- / -
The main paper originated from a need to consider the nature of the "crown jewels" of which the intelligence community claimed the public had no awareness. The argument here concludes with a discussion of ways of thinking about them.
Paranoia: As noted above, there is now every justification for the increasing sense of paranoia, as cultivated by conspiracy theorists. Its cultivation through a "politics of fear" may well serve the purposes of those perceiving benefit in a widespread "culture of fear". This was highlighted by Adam Curtis (The Power of Nightmares: the rise of the politics of fear, BBC Documentary, 2004) in showing how politicians have used fears to increase their power and control over society. It may well be a feature of the unknown "crown jewels" of the intelligence community -- a backdoor to the mind. Werner Zimmt argues that the American public is being trained to be paranoid, but only with respect to government (Paranoia: there's a lot more than government looking over your shoulder, Arizona Daily Star, 24 September 2013).
Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by fear or anxiety, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. It necessarily includes beliefs in persecution -- now humorously presented through the classic quote of Joseph Heller: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you (Catch-22, 1961). A related formulation is that of Steven Brust: Just because they really are out to get you doesn't mean you aren't paranoid. This is especially relevant under the current conditions of invasive electronic surveillance -- with democratic supervision of completely unproven adequacy.
Complementing the paranoia engendered in individuals is that which is evident in government -- partly as a consequence of that of the military and the intelligence services (John McCain and "Military Paranoia" at the Munich Security Conference, Global Research, 6 February 2012; George Monbiot, Britain's Defense Spending: only paranoia can justify the world's second biggest military budget, The Guardian, 28 November 2006). The argument has been widely developed, most recently by Frank J. Fleming (Paranoid Government, New York Post, 13 June 1 2013) and | Jesse Walker (The United States of Paranoia: a conspiracy theory, 2013; The New Paranoia: a government afraid of itself, The Washington Post, 15 August 2013), with the latter noting that:
But the most significant sorts of political paranoia are the kinds that catch on with people inside the halls of power, not the folks on the outside looking in. The latest example is a crackdown on leaks that has the government crippled by a fear of its own employees. Washington is petrified of itself.
In this context, as readily defined by government, "terrorism" is anything perceived as a threat to government -- acclaimed as it is as the embodiment of law and order (although questionably on behalf of "we the peoples"). However the interpretation of "threat" is then readily extended to include "potential threat" -- especially given the instability of government and the much-challenged ability to elicit consensus on any matter of significance (Ungovernability of Sustainable Global Democracy? 2011).
This may then be even more radically reframed to include "dissent", readily understood as a threatening form of incitement to social unrest -- possibly conflated with "extremism". Recalling the reprehensible features of the UssR and China, this is now exemplified by official government policy towards science, notably in the Canada and the UK, as documented by George Monbiot (For scientists in a democracy, to dissent is to be reasonable, The Guardian, 30 September 2013), noting the recent requirement for "the voice of reason, rather than dissent, in the public arena".
As a consequence, in a global knowledge society, the possibility for some form of "implosion" becomes ever more credible.
Suggestive alternatives: It is potentially fruitful to contrast the psychological state of "paranoia" -- whether deliberately cultivated or not -- with what has been understood by "metanoia" and "hyponoia". The subtler comprehension suggested by these is seldom mentioned but merits attention with respect to consideration of any change of mindset required in order to thrive in present circumstances.
All three terms have the suffix of "noia" -- indicative of mind -- qualified by somewhat unusual prefixes. Few other terms make use of "noia" in this way -- most notably:
In this context, "para-" offers a sense of "beside" or "by" -- perhaps justifying the association of "paranoia" with a form of madness and "being beside oneself". In the case of "meta-", this offers "after", "beyond", or "adjacent", potentially indicative of an abstraction of some form -- as noted below with respect to uses of "metanoia". On the other hand "hypo-" offered a sense of "under" or "beneath" -- as is evident from its uses below in "hyponoia".
Variants and philosophies: There appears to be a degree of distinction between the literature on the variants of "-noia" (paranoia, metanoia, hyponoia, dianoia, anoia) and that relating to associated themes based on "-noetics" (paranoetics, metanoetics, hyponoetics, dianoetics, anoetics), or "-noesis" (paranoesis, metanoesis, hyponoesis, dianoesis, anoesis) -- all deriving from the Greek understanding of Nous as mind. In some cases the term may be used to frame a singular philosophy of mind or for proprietary purposes in naming a corporation or trade marked process.
Use of term paranoetics seems to be curiously distinct from conventional preoccupations with the experience of "paranoioa" -- or much more subtly related to that focus. Particular attention is given to the "paranoetic thinking" of Martin Heidegger as articulated in a chapter by a study of David Farrell Krell (Daimon Life: Heidegger and Life-philosophy, 1992; chapter on "Life" in the 1936-1938 Contributions to Philosophy of Propriation). This is of some relevance to current recognition of a "fascist" dimension in strategies towards global dominance, given that Krell's study explores the controversial features of Heidegger's association with political authoritarianism in relation to Nazism.
By contrast, Tom Arnold discusses paranoetic thinking (paranoesis or transrational thinking), namely as the transcendence of emotive thinking and feeling as part of his articulation of hyponoetics as a philosophy of mind (Emotive and Paranoetic Thinking, 2010).
Through the neologism of metanoetics, this was presented as a way of doing philosophy that recognizes the limits of reason and the power of radical evil. (Hajime Tanabe, Philosophy as Metanoetics, 1987). In this form, in the light of Shin Buddhist insight, metanoia surrenders to the inadequacy of human efforts to discover the source of self-awareness. This surrender provides the power to continue the search for meaning within the midst of everyday life and to act in a compassionate and charitable way to bring others to self-realization. Philosophy is then a dialectic inaugurated, informed and sustained by religious experience.
Reframing "paradigm shift"? Much is made by some of the current necessity for a "paradigm shift" as indicative of the need for "new thinking" in response to the complex crises of society. It could be asked how the cognitive stance, from which that shift is desired, is to be understood. What is the shift from? How is that cognitive stance then to be understood as framed by "paranoia"?
It might then be asked whether the "direction" of the shift could be better framed by "meta-" or even "hypo-". Very little is however said about "metadigm" -- except through its extensive use to name proprietary processes. Exceptions include George Ceausu (Multy-, Inter- and Trans-disciplinarity: a triadic discourse, Journal for Interdisciplinary Research on Religion and Science, 1, July 2007) and Andrey V. Yurevich (Cognitive Frames in Psychology: demarcations and ruptures, Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 43, 2009, 2, pp 89-103). The latter notes:
... these manifestations of the crisis of psychology have recently been compounded by the crisis of its rationalistic foundations. This situation is described in terms of the cognitive systems in psychology which include meta-theories, paradigms, sociodigms and metadigms.
The term "hypodigm" is used in taxonomy to refer to a sample from which the characters of a population are to be inferred.
There are however references meriting attention to the use of "meta-" and "hypo-" with "noia" -- offering an interesting contrast to "para-noia", and with implications for the significance of "paradigm".
Metanoia: The term has distinct but related uses in different contexts, as noted by Wikipedia:
From paranoia to metanoia: There are many references discussing the shift from paranoia to metanoia from quite distinct perspectives (Rudolf C. Heredia, The Dialogue of Cultures: from paranoia to metanoia, Economic and Political Weekly, 2007; Sylvia Lafair, Leadership, Paranoia, and Metanoia, Technorati, 13 September 2010; Rod Mackenzie, Education and the Journey of the Soul: from paranoia to metanoia).
For some, the shift is considered to be preceded by an ordinary-thinking condition of orthonoia. Thus for John C. Lilly, orthonoia is the way most people think; they're creating simulations that everyone accepts (From here to Alternity and Beyond, Mavericks of the Mind; Orthonoia Through Paranoia To Metanoia, 2006; Lyle Zapato, Two-In-Three People Afflicted With Orthonoia, ZPI, 1 April 2008 -- but note date).
Hyponoia: A conventional use of the term is associated with deficient or sluggish mental activity or imagination. This pathological condition is also called hypopsychosis. Controversially this might be seen as as the condition deliberately sought through the dumbing down of the population, especially via the media, more effectively to ensure its exploitation.
Much more interesting are the historical uses of the term as indicated by this comment cited in AlphaDictionary.com (from the Etext Center of the University of Virginia Library):
... Hyponoia was the term which, Plutarch tells us (De audiendis poetic 4.19), the "ancients" had used, and it implies a hidden meaning, a conjectural or suppositious sense, buried under the literal surface. Plato (Republic II. 378d), Euripides (Phoenicians 1131-33), Aristophanes (Frogs 1425-31), Xenophon (Symposium III, 6), all use hyponoia to mean what is later subsumed under allegory (Pépin, pp. 85-86). Hyponoia furthermore has a noetic character; the reader or listener will have to think his way through a semantic barrier, beyond which lies a realm of mystic knowledge. Thus Philo Judaeus may equate the hyponoia of a text with its latent theme, its mystery, its secret, its unexpressed, unseen, nonliteral, or simply intelligible meaning.
Recent commentary notes that hyponoia, as used in the classical period, referred to hidden or allusive meanings, what is now termed allegory. It is indicative of the "veiling function of language" or "an allusion to". Rosario García Del Pozo (The Mirror of Interpretations and Husserlian Discourse, Analecta Husserliana, 29, 1990, pp. 309-321) notes the suspicion that underneath language, in the shadow of what is said, lies the most important meaning; what the Greeks called "allegory" and "hyponoia". As noted by Hans-Georg Gadamer (Classical and Philosophical Hermeneutics, Theory, Culture and Society, 23, 2006, 1, pp. 29-56):
The problem of allegorical interpretation is the core of ancient hermeneutics. Allegory as a mode of interpretation is quite old. The term originally used for the allegorical meaning in Greece was hyponoia, the meaning behind the literal meaning.
Hyponoia -- Plato's notion in the Republic: ' "undersense", "deeper meaning", which is an ancient way of putting Freud's idea of "latent". The search for undersense is what we express in common speech as the desire to understand ... search for deeper grounding ... All these movements of hyponoia, leading towards an understanding that gains ground and makes matter, are work'
This deeper sense, the hidden meaning of myths -- their "under-meaning" -- is evoked in other more extensive commentary (Akhter Ahsen, Hyponoia: the underneath sense of being, 1990; John Russell Hurd, Hyponoia, 2009; R. A. Bitter, The meaning of hyponoia and allégoria in Philo of Alexandria; similarity and difference, International Journal for Philosophy and Theology, 46, 1985, 4, pp. 363-380).
From paranoia through metanoia/hyponoia? Although the cognitive implications of "meta-" and "hypo-" appear obscure in current parlance (in relation to the Greek understanding of Nous), there is a case for reframing these (and related prefixes) as indicators of cognitive operations with which there is a degree of familiarity. The set might then include:
|"Directionality"||Cognitive "modality"||Characteristic||Particular "philosophy"||"Pattern" of thought|
irrespective of how this appears to others
coherence through detachment and disassociation
|"beneath"||hyponoia||hyponoesis||hidden significance of the superficial,
calling for allegorical interpretation
potentially associated with dialogical intercourse
|"absence"||anoia||anoesis||absence of conventional understanding,
potentially associated with "mindlessness"
Each suggests a cognitive operation which may be fruitful or unfruitful. The seemingly dysfunctional coherence offered by self-protective paranoia can, for example, be reframed in the light of paraconsistency, namely the form of logic that attempts to deal with contradictions in a discriminating way, tolerant of inconsistencies (John Woods, Paradox and Paraconsistency: conflict resolution in the abstract sciences, 2003). The integrative (protective) potential of paranoia is delightfully indicated by occasional reference to the historical threat that The Martians are Coming (1938).
A recent articulation of the potential of metanoia, as a transformation of mindset, is that of John Seymour (The New Complete Book of Self Sufficiency: the classic guide for realists and dreamers, 2009). Given the arguments for the role of "dreaming" in achieving metanoia (from the psychotherapeutic perspective, as noted above), there is a case for exploration of the wider context of shared collective dreaming, such as that of Martin Luther King (I Have a Dream, 1963), as summarized separately (Enstoning through Imagination, Dreams, Drugs and Imbibing, 2012). The latter notes the critical socio-political analysis offered by philosopher Slavoj Zizek (The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, 2012):
In 2011, we witnessed (and participated in) a series of shattering events, from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Wall Street movement, from the UK riots to Breivik's ideological madness. It was the year of dreaming dangerously, in both directions: emancipatory dreams mobilizing protesters in New York, on Tahrir Square, in London and Athens; and obscure destructive dreams propelling Breivik and racist populists across Europe, from the Netherlands to Hungary.
The implications of dreams can also be set in a creative philosophical context, as by Steven M. Rosen (Dreams, Death, Rebirth: a multimedia topological odyssey into alchemy's hidden dimensions, 2013).
The special cognitive challenge of hyponoia lies in the interpretation of the many dimensions of the current crisis as a complex allegory. What is it "saying" to humanity? What is the hidden significance? How might this be related to the insight of Gregory Bateson that "we are our own metaphor" (1972)? Of what is the crisis a metaphor? The question recalls that addressed by a symposium of the wise on the occasion of the sesquicentennial celebrations of Boston University -- the group selected selected a tessellation as the metaphor that then best captured the spirit of the times (Lance Morrow, Metaphors of The World, Unite!, Time, 16 October 1989, p. 96). Can the "tessellation" of 1989 now be considered an imaginative prefiguring of the current role of the internet and of the future implications for the noosphere (From Information Highways to Songlines of the Noosphere: global configuration of hypertext pathways as a prerequisite for meaningful collective transformation, 1996)? In pointing to an undersense or deeper meaning -- one lying "beneath" -- does this relate to the role of myth in framing a "netherworld", as separately discussed (Designing Global Self-governance for the Future: patterns of dynamic integration of the netherworld, 2010)?
It could be argued that humanity has invested too heavily in the discursive thinking of dianoia -- or perhaps inappropriately so, given the obvious inadequacies of collective discourse at this time. More fruitful modes of dialogue, and "thinking through", are called for in order to provide a vigilant response to the conceptual gerrymandering and doublespeak noted above, as argued elsewhere (Enabling a 12-fold Pattern of Systemic Dialogue for Governance, 2011). It is tempting to consider "internoia" as a form of "dianoia" implying a degree of intersubjectivity -- perhaps characteristic of an internet-sustained global consciousness. Currently "internoia" is indicated by the Urban Dictionary as the paranoid feeling of being about to be seriously embarrassed on the internet !
The "lack of understanding" implied by anoia could be reconsidered in the light of disciplines of mindfulness and "empty mind" (or Zen "no mind") -- in which understanding does not have a conventional focus (Ellen J. Langer, Matters of Mind: mindfulness/mindlessness in perspective, Consciousness and Cognition, 1992,; Ezio Di Nucci, Mindlessness, 2013; Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness, 1999). As anoiesis, it is recognized as a state of mind consisting of pure sensation or emotion without cognitive content. As anoetic (consciousness), it is understood as unthinkable, namely not subject to conscious atttention (M. Vandekerckhove and J. Panksepp. The flow of anoetic to noetic and autonoetic consciousness: a vision of unknowing (anoetic) and knowing (noetic) consciousness in the remembrance of things past and imagined futures, Conscious Cognition, 18, 2009; Janet Metcalfe and Lisa Son, Anoetic, Noetic and Autonoetic Metacognition, 2012). Rather than the "reasoning problems" with which anoia was long associated in the works of Galen, there is a case for recognizing that this might be associated with unconventional "reasoning possibilities". Given the extent of presumptuous "knowing", anoia may also indicate the merits of "not knowing", as suggested by the Rumsfeld "poem" (above). This could include the cultivation of "ignorance", as separately discussed (University of Ignorance: engaging with nothing, the unknown, the incomprehensible, and the unsaid, 2013). It is also tempting to suggest a relation to "annoyance" -- as a response evoked by the condition of the times, and by current responses to it.
Interrelating "cognitive operations": The global implications of the cognitive modalities above -- perhaps understood as dynamics of the "noosphere" -- suggest a possibility of configuring them together. One approach is that of Tom Arnold (Paranoetics, 2003), integrating other related terms, as part of his systemic articulation of hyponoetics as a philosophy of mind. A simpler experiential approach might be explored through configurations such as the following:
|Possible configurations of sets of selected "cognitive operations"?|
The classical Greek tradition offers an association of the pentagram with health, as represented by the goddess Hygieia (whence "hygiene"). This is similarly the case with the classical Chinese Wu Xing tradition. There is therefore a case for considering that the configuration of "-noias" in pentagram form offers a systemic indentification of cognitive health -- if not wisdom -- as discussed separately (Cycles of enstoning forming mnemonic pentagrams: Hygiea and Wu Xing, 2012; Wholth as essential to health, 2013). The fourfold pattern recalls that used to relate problematique, resolutique, imaginatique and ludique (Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007).
Each "operation" is characterized by a particular modality of "closure" and one of "openness" -- with respect to information, knowledge and communication. This offers both advantages and disadvantages for survival and thrival in systemic terms. The "dysfunctional" variant of each cognitive mode frames and appropriates "Nous" according to its own restrictive light -- excluding the other modalities and the "healthy" dynamic between them. In doing so, each may be said to be "missing the point" in some way, and necessarily so, as discussed separately (Way Round Cognitive Ground Zero and Pointlessness? Embodying the geometry of fundamental cognitive dynamics, 2012; Paradoxes of Engaging with the Ultimate in any Guise: living life penultimately, 2012).
One approach to reframing "paranoia" is to recognize the set of cognitive modalities as engendering radically contrasting stories:
|There are known knowns;
there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say,
there are things that we now know we don't know.
But there are also unknown unknowns -
there are things we do not know we don't know.
|And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in the Nothing all Things end in -- Yes --
Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
Thou shalt be -- Nothing -- Thou shalt not be less.
The challenge is to explore ways of interweaving the "stories" to enable both "navigation" between them and a larger coherence, as previously discussed (Interweaving Thematic Threads and Learning Pathways, 2010). This is usefully illustrated by the potentially dynamic connectivity of the following images (adapted from Wikipedia) -- especially in the light of the cognitive implications of their topological relationship.
Topology of the crown jewels? There is of course a symbolic irony to the manner in which a "pentagon" is embodied in both the more conventional image (on the left), as promoted in religious contexts, and in that on the right. The latter is composed of multiple Borromean rings of significance in topology as forming a Brunnian link (namely removing any ring results in several unlinked rings). It is based on a depiction in the Principia Discordia and is promoted by Discordianism (and is therefore known as the "Discordian mandala").
The cognitive implications of the Borromean knot (or ring), basic to the image on the right, are discussed separately in relation to the work of Jacques Lacan and Francisco Varela (Engendering holistic integration: Borromean knots and Klein bottles? 2010). The Borromean knot also figures -- as basic to the minimal stable concept -- in the work of Gordon Pask on his Interaction of Actors Theory, as extensively summarized by Nick Green (Interactions of Actors Theory, Kybernetes, 2004). Comments relevant to the above argument appear in a recent blog (Borromean Machine-Oriented Ontology, Strange Strangers, and Alien Phenomenology, LarvalSubjects, 24 July 2012).
Such imagery, and the associated arguments, are suggestive of the requisite complexity of any healthy dynamic interrelating paranoia with the other "noias". They are consistent with the self-reflexivity and paradox explored in the work of Douglas Hofstadter (I Am a Strange Loop, 2007) and its collective implication, discussed separately (Sustaining a Community of Strange Loops: comprehension and engagement through aesthetic ring transformation, 2010).
Given the inspiration of the "crown jewels" of the intelligence community for the argument above, it is also appropriate to note how the configurations of the images above can be readily understood as constituting a "crown" enabling a form of "cognitive fusion" fundamental to governance, as described separately (Engaging with Globality through Cognitive Crowns, 2009; Enactivating a Cognitive Fusion Reactor, 2006). It is in effect the points of intersection on the "learning pathways" mapped by the crown configuration that are the locus of any cognitive "jewel" (Spherical Configuration of Interlocking Roundtables, 1998; Spherical Configuration of Categories to Reflect Systemic Patterns of Environmental Checks and Balances, 1994).
There is the further delightful implication that the number of jewels in any such crown might then be governed by the Euler characteristic in algebraic topology, as originally determined for polyhedra (David S. Richeson, Euler's Gem: the polyhedron formula and the birth of topology, 2012).
The jewel metaphor can be exploited further (Patterning Archetypal Templates of Emergent Order: implications of diamond faceting for enlightening dialogue, 2002). As points of intersection on unrecognized "learning pathways", the "jewels" of the intelligence community could be understood as the "stations" on a form of map, as depicted below.
Reproduced from Mapping the Global Underground (2010)
Akhter Ahsen. Hyponoia: the underneath sense of being. Brandon House, 1990
Mary Catherine Bateson. Our Own Metaphor: a personal account of a conference on the effects of conscious purpose on human adaptation. Knopf, 1972
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