Cognitive Activism

Sometime in the history of our world there was a moment where an animalian consciousness experienced the first active inward encounter with representation. Long ago, some animal or group had an experience — and instead of experiencing it they trapped parts of it in a bubble that could be sustained, and painted little transports of meaning and relation on these ‘memory-precursors’. Before this moment, there was no way to relate with experience formally — it could not be reliably cached — perhaps because that form of memory did not yet exist except as precursors.

Wherever and whenever this memory-thing happened, those it happened to probably died a lot before they sustained or transmitted anything useful to others of their kind. The reason is that what they encountered was alien, and hypnotic — it replicated itself into new forms and shapes within its host like an explosion that kept speeding up, and was exploding into new ways and domains. This ‘knowledge’ stuff literally invented new dimensions in which it could exist, be elaborated, and ‘mean things’.

For us, and to the social groups we are part of and exist with(in), very rapid change in a direction away from what we are habituated to is often considered by the other members to be evil, bad — or disease. The individual animals susceptible to this bizarre disease were probably chomping at the bit to express it into their social rings, much as we do in the modern moment — with knowledge, gossip, and ‘news’. But their peers did not experience this as the arrival of enlightenment. To the uninitiated, this strange ‘extra thing’ was something to avoid, attack, or flee from.

The common early outcomes for those who embodied and experienced these ‘new ways of knowing’ had a lot to do with being executed by those they had once considered their peers, much as in our story of the crucifixion of Christ. In the beginning, there weren’t any complex stories involved. Early representationals on Earth were treated like poison — and what they carried was, in fact, alien. Later, in our own time, this trend would reverse, and the representationals would start attacking their precursors — the poetically-minded beings we call ‘children’. Not surprisingly, the parable of the crucified Christ is easily mapped to the life and circumstance of every human child. From my own experience and understanding living in the Western United States during the late 20th and early 21st century, I would surmise that this is more true in the modern moment than ever in human history.


It is clearly evident that some ‘ways of knowing’ actively abhor the biosphere, and all forms or assemblies of organism in general. Perhaps more surprising is that a vast portion of the ways of knowing we commonly credential actively abhor human beings, and hate or attack all human children — merely by the nature of their character and function in the imaginal and real worlds. Why would we select or empower such modes, when an infinite garden of choices are immediately at hand?


There are a lot of interesting and unexplored questions relating to the rise and embodiment of complex representational sentience in our species. Some of them have to do with ‘what had to occur elsewhere for this to happen and sustain itself?’, and others that I am fond of pursuing have to do with ‘is there a better sort?’. In other words — are there existing examples of more intelligent intelligence, and more sentient sentience — than the human models and examples we are accustomed to? Rather than form a bunch of theories about this, and ride you around with me providing evidence, I want to provide you with direct access to the answers — experiential access. To accomplish that, we’re going to need to do some traveling over related terrains and stories together.

Following something more alike with the real story of the arisal of human sentience ends up being like reading science-fiction from our own distant future. We do not yet possess metaphors or even ways of speaking about some of the most important elements we must explore or examine. An example I consider striking is that we don’t possess a common general metaphor for ‘a way of knowing that eats those who know this way’.

Unfortunately, our most common and familiar modes are of precisely this species. To understand this, and to have access to some alternatives, we have to playfully explore some history that is fictional — in that it is not fact — yet it is not merely invention, either. Lest we doubt the veracity of such a scheme, let us remain cognizant of a caveat as we proceed: it is possible for a general idea to be many factors more accurate...than any specific idea.


Early in the cognitive development of our kind of animal, Earth was so richly and diversely thriving in every possible domain of biocognitive form and relation that a sort of magical hyperconnective potential was generated and nurtured. This ‘feedback result’ of a generally unified organism found a place to go — it burst the membrane where it had been building up and complexifying and found egress into one of Earth’s animalforms: ours. A sort of invisible membrane which had been filling up over vast eons of terrestrial time was suddenly overcome with abundance, and a new dimension of organismal reality and relation was born in our distant ancestors. Their inheritance was at least in part the dividend of the incredible complexity of local animalian sentience they were immersed and co-emerging with.

Since that inception of our unique form of animal on our world, any modulation in the organismal biome, causes immediate responsive change in the cogniscium of human sentience, because although we consider these separable universes they are a unity. If the biome thrives, the biocognitive reflection emerging in our species thrives in synchrony. If we attack and poison our nursery — our minds, hearts, emotions and bodies suffer the scalarly amplifying echo of the results in the biosphere. Terrestrial animals are instances of a biosphere. Not merely divisions of — but up-to-date, complete, and very complexly unique instances of the entire relational history of our planet.

It is my hope we will one day soon have the opportunity to sincerely understand the implications and opportunities inherent in the fact that we have more important kinds and dimensions of ancestors than the one we think of when we think of ‘our ancestor-species’. For example, we have cognitive ancestors — and most of these exist in domains that we don’t even have metaphors to discuss. We also have kinds and forms of physical ancestor that our science is too young to deliver cogent models of. Yet this does not mean such models are not close at hand.

Though we don’t yet possess reasonably accurate container-ideas to allow us to see where we came here from, and where we might be going, and why — we do have anciently conserved potentials that will lead us directly into experiential encounter with the gardens in which the answers we seek are alive. By this I mean to imply that the answers are, in every case, living answers. This makes them rather unlike our abstract ideas and ways of modeling them. Almost entirely unlike.


As an embryo we experience and express a recapitulation of what is probably the entirety of Earth’s organismal history. I suspect that in each instance, and at every scale this recapitulation is at once unique, and complete. We’re taught to consider this primarily from a Physicalist perspective: we credential and authorize that which is physically obvious as most important to speak of, explore, and understand. Thus what we follow credentials superficial changes over changes in content or activity, and we enthrone the physical evolution of species as something akin to what is most accurately and significantly recapitulated in our ontology, genesis and birth.

So we’re encouraged to believe reality to be more like what we see around us or find with our physical and methodological tools of exploration — rather than credentialing something which exceeds physical manifestation, or from which physical manifestation proceeds. From our thus-chosen positions and perspectives we supposedly accrue the potential to obtain ‘objective’ knowledge about our evolution and universe.

There’s no essential problem with this idea, if it is commonly treated and experienced as one amongst many freely accessible toys and ways of exploring and assembling the potentials of human knowledge into tangible reality and experience. The problem in human history, and our modern moment most particularly, is that an incredibly small number of profoundly impoverished ways of knowing have become the rulers, measurers, credentialers and arbiters not only of knowledge, but of human and animalian experience on Earth.


It is as if our species somehow encountered an alien and ‘very (cognitively) sticky’ toy. One end of this toy is covered in sharp blades that cut off part of you and make it into their likeness. The other end is covered in flowers — if you sniff them, you grow a new flower, which is more like you. The problem in our relations with this toy is that animals are attracted to shiny things — in general. And in the inner domains where ‘we got stuck to this thing’, the wrong end is very shiny, while the other end looks ‘boringly natural’, so to speak. Generally, we simply do not have the opportunity, support, models or access that would empower us to pay enough attention to the portion of the knowledge-toy that causes us to grow into more of what we are, rather than more of what the ‘strangely over-reproductive’ end is.

We might progressively observe that for at least the last 5000 years of human history, we’ve been hypnotically fascinated with an erroneous and deadly perspective of relation with knowing, and its transports and results. The ‘shiny’ part of knowledge — formal knowledge and systems — is not only more attractive to our form of animalian sentience, but each successive contact with it causes us to devalue any other form of relation. Over a short period of time, this becomes like having put on a pair of sunglasses that erase all memory of the Sun, the sunglasses, that you’re wearing them, and that it’s possible to remove them. Each time you put them on, they subtly convince you to wear them longer, and never take them off. An easy way to accomplish this is substitution: taking off the glasses results in a feeling like terror, which, in our example, is easily translated into ‘evil’.

In the realm of sentience, knowledge, emotion and cognition, in our real experience and the history of our species, a single essential error in how we relate to metaphor can result in a scalarly amplifying wave of atrocity. And these elements are the foundations of our human agreements, our cultures, and our divisions.

Proceeding from a basis in broken relation that abhors what our world is, and what we are — forms of knowing and their outcome-products have been unleashing a can of whup-ass on our people and planet and species for thousands of billions of animalian generations. This is not a matter of human nature — but is instead something we might usefully model as being a matter of a trap that breaks our relations with our own sentience and connectivity. We’ve accidentally become ‘obligate endosymbionts’ with ways of relation that co-opt our own momentums and potentials in order to sustain themselves, and their presence and activity occludes an entire garden of far more useful and friendly ways — ways that would erase themselves to support our real progress, for example.

Like a waterfall of occlusion, gaining speed and flow-amplitude in exponential steps that each come faster and more furiously we have been tricked by one of our toys into sacrificing every possible human and animalian birthright. The result of this ‘accident’ is a self-amplifying obligation to coerce our unwilling yet constant service to ideas that eat our world, and rape the minds and hope of our species into something more like a broken machine than a living destiny. The entire shape and character of any species such as ours is extremely vulnerable to interventions of these sorts — from nothing more than artifacts of our own representational reflectivity.

Until very recently, we possessed no common lenses to enlighten these terrains, or to offer us access that would allow us to attend these accidents of our position together. Such impossible toys are now in our grasp, because a new form of knowledge is about to emerge, and its purpose is not to copy itself, or become a library of theories. This sort of knowledge acts as an antidote to the slavery we have blindly suffered at the hands of frozen ideas. It grows rapidly, and then dissolves — leading to a direct experience of the sources of knowledge, a living and moving experience... rather than one of tokens, experts...and books of theory.

Contact, instead of codicil.


We will gain no advantage from any activism that creates dogmas and bureaucracies of itself — and must instead assemble new ways of learning and knowing together. Ways which by their changing and playful nature empower us to lift each other into a place of direct experiential access to new experiences and expression of mutual uplift, exploration, and the celebration of the real potentials of our anciently conserved and miraculously elaborated organismal sentience.

We are cognitive animals, in a hypercognitive environment. Our human activisms will fail, unless they can address the sources of our ancient confusions and failures to discover the clearly present ways and means of mutual prosperity inherent in the problems our broken access magnifies into our experience and history.

Perhaps we might thus agree that we desire an activism so general, that it’s different from anything we’ve ever considered or been exposed to. Possibly even something that doesn’t have or require a name. A game of activism so like what we are and become that rather than fashioning us into the likeness of some model it proposes — it empowers us to choose and celebrate together that which we actually are and may become.


All of human activism has arisen primarily in opposition to broken ways of knowing — employed and empowered by people who agree to believe ideas. But these ideas are ‘cached tokens’ of the experience of distant others. If circumstance is even moderately different according to the moment and the place — this ‘belief’ is too often far more logically false than what literalists might refer to as ‘the false position of faith’.

We’re about to assemble a form of activism with the potential to overwhelm the source of human atrocity — because rather than wasting time in opposing anything — it empowers us to become more than models of some idea. I am also certain we will experience this together, learning in ways beyond the possibilities of our wildest and most hopeful imaginings. When we have unity, access to our birthrights, and the protection of our unique human, personal and cultural diversity we accrue the power to openly oppose atrocity without reference to or memory of combat. We can now explore and become something together that there is no modern model even vaguely alike with — an experience of unity so liberating that its momentum gains speed and effect at unopposable velocities.

Most of our confusion and suffering at the hands of our foibles is the result of an accident. It’s the kind of an accident we’ve never heard a decent story about — and hearing a few radically alters our potential to notice and interact together with novel domains of co-operative play. Since no one had any way to speak of this accident, or the time before it, the best thing we have are badly mistranslated analogs. When we get to play with toys of knowing that are more like what we are and represent, the way our minds arrange and experience knowledge changes dramatically.

My personal sense is this comprises an entirely unexplored universe of human potential, primarily in the domain of an incredible new way of learning — and of human unity in mutual exploration — that will lead us to terrains of knowledge so vast an unexpected that they could entirely re-write most of what we consider to be fact within the next 5 years. Science, religion, and philosophies — are about to face an insurmountable opponent to their primacy and credentialing-power: pure organismal sentience, in liberated coemergence.

And this is what ‘Life’ is actually about. All of organismal reality is ‘attempting to recapitulate something’ in the same way our own genesis and experience as an embryo was recapitulating all of the terrestrial genesis of life. Something is being assembled by and with(in) physical organismal expression and activity...that is not physical at all in the way we would match with this idea. It is hyperconnective, self-elaborative, and it plays a unityGame that binds all participants ever more closely into something we have no metaphor of: Our world is a distributed organism...

[a multiply atemporal psybiocognitive hyperstructure]

And all of this has a lot to do with how we know, what we know, and what we can do with and about these a radically new way: a way that makes new ways, instead of trying to preserve itself and children of itself at all costs.