Some people contend that all autists and all psychotics are mentally diseased and have to be corrected by whatever means necessary. Others, especially the autists and psychotics themselves, contend that their conditions are not diseases but natural expressions of the human genotype.
A revolutionary article from 2008 pointed out that autism and psychosis are, in some physiological ways, opposite poles of a spectrum: “autism involves a general pattern of constrained overgrowth, whereas schizophrenia involves undergrowth.”
This can readily be confirmed by anyone who has spent much time observing autists and psychotics.
If autism is characterised by overgrowth, one might say that this reflected an excessive degree of order and therefore masculinity. Indeed, autism appears to correlate with masculinity in many ways – such as increased mathematical and logical reasoning and a decreased capacity for social intelligence. Also, autism is much more common in males.
If psychosis is characterised by undergrowth, one might say that this reflected an absence of order and therefore femininity. And, in opposition to autism, psychosis does appear to correlate with femininity in many ways – in particular, an increased capacity for social intelligence and a decreased capacity for mathematical and logical reasoning. Also, it is much more common in females.
On the dark side, the vast majority of serial killers have some kind of autism, because psychotics generally can’t keep it together well enough to kill many people and keep it a secret. However, the vast majority of suicides have some kind of psychosis, because psychosis is unusually terrible, and autists are better at keeping it together well enough to not fall into suicidal ideation.
On the bright side, both autists and psychotics have made immense contributions to the human survival project, not despite, but because of their lack of neurotypicality.
Autists can be programmed to last forever. They just keep going, and if they can find a subject interesting enough to them they never get bored. Many of our great engineers and surgeons were probably a bit autistic, as it was this that led them to obsess magnificently over their projects until they knew more about the subjects than anyone else ever had.
Psychotics are the exact opposite. Psychotics are not easy to program and they don’t stay programmed. Every time there is a ‘psychotic break’, more programming is shrugged off. This means that it is through psychotics, who have seen beyond Maya, that our spiritual and philosophical traditions arise.
In much the same way that, in order to get anything done, a person needs a mixture of autism and psychosis, so too does society need autistic and psychotic individuals in order to function healthily at the top level.
A society wouldn’t last without both autists and psychotics; without the former, no work would get done, without the latter, all work would still be picking berries and smashing open mammoth bones for the marrow within.
Oftentimes, it is necessary for a psychotic to show the way to a new field of knowledge but it is also necessary for autists, once shown the way, to do what is necessary to make practical applications out of that knowledge.
This is akin to how the Anglo-Saxons, whose culture has an unprecedented degree of tolerance for psychotics, tend to invent things and how the Germans, Japanese and Koreans, whose cultures have an unprecedented degree of tolerance for autists, tend to refine them into excellence.
In other words, society would go backwards without the autists and it would never go forwards without the psychotics. Autists, psychotics and people who are neither are therefore all necessary for an optimally healthy and functioning society.
Aleister Crowley, love him or not, saw further beyond than almost anyone. He skewered the establishment of his day with his withering sarcasm and wit, and established himself as one of the premier iconoclasts of all time. The mind boggles at what a genius like Crowley would have made of our modern age.
This article discusses the applicability of one particular quote of Crowley’s to the rise and rise of Donald Trump, namely:
The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without. Inevitably anyone with an independent mind must become “one who resists or opposes authority or established conventions”: a rebel. If enough people come to agree with, and follow, the Rebel, we now have a Devil. Until, of course, still more people agree. And then, finally, we have — Greatness.
This “essence of independence” has a paragon in our culture today: Donald Trump. Let’s take this quote sentence by sentence.
It can’t be denied that Trump acts according to standards from within: indeed, this is one of the reasons why he has caused so much consternation. There are no gurus or mentors who can be examined for clues as to Trump’s influences, and he is not an ideologue of any known stripe.
Because it’s so difficult to slap such a label on Trump it’s obvious that he must be a highly free-thinking man. But, as any free-thinking person reading this article will know, to think freely is to incur social pressure intended to force you back into the herd.
The agents who exert this social pressure are the extremely powerful men and women of silver, and they are the authority in the sense that they control the media and the government and therefore are the psychological programmers of the populace.
Trump was firmly in the ‘rebel’ stage when he first announced his presidential bid. He was laughed at, like teenage rebels tend to be. Not taken seriously, a clown, a buffoon. The purpose of all this social pressure was to bring Trump back to the herd, to coerce him into bowing the knee before the masses.
He refused, and won the Republican nomination. The Hitler comparisons began – Hitler being perhaps history’s prime example of an independently-thinking politician. Because Trump won’t be cowed by the bleating of the masses, the logic went, he would inevitably start another world war.
That Trump was self-funded, and thus able to act independently of the money men who seek to make all politicians into whores in exchange for putting them on the throne, was made out to be a negative. It was as if, by not grovelling before those who had set themselves up as the powerbrokers, Trump had committed a heresy.
This was the moment he transitioned out of rebellion and into devilry. Every single day, the New Zealand media had a headline piece about how Trump was evil and if he became President we would definitely all die in nuclear hellfire.
As we now know, even this didn’t stop him, or the Trump voters. Donald Trump duly won the Presidential election by a considerable margin, and in doing so set himself up for greatness.
One might argue that, in becoming President of the United States that Donald Trump has already achieved greatness. However, a look at the recent alternatives for the role – Hillary Clinton, Obama, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney – tells us that the standards are very low indeed.
Certainly with the world being a powderkeg right now, Trump has an unprecedented opportunity for greatness. Whether he takes it is a matter of Fortune and Will.
The experience of reading and contemplating Nietzsche is fundamentally different to that of the majority of thinkers. A natural consequence of this is the unprecedented degree to which Nietzsche is misunderstood.
Appreciating Nietzsche isn’t a simple matter of considering a number of competing claims to the truth and deciding if his case is the strongest. He is not such a man that will brook standing in the dock while his ideas are tried by plebs.
Nietzsche is hard for the same reason that integrating a psychedelic trip is hard. This is because to understand him, first you have to concede to his basic contention: that everything you know might be wrong. This makes Nietzsche appear to be a nihilist for anyone who stops reading him at this point, which most people do.
But to appreciate Nietzsche, at least initially, you have to accept that the very way you think may be fundamentally flawed.
His contention is that people have been lied to so often by the church, by the state, by centuries of half-wit philosophers, by power-crazed kings and by the bleating of the herd, that they’re too confused to even begin thinking their way out of it. The way people think is so fundamentally flawed that to make progress the first point of order is to forget all the lies that they currently consider to be true – and there are many.
In fact, you can’t merely forget them – you have to deliberately and purposefully smash them. To get to the truth you have to escape the labyrinth of lies, and so you have to “philosophise with a hammer”.
Understanding the truth of Nietzsche is thus not a pleasant and straightforward experience like sitting in a kindergarten listening to the sweet voice of a kind teacher guiding you gently away from ignorance. It’s more like Hell Week of the Navy Seals, in which a person’s entire personality has to be torn to the ground so that a new, stronger one can be rebuilt in its place.
Regular readers of this column will recognise this phenomenon as the task of the mystic, the shaman or the schizophrenic. Nietzsche himself clearly recognised this when he subtitled Thus Spake Zarathustra as “A Book fof Everyone and No-one.”
This is very evidently not a task for the man of clay; Nietzsche had no intention of founding his own religion for the masses (probably this explains the appeal of Nietzsche among those of the left-hand path).
All of this helps to explain why the name of Nietzsche has been associated with the Nazis.
Any political power who seeks to tear down the established order (which in Hitler’s time was the Anglo-American Empire) and impose their own based on transvaluated values (the Nazi Empire) has one immense – but superficial – connection with Nietzsche’s philosophy in so far that both are revolutionary.
Both seek to tear down old ways that they see as corrupt or decadent. Indeed, crusades against ‘decadent’ art was one of the ways the early Nazis built outrage in their favour, and rhetoric about the corrupting effect of Jews on German society was regular.
Moreover, Nazism was one of the most striking historical examples of a supremacist movement, and supremacists of all stripes find a superficial interest in Nietzsche’s talk of the ‘Superman’.
The great irony here is that Nietzsche would likely have considered the Nazis – like all egoic supremacists – a pack of plebs.
If Francis Fukuyama is correct, and the Great Pendulum of the World swings back and forth every 60 or 70 years or so, then this would suggest right now that we are at a period of peak yin. We can surmise this because the last time there was clearly a period of excess yang it ended in the violent paroxysm of World War II, 71 years ago.
It is certainly not a time of excess yang right now in 2016. We know what that would look like – violence. This is literally the least violent time in human history (however, there is absolutely no evidence that things are guaranteed to remain this way indefinitely).
What are the characteristics of an age of excess yin? As below, so above – we can guess that the characteristics of the world would be a macrocosm of the characteristics of all of us.
Yang is also characterised, especially in Western alchemy in its aspect as the masculine principle, as order. Thus we can expect that excess yin might manifest itself as destructive, senseless chaos.
This would not manifest as the proportionate yin of a predatory beast who destroys with a view to impose a higher form of order, but more like the mindless rage of a school shooter or an Islamic suicide bomber, or even like the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which made little sense to anyone at the time and makes none now.
The masculine discriminates, the feminine does not discriminate. Therefore, in a time of excess yin, the fundamental error is to fail to discriminate when one should have discriminated. Perhaps this is what has happened with the immigration policies of the Western world in recent decades.
It’s especially evident in Europe, for example, where the man in the street has seen his quality of life drop sharply as a consequence of his nation’s naive lack of discrimination and foresight (and it’s been worse for the womenfolk).
The attitude from Western politicians towards people claiming to be refugees over the past 20 years was to open the bosom to allcomers, and to use social pressure to cow into submission anyone questioning this policy.
If yang is the heavens and yin the earth, the immense materialism of our age is perhaps also evidence that this is a period of excess yin. Our mainstream religious traditions are so thoroughly and irrevocably corrupted that expressing a will to become a priest is tantamount to a confession of sexual deviancy – whether justified or not.
There isn’t a skerrick of spirituality to be found in any of the long-dead rituals or in the emotional and manipulative rhetoric, yet our priests ride around in massive Mercedes and fly private jets, and lecture us on our duties to the poor from thrones of solid gold.
So materialistic are we that even most people who educate themselves to postgraduate level – much less the others – cannot conceive of an origin of consciousness different to the current “magic brain” model, in which one has unshakable, 100% confidence and faith in the belief that science will one day prove that the brain generates consciousness through electrobiochemical means.
Finally, we can see it with the rampant overpopulation of the Earth. The yin is associated with love and reproduction, but it is obvious that our recent interest in this is excessive. There are so many of us that we are in the middle of one of the six biggest extinction events in the history of the planet.
Despite the carnage that we are wreaking virus-like on the planet as we consume everything that lives on or under its surface, few seem to have any compunction about bringing another litter of kids into the world to compete for ever-diminishing resources.
Taken together, the reasons to think that we are in a time of excess yin seem overwhelming. This means that the world is about to start heating up – alchemically, if not physically.
It’s as simple as looking at a yin-yang, and knowing that the yin represents chaos and the yang represents order. Keeping in mind the Fifth Hermetic Principle – the Principle of Rhythm – we can surmise that it is true of order and chaos that “the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left.”
In a Taoist sense this is to say that an excess of order, by its very nature, leads to a minuscule element of chaos arising within it, which grows, and soon takes on a momentum of its own, only to itself crystallise from a tiny seed into order, and ever more rigid order, until the cycle begins anew.
Too much masculinity in the alchemical world is represented as fire and iron, and these stand as metaphor for how too much masculinity in the physical world leads to violence.
An excess of masculinity is like fire when it has too much energy because it causes violence which burns flesh and sears souls, and is what the ancient physicians meant when they diagnosed a person with a choleric personality.
It is also like iron when it imposes too much order because it is harsh and cuts mercilessly, and when it breaks down it shatters, as with an excess of masculinity one loses one’s ability to yield and to withdraw and breaks like a tree that cannot yield to a storm.
This is evident in the natural world even when one looks at biological life in the simplest way. A seed that sprouts and begins to grow towards the light must eventually break the surface if it is to survive (for a literary description of this phenomenon see Chapter 21 of Anna Nilsen’s Writing With The I Ching: Biting Through).
As below, so above: the world of men is no different. If a person observes the current order of the day and finds it unworthy of continued existence, then – if they are intelligent – they will soon come to appreciate the degree to which, and the vigour with which, the established order maintains itself (indeed, that’s all that order is).
But like the rising yin, the desire to break the established order – once it takes hold – grows ever more powerful by virtue of its position within nature. As the dusk darkness consumes ever more of the light, so does the chaos dissolve ever more of the existing order, until it breaks through and imposes an order of its own.
If you look at the current state of world history, there is an established Anglo-American order, which has dominated world affairs for about 200 years. This order is generally known as ‘The West’, because it represents the powers on the Western side of the world when viewed as a chessboard.
This world order arguably began at Waterloo, when the then wielder of the Spear of Destiny – Napoleon Bonaparte – was defeated in battle and the First French Empire sundered.
The nature of yang is to decline into yin – we know this, and already it’s possible to observe an America in cultural decay. Already the American Empire has degenerated in certain ways further than any empire in history, with the most recent 50 years giving us everything from Charles Manson and Ted Bundy to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The nature of yin is to rise into yang – and this can be observed with the awakening of the sleeping giants of China and India. These countries were poor and were always going to remain poor as long as they were too corrupt to organise any meaningful invest in the human capital of the young. This was how it was when the Spear of Destiny was held in Europe, but now, as it crosses the Pacific, the East is awakening.
There is every chance that a rising Eastern power that wants its place in the Sun will naturally come into conflict with the established Western one that wants to hold onto power. Indeed, many believed that the Japanese action in the Western Pacific theatre of World War II was this event playing out (this column is far, far from the first to suggest it).
The collapse of the established order is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. The established order never collapses peacefully (observe adult male elephants for an analogy in the natural world).
Therefore, war is a fundamental aspect of life, and always will be, as long as there are masculine and feminine.
It’s perhaps fitting that cricket, the most traditional of all major sports in New Zealand, is the only one yet to jump on the Trans-Tasman bandwagon. League, union, netball and soccer all operate in Australian leagues at the highest domestic level. It seeems inevitable that the same will happen for cricket, so, what will it look like?
The concept of a Trans-Tasman domestic cricket league was a fantasist’s pipedream during the era of 50-over domestic cricket. But the idea has had new life ever since the advent of serious, high-quality, T20 domestic cricket.
Domestic cricket has hitherto had one immense hurdle, and that was the difficulty in getting punters to sit in a stadium for the duration of a cricket match when it wasn’t the top level of skill available. They will do it if the sport has matches of a shorter duration, and they will do it for long duration, top level cricket, but not long duration domestic cricket.
T20 fills both of those gaps. A domestic T20 match offers punters a chance to see a high level of cricket without making a time commitment of an entire day (or longer). The Indian Premier League has muscled into a space on the cricket calendar and it seems like it’s here to stay.
This column has taken the time to get caught up in some of the Big Bash League hype last summer. Frankly, it’s a very high level of cricket. Australia has to fit much more talent into a handful of domestic teams than the New Zealand system, and a consequence of this is a level of cricket somewhere between international level and New Zealand domestic level.
The BBL currently has eight teams, which corresponds to one team per two and a half to three million people. Probably, however, there are plans to expand, as the BBL is still in its infancy. If it is expanded to a similar size to the Trans-Tasman tournaments in other sports there would be room for two or three Kiwi teams in a league of 16 to 18.
Two might be difficult as the natural division into North and South Islands would leave a Northern team representing over three times the population of the Southern team.
Perhaps the best would be to divide New Zealand into North, Central and South. This would be very simple as it would mean Northern Districts and Auckland were North, Central Districts and Wellington were Central, and Canterbury and Otago were South.
Perhaps in the very long term we might end with a Super Rugby style arrangement of three Kiwi teams, seven Aussie teams for each state and five or six South African ones.
Three Kiwi T20 teams might leave us with something that looked like this. The Northern team isn’t far off international standard in its own right, but the other two are currently a fair bit weaker and might need to draft in overseas players to fill some gaps.
1. Martin Guptill
2. Kane Williamson (c)
3. Dean Brownlie
4. BJ Watling (wk)
5. Corey Anderson
6. Colin Munro
7. Mitchell Santner
8. Tim Southee
9. Mitch McClenaghan
10. Lockie Ferguson
11. Trent Boult
1. Ben Smith
2. Ross Taylor (c)
3. Tom Bruce
4. Will Young
5. Tom Blundell
6. Luke Ronchi (wk)
7. Doug Bracewell
8. Josh Clarkson
9. Adam Milne
10. Ben Wheeler
11. Hamish Bennett
1. Peter Fulton
2. Tom Latham (c)
3. Jimmy Neesham
4. Henry Nicholls
5. Derek de Boorder (wk)
6. Andy Ellis
7. Matt Henry
8. Neil Wagner
9. Kyle Jamieson
10. Josh Finnie
11. Ed Nuttall
The greatest selective advantage that the human creature has over its competitors is an unrivalled capacity for intelligence. This manifests as an ability to make use of information. Few are aware of it, but the human relationship to information has undergone a revolution over the past 25 years – and it has implications for our conception of intelligence.
It used to be that there was a shortage of information. Now there is a surplus. In many ways, this has been a good thing. In some ways it’s had strange implications.
Some of the ways it is good are like the way creatures that have adapted to a shortage often find themselves thriving when there is a surplus, such as athletes who have trained at high altitude where there is a shortage of oxygen.
It has meant that researchers and academics now have it easier than ever. Instead of relying on a librarian or punch cards, researchers can put a regular expression into a search engine which has crawled all the papers in their field (or subset thereof).
In fact, most people have in their pockets instant access to more information than physically exists in the largest library in the world. This is fairly straightforward, and not as interesting as the ways in which it is strange.
The strangest implication of our new relationship to information is that it is no longer about finding rare nuggets of truth among fields of irrelevant or easily dismissed information. Now it’s about knowing how to distinguish those nuggets of truth from nuggets that might look or sound very similar but which might really be full of falsehood.
Becoming educated about a subject used to be like finding diamonds among rocks – now it’s more like sorting the wheat from the chaff.
Being correct is now no longer a question of having money to buy books or to hire a learned tutor and having a good enough memory to recall what one has been told. Now it is a question of gullibility.
Take climate change as an everyday example. Determining the truth of this isn’t as simple as just finding out what the foremost expert thinks.
Who are the foremost experts on climate change, and why? And why does one set of supposed experts disagree so fundamentally with another set of supposed experts? If the experts are unified on climate change, how is that different to when they were unified on homosexuality being a mental illness? How much of the consensus is groupthink?
And what is the extent of politics on the science of climate change?
Questions like this once didn’t need to be asked because there was no way of propagating enormous amounts of dis- or misinformation like there is with the Internet of today. Often things were as simple as finding the nearest university professor who had an interest in the subject, and that was as good as one could hope for.
Dealing with this change is difficult because it requires an entirely different set of mental skills. The new paradigm prioritises nuance and probability over revolution and absolutes. Shades of gray instead of brutal black and white.
One now has to be more streetsmart with research, and accept that politics has a much greater influence on science – especially the soft sciences – than most would dare admit. Today’s climate change debate appeared in the previous generation as the debate over racial intelligence, and in the generation before that as the debate on the medicinal value of various psychoactive drugs – two other subjects where finding the simple truth is impossible.
To some extent it doesn’t matter: the sort of person who didn’t read books nowadays simply doesn’t educate themselves with the Internet instead. You can’t make gold out of shit.
But to a large extent, intelligence is different to what it used to be. It is no longer a simple question of storing, retaining and reproducing information like a biological hard drive, but a question of identifying the most likely claim to correctness out of a number of plausible competitors, like a knight choosing a blade from an armoury before battle.
This may mean that the kind of person we consider to be intelligent now may not be the same kind of person that we will consider intelligent in another quarter-century.
The obvious smartarse answer is “It never had legitimacy”, but this merely ducks the question. The question of when a democracy can lose enough of the perception of legitimacy that it stops working, not by being usurped by authoritarians but from the populace simply not caring about it enough, is worth exploring.
The logic goes something like this. It’s reasonable to assume that if no-one voted at all, not even the politicians themselves, then no-one would care about democracy. So there is a clear limit case as votes approach zero.
If everyone votes (or at least everyone eligible), then it stands to reason that democracy has the biggest possible buy-in. Probably in a culture where 100% of the population votes there would have to be an exceptionally unusual degree of philodemos – a degree never seen in practice.
If a hypothetical democracy starts with 100% participation and this falls over time towards 0%, at some point along the line representing that descent the democracy will fail.
But where exactly?
The most recent American presidential election does not have an official turnout rate yet, but BetFair appears to be sure that it will be somewhere around 58%. This is low by the standards of Western democracies – but there appears to be no way to tell how much of this is due to disenfranchisement and how much is due to people seeing through the system and protesting by not voting.
This already highlights a problem with democracy – bombs dropped by American forces do not do 58% damage, and sentences for non-violent drug offences are not 58% as long as they would otherwise be. No matter how much the population wants democracy, they will get it good and hard.
Not even 58% buy-in is necessary in any case. Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP won the 1933 German Federal Election with under 44% of the vote, and this was enough to get rid of the Communists and pass the Enabling Act which paved the way to total fascism.
You could even argue that – if you take the example of the United States in its infancy, where only white male landowners could vote – even with support for democracy in single digits, it can still function as long as all other possible organisational approaches are prevented from taking form.
The tricky thing is that this line of reasoning exposes the truth at the bottom of the political system: the plebs were never in charge and any impression given to that end is simply a useful illusion.
Ultimately it’s whoever controls the loyalty of the Police that is in charge, because then anyone who disagrees that they’re in charge can be taken by the Police and put in a cage (replace Police with Army in many non-Western countries). This was all that Hitler needed to ensure to take power in Germany.
One has to then ask, if the ruling classes just took all the ballots and dumped them in the ocean, invented some election results that both sounded plausible and ensured the interests of said classes were protected, and then divvied up the remaining jobs among themselves, how much wiser would we all be?
Because the ruling classes doing so wouldn’t even be much different from the way the con is already played.
We can take heart that not all New Zealanders have fallen for the ruse – 63% of the electorate did not vote for a politician in last week’s Mt. Roskill by-election, which means that 63% of potential suckers did not give their power away to a shyster by consenting to the democratic charade.
Indeed, Dr. Richard Goode of Not A Party successfully claimed victory in attracting the non-vote, declaring himself Not A Member of Parliament for Mt. Roskill. This obligates him to not attend Parliament, which means that he is not responsible for levying taxes to spend on flag referendums, and nor is he responsible for putting non-violent drug users in cages by setting the Police on them.
I think we can all agree that this is a better deal than what we are getting from our current crop of MPs.
Faith in democracy will, however, have to get much lower before philosopher-kings such as Dr. Goode can be returned to their true position in society.