Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hypothetical Spread, Consequences, and Alternatives to Secular Anti-Consciousness

I planned to write more, and apparently it's actually occurring.

Like my assessment of the Enlightenment, this isn't fully verified. The standard I'm using here is that I haven't run across any contradictory evidence.


The pre-flight problem for all potential coercive masters is that not only is it obvious that to a human when they're not pursuing their intrinsic goals, there's even a special "I'ma bein coerced" feeling. Both that special indicator, and the values from which goals are derived, arise directly from the consciousness. Humans who are being coerced will usually get fractious, often to the point of fighting to the death. In the limit, if you can fulfill none of your values, a fight to the death risks literally nothing - it's all upside.

Coercion is endemic in 'civilized' societies, so this problem has clearly been solved. (Though as I mentioned before, all previous societies retained at least some beliefs in spirits and anima, which amount to accepting the fundamental reality and significance of consciousness.) Which meant that when the materialists arrived, they inherited a suite of time-tested methods to suppress the individual's appreciation of their own consciousness, and faced a population whose resistance to such sophistry had already been substantially eroded.

Neither theist nor atheist understands consciousness, and a result is that they make incorrect associations. Both think not only that a soul is necessary for consciousness, but that a particularly Christian-like soul is necessary. When the materialists discovered that Christianity didn't make much sense, they thought they had proven that consciousness doesn't exist.

At the same time, science and religion were gearing up to hate each other.
(Science was not a revolution, but an evolution of epistemology. I haven't bothered to work out what 'science' precisely refers to, but it is either advanced epistemology in general or a particular subset of advanced epistemology.)

Science, or more specifically people calling themselves scientists, keep stepping on the toes of religions, because - shock and amazement! - religions did not get everything exactly right on the first try. When truth steps on your toes, the only non-self-destructive response is to move your toes. However, truth-seeking is a rare and frankly deviant habit. Religions, naturally and reasonably, react to scientists stepping on their toes like another religion stepping on their toes. "This is my territory and my believers. Get the hell out!" They assume it's a dominance ploy. They can't tell the difference and we shouldn't expect them to.

Additionally, science was learning to discount subjective reports, to rely only on objective evidence when forming theories. Due to these concurrent events, scientists habitually discount to infinity and beyond.

It is not a coincidence that materialism appeared to arise out of the Enlightenment. Both were the result of innovation-class IQs finding each other, through improving communication and higher population densities.

Unfortunately, the Enlightenment was, inevitably, reviving systematic sophistry at exactly the moment materialists were discovering that they didn't believe in consciousness.

The advanced sophism, the evidence, the misunderstanding, the tribal rejection, and the rich tradition of consciousness suppression methods came together in materialists, in whom evolved a virulent mind-virus, which the materialists joyfully unleashed upon a population already subject to several spirit-breaking institutions. (I should also write about how to tame a human, as well. Untamed humans are better. Though Greg Clark makes me wonder whether this wasn't always true, it's true now.)

This is secular society. Religions immediately noticed this was a new attack, and attacked back, putting up the defences of any materialist who hadn't already adopted the coercive side of their inherited philosophies. Even if any particular materialst wasn't making a dominance ploy to begin with, they were now.

But by putting the fight into the realm of evidence, religions lost before they even started. The evidence for god isn't supposed to be good. Widespread adoption of secularism became inevitable. Some resist, clinging to religion, but it appears no religion is strong enough to clean a mind entirely.


As I implied earlier, the materialists have evolved the most advanced consciousness-suppressing memeplex ever, and any materialist subculture that wasn't originally interested in coercion was pushed off the edge when the Catholics tried to annihilate them. The morbidity has several threads.

Secular societies are some of the most violence-accepting in history. As a result, they barely complain under the most bloated parasite classes in history.

Similarly, rule of law depends primarily on the average bloke's willingness and ability to punish the responsible. (Where 'punish' means 'action designed to prevent a consequence' and 'responsible' means 'correct target for effective punishments.') Secular societies have almost no rule of law. Voters just barely complain when corporations can effectively operate above the law; when court systems bog down, making it too expensive in both time and money to pursue anything less than the most grievous offences; when they are stripped of all meaningful legal capacity to defend themselves.

Poetry especially, and many other arts, are dying or are dead. Art explores consciousness by intentionally producing sensations that do not naturally appear. The deprecation of sensation both implies art is worthless, and requires art be worthless, as art aficionados develop rich consciousnesses.
"It showed four fruits and vegetables, two suspended by string, forming a parabola in a gray stone window.

Even if you did not know that Sánchez Cotán was a seventeenth-century Spanish priest, you could know that the painter was religious: for this picture is a visual testimony of gratitude for the beauty of those things that sustain us."

For both rule of law and art, the lack of respect for consciousness is the root of decay. Your feelings about art are just subjective. Your feelings about being robbed, just the same. They're not 'scientific,' and therefore supposedly not reasonable.

And thus, when the TSA gropes your eight-year old, you're used to discounting your outrage. It's just a habit, by now. You write a strongly worded letter, instead of instantly shooting the bastard.

Materialism, ironically, harms even science, especially psychology. Behaviourism was attacked by a joke. Taking a puff of a cigarette, he asked, "It was great for you, how was it for me?" Such a simple refutation should surely be incomplete, but in the case of behaviourism, it isn't. Psychology really is that broken. They felt the need to deny the existence of feelings to be truly scientific. Though behaviourism has been fundamentally discredited, psychology hasn't gotten any better since the 1800's. The fundamental error that lead to behaviourism is still there. (Noting also their statistical heresies, it's a wonder any useful psychology gets accomplished at all.)

Most perniciously, materialism attacks the idea that your values are valuable, leading me into the next section. Ennui is a major symptom of this, being the result of an aimless life. It doesn't much matter what you value in particular, materialists will tell you that it's not objectively well-founded and you shouldn't care deeply about it. While this certainly cuts down on suicide bombing, it also raises simple suicide; if there's nothing worth dying for, what can be worth living for?


Frankly this materialist stuff is like a radioactive bacteria that secretes acidic mucus. It'll burn you even at a distance, and if you get too close it'll stick to you, eat through your skin, and you'll get mottled with fever.

In some ways, mind-viruses are easier to deal with than physical viruses, but for the same reason, can be harder.
You get rid of a mind-virus by changing your mind. Which in principle you can do just by deciding to do so - you just need to know what to change your mind from, and you're set. However, anyone who doesn't want to so decide cannot be cured, and will act as reservoirs for the disease.

It may be possible to make hardcore materialists want to change their mind, but I doubt it.
It can even be a problem to make yourself want to change your mind. The cure, then, is the things which make you want to purge yourself of materialism.

I like to think the truth will do it, but this belief smacks of philosopher's idealism.

However, Accepting the Ignorance Hypothesis works just fine for me. What is consciousness? I don't know! For this to work, I had to realize that materialists think they do know, and denigrate consciousness as a result. They don't have anything like enough information to know, because they refuse to study it seriously, because they don't really believe in it, which means their theory is guaranteed to be incorrect, which means all their downstream conclusions are also false. However, I may also have had to realize a whole bunch of other things I can't articulate - I wouldn't know, because I can't articulate them. (I suspect so, because I could only became able to articulate the consciousness-materialist connection in the past couple months or so.)

What else? Well, there's a problem - I also don't know what kind of things actually convince people in practice. I only learned the term 'ethnoepistemology' a couple weeks ago. Any suggestions are welcome.

In any case, as a philosopher, it is perhaps impossible to completely evade philosopher's idealism, so here's a few more truths, for perspective.

Materialists find it reasonable to suppose consciousness is an illusion. Were consciousness illusory, what are the rational conclusions? How would materialists act differently than they did before? They shouldn't - logically, there's probably no consequences. However, if materialists manage to get it widely accepted, they'll use it for coercion. They'll say your dislike for policy X is illusory, and therefore not a reason to oppose it.

Consciousness is the fundamental quality of humanity. For example, if language or planning make us not like other animals, then we have those things because we first evolved full-blown consciousness. If humanity has a purpose, it involves consciousness somehow, both because of the above, and because passions precede reasons. Values require consciousness, and it is in service of values that reason is employed.

Primarily what humans care about, what humans value, are other consciousnesses. If there is a god instinct, then humans wish to find a superior consciousness and put themselves in service to it. If the god instinct is just another cultural mind-virus, then humans wish to serve their own consciousness, and those of their friends and family. This latter may be a contingent result of having evolved to be a social species, but also it may be a necessary result of having evolved consciousness. Materialism, like any philosophy, should serve its hosts. Having the hosts serve materialism is sublimely perverse. Of necessity, materialism denies that the host can be subjectively served.

Note that many powerful materialists use the philosophy cynically, for their own benefit, without truly believing. I happen to doubt the Pope is Christian either.

Consciousness is the tool through which you appreciate everything else. A thing with no conscious manifestation is a thing that doesn't exist. For example, we can't feel nuclear radiation directly. But, we can hear clicks on a Geiger counter, and we certainly feel it if we die of cancer. If consciousness is an illusion, existence is an illusion.

Materialism was born in the group of deviants that actually care about the truth. However, materialists clearly care no longer. Since they don't care about truth, they must care about something else, and at this point I suggest actions are honest about intentions. They retain their beliefs to win those contests. What other contests would you say materialists care about winning?


Aretae said...

1. Most idea-dense read I've had in a week. Hard to respond to any specific part.

2. Objectivism can be read as attempt to find a middle path.

3. I think schooling is huge in taming people. Theoretically, and from personal experience.

4. I think you hit materialism per se too hard...as opposed to the anti-consciousness supposed implications of materialism. That may be tone, not words that I'm hearing.

5. I think you may underappreciate / understate consciousness as an evolved tool for some (semi-unknown) purpose.

Alrenous said...

1. Thanks.
The idea is to have a wealth of things to respond to, and then pick your favourites as time permits.

Second, focus is perhaps easier on the reader, but bad for investigation. It amounts to making assumptions about what's relevant, and I've learned I can never consciously do that right.

2. What's your percentage estimate on the accuracy of objectivism?

I just realized I agree with much of objectivist ontology, but not epistemology. Which means I don't think the ontology follows from the epistemology.

3. Agreed. That's what it's for.

4. I'm taking materialists as a specific example to focus investigation. If I'm basically right, the idea generalizes away from materialists, and if I'm basically wrong, it won't apply to anyone else for the same kinds of reasons.

5. Consciousness has its own existence outside of evolution; evolution harnessed it. The only possible physical purpose is computational efficiency. Either consciousness helps the brain compute, or it costs energy but confers no adaptive advantage.

Aretae said...

2. At this point, I think every individual part of objectivism is objectionable. HOWEVER, I think that the general thrust of objectivism is right on all fronts.

2.5 I think Rand's offering on Epistemology is the best thing she did, but she didn't take it far enough...and she half-placed metaphysics before epistemology, which is mistaken. However, it's an awful good compass, if not a good map.

5. I'm inclined to think that consciousness is evolved for social purposes...fitting your model...to provide a facade to social computation. On my darker days, I believe it evolved to allow self-deception in social contexts, so as to facilitate subjective truth-telling.

Alrenous said...

2. Surprising! I like surprises.

2.5. Rand is an investigation lens, like specific examples. For focus.

I consider Rand's explicit epistemology to be part of the ontology. I ask myself,, "How did she come by the statements of epistemology?" One of the symptoms of illness is that she thought metaphysics and epistemology can have a relationship anything like before/after.

Now I'm interested. Stanford Encyclopedia ahoy.

Second, as previously, I doubt Rand actually used that epistemology to reach her other conclusions.

Metaphysics is a bad distinction in any case. There's stuff that you can interact with, and stuff you can't. Don't worry about the latter; if it exists, who cares?

5. Did you mean to imply that it's impossible to self-deceive without being conscious?

Or, how might consciousness allow self-deception to be more efficient?

I hereby mention meticulousness. Consciousness is my primary area of expertise. Also, I do have all day, if it's on this subject.