by phil on Thursday Oct 2, 2003 4:33 PM
McKenna, Terence, individualism
In our culture, we tend to move into cities that push nature away from us. In our mental environment, we do the same thing. Most people live within a very conventionalized set of notions that are deeply imbedded in a larger set of notions. When we go to the physical edges, such as the desert, jungle, and remote and wild nature, and when we go to the mental edges with meditation, dreams, and psychedelics, we discover an extremely rich flora and fauna in the imagination. This realm is ignored because of our tendency to see in words, to build in words, and to turn our backs on the raging ocean of phenomena that would otherwise entirely overwhelm our metaphors.
I view this "evil" as merely the after effect of a cemented, or possibly increasing intensity of fear in man, combined with an ever expanding array of options to control his environment. Man naturally seeks control when threatened.
I think this is important to realize that en route to the Singularity, raw emotions in man will probably stay the same, and with the idea that emotion precedes cognition, it may not be surprising that man enslaves himself to himself through his methods of control.
My personal wish, then, is that the balance of controls is greater in the individual than in other entities--Wait, but isn't that the opposite of what McKenna is hoping... i.e. that we should let ourselves go to the greater forces of nature... is that somehow inherently more virtuous that letting ourselves be controlled by the engine of society... or is it a fact that since nature has no active agency, it therefore can never be evil; while as society always works actively for its benefit in sacrifice for the individual's? That's even tenuous itself because what if society only exists by the willingness of its supporters to pursue collective happiness?
I think there is some sort of bias among memetic scientists or sociologists that makes society look evil. Indeed, as Clay Shirky mentioned...
So even if someone isn't really your enemy, identifying them as an enemy can cause a pleasant sense of group cohesion. And groups often gravitate towards members who are the most paranoid and make them leaders, because those are the people who are best at identifying external enemies.