Re: virus: maxims and ground rules

Mon, 10 May 1999 19:07:39 -0700

Tim Rhodes wrote:

> On Mon, 10 May 1999, KMO wrote:
> > In THIS group valuing consciousness is ubiquitous and obvious to the point
> > that actually codifying and enshrining the principle seems to be a vacuous
> > exercise in affirming that which is readily apparent,
> Well, that's because THIS group is so much more enlightened than THEY are,
> aren't we now? I mean, They really can't hold a candle to Us can they?

I find it difficult to believe that you actually think that was the point I was attempting to make. Any mention of the very obvious fact that this list is populated by people who have interests, aptitudes, and goals that differ significantly from the norm constitutes gratuitous self-congradulation; is that the implication, Tim? Do you really stand behind that?

> > but go down to Westlake mall (an upscal shopping area in downtown Seattle)
> > and ask 100 shoppers what is important in life and see how many of them say
> > "consciousness."
> About the same number that say "breathing" I suspect. (But I doubt you'll find
> any of them not doing it as they talk to you.)

Which illustrates what?

> Actually, this could be a good experiment! I have a couple clipboards around
> somewhere, what are you doing Thursday afternoon?

Weekends are better for me, but not this weekend as I'll be out of town.

> > I'm not sure I understand your concern here, Tim. I don't see any point in
> > making the ground rules intentionally unattractive to the perspective
> > participant, and the fact that few people would be put off by the first maxim
> > on the list doesn't seem to constitute a deficiency in that maxim (postulate,
> > axiom, talking point, or whatever we decide to call them).
> What about the fact that it's a feel-good platitude that doesn't really mean
> anything?

That's a FACT, is it?

Do you not know that getting people to be conscious of how they are manipulated by media and culture is a long-standing passion and project of mine? Did you really not know that about me? Are you just trying to get under my skin? What's up? Do you know what the "C" in C-Realm stands for?

> Is that a viable criteria for evaluation here, Kevin?

Semantic content is a viable criteria for evaluation,but I think "consciousness" still has some meaning attached to it. If we are only able to use words that product peddlers have not used to hawk their wares then we'll please those with a fetish for three dollar words, but we're not likely to reach a wider audience than your run of the mill academic journal.

> Personally, I see "living consciously" quickly becoming as trite and tired a
> phrase in our society as "peace, love and happiness" has become--largely
> because of its overuse and abuse.

How fortunate for the war-mongers, hate-mongers, and nihilists that the words "peace," "love," and "happiness" are now considered too trite and dirtied by common parlance to be taken seriously by the semiotically hip. Cynicism is a very easy stance to adopt, but it doesn't strike me as being particularly useful.

> It's a hell of a lot easier to say,
> "consciousness is the most important thing" than to demonstrate what that
> actually _means_ or why.

That's true. And it's certainly a lot easier to strike a hip cynical pose and deride people who profess an interest or even a passion for something as trite as peace or consciousness than it is to demonstrate what those words actually mean. What mileage are you getting out of this attitude, Tim?

> I'd prefer to see more of an emphasis placed on the
> later and could live a long time without seeing too much more of the former.

Show me.

> (Besides, it's a meme already co-opted by the spectacle marketers and needs
> little help from us in its propigation at this point.)

"The simplest rudiment of mystical experience would seem to be that deepened sense of the significance of a maxim or formula which occasionally sweeps over one. "I've heard that said all my life," we exclaim, "but I never realized its full meaning until now.""

-William James

> Now me, I'm going go have a 7-Up -- because unlike Them, I can think for
> myself!

Suppose you have convinced everyone on this list that KMO is a self-important, social crusader with no particular agenda other than to repeat tired slogans and hold himself and his cohorts up as exemplars of the conscious elite. If you assume that said project has been 100% achieved, what's the next step? Where does that get you or the Church of the Virus?