- What's happening with the street-dying in Westwood?
- The confidence man is gone. The Tunisian is gone. The locals that talked all have vanished. The silent locals remain, and a whole new set of the silent from elsewhere have appeared. You can see them at the supermarket dining area around midnight sleeping with their heads on the tables.
- The market doesn't throw them out?
- No. Last time I saw the Tunisian I was rather hard on him. I asked him why he was living with the street dying, what was he doing besides watching Youtube videos all day, didn't he think he was wasting his life?
- He's young, not crazy? 25 years old?
- Something like that. He said he thought it was a good enough life. I told him it wasn't. He said I had my view and he had his; there was no truth. I said he got that no truth business from a Internet video. Yes, he said, there were good videos. They show good and bad are in only the brain, are only different electrical events.
- And in response you launched into one of your philosophic assaults.
- No. Instead I told him I'd learned from decades of experience people like him were not worth answering.
- And he asked, who are people like him?
- He did. He was among those who claim words and ideas are only means of taking power.
- And this, for the time being, healthy young man living among the dying on the street believes everything in this world is only power.
- Yes. Think about what is going on here. We have this collection of desperate who have come to sunny L.A. to die on the street, sooner or later ending up silent to each other and the world sleeping at the tables at midnight at this corporate owned giant supermarket. And the management is equally silent. What if corporate management also had this 'there is no consciousness' view: it would account for behavior which appears more obscurely mechanical than the product of human consciousness.
- You mean why they allow this invasion of dire poverty into the midst of their large scale celebration of consumption?
- And what do you think?
- We've talked a lot about the myth of a force of the free market, an invisible hand that creates prosperity on its own so people need not care about each other; about the myth of evolution that allows species progress so people need not cooperate with each other. First the denial of generosity, then the denial of kindness, and finally now with the denial of consciousness we reach the denial of all good and bad in social life, good and bad requiring conscious decision making to determine. And as there is an invisible hand that replaces the decision making based on cooperation and kindness for the marketplace and species development, so there is supposed to be an invisible hand to human development once consciousness is removed. A quick Internet search, key words, "consciousness denial" grants this revelation. It turns out, unbeknownst to you and me, the reigning religion of our technologists is the idea that the Internet will become conscious when the process is complete of all of its participant's giving up claims of consciousness by submitting freely to it all they produce.
- What has being paid for what you produce have to do with consciousness?
- It isn't only payment Internet participants give up. They are part of a crowd. They give up possibility of personal response to what they've created and the possibility of response to them as persons. Relations are anonymous or role playing. Certain fragments of what they produce are useful, others not. The conscious choice that went into producing them is irrelevant.
- The only thing that gets a personal response is the Internet as a whole.
- Yes. It is alive because it has a history and it is responded to and responds to each of us unconscious unpaid isolated participants. You are sitting at Ralphs at midnight. Around you a dozen or so of the dying on the street have blanked out with their heads on their tables. Doing nothing with their lives, it goes without saying they don't believe in kindness or cooperation. Ask them, and they'll tell you they don't believe in consciousness. The market management, with their on again off again assault on these people, their security staff watching on video from their secret upstairs redoubt, acts like it also doesn't believe in consciousness. The dying on the streets and corporate management alike are participants in the global process of the human species becoming conscious at the cost of human individuals becoming unconscious.
- But as there is no real invisible force guiding the free market or a force of evolution guiding species development, so there is no real force directing us to give up our consciousness to a group consciousness. These forces have never been seen by anyone.
- As you said, they are myths. Why do we have these myths? Why do we act them out? Why do conscious human beings want to deny their consciousness? Why do we imagine ourselves as will-less participants in the power of the market place, of evolution of the species, or as now, of human group consciousness? Are we really that stupid?
- We are.*
Compassion & The Story
Going Places Getting Nowhere
* If we'd like to show our intelligence in understanding our stupidity we could say something like this. We learn by imitation. As a society, attracted by the security of clear place in life and precise function, we have imitated each other into specialization of roles of impersonality, competition, and hostility. In learning by imitation however we risk losing the distance we need to keep from our actions to remain conscious of ourselves. Some of us are born with more genius for imitating than others, some born with more genius for keeping a distance. And some are born with genius for both imitation and detachment. The imitators rapidly succumb to the ruling mythology. The detached soon understand how to manipulate society to their perceived advantage. And those born both imitative and detached, aware society threatens their consciousness rage against it until understanding comes to calm them down.