The Social Psychology of Homo Interneticus

Everyone is a revelation or at least an instantiation of a revelation. Special-ness is not diminished by duplication.

Other people’s opinions are worth the time it takes to elicit them. It’s just the content of their opinions that are worthless.

The Ancestors become alive when you become old.

Non-college people become more collegey when they get older while college people become less collegey.

When it comes to sympathy, validation, approval or camaraderie, quantity surpasses quality.

If postcards, greeting cards and postage had been free we could have had Facebook and Twitter hundreds of years ago.

Conversation is propaganda and everyone else’s comments are always somehow inappropriate.

Clicking buttons is hard work and scrolling even harder. No information is worth more than four clicks to get at.

A picture is worth a thousand words but a picture with words on it is worth a thousand pictures. Force multiplier.

Be honest and forthcoming in private conversation; be a little more guarded in small groups. Before large audiences, stick to the script or an outline. But when the whole world is listening, let it all hang out.

It’s a great joy to say you’ve already seen or read something and an even greater joy to show it to someone who hasn’t. Especially when they go ūüėģ

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Why Witchcraft Makes Sense

If a positive attitude is so damned beneficial, why shouldn’t a negative attitude be capable of harm?

It’s only fair.

Even if it’s foul.

Everyone wants the upside–that a good attitude brings about better performance results–but no one wants to acknowledge the equal and opposite¬†corollary¬†whereby a foul attitude should be able to bring about some shit.

Of course, positive¬†attitude alone isn’t enough. Positive attitude is just a performance enhancer–there’s got to be effort or action to enhance.

The same should apply to negative attitudes, and so even the hocus-pocus of witchcraft makes sense in a general way–just having a foul attitude is not enough. Some kind of action must accompany the bad mindset.¬Ļ

But that is a digression–the main point is that the philosophical attitude of modern people towards the power of positive vs. negative thinking is more contradictory and thus more “illogical” than the nearly universal belief in witches and witchcraft among pre-modern peoples.

The pre-modern view–that there is power in both positive and negative thinking, positive and negative symbols–is much more consistent.

Another serious anthropological mystery solved in jest.²

JOKE NOTES:

1.¬† Society normally prohibits the kind of “action” or “effort” or “work” that the foul-minded want to undertake. So direct, logical action is precluded from the start by Society.

Therefore, indirect, illogical actions are the only choice–symbols and movements and utterances and thoughts–things that literally “don’t matter” but are often (figuratively) much more important than material things–these are the only sphere of action allowed by Society, or at least not easily controlled.

But for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction and this also applies to Society’s actions and normative pressures. Therefore Advanced Witchcraft takes advantage of the reactive force that inevitably results from the “positive actions” undertaken by Society. What Society taketh away–the option of direct physical harm–it must also give back even if in modified form.

In fact, truly advanced witchcraft makes use of the latest data and theory from sociology and anthropology and carefully integrates them into its hocus-pocus symbol systems with woopty-doo results.

I myself have witnessed talismans representing the unemployment rate used in conjunction with more traditional representations for casting curses upon intended victims. I saw a Tarot deck where the Devil had been replaced by Patriarchy, and the Tower was referred to as the World Capitalist System.

They say it improves the accuracy of their forecasts by 16% of a suggestive metaphor. That’s a two-thirds savings on your wasted money.

It can also bilk an extra big tip from an unsuspecting businessperson.

2.  Obviously there are other factors besides logical consistency that help explain the nearly universal belief in witchcraft among pre-modern peoples. A classic sociological explanation is that group cohesion is reinforced by having a flexible scapegoat system wherein anyone can be accused of engineering misfortune through witchcraft.

Carlos Castaneda Was Lying But His Jimsonweed Lizards Accurately Predicted His Future

castaneda_booksFrom The Teachings of Don Juan: a Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968):

“The paste [datura or Jimsonweed, aka loco weed] had dried up and scaled off my temples. I was about to rub some more of it on [using a live lizard’s head as an applicator] when I realized I was sitting on my heels in Japanese fashion. I had been sitting cross-legged and did not recall changing positions. It took some time to realize fully that I was sitting on the floor in a sort of cloister with high arches. I thought they were brick arches, but upon examining them I saw they were stone.

“This transition was very difficult. It came so suddenly that I was not ready to follow. My perception of the elements of the vision was diffused, as if I were dreaming. Yet the components did not change…

“…the next thing I noticed was that I had moved. I was at the top of a stairway and H., a friend of mine, was standing at the bottom. Her eyes were feverish. There was a mad glare in them. She laughed aloud with such intensity that she was terrifying. She began coming up the stairs. I wanted to run away or take cover, because ‘she had been off her rocker once’. That was the thought that came to my mind.

“I hid behind a column and she went by without looking. ‘She is going on a long trip now,’ was another thought that occurred to me then; and finally the last thought I remembered was, ‘She laughs every time she is ready to crack up.’

“….The scene changed abruptly. It was night-time. I was in the hall of a building. The darkness inside the building made me aware that in the earlier scene the sunlight had been beautifully clear; yet it had been so commonplace that I did not notice it at the time.

“As I looked further into the new vision I saw a young man coming out of a room carrying a large knapsack on his shoulders. I did not know who he was, although I had seen him once or twice. He walked by me and went down the stairs. By then I had forgotten my apprehension, my rational dilemmas.

” ‘Who is that guy?’ I thought. ‘Why did I see him?’ “

“The scene changed again and I was watching the young man deface books; he glued some of the pages together, erased markings, and so on. Then I saw him arranging the books neatly in a wooden crate. There was a pile of crates. They were not in his room, but in a storage place. Other images came¬†to my mind, but they were not clear. The scene became foggy. I had a sensation of spinning.

“Don Juan shook me by the shoulders, and I woke up….”

THE INTERPRETATION:

Both components of the vision are about Castaneda’s ultimate destiny. The stone edifice or structure symbolizes both academia and the world of money and comfort. Carlos’s “colleagues” in this edifice are a bunch of “wild-eyed” women, deranged with laughter and nearing total breakdown. They come after him and he must hide–this obviously symbolizes the “witches” etc. (see links below)

The final component–the man tearing out pages from books, someone Castaneda had seen around campus, but did not know–symbolizes the total rejection of Castaneda’s work by academia. In anthropology, Castaneda is now un-quotable except as a foil, a counter-example, which is a fate worse than death to a scholar. The geeky nobody in Carlos’ vision that he barely recognizes symbolizes the diligent academic scholars who went on to less sexy careers than Castaneda, but who in the end collectively decide whose writings are in and whose are out of the un/official libraries of modern anthropology.

As don Juan told Castaneda afterwards:

“The lizards are never wrong.”

POSTSCRIPT: ¬†For background on Castaneda’s deceptions here are two links:

print:   http://www.salon.com/2007/04/12/castaneda/

video: ¬†http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXl95ZaYe3Q¬† ¬†(part of the Tales from the Jungle Series–British documentaries on anthropology’s dirty laundry)