Robert Anton Wilson said:
I agree passionately with Maurice Nicoll (a physician who mastered both Jungian and Gurdjieffian systems) who wrote that the major purpose of “work on consciousness” is to “decrease the amount of violence in the world.” The main difference between our world and Swift’s is that while we have stopped killing each other over religious differences (outside the Near East and Northern Ireland), we have developed an insane passion for killing each other over ideological differences. I regard Organized Ideology with the same horror that Voltaire had for Organized Religion.
Concretely, I am indeed a Male Feminist, as L.A. Rollins claimed (although seeing myself often on TV, I deny that I simper; I don’t even swish); like all libertarians, I oppose victimless crime laws, all drug control laws, and all forms of censorship (whether by outright reactionaries or Revolutionary Committees or Radical Feminists).
I passionately hate violence, but am not a Dogmatic Pacifist, since I don’t have Joan Baez’s Correct Answer Machine in my head. I know I would kill an armed aggressor, in a concrete crisis situation where that was the only defense of the specific lives of specific individuals I love, although I would never kill a person or employ even minor violence, or physical coercion, on behalf of capitalized Abstractions or Governments (who are all damned liars.) All these are matters of Existential Choice on my part, and not dogmas revealed to me by some god or some philosopher-priest of Natural Law.
I prefer the various Utopian systems I have mentioned to the Conservative position that humanity is incorrigible and I also think that if none of these Utopian scenarios are workable, some system will eventually arrive better than any we have ever known. I share the Jeffersonian (“Liberal”?) vision that the human mind can exceed all previous limits in a society where freedom of thought is the norm rather than a rare exception.
Does all of this make me a Leftist or a Rightist? I leave that for the Euclideans to decide.
American Dream » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:37 am wrote:
I'm really okay with being heterodox as a general principle but the Devil's in the details. (Sorry, Devil for using you as an easy foil!) .
Leninist style leftists, especially when super dogmatic, self-righteous, manipulative etc., can be incredibly annoying. It's quite fine to reject their shit, as far as I'm concerned. What though is the alternative? Liberalism? There is a certain flavor of Libertarianism that veers in that direction. I'm all good with individual consciousness work, with "being the change" and what have you but what about social power?
We all know that the banner of "freedom of thought" can provide cover for every manner of ill, as well as what is best in us. I wish I had shared a bowl, or just a cup of coffee, with R.A.W. I would have enjoyed the conversation. That doesn't mean that I'm completely good with what he was putting down though, even though some of it is great stuff.
Society is made up of individuals, there's no way of getting around that as far as I can tell. Social power depends on the quality of the individuals that make up the society. Looked at this way, individual consciousness work becomes essential to social power. Because there is no effective social power without effective individuals.
But as I was saying, I think Bob was actually pointing out something about politics and ideology in general, with this 'statement of political ideology.' He's suggesting that the 'politics and ideology' framework is too narrow a view to do anything other than stoke the 'insane passion for killing each other.' Narrowing the debate, the refusal to set aside the outmoded trappings of political and ideological discourse does nothing to help decrease the violence in the world
Society is limited by the views of the individuals that make it up. Because what is the nature of society? Who defines what society is, what social power means? And what about what science has shown us in the last hundred or so years, about the nature of time, space, and matter; what about soul power? Is society just a group of fleshbots milling around meatspace? Whose society are we talking about anyway? My society may be different from yours. A society may transcend the limits of time and space, for those who transcend the limits themselves.
But I brought this over here from the Sirius thread because I wanted to compare what Bob said to something Chuang-tzu said. I think Chuang-tzu is using the same oblique method that Bob used in the quote above, to make a case for something other than what he appears to be talking about. So maybe chuang-tzu can shed some light on Bob's method. Here's what I had to say about the Bob quote:
dada » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:08 pm wrote:
Bob said:I prefer the various Utopian systems I have mentioned to the Conservative position that humanity is incorrigible and I also think that if none of these Utopian scenarios are workable, some system will eventually arrive better than any we have ever known. I share the Jeffersonian (“Liberal”?) vision that the human mind can exceed all previous limits in a society where freedom of thought is the norm rather than a rare exception.
I take this as Bob saying in an opaque (perhaps delphic is the better choice here) way that the outlook doesn't look promising in the direction this line of thinking takes us. Not that the situation is hopeless, but perhaps we're going about this in the wrong way. Ever the incorrigible optimist.
Of course, this is Bob doing the 'statement of my political ideology' routine in his characteristic Bob way. Does bring to mind Bob Shea. He does this routine with his smart, thoughtful anarchist perspective occasionally in the No Governor zine.
"Is there such a thing as perfect happiness in the world or isn't there? Is there some way to keep yourself alive or isn't there? What to do, what to rely on, what to avoid, what to stick by, what to follow, what to leave alone, what to find happiness in, what to hate?
This is what the world honors: wealth, eminence, long life, a good name. This is what the world finds happiness in: a life of ease, rich food, fine clothes, beautiful sights, sweet sounds. This is what it looks down on: poverty, meanness, early death, a bad name. This is what it finds bitter: a life that knows no rest, a mouth that gets no rich food, no fine clothes for the body, no beautiful sights for the eye, no sweet sounds for the ear.
People who can't get these things fret a great deal and are afraid - this is a stupid way to treat the body. People who are rich wear themselves out rushing around on business, piling up more wealth than they could ever use - this is a superficial way to treat the body. People who are eminent spend night and day scheming and wondering if they are doing right - this is a shoddy way to treat the body. Man lives his life in company with worry, and if he lives a long while, till he's dull and doddering, then he has spent that much time worrying instead of dying, a bitter lot indeed! This is a callous way to treat the body.
Men of ardor are regarded by the world as good, but their goodness doesn't succeed in keeping them alive. So I don't know whether their goodness is really good or not. Perhaps I think it's good - but not good enough to save their lives. Perhaps I think it's no good - but still good enough to save the lives of others. So I say, if your loyal advice isn't heeded, give way and do not wrangle. Tzu-hsu wrangled and lost his body.2 But if he hadn't wrangled, he wouldn't have made a name. Is there really such a thing as goodness or isn't there?
What ordinary people do and what they find happiness in - I don't know whether such happiness is in the end really happiness or not. I look at what ordinary people find happiness in, what they all make a mad dash for, racing around as though they couldn't stop - they all say they're happy with it. I'm not happy with it and I'm not unhappy with it. In the end is there really happiness or isn't there?
I take inaction to be true happiness, but ordinary people think it is a bitter thing. I say: perfect happiness knows no happiness, perfect praise knows no praise. The world can't decide what is right and what is wrong. And yet inaction can decide this. Perfect happiness, keeping alive - only inaction gets you close to this!
Let me try putting it this way. The inaction of Heaven is its purity, the inaction of earth is its peace. So the two inactions combine and all things are transformed and brought to birth. Wonderfully, mysteriously, there is no place they come out of. Mysteriously, wonderfully, they have no sign. Each thing minds its business and all grow up out of inaction. So I say, Heaven and earth do nothing and there is nothing that is not done. Among men, who can get hold of this inaction?"