Prolegomena to any future manifesto • 25 January 2007

I. Matthew K says he didn’t see this coming. Me neither. I’m blogging because slow deductive academia is giving me a cramp and because Charles J told me to do it while I while I was entering a suggestion-receptive state. (That is, in the 15 minute brain-wave stretch we learn to do on ourselves before astanga practice.)

II. ANYWAY, more later on faith in academia and the hooey of hermetic seals, mentioned earlier. The Dawkins posse have rallied at the edges this year in the most brilliant way. It’s a belief-purge!! I love that they’re screaming at us to get serious, root out superstition, and take verificationism to the limit. And: they are delusional. But that’s another day. I still take their point that skizoid belief systems are common and problematic.

III. Attempts at cleverness after yoga practice:

A—-So, what kind of sociologist are you?

B—-((Lost for words))

A—-That is… are you a Durkheimean, or a Marxist?

B—-(((Mental images of fuzzy Marx peering over my shoulder))) A nondualist!

Yeah. It’s just as easy to keep the practice in an airtight container. “Me time” for achievers. But what when it eventually turns fom a consolation for daily life into its baseline? Then you might want the easy way out – cultivating alienation from the day job, or quitting it, because you can’t feel “authentic” doing it anymore.  Whatever.

IV. There’s also the possibility of pushing back into intellectual life, and the empiricist limits its placed around mind, consciousness, morality and evolution. The edgy ones are doing that in a way that’s loaded to shoot up kind of a lot of previously serviceable theory—looking at things like evolving value systems, the social nature of selfhood, and…mind.This is the time for revolutions in everybody’s working assumptions on the nature of consciousness and self, for practitioners of both inner and outerworldly research. Daniel Kahneman gets it. The Dalai Lama gets it. So do you, friends, if you’ll suspend the hipsterism with me for a second.

Science is more a disposition than a methodology.  “Research,” as much as it’s inspired by speculation and intuition, is the bracketing of (1) faith and of (2) authority.  Research is investigating, first hand albeit aided and undergirded by traditions, what is the case. Do you really want to leave that work, in any realm, to somebody else?

So before you yell at me to please go back to talking about the nature of American Empire, class divisions and social boundaries, and the subversiveness of the journalism profession, let me say that I’m doing all that while having bought in to the woo woo. Which, at its best, has a way of burning off the bullshit, because if we’re just reliving dead inquiries (while consuming the same culture over and over), there are simply more important, revolutionary, inquiries to join.

So, what about: consciousness (yours and, um, transpersonal); evolving value systems; the proposition that everything is connected; the social nature of self; the push and pull of experimental faith and, its near-enemy, self-deception (?).

If I can make a leap across the lacuna the rest of this journal seeks to fill in, all this is why I’m thinking about… consumerism. I submit that consumerism, a pervasive habit of being now, is a mode self expression through affectation of cultural objects, contributing to both self-commodification and group-creation with others of like taste. With consuming being so dear to self-creation, it’s not shocking to see some moves to make it “ethical.” To feel better about ourselves when the label says sweatshop free. Yet… maybe, for all its great logistical limits and its self-congratulation, this new, aestheticized social value forges new connections between humans, and actually changes not only our minds but our future. What’s the relationship of social networks and personal identity/value, and the implications of such a relationship for, well, social structure?

On which more later. For now, let me note that for the love of Karl, changes in consciousness are, oddly, a subject I’m not quite welcome to discuss up in the tower when we sit around in our empiricist caps. That’s ok, because for the moment I’d rather work some thoughts out here, in everyday language that doesn’t have to wait four years to get published on some journal that 30 people will read, sitting defensively at their desks.

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