Saturday, April 08, 2006

WWAD -- what would assholes do?

(The following essay assumes that you have read "My lust makes the world go 'round" and a primer on primalism)

Primalists do not like the idea of truth as something that can be known. For Primalists, "correct" and "authentic" are more palatable terms that approximate the idea of truth. Within Primalism "correct" is a term that is oriented around the "times" and "authentic" is a term oriented around the self.

The primal desires of lust, anger, greed, fear and hubris are seen as the essense of one's authentic self. It is only in the interest of being correct that one should supress any of these desires. Suppressing one's primal desires other than to be correct is understood as the act of repressing one's authentic self. Primalists have a low of view of an individual's higher consciousness as being anything other than a repository for primal desires and understand people as creatures who are driven by emotions and primal desires and not by rationality. When evaluating a person's words, Primalists are primarily interested in the underlying motive. In evaluating a person's words, the only question relavent for a Primalist is which emotion/primal desire-- lust, greed, anger, fear or hubris-- is lying underneath the words and that the person is allowing to dominate him/her.

Suppose that one is suppressing one's primal desires on the basis believing in an idea of truth that makes claims on desires beyond what is correct for the "times". A Primalist interprets this person's belief and supression of his desires as being an act of fear, using his belief in truth as a vehicle for his fear to repress his true authentic self underneath. As such, this person's fear is understood as an "incorrect" fear. If an individual is calling others to suppress their primal desires on the basis of an idea of truth that lies outside of what is correct, that person is seen as using his belief in truth as a vehicle for his hubris to elevate himself self above others. As such this person's hubris is an "incorrect" hubris.

Primalists understand that violence leads directly from the hubris and fear that is connected to individuals and groups believing and propogating an idea of truth outside what is correct. If an individual or a group is making broad claims of truth that apply to others, that individual or group is necessarily in intellectual conflict with those who do not "see it that way". If an individual or group making a claim to truth is granted any power, their hubris will drive them to create a society and create institutions capable of imposing that belief on others by force. Primalists have a view of history that when individuals and groups make claims to truth it leads to violence over others that don't believe in that truth. Better that individuals relinquish their claims to truth and defer to "progress", as progress is negociated through the changing times by the collective id. And so it is operating in deference to the collective id and calling others to do the same that Primalists attempt to hold this dark side of primal desires in check.

Postmodernism, at its most vague and generous, allows for the possibility of truth but says that it can only be arrived at via different view points -- that no truth, as true as it may be, can be absolutely commicated to everyone via a singular source. An idea of Postmodernism that allows for the intellectual acknowledgement that truth may exist is a form of Postmodernism that is friendly to debate and inquiry. However, for a Postmodernist to be able to
a) sincerely believe that he/she has the truth
b) allow that others may only see it as a point of view, and
c) to able to operate peaceably within a community of debate,
requires that the Postmodernist have the ability to "think in stereo". "Thinking in stereo" is the ability to see the truth that one believes in while also seeing outside of oneself to the world that doesn't see it that way. Thinking in stereo requires sophisticated emotion processing (which I'll get into later) .

Primalism is a social application of Postmodernism that is oriented around the masses. A Primalist may not be sure whether "the truth is out there", but a Primalist is very sure that any one person can't know it ("Who's to say?). Primalism does not give individuals much credit for an ability to "think in stereo". Primalists operate on the premise, stated by the Tommy Lee Jones charater in the movie Men in Black, who said, "a person is smart but people are stupid". Primalism looks at individuals throught the prism of the masses and the potential for masses to "think in mono" and act stupidly -- like assholes.

Based on this assessment, Primalists evaluate any intellectual idea on how it could be interpreted by the worst instincts of the masses. In other words, Primalists are most interested in the social utility of an idea by asking the question "what would assholes do if they found out about it?" It is on the basis of the danger that ideas have to inflame the masses with the wrong primal desires that Primalists evaluate ideas to see which ideas can operate as an organizing premise of society. A Primalist on the street might utter a slogan such as "times change" and "who's to say" to quell an idea that does not pass this "asshole" test. Among intellectuals, there are a variety of more sophisticated ways to try to quell ideas that fail the test -- more on that later.

Primalists are most favorable to intellectual ideas that are seen to maximize pleasure and freedom among a society of people driven primarily by lust, greed, fear and hubris. As such Primalists are interested in an "asshole equilibrium" accross society that maximizes the primal expression of these desires throughout society in such a way that causes the least amount of violence. Based on this "gain calculus", Primalists do look the other way for certain types of violence (more on that later).

Among the primal desires, lust, greed, fear and hubris, lust is seen as having an important utility for a social equilibrium that mitigates against the violence connected to hubris and fear that is connected to broad claims of truth. If people are finding pleasure in lust and sex, they won't be so pre-occupied with obsessing about grand ideas of "truth". "Make love not war" from the 1960's is a statement that contains the 60's starry-eyed conflation of boffing with "love" and sets it up as the antidote to violience. Current Primalists mostly eschew the abstraction known as "love", but still hold lust as a social force that can operate as a substitute for violence-via-truth-claims.

That is why if one is questioning a primalist expression of lust/sex on the basis of a broad claim of truth, politically incorrect truth, a Primalist will counter saying "Why do you care so much about sex? what about violence?". Reading between the lines, it is not actually true that a Primalist believes that sex is "no big deal" -- the full expression of one's primal sexual desires is key to happiness. It is only half true to say that a primalist thinks that sex is not worth one's mental energy to address but violence is. In truth, intellectually diminishing the importance of lust/sex actually has utility in suppressing incorrect intellectual scrutiny of lust/sex so that sex/lust can continue to operate throughout society as a Primalist force to mitigate against violence.

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