Friday, December 23, 2016

The Fake News Head Fake

We only need pay attention to find ever-present examples of how a particular narrative about the way things are dominates our culture.  One can hope that the latest fad in the MSM clerisy of swooning over the sudden appearance of alleged “fake news” might help us all consider the question of how we help create our culture with our mass delusions and blind spots. 

Since the development of in the Advanced Sector mass media with the widespread affordability of the radio after World War I, we created the possibility of inculcating specific memes of taste, belief, and prejudice as “mainstream” currents of the culture.  This was grafted onto and reflective of the existing methods of mass communication based upon newspapers and pamphleteering, which were by and large generated by very specific political economic interests. 

The concurrent rise of dictatorships left and right allowed for the sharpening of these emerging mass media into an instrument of general propaganda, creating a blueprint for mass manipulation available to any amoral enough to take advantage of it.  So powerful was this invention that George Orwell famously wrote of how it might be applied much more aggressively in times when technology might make a monopoly feasible even in the democratic West. 

Even those on the Left note from time to time that—at least until the appearance of the worldwide web—almost all news outlets—newspapers, magazines, radio, and television—were commercial ventures, governed by the laws of financial survival.  Those that became, in the way of these things, the flag ships of the mainstream media, were well-positioned to become monopoly instruments capable of dictating not only tastes and fashions, but political and cultural beliefs more generally.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Transcend and Exclude: the Postmodern U-Turn

Ken Wilber has argued, and I completely agree with him, that humanity’s current task is the extension and maturing of the orange, modern, individualistic wave of consciousness.  Globally, only around 20% of us have our “center of gravity” in orange, although the contributions of those at orange have radically altered all of us for the better in the past 200 years.  And, as I have explored previously, we have yet to fully integrate the earlier waves so that even our current occupation of/by orange has a long way to go to operational maturity among a critical mass of us.

This challenge is complicated by the emergence of green in a very immature and reactionary version he calls, appropriately, “Boomeritis.”  The mass appearance of green as a wave distinct from orange can be dated to the 1960s, even as we can see expressions of it showing up in the mid-nineteenth century.

The discontinuity from orange that green has generated is that individual identity (the gift of orange) is the birthright of every human being, no exceptions, and thus no one person or group can be privileged over another.  In the long run, for green to mature into a separate and superior wave with probabilistic characteristics that transcend and include all the inferior waves, it will have to demonstrate and express this embrace consistently.

To date, the Boomeritis version of green which appears to predominate in Europe and the United States does not yet transcend and include, much less integrate, the earlier stages.  Indeed, in its left-wing postmodernist expression, it explicitly rejects the rational domain which, as a necessary condition for individual identity, was a categorical advance over amber.  This transcend-and-exclude dynamic has all kinds of impacts on our current situation, most of them (apparently) leading away from the expansion of consciousness.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Integral Trump, or, the Center Cannot Hold

"But I have no power to make other men see the truth . . .”—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
We are progressing deeper into a most dangerous period of human history, a period whose beginnings we can trace to the years between the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Communist Party in 1991.  Elements of human social, cultural, and political economic development—dynamics of the Trimemetic War—are splintering and diverging in ways too numerous, subtle, and unprecedented to properly keep track of.

I originally sketched out the contours of the Trimemetic War ten years ago in a series of essays entitled “Three Blind Memes,” where I wrote:
Let us look at our world today. Green is struggling to emerge and replace Orange in the advanced sector. Given the intensity of the civil war between them, it is perhaps not surprising that Green has yet to prevail. Still, in two generations it has secured a solid foothold. Orange is struggling to emerge and replace Amber is two critical areas of the world, China and India, as well as in lesser economic powerhouses like Russia, South Africa, Brazil, and the nations of Eastern Europe. We see Amber tribal states like Iran and Pakistan, where Orange has only a tentative presence, seeking the benefit of its technology by developing nuclear power with its potential for conversion to weaponry.
Written after 9/11 but before the collapse of the housing bubble with all the attendant collateral damage in 2008, we simply note that the centrifugal forces driving disintegration of the modern political economic institutions of the post-World War II era are accelerating.

They are accelerating in great part for two principle reasons: first, on a daily basis the dynamics of our Information Age political economy introduce exponentially greater disrupters of previously reliable structures and containers; and second, the “hole in the soul” of the Advanced Sector introduced when modernity split from our premodern, tribal past remains grievously aching and raw, its unhealed pain in our collective subconscious demanding more and more of us even as we seem increasingly powerless to respond effectively.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Opportunity in Trimemetic Chaos

Self-described “atheistic libertarian” Brendan O’Neill, editor of the British e-magazine Spiked Online, has written an important article entitled “The Crisis of Character,” which looks at the progress of the postmodernist campaign to hollow out the advances in human evolution achieved by Western civilization.  The attack on modernity has many fathers going back to the rages of François-Noël “Gracchus” Babeuf during the French Revolution, but this particular viciousness was created and promoted by the embittered clerisy at the Frankfurt School and its promulgation of “critical theory.”

The signal contribution of the orange modern stage of Kosmic evolution is the liberation of the individual from the tribe.  The critical importance of this to the spectrum of consciousness seems to elude many integralites.  Only the individual, confident in his self-identity as such, can prepare the way for transcendence into the transpersonal, second tier stages where identity shifts to a much more comprehensive collective such as humanity as a whole.  This development can only occur when the individual is free to release his self-identity, and this can only occur once we fully occupy our discrete autonomous self.

I have written elsewhere about how underdeveloped the structure of this stage of evolution remains in both LH quadrants.  As Ken Wilber has noted, integral postmetaphysics suggests that the stages of consciousness behave as probability waves of interiority; the more we occupy and work them, the higher the likelihood that they will conform to predictable patterns.  All the prepersonal stages up to orange have been around for millennia and therefore present relatively stable structures.

Orange, Wilber’s “rational/egoic” stage, is only five hundred years old as a mass phenomenon of development.  Further, it is the center of gravity of consciousness for only 20% of humanity.  Even among the 20% the evidence strongly suggests that we still have quite a way to go before orange displays the same stability as the prepersonal stages.