COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: The mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The unease or tension that the conflict arouses in a person is relieved by one of several defensive maneuvers: the person rejects, explains away, or avoids the new information, persuades himself that no conflict really exists, reconciles the differences, or resorts to any other defensive means of preserving stability or order in his conception of the world and of himself.
The purpose of this text is to help you free your mind... Some people who read this booklet will believe what is written herein. Some people who read it will not. But both of these groups will be missing the point. There are many statements made in this booklet which will no doubt incite controversy, indignation, or anger... There is a large body of people who will take issue with at least one topic covered in these pages. But please do not discard the entire text as worthless due to prejudices you hold against one section, because there are such important ideas here, and if you investigate (not believe in!) even one of them, then my purpose will have been accomplished...
Most everyone has had the inkling that there is something drastically wrong with the world, yet no one seems to do anything to find out what this something is or to change it. This is because you have been conditioned into ignorance and inaction. The powers that be have it pretty well... Consequently, this elite doesn’t want any major disruptions to the status quo. Alcohol, mass media entertainment, lavish comforts, slavish social and religious doctrine… all these opiates are heaped upon you to quell that little voice inside of you... calling for a cure.
Althusser wrote the famous critique “Reproduction of the Means of Production” describing how and why the corporate state manipulates the public... Basically, every corporation needs to sell a product in order to prosper. In order to buy the product, people need money. People work for corporations to make money then give it back to corporations for the products those corporations produce. So far this seems relatively reasonable, right? People work; they get goods in return. But the cycle needs to go on if corporations are to continue to grow. Corporations need people to need their product. In order to sell their product, corporations need to create a demand for it. In order to create a demand for what is often a useless item, corporations need to make the working class think they need it by enforcing certain ideas about what will bring happiness, what is normal, what is to be feared. They need to reproduce the means by which their production continues. These ideas are written into our minds through various institutions controlled or supported by said corporations: the media, the entertainment industry, public education, the government, and mass institutional religion. Althusser defines each of these as an Ideological State Apparatus. The corporate-state ideology is enforced both home and abroad through the use of the appropriate Repressive State Apparatus, be that the National Guard, the police, the US Marines, even your fellow civilians. It has gotten to the point that many people are so inured, so helplessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.
The State would have us believe that anarchists are a bunch of crazies running around and throwing bombs, that anarchism is about Darwinian survival of the fittest. For anyone with eyes to see, however, it should be obvious that it is really the State throwing around the bombs and capitalism which is predatory and cruel. Anarchists cooperate with one another because we recognize the absolute sovereignty of every individual... It is important to have fun as an anarchist, because the State keeps us under control partly by keeping us from having fun (Seriously! The “entertainment” they offer us isn’t fun, it’s boring and stupefying). But you can have fun with the State…
The fight requires a radical internal revolution on the part of each individual. Each step is infinitely difficult; the chains that bind us are not only numerous but often invisible. But each step is also infinitely rewarding, and once you take the first step, you will have defeated inertia and may be able to help others do the same with whatever skills you possess, with little e-publications like this, or by any other means your wild imagination can devise.
THE STRAIGHT TALK ON DOPE
You’ve heard the propaganda all your lives. You’ve been told to say no to drugs, because drugs are bad. You’ve been made to think, by cops and Health teachers, D.A.R.E. Officers and politicians, that drugs will ruin your lives, your careers, your mental and physical health... The typical image painted of any long-term drug user is that of a low-life junkie who will resort to prostitution, theft, or murder for the next fix. Yes, it is true that a life of depravity may be the result of the indiscriminate abuse of heroin, cocaine, and the like. Yes, even drugs without a component of physical addiction can lead to a downward spiral if they are being used as an escape from the problems of everyday life. Yes, I would even concede that they are likely to do so in people who begin to experiment with them in their turbulent teens before hormone levels have stabilized and the body is done growing. Some very fundamental issues are, however, being glossed over in the stories about the dangers of drug use.
One issue here is this: that in the land where we are supposed to be free to pursue happiness each in our own way, the government is telling us that we cannot have control over our own bodies and minds, even in the privacy of our own homes. One of the main claims by those in power is that if drugs were legalized, everyone would start doing them and society would go down the drains. Are we really all such irresponsible children? Do you shoot heroin now? (I hope not.) Would you if it were legal? (I doubt it.) People who have made the decision to put these substances into their bodies are not deterred by the fact that they are illegal. Over 20 million Americans smoke pot, for Jah’s sake. Even if there is an increase in drug usage, they could be taxed just like cigarettes, and that money could go towards rehab-centers, which are a far more effective way of dealing with drug abuse than prison anyway.
And drugs were not made illegal in America to protect our health in the first place. They were made illegal in order to criminalize portions of society that didn’t fit into the American Dream. Subversive artist-types who enjoyed psychedelics and desperate poor and homeless persons resorting to narcotics could suddenly become legal targets for police and were jailed away where they wouldn’t prove a nuisance. Consider that nationwide, penalties for the use, distribution, etc. of crack-cocaine are much worse than those for cocaine. One is not especially worse than the other, yet crack-cocaine is much more popular in poor, black communities, while cocaine is more popular in rich, white communities. And the distribution of LSD is now considered an act of terrorism, as if with anthrax and nuclear armaments floating about, terrorists have nothing better to do than make us all trip out for a day.
If health issues were the concern, it should be easy to see that legal drugs would also be much safer than black market drugs. The FDA could impose strict regulations on their manufacture, so people who chose to do them wouldn’t have to wonder what sort of random adulterants and poisons they were putting into their bodies. With the unrealistic goal of eliminating all illegal drug usage in the U.S., the government has also managed to make reliable information about recreational illicit substances extremely hard to come by. If drugs were legalized, people could make informed decisions about their use thus preventing a lot of overdoses, dangerous combination, and unsafe activities while under the influence... If we legalize drugs... There would be no need for DEA officers, narcs, border patrols, or search teams. We’d need fewer police. Thousands of non-violent drug offenders could be released from our overcrowded prisons.
A final point against the absurd war on drugs is that not all drugs are bad for you. In fact, some might even be good for you. I speak of the class of drugs known as psychedelics. Given that there has been no reliable evidence that LSD, mushrooms, mescaline and the rest have any negative long-term effects on physically and psychologically healthy adults, and that many users have reported them to be, in fact, vastly useful for personal growth and exploration, it is especially curious (by the party-line logic) that these drugs are illegal. “Isn’t it funny,” said the late Bill Hicks, “how the drugs that are legal, alcohol and cigarettes, do absolutely nothing for you, but the drugs that are illegal are the ones that make you realize that you’re getting fucked every day of your lives. Well, I’m sure they all have our best interests in mind.”
SOME SCIENTIFIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS ON ALTERING YOUR MIND
An objection I’ve often heard about assertions of the beneficial uses of supranormal states of mind is that anything you learn from such experiences is ultimately invalid because the things you felt or perceived are not real. This is obviously a misleading assertion, since even “unreal” experiences may be beneficial, as one may learn something from a dream. The issue runs deeper than that though. To say that what one perceives while in such a state isn’t real ignores a fundamental fact of nature: nothing you perceive is real. What you perceive is an interpretation of reality which is useful for getting around in our everyday lives, but the phenomenal world we see is not the objective reality of the universe. If this sounds like acid-head-mystic nonsense to you, consider the following:
1. Everything you perceive is due to an electrochemical change in your brain. You only smell, taste, touch, see, and hear because your brain is interpreting the electrical data sent to it by your nerves. Being on a psychedelic substance, in a trance, etc. also causes an electrochemical change in your brain. This change may cause your brain to interpret the usual electrical signals in a new way, but this new way is no less valid than the old because:
2. Man’s senses, and the way they cause him to perceive the universe, are merely the product of evolution. Man sees the universe in a radically different way than a bee, a frog, an eagle, and so on, but in each case the information received is merely that which evolution has determined to be the most useful for the survival of that particular organism. Man’s range of sensoria is certainly not the most all-encompassing, even within the animal kingdom. In fact:
3. Modern science has shown that our perception of “things” as “solid matter” is inherently incorrect. From our normal vantage point we are merely unable to perceive that “solid matter” is a time-based illusion created by electrons cycling the nuclei of atoms so fast that they appear to be solid spheres, much as the blades of a fan seem to form a solid disc when in motion. (Actually, even this explanation is a much simplified version of what is going on. Electrons are only particles when examined from a certain perspective.) Further:
4. The famous physicist Neil Heisenberg has demonstrated with the method of science that any view taken of reality excludes the possibility of viewing another equally “real” aspect of the universe. His Uncertainty Principle shows that “…in the subatomic world, we can never know both the position and momentum of a particle with great accuracy. The better we know the position, the hazier will its momentum be and vice versa. We can decide to undertake a precise measurement of either of the two quantities, but then we will have to remain completely ignorant about the other one. It is important to realize that this limitation is not caused by the imperfection of our measuring techniques, but is a limitation of principle. If we decide to measure the particle’s position precisely, the particle simply does not have a well-defined momentum, and vice versa.” (From Capra’s The Tao of Physics…) What this suggests, therefore, is that:
5. Everything we perceive is equally valid. Every occurrence in our phenomenal world is equally real to us, yet equally illusory when considered from the standpoint of the objective universe...
What are the uses of altering your mind? The most obvious benefit is simple pleasure. Psychedelic drugs offer the responsible user pleasure and harm no one, and taking pleasure in an activity which harms none is something I fully endorse, even if it accomplishes nothing else. Remarkably, however, psychedelics do accomplish other things...
Our government tells us that we need to either suppress our natural inclination to alter our consciousness, or that we need to do it with alcohol, and neither of these is a healthy option. In contrast with the propaganda that the use of psychedelics lead to psychoses, their occasional use may actually stave off the development of neuroses which are the inevitable result of repressing natural instincts. People I know who have undergone the psychedelic experience certainly seem to have less fears and insecurities than those who have not. And far from being stupefying, the experience seems to have galvanized them into an even greater passion for life and learning.
Also, there is an obvious tactical advantage to be gained from viewing any situation from many angles. The temporary ego-loss phenomenon which can be experienced while in a psychedelic state allows the user to consider any problem without the interference of personal tendencies and biases. The narrow limits of one’s previous beliefs and prejudices about life are apt to become embarrassingly obvious from this vantage point. Quandaries which the rational intellect has been unable to unravel may be solved in a flash of intuition while in a psychedelic state, and artistic genius becomes much more readily available. Psychedelics will not make anyone into a great artist, but they may certainly help to unearth latent talent. People of any walk of life may find inspiration for taking their work in a new and fulfilling direction.
Such are but a few of the practical benefits of altering one’s consciousness via psychedelic drugs; many more await intelligent and intrepid explorers. Such benefits are also available from the ancient mind-altering practices of yoga and ceremonial magick, and thus I strongly encourage the development of proficiency in these areas as well. Yet both take months or years to make substantial progress in, and in the meantime, we are all in desperate need of a shortcut to unplugging ourselves from the machine which has imprisoned our minds.
As a result of what passes for capitalism these days, 8% of the world’s population controls over half of the world’s material wealth. The idea that this systems rewards people who work hard is a farce. It rewards people who make a living from knowing and manipulating the insane bureaucracy which makes up our body of federal and state law... of our economic system... It rewards those who take advantage of our meager health care and insurance programs to charge ridiculous prices for their often ineffectual services and goods... It rewards those who utilize American tax dollars to exploit third-world countries...
People who work hard to make a useful contribution to our society– farmers, artisans, builders, scientists– struggle to maintain middle or lower class levels of living... The prospects for social advancement in our society are nil. Our economy is designed to make the rich richer, not give the poor a chance to become rich. The poor are allowed to vote between candidates from two parties, neither of which has their interests in mind, and political decisions are made by the rich. This is not a democracy, this is an aristocracy...
That government policies are bought and sold by rich industrialists is evidenced by the way reactionary bills allow our big corporations to adhere to environmental standards far behind our counterparts in the democratic nations of Europe. Our military budget is so ridiculously huge because it is a major source of profit for several large corporations...
This illegitimate elite is rightly afraid that the rest of the world might not agree that the elite deserve that wealth if the world were to realize that the elite’s wealth was sequestered by placing personal profit ahead of human life and the life of this very planet. To keep mankind from realizing its natural rights, and to keep mankind from claiming those rights by its rightful means, the secret elite bought a staggeringly complex veil of media propaganda...
America is, and has always been an evil empire. Our highschool history books tell us of America’s War for Independence from Britain. They tell us how the noble founding fathers created a new nation with a humanitarian constitution to protect the rights of all people and to ensure that the people’s will was enacted through a fair and democratic system. The truth is that the wealthy elite of America simply wanted a bigger slice of the pie, and used the lower classes to drive out their economic competitors from across the Atlantic...
Since that time, the elite has given the middle class a few minor concessions from time to time to keep them hard at work chasing an illusory American Dream. To reproduce their means of production today, the elite must convince the middle class that it needs money to buy all sorts of useless shit. The elite has learned how to do this very well, but the fear of poverty is given as an additional incentive. The current economic system is set up so that there will always be a certain percentage of the American population that lives in third world conditions. As an abstract threat, poverty works quite well in keeping the middle-class in line. What the elite have learned over the years, however, was that this abstract threat occasionally becomes material in the form of uprisings and class riots. So over the past quarter of a century, the solution of the elite has been to neatly round up and secure the potential troublesome poverty-stricken members of society.
Consider that over the past 25 years, violent crime in the U.S. has remained approximately the same, yet the rate at which people have been incarcerated in this country has almost quadrupled. Only 25% of these have committed a violent crime, and while it costs more to send a person to prison for a year than to Harvard for a year, U.S. prisoners are also serving longer terms than in the past. Meanwhile, studies have shown that higher imprisonment rates do not lower crime rates. America, with 5% of the world’s population, has 25% of its prisoners. And not only are more people being locked up, but international human rights organizations have cited prisons in the U.S. for practicing psychological torture.
Into these hell-holes are thrown any dissidents the government can find any reasons at all to imprison. A prime example of how this system is used to crush anyone who dares question it is the case of Mumia Abu Jamal. Mumia Abu Jamal is an award winning journalist writing about the injustices of the criminal injustice system, an opponent of police brutality, and a prisoner on Death Row in Pennsylvania, convicted of killing a police officer... Many people believe Mumia’s trial was set from the start to put Mumia down because of his outspoken political views and his former involvement in the Black Panther Party. For this, he has been under police surveillance since he was 15. The judge who heard his trial was elected with the support of the Fraternal Order of Police. Most black jurors were deliberately excluded from the trial. Witnesses who claimed they saw a third person running from the crime scene were not allowed to testify... The same judge heard Mumia’s appeal in 1995 and ruled all new evidence as unbelievable and irrelevant. Mumia’s prison, SCI Greene has 200 people on death row (85% African American) and recent Supreme Court decisions have made it harder to get a full federal hearing and easier to carry out the death penalty... To learn more about this, visit www.mumia.org.
The rich keep getting richer, middle class workers live pitiful and robotic lives, the poor starve, and anyone who does more than whimper in complaint gets thrown into a prison to be beaten and raped... This is not the inevitable outcome of human evolution, but the result of a irrational system held totteringly in place and given the illusion of stability through wrongly amassed wealth and power...
For a long time, it seemed like the Puritans had lost their battle over the notion that only married people should have sex, and then only when absolutely necessary. Such ideas had simply become too outdated, it seemed. Yet once again, corrupt Christianity has reared its ugly head... Certainly health issues are of concern, but you can observe safer methods with many people as easily as with one. And more people would be more inclined to protect themselves all the time if we were taught to respect rather than loathe and be ashamed of our physical body and its normal biological functions.
Old and malicious restrictions on our sexuality still hold a powerful sway over many people’s attitudes towards sex. Many people feel like it’s alright to have sex outside of marriage, but certainly only with their devoted partner! People are expected to engage in some sort of mini-marriage before having sex with someone, or they are called sluts and players. Having sex with someone other than your mini-marriage partner is called cheating, and is considered a deceitful betrayal.
Maybe for some people, having a slowly developing monogamous relationship is really the thing to do. But is anonymous sex really evil? It has been denounced as alienating, and indeed anonymous sex has an alienating effect on some people. Yet this is hardly surprising considering our society’s prevailing negative attitudes towards sex. But it is not sex itself that alienates us from one another. Rather it is our society, with its plastic beauty molds and expectations of ideological conformity...
And why this limitation to just one partner? Look at the word ‘play’. It has come to mean something sleazy and dishonest. How warped this is from its true meaning of innocent fun and exploration. Why this idea of ownership of another person? Are we slaves? No! I say that we are kings and queens in our own right, coequals in the company of heaven. Let us cast our insecurities aside. Two shining stars may share their light for mutual benefit without either laying claim to the other. The word of Sin is RESTRICTION.
h2. Further Resources
Book 4: Parts I-IV by Aleister Crowley -99% of the fluffy new age wicca crap that’s come out in the past 50 years is a very sad degeneration of Crowley’s system. If you’re interested in learning to control and transform yourself, or in magick as a system of serious spiritual development, this is the place to start looking. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson -though it must be taken with a large grain of salt, a useful text which draws from Crowley and Timothy Leary’s metaprogramming practices and model of consciousness
Liber Null and Psychonaut by Peter Carroll -sometimes useful, sometimes frivolous, nevertheless a classic of the Chaos Magick school, which is the offspring of Crowley’s skeptical Scientific Illuminism and Austin Osman Spare’s Zos Kia Cultus
any and all essays by Hakim Bey -escaping the consume/produce cycle of death through Immediatism, poetic terrorism, ontological anarchy, and the creation of temporary autonomous zones Jamming the Media by George Branwyn -using the machine against itself
Read more: http://www.excommunicate.net/cognit
HOW YOU’RE BEING FUCKED BY YOUR PUBLIC EDUCATION
The problem with public education is that its goal is not to educate America’s youth, but to turn them into either productive members of society (wage slaves) or the robotic enforcers of this society (RSAs). Everywhere things aren’t as bad as in Texas, where the teaching of Creationism is still favored over evolution, but everywhere students are still being sold short. Although state laws officially support alternative forms of education (magnet schools, home schooling, etc) where real learning might take place, both state and school administrations make it very difficult to participate in these activities. “Hold on,” says the skeptic. “You expect me to believe that the purpose of public schools isn’t to teach me things?” Well sure, you’re taught things but take just a moment to consider what you’re being taught. How many years now have they been teaching you that in fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue? What is the purpose of that? Could it be, perhaps, that despite claims of honoring cultural diversity, the State really wants you to scoff at alternate social systems and mindlessly embrace the narrow version of history endorsed by pale male Christian bureaucrats? And in how many classes have you studied World War II? Granted, this was a major event in human history. But you don’t need to study it every year to know basically what happened! What I’ve come to realize is that during WWII was the one time America actually did anything good for the world. Stopping the Nazi regime was really swell of us, but it happened over half a century ago, and ever since then America’s been boning every developing nation our politicians can get their greasy hands on. Of course, neither the state?run education system nor the corporate?controlled media is going to make any effort to remind us of these sordid chapters in America’s past (and present). When’s the last time you heard about Colombia, Taiwan, or Chiapas on the news? Do you even know where these places are? If not, don’t feel too bad, because in every public school children have been lied to. It’s not entirely the teachers’ faults; they’ve been lied to as well, and the state mandates that certain topics are covered in the curriculum (and that certain topics are not)...
What can I do about it?Whether a student or an adult (or both), demand better. Tell Social Studies teachers you’re tired of hearing about D?Day and Columbus. Tell them you want to learn about the School of the Americas and the Zapatistas. Tell them you want to know who Mumia Abu Jamal and Sub? Commandante Marcos are. Tell them you want to learn about social issues which are current and relevant to your lives. If they can’t accommodate you, you could go to the next level. Add courses to the curriculum if need be. But in the mean time, learn about these issues outside of school. The Internet is a great place to start. It seems like there’s a lot of emphasis in school on how unreliable Internet sources are, when in actuality, it’s one of the only reliable sources of information left, because (thanks to our friendly anarchist hackers) it is not yet completely controlled by either the government or the corporations running the government.Tell your Health teachers that you’re tired of hearing that drugs are bad (adding the appropriate voice from South Park if you feel it is necessary). Ask them why psychedelic drugs are illegal when they’ve been proven to have definite clinical value in treating alcoholism and rehabilitating violent criminals. Tell them you want to learn about the psychoanalytical and spiritual value of these chemicals.Tell Economics teachers you’re tired of hearing the same old claptrap about statism and capitalism. Ask if they even know anything about other systems. I remember quite clearly a certain “Western Civilizations” teacher of mine denouncing anarchy as a bunch of crazies running around “packing a rod” and asking rhetorically how we thought we could ever survive in such a system. Had I not been an impressionable and naive young sophomore at the time, I would have jumped down his throat about what anarchism is really about. Tell your English teachers that you’re tired of reading Huck Finn for the millionth time, and that you want to read something that’s really controversial or thought provoking, like the works of William S. Burroughs or Aldous Huxley. Tell them you want to read the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.
You could even just drop out of school. You can learn a lot more from staying home and reading books and Internet articles than you can in that place. I have certainly learned more useful information on my own than in highschool. But staying in school has its uses as well. Playing dumb for a while may allow you to work your way into a position of influence. But in any case, demand to know what has been denied to you. Refuse to conform to the mold the state is trying to fit you into. Think for yourself; question authority.