Re: virus: maxims and ground rules

Tim Rhodes (
Mon, 10 May 1999 19:36:44 -0700 (PDT)

Tell me why consciousness good and what good it can do, not that its better than un-, if you really want to sell me on it.

-Prof. Tim

On Mon, 10 May 1999, KMO wrote:

> 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?
> -KMO