Posts Tagged ‘bruce charlton’

Words, Images And Visions Shape Our Consciousness

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

When people say “words shape our consciousness,” we normally think of Whorf-Sapir or some other modern theory designed to eliminate bad words and “hate speech.” But the idea itself comes from long ago, and the esoteric workings of the ancients, which held that the language we used, its rhythms and textures, and structure could effect change in the world through ourselves.

This idea underscores both magical incantations and prayers. When we organize language to express thoughts, and if we do so in the right way, we have access to some part of the world otherwise beyond our grasp. As part of this, ancient thinkers preferred to use either languages designed for magical working, or the oldest ones they could find, like Latin, much as the church once did.

Grammar shapes our thinking and, while more complex societies tend to produce more complex languages, the way thoughts are formed in a language imposes requirements on what is expressed, perpetuating the tendency to be both detail-oriented and to arrange those details in larger patterns that is found in more advanced civilizations.

In the same way, our imaginative thinking is shaped by the constraints we impose upon it. For example, insisting that a story be realistic even in an unreal setting — realistic about how events play out, people act, and the limits of any given power — such as in Tolkien or Faulkner, creates a need for more complex patterns than, say, a cartoon or comic book about superheroes.

Perhaps the revolt against modern “abstraction” can be found in this idea, in that those things which are shaped around reality then fit within an understanding of the world as opposed to an escape from it. Abstraction nominally means the ability to see pattern and structure to the arrangement of material objects, but when uncoupled from reality, becomes conjecture which is enforced with circular reasoning.

Like all things in nature, there are two sides to the coin. What is now bad can be made into the good by redirecting it toward positive goals; much as our language now enforces equality, and our thinking compels conjecture, we can turn those around by refocusing on what is within reality.

What does it mean to be within reality? Any discipline has a surface layer, where we think in terms of categories and appearances, and an underlying structure made of implications, constraints and relationships between its parts. Modernity deals with the surface because this is what a mass of humans can understand; looking into the depths requires intellect, moral character and an application of effort. Modern music for example is based mostly on rhythm and aesthetics such as production, vocals, performance and imagery; melodies however reuse the same dozen notes in interesting ways, and bring out the innate relationships between those notes by creating a type of story, or journey between points where the journey is more important than the ending note, which in turn allows that journey to be a metaphor for reality. The greatest works in music include melodies which evoke an experience with which the audience is familiar and reveal new dimensions within it, much as the greatest books in literature take common struggles and recast them in a broader context, much as transcendentalism does for life itself, showing us the wisdom of nature as a means of inducing our acceptance of it and seeing the potential lurking within. Depth provides comfort; surface provides distraction.

Words, images and visions shape our consciousness by tuning our minds toward the structures of reality and that potential, or ability to make beauty and greatness from the mundane, which we otherwise overlook because so many of our actions — buy this product, sell this service, socialize with that person, or fix yonder gadget — are confined to the surface. When we consciously decide to tune our minds with language and imagination, those can shape our thinking toward the real and also transcendental:

Imagination is not, as some poets thought, simply synonymous with good. It may be either good or evil. But so long as art remained primarily mimetic [i.e. ‘realistic’], the evil which imagination could do was limited by nature.

[But now that the artist has become self-conscious of his ability to create non-natural phenomena; he can create aberrations].

In so far as these aberrations are genuine, they are genuine because the artist has personally experienced the world he represents. In insofar as they are appreciated, they are appreciated by those who are themselves willing to make a move towards seeing the world that way – and ultimately, therefore, seeing that kind of world.

Barfield is saying that imaginings of evil will tend, more and more as they become more popular, to become realised in the actual world as we experience it.

In other words, if we program our brains with that which is against reality, we become shaped by that, but on the flip side, if we choose to program our minds with language, images and visions which are both realistic and show a way to maximize the inner depth of what is real, a qualitative process akin to transcendentalism, we can produce in our thinking a tendency toward realism and good which will then inform our souls.

For restoration of a civilization, virtue is needed, but this must be inner virtue that consists of a connection between the inner state of the individual and the depth not surface of reality. We cannot impose this virtue with outward forces like rules and incentives, but must want it for its own sake, knowing that it then spreads to others who see only the surface attribute that it manifests and desire that type of mental balance, peace and joy in their lives.

As a wise philosopher once said, all of philosophy boils down to cause and effect, and all errors consist of confusion in that relationship. Modern humans see themselves as cause, but in reality, what we know of ourselves is effect, in part informed by how language and imagination shape our thinking. This gives us the power to change our thinking and through that, to change ourselves.

Interview With Bruce Charlton

Friday, June 30th, 2017

At the top tier of what we might call “beyond-modern” writers, there are some who are only read by other writers and the upper echelon of the audience who are geared toward the type of in-depth analysis you might find in a top-notch political magazine or philosophy symposium. Bruce Charlton remains at the head of this group, having written a number of influential papers and now, with a blog that concentrates the most interesting minds among those who recognize and are concerned by the collapse of the West.

Not only that, but he is a patient interview subject who is a font of wisdom and often provides offhand references to whole areas worthy of further study for those concerned with the future of humanity, the West and the endlessly empty human soul. We were lucky to catch a few words with him in the midst of his busy days.

What do you believe? In other words: can you summarize what you have learned?

I am a Christian (since 2008), of a spiritual or mystical type. I am not an active member of any denomination – although I support a conservative evangelical Anglican church. Metaphysically and theologically, I believe essentially what Mormons believe; and am also very influenced by Owen Barfield and William Arkle.

You started your main blog, Bruce Charlton’s Notions, in 2008 if memory serves. What inspired you to do this?

I was sacked from being the editor of Medical Hypotheses in May 2010 – and for the previous several years had been doing most of my writing for editorials in that journal. I decided instead to be a daily blogger so I could publish what I wanted to write, without having to satisfy some editor.

How are you able to do this, financially and socially? Do your day job and family interfere?

I am a salaried university professor, and don’t make any money at all from writing. I get up at 5 a.m., and most days I spend a couple of hours during the morning doing a kind of meditative reading and note-taking – and I think while walking. These times are when I do the thinking that enables the writing. Job and family life are part of it – they don’t interfere.

The core of your philosophy seems to me to be close to what Nietzsche and Evola (and Houellebecq) wrote about, which is that we cannot use external means to force ourselves to do the right thing; instead, we must desire to be good, and through that we will discover the ancient truths.

That’s true. But I don’t identify my views with N, E or H – although I value Nietzsche and have read him over several decades.

I would not say that we cannot, but should not force ourselves to do the right thing for external reasons; because that is just kicking the can down the road. At some point – wherever we seek – we must reach a foundation that we know explicitly and from direct and personal experience.

Indeed, I regard this as the main business of living. In principle we, in this era, need to know everything for ourselves; and must strive to attain this goal – starting with those things that are most important to us. But to do this we must first discover then revise our despair-inducing and incoherent metaphysical assumptions.

Tolkien seems to involve this concept as well; when Frodo takes on the ring, he becomes acquainted with evil, and by wanting to reduce or obliterate this evil, he becomes less self-centered and desiring to make himself good, even when he cannot because of the burden of the ring.

I hadn’t considered it that way, but I agree with your analysis.

What made it clear to you that we needed an inward-out, instead of outward-in, approach to restoring the West? How do people decide to become good, and how will that save the West? What “path” of thought led you to this conclusion?

I explored the external possibilities as thoroughly as I could in my early years as a Christian. In the end, I found they avoided the fact that there is always and unavoidably a personal act of choice at the root of all religion (even if that choice is not to choose actively and explicitly, but instead to go along with social norms). I discovered Mormonism via an interest in the social aspects of religion – in particular an interest in how Mormons lived in a modern way yet sustained above replacement fertility.

The superficial and social aspects of Mormonism are reasonably well known; but when I read Mormon theology in some depth, I found a beautiful and deeply congenial world understanding that I could wholly assent to; indeed nothing less than an entire alternative metaphysics. Following a period of study and meditation I was rewarded with a solid experience of the reality of Mormon metaphysical theology – which has stayed with me since.

Further vital discoveries have been Rudolf Steiner, Owen Barfield and William Arkle – which all bring clarity and detail to the Mormon scheme – and emphasise that the main task for modern Western Man is to move forward (not back) and to attain a new way of introspective and spiritual thinking. This linked with a long term interest in the work of Colin Wilson (for example the implications of Peak Experiences).

So I now have a personal program for what I ought to do, in my life and in my writings (hence in communication with ‘society’): which is to pursue the kind of clear and explicit higher consciousness method that Steiner terms Anthroposophy, in a Mormon Christian context.

How long does it take to write one of your blog posts?

I write quite quickly – a blog post of 700 words may take about an hour.

I draw a distinction between internal (instinctual, spiritual, racial) impulses and external (social, indoctrination, dogmatic) impulses. You seem to address the internal; how did you arrive at this approach?

I used to be much more interested in the external, and wrote on social themes; but have gradually realised that the internal impulses are primary – ultimately, society depends on the individual and not the other way around. I think I first realised this in science, when it became clear that the corruption (habitual dishonesty, low ambition, careerism) was down to the lack of transcendental values among the mass of individual scientists: they never had any compelling reason Not to do whatever was currently most expedient.

Your work is a daily affirmation for many. Thousands of people check in with your blog every day in order to re-affirm that the herd is wrong, and that the personal vision of the readers is correct instead. How does this influence your writing?

What keeps me blogging has been a few, apparently sincere, private e-mails from people saying they value the work.

Western civilization is in deep trouble, to say the least. How can we solve this? Is there a bridge between the metaphysical and the physical? What will our future civilization look like?

My current idea is that we cannot, and perhaps should not, save civilisation – whether Western or of any other type; because we are destined to (i.e. supposed to – as part of the divine plan) return to a post-civilisation, hunter gatherer type, family based tribalism (whether we like it or not).

This is not an economic prediction, nor a biological one – although there is evidence from these domains; but a deep sense that civilization is ultimately unsatisfactory, and a phase only. Also, I think Heavenly life – the ideal – is organised by extended and interlinked families, not by institutions.

You touch on philosophical, spiritual and metaphysical topics. 99% of humanity seems inert to these. How do you think your ideas will
effect change?

If my ideas are worthy; they will effect change in the realm of ultimate reality, universal consciousness, of pure thought. If they are not worthy they will not make any difference – as is right!

But it may well be that ‘99%’ of humanity choose to reject the realm of universal reality and dwell in the isolation of themselves as world – they are free to make that choice.

One of your more interesting ideas — one of many — is that reduced infant mortality has allowed deleterious mutations to accumulate in the West, essentially dooming us. How would we fix this?

I don’t believe we can fix it – and the attempt to do so would turn us into monsters. Either ‘nature will take its course’; or, if we choose to live by the divine plan then the right kind of answers will emerge (maybe not on the biological level) of kinds and ways beyond our perception. (But of course people may refuse the answers.)

In essence, if mutation is real and significant – as I suspect, this is something we must cope with as best we can, learning from the experience; just as many people must cope with chronic illnesses or developmental disorders.

If the West wanted to reverse its decline tomorrow, what would be required?

Well, the first step would be wanting to reverse the decline; we are a long way from that first step because the ruling Establishment instead want a totalitarian regime of thought control, and are manipulating the incremental destruction of the West with that in mind. The masses are atheist, hence strictly psychotic; and post-Christian, hence in a state of (denied) despair; and materialist, hence pathetic zombies. So reversing the decline of the West is not even on the agenda.

You have now written a handful of books, all of which are highly interesting. How did you compose these books, and which ones should us armchair activists follow?

My most recent four books were explicitly based on blogging, and have the same aphoristic style as my blogs. I composed them when I thought I had reached a conclusion; then I assembled relevant blog posts, cut about 75 percent of the words, and interacted with the remaining text to shape it and develop further ideas as they emerged. In the most recent book (The Genius Famine) Ed Dutton selected and shaped from my blog posts, and then brought-in some ideas and evidence from his own work – we passed drafts back and forth.

Of these four books, according to personal feedback; it seems that Addicted to Distraction (2014) seems to have been the most appreciated.

One of your many interesting ideas is that humans, once upon a time, had less social background hum in their minds, and so were able to perceive a world where the metaphysical and the physical coexisted, a condition known as “monism.” Why have we lost this state of mind, and how do we rediscover it? Are we genetically mutated away from this type of realization?

I got this over the past couple of years from an intense engagement with Owen Barfield and his ‘Master,’ Rudolf Steiner. We lost this state of mind as part of a divine plan, in which the history of the human race recapitulates the history of human development – but by bad choices the human race got stuck in adolescence, and refuses to grow-up.

We were supposed-to move to another phase of spiritual consciousness with Romanticism in The West, around 1800-ish, but instead went in for pure materialism in support of a hedonic (or ‘utilitarian’) vision of life – maximising pleasure, minimising suffering in this mortal life, and with the assumption of extinction of all consciousness at biological death.

The transition took many generations, but was almost complete from the mid-1960s – and now Western people, as a generalisation, have no reason to live, and no purpose for living; as is clear from their chosen subfertility and lack of basic biological instincts and addiction to mass media distractions.

But any individual can, at any time – starting immediately, resume the destiny of Man; and can start work on finding their true self beneath the false media/ socially-constructed selves; can start noting the livingness and consciousness of the world; can recommence growth of consciousness of life and thought in a Christian metaphysical framework – aiming at becoming more divine (‘theosis’) in a context of the eternal life after this life.

If you had to answer bluntly, what went wrong with Western Civilization? How do we fix it?

We are too corrupted – too badly-motivated and too weakly-motivated – to ‘fix’ anything. So first, before taking any ‘action’, we must deal with the corruption; by becoming spiritual Christians; by learning to think with-and-from our true selves; and by making this a habit.

Only then will we know what to do.

Why Are People Prone To Destructive Behavior?

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Throughout human history, the cycle repeats: a few innovators create something good, then the herd arrives, then the good thing becomes the same old thing, and then it becomes a ruin and “no one” knows why.

Like most cycles, this one repeats because the behavior that causes it is the same, sort of like how one might regularly trip over the shoes left outside the door the night before because that was a convenient place to take them off. Humans exhibit the same behavior time and again.

What is important about this is that the behavior is unintentional, meaning that its results were not intended or even considered by the participants. They did what made sense, and ended up at bad results nonetheless, but for some reason, cannot learn from the experience so repeat it pathologically.

If we dig down a bit, we can see that the problem is individualism, or the tendency to put self first before concerns for the right type of order and social structure in an organization. To defend this choice, individuals glom together into collectives to force the group to tolerate each of them or face their collective wrath.

In ancient times, individualism was seen as hubris. The ancients saw the world as having an intangible order of rightness, balance, beauty and truth. This was not truth in our modern sense of isolated facts, but truth in that it was an accurate representation of intuition and order of nature united through a type of creative imagination that “saw” the world in metaphorical terms.

Hubris was the violation of this order, which was not categorical in our modern sense of giving every object a single category identity and then filtering with a yes/no type of thought process. To the ancients, everything had its place, and when all was in balance, life itself could not be altered as in Utopian fantasies, but it could be gradually qualitatively improved.

For this reason, the ancients never changed the fundamental form of human civilization, which involves an aristocracy, caste system, ritual customs, strong symbolism, and a type of vision of reality that we might describe as “hallucinogenic” and “mystical” today. For the ancients, the world was alive, and we humans were just actors in a bigger drama that we could not possibly understand.

Individualism inverted all of that, by saying (per The Enlightenment™) that the order of the universe was the human being, and that what mattered was the material safety and comfort of the individual, and not having any things above the individual — heritage, culture, kings, gods — for which the individual must sacrifice. The ego won out in the battle of parts of our personalities.

But now, others are speaking out about the corrupting and destroying role of individualism in human affairs:

I see the curse of extreme individualism in so many areas. There is the fact that so many people who have been converted to our ideas prefer to remain anonymous, disorganized and inactive. There is the fact that the overwhelming majority of our people are so sunk in extreme individualism that they don’t care about our heritage or the fate of future generations – the most extreme example being the millions of women who have aborted their own children…More broadly, the American family and civic organizations in general have crumbled as a result of the triumph of expressive individualism in our culture since the 1960s.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of Democracy in America, once observed that the extreme individualism fostered by liberal democracy leads to extreme conformity. In liberal democracies, the common man doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of Public Opinion, which is his Almighty God.

And others have incorporated it into the anti-individualism position of the Alt Right:

The alt-right is against the free market and cares little for the constitution. Spencer opposes individualism and supports a version of the European Union, but has also expressed admiration towards the Soviet Union for protecting Russians against Western liberal democracy.

They are correct. The individual is the only God that modernity will accept. From the idea of equality, which states that all must be included and treated the same despite the wide variation in their contributions and sanity, to the notion from The Renaissance™ and The Enlightenment™ which states that man is the measure of all things and the human form — not content — is idealized, this era was defined by its worship of the individual. It has ended, as selfish things always do, in a cloud of debt, failure, corruption, insanity, selfishness and neurosis.

How to escape individualism? One can only escape a bad goal by finding another goal, because the state of having no goal always results in default human behaviors. One must desire something else, such as the desire to become good:

The mainstream modern assumptions are that the aim of life is hedonic: enhancing happiness, diminishing suffering – the main moral imperative is unselfishness, sharing.

…So perhaps the most valuable thing that could be done nowadays is to strive for sanctity, in oneself I mean.

…The world does not really need more people to ‘do good’, but for some people to become good.

This is consistent with the vision of the ancients, namely the observation that humans during a Golden Age were motivated by virtue instead of materiality, as chronicled by Plato:

When discord arose, then the two races were drawn different ways: the iron and brass fell to acquiring money and land and houses and gold and silver; but the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things. There was a battle between them, and at last they agreed to distribute their land and houses among individual owners; and they enslaved their friends and maintainers, whom they had formerly protected in the condition of freemen, and made of them subjects and servants; and they themselves were engaged in war and in keeping a watch against them.

Individualism is materialism. By training our minds on what we are now, and fearing its loss, we become defensive toward the world and thus try to control it, which in turn controls us because it makes us beholden and obedient to certain illusions. A better perspective is to fit the individual into a natural order, and to take delight in that role, because when we are where we belong, we not only do no harm but have our only chance for real excellence. Better to be an excellent janitor than an inept stockbroker or general!

Discovering The Nature Of “Control”

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Amerika has taken the lead on the Right in criticizing the unifying method of our society: control, which serves only the individualistic ego, as opposed to cooperation, which requires a purpose and therefore invokes questions like “who are we?” and “what should we be doing?” which make it unsuitable for consensus politics.

Control is a philosophy of mass motivation: break people down into individuals motivated by external material reward, create a fungible crowd, demand that it do and believe the same things, and keep it individuals in constant fear that they will “stand out” from the crowd as having violated the fundamental principle of the crowd, and simultaneously motivate them to “stand out” by demonstrating their allegiance to the idea that unites the crowd. This creates a mass of people who are fundamentally inert in their confusion but can be used as means to an end; the trap in control is that control only serves itself, and those who hope to use control find themselves being swallowed up by it. Control is at first power, and later, inversion of the will through its enslavement to the need to continue and further control.

More voices on the Right are joining a critique of the nature of control:

This system, which still dominates the present-day power structure, has some troubling aspects that help to explain the growing dysfunction and decline of our society. I want to draw attention to two in particular.

First, because power is based on control rather than on ownership, there is a constant need to justify it through appeals to the emotions of the masses. Rather than being defined by the interests of the masses, democracy is defined by what can be sold to the masses, which is definitely not the same thing. Secondly, the need to demonstrate competence outweighs the need to have actual competence.

The great irony is that these two characteristics are produced by a system dedicated to efficient control and getting results, but in effect they work against efficiency and results.

The defining attribute of control is its focus on external features and motivations. This pairs handily with equality, which insists that people are essentially the same, and that changes in behavior and motivation are regulated by their position in society, wealth, power, education, social group and other factors that are outside of their personalities.

External factors are those, in other words, outside of individuality itself: the moral and realistic choices of an individual based on what that person understands and values. The “understanding” portion of that calculus involves a good deal of genetic determinism, since intelligence and most preferences are biological in nature and thus heritable.

Control can only be opposed by cooperation, which requires a sharing of purpose and values, both of which arise from internal traits and are assessed through gut instinct and intuition including aesthetics. Cooperation unites unequal individuals in the pursuit of a shared goal, knowing that while each may benefit differently, all achieve the baseline benefit of reaching that goal.

The way to understand inner traits is to explore the nature of thinking:

We discover true hypotheses by attaining to a clear knowing, by achieving a transparency of thinking. (Such transparency must, in practice, be achieved actively – not least by rejecting false assumptions.)

Truth is then seen – but it is not imposed on us; it is possible to know and to deny (that is a consequence of human agency, or free will).

The proper conduct of science involves attaining this clear seeing – which is a question of attitude, which is dependent on motivation: on wanting, more than anything, to know.

External thinking does not focus on clear understanding of the world, but instead is inward looking toward human individuals and their impulses or reactions to stimulus. Internal thinking is more reflective, contemplative and most of all, quiet. It suppresses the cacophony of desires, whims and responses that normally fill the human mind, and sees the world as close to as it is as possible.

What this leads us to is the most interesting of hybrids: a realist approach to philosophy, anchored in the fundamental ideas of religion, namely that for those who can think, clarifying the mind, finding eternal values and pushing aside the dual social and emotional impulses of humanity to discover something approximating a moral adaptation to existence.

A Monist Interpretation Of Ultimate Reality

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Among philosophers, there are some who extend the Kantian idea of intuition as the root of all knowledge to suggest that instead of pursuing purely analytical thought, which tends to be derived from the visible, we must pursue an ultimate reality in which the world is comprised of ideas, and the most compatible ideas shape our future.

There is no denying that the world appears to objectively exist, and for all intents and purposes, it does objectively exist, yet it is easy to see that it is nothing more than an apparition. It is similar to the way the sun appears to rise and set each day. We might directly experience the rising and setting of the sun with our own eyes, so to speak, yet the whole thing is an illusion produced by the rotating earth. It is an experience which is constructed out of our perspective as beings situated on the earth. In the same way, our experience of the world as an objective entity is a mirage generated out of a particular perspective, one that is centred around a belief in the self and reinforced by habit of thought. The objectivity of the world appears real on the surface, but it disappears the moment you begin to approach it.

This struggles with the same question that Schopenhauer introduces, which is that if life is comprised of cause and effect, the cause of materiality will be more complex than materiality itself, indicating the presence of additional dimensions to our world, or that our world is the result of long chains of causes that begin in an entirely different medium. This is German Idealism, also called “transcendental idealism”:

Kant’s idealism is, perhaps, the most moderate form of idealism associated with German idealism. Kant holds that the objects of human cognition are transcendentally ideal and empirically real. They are transcendentally ideal, because the conditions of the cognition human beings have of objects are to be found in the cognitive faculties of human beings. This does not mean the existence of those objects is mind-dependent, because Kant thinks we can only know objects to the extent that they are objects for us and, thus, as they appear to us. Idealism with respect to appearances does not entail the mind-dependence of objects, because it does not commit itself to any claims about the nature of things in themselves. Kant denies that we have any knowledge of things in themselves, because we do not have the capacity to make judgments about the nature of things in themselves based on our knowledge of things as they appear.

Schopenhauer elaborated on this by making it clear that there was no knowledge of things in themselves, but that in fact the perceiver creates the perceived object from external reality plus a perceptual filter, which shows us that the entirety of reality as we know it is relative to the individual, which is to say relative among individuals, with some perceiving more than others:

Schopenhauer holds that “no truth is more certain, no truth is more independent of all others and no truth is less in need of proof than this one: that everything there is for cognition (i.e., the whole world) is only an object in relation to a subject, an intuition of a beholder ” (WWR, §1, pp. 23–4). This simple and perhaps inescapable thought may be regarded as the most fundamental motivation for any form of epistemological idealism.

These ideas, at first, are shocking because they navigate between two human illusions: (1) the external world is evident and universal and everyone can perceive it and (2) people live in their own worlds, determined by their intent and desires. Neither are true, but both are partially true. People interpret an objective world as best they can, and end up with a version of it filtered through their own perception and, most importantly, ability to accept what they are seeing. People in denial see less of the world than others.

At a basic level, this idea suggests that the universe is relative, which means that any object is known through its relationship to other objects and not to some universal center. We know light through darkness, not through some middle level of partial light, and we know cold through hot, death through life, truth through untruth, and many other variations of this idea.

Bruce Charlton argues for a variety of this theory:

In the beginning Men were merely primordial selves immersed in the ocean of universal consciousness; and the history of everything has included the progressive and incremental separation of these selves from the universal primary reality.

We began as immersed in universal reality – joined with everything, and everything joined with us – with permeable selves… We end with a Self that is aware of its own separation from things, from other people, from memories – and even from its own thoughts…

This separation of the self can [be imagined through] a biological analogy; as development. A baby lives at first in the ocean of amniotic fluid, inside the mother; and only gradually, incrementally, does the baby’s self become separate from the mother’s self – first by birth, then by development and increasing independence… but only in adolescence does the child at some point become existentially separate – an agent.

The concept of ultimate reality — called “universal reality” in the quotation above — is that our material world is the effect, and not cause, of the world as it actually is. This makes sense to some degree, but could benefit from an upgrade to monism.

Monism is the notion that there is no division between physics and metaphysics; the two play by the same rules, which we might refer to as “information science” because reality behaves like ideas, according to logical principles, more than arising from the properties of material itself.

This can have an agnostic version, which is that this function can exist independent of a god or enduring metaphysical reality, but appreciating the wisdom of the design of existence leads to a recognition that the world exists like a calculator, refining itself toward some ongoing state of higher complexity or qualitative improvement.

If the world acts like a calculator or mathematical equation, it possesses some form of consciousness or tendency. Much like natural selection, this tendency engages in purposive calculations much as natural selection does, resulting in a greater degree of efficiency or function.

This implies a basic consciousness, like that in a computer that is aware of itself without having a centralized and self-aware ego. Life merely does what it does, but in doing so, it creates a product that is like thought itself. It forever refines what it has into something more advanced, and in doing so, comes to know itself.

For humans, this provides the basis of understanding the world beyond the material but without venturing into dualistic theories where an external controlling force is assumed. Instead, the world itself is its own force, without a need to articulate itself. This shows us where we fit into this order.

In such an order, whatever advances complexity and organization rises above the rest, even if through the most primitive methods possible. This occurs because this order is a self-refining system, which means that it aims toward qualitative improvement constantly, instead of simply expanding outward into every possibility, which would be quantitative expansion.

Naturally, such an order points upward toward some centralizing force or at least, the highest apex of qualitative order. This implies that something God-like exists within the world. If the world is idea, then there is some ultimate direction or purpose to the calculating state of those ideas. If there is a purpose, there is a source of direction or fulfillment of goal in an apex.

This view shows us the universe as a giant calculator or computer. It churns through endless calculations, finding better answers all the time, and then integrates those in order to discover what principles it may. Those are regulated by some sense of logic or

If something acts like a calculator, meaning that it transacts computations, it has some kind of consciousness. Our universe clearly engages in purposive calculations like natural selection, gradualism and organicism. This reveals its basic level of consciousness.

Our universe clearly engages in purposive calculations like natural selection, and this means that it has some basic form of consciousness. It aims to improve itself not in quantity, but in quality, which is metaphorically equivalent to getting a more exact answer.

With that in mind, we see that it does not have fixed “purpose,” but rather a mechanism by which it gradually advances the more-complex over the less-complex. This is nihilistic: it does not judge by whether the outcome is good, only goes through the calculations without emotion.

At this point, we see the universe as nihilistic or without judgment of our human desires. It is merely functional, entirely logical, and separate from any particular form or direction.

This inhuman nature provides stability. It means that the universe reaches its conclusions without considering the emotional affect of them, and so can act independently from any central control least of all that by a thinking, judging perspective.

From this, we can see the emptiness of the universe. It does not assess good or bad; it merely functions. We are alone, actors within a complex schema, trying to find what produces the best results — “good” — among infinite options for lesser success, a.k.a. “bad.”

Dualism posits that there is a perfect order in another world, and that we emulate it in this world as a means of being “good.” Monism recognizes only cold, hard logic, and sees no human role in it except as deluded monkeys with car keys attempting to rationalize their fate.

However, the positive factor of monism is that it suggests that the universe is consistent. There is no judgment at all, or personality involved, only the mechanistic actions of cause and effect. This liberates us from the superstition of trying to guess what a personality in control of us intends, and shows us life as a logical construct, independent of our emotions.

That mentality leads to transcendentalism. We see the world as a perfect order, working blindly and independently, and so instead of trying to influence it with our emotions, we discipline ourselves according to its wisdom. In doing so, we adapt to it, and improve our own thinking to be more realistic.

At the end of the day, this is all we have ever had: a consistent universe and our ability to understand it. If metaphysics is out there, it is consistent like the rest. Everything else is human projection and must be avoided, unless we — like so many others — want to delude ourselves and fall into oblivion.

Confronting Inequality

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Almost no one understands what “equality” means. To the man on the street, it signifies that he can do whatever he wants as long as he can pay for it. In politics, it means subsidizing those who are not thriving. In reality, it has a more significant meaning.

Our nervous minds seek ways to make the world feel safe. They do this by creating symbols that make the world seem simple and easily manipulated. The primal archetype of this is to treat the world as one single thing, with a personality that we can reason with, and which will reward us if we do what is sociable, pacifying that personality.

Every primitive superstition involves appeasing a blood-god, and this might be the most honest form of this widespread human pathology. In modern times, we use “equality” to render the rest of humanity into a single entity that we can control with language and symbol.

The pathology of equality treats other humans as a fungible commodity which can be commanded to do what is necessary. If humans are regulated solely by external forces like incentives and punishments, the individual ego can feel safe that it can manage other people, without having to get into the nitty-gritty of how they are different and what actually motivates them.

One might term this a “consumerist” view of the world because it treats other people like products, machines or objects on a factory assembly line. All of the troublesome detail of life is left out, replaced by the self versus a world of identical people who can be controlled.

If equality has a founding myth, it is the notion of universal human reason, an idea which comes to us from The Enlightenment.™ They are manipulated by their reason, because they rationally respond to incentives and punishments. This requires us to assume that all people think alike and understand exactly the same thing from our words and symbols.

Consider a typical misunderstanding of Fred Nietzsche:

Nietzsche has been blamed for a more silent disaster: the rise of relativism and the idea that there is no such thing as objective truth. Seldom now, especially in academia, do you now read the word ‘truth’ written without those doubting – and even contemptuous – inverted commas. One of the most resilient doctrines of our times is that all knowledge depends on who is saying it and for what motive. This relativism is invariably traced back to Nietzsche.

This is largely to do with French philosopher Michel Foucault’s rehabilitation of Nietzsche. Foucault’s writing on power and knowledge in the 1960s and 1970s, which has been widely disseminated in society ever since, drew upon quotes from Nietzsche that ‘truth’ stems from the desire for power and has no eternal objective foundation. In his landmark lectures, ‘Truth and Juridical Forms’, delivered in 1973, Foucault said of the myth of ‘pure truth’: ‘This great myth needs to be dispelled. It is this myth which Nietzsche began to demolish by showing… that behind all knowledge [savoir], behind all attainment of knowledge [connaissance], what is involved is a struggle for power. Political power is not absent from knowledge, it is woven together with it.’

As the author of a book on nihilism, it behooves me to offer a comparison to the definition of nihilism:

Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.

For convenience, we separate this into three parts:

  1. All values are baseless
  2. Nothing can be known
  3. Nothing can be communicated

How do we reach relativism, or the idea that all truths are relative to the individual, from this? We filter it through equality. Equality demands that we affirm that what each individual sees as true is actually true, so instead of rejecting that, we say that they have truths which are true to them.

A more sensible version would be esotericism, which would say that truth is discovered in degrees according to natural ability and how much of the cumulative underlying truths one has discovered so far. In other words, reality is real, but people are discovering it like a detective uncovering a mystery, with some getting farther than others. But that is anti-egalitarian.

Back to the topic, what Nietzsche affirmed is the end of equality: all “truths” are symbolic manipulation expressed in self-interest, but those of the highest type of human tend toward being as accurate as possible because their intelligence allows them to see the value of accurate information.

This follows from his statement “there are no truths, only interpretations” and his comments in his initial work that defined the scope of what was to come, On Truth And Lies In A Non-Moral Sense (more accurately translated as “On Truth And Lies In A Sense Outside Of Morality”).

So, now we see the modern time as a struggle between relativism and esotericism. In one, everyone is equal and everything is true; in the other, truth is a question of degree that varies with the observer, much as it does with the quality of instrument such as microscopes, which come in varying degrees of magnification and lens acuity.

This means a number of things, including that we cannot have a society without caste, because if we want good results, we have to put those who are more sensitive instruments at the top of the hierarchy. We also cannot have democracy, because the “reason”-ing ability that people use to vote is actually a rationalization of whatever they think makes their lives seem perfect and reasonable, a measurement of appearance and not actuality.

Tom Wolfe described this mentality as the fiction-absolute:

Even before I left graduate school I had come to the conclusion that virtually all people live by what I think of as a “fiction-absolute.” Each individual adopts a set of values which, if truly absolute in the world–so ordained by some almighty force–would make not that individual but his group . . . the best of all possible groups, the best of all inner circles. Politicians, the rich, the celebrated, become mere types. Does this apply to “the intellectuals” also? Oh, yes. . . perfectly, all too perfectly.

Through that lens, we see not reasoning man, but rationalizing man. If you want to know why society is inverted, or that its most fundamental terms seem to mean the opposite of what they should mean if used descriptively, it is that human thinking movies backward from conclusion to reason why. Cause and effect are reversed in order.

Lawrence Auster, one of the bright lights of modern conservatism, described one instance of this pathology as the unprincipled exception:

The unprincipled exception is a non-liberal value or assertion, not explicitly identified as non-liberal, that liberals use to escape the inconvenient, personally harmful, or suicidal consequences of their own liberalism without questioning liberalism itself.

Alternatively, the unprincipled exception is a non-liberal value or assertion, not explicitly identified as non-liberal, that conservatives use to slow the advance of liberalism or to challenge some aspect of liberalism without challenging liberalism itself.

Brainwashed by the notion of equality, conservatives see hypocrisy in it. But really, it is another self-interested animal rationalizing its choices by what makes it “feel” comfortable in the life it has chosen. This is a moral challenge; individuals are not just arguing for their own wealth, but that their choices were right by others, by logic, by any gods they believe in.

A Leftist (liberals are one variant of Leftist, or those who endorse egalitarianism, but it a matter of degree, much as Libertarians and Communists both agree on equality) will enact Leftist policies in order to gain wealth and power, but also to justify lifestyle choices made by the Leftists and previous Leftist policy, even if it has turned out poorly.

In turn, conservatives — who are those who accepted the new order, and by doing so were able to sit on the right side of the National Assembly in post-Revolutionary France — by the virtue of having accepted equality, cannot act in any way other than to affirm equality, which forces them to thwart the oncoming decay as much as they can but never attack its core.

Its core is the concept of equality.

With that in mind, we on the Alt Right must look toward the future: the decline of the West, as Plato tells us, began when people became more interested in wealth than in doing what is right by civilization alongside natural and divine order. The philosophy of prioritizing short-term self-interest over the need for logical planning for the future is known as individualism, and it afflicts high-IQ societies through rationalization, or the inverted and backward thinking caused by relativism.

Let us look at how this confusion afflicts even underground conservatives like the Alt Right:

The recent defeat of Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election has predictably triggered yet another tidal wave of haughty pronouncements by Alt Right adherents scornfully rejecting elections as a means of achieving our goals. “We’ll never vote our way out of this!” “Elections are a waste of time!” “Democracy doesn’t work!” The same chorus of noisy negativity broke out into mournful song the instant Trump began to cuck for the establishment last month.

This is a perennial phenomenon among the Alt Right, or I should say within the so-called white nationalist movement. We try to win through elections, we get our hopes up, we work our asses off, we get defeated – and we immediately begin wailing, gnashing our teeth and shaking our fists at the heavens as we swear off elections forever.

Let us first look at where this writer is correct: on the Right, we get our hopes up before elections, and then when the herd follows its usual mix of self-interest and “don’t rock the boat” complacency, we become enraged that we were betrayed again, as we have been by every election in varying degrees since those elections in Athens so long ago.

After that, he loses the train of thought.

His statement divides the questions of goal and method. As far as methods go, he is correct: when one lives in a democracy, it makes sense to do as much as possible with democratic methods. They involve little bloodshed, are relatively civilized, and can be influenced by a cultural wave such as the Alt Right.

However, in terms of goals, we must admit that the core of the Alt Right, which is a desire for Nietzschean traditionalism instead of a modern System that we think will swing our way, rejects egalitarianism. There is no human equality. All people and groups have different degrees of accuracy regarding the perception of reality, act in self-interest, and rationalize the result with abstract theory.

Our goal is to replace democracy with kings, an egalitarian social order with hierarchy, regulated markets with competition limited by culture, and diversity with nationalism. We are anti-egalitarian. If we try to escape that, we become mainstream conservatives and will invert our most sacred values through relativism.

Any deviation from this clear goal will guarantee our defeat. We must, as Bruce Charlton says, first become clear in our minds about what is logically true, and after that, make our way toward it, learning as we go.

Silicon Valley Uses Search Engine Monopoly To Hide Right-Wing Content

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Bruce Charlton reports that traffic to his site has declined by half following what he guesses are changes on Google or other social media sites.

The most recent sign was a sudden halving in daily traffic from 20 to 21 April (from 3000 plus to about 1500 views) – presumably as the result of some search-engine change, presumably related to the new wave of fake-‘fake news’ anti-Left dissent-suppression.

We know that Google has made over 1600 changes to its site over the past year and plans more, including Project Owl, a measure designed to stop “fake news” from proliferating by filtering it out of search results. In addition, facing a boycott by advertisers, Google is experiencing revenue drop from an inability to show many ads on “offensive” materials.

If Silicon Valley follows previous patterns, its new changes will benefit Establishment media sites like The New York Times and penalize independent bloggers, small news agencies, and those who have off-mainstream opinions that might be considered “offensive” by some vocal members of the herd.

Unlike traditional censorship, this type of filtering does not seek to obliterate other voices, only marginalize them to the point where the average person will not encounter them. In addition, it is not enacted through a monopoly on legal force, as occurs when a government censors, but through independent businesses that use the power of their monopolies to exclude dissident voices.

This more than anything shows the Alt Right where it must go next: it needs to fund and develop its own search engine, in addition to its own media, so that there is an alternative to the big media stream of press releases and lobbyist statements. The Left has decided on its strategy, and it is one of creating an outsourced state media to suppress non-Leftist opinion.

More ominously for Silicon Valley, this development shows that Dot-Com 3.0 — powered primarily by social media — is turning into a bust, and the big companies are desperate to hang onto whatever audience they can, even though this audience are not particularly desired by advertisers, suggesting that we are seeing a wider crash of the consumer market.

Charlton Converges On Notion Of Solipsism As Evil

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

At every other blog in the universe, you are told that shadowy external forces are manipulating you, 1984-style.

On this blog, you are told that instead you are your own worst enemy, and the things that seem good are often not. This is more like what was espoused in the book that inspired and provoked 1984, the Aldous Huxley sermon on the end of civilization by internal entropy named Brave New World.

We are self-deluding creatures who fear natural selection and loss of social rank. We see other things as positives, such as low-risk social participation. This drives us to mandate the latter by removing the former, a type of de facto Utopian thinking that is an inbuilt flaw in humanity. We cannot create perfection by denying the objects in which our fears are manifested.

This is why every human organization fails once it has enough power. It turns its methods into its goals. This happens because, in an attempt to remove what it fears, it regulates method instead of purpose, and in doing so creates a false purpose based on what it measures.

The classic example of this comes from American police departments. Officers are told they will be ranked according to the number of arrests they make. This means that to win the officer game, one must kick up the numbers. The successful candidates rush out and arrest all of the bums, winos, hookers and other known blight, and avoid the time-consuming task of identifying murderers and organized crime kingpins.

All of our societies in the West now follow this model. We lost purpose because we made methods more important than goals in a desperate bid to banish our fears, which then ensured that we would be ruled by the “game” set up by the regulated methods. The last two centuries of history show us in a paroxysmal spasm of trying to find the “right” methodology, and yet everything we do seems to fail.

That realization points to an internal evil, not an external one. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions… and what we consider “good,” at least as a group but probably in our thinking with very few exceptions, is removal of the appearance of bad that results in dystopian levels of dysfunction. The problem is us. Or rather, it is in our intellects and souls, an in-built “backdoor” that lets us hack ourselves.

On Amerika, writers have long identified solipsism as the root of the psychology of individualism, which is the pathology where the individual acts as if he is God and more important than reality itself.

Bruce Charlton, one of the insightful writers who move in parallel rightward through different threads of analysis, has endorsed the diagnosis of solipsism as the root of the failure of the West:

Solipsism is the belief, usually quite brief, that the thinker is the source of everything that is – my feeling that everything is just a product of my own thinking and has no independent existence: my life is a dream.

…We can really only go forward – indeed we must go forward because if we get stuck in solipsism – as so many modern people seem to have chosen to do – then nihilism and despair are inevitable. In solipsism we begin by regarding the world as our own thought, but soon (and inevitably) we begin to doubt the reality of these thoughts – after all, thoughts change, they are not solid…

The self in solipsism surveys the world paralysed by doubt – the thoughts are transient, the world a product merely of thoughts – everything slips away.

Solipsism is a refusal to make choices that involve scary things. Instead, we retreat into ourselves, which because these selves are closed-circuit feedback loops, results in a type of accelerated entropy leading to heat death: no decision particularly matters because the ultimate result will never change until the advent of death, which is impossible within our cognition because of its vastness.

The solution to solipsism occurs both within and outside the individual. As a civilization, we need to rediscover purpose and stop regulating ourselves through methods alone, which is the behavior formalized in Leftism. As individuals, we need to find transcendental vision of life in which we recognize the greater wisdom of nature and the cosmos relative to our own intentions.

Formalization creates dark organizations. The more we try to do what our brains see as “good,” the more we self-destruct, because we have forgotten to verify whether our internal conception of good actually matches results in external reality. This engenders solipsism in a perpetual cycle until it destroys us.

Theosis Is A Form Of Realism

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

As part of the Platonist vision of conservatism, articles on this site frequently speak of the vision unleashed by the intersection of Platonic forms and Germanic Idealism, namely that recognition that the underlying substance of the universe is thought or thought-like. This is why idea, structure, pattern and logic that corresponds to the outside world are more important than immediate material obstacles.

This ancient philosophy lives on through hermeticism, but also in Christianity through transcendentalist thinkers like Johannes Eckhart. Hermeticism finds its roots in Hindu idealism which, as expressed in the Bhagavad-Gita, roughly mirrored the Greek and German versions. All expressed the idea of an order of nature based not in material position, but logical order.

Plato even took this far enough to speak of healthy civilizations, which recognized this order, as contrasted to unhealthy ones, which were in the grip of hubris or the brew of individualism, narcissism, solipsism and socially-empowered boldness — in which the approval of the social group matters more than reality, and makes us feel safe in denying traditions — which modern people exhibit, especially with their smug and prim attention whoring at political events. Plato wrote:

In the succeeding generation rulers will be appointed who have lost the guardian power of testing the metal of your different races, which, like Hesiod’s, are of gold and silver and brass and iron. And so iron will be mingled with silver, and brass with gold, and hence there will arise dissimilarity and inequality and irregularity, which always and in all places are causes of hatred and war. This the Muses affirm to be the stock from which discord has sprung, wherever arising; and this is their answer to us.

…When discord arose, then the two races were drawn different ways: the iron and brass fell to acquiring money and land and houses and gold and silver; but the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things. There was a battle between them, and at last they agreed to distribute their land and houses among individual owners; and they enslaved their friends and maintainers, whom they had formerly protected in the condition of freemen, and made of them subjects and servants; and they themselves were engaged in war and in keeping a watch against them.

…Undoubtedly, he said, the form of government which you describe is a mixture of good and evil.

Why, there is a mixture, I said; but one thing, and one thing only, is predominantly seen, –the spirit of contention and ambition; and these are due to the prevalence of the passionate or spirited element.

The most important line can be found here, in plain sight because very few people can understand it: “the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things.”

To be virtuous is to live in a perpetual state of contentment, and to be free from “contention and ambition…the passionate or spirited element.” The ego is the root of the passions; the nature of being “spirited” is to be rebellious against what the evident order. Plato is pointing out that greed and rebellion are one and the same force.

Even more, he is showing how there is an esoteric path to wisdom, namely that only those with gold and silver natures are going to understand the value of “virtue and the ancient order of things.”

From this comes the root of traditionalist thinking: worldwide, there are many religions, and they all describe the same world, so they converge — unequally, idiosyncratically — on the same “truths” or accurate observations about the world, both physical and metaphysical. When we recognize this, we see that history is indeed cyclic, or the story of humanity in an optimal state, its fall, and its attempt to return.

In order to effect our return to this saner state of human being, and to force our evolution into silver and gold again, we must begin with an evolution of consciousness toward extreme accuracy:

When Owen Barfield described the evolution of consciousness, he used ‘evolution’ in a pre-Darwinian sense of a developmental change analogous to the fertilised egg ‘unfolding’ to become a mature, adult organism.

…If the evolution of consciousness has a unified purpose and aim (isn’t just a different purpose and aim for each entity), then this implies that there is a deity – as the source of purpose. Therefore, the evolution of consciousness is a consequence of some divine plan.

What could this divine plan be? For many Christians it will be ‘theosis’ – or the process of Men becoming more and more like God; aiming at becoming Sons and Daughters of God.

Realism demands that we understand our world as it is and adapt to it, which first requires that we make our minds more like the world, a process that in turn leads to transcendental wisdom, or appreciation for the logicality and sanity of our world in presenting us with the best possible existence. Normally humans do not understand their world and so view it as crude, threatening and disorganized.

Theosis is a subset of realism. If God exists, He is part of this world, in idea or at least as a cause of the effect that is this world. If we study the patterns of this world and come to understand its (realist + transcendental) wisdom, we can then grow closer to God by achieving greater mastery of adaptation to the physical world around us.

What this means, interestingly, is that the “religion-first” approach to traditionalism is not going to work. What works is to enforce self-discipline on ourselves so that we accurately understand and adapt to reality, and religion will emerge from within that process instead of the other way around.

Evidence Versus Logical Fact

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Bruce Charlton writes, as always, an insightful analysis of human mental self discipline. In it, he argues the following:

  1. Perception is regulated by conceptual understanding. What we know how to recognize in the flood of data coming in from our senses, we can mentally process. Everything else slips by into chaos.
  2. If true knowledge is possible, it must come from valid concepts. Because these can be shared between people, they must exist outside of people, or be in the world like neo-Platonic forms.
  3. Therefore, those who think purely in terms of concepts will be accurate, which means that we can think without evidence and achieve understanding of the universe.
  4. In essence, pure conceptual thinking is how we understand reality.

Charlton attributes this schema to Rudolf Steiner’s early philosophical book The Philosophy of Freedom, but alert readers here will recognize the actual root of this idea: Immanuel Kant and his idea of intuition as the basis of a priori understanding.

In my own writing, specifically the unpublished Parallelism, I expand on the basic concept of the black pill and how it leads to understanding reality.

Humans have big brains, and those receive stronger signals from themselves than the world, which is a problem especially because we know the world through our memories of it, encoded as tokens based on our conclusion of the relevant parts to us. This comes after we filter the world, as Charlton notes, through what we know to look for, living in “a representation of a representation” as Schopenhauer argues. We never come in contact with the raw data because it would be like trying to drink from a firehose and would paralyze our reaction times.

Consequently, any process of understanding involves separating what we know to be true from what is merely signal reflected back from our big brains. We have to navigate our assumptions, emotions, impulses, neurotic mental chatter and tendency toward quick absolute categorical judgments in order to do this, among other perceptual pitfalls and glitches.

At this point, we must consider “evidence” versus “logical fact.” Evidence is what we can derive from our perception, but as illustrated above, it is already heavily filtered through our conceptual outlook. Further, it is based on material factors, such as how parts of reality interact, but blind to pattern which represents the organization of reality and its structure (analogous to Platonic forms). Evidence therefore is best for figuring out how to do things like make gasoline engines or grow crops, but not so good when it comes to questions of understanding reality under the surface formed of the interaction of material objects, like seeds plus water equals plants.

Logical fact, on the other hand, consists of looking at the organization of these material parts and deriving principles about how they work. Mathematics and philosophy are the closest to this field because they analyze patterns and their transformation, but these become difficult because we are unsure that what seems logically true corresponds to reality, which is wily and has twists and turns and emergent complexities. Enter parallelism: the idea that patterns occur in parallel across multiple domains, including thought, energy and matter.

With parallelism, we can see what patterns recur in multiple places in our world, and use these as the basis for understanding new input. This works through a type of metaphor that is more exact than what we expect from language. It requires precision about the nature of each pattern and why it works as it does, animating the structure with an understanding of purpose.

At this point, we are starting to get somewhere. We have a way of knowing what is true beyond any immediate circumstance because we can see the pattern in multiple places and its function or role is consistent. At that point, we are able to discipline our thought to being like that of the universe, and in so doing, realize its logical basis. As discovered by the German Idealists, the universe behaves in a thought-like way, and appears to respond at the level of structure as we would expect thoughts to do so.

Now we have moved beyond materialism. We see first the world as a function of order or pattern, and next, that structure as resembling thought, which works by having multiple impulses and selecting whichever one is compatible with everything that already exists, or is parallel to the rest of structure. This enables us to see the universe as having an inherent mode of operation and intent, one that is initially foreign to the world of human intent, which reflects our interests within the structure as we perceive them without knowledge of that structure.

This in turn requires us to look into what the intent of the universe might be. It seems to specialize in making beauty out of nothingness, but also, by holding to a hard line of logical fact that punishes that which deviates from compatibility with its order. Through processes like natural selection and entropy, it destroys that which is disorganized and reshapes the rest into greater degrees of order, balance and efficiency.

From this vantage point, we can see the nature of a divine force or something like one: benevolent in intent, rigorously logical in method, and focused on urging us upward toward greater order, versus our tendency as human monkeys to scatter in divergent chaotic directions in pursuit of our personal illusions, desires and other artifacts of having a lack of focus toward the divine. We are evil not because we mean badly, but because our thought and thus behavior is not disciplined.

Since we have ventured into metaphysics, we might take a look at an old theorem of Plato’s. We can see cause-effect relationships in everyday life, but now we know that these are a product of a thought-like structure to the universe, which like a computation seeks to resolve a problem constantly in order to refine itself; think of a self-programming computer, always testing its own code to find what works better, and replacing the old code with the new, more precise algorithms.

This means that in addition to regular cause-effect relationships, there is a bigger cause-effect relationship formed of compatibility between patterns and a steady pressure toward upward organization. This no longer acts like self-interested material objects, but a purposeful Designer who is starting us as dust and working us toward a god-like level, or as close as we can get.

In addition, we know that this causal space of pattern is much larger than the physical objects in which it manifests, meaning that our material world is the smaller part, and the world of thought much larger, implying not a dualistic “second world” but an extension to this one formed of the patterns as the universe intends them, not our perceptions of them. In this space, which is so large as to be infinite, information matters more than material, and here we see that the presence of our minds as information agents can have applicability beyond our physical selves.

None of this was unknown to the ancients, but then again, instead of checking Twitter every thirty minutes, they were sitting in darkened caves in deep thought guided by regular breathing and a suppression of the chattering monkey creating a background hum inside our heads. Clarity of thought, and eventually metaphysical experience, came naturally for them.

As we look toward peeling back the layers of the onion that is modernity, realizing that it started from a lie and that the only way to beat it is to head in a contrary direction, it makes sense to return to this focus on meditative understanding of structure. It does not contradict the realistic imperative that we adapt to material reality, but shows us a stage in which to go once we achieve basic sanity, and a basis for a spirituality which does not — like almost all existing forms of religion — lead us further into the illusion of ourselves.

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