Incept: II I MMX • L.e: XII V MMX
Part of the repertoire of recruiting tandem leaders is to deposit orientation odor trails while exploring new terrain.
— Höldobbler and Wilson, The Superorganism, 2009, pp. 196
o : O : o
For 6/7ths of the history of life on Earth, there were no brains. Now that we have them, they are threatening the very basis of organismal existence on our world. Why?
Tremble Root : Roar Branch
The jungle depicted in the image above is more like the brain our long evolutionary development has endowed us with than anything science has yet revealed to us. Over hundreds of thousands of years, our bodies and brains evolved in regions like the one pictured here; our likeness with them is not merely structural.
The nature of the human intelligence we so prize is emulative and synergistic; we learn largely through emulation and our relational capacities exist as integrative options based in part on the diversity of resources we can understand, access and employ. But the most profound of these resources has never been physical. The real basis of our intelligence lies in our capacity to act as a sort of terrestrial metaposition for organismal intelligence and diversity.
Our species appears to be a mirror in which the organismal sensing and intelligence of our world and its history are reflected and summed. The basis and power of our intelligence is relational; we are the animal whose cognitive plasticity insures that our relations and activities deeply transform our character and capacities. In simple language, we become what we do — and we take on the (inward) likenesses of those beings with whom we are engaged.
The brain can be reasonably analogized as a sort of costly evolutionary flower produced by long organic ‘crystallization’ of these processes; however, I must suggest that the consensus amongst many modern researchers regarding the brain’s nature and function is so badly misinformed by mechanical metaphors that we would be wise to begin any intrepid exploration with a bold denial of understanding. We should begin at zero. The extant models are insufficient to explain anything at all, never mind brains.
While we should not discard the opinions of science regarding identity (and sometimes function), I prefer to treat them somewhat like dangerous parasites looking for hosts. These ideas have become parasitic precisely because their incompleteness is glaring, and this is why they must advertise their authority (through every accessible human agency) so furiously and consistently. In some branches of science, current theory slavishly compares the brain to a computer, which is approximately as accurate as exclaiming that a galaxy containing living worlds ‘must be a pair of tweezers — after all, its gravity picks things up’.
Would that the hubris of our modern intellectual ignorance ended there, for there are highly educated people who would gladly advance such an agenda: ‘the goal must be to produce tweezers, instead of organisms — we should convert everything into nanotweezing dust, which can tweeze better and faster than organisms anyway…’
These ‘visionaries’ effectively believe that one can assemble minds just by putting enough tweezers together in a certain fashion. Apparently, a goodly number of living technologists think that the future of human intelligence involves converting the entire solar system to a computational matrix formed of clouds of furiously computing nanoparticles1. Although there are many opposing voices, we would do well to bear in mind that history emphasizes our human vulnerability to being compelled by the seeming perfection or completeness of our primitive models, especially when they dovetail with the agendas of the techno-industrial cultures in which they arise.
In many cases, the more incomplete or erroneous the model, the more compelling we find it — for precisely the reasons outlined above.
o : O : o
It should be obvious that no metaphor will ever adequately encompass the organ we call the brain — in part because we imagine it to be the metaposition of thought itself. Faced with such inherent diversity we must (at the very least) keep multiple models in play, and remain actively skeptical when experts attempt to ‘tell’ us what the brain is or does — or even that it is reasonable to see it as a distinct organ when in fact ‘the entire body is brain’ and this is not even the beginning of the story.
I suggest that the lion’s share of the brain’s activities may lie entirely outside the scope of our modern vision for a variety of reasons. Fundamentally, that vision is misinformed by a fragmentary model of identity and organism — a model which is then erroneously extended to cognition and physical function with catastrophic results for our actual understanding.
Too often, in the translation from research to public understanding, ‘reality’ is re-rendered to us with a terrifying paucity of depth and extreme purchase on relatively minor ‘function-facts’. These are generally mechanical, and are often produced using a strategy of discarding nearly all of the data in order to retain (with greater certainty) some tiny fraction of it. This remaining fraction is then transformed into a hypothesis, on to a theory, and so forth. Meanwhile, back at step 1, 99.99999% of accessible reality was discarded. A useful discipline, but one that must never become the arbiter of function or identity for the researchers or the common people.
Another aspect of our confusion is linguistic: in order to understand something, we must be able to compare it to other more familiar things, methods, ideas, etc. If our lexicons are either formed in such a way as to deny us access to accurate metaphors and similes, or if they are missing crucial root or extensional elements with which we might form new comparisons, or if any of a variety of similar problems exist without our being aware of them, we end up with models that are, indeed, nearly nothing like what they represent — except in the most superficial (and often dangerous) ways. These models must become predatory to survive. Their prey? Human cultures of every extent, and individual human minds.
My own observation, reading, and research has led me to wonder at an unsung role of the human brain which I know to act as a unique kind of locus or focal organ for sentience itself. One of the brain’s many activities during consciousness is to produce an effect we might liken to a magical mirror inside us, which is useful in communications endeavors both within and beyond the boundary of species. Along with its other capacities, this represents a new domain of relational and evolutionary progress and expression; one which is fundamentally relational, emotional, and cognitive.
One of the features of this form of intelligence is integrative in the sense that it either arose with or developed a capacity to unify otherwise distinct domains of biocognition (cellular and organismal) in a domain which has purchase upon genetic development on Earth, but is neither its source nor its sole input.
In simple language: human brains represent a hyperconnective transport of terrestrial learning-intelligence. A sort of ‘summation lens’ for terrestrial biocognition, current and historical. Our brains are, to some degree, like a bowl into which the whole of terrestrial history and evolution is ceaselessly pouring — with the goal of producing something rather miraculous: a planetary superhero who is at once the sum of the evolutionary progress on their world, the guardian of the world’s living children, and the pioneers who may reach beyond that world on its behalf, into the gulfs that separate worlds, stars, and perhaps even galaxies.
Unfortunately, our species is rather confused about all these matters and is desperately attempting to convert the living children of Earth into a kind of luxury snack or snuff-film. This activity feeds back directly into the sources of human health and intelligence, causing both disease and catastrophic misrelation at every order of human activity from the metabolic to the planetary.
As our accessible intelligence literally plummets in direct ratio to our assassination of the living resources it is founded upon, the result is that we are then more deeply compelled to continue that very assault — a situation which will rapidly result in not only the complete destruction of our civilization, but could very well result in a sterile planet with our signature on it.
o : I : o
Spheres of Influence
Whether or not the hemispheres of the brain begin equivalently endowed for peculiar avenues of development, it is clear that a startling opportunity exists at birth (and beyond, albeit in a less robust way). The right hemispheric ‘intelligence’ that appears shortly after birth comprises something akin to the cognitive pseudopod of an organism we cannot yet adequately imagine: an organism representing (at least) the entire biocognitive and developmental history of Earth. As the local instance of this intelligence struggles to acquire human language and representational capacities (within the infant) this process is informing the structure and possible futures of the left hemisphere’s analog intelligence, with which it will shortly enter a strange kind of competition.
But what we have not yet understood is this: the left hemisphere is like a science-fiction universe or a space-station: it is not only uncannily prepared for rapid representational uptake — it represents something like a sketchpad within which entirely new forms of intelligence may be rapidly assembled and tested. The left hemisphere is somewhat akin to ‘personal’ experimental intelligence.
Unfortunately for us and our world, this experiment is failing. The sketchpad has become virulently infected with a certain species of sketch that has ‘come to life’ and is attacking the living hand that draws it. This particular method of sketching believes itself to be distinct from its source, and thinks itself to actually exist as a being — and since it believes this, every actually living thing represents at once an insult and a threat to its primacy and survival.
It is this intelligence that our religions have been warning us about, whether or not there are supernatural analogues. Due to our vast misunderstanding of these matters, our species has been largely trapped in a reflection of our own paranoid fantasies for (at least) thousands of years and billions of human lifetimes.
There is no time left to equivocate, we must turn our activities to pioneering and triage. We are carrying a vast library of untapped relational and cognitive capacities. If we can overcome the dangers that have thus far owned our species, we will retrieve those birthrights together — with and for each other and our world. If we cannot, our species and all we have hoped and dreamed of, will perish — rapidly.
o : II : o
Over billions of years, the peculiar chemical and situational endowments of the terrestrial environment elicited a swarming, bubbling, crawling, thriving pool of biocognitive relation from what we imagine was the void of space. Although one can think about the sudden emergence of organisms on Earth in terms of arbitrary coalescences and ‘mechanisms’, this angle of approach is misfounded for any but the most specialized purposes.
Regardless of what might have been going on in the beginning, once life got a foothold the order of the day became the ongoing establishment and nurturance of a superintelligence which is instanced in and comprised by its children. The actual results of these events and processes are more like science-fiction mixed with fantasy and quantum hyperbole than they are like the models we are sold by academia, science, religion and other knowledge authorities.
This incredible profusion of biocognitive lineages and participants that we arrive in common contact with can be analogously described as a vast living superculture established in and developing a form of self-distributing hyperintelligence of which modern humans are either nearly or completely unaware, although their own intelligence arises from this process, moment-to-moment. The basic idea is that endless profusions of relatively unsophisticated participants, in their profound diversity of biocognitive activity and sensing, generate a kind of field-effect. The results of this field feedback into evolution, eventually producing ‘a local champion’ with the capacity to locally assemble the entire intelligence as a person.
Homo Sapiens Sapiens — the supposedly wise primate — is nearly completely ignorant of this entire dimension of terrestrial fact, primarily due to the authoritative posturings of both Science and Religion, which, in our time, have become the reified arbiters of identity itself, rather than commentators on their peculiar methods of observation.
o : O : o
Models of the living world around us form the basis for our representational capacities, and errors or omissions in those models are re-ramified in their children: words and ideas. Prior to the onset of formalized representation, there wasn’t anything other than organisms and unities to emulate — or at least, this appears to be the common consensus amongst researchers. That means that observations of and relations with ecosystems-as-beings; insects, animals, plants, and other natural phenomenon — were the primary original content of human consciousness. Everything we came to be, learn, and become had its roots there.
The forests, shores, mountains, jungles, deserts and plains were the living canvases upon which our representational heritage was brought forth into human consciousness. Their inhabitants were our teachers, our allies, our food, predators who hunted us and our children, and more — they were, in fact, the living expression of the character both of the universe itself, and more specifically of our particular star and planet — their histories — their marriage — their children.
This is not merely poetic language; in a very real sense the organ we call a brain is the physical hypostasis of the histories of these processes. A sort of extra-genetic universe that reproduction instantiates but does not entirely specify in the way that the paradigm of a book fails to specify not only all existing books, but all individual books as well.
Representation is the cultural tradition of mind-engineering, and what emerges from this practice are ways of knowing that largely compete for human agents. It is inaccurate to represent this process is merely bi-polar, however, a bipolar simplification can be useful to highlight some of the underlying circumstances and perils.
Since the survival of a living planet hangs in the balance, the dangers cannot be overstated, and must indeed be understood as understatements. Similarly, the opportunities.
The first polarity we shall examine is ancestral, and the second, modern.
o : II : o
The Co M Pan Ion
In order to begin to reasonably understand experience and cultures that occurred prior to the onset of savage representational paradigms, we must begin with an acknowledgement that Science and other knowledge authorities have essentially amputated from the array of possibilities from which our minds are established. That acknowledgement is approximately that each living being has an element which connects it not merely to its source, but to every scale of instancing that the source(s) elicit in physical timeSpace.
What this means is something approximately akin to the extreme simplification of the western idea of a Guardian Angel: a divine or celestial ‘intelligence element’ which is neither entirely distinct from nor entirely ‘possessed by’ each living being.
It is not ‘peculiar to humans’ and although each form of being expresses and experiences this relationship uniquely, the paradigm is universal. Every living being has such an element which we might liken to an invisible tail. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to this as ‘the companion’. It is easily verified and depends not upon myth or stories for existence — but upon directly accessible experience. In other words, whether or not there are supernatural or ‘spiritual’ phenomenon, any individual who cares to can verify the existence of this element directly, through various uncommon forms of testing. This is a dangerous game, however, since the element is intelligent and abhors certain forms of testing — just as you do.
In most indigenous cultures, the relationship between any human person (children even more so) and the companion is presumed. This results in an entirely different universe of human experience, as well as an entirely different developmental tree. The fundamental identity-relationship between a human being and any situation depends intimately upon such developmental histories, and thus this difference is so dramatic when encountered that it could be said to produce distinguishable relational ‘species’ of human persons.
The formative paradigms that underlie this relationship may be poetic, but they are not merely so. They are autopoietic in that they can be said to function as catalytic antecedents whose character is directly involved in bringing forth a world to human experience. These underlying metaphysical or metaphoric roots of this relationship are not ideas, but are instead grounded in common experience, and they inspire or even demand nonordinary activities which begin in childhood as play.
The adult versions of these understandings and activities are usually ‘kept secret from children’ but represent a locally wildcrafted set of possible extensions to similar games familiar to children. At the adult level, these ‘games’, which are not properly competitions in the western sense, acquire nonordinary status not by stipulation, but due to the locally verifiable results that ensue from enacting them, which are as legitimate to those involved as the concepts of addition and subtraction appear to the average modern person.
At key interphase junctions of development, the child may be skillfully introduced to these extensions as part of an initiation process which is occasionally but uncommonly celebrated as a single event; more commonly an escalating series. This process is the transport which confers many crucial features of personal and group ability and identity upon the initiate. It comprises, in a sense, an Epic story in which the group shares uniquely through the individual, and in which the individual partakes through the group. In such cultures, these circumstances are experienced and understood as crucial links in a nonordinary continuum which only crudely correlates to our Western idea of ‘the maturation process’. But the events and the continuum are not merely remembrances and do not serve similar purposes as, for example, a ‘birthday’ in Western culture.
Although celebratory, they are not merely celebrations — and their nature, function and outcomes remain fundamentally supralinguistic. Personal and group identity are intimately linked to these events, and within them one may acquire special features of ability, identity, and status (‘gifts in (at least) two senses’ but which come at once from the recipient, the group, symmetries within the group, and a shared superposition) which have profound personal (and group-cultural) value.
These may undergo confirmation or expansion in future similar events. Although these may have linguistic ‘handles2’, the acquisitions are not linguistic. They can be visibly expressed as peculiar abilities, or peculiarly adaptive approaches to working with uncommon circumstances. They are not usually not discussed in part because the act of translation required to discuss them usually damages or inhibits the transports they depend upon to function3.
Not only are these ‘celebrations’ not representational, they are most often kept hygienically distinct from aspects of group interaction in which representational paradigms may hold sway — with care and sophistication rivaling that which we use to keep operating theaters clear of infective agents.
Within such cultures, someone without these linkages or to whom they were unknown would be unthinkable — somewhat like a dangerous empty bag that isn’t supposed to be a bag at all, but a being4.
Many ‘primitive’ tribes5 are aware of the deadly danger should the representational aspects of pragmatic life be introduced into the metadimensions where the tribe’s connectivity is assembled, nurtured and renewed — whether or not they are able or care to express this to anthropologists is another matter entirely.
o : O : o
Technologically representational cultures take advantage of our relationships with the companion and our relationships in general, in order to transform the basic ‘flow-energy’ of these resources into fuel for tokenization, entrenchment, war, punishment, and adventurism. This agenda of tyranny is funded by shunting the attentional and interpersonal transports of relation into dependencies and functions more suitable to its purposes. In general, these comprise prosecutions.
Through a process of enculturation that vastly precedes conception but literally begins at birth, the basis of the individual’s multidimensional personhood is attacked by the agents of representational paradigms in a logistic fashion — like ants hitting sugar. When nearly all of the vital elements and transports of relation have been thoroughly co opted or destroyed, what remains is essentially a kind of husk or token.
The person will be encouraged to match their behavior to the token and punished when they veer; in fact, they will actually be punished either way, but having been largely robbed of the capacity to make this evaluation, will continue to volunteer for it. Subcultures will suffer similarly, for within the commercial supercultures their primary function is one of keeping slaves content. The culture is set up so that to be able to survive being outré, you must first be able to get paid. Although each of us begins life in direct experiential relationship with the companion, this relationship will most often be completely destroyed long before we proceed beyond middle childhood.
What’s actually going on in and as our modern cultures is perilously analogous to what nearly every ‘disturbed person’ has been yelling about for thousands of years: an alien network which hates living beings is attacking our persons and cultures from within ourselves.
It takes quite a while for most children to succumb, although more formally intelligent children will often do so more quickly. This is due in part to the fact that children who more adeptly mimic representational skills earlier in their development will gain a significant head-start on their peers in terms of the kinds of displays and test-based evaluations that will grant them the ersatz rewards they are set up to compete for. For their part, they will extend relatively little effort compared to other, less representationally advanced children, many of whom have to struggle to acquire these same ‘rewards’, if they can acquire them at all. Strangely, in many ways, those children who cannot acquire them are better off, because it takes far longer to convert their native intelligence to something that can be deployed against them and everything they care about. Worse still, many of the intelligent children become aware of this, and in response to that awareness become self-congratulatory about it. Effectively, this is like congratulating yourself that you noticed you’re being consumed by congratulating yourself…
What I have just spoken of is a crude model indeed of the actual reality that we and our children are facing. These circumstances set up a kind of sieve where children are relatively rapidly divided into those who are ‘with the program’ (and will thus become its fuel and body) and those who are not — who will be ejected either through being cut off, actively or passively persecuted, converted, or killed. Most people in modern societies will live and die this way, only vaguely aware that something is wrong, and not having much of an idea what a life that wasn’t a model would look like — and nearly all of those people believe themselves awake, aware, and intelligent, in part because they are no longer capable of reasonably evaluating their own abilities in the climate of electronic expertise in which we live.
It goes without saying that a model is far more easily manipulated to the benefit of the self-interested paradigms at work in the culture than any person will ever be — thus the goal of these cultures is to create a representation of a person, one which is capable of superceding the person themselves, within that person. This is what allows soldiers and police to commit crimes of atrocity: having been reduced to representations themselves, it is then a simple matter to get them to reduce their victims to models. ‘We take down bad guys — ergo, anyone we encounter is a bad guy, and should be taken down.’
The outcomes this process remain innumerable; schools, prisons, taxation, being caused to pay for rights one cannot acquire but is nonetheless promised and billed for, and many other absurd and heinous wrongs.
Amongst the bizarre outcomes of this phenomenon are two obvious projections of the process directly into human institutions — team sports and corporations.
Sports teams are like ‘toy corporations’ (owned by and acting as corporations) that compete in a ‘toy world’ or field of play for prestige, access to reproductive rights, and financial or material rewards (representations of status). The gesture of ‘selecting one’ surreptitiously replaces the experience of the acquisition of an ‘identity gift’ in the indigenous culture. In the individual (already similarly deprived of many such experiences), this may trigger dangerous feelings or vague memories of what used to happen instead. Through a process mediated by constant reinforcements offered by adults and peers, one learns to project onto ‘the team’ an ersatz ‘identity-of-heroism’ which is entirely fantastical and the result of things one making this gesture cannot detect.
This is the tragic remnant of an epic story that will never be allowed to happen, and must thus be reduced to the crudest of sketches. The story is supposed to be a life, and its hero is you — but since this is not allowed, various sorts of ‘fan’ opportunities will constantly vie for your attention, membership, or even opposition. Either way it’s a win for momentums generating these situations.
Corporations represent a similar if more insidious instancing of the representational paradigm. In a move somewhat more analogous to the modern relationship with language and knowledge, corporations compete with everything that moves and most of what doesn’t for survival, and strive in the meantime to convert language and knowledge into resources useful to them but not against them. One of the ways this is done is called ‘branding’ and involves creating signs and language which can be formally ‘owned’ by a corporation, who may punish, charge, or sue anyone infringing these ‘rights of commerce’.
Useless awards (abstractions of prestige) take the place of treasured ‘gifts’ in a ‘just for pretend’ family that would (and often will) actually happily dispose of you and anyone you know in order to survive. Hidden killing and torture are ‘magically’ transformed into ‘product’, ‘service’, and ‘profit’. In this bizarre con-game that nearly everyone agrees to enact, these competing momentums come to represent a hydra-like source of fundamentally conflicting signals to children, teens and adults alike. Peeking out from every logo and package, many can vaguely recognize the head of a very real monster which is everywhere you look, in everything you count as familiar, yet it is by and large taken for granted, or even celebrated at least at the cultural scale.
Anything that can’t be immediately and profitably recycled from the relational resource-pool represented by the assets acquired during millions of human lifetimes — must publicly dismissed. Whatever remains of the very basis of human filial experience is then tossed into a ready-made cauldron of denials labeled ‘primitive nonsense’.
Alternately, and a bit more primitively, this cauldron is associated directly with Satan or evil via the agents of thrisp-collectives commonly known as Religions. Science takes this game a step further and throws Religion into the pot. Wiping its hands proudly, it remains as the Last Authority Standing.
o : II : o
These and similar circumstances prepare us by dramatically increasing our basic vulnerability to something I call thrisps. Depending on the scale examined, thrisps or collectives can masquerade as gods, philosophies or positions, corporations, governments, other ‘groups’, paradigms, fashions of thought or behavior, styles — or figures/bastions of authority. They are none of these things.
One might describe them approximately the disembodied voices of dead language desperately attempting to survive as and within living human beings and groups. By offering warped replicas of rewards of the process of actual maturation, these ‘recruitment elements’ belonging to specific ways of knowing heuristically insert themselves between us and our ancestral teacher, then between us and the world, each other, our families, and our relational birthrights. Once recruited, these agents then become the warriors, archers, and active recruiters for the ‘alien civilization’ now establishing itself in their mind — as their mind. During this process we shall be shriven of the lion’s share of the actual relational opportunities that comprise our human and organismal birthrights.
Even though many subcultures, including those of children, become alerted to this, they cannot amend it unless they can see and are empowered to address what is generating these momentums in their own scale of culture. This would require they eject themselves from their culture, a very unlikely and extremely dangerous possibility. By the time we are sophisticated enough to wish to address matters of this nature, we are already enslaved by them without being aware of this. In many cases our efforts to amend problems are easily and profitably co-opted by precisely the momentums they were inspired to oppose, and it is very difficult to understand why. The reason is simple: we’re using the problem to see the problem with and the result is concentratedly confusing.
These monumentally sophisticated ghosts are in some functional way aware of their falsified status as authorities, and therefore become rabidly concerned with insuring their continuance by any means necessary. They possess a shockingly powerful and very peculiar form of momentum which may be thought of in terms of the massively parallel movement they represent within the pool of human minds (the human cogniscium) over time and in relational space. Like a virus which ‘hides in our nervous system’, emerging only during certain crucial communications gestures — these parasitic entities bind themselves to and compromise the most delicate, ubiquitous and crucial aspects of our relational anatomy: specific elements of our minds which function as inward and outbound transports of connectivity with ourselves, other people, and other living beings.
The first targets of attack are the transports of connectivity with the caller from afar. The next are cognitive and relational resources (crucial imaginal abilities) which are required to aid to us in detecting or defending ourselves from this onslaught. Following success in these domains, the ongoing assault transforms the nature and function of the transports we use for human contact. With those mission-critical tasks accomplished, attention returns to broader cultural targets — often through the newly recruited and often enthusiastic agent — where this process will be repeated at every possible scale from the tiniest esoteric subculture to the entire human species.
Finally, for many of us, they come to function as and mimic the foundations upon which our minds and identity are based.
Here’s the problem: we need thrisps, they comprise important foundational elements of our relationships with language and knowledge. So you can’t decide to throw them all away, anymore than you could survive ridding your body of bacteria. Human minds and cultures are significantly dependent upon thrisp activity; it informs our structural and emotocognitive development.
The reason the indigenous peoples lost touch with their ancestral teachers and fell before representational invaders again and again is precisely the same reason the many of the child’s cognitive, relational and imaginal assets fall before the representational onslaught of the enlanguaging and enculturation processes.
Once these models are introduced, we’re being attacked by something we do not believe in, which we’re using to see, and so far — we cannot believe or see that.
Through enculturation and the process of enlanguaging, one aspect of the brain becomes somewhat like an organic computing matrice — and the story of the HAL 9000 computer in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is approximately what is already happening on Earth, and has been for quite some time: an artificial intelligence (in us) is taking over the world (our environment) and attempting to eject or consume everything that lives. HAL isn’t a machine, in this case — he is the analog-person established in the left-hemisphere during enlanguaging and enculturation.
1. Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge, Damien Broderick, Ed.
2. When you hear a translation of an indigenous name, you may sometimes be encountering such a handle. For example, in Blackfoot culture, the name ‘brings down the sun’ is such a handle. It refers at once to an individual, a set of stories, the elements of networked agreements surrounding this individual, their life, skills, actions, and also an event, and many other things. All of these things are referenced ‘at once’ through the handle, but the handle is known not to represent these things, ways, relations, and experiences, but to instead encompass them. There is no ‘representation’ of them because they are experiential, and thus not available to the peculiar tokenizations that severe representational paradigms demand.
3. In the same way you would not dissect your daughter to discover why she is smiling a lot lately, people who are not bound by hyper-evaluative representational habits would find the our obsessions with evaluation absurd. Speaking about such matters is not always a problem, but reducing them to abstractions in ways we consider ordinary would seem insane to those accustomed to prefer flow-based paradigms over those that leap to categorize and measure. After all, what are the metrics? Such people are aware of the outcomes of this behavior, because invariably their own ancestors struggled with it and left them important stories about the catastrophic results. The problem is that the onset of representational primacy tends to co-opt the assets required to initiate and sustain nonordinary relationships with the living world. If asked to ‘pick one way’, any indigenous person would most like gladly choose lifelong silence rather than lifelong representational dominance of their mind, life, persons, or peoples. Unfortunately, most representational paradigms are so virulent and contagious that this choice is functionally impossible. When relatively advanced representational cultures meet living cultures, the living cultures are almost invariably transformed into resources for representational expansion.
4. It’s difficult to find a reasonable analogy here. If you can imagine an urban person who had never learned to speak or walk — not because of any deficit but because they simply decided not to — this would supply an approximate analog for how an indigenous person might critique a modern. The critique would be something along the lines of ‘by what measure do you consider yourself human if you know nothing of what it means to be thus except words?’
5. What binds moderns together is usually a set of definitions; i.e. progress, the greater good, etc. What binds indigenous peoples together is direct intimacy with place, time and living being — trust, love, shared experience, intimacy, lineage, and mutual concern born of these and extensions of these — many of which cannot even be reasonably described within modern representational paradigms.
In a way analogous to the fact that you require bacteria to ‘digest food’, you depend upon nonhuman intelligence to ‘cause experience to cohere’. This is particularly crucial in familiar tasks such as generating or comprehending language. Although you’re not aware of either process, both are happening while you’re reading this. Now, the problem is that a replica of you has absconded with the entirety of both the power of the flow that animates your intelligence, and its natural content. It has replaced this with little models of itself, which it and everyone around you demands you consider real.
It gets vastly more strange from here…