I was initially intrigued by an article called The Ascendance of Psychotic Knowledge until the jarring mention of (space?) aliens in para. 3, which was far too early to be completely sidetracked. The writers at Reality Sandwich are often more than a little flaky, but I still want to consider the nature of the author’s term “psychotic knowledge.” Here is para. 1 in its entirety:
We have entered a period of epistemological chaos. The true condition of our world, indeed the very nature of our phenomenal reality, including agreement regarding the meaning of knowledge itself, is completely up for grabs. Not only are we witnessing rapid paradigm shifts and schisms within mainstream science, but also, and more dangerously, the politically motivated suppression of authentic discoveries and insights has led to epistemological blowback on every front. Every established authority has been de-legitimized. This has led to the rise of a new and unprecedented kind of discourse, which can be categorized as psychotic knowledge.
The author argues that erosion of religious and scientific authority was the result of secret hegemonic factions, operating within legitimate governments, that sought to suppress truth and eventually install a surveillance/security/propaganda state. But in a bit of juicy irony, use of the Internet as a surveillance tool has allowed the paradoxical emergence of a style of consciousness rooted in hyperreality or virtual reality and enabled by the democratic effect of value relativism:
We have gone from Nietzsche’s axiom that God is dead, to the postmodern claim that Man is dead, and now we can say that reality is dead. Reality has been overcome, not by any single alternative worldview, but by a burgeoning legion of otherworldly messengers. And who is to say that they are false or demonic? Who has the credibility to say anything authoritative any more? Who will listen? By suppressing authentic information and feeding the public too much flavorless and undigestible [sic] disinformation, the merely mortal authorities with their clearly fallible forms of knowledge have given birth to a disinformational universe, in which they are the first victims of their own bad karma.
The author then veers off into a series of pronouncements about the coming of a new consciousness beyond today’s psychotic knowledge. I’m unconvinced by and unconcerned about such florid argument, but I observe that, like so many prophets, philosophers, and spiritual leaders of the past, the author essentially hopes that humanity can be rescued from “mere phenomenal reality,” a fate apparently worse than false consciousness. Making meaning in the world has been one of man’s principal preoccupations for millennia, whether via religion, mythology, shamanic practice, the arts, or the simple biological impulse to preserve one’s genes. We’re currently in a profoundly self-destructive phase, but unlike the author, I don’t see relinquishing the self as the seed of spiritual rebirth.