Chiefio, has another even more long winded post than the last, its also possibly more interesting and more significant. This one is about The Club of Rome and its paranoia and anxiety producing effects upon those who gape in horror at the the apparent avariciousness of its agenda. If after reading my previous post you were already beginning to put together the ‘A list’ for your own defenestration party, Chiefio provides you with quite an index.
Any discussion of a somewhat shadowy NGO such as the Club of Rome naturally provokes quite a bit of anxiety turning around the subjects of who they are, what is their REAL agenda and WHERE DO THEY GET THEIR MONEY. Quite naturally this sort of thing can provoke a certain amount of paranoia, something I am always on guard against [in myself especially] if for no other reason that it tends to leave me disheartened, pissed off, or both.
I’ll leave it to Chiefio to fill you in on The Club’s structure and his commentators to fill you in on the implications of its [possibly] nefarious activities, but by all means feel free to scroll through the rather long lists of personages and their CV’s, I did – there are only so many academician CV’s you can read before your eyes start to roll back into your head.
Chiefio is probably wondering what he did wrong to attract me to comment on his blog twice in such a short time frame, so this time I cut it short with a brief comment which was merely a snapshot of how I was feeling by the time I reached the bottom of the post. [now with a few minor edits and links and emphasis added]
“The Limits of Growth” by Donella H. Meadows/Club of Rome, pure paranoia, inspiring nothing but fear – I could never be bothered to read it.
“The Power of Limits: proportional harmonies in nature, art, and architecture” by Gyrgy Doczi, purely visionary, inspiring nothing but wonder – a cherished companion of mine since I was a young man.
Unfortunately the ‘The Limits to Power‘ seems to have become lost.
What I have not heard in the discussion so far is the discussion of the recidivist tendency of the ‘post modern’ towards the aristocratic. Everywhere we see the self-anointing of new elites proclaiming their prerogative, especially among academics. Why is that in a world where democracy, and the expansion of the franchise to women and ever new minorities has been the norm for over two centuries?
Have you ever noticed how Masterpiece Theater it is to be fascinated by old world aristocrats and their scandals and shenanigans? Is there a kind of envy there? There is a reason for that. There is also a reason why those who find the aristocratic fascinating and romantic as opposed to loathsome and revolting [no matter how excellent their taste] often style themselves as anti-Americans. It is a uniquely American [and modern] trait to overthrow an aristocracy and replace it with no one, it is also why so many more ordinary Americans have a hard time understanding how someone else, who is ostensibly their neighbor, could wish to make them their serf, they would never conceive to do so themselves. Its not that Americans are by nature populists bumpkins looking for a dictator, they see themselves as dictators of their own lives. It is an the aristocratic impulse to make oneself the dictator of the to the public’s lives – or rather – the commoners.
The highest ethical statement that a human can aspire to is, “I will not impose my will upon another.” As far as this world goes it also means to be derided, bulldozed and or chained to a plow. Now, notice who it is that seeks to rationalize and to actualize the opposite, to impose their will as greatly as possible upon everyone else – and what their rationals are.
After I posted my comment, there was a bit from Uncle Terrence on the subject of conspiracies that immediately came to mind, but it was too late for the Chiefio [and probably much to his relief]. Here it is, proof that all of the hours that I wasted years ago transcribing the lecture that this bit came out of may not have been completely wasted after all:
Change is accelerating: invention, connection, adumbration of ideas, mathematical algorithms, connectivity of people, social systems, this is all accelerating furiously, and under control of no one. Not the catholic church, the communist party, the IMF… no one is in charge of this process. This is what makes history so interesting, it is a runaway freight train on a dark and story night. This is why I am not particularly friendly to conspiracy theories, because I can’t make the leap faith that would lead you to believe that anyone could get hold of the beast enough to control it. Conspiracies of course, we have conspiracies up the kazoo, but none of them are succeeding. They are all being swept away, compromised, astonished by new information and endlessly agonized.
~Terrence Mckenna, “Eros and the Eschaton” 1994
I have a sense that Uncle Terence was fundamentally correct in this sense and it is merely the less clear-sighted portions of our minds which cannot see the dominant patterns of progress and improvement in human evolution.
Like my maharishi I am also not a fan of conspiracy theory either and not because I live in a hyper-canabinated aura of hope about the world, the twilight world of my own imaginings tends to be a bit darker than Uncle Terrence’s, its because paranoia, with its many heads and tentacles, is socially regressive tendency that is doing serious harm to humanities ability to act like humans toward one another.
Paranoia from a psychological point of view is a particular feature of the lower reaches of the human mind, the portion that I often refer to as the slope-browed-retro-troglodyte [slope, for short], the sub-human portion of the human mind that is the evolutionary relic of our primate and reptile brain structures. When you are being paranoid you are never at your human best. Unfortunately for us all the brain structures that produce slopish behavior are hard wired into us all, we are all in danger of slope-browed-retro-troglodyte within rising up and making us act like a jerk.
Paranoia is also a symptom of cognitive bias in operation. In other words when you are being paranoid you aren’t thinking right, the dopamine induced side of your brain is leaping to conclusions [making connections] that are not based on a rational, logical interpretation of the evidence, or it is filling in for evidence that is missing from the depths of you particular storehouse of biases and prejudices. All of these symptoms are bad, bad for you, bad for social discourse and bad for society as a whole because it makes it impossible for civil society to function civilly.
From the intro to the Wikipedia article on the subject:
Paranoia [ˌpar.rəˈnoɪ.ə] (adjective: paranoid [ˈpar.rə.noɪd]) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident, a paranoid person might make an accusation that it was intentional.
Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state. In modern colloquial use, the term “paranoia” is sometimes misused to describe a phobia. The general lack of blame in phobia disorders sharply differentiates the two. In other words, fearing that something bad or harmful might happen does not in itself imply paranoia. Rather, with paranoia there is an irrational fear of malice by others (excepting rare cases of schizophrenia).
Parnoia leads to all kinds of ‘thought crimes’ such as the pseudo-cognitive phishing expedition “Fake but accurate” that is finding broad expression in many places in the blogosphere this week with those people who are rationalizing and even lionizing the actions of Peter Gleick in the developing “Fakegate/Heartlandgate” affair, despite that he has already admitted to serious fraud. Paranoia does not like to be challenged.
This is also the reason I tend to make myself unpopular on other people’s weblogs – if I notice you acting this way, paranoid, [or something similarly regressive] I will call you on it. Of course this behavior disturbs the social cool which often not appreciated; however, I would hasten to point out that it is a social cool where paranoia has become tolerated or even acceptable. So, I have taken it as a practice to challenge paranoia wherever I see it – deliberately – and I do mean to be incisive in both its modern sense, “(of a person or mental process) intelligently analytical and clear-thinking,” and in the Latin sense, “from incidere, to ‘cut into’,” that is I intend to make you bleed a little. So, if I think something you say stinks of paranoia or some other thought crime, I will tell you – with the complete understanding that if I step in the poo you will let me know that I stink double quick.
All of this leads me to conclude with a reference to the western intellectual tradition that grew from Quatrocento alchemical thought. Since I have mentioned it recently in other places recently I will start with the famous illustration by Hienrich Khunrath “The Alchemists Laboratory” [an interpretation of the image by John Read can be found at Alchemylab.com] the inscription over the central doorway at the rear of the laboratory reads: Dormiens Vigila, ‘while sleeping watch’. This is the injunction to the alchemist to gain awareness of his night time subconscious, a very Jungian notion, do the dream work, discover what the subconscious is kicking up to you at night, then carry it into the light of day for analysis.
Similarly, I will now propose to extend the enterprise with a new alchemical maxim of my own: Cogitans Vigilia, ‘while thinking watch’, which is more of a Zen notion in that one should extend conscious awareness into your moment to moment daytime thinking process to see what your subconscious and other lower order though processes are kicking up in real time. The degree to which people become more successful in this activity is a mark of their humanity. Being human is hard, being a jerk is easy.
Now remember – Don’t be a Slope!
That’s the report,