Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

What's Left Over? The Rationalist-Materialists

A quotation from the 2014 collection The Blooming of Madness 51, by Florida poet Christopher Poindexter. Image Source: pinterest.

A simple way to understand the philosophical crisis raised by technology is to ask yourself the question: 'What's left over?' This is a shorthand I devised, and partly borrowed from the sci-fi writer, Philip K. Dick (1928-1982).

Dick predicted the impact of simulated realities on our consciousness. Aware that simulations would soon be indistinguishable from organic beings and authentic objects, he kept trying to hit bedrock and finally concluded in his 1980 short story, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon: "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." This can be a maxim for testing your own views and those of others regarding the mind and its relationship to reality, especially when it comes to the meaning of creation (whether one sees God as Creator or humans as creators) and created objects like technology.

My previous post introduced the hypothesis that how people view technology may be grounded in rationalist-materialism, materialism, or in anti-materialism. Today, I will start with the rationalist-materialists; two subsequent posts will discuss the materialists and the anti-materialists.

To define what I mean by those systems of thought, I asked 'What's left over?' after one removes complex narratives and beliefs about reality in each case. That is, what core attitudes are we talking about when everything else is stripped away? My answers vastly oversimplify different philosophies about the mind and matter, and avoid formal academic definitions; nevertheless, I hope they will clarify our current conundrum as technological simulacra become harder to control.

What's Left Over: The Rationalists

Title page of William Edward Hartpole Lecky's History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, vol. 1, 1919 ed. Image Source: Liberty Fund.

Rationalists look to human reason as their chief way of understanding the world. Secular rationalists are the heirs of the 18th century Enlightenment, which crushed the power of the monarchy and Catholic Church in France during the French Revolution; this was a political upheaval designed to separate Church from State, and promote the notion that temporal power in politics hailed from humanity, not God.

Critics qualify this. They fear that Freemasons and other groups shaped the Revolution and that secular rationalists were really secret cultists who blended sorcery with politics. The only problem is that these critics often come from fringe and anti-historical circles themselves. It is easy to doubt them.

Still, we may ask with regard to these revolutionaries and their rationalist descendants: 'What's left over, after you remove their beliefs and personal narratives?' What remained and remains was the human mind and its ability to bend reality.

One extreme version of this conclusion was mid-to-late 20th century Postmodernism, which depicted the mind as a sealed system, trapped inside the structures offered to it by language. This stance denied God as an objective reality or form of knowledge (ironically: logos) which could exist beyond the human mind. Eventually, this meant that Postmodernists had trouble dealing with physical reality too, since the mind was too infinitely entrapped in its own subjective experience to gain genuine access to the outside world of material things.

Postmodernism was more of a pleasant distraction for secular rationalists; it helped them dismantle the old authoritative system so that they could take over their predecessors' jobs in sectors like academia and publishing. Postmodernism certainly didn't stop secular rationalists from deciding that any society they could imagine could be made real. The more utopian and seemingly unworkable it was, the better. I opened a copy of The Economist not long ago and there it was in a subheading, the motto of today's whole global internationalist superclass: "Reason, Sweet Reason." That's 'what is left over' for the secular rationalist.

Given that reason is all that is needed, the imagined society does not have to be all that realistic in practice. All you have to do is convince its inhabitants that it is real, and manipulate language, the mass media, history, politics, and popular entertainment to make them believe it. This was Orwell's cautionary message in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). The critical scene of the novel revealed that even the greatest truths of mathematics need not be obeyed. The secular rationalist doesn't need 2+2=4 in the ideal society. As long as the society's most independent citizen (the hero of Orwell's novel) can be tortured until he believes that 2+2=5, the society will survive and thrive. That is the horrible power of mind over matter. Utopia doesn't need to be real or true. It can even be a full-blown dystopian murder-inferno. People just need to believe it is wonderful to make it work.

Orwell was right, but this didn't stop branches of the world's political, scientific, and medical establishment from forging ahead with secular rationalism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The notion that people's minds could be manipulated to get them to think they were living in a dream society when they really weren't prompted all kinds of inhumane, insane and creepy experiments into mental manipulation (for example: MKUltra), which were then mapped onto larger social engineering projects. To see it all summarized, watch the late 2018 red-pilled documentary, The Minds of Men, about which I have blogged here. Secular rationalism also spawned deceptive, politicized, hypnotic, covert and subliminal mass messaging of all kinds to distort the masses' perceptions of the societies they inhabited; see my related posts here, here and here.

Another example of this type of super-planning based on exploitation of the mind is the manipulation of the economy. Here, the secular rationalist borrows from materialism. In this case, you convince people that they should buy things to create a dream life. Prompt them to borrow fake money to build the illusion you planted in their heads through entertainment and lifestyle advertising, thereby getting them to deepen their actual debt enslavement and poverty. See my related posts on homelessness, here, here and here; another post on shopping, here, maintains that this behaviour is essentially fascistic because it is so delusional. This is the current state of affairs in developed countries, all driven by the illusion of the good life.

See all posts in the What's Left Over? series on materialism and anti-materialism in technological advancement.

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