Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Order / Kleptocracy /
Mission: to suggest that the People are a mental construct: like Church, like Government, like God
@ K. 2000 09 07
We the People
Another Eidolon of Kleptocracy
Arguing both sides of an apparent contradiction:
1. That “the people” is a fiction, like God, invented to cover the misdeeds of a few kleptocrats;
2. That there really is an entity which we might as well call “the people.” And that that entity is the real magician behind the illusions perpetrated by the kleptocrats.
The answer to the question who’s the puppet, who the master? is not simple.
My “History” section [since merged into Society] argues that Homo sapiens [sic] sapiens [sic] is a predator fully operational in nature’s tricks of camouflage: but with the additional trick of self-deception. The moth’s genes that give it big “eyes” in its wings may hope to deceive a predator, but is the moth itself supposed to be deceived?
We are one of only three species on our planet that can claim to be self-aware,
yet self-delusion may be a more significant characteristic of our kind.
The actual physical universe (Pleroma) is whatever it is. Cosmologies presume to model it. If any are “true” there’s no final way to tell. (Because nothing is final.) (Not even death or taxes: there too there’s no way to tell.) But all cosmologies are interesting in what they reveal about their authors and consumers. The Jews and the Christians and the Muslims may all have different “Bibles” but one thread such bibles have in common is that God made the world, made man, and gave the world to man. (Then took it back and gave it to the Jews.) (Then took it back and gave it to the Christians.) (Or then took it back and gave it to the Muslims.) This God made the world and therefore owns it the way you would own a belt you crafted (until you give it to Naomi, Judy, or Salina). This cosmology is not verifiable in any way outside its own mythic context.
Embarrassingly without historical reference is Freud’s myth of the Brothers. Here too there is “in the beginning” a “father.” The father owns everything by taking everything: “having” is 100% of the law. The father has all the women, all the land, all the power. The father also has a bunch of sons. They grow up, they get some strength, they gang up on the father, kill him, and take everything, their mothers and sisters, for their own. Brotherhood is parricide. (I discuss this further in a piece comparing Freud’s myth [link to be resurrected] to the Christian myth.)
Leslie Fiedler’s mythic interpretation of history does have historical references. (I make free with it but believe you should still recognize the base as his.) God cast us out of the Garden, we live in toil, fratricide, and misery, till we find the other half of the world, America, still natural, still Paradise, with our still natural brothers still living in it. We bypass God, kill them, and take Paradise for ourselves: moving ever Westward (Death, that’s where the sun sets), till we’re right back where we started (except now there really is no Paradise left).
Now the people who did the killing and who now have “everything” will never take Freud’s or Fiedler’s myth for their own, but they did weave a mythology. It’s not under the mythic authorship of God or the Father; it’s under the mythic authorship of “We the People.”
Now, there have always been those who could doubt this or that god. And man lived pretty well for a fairly long time without any god. And there was always some dozen other tribes who didn’t give a hoot about your Father: they had their own. But they all think of themselves as (what we translate as) the People. Even I’m calling them “people.” So how could anyone doubt that there’s such a thing as “the people”? Well, I don’t. There certainly is an entity the People: it’s just that its existence has a type of reality few not my students have the tools to articulate or analyze. In other words, the majority can’t tell an orange from a pear when it comes to ontology. The chair I’m sitting on has physical existence. My father, at least his body, when he was alive, had physical existence. We say God is a spirit, so the majority hasn’t recently attributed physical existence to him (though our confusions are still primitive). The “people” are a mental artifact. So is my image of the chair. The question is: does the mental artifact have an objective correspondent? My chair does: I’m sitting on it. The astronauts rocketed to the moon. They stood on it. What they stood on was not a romantic teen’s dream. What they can’t stand on is the moon that’s made of green cheese. (We haven’t found one yet, have we?)
So: my chair has physical, verifiable existence. The moon has physical, now verified, existence. Has anyone verified God’s spiritual existence? How would you go about it? (By having him talk to you? as he’s talked to me? What kind of verification is that?) I can get (some) person(s) to sign me a check. Can I get God to do it? Can I get the People to do it? No. The People have no bank account. They’re like the green cheese moon. They exist only intensionally, and then, only pathologically intensionally. (Many of these concepts are developed in my Thinking Tools section, which I hope you’ve already found and read as well as at my Macroinformation.)
No God, no country, no ‘society.’
Just people and things, and people one by one
Stone Canal note
A new doctor in town told me that she needed a better office. Next time I saw her this half-wit told me that “Jesus” had given her the money. That I would like to have seen. I’ll bet that the signature actually on the check belonged to some officer of her church. One document of the People has some signatures, but they’re all of individual persons: John Hancock and so forth. Another is attributed to Thomas Jefferson. How is Thomas Jefferson the People? Was he the People’s lawyer? What records do we have of the People hiring him? He was elected president but that was after he wrote the documents. shouldn’t the conference they had prior to the authorship of the Declaration of Independence have some public record? (Too many people had been reading Hobbes.)
Human history is one long record of ghost proxies: a document for a supposed Word, a supposed Moses for a supposed God, a supposed Son for a supposed Father … a bunch of paper for a supposed People.
The reality of the People is intensional. That doesn’t make it not “real,” just not physical. The question left is whether the entity is a construct of a sane (group-) mind; or a pathological (group-) mind: does the entity serve survival? or not? If a green cheese “moon” serves survival, then it’s an important entity however imaginary. Do the People serve survival? or hinder it?
If the government doesn’t trust the people,
why doesn’t it dissolve them and elect a new people?
I say they hinder it. Because the entity behind the People is insane. It’s the same entity behind God (or at least descended from it). And what that entity is is a collective all right; it’s Homo sapiens all right: but it’s dead wrong about its own nature. And dead set against anyone figuring out the truth. And the truth that’s taboo is the truth I’ve been writing about for decades and hinting about in today’s above draft: the collective entity of Man has evolved along paths noted by Darwin and beautifully updated by the Leakeys, Johanson, Jared Diamond … That entity has self-organized as a social species along lines probed by Freud and others and better traced by Desmond Morris, Stephen Jay Gould, Jared Diamond … The extensional members of that entity talk a lot (as Nigel Calder joked) but what they say is not to be trusted: not without external verification. I repeat: man is a predator. Man is a master of camouflage. Man is self-camouflaged, a self-deceiver. Man is routinely on the make, stealing and killing here, weaving justifications there. And palming them off on a ghost.
No government, no matter how dictatorial,
can do much damage without the public as
an active partner-in-crime
We sit with a straight face while some shaman tells us how God promised Abraham this and told Moses that. Neither Abraham nor Moses are ever around to confirm, deny, or modify. We keep a straight face when told that the sum of the message is that we can kill those who are holding what we want. Killing and stealing is “right” by ultimate fiat from the real owner, the one who told Moses to tell us not to steal or kill. Don’t sweat the contradictions. Whatever God says is right by definition, however obviously wrong (as actually uttered by the shaman). (How come we never hear these contradictions from God directly?) (He doesn’t contradict himself when he talks to me.)
We talk a lot. I write a lot. Claude Levy Strauss explains that the purpose of literacy is social control. I argue (most recently at Macroinformation) that human speech would have evolved simultaneously (overlapping) both to identify and to mis-identify. The purpose of human communications is sometimes truthful, the balance of the time it’s manipulative (in intention if not always in result) (where any truthfulness is
Whoops, I have to pause, mid-thought. Meantime, my module on Mislabeling runs parallel to this one.
Truth as Policy:
Marshall McLuhan’s point on the cliché “honesty is the best policy” is so delicious. He observes that it’s a contradiction, an oxymoron. Honesty is truthful; policy is fraudulent. The best way to scam is to tell the truth.
People One By One:
Note how Nominalist that statement of Ken MacLeod’s is: no unnecessary abstract entities. My own modules on Nominalism, part of my reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, are still to be resurrected.