Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Prometheus Rising


This planet is, to put the matter baldly, populated and largely controlled by domesticated primates who are not in all respects reasonable men and women. Voltaire may have been exaggerating when he said that to understand the mathematical meaning of infinity, consider the extent of human stupidity; but the situation is almost that bad. Millions have been murdered by stupid leaders or stupid mobs, for stupid reasons, in every century; and the bizarre (accidentally imprinted) reality-tunnels which make this possible continue to rule and robotize us.

Nor is stupidity the exclusive possession of one group or another, you do not need a "vocation" for it as you do the priesthood. It seems to be a contagious socio-semantic disturbance which afflicts all of us at one time or another. Notorious examples can be found in the lives of all the great. As we have already mentioned, an exact measurement of the extent of human stupidity among the learned is provided by the fact that every scientific revolution takes one generation. Elderly scientists hardly ever accept a new theory, however good it is, and the revolution is only completed when a second generation, free of the old imprints, with vulnerable neurons, imprints the new reality-map.

But if science, "the paradigm of rationality", is infested with enough stupidity to cause this general one-generation time-lag, what can we say of politics, economics and religion? Time-lags of thousands of years seems to be "normal" in these areas. Indeed, it was through contemplation of religious history that Voltaire was led to his conclusion that human stupidity approximates to the infinite. The study of politics is hardly more inspiring. Let us just summarize the matter by saying that stupidity has murdered and imprisoned more geniuses (and more ordinary people), burned more books, slaughtered more populations, and blocked progress more effectively than any other force in history.

It may be no exaggeration to say that stupidity has killed more people than all the diseases known to medicine and psychiatry.

Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any point. Bigotry, ideologies etc. block the ability to receive; robotic reality-tunnels block the ability to decode or integrate new signals; censorship blocks transmission.

If intelligence could be increased, obviously solutions could be found more quickly to the various Doomsday scenarios threatening us.

If each scientist working on the energy-resources problem could double or triple his or her intelligence, work that would require 20 years might be done in six.

If human stupidity in general decreased, there would be less opposition to original thinking and new approaches to our old problems, less censorship and less bigotry.

If stupidity decreased, less money would be wasted on vast imbecilities such as the Arms Race, and more would be available for life enhancing projects.

There is nothing rationally desirable that cannot be achieved sooner if rationality itself increases. This is virtually a tautology, but consider the corollary:

Work to achieve Intelligence Intensification is work to achieve all our other sane and worthwhile goals.

Maurice Nicoll, physician, psychiatrist, student of Jung, Gurdjieff and Esoteric Christianity, wrote that "the only purpose in work on consciousness is to decrease the amount of violence in the world". This is Public Health Problem Number One in the nuclear age, the age of overkill.

We are not talking about a mere increase in linear I.Q. -- third circuit semantic cleverness. We are talking of  also the kinds of right-brain intelligence that Nicoll acquired from Jungian neurogenetic research and Gurdjieff's metaprogramming techniques. We are talking of say, Beethoven's intelligence, which so disturbed Lenin, who could not bear to listen to the Appassionata (Sonata 23) because it made him want to weep "and pat people on the head, and we musn't pat them on the head, we must hit them on the head, hit them hard, and make them obey". More of Beethoven's intelligence is needed, desperately, to create a signal that the current Lenins cannot ignore, that will make them weep and stop hitting heads.

We need more mentations, less munitions. The second-circuit mammalian political games are a million years obsolete.

In summary, Intelligence Intensification is desirable, because there is not a single problem confronting humanity that is not either caused or considerably worsened by the prevailing stupidity (insensitivity) of the species: badly wired robots bumping into and maiming and killing each other.

Intelligence Intensification is attainable, because modern advances in neuroscience are showing us how to alter any imprinted, conditioned or learned reflex, that previously restricted.

Intelligence Intensification is hedonic, because the more freedom and consciousness you achieve, the more you want; the less willing are you to slip back into dumb, blind, mechanistic circuits.

Intelligence Intensification can accelerate our progress toward abolition of war and poverty; find cures for cancer and schizophrenia; achieve space migration and life extension (giving us space enough and time enough to achieve even more cosmic levels of awareness); or accomplish any other worthwhile goals.

Like death and poverty, stupidity has been around so long that people cannot imagine life without it, but it is rapidly becoming obsolete. However many special interests groups (intelligence agencies so-called, advertisers, tyrants, clergy, etc.) may profit from stupidity, humanity as a whole will profit more from its abolition.

From ~ Prometheus Rising, pgs. 253-257
By ~ Robert Anton Wilson