29 June 2012

The Secret

An aphorism:
You can't control people by violating their personal integrity. You can only control them by getting them to violate their own personal integrity. An individual finds it much harder to fight back against their own wrong acts than another's.
The Mafia knows this when it requires you to "make your bones" (kill some poor bastard) before you can join. School bullies know this when they try to provoke a reaction from their victims. Cults both political and religious know this when they break down new members' egos just so they can replace them with one they prepared earlier.

Crucially, the "toy-town Leninist" requirement that comrades publically defend a decision of The Party that they disagree with does that as well, and is a major factor in the self-perpetuating leadership of formally democratic groups such as these. As Althusser says, if you kneel in the same place and pray in the same way for long enough, you'll believe in God.

Self-concept follows behaviour, and that's another aphorism. So "fake it till you make it" works, but make sure you know what you want to "make".

20 June 2012

Communication breakdown

"You've got to know three things to be a witch - what's real, what's not real, and what's the difference", says Lancre University Professor of Headology, Mstrs. Esmeralda Weatherwax. And Chaos Marxism agrees that the essential "insanity" of life under capitalism is the combination of reification and alienation - or, in other words, treating things as people and people as things - and co-comitant commodity fetishism - treating social relations as if they were actual real things.

The important thing is that if you realise that social relations are not real things, then you can "walk through walls", as the saying goes: ignore what other people consider to be the objective laws of physics, as seen in the finales of those great Gnostic movies Dark City and The Matrix. (Scientologists would say "be able to as-is a speeding bullet", which is precisely what Neo does just before jumping into Agent Smith's belly in a really messed-up metaphor.) Of course, this tends to offend the people who're still living in the platonic cave. Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty set fire to a bunch of paper and people acted like they'd just burned down a pile of useful goods, when of course the sum total of useful stuff in the world had not changed. That's called sacrilege against the One True God of 21st Century Global Society.

In summary: if "people" is defined as "ego" (that is, the patterns of behaviour rather than the bipedal body), then real things (inc. our own animal bodies and brains) are more real than people, and people are more real than social relations. However, if you act on that insight as an individual you will be socially isolated. The trick is to bring that insight to a community which acts in a way that that insight becomes "real" for others.

But this requires communication, in the sense of a common ground of meaning. In this way the job of revolutionary mystics is to design a new language.