Saturday, April 01, 2006

a primer on primalism

Primalism, as I talked about in "my lust makes the world go 'round" is the belief that experiencing primal desires is the key to happiness, that ones id is the essense of one's authentic, true self and the key to enlightenment and freedom.

I identify five aspects of primalism -- collective id, neo-marxist id, neo-primalist id, desire id and emotive id. Desire id is simply ones wants and delights, and Primalism is a belief in the full unfettered expression of one's desire id ("it's what you want") for happiness. Emotive id comprises all of the raw emotions that one feels, and Primalism is a belief that the full, unfettered expression of all ones raw emotions is essential for one's therapy and mental health. Neo-marxist id is the Primalist belief that certain expressions of the id address social inequalities. Neo-Primalist id, closely related to neo-marxist id, is the Primalist belief that we must get back to the full and unfettered experience of our id that has been thwarted and repressed by adulthood, civilization, religion, etc... Collective id is the collective intuition expressed through popular trends. I'll elaborate more on these later.

Primalism's notion of progress is based on a teological meta-narrative of id catharsis. In other, easier words, the Primalist idea of progress is the advancement of id expressions within society that advance primalism's ideas of happiness, therapy and social equality; progress is the continual unfolding of id expressions within society that had been repressed in the past or that are simply being discovered by new products, services and artforms that facilitate new id experiences.

Primalists believe that the collective id is the path of wisdom to know what new aspect of the id to weave into the fabric of society's acceptance to advance this progress. The collective id is felt as that something that is "in the air" and that precludes any one persons ability to lay claim to it as the source. The question of what aspect of the id to allow and how to allow within any given "time" it is the situational ethic that is decided by the collective id. When a new form of id is being expressed, a primalist justifies it by saying "times change". In other words, a primalist is saying that the collective id has negociated a new form id expression into social acceptance for these times and we must defer to what the collective id has ratified.

"Who's to say?" is a rhetorical statement that can be translated, "which individual among us is to say?" that has the collective id as its default. In other words, "who's to say" is a slogan that is code for saying that one should not attempt to make judgements with the use of one's own personal mind but should rather defer to the collective mind whose engine is the collective id. Here, the collective id is the supercomputer that negociates primalist progress, a supercomputer that no one individual can comprehend or should try to question.

The marketplace is a primary "voting booth" where the collective id votes for and ratifies what is newly acceptable by purchasing and consuming it. If something "sells", ie. "sex sells" it is understood that the id experience associated with it is being ratified by the collective id. The collective id's use of the marketplace as a medium of making decisions is one way that primalism partners with with economism (see "my lust makes the world go 'round) in using the marketplace as the basis of making ethical decisions.

Though most people do not self-identify as being primalist, much of what is "Politically correct" in our society is correct because it is connected to a Primalist sense of progress. Though not all political correctness is primalism, much of what is "correct" for the purposes of being advanced social, legally, intellectually and policitally, is correct because it advances primalism.


John Duggan said...

fascinating stuff. I found your page while writing a philosophy paper and, having believed I coined the term 'primalism' as the base for motivation behind personal identity and existence, I decided to google the term. Apparently I was not the first. There go my dreams of the rich windfall of being a brilliant 21st century philosopher. Ha ha.

I agree with much of your theories, but the idea of a 'collective id' mystifies me, since there are so many extremes and so much variation within even the closest of personal belief systems. How do you conclude that there is any possible way to represent these ideals within one single perspective?

greg wertime said...


I discovered your comment in January 2008 while surfing my old blog posts. I think I answer some of this in my later blog posts on the topic of Primalism.

To put it succinctly, the collective id is that cross section of people's personal feelings/intuitions which is felt in en mass and finds its expression in trends. Primalism is a belief-system that assigns moral weight to this collective feeling by virtue of denying any other higher metaphysical moral reality.