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News from Wonderland 3

 

Updates from the most crazy game on the interwebs

 

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Highlights

 

KSTXI -Hyper Fringe Collective – by Theodor Gorlash

Gnosis of Galdrux – by Theodor Gorlash

 

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Insights on the Rabbit Hole

 

The ontological realness of the imaginal – by ARGO – Alternate Reality Game Organization

 

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Soundtrack of The Mad Tea Party

 

Radio K-oti-K Hits, The Best of Goddespell Music – Edition 10

 

Horton Jupiter – BooKs of BokONOn 2: You’re No Good

 

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See you next time and don´t forget to #FollowtheWhiteRabbit

 

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THE HIHICRÔN- By Jai Shri Piyush Shri Pravin Bhagwati

The following is from the book of a very prominent hihicronedwriter and hihicronedspeaker, Jai Shri Piyush Shri Pravin Bhagwati:

Hihicron is very informal as there is still a lot of hihimisunderstanding about it which lead to ahoooo states of mind.
People can be totally clueless about Hihicron,
they can just think “Ha ha ha” or maybe they understand “ha” and “hihi” but don’t really understand “eh” or “eh”.

The Hihicron can be made by hihicronedpeople, but I’d like to share with you how to make the Hihicron with your hihicroendfriends:
1)Take a bowl of water.
2)Place the Hihicron on a plate and mix it with the sandalwood oil and some of the sugar that you add .
3) You and the another person both sit under the water and make sound by using
the Hihicron and pray ultragaz while you are hihicroned, and then they will be veryhihicroned as people who are actually hihicroned.

Now, I would like to share with you how to hihicroned the thoughts of others to
Hihicron when you are not in a hihicroned state. When someone hear
Ichihihikatacroneditihihirunakahihihihitahined, they become part of hihihicroned speech and the hihispeaker can uses as a reference the Hihicyihihihihijihihihihihikatahihihikatihihihihikatihihicroned to Hihicron the eschaton if it pleases him
”-Hikikatatatihirunakahihihiiiiiiiilaha, I hope that this is helpful for you and for those that are hihicroned”
i said once to Hihicron the thoughts of Others

Here are a few examples how To have a hihicronedconversation :

Hihicron their thoughts with hihikatatihirunak(as mentioned earlier)

Make then try to explain hihicroned ideas

Talk about the concept of God with a hihihicronedidea

Hihimics with all their idiosyncratic thoughts and ideas:
”I’m thinking about others as ULaragaz POU e I’m thinking about Others as kangaroos POU e”
( a conversation between a Hihicronedguru with Erica Mariana )

Gnosis of Galdrux

The Dead came back from Angalsama, where they found not
what they sought. They prayed me let them in and besought
my word, and thus i began my teaching.
Harken: I begin with nothingness. Nothingness is the same as
fullness. In infinity full is no better than empty.
Nothingness is both empty and full. As well might ye say anything else of nothingness,as for instance, white is it, or black, or again, it is not, or it is. A thing that is infinite and eternal hath no qualities, since it hath all qualities.
This nothingness or fullness we name the Anticosm .
Therein both thinking and being cease, since the eternal and infinite possess no qualities. In it no being is, for he then would be distinct from the anticosm, and would possess qualities which would distinguish him as something distinct from the anticosm.
In the anticosm there is nothing and everything. It is quite fruitless to think about the anticosm, for this would mean self-dissolution. Creatura is not in the anticosm, but in itself. The anticosm is both beginning and end of the created beings. It pervadeth them, as the light od the sun everywhere pervadeth the air. Although the anticosm prevadeth altogether, yet hath created being no share thereof, just as wholly transparent body becometh neither light nor dark through the light nor dark through the light which pervadeth it. We are,however , the anticosm itself, for we are a part of the eternal and the infinite.
But we have no share thereof, as we are from the anticosm infinitely removed; not spiritually or temporally, but essentially, since we are distinguished from the anticosm in our essence as creatura, which is confined within time and space.
Yet because we are parts of the anticosm, the anticosm is also in us. Even in the smallest point is the anticosm endless, eternal, and entire, since small and great are qualities which are contained in it. It is that nothingness which is everywhere whole and continuous. Only figuratively, therefore, do I speak of created being as part of the anticosm. Because, actually, the anticosm is nowhere divided, since it is nothingness. We are also the whole anticosm, because, figuratively, the anticosm is the smallest point (assumed only, not existing) in us and the boundless firmanent about us. But wherefore, then, do we speak of the anticosm at all, since it is thus everything and nothing? I speak of it to make a beginning somewhere, and also
to free you from the delusion that somewhere, either without or within, there standeth something fixed, or in some way established, from the beginning. Every so-called fixed and certain thing is only relative.
That alone is fixed and certain which is subject to change.
What is changeable, however, is creature. Therefore is it the one thing which is fixed and certain because it hath qualities: or as even a quality itself.
The question ariseth: How did creatura originate?
Created beings came to pass, not creatura: since created being is the very quality of the anticosm, as much as non-creation which is the eternal death. In all times and places is creation, in all times and places is death. The anticosm hath all, distinctiveness and non-distinctiveness. Distinctiveness is creatura.It is distinct. Distinctivness is its essence. and therefore it distinguisheth. Wherefore also he distinguished
qualities of the anticosm which are not. He distinguisheth them out of his own nature. Therefore he must speak of qualities of the anticosm which are not.
What use, say ye, to speak of it?
Saidst thou not thyself, there is no profit in thinking upon the anticosm? That said I unto you, to free you from the delusion that we are able to think about the anticosm. When we distinguish qualities of the anticosm, we are speaking from the ground of our own distinctiveness and concerning our own distinctiveness. But we have said nothing concerning the anticosm. Concerning our own distinctiveness, however, it is needfull to speak, whereby we may distinguish ourselves enough. Our very nature is distinctiveness. If we are not true to this nature we do not distinguish ourselves enough. Therefore must we make distinctions of qualities.
What is the harm, ye ask, in not distingusihing oneself?
If we do not distinguish, we get beyond our own nature, away from creatura. We fall into indistinctiveness, which is the other quality of the anticosm. We fall into the anticosm itself and cease to be creatures. We are given over to dissolution in nothingness. This is the death of the creature. Therefore we die in such measure as we do not distinguish. Hence the natural striving of the creature goeth towards distinctiveness, fighteth against primeval, perilous sameness. This is called the PRINCIPIUM INDIVIDUATIONIS . This principle is the essence of the creature. From this you can see why indistictiveness and non-distinction are a great danger for the creature. We must, therefore, distinguish the qualities of the anticosm. The qualities are PAIRS OF OPPOSITES , such as –
The Effective and the ineffective.
Fullness and Emptiness.
Living and Dead.
Difference and Sameness.
Light and Darkness.
The Hot and the Cold.
Force and Matter.
Time and Space.
Good and Evil.
Beauty and Ugliness.
The One and the Many.
The pairs of opposities are qualities of the anticosm which are not, because each balanceth each. As we are the anticosm itself, we also have all these qualities in us. Because the very ground of our nature is distinctiveness, which meaneth –
1. These qualities are distinct and seperate in us one from
the other; therefore they are not balanced and void, but are effective. Thus are the victims of the pairs of opposites. The anticosm is rent in us.
2. The qualities belong to the anticosm, and only in the name and sign of distinctiveness can and must we possess and live them. We must distinguish ourselves from qualities. In the anticosm they are balanced and void; in us not. Being distinguished from them delivereth us.
When we strive after the good or the beautiful, we thereby forget our own nature, which is disinctiveness, and we are delivered over to the qualities of the anticosm, which are pairs of opposites. We labor to attain the good and the beautiful, yet at the same time we also lay hold of the evil and the ugly, since in the anticosm these are one with the good and the beautiful. When, however, we remain true to our own nature, which is distinctiveness, we distinguish ourselves from the good and the beautiful,therefore, at the same time, from the evil and ugly. And thus we fall not into the anticosm, namely, into nothingness and dissolution.
Thou sayest, ye object, that difference and sameness are also qualities of the anticosm. How would it be, then, if we strive after difference? Are we, in so doing, not true to our own nature? And must we none the less be given over to the sameness when we strive after difference? Ye must not forget that the anticosm hath no qualities. We create them through thinking. If, therefore, ye strive after difference or sameness,
or any qualities whatsoever, ye pursue thought which flow to you our of the anticosm: thoughts, namely, concerning non-existing qualities of the anticosm. Inasmuch as ye run after these thoughts, ye fall again into the anticosm, and reach difference and sameness at the same time. Not your thhinking, but your being, is distinctiveness. Therefore not after difference, ye think it, must ye strive; but after YOUR OWN BEING . At bottom, therefore, there is only one striving, namely, the striving after your own being. If ye had this striving
ye would not need to know anything about the anticosm and its qualities, and yet would ye come to your right goal by virtue of your own being. Since, however, thought estrangeth from being, that knowledge must I trach you wherewith ye may be able to hold your thought in leash
In the night the dead stood along the wall and cried:
We would have knowledge of god.Where is god? Is god dead?
God is not dead. Now, as ever, he liveth. God is creatura, for he is something definite, and therefore distinct from the anticosm. God is quality of the anticosm, and everything I said of creatura also is true concerning him.
He is distinguished, however, from created beings through this,
that he is more indefinite and indeterminable than they. He is less distinct than created beings, since the ground of his being is effective fullness. Only in so far as he is definite and distinct is he creatura, and in like measure is he the manifestation of the effective fullness of the anticosm.
Everthing which we do not distinguish falleth into the anticosm and is made void by its opposite. If, therefore, we do noy distinguish god, effective fullness is for us extinguished.
Moreover god is the anticosm itself, as likewise each smallest point in the created and uncreated is anticosm itself. Effective void is the nature of the devil. God and decil are the first manifestations of nothingness, which we call the anticosm.
It is indifferent wether the anticosm is or is not, since in everything it is balanced and void. Not so creatura. In so far as god and devil are creatura they do not extinguish each other, but stand one against the other as effective opposites. We need no proof of their existence. It is enough that we must always be speaking of them. Even if both were not, creatura, of its own essential distinctiveness, would forever distinguish them anew out of the anticosm.
Everything that discrimination taketh out of the anticosm is a pair of opposites. To god, therefore, always belongeth the devil. This inseparability is as close and , as your own life hath made you see, as indissoluble as the anticosm itself. Thus it is that both stand very close to the anticosm, in which all opposites are extinguished and joined.
God and devil are distinguished by the qualities of fullness and
emptiness, generation and destruction. EFFECTIVENESS is
common to both. Effectiveness joineth them. Effectiveness, therefore, standeth above both; is a god above god, since in its effect it uniteth fullness and emptiness. This is a god whom ye knew not, for mankind forgot it. We name it by its name GALDRUX . It is more indefinite still than god and devil. That god may be distinguished from it, we name god HELIOS or sun. Galdrux is effect. Nothing standeth opposed to it but the ineffective; hence its effective natyre freely unfoldeth itself.
The ineffective is not, therefore resisteth not. Galdrux standeth above the sun and above the devil. It is improbable probability, unreal reality. Had the anticosm a being, Galdrux would be its manifestation. It is the effective itself, nor any particular effect, but effect in general.
It is unreal reality, because it hath no definite effect.
It is also creatura, because it is distinct from the anticosm.
The sun hath a definite effect, and so hath the devil.
Wherefore do they appear to us more effective than indefinite
Galdrux. It is force, duration, change.
The dead now raised a great tumult, for they were Christians..
Like mists arising from a marsh, the dead came near and cried:
Speak further unto us concerning the supreme god. Hard to know is the deity of Galdrux. Its power is the greatest, because man perceiveth it not. From the sun he draweth the
summum bonum ; from the devil the infimum malum : but from Galdrux LIFE , altogether indefinite, the mother of good and evil.
Smaller and weaker life seemeth to be than the summum bonum ; wherefore is it also hard to conceive that Galdrux transcendeth even the sun in power, who is himself the radient source of all the force of life. Galdrux is the sun, and at the same time the eternally sucking gorge of the void, the belittling and dismembering devil.
The power of Galdrux is twofold; but ye see it not, because for your eyes the warring opposites of this power are extinguished.
What the god-sun speaketh is life. What the devil speaketh is death. But Galdrux speaketh that hallowed and accursed word which is life and death at the same time. Galdrux begetteth truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness, in the same word and in the same act. Wherefore is Galdrux terrible. It is splendid as the lion in the instant he striketh down his victim. It is beautiful as a day in spring. It is the great Pan himself and also the small one. It is Priapos. It is the monster of the under-world, a thousand-armed polyp, coiled knot of winged serpents, frenzy. It is the hermaphrodite of the earliest beginning. It is the lord of the toads and frogs,, which live in the water and gets up on the land, whose chorus ascendeth at noon and at midnight.
It is abundance that seeketh union with emptiness.
It is holy begetting.
It is love and love`s murder.
It is the saint and his betrayer.
It is the brightest light of day and the darkest night of madness.
To look upon it, is blindness.
To know it, is sickness.
To worship it, is death.
To fear it, is wisdom.
To resist it not, is redemption.
God dwelleth behind the sun, the devil behind the night. What god bringeth forth out of the light of the devil sucketh into the night. But Galdrux is the world, its becoming and its passing- Upon every gift that cometh from the god-sun the devil layeth his curse.
Everything that ye entreat from the god-sun begetteth a
deed from the devil. Everything that ye create with the god-sun giveth effective power to the devil. That is terrible Galdrux. It is the mightiest creature, and in it the creature is
afraid of itself. It is the manifest opposition to the anticosm and its nothingness. It is the son`s horror of the mother.
It is the mother`s love for the son. It is the delight of the earth and the cruelty of the heavens. Before its countenance man becometh like stone. Before it there is no question and no reply.
It is the life of creatura.
It is the operation of distinctiveness.
It is the love of man.
It is the speech of man.
It is the appearance and the shadow of man.
It is illusory reality.
Now the dead howled and raged, for they were unperfected.
The dead filled the place murmuring and said; Tell us of gods and devils, accursed one! The god-suun is the highest good, the devil its opposite. Thus have ye two gods. But there are many high and good things and many great evils. Among these are two god-devils; the one is the Burning One , the other the Growing One . The burning one is EROS , who hath the form of flame. Flame giveth light because it consumeth. The growing one is the TREE OF LIFE. . It buddeth, as in growing it heapeth up living stuff. Eros flameth up and dieth. But the tree of life groweth with slow and constant increase through unmeasured time. Good and evil are united in the flame. Good and evil are united in the increase of the tree. In their divinity stand life and love opposed. Innumerable as the host of the stars is the number of gods and devils. Each star is a god, and each space that a star filleth is a devil. But the empty-fullness of the whole is the anticosm. The operation of the whole is Galdrux, to whom only the ineffective standeth opposed. Four is the number of the principal gods, as four is the number of the world`s measurements. One is the beginning, the god-sun.
Two is Eros; for he bindeth twain together and outspreadeth himself in brightness. Three is the Tree of Life, for it filleth space with bodily forms. Four is the devil, for he openeth all that is closed. All that is formed of bodily nature doth he dissolve; he is the destroyer in whom everything is brought to nothing.
For me, to whom knowledge hath been given of the multiplicity and diversity of the good, it is well. But woe unto you, who replace these incompatible many by a single god. For in so doing ye beget the torment which is bred from not understanding, and ye mutilate the creature whose nature and aim is distinctiveness. How can ye be true to your own nature when ye try to change the many into one? What ye do unto the gods is done likewise unto you. Ye all become equal and thus is your nature maimed.
Equalities shall prevail not for god, but only for the sake of man. For the gods are many, whilst men are few. The gods are mighty and can endure their manifoldness. For like the stars they abide in solitude, parted one from the other by immense distances. Therefore they dwell together and need communion, that they may bear their separateness. For redemtion`s sake I teach you the rejected truth, for the sake of which I was rejected. The multiplicity of the gods correspondeth to the multiplicity of man. Numberless gods await the human state. Numberless gods have been men. Man shareth in nature of the gods. He cometh from the gods and goeth unto god. Thus, just as it serveth not to reflect upon the anticosm, it availeth not to worship the multiplicity of the gods. Least of all availeth it to worship the first god, the effective abundance and the Summum bonum. . By our prayer we can add to it nothing, and from it nothing take; because the effective void swalloweth all. The bright gods form the celestial world. It is manifold and infinitely spreading and increasing. The god-sun is the supreme lord of the world. The dark gods form the earth-world. They are simple and infinitely diminishing and declining. The devil is the earth-world`s lowest lord, the moon-spirit, satellite of the earth, smaller, colder, and more dead than the earth. There is no difference between the might of the celestial gods and those of the earth. The celestial gods magnify, the earth-gods diminish. Measurelesss is the movement of both.

galdrux symbol

The Parable of Steve

by Mesozoic Mister Nigel

 

There was an afternoon one summer when a young man we will call “Steve” happened upon a book like no other he had read. It was on the shelf in his local alternative bookstore, and it was called the “Principia Discordia”.

Steve had always thought himself to be quite the rebellious young man, always speaking out about the Man and the System, but with a sense of HUMOR, goddamnit, a sense of ABSURDITY unlike everyone else he knew; this book, he said to himself, is Important. It finally tells me what I am…I am a Discordian. I must find the others!

It took Steve some time to find other Discordians, time during which he renamed himself Pope Buttercup XXIII. He felt that quite a fitting name for a Discordian. He prided himself in his sense of Absurdity, and especially his skills in Randomness, which he practiced by memorizing passages from the Principia.

He learned on the Internet that the Discordian Society near him met monthly in a café downtown, and after his months of searching he determined the date and the time, and arranged to present himself to them. When he arrived, he found the place nearly deserted except for a group of ten or twelve people clustered in a back corner, arguing. They were of all descriptions, these people; no two seemed to have anything in common, even their styles of dress; they ranged from the glowering pierced goth chick at one corner, who was seated beside a neatly-groomed silver-haired man in a rather nice suit, to the plump middle-aged matron in a V-necked rayon sweater, to the lively trenchcoat geek thumping his opinion about something-or-other loudly in the middle of the table.

Steve said to himself, “These are my people?”

“What a motley crew… well, they’re Discordians, I know how to show them I’m One Of Them.”

He stepped up to the table.

“23PINEALFNORD!” he said boldly, “I am Pope Buttercup XXIII! I am random, and say randomly absurd things, because I am a Discordian like you!”

The group fell silent and looked at him curiously for a moment, and then resumed arguing.

Steve was puzzled. This wasn’t the reception he’d expected. He spoke again;

“Excuse me, but do you know where the monkeys fly at midnight? Modern politics bores me, and I can swallow my own nose!!”

Now a few of the others seemed to be paying attention to him, although to his dismay they seemed less than impressed by his perfect grasp of outlandishness. Two or three of them, he noticed… why, they were making fun of him! They were whispering to each other, and looking at him, and laughing! He flushed red in anger.

“Listen, you people! I am a Discordian, and I know what Discordia is, and I came here to find Answers and Truth and Nonsense and Absurdity… what do I find you doing? Just… NOTHING! Nothing at all! Why aren’t you Saying Important Nonsense? Why, you’re just ARGUING… ARGUING like any schmucks I might find on the street! I am obviously more enlightened and Discordian than you fools. You people are all just alike. You should be different! You should PAY ATTENTION to ME, and LISTEN to ME, and I will show YOU How to Be Discordian!”

With this, he started dancing and squawking around the table like a big, Steve-shaped chicken, periodically uttering Absurdities such as “I AM THE PAULRUS” and “TOGETHER WE TURNTABLE THE GREEN OTTER!”. The people at the table attempted to carry on with their arguing, but it was getting harder and harder to hear each other over the squawking. Soon, all their arguing was about Steve, and whether they should ask him to leave. About a third of the group started shouting at Steve, telling him to get out of the café and leave them alone; another third started shouting at the first third to shut up and leave Steve alone, and the other third tried to have an interesting conversation, but it was impossible to follow with all the hubbub so they eventually fell silent.

Finally, the barista stormed over and said, “WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON OVER HERE?”

One of the quieter members of the group replied, “Discord”.

We would like, at this point, to say that Steve, hearing this, was enlightened, but it doesn’t usually work that way outside of Zen koans.

Populist framing, left and right

by Brian Dean (News Frames)

 

populist-hello

Dec 10, 2013Down with the elites! Here’s my Hello! magazine* article on:-

♦ Populist ideological tendencies
◊ Evidence/proof & “corporate media”
♦ Noam Chomsky (and/or Russell Brand)
◊ Populist moral frames
♦ Right-Left political scale
◊ Nietzsche’s “master” & “slave” moralities
♦ Populist intolerance

 

Political “populism” seems insidious when it tends towards the ideological – specifically, ideology which blames a single group or class for social and economic disasters. It’s easy to see on the right, with the rise of UKIP, etc. It also seems noticeable in “radical” left populism.

Of course, we need to understand why it’s more “ideological” than “rational” to assign blame in a generalised way. (“It’s the immigrants”; “it’s the welfare layabouts“; “No, it’s the elites; it’s the Liberal Establishment; it’s the corporate media…”).

David Hume wrote that a wise person “proportions his belief to the evidence”, and critics of conspiracy theories like to quote something similar (from Marcello Truzzi): “An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof”. We should, of course, demand the same strict standard of evidence/proof for populist political claims as we do for conspiracy theories. While the latter may seem “extraordinary” in the sense of outlandish, the former seem just as extraordinary in the sense of oversimplistic, over-generalising, reductive.

boris-piechartPopulists of both left and right do, of course, cite specific proof – eg of corporate corruption or “benefits fraud”, etc – to make their broad diagnoses sound credible. But, the wider the populist net of blame, the more dubious the belief that the generalisations are supported by the individual cases. These populist claims then seem more like panchrestons than “rational” inferences.

Language structure may further distort perceptions. Robert Anton Wilson cited the phrase, “White men own all the corporations” (which he heard from a Hispanic radical on TV**) – a simple over-generalisation, which also invites “logical” misinterpretation, since our brains may easily compute it as: “All white men own the corporations”. There may be evidence to support a quantified statement with a more precise wording (eg: “95% of US corporations are owned by a tiny minority of white men”), but populist language is characterised more by dramatic and emotive over-generalisation than by accurate quantification and precision. Thus, “X caused Y” is routinely “understood” to mean “All X caused Y”, including cases where X refers to “immigrants”, “people on benefits”, “liberals”, “corporations”, “the media”, “feminists”, “white men”, “Jews”, etc.

“Corporate media”

“The media” represents a special case of this logical confusion. A lot of spurious, toxic nonsense comes from “the media” – false arguments for war, whitewashing of Our Glorious Leaders, demonisation of the poor, etc. So, assigning generalised blame to the “corporate media” – eg: “the [generalised] media is to blame for all this toxicity” – seems justified at first glance. But the logic doesn’t work the other way around: “All people in the media are responsible for the [generalised] toxicity”.

No amount of material condemning “the media” (and there is a lot of it) justifies this logical reversal, whether directly stated or implied by imprecise language. Noam Chomsky, who has cited a large amount of evidence to back his own claims about western states, corporations and their media, warned against using such material for populist/ideological claims. In his academic work, Chomsky has railed against what he sees as “ideology” inherent in the social sciences, as contrasted with his own approach (“For Chomsky, the only channels of communication that are free from such ideological contamination are those of genuine natural science”, writes radical anthropologist, Chris Knight).

corporate-media-stoogesBut those who have followed in Chomsky’s political footsteps often make highly generalised claims about “western” states and “corporate media”, and it’s easy to see how such generalisations have become “contaminated” by a reductive ideology that’s far from Chomsky’s scientific ideal. For example, I’ve witnessed some Chomskyite media critics repeatedly denounce George Monbiot (and other “liberal media” columnists) as “corporate” – as if by attaching that word to him they somehow attribute a generalised essence of corporate “pathology”, infecting everything he writes. This, to me, typifies the ideological mode of “criticism” favoured in sections of the populist “radical” left.

A lot of what I consider populist criticism of “the media” or “corporate media” seems interchangeable between “left” and “right” – and between “credible” and “crackpot”. I recently saw a media critic’s tweet referring to media tributes for Nelson Mandela, which said: “When a deeply corrupt, violent, greed-driven media system is applauding as one, it’s vital to question what they’re doing and why”. On the face of it, the notion of a monolithic, acting-as-one media system could come from right or left. Logically, it could even come from the KKK. It’s only the “corrupt, violent, greed-driven” wording that marks it as a “radical left” variant.

(I note that in football matches across the country there was a literal “applauding as one” in tribute for Mandela – by hundreds of thousands of non-corporate individuals with diverse backgrounds/beliefs. But I’ve no idea what that signifies. Perhaps no more than a general awareness of a human being who endured 27 years in prison and who then became symbolic of positive change, etc).

Incidentally, I found the above “Corporate Media Stooges” image on a web-page titled ‘Corporate Media’, which explains that six corporations “control the flow of most of the information in the United States of America”, and that “The Corporate Media is the main conduit for government disinformation, propaganda and distractions”. This is from a website called ‘End Times Prophecy Report’ – which doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.

Right-left political scale

The_Sun_populismI’ve written at length about the “authoritarian” moral frames of the right which shape the contents of conservative tabloid newspapers. These rely on fearmongering and the reassuring rhetoric of “strong leaders”, presented as “uncompromising” and “tough”. Simplistic either-or narratives apparently have a big appeal in times of anxiety and disorientation caused by economic, technological and social shifts.

It’s generally assumed that the hard right and radical left are at “opposite ends” of a linear scale (with “moderates” in the middle) – ie that their thinking couldn’t be more different. But this seems mistaken in the case of populism. The populist frames of the supposed “extremes” of right and left share many striking similarities, including some of the language used (the “liberal establishment”, for example, being a fungible bad group for both).

The Euclidean right-left scale, with political extremes at opposing “ends”, is a misleading metaphor, according to George Lakoff. Even the most “progressive” minds can, at times, shift into “authoritarian” or “reactionary” modes of thinking. And populist moral framing, with its either-or logic and double binds, may bring about such shifts.

Populist moral frames

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
— Oscar Wilde

Some frames are issue-specific; others work at a “higher” level, across different issues. Rightwing Conservative examples of the latter include “moral strength“, “toughness”, “self-reliance”, “discipline” (eg “strong military”, “tough on crime”, “get the scroungers back to work”). Uncompromising either-or values – no “soft” grey in-between. (This is part of what George Lakoff has written about under the heading “Strict Father framing“, and which I’ve written about in more detail here).

The populist “radical” left has its own uncompromising moral framing – with the focus on “Moral Truth”, purity (and “straightforward” “simplicity”), largely as a reaction to oppression by the powerful. The same Aristotelian either-or logic applies: No grey areas; “Tell the simple Truth”. The straight facts versus the corruption, deceit and greed. Either the decency, wisdom and truth-telling of “ordinary people” or the lies of the elites. (The millions of “ordinary people” who choose to buy The Sun and Daily Mail every day don’t fit comfortably into this binary scheme, it seems).

Cartoon from Prometheus RisingThe “Truth”, for the populist “radical” left, belongs exclusively to the ordinary, struggling peopleparticularly those who have been told the True Facts™ about their situation. By definition, the Truth cannot be found in the corporate/establishment system.

To summarise and (over-)simplify: morality (for the populist right) belongs to those in power who maintain order. Morality (for the populist left) belongs to those who are oppressed by that power/order.

Nietzsche’s moral frames

Those who have read Nietzsche’s writings on “master” and “slave” moralities may recognise a roughly similar dichotomy to the above. Nietzsche wrote of the Christian slaves under the Roman empire – his psychological take was that in their state of powerlessness, the only way the slaves could assert any superiority was in a “moral” (eg spiritual) sense. This they did by inverting the existing social value system – making strength/power bad/evil, and compassion/pity good.

Nietzsche argued that the slaves’ “moral” values arose from resentment and fear – that they used moral conduct as a sort of passive-aggressive weapon of revenge, since they weren’t in a position to express their hostility directly. Their “Moral Truth” consisted of redefining the actions of others (against them) as Evil – ie morality as reaction.

The revolt of the slaves in morals begins in the very principle of resentment becoming creative and giving birth to values – a resentment experienced by creatures who, deprived as they are of the proper outlet of action, are forced to find their compensation in an imaginary revenge.
(Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals, Dover editions, p19)

nietzsche-cartoon-scanIn this Nietzschean psychology/framing, the slave morality succeeds when the master starts to see himself from the slave’s perspective – as morally reprehensible. To avoid guilt, he then feels obliged to “do good” from the slave’s perspective – ie adopt the slave morality. You can see it as a kind of “moral” contagion, operating through disguised resentment and intolerance. In modern terminology, you might call it a ‘successful’ meme or virus.

Incidentally, Nietzsche didn’t despise kindness or trivialise suffering (which his own life was filled with). Rather, he makes a psychological point about values such as compassion used as a prop or mind-fuck. His wrath is directed mainly at the priests, who, from a position of relative power, promote the slave, or “herd”, morality. My point about over-generalisation also applies here.

Populist intolerance

“To ascribe predicates to a people is always dangerous.”
— Nietzsche, 1873 note, published in Kaufmann’s The Portable Nietzsche, p41

“Once one leaves pure mathematics, the ascription of
predicates to groups always introduces fallacy.”

— Robert Anton Wilson, No Governor #8, Nov 1985

Populist intolerance seems obvious on the right (against “scroungers”, “skivers”, immigrants, etc), and some surveys show a “hardening” in social attitudes along these lines. My digressions on Nietzschean psychology and “Moral Truth” point to the less obvious forms of intolerance that I see in the populist “radical” left.

The function of “evidence” for populist ideology is to illustrate what’s already known to be The Truth. This is a simple matter when you confuse abstract groups and either-or logic with messy reality. Evidence which doesn’t support the approved “truth-telling” is to be seen as “clearly not credible”. And the people who cite such evidence must be regarded as “suspect” in some way – eg dupes or agents (“trolls”) of the other side.

Thus, many influential media editors, TV presenters, etc, dismiss certain views/facts as “leftwing campaigning”, and many populists of the “radical” left dismiss nearly everything appearing in the “corporate” media (the items which aren’t dismissed are classed as “fig leaves”). New ideas and original ways of thinking tend not to arise in this mental environment. Why would they, when The Truth is already known, and when genuinely radical conceptions tend not to fit within old abstract groupings and binary classifications?

It’s all become like Zinn and Chomsky but without the immense bodies of hard data these older guys use to back up their screeds. There’s no more complex, messy, community-wide argument (or “dialogue”); political discourse is now a formulaic matter of preaching to one’s own choir and demonizing the opposition. Everything’s relentlessly black-and-whitened. Since the truth is way, way more gray and complicated than any one ideology can capture, the whole thing seems to me not just stupid but stupefying. (David Foster Wallace, interview)

* This is not a Hello! magazine article.
** Language, Logic & Lunacy, from Email to the Universe, p66
◊ The two cartoons are from Prometheus Rising, by Robert Anton Wilson, and Nietzsche Beginner’s Guide, by Roy Jackson, respectively. (I recommend both books).

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