28 March 2008

Three brief notes

1) Chaos Marxism Aphorism #48 states:

If you start saying that people are not individuals - that they are created by their upbringing and the role they play in real, nasty, going-to-work-in-traffic society - then you open the door to the idea that only a social revolution can actually solve the real problems with humanity.

Interestingly enough, I wrote that without knowing what Marx's Sixth Thesis on Feuerbach said:

The human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations.

The "human individual" is determined by their place in the social networks which form the "true" nature of our species. As Aphorism #3 puts it, you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake - or, at least, you're part of a huge drift of snow from which you can't be disentangled. I am only following in the rather large footsteps of giants, but at least I'm going in the right direction.

2) This Fandom Wank thread, on an interesting young wymyn who has declared that she can tell that Joss Whedon rapes his wife from watching his TV programmes, really does sum up every single problem with academic "radical feminism" in particular and bourgeois identity politics in general. Simply put, the equation is: identity politics = voluntary ghettoisation = the cultural logic of consumerism in late capitalism. This nonsense can only exist because little havens exist for the priesthood of the media culture to train their successors and to think up strategies to sell identities/goods/services to new niche markets. In this case, we are talking about Women's Studies departments as the factories where the identity-commodity of "radical lesbian wymyn" or whatever is produced and sold. Those who buy such an identity will not only buy the appropriate clothes, books, memorabilia etc to make sure no-one forgets their Special Unique identity for a moment. They will also hide in their little communes or staff common rooms or book circles or other voluntary ghettos, and never venture out to bother the real world again - except perhaps to go on the occasional abortion-rights or anti-rape demo and act like sectarian imbeciles just like their Marxist, anarchist etc. counterparts.

3) For those following Chanology - a schism has arisen. Some of the more hard-core anonymous are angry at the movement's turn towards "respectable" protest politics, and wish to return to (quite simply) trolling and pranks, of anti-Scilons as well as Scilons. Those on the other side, however, point out that if "respectable" protest politics can actually dismantle Scientology in its current form, how much lulz would then be produced?!? As I keep saying, even those who don't consider Scamintology any kind of real priority or threat must keep an eye on Chanology, because it is going through all the major dilemmas and turning points that any serious mass movement does.

07 March 2008

Dolorasnetics: The Chaos Marxist Science of Mental Health

Starting from a basic Marxist view of the world: Matter comes first. Then comes life. Then comes social consciousness. Then comes individual consciousness.
Individual consciousness can be "in control" over small areas of matter, but can only affect social consciousness in proportion to common understanding and action with other social consciousnesses. Only widespread agreement within the social consciousness can be "at cause" over large areas and systems of matter.

What is sanity?

Sanity is defined as the ability of an individual or group consciousness to understand:

- the rules of operation of material reality (both inorganic matter and life);
- the rules of operation of social consciousness;
- the rules of operation of individual consciousness;
- the relationships between each sphere - what concrete actions by individuals and groups can bring about desired changes in social and physical material reality.

For an individual consciousness, being "more sane" means "having a greater understanding of the rules of these three spheres, and thus being more able to affect change in individual, social and material reality in accordance with desire, in proportion to how many options for individual action are allowed by current social and material circumstances."

(Yes, after writing this I realised that my definition of "sanity" seems to be an expanded version of Crowley's definition of "magick". How bizarre, how bizarre.)

What can prevent an individual from being able to affect social and material reality?
- real social or material impediments (lack of options for individual action)
- a lack of correct understanding of the rules of the social or material world - this can be solved by study and experiment.
- problems in the individual consciousness which cause the rational centres of the mind to not be able to comprehend aspects of reality or the correct relationship between them. This is the domain of psychology.

In turn, these may be "hardware" or "software" problems - caused by physical or chemical imbalances in the body, or by assumptions and habits held in the subconscious mind and thus not amenable to rational analysis under normal circumstances, or by a combination of the two. (It could even be possible that humans are "hardwired" to not be able to properly understand reality, but I'm not going to believe that unless I see evidence for it.)

Sanity (defined as "correct perception of material reality") is distinguished from happiness. Unhappiness and other negative emotions are the natural and healthy reactions of a consciousness deprived wholly or partially of control over its circumstances of life - i.e. everyone everywhere at some time. Some crazy people are happy as hell, but we don't want to be crazy because it would mean total powerlessness. You couldn't be 100% sane and miserable all the time, because if you were 100% sane you would know predictably what could be done to make you happier, even temporarily (something that would temporarily restore your sense of being able to make things happen in your world).

Roughly: sanity = a correct perception of where an individual or group has power and where they do not. Happiness = perception of relative power. Unhappiness = perception of relative powerlessness. (This is a generalisation. Sorry, masochists. DOn't write me any nasty letters.)

Increasing sanity will therefore not directly increase happiness - it might decrease it, in the short term, as comfortable illusions are dispelled. However, it will increase an individual's ability to evoke positive emotions and dispel negative ones, by restoring the correct mental connections between emotions and the events that evoke them, and snapping incorrect connections between emotions and thoughts, concepts, people and objections, which become "self-sustaining". For example: something bad happened to you and you have an incorrect idea of why. You build habits of behaviour to try to avoid that ever happening again, but these are based on an incorrect assumption and thus don't work. Also, the pain is so bad that even remembering it hurts so you can't even look at the bad thing in order to correct your assumptions.

The process therefore runs:

Perception of the correct rules of consciousness and matter + perception of the correct relationship between emotion and action or outside events => increased ability to take effective action to affect consciousness and matter => increased ability to invoke positive emotion and dispel negative emotion (and to take effective corrective action in the case of external events reducing personal power and thus inflicting negative emotion.)

In brief, my essential problem with "self-help" therapy is that it embodies pre-existing social norms that the individual is finally and totally responsible for their personal reality, which I see as oppressive and an ideological tool of those who hold power (and of bullies, who all survive on the principle that their victims have the responsibility for their actions). Institutional psychology, on the other hand, seems to embody the idea that "sanity" means adapting smoothly to existing reality rather than an increased ability to affect it in accordance with desire - also an ideological tool of that which holds power.

I like UCP because it's simply a process of comparing memory, current perception and images of other possible or impossible realities, to understand the differences and connections between them all, and hence the correct relationship between individual consciousness and social and physical reality. This seems a good, basic way of increasing sanity, by the definition above. It's totally up to the individual to work out the connections between these for themselves - which could, of course, be a pitfall. The assumption is that the practitioner (absent organic damage which would impede a rational understanding of reality) will inevitably and eventually work out the correct patterns and connections between them, by experiment and by testing against reality, and this could be a false assumption. Only experiment and testing against reality will solve this!

We must also remember that "sane" doesn't mean "good". I would expand the concept to include "socially sane" - someone who not only has correct perceptions of power and powerlessness, but increases those correct perceptions among other people. I suppose you could be "individually sane" and methodically attempt to deprive others of sanity so you could rule and exploit them - I think many of the real leaders of our society fall into that category. Is a dictator or cult leader necessary crazy? I'm not sure. Hitler was mad as a mongoose, but Stalin seemed almost scarily, coldly rational. Stories vary over whether "LRH" actually believed his own lies or not.

But still, I would like to see scientific study of UCP and its beneficial effects and problems, in comparison with other "self-help" therapy, and with conventional, institutional psychology.

One final hint: I realise that by the above defnition, if you hold an idealist view of reality, you are ipso facto not entirely sane. Unless, of course, your ability to cause change in reality oustrips that of we materialists. Then we're the crazy ones. Go on. I dares ya.

06 March 2008

Do UCP and see!

I have mentioned the Universal Conscious Practice - a form of meditation/self-analysis/DIY psychotherapy invented by a refugee from Scientology - before. Now a practitioner has invented a programme (written in Gambas for Linux) which will give you all you need to do it yourself. Check it out. I heartily recommend you give it a go if you feel the need for more personal insight - it certainly blew out a few of my psychic cobwebs.

DISCLAIMER: this process bears some family resemblance to things that the followers of Pedobear Hubbard do, but it won't give you Tom Cruise's total psychosis bad-ass telepathic powers.