they may all collapse/average out into a flat line. Something like that.

As it pertains to reality, and reality modulation, I would say an understanding/intuition of psychic energies would play a key factor in being able to willfully manipulate either your own reality or the reality of others. In addition to a variety of scientific disciplines that I'm not savvy enough with yet. It wouldn't all be metaphysical, that is.

But your final point, about entering a better reality and staying there, seems to describe a general enlightenment process, whether you consider it a gradual progression or a step-function. But I also get the sense that the bulk of magickal practitioners either don't aim high enough, or don't have enough of a scientific basis to temper and maximize their work. But that could just say more about my current beliefs than about the effectiveness of their practices.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
I guess what I mean is, Conversational Analysis stuff could get you the surface negotiations, but then you have to compare them to the person's "private" opinions. And accessing those is almost definitionally difficult or impossible—as Trivers talks about, we deceive ourselves because that makes it easier to deceive others. He thinks there are "layers" of consciousness, and the unconscious strategically hides things from the conscious mind because it is a liability to know those things. "Productive ignorance." If you're interested I can post some excerpts from Trivers' writing. I think there's good evidence people do this self-deception-to-deceive-others work constantly, but it's the kind of argument that takes Trivers like 600 pages to show the full spectrum of, so it's hard to sum up or defend here.
I'd be very interested, yeah.

When I think of layers of consciousness, I tend to think of the lower/inner layers being more integrated into the organism, and the outer/higher layers being less integrated. Consciousness would be a sort of middle layer, with the inner layer being unconscious and the core being... genetic, I guess. The outer layer/cortex would be sensory, the information that is perhaps most variable, yet often enough predictable and integratible "down" into the core, by way of cognitive processing.

Perhaps cognition only plays this digestive role when the information becomes either complex enough or abstract enough, rather than just being chemical or otherwise physical, in which case cognition may not be necessary.

That said, I think the Trivers example you give about consciousness layering itself in a strategically self-deceptive way is interesting. If such is the case, it makes it all the more clear that we cannot just rely on what is evident to our cognitive and sensory faculties, and need to make decisive excursions in matters of faith, matters that elude the apprehension of both our rational and empirical epistemics.
 
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