Monday, April 23, 2012

Illuminatus! Excerpt: Excerpt from Hagbard Celine's Never Whistle While You're Pissing & more

It is now theoretically possible to link the human nervous system into a radio network so that, micro-miniaturized receivers being implanted in people's brains, the messages coming out of these radios would be indistinguishable to the subjects from the voice of their own thoughts. One central transmitter, located in the nation's capital, could broadcast all day long what the authorities wanted the people to believe. The average man on the receiving end of these broadcasts would not even know he was a robot; he would think it was his own voice he was listening to. The average woman could be
treated similarly. 

It is ironic that people will find such a concept both shocking and frightening. Like Orwell's 1984, this is not a fantasy of the future but a parable of the present. Every citizen in every authoritarian society already has such a "radio" built into his or her brain. This radio is the little voice that asks, each time a desire is formed, "Is it safe? Will my wife (my husband/my boss/my church/my community) approve? Will people ridicule and mock me? Will the police come and arrest me?" This little voice the Freudians call "The Superego," with Freud himself vividly characterized as "the ego's
harsh master." With a more functional approach, Peris, Hefferline and Goodman, in Gestalt Therapy, describe this process as "a set of conditioned verbal habits."  

This set, which is fairly uniform throughout any authoritarian society, determines the actions which will, and will not, occur there. Let us consider humanity a biogram {the basic DNA blueprint of the human organism and its potentials) united with a logogram (this set of "conditioned verbal habits"). The biogram has not changed in several hundred thousand years; the logogram is different in each society. When the logogram reinforces the biogram, we have a libertarian society, such as still can be found among some American Indian tribes. Like Confucianism before it became authoritarian and
rigidified, American Indian ethics is based on speaking from the heart and acting from the heart—'that is, from the biogram. 

No authoritarian society can tolerate this. All authority is based on conditioning men and women to act from the logogram, since the logogram is a set created by those in authority. 

Every authoritarian logogram divides society, as it divides the individual, into alienated halves. Those at the bottom suffer what I shall call the burden of nescience. The natural sensory activity of the biogram— what the person sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels, and, above all, what the organism as a whole, or as a potential whole, wants —is always irrelevant and immaterial. The authoritarian logogram, not the field of sensed experience, determines what is relevant and material. This is as true of a highly paid advertising copywriter as it is of an engine lathe operator. The person acts, not on
personal experience and the evaluations of the nervous system, but on the orders from above. Thus, personal experience and personal judgment being nonoperational, these functions become also less "real." They exist, if at all, only in that fantasy land which Freud called the Unconscious. Since nobody has found a way to prove that the Freudian Unconscious really exists, it can be doubted that personal experience and personal judgment exist; it is an act of faith to assume they do. The organism has become, as Marx said, "a tool, a machine, a robot." 

Those at the top of the authoritarian pyramid, however, suffer an equal and opposite burden of omniscience. All that is forbidden to the servile class— the web of perception, evaluation and participation in the sensed universe— is demanded of the members of the master class. They must attempt to do the seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling and decision-making for the whole society. 

But a man with a gun is told only that which people assume will not provoke him to pull the trigger. Since all authority and government are based on force, the master class, with its burden of omniscience, faces the servile class, with its burden of nescience, precisely as a highwayman faces his victim. Communication is possible only between equals. The master class never abstracts enough information from the servile class to know what is actually going on in the world where the actual productivity of society occurs. 
Furthermore, the logogram of any authoritarian society remains fairly inflexible as time passes, but everything else in the universe constantly changes. The result can only be progressive disorientation among the rulers. The end is debacle.  The schizophrenia of authoritarianism exists both in the individual and in the whole society. 

I call this the Snafu (Situation Normal All Fucked Up) Principle.

 "What the hell are these?" Eichmann asked. He had been searching Hagbard's closet and found some red, white and blue bumper stickers. The top half of each letter was blue with white stars, and the bottom half was red-and-white stripes; they looked patriotic as all get-out. The slogan formed this way was 


Hagbard had been circulating these in neighborhoods like the Yorkville section of Manhattan, the western suburbs of Chicago, and other places where old-fashioned Father Coughlin-Joe McCarthy style Irish Catholic fascism was still strong. This was a trial run on the logogram-biogram double-bind tactic out of which the Dealy Lama later developed Operation Mindfuck. 

"Patriotic stickers," Hagbard explained. 
"Well, they look patriotic . . ." Eichmann conceded dubiously. 
"What the hell are these?" Galley asked. He had found some business-size cards saying RED in green letters and GREEN in red letters. 
("When you're out of it all the way, on the mountain," George asked, "that's neither the biogram nor the logogram, right? What the hell is it, then?") 
"An antigram," Hagbard explained, still helpful. 
"The cards are an antigram?" Eichmann repeated, bewildered. 
"I may have to place you under arrest and take you downtown," Hagbard warned. "You've both been very naughty boys. Breaking and entering. Pointing a gun at me— that's technically assault with a deadly weapon. Seizing my narcotics— that's theft. All sorts of invasion of privacy. Very, very naughty." 
"You can't arrest us," Eichmann whined. "We're supposed to arrest you." 
"Which is red and which is green?" Hagbard asked. 
"Look again," They looked and RED was now really red and GREEN was really green. (Actually, the tints changed according to the angle at which Hagbard held the card, but he wasn't giving away his secrets to them.) "I can also change up and down," he added. "Worse yet, I clog zippers. Neither one of you can open your fly right now, for instance. My real gimmick, though, is reversing revolvers. Try to shoot me and the bullets will come out the back and you'll never use your good right hand again. Try it and see if I'm bluffing." 
"Can't you go a little easy on us, officer?" Eichmann took out his wallet. "A cop's salary ain't the
greatest in the world, eh?" He nudged Hagbard insinuatingly. 
"Are you trying to bribe me?" Hagbard asked sternly.

Hagbard, actually— well, not actually; this is just what he told me— had started with two handicaps, intending to prove that they weren't handicaps. The first was that he would have a bank balance of exactly $00.00 at the beginning, and the second was that he would never kill another human being throughout the Demonstration. That which was to be proved (namely, that government is a hallucination, or a self-fulfilling prophecy) could be shown only if all his equipment, including money and people, came to him through honest trade or voluntary association. Under these rules, he could not shoot even in self-defense, for the biogram of government servants was to be preserved, and only their logograms could be disconnected, deactivated and defused. The Celine System was a consistent, although flexible, assault on the specific conditioned reflex— that which compelled people to look outside themselves, to a god or a government, for direction or strength. The servants of government all carried weapons; Hagbard's insane scheme depended on rendering the weapons harmless. He called this the Tar-Baby Principle ("You Are Attached To What You Attack").  

Being a man of certain morbid self-insight, he realized that he himself exemplified the Tar-Baby Principle and that his attacks on government kept him perpetually attached to it. It was his malign and insidious notion that government was even more attached to him; that his existence qua anarchist qua smuggler qua outlaw aroused greater energetic streaming in government people than their existence aroused in him: that, in short, he was the Tar Baby on which they could not resist hurling themselves in anger and fear: an electrochemical reaction in which he could bond them to himself just as the Tar Baby captured anyone who swung a fist at it.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a series of three novels written by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.

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