Psychotic Knowledge

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Blogosphere, Consciousness, Nomenclature, Philosophy
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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.

  1. montejo says:

    I’m always amazed by the nonsense people come up with in order to feel important. They don’t seem to realize that others will debunk their nonsense for the same reason. It must be intrinsic to the human condition.

  2. montejo says:

    I’m referring to the statement about the “intrusion of alien spacecraft into our skies.” It doesn’t make sense that all the “honest observers” of UFOs would be telling the truth, because that would imply aliens are not trying to be secretive. But if that were the case, why wouldn’t the aliens just reveal themselves plainly?

    The article also makes some rather radical claims about government conspiracies. I find it hard to believe that secret factions would be hell-bent on establishing a propaganda state. A conspiracy would have to be extremely subtle to avoid exposure, and most conspiracy theories aren’t subtle at all.

    • Brutus says:

      Thanks for your reply. I also balked at the mention of aliens, UFOs, and a number of other flaky claims. However, the essential thesis still interests me even if some of the support veers off track. I didn’t quote the beginning of para. 2 but should have:

      … such knowledge is produced by ripping apart the fabric of consensual reality. What pours through that tear in the discourse of conventional sanity may be brilliant with lucid transcendental insight and it may equally be speckled with nuggets of paranoid fantasy and archetypal imagery serving the narcissistic ego. It is psychotic from the perspective of the hegemonic paradigm that cannot permit multiple realities that elude the control and deny the legitimacy of the materialist construct. Coping with the accelerating explosion of psychotic knowledge, and the general contamination of the current information deluge with every sort of misinformation and disinformation, will become ever more challenging.

      It would be easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater: a few notoriously questionable statements undermine the entirety of the article. But I’m inclined to grant the thesis despite the overall weirdness of the article.

      • montejo says:

        Yeah, there may be elements of truth and insight in the article. I’m interested in why people latch onto this conspiracy theory and paranormal stuff though…I think it must have something to do with the human impulse for religion, mythology, etc. I’m into space exploration for perhaps the same kind of reason, and there’s another blogger ( who’s talking about starting a new religion based on human expansion through the cosmos.

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