06 February 2008

Your reviews are appreciated

A friendly fellow recommends us as

a blog that my friend found very useful in terms of how he thought about the world. It's someone who started out as a Discordian and then became a hardline Trotskyite. As I was telling someone over AIM earlier, it's two components that, individually, are profoundly stupid, but combined at least have some internal consistency and interesting ideas.

Thanks for the pimpage. However, I should make clear that I was never a Discordian, I was a SubGenius, which is many leagues stupider than Discordianism, and proud of it. Also, while I admire and appreciate a lot of Trotsky's work, I'm beginning to think that it's no coincidence that so many of the groups who take his name in vain are scary mind-control cults - Scientology with the Labour/Black Struggle instead of body thetans.

While we're on the subject of cults (subliminal message), The LJ post linked to above also says some things about the Illuminatus! trilogy which are perceptive. I would add, though, that while I loved this book to death when I was 17 (and , indeed, credit it partially for the person I am today), there are more things wrong with it than the sexism. The book itself shows one of what I think was the most disturbing things to come out of the 1960's radical California subculture - the rise of the "self-improvement cult". The plot of the book is that an ascended master with mystic powers (in a yellow submarine) not only converts a disparate bunch of radicals to his own oddball mysticism, but to his anarcho-capitalist political beliefs.

This, I feel, plugs into something which I think was fundamentally wrong with the whole middle-class radical 60's thing. Because it was middle class, and therefore individualist, it's no surprise that it ended up focusing on "personal enlightenment" rather than political change - although the circle kind of closed in the 1980s with the foundation of the Green parties. The middle-class radical mind can't conceive of a mass collective consciousness as anything other than threatening brain death. They say idiotic things like "without private property there is no private life" and never stop to realise that this ais a simple tautology, while paradoxically at the same time start rambling on about the wonders of ego loss!

The middle-class radical can't conceive of a real collective, so their models of organisation are the "affinity group", the commune, the monastery... and, yes, eventually, the cult. If you accept that personal change is far more important than political change, and also accept that some people have achieved Superhumanity in their own life time, then surely your rule from that point onwards it to shut up and listen. And donate. And sell the paper. And if they don't end up in cults, they end up as small capitalists - because that's truly what they believe freedom looks like. It's funny that the middle-class radical's utopia is generally anarcho-capitalism, because that's possibly the only political system which is in itself an oxymoron.

Material and social reality determines consciousness. The only real way to improve one's psychic health is to clean out the psychic toxic waste dump which passes for the mass media nd and popular culture under capitalism.