Semantica

by rsbakker

Aphorism of the Day: Consciousness is the gear that confuses itself for the whole machine. Thus are two thousand five hundred years of philosophical megalomania explained. 

This started as a response to Abalieno…

So science gradually provides an entirely new vocabulary for self-understanding, one consilient with the mad therapeutic bounty of neuroscience and utterly at odds with intuitive self-understanding, let alone received cultural norms. Historically, whenever science begins substituting explanations, the preexisting explanations lose all credibility. Evolution is a great example of an entire explanatory system that ran afoul powerful, conflicting cultural norms. You can be damn sure that his new scientific vocabulary will not fly, that people will opt for a wild diversity of counter-arguments, each one of them convinced that the experience they felt, that was the foundation of existence, let alone life, had to be more than smoke and mirrors. Meanwhile more and more people will be cured and so on, cementing the cognitive legitimacy of neuroscience. The instruments employed by government and corporate interests become ever more effective. A profound crisis rocks jurisprudence. All human life is medicalized. We find ourselves living in this bizarrely bifurcated world, where people assert, with religious fervour, that their hearts speak true. But where they are administrated and ministered to as biological machines. A bifurcated inverted world.

What other outcome could their be? So long as the tools provided by neuroscience are effective, they will be patronized by those seeking competitive advantages – by power. All the masses who believe in some X will only have speculation and tradition to constrain their beliefs, so they will continue to speciate, more and more accounts as to why This Comes First.

Terrifying to think about: the very foundation of meaning as object of social manipulation. You could say the process began with the Enlightenment, with the organization of our societies around the technical exploitation of our labour and our environment. Another way to put this is that <em>technical exploitation </em>is the engine of our social system. And as it plays itself out, the meaning-friendly alternatives will come to seem more and more tenuous, ‘fringe’ or ‘commercial.’ You will see the a profound realignment of cultural identifications. Embracers. Mopers. Hopers. Deniers. All four will scramble to lead lives of hedonic excess. The Tweakers will run everything, especially the ten-thousand channel show called ‘meaningful existence.’

A few will even believe it.

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