1 The promise of ESP

Without overstating it, there is so little known about the phenomenon of ESP, largely because of it being ridiculed to death, that we might best assume an enormous variety of unconscious ESP activity materializing human connection on social, selective and temporal levels already, as we speak.

“It’s as if we’re all run and set up by some alien species and you just try to accept existence in their hive fortresses as best you can always feeling something is missing: that you’re very far away from some home you dream of but have never seen.”
– John the Peregrine

Detecting the bodymind-DIY structure in function forms the next big step in the revelation of our existence to the universal self: a common conception of communication that includes ESP. This conception may or may not be connected, as suggested earlier, with the revelation and contact with alien species within and outside of our galaxy. This may sound fantastic and sci-fi, but in reality relates to an attempt to include within the real everything unreal. Unicorns are as real as any other objects as long as thought perceives them in the same way as it perceives any other object. The thought “but it’s not real” refers to the empirical sensation of touching, hearing, seeing or smelling (tasting) a unicorn, which has nothing in common with what we commonly perceive as real. Think, for example, of our conviction that political systems are real, even though we can’t sense them.

My suggestion would be that, historically, people have become more interested in the question of real versus phantasy. This has caused them to have many thoughts concerning this particular objectified distinction; to make the distinction with confidence, we have to ‘know’ how to apply it, we have to ‘own’ or ‘have’ it. This means we ‘have’ it as object, and don’t ‘live’ the knowledge, have it applied instead of apply it. Seeing this fundamental distinction readily brings you closer to the force of objectification that houses inside all of us. Detecting this force and observing to what degree and in what manner the mind objectifies forms the stepping stone towards semantic insight, or insight into the nature of meaning. I am aware that this process comes naturally to so-called introverts, and since their presence within visible society is on the decline, it is important to point out that this process can soon no longer be part of a standard education. This is mainly due to a fragmentized brain through constant information snippet bombardment, and a commonly accepted extraversion and ‘networking’ regime determining one’s societal survival.

The role information has come to play in a networked, informational society, now consistently builds an in-between and a convincing argument for being forced to use informational technology for any societal purpose. For example, to listen to good music, one requires to read at least a few good blogs on what is good; to enjoy a piece of art in a museum, one needs to read the sign next to it first; all real friendships and even family ties are based on ‘interests’; a job is given to the most informed interviewee; to be healthy means to read books on health and get an online trainer; to know God requires knowing Thomas of Aquinas’ work and a firm understanding of the atheism debate; to enjoy a political debate one needs to explain how science backs up one’s claims; and lastly, to find confirmation for a hypothesis in scientific research means to read 24/7 and overpower direct colleagues with ‘facts’ to downplay their concerns.

Let me be clear that I don’t want to go back to a non-informational society. The reason I do not want that is because first, I think it’s impossible, and second, the pursuit of something higher than we have now must come (at least for my generation, as well as the one before and after mine) from a combination of what we already understand (partly through information technology) and what we do not yet understand. And so part of what I intend to explain is how a society that went through so much and learned so much from its mistakes, allowed a very youthful (not to say infantile and deliberately kept infantile) nation like the U.S. to rule over everyone, to impregnate everyone’s culture with the exact same eerie, transmogrifying sameness? Because of an overpowering propaganda machine that has children’s and infantilized adults’ minds get accustomed to commercialism and that has parents forget about real education in the face of shallow, happy-slappy sentiment. And for children and infantiles everything complicated and out of the ordinary is too hard to understand.

Crucial to the right of existence for social media within a society remains social media’s ability to connect with total strangers, who suddenly don’t seem so strange. Information exchange based on trustworthy and open friendship has been a goal of many platforms since the start. But how do you build a community in which everyone trusts each other, if that trust was never there to begin with? In the study I have conducted on the behavior of people as individuals, as couples and as groups, I aimed to describe the distance people keep as part of their attitude and participation in reality. This has been a phenomenological, sometimes even intuitional approach to how much social trust people have towards each other. Social trust, however, turned out as connected to trust in God or the life/death transition, comprising social, authoritarian and episodic trust. The role I took in the observations was one of ethnomethodological observer, hinging mostly on the liminal positions of public versus private person, and researcher versus employee. Liminally occupying these positions by being constantly aware/unaware of them, was natural to me after becoming experienced with it during extensive research periods in 2011 and 2012.

As we have learned from Facebook, simply forcing friendship on everyone is not the key to increasing social trust. Many have believed that face-to-face or at the very least video contact would turn out imminent for establishing ‘real’ and trustworthy connection over social media. Others have pointed to the reputation someone or a group of people has, or to the larger enemy building stronger ties between friends. The truth is that these arguments convey the now well-known narrational or temporal, structural or selective and ethical or social realm, respectively. They are valid arguments, but with Korzybski, we might have to start looking at what is actually going on in social networks today, to figure out why it is not helping to democratize society.

Soon enough, we find that trolls are everywhere. I will define trolls as people who have radicalized beliefs about how others are supposed to behave. In particular, trolls are upset scientists who do nothing but point to scientific standards with regards to anything being discussed (Korzybski calls this scientistic behavior), complexify issues to make them unsolvable in the short term, and most significantly, believe that they are doing the right thing for society in doing so. Note that these are the same three issues: the structure of science, the narrative of complexity, social self-aggrandizement. There is no other group as large as the trolls group that performs purely destructive behavior in social media. I am ashamed to have to admit it, but this book therefore calls for the total abomination of science as a globally networked community, and for the replacement of this community with mathematics as a globally transmitted language. I am against science as an institution because it has failed to educate many of its members to an acceptable standard. The reason is because it has grown too large. To give an example, most members of the global scientific community identify with the following statement.

“Every person who uncritically accepts the world around them is a threat to any being of awareness and agency.”  – John the Peregrine

They forget that the statement is about them as a person, and not about a worldwide standard. One could say that we are individualized beyond recognition of an infinitely diversified collective. That means then, that the distinction is meaningless and, as a result, the mathematical-psychophysiological approach suggested by Korzybski, which sets out to educate everyone in this one language, is as individual as it is dividual. This would go towards an argument that favors why our times would be the right times for an application of Korzybski’s idea. It is exactly within the realm of this math-physical, or rather, personal, introverted world that we start seeing the wonders of communicating beyond informational technologies.

For this we are required to visualize the hardest step to take in his therapeutic reform:

“[I]t takes a few weeks, or even months, before this simple
s.r. [semantic reactions] is established [that to live we must deal with the objective level, which cannot be reach by words alone], the old identification being psychophysiologically very much ingrained.
Once this is established, we stress the fact that we must handle, look, and listen, never speak, but remain silent, outwardly as well as inwardly, in order to find ourselves on the objective level. Here we come to the most difficult steps in the whole training.”

Social networks are badly in need of silence. Silence is seen as voided subjectivity, as an inward turn, that is still communicated as such. To make this idea more graspable, imagine the presence of an episodic realm of perception next to a social and selective realm of perception. The episodic often remains unobserved in a world that demands the here-and-now kind of approach to everyday life. The here-and-now almost entirely demands the me-other (social) and this-that (selective) kind of perception, since these lead to most practical, directly implementable efficacy in everyday life. You don’t write an article if you don’t know what to do with it after it’s finished, if you’re not sending it in somewhere. Position B has to be present or the trajectory A-B or coming full circle will not be possible. This kind of thinking is a direct result of our negligence of the episodic or Matrix realm. Of course, other realities than A-B are possible, depending on what is made to appear through the consideration of the story of one’s life, through watching oneself from a hovering viewpoint over one’s head, through taking the helicopter view of relativism.

The helicopter view is not so much a conscious decision but more one that you find yourself using sometimes when you’re not on your way from A to B. For example, if you’re a fan of riding CTA buses then the time it takes from A to B is preferably maximized. Instead of getting to B you’re hoping to break the lineage and let the busride last forever. Most people, however, would not say forever but just a bit longer. This is because they are afraid bad things will happen. And this fear keeps them from using the helicopter view more effectively.

i might also say that this view is on its way out, especially when participating in social networks – which to many young people seems like a 24/7 job – because being part of such networks (and what is the Internet other than a personalized social network?) is nothing but a helicopter view of self. It would be too much an abstraction, or nonsensical, to hover over the helicopter position. But since this function is taken out of our hands, it is no longer our responsibility to hover; we have delegated it to our devices. Stuffing our devices underneath our very skin is a good expression of our longing to retrieve our internal world, as we lose our innate ability to do so from within our bodies. In this sense, digital devices seem to necessitate themselves as prostheses to the body.

The development of an internal world has been described by influential psychologist such as Theodule Ribot and Wilhelm Reich as a newer or later step in evolution. According to them, it is strongly linked to the coming into existence of self-related emotions, such as validation, humiliation, shame, pride, and so on. These emotions differ from the earlier emotions we have in common with the animal kingdom, notably pleasure, pain, love, fear, trust. These latter flow on the outside of our bodies, as Reich as explained, while the former our expressed through our central nervous system and functional muscular groups. If we take Marshall McLuhan’s claim to heart, that digital media are extensions of our nervous system, we see why media are self-systems or systems that assist and expand the newer kind of emotions related to self. The question why primitive man, who, like modern man, did not possess a volitional inner world, had more access to ESP than modern man. Is modern man simply guided and already on its way to re-attain such primitive communication skills?

The gradual disappearance of this internal, episodic hovering, or silence to reflect on everyday reality as it appears, is not a recent phenomenon. It hails back to the first decades of the twentieth century, to the time of drastic rationalization of economic behavior in light of industrial capitalism. The subjective realm was limited substantially by the subsequent “instrumentalization and rationalization of the social world”, as Gustavo Benavides mentions in this regard. The disciplining of everyday life became a pivotal influence on the intensified interest among “romanticists, pietists and theorists of religion” for the cultivation of subjectivity. Even now, with the Internet’s capacities, social networks prevent one from gaining any subjectivity. Remaining silent is merely witnessed as laziness, ignorance or aloofness, and not if at all as introversion, shyness, or other psychophysical needs or preferences, then often in a judgmental sense. Introversion is anti-social, impolite.

Korzybski’s next stage of differentiating between descriptive and inferential words becomes especially important in light of this crusade against the inner world. Rather than mere descriptions, inferences assume half of what they claim to be true. An untrained eye, following Korzybski, has a hard time seeing all assumptions. If you do not make changes in your process of learning, feeling and acting upon information take-in, and instead you are using the information merely to teach others, you are missing out on life. You make inferences where descriptions would suffice. The descriptive intake of information can attain a particular depth, which is at its max largely the same for any human, provided a good brain. The dynamic behind such information take-in can bring you in closer contact with the objective level, while it will never be possible to reach that level. If such a dynamic has been made conscious by the bodymind, it can activate this process independently of any information take-in, and get closer to the objective level of description, or use the descriptive level to steadily approach the objective.

The objective level can easily be unmasked as immanent perception, which is contrary to the intuitive empirical perception of objects, and thus contrary to Ribot’s volitional attention and Reich’s oppressive internal ‘shoulda-woulda-coulda’ world. Immanent perception happens when people remain unconscious of feelings of restraint. We all know what it feels like if we have to cry or become angry, but how aware are we – at the moment of expressing these feelings – of the less visible feeling that this is wrong? Sensing this dynamic, we may see objects of perception as unrelated to transcendent consciousness. This is the decisive move away from Cartesian epistemology, as worded by Jakob Friedrich Fries (1773-1843). Objects of perception “are immanent, since phenomenal reality is immanent to consciousness”. In the give example, these objects would be crying and expressing anger, while the phenomenal reality is the automatic feeling of restraint.

The unquestioning faith of primitive man, and perhaps of some people today, in a divine source is a thing which has become increasingly unreachable, incredible, unsupportable in the face of the powers existing in the modern world. But it is always there, faint and far away — the unreal that is the ultimate reality. Yet when this ultimate somehow manifests, its very lack of sensible or rational expression creates fear and an implosion of irrelevant paraphernalia that protects us from fear but that obliterates the issue. We wish to put on skins, to clothe the unspeakable, to fill the vacuum. – Arthur Young, 1999

This view equals the Kantian and Friesian doctrine of empirical realism, in which original awareness of a subjective consciousness itself remains out of reach. And where there is no awareness, there cannot be subjective attitude either. This means the entire argument for self-aggrandizement falls away, since who are you to constantly complexify everything while pointing to supposed scientific standards. Subsequently, the void that is thus created rackets up the dynamic of the other arguments, opening doors to a larger knowledge sphere. On a more practical level, this would lead away from (skeptic) nihilism and (scientific) dogma, and towards that non-intuitive inner knowledge of purposiveness, which can only be felt subjectively if the subjective makes some room for it. This notion of the voided subjective bears similarity to Edmund Husserl’s notion of consciousness, as well as to ancient Indian philosophy, in which the Knower is never Known as Knower. As soon as it is, the contents of consciousness (its intentionality) shift from one relation between Knower and Known, to another.

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The promise of ESP Copyright © 2015 by Peter Blank. All Rights Reserved.

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