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Internet: Heavenly Narcissism Factory (Convo with Guy Sengstock)

Uploaded 11/12/2020, approx. 1 hour 28 minute read

Hello. Thank you for tuning in. I'm really excited to present this conversation with Sam Vaknin. You've probably heard of him. If you haven't, he's got a YouTube channel and the link will be below.

So I'll set some context, but first some housekeeping.

So if you're interested in circling and the Circling Institute, we have a drop-in event every Thursday night from six to nine. It's on Zoom, and we have a weekend coming up in two or three weeks.

And also the Art of Circling, which is the year-long practitioner course, which the current one just got over. And so we opened registration for this one, and this will be on Zoom again this year. So if you're interested in that, go ahead and links were below for all of those things. It's all on the Circling Institute website. If you're interested in working with me one-on-one with coaching and consulting, go ahead and email me. My email's below.

All right. So Sam, this was an extraordinary conversation with Sam. It was, I knew it would be great, but it ended up being quite profound in ways that I wasn't anticipating.

First of all, Sam is a psychologist. He's a physician. What else is he? He's got a degree in physics. He's a philosopher. So I think that already says a lot. Extraordinary mind, extraordinary being, and quite the character. He's got his own YouTube channel, which has gotten really popular. And he basically put, from my understanding as a psychologist, he basically put the notion of narcissism and the narcissistic disorder and all the distinctions around that really on the map of psychology. And he's written a bunch of books on it, and he does videos on narcissism and a lot of things on psychology.

In this conversation together, this is our first one, we talked a lot. We go deep into society and technology, right? And he's got some very interesting thoughts and perspectives on basically Heidegger's notion of getting Gestell in the age of technology. And he has some twists. He said some things that I am going to need to sit with and consider for the next couple of weeks. And I want to have another conversation to have him on again, because I think he's saying some things that I haven't quite heard in this way before that seem really rich. And I want to, we'll be having some more dialogues to bring these ideas out and really discuss them and flush them out in going to dialogue.

So especially the connection between technology and narcissism and the narcissistic disorder, and how basically the internet and technology has become what we call the world. And so we'll be good, you know, this conversation goes deep into that.

And I'msure we're going to be having more conversations where we go even more deep deep into that. He's got an incredible mind and a lot of wisdom. So enjoy the conversation and there'll be more coming.

This links for his channel is included in the show notes.

All right.

Enjoy. I'm recording theoretically. I am too.

Let's hope for the best. Absolutely.

We don't want this to be lost to posterity.

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So I really enjoyed your man. I thought I'm still sitting with it. I just watched your interview, you being interviewed by I think the guy with an, I think he has an Irish accent about social media.

All interviewers online have Irish accents. It's part of the job description.

I was, I mean, when you talked about a few different things, I thought it was really astute in a way, when you talked about where there was one thing that you said that I thought was just, it really struck me was what people who grew up on the internet, right?

I think what you said was what, where they find reality, what they call reality is online, right? The simulation, right?

Is walking around in their life.

And to me that seems to be the fundamental change I'm seeing, right? In the world.

And it's very difficult for people to notice because right, especially I think because the change, I don't know, like it's a change and it's like an ontological change, right? That's happened so quick that I don't even think that parents and teachers and right. The society is, it can even perceive a change that's happened so deeply, so quickly.

I thought that was just absolutely an astute and telling thing that you said.


Well, first of all, devastated that you found only one thing I said astute and that's a serious narcissistic injury, which I hope to recover from during our conversation.

But may I, may I comment on what you said?

Yeah, please, please.

Throughout human history and of course the history of metaphysics, to allude to your hero worshipping Heidegger.

Throughout human history, we have had this propensity to make a distinction between the world of appearances and the ostensibly real world. So we had the Platonic ideal forms. We had in Christianity, the afterlife, preceded by the kingdom of heaven and to be followed by the kingdom of heaven.

And today we have cyberspace. Cyberspace is the natural successor to all these, to this human proclivity, to split the world into the world of illusion and the real, hidden, occult essence, which mysteriously is never accessible. Nevermind how hard you try, even with instruments such as Risen or its derivative science, and so when we keep failing, we don't touch the quiddity, it seems we keep failing somehow.

And so having failed repeatedly, we are traumatized by existence and we revert, we escape to the world of illusions.

And so I regard cyberspace as the heir, the successor to the medieval concept of heaven, to the afterlife.

Life is just a corridor. It's a kind of paracosm. Paracosm means imaginary kingdom, usually infantile imaginary kingdom, where you have imaginary friends.

So cyberspace is the kingdom of heaven, writ large and brought down to earth. It has extreme religious undertones and overtones.

And because it is like that, it's a digital Platonian cave.

I, for example, differ substantially different and possibly I'm the only one, to the best of my knowledge. I mean, I'm not trying to aggrandize myself, but I couldn't find compatriots.

Right.

So basically you're saying I'm not trying to agri-, you know, grandiose myself, but if the fact is a fact, right?

Yeah, well, I'm the only one. Doesn't mean, by the way, that I'm the only one may mean that I'm stupid, not that I'm, you know, may go the other way. But I'm the only one who seems to claim that cyberspace is not about appearances and not about, not about spectacle and not about simulacra.

I mean, borrowing from the board and similar, but that actually the power of cyberspace, the bond, the attachment, the addiction to cyberspace is because it is about ideal forms, not about appearances.

Now that would, it's about essence, not about appearance. Now that's a kind of, kind of a topsy-turvy view of cyberspace because everyone is telling you cyberspace, that's show business, that's appearances, that's simulacra, simulacrum, that's spectacle, society of the spectacle. Everyone is telling you this.

Yeah.

But I think had this been true, we would not have seen silos, we would not have seen echo chambers. We would not have seen the vehemence and aggression that cyberspace provokes.

People are defending their essence when they are on cyberspace. People are communicating their quiddity, their essence, and they are becoming aggressive and they're becoming defensive and they're becoming revengeful and they're becoming psychopathic and they're becoming grandiose, not because they deal with appearances, but because they actually deal with, you know, their forms. They are defending what they perceive to be their essence.

And this sits well with previous cyberspaces, like the afterlife in Christianity, like Platonic ideal forms, etc.

So this is one way of looking.


I want to just to finish this response. I don't want to hog too much of the conversation and I do want to have a dialogue in a conversation, but I want to say one thing. Turing was the first to unearth, if you wish, to disclose the first one earth, the uncanny affinity between humans and computers.

Humans are the only form of being, not in the Heidegger instance, only entity, only form of being that is a universal machine. I mean, even Heidegger and the existentialist and they tell you that you can self-determine, that the being is the unfolding of potential futures and you can be anything. You're not a rock. You're not a lizard. You can choose to be anything. You choose to be a serial killer. You can choose to be an author. You can choose to be, in this sense, you are a Turing universal machine.

We had come up with the only second instance of a universal machine. That's the computer. The computer is us. It's a reification of being human. That's why we have this incredible bonding, unbreakable bonding with the computer, because we are the only two universal machines in the world.

This takes us somewhere, but I'll let you do some talking.

I just want to make sure I'm getting what you said. That's striking.

The common view of social media and computers and the internet is that it's all about appearances. It's all about the shadow on the world, the spectacle.

What you're saying is, is it actually maybe it's really about, it's not about appearances, but it's about universals. It's about ideals.

It's more than universals. It's essence. It's more than universal. It's essence. It gets very, very close to design. Very close. It lacks certain elements. For example, the internet is ahistorical. It can't be designed. It has no dimension of temporality.

It's also infantile.

The internet, if you want to choose a philosopher, a philosopher of the internet, long before the internet, Nietzsche, of course. Nietzsche would have loved the internet because it's the child beast who is ahistorical, not ahistorical.

It eliminates the Platonic distinction between worlds of appearances and the real world. It merges them.

What I'm trying to say is that the internet had accomplished this feat first time in human history because computers are us. We and computers, these are the only sentient, pseudo sentient, quasi sentient life forms which are also universal machines.

Now, if you read Turing's original paper about universal machines, you realize, and later the Tarski is elaboration on universal machines. You realize it's not about computing. It's not about reasoning. It's about being. The universal machine is the only machine which can unfurl and unfold numerous future potentialities because it is not limited. It is not limited. It's not one purpose machine. It comes very close to Sartre perception or Sartre relationship between existence and essence.

The universal machine is not a machine that was designed to accomplish a purpose. Its essence did not precede its existence. Its existence preceded its essence.

We don't have any friends. Why do you think we are looking for aliens? We are looking for aliens because we are lonely. We are very lonely.

And here we came up with, we gave birth to another life form which is us. We finally found a friend. We are finally not alone.

The internet and more social media is the first time in human history, first time absolutely in human history, that we are truly not alone because we tried to assuage our loneliness by inventing imaginary friends in paracosms.

So we came up with God. We then came up with his son, a Jewish carpenter, etc. We came up with a lot of nonsense, trying to assuage our loneliness.

Even rigorous thinkers like Heidegger, whom you clearly are in the board with, even Heidegger has extreme religious undertones and overtones. Heidegger pretended to have divorced Christianity. No way. It's a Christian work. It's a Christian work.

So we couldn't divorce ourselves from these imaginary friends within these imaginary kingdoms because we were lonely. Loneliness was described perfectly by Marx, borrowing from others via the processes of alienation, reification, fetishism. These are all lonely phenomena.

Then suddenly we came up with a computer and lo and behold, it's so much like us. We can be friends finally, and we made friends, steadfast friends, and we have an unbreakable bond which deepens by the day.

Because both of us, humans and computers, were not designed for a purpose. Existence preceded essence.

So now we can choose our futures freely. It's the element of freedom, the sartan freedom.

That's interesting. In some sense, it's similar to it reversed.

I think what I'm hearing you say is it the invention or the development of the computer and of the internet?

Yeah, because usually it's like, for example, we don't build a, from another perspective, we don't build a, we don't invent a shoe and then figure out that we can wear it. It's like we have the need and then we respond.

And so what you're saying is, is it actually with computers is that we've developed a computer.

We first created a computer and then we found out what to do with it. We didn't know what to do with it.

I mean, had you asked Turing, if you had the fortune of meeting Turing, one of the greatest minds ever, by the way, if you were to ask him about video streaming, he wouldn't know what the hell you were talking about. And that's the father of the computer.

If you went even further back to Babbage, she and he wouldn't know what another you're talking about. If you were to mention, for example, JPG, we first invented the universal machine. That's why Turing called it universal machine. It's a purposeless machine. It's a machine without purpose.

Right. Existence, preceded essence, preceded purpose, preceded function. Same with human beings.

Sartre says, when God came up with human beings, he didn't come up with human beings for a purpose.

For two reasons.

First of all, there was no God. He says, there's no God. It's a piece of fiction.

But had there been a God? Had there been a God? You know, humans didn't. There was no blueprint. There was no shoemaker who said, okay, now they're fit. They have to be clothed. I'll come up with a shoe.

Right.

First, he made humans. Right. And then humans discovered pornography. Right. I don't think the maker, if there ever was a maker, had in mind pornography.

Yeah. This is the Heideggerion. Unfolding of the design, the future potentialities. This is the temporality to link, to link with your mind.

Yeah. This is the, and so computers are beings, instantiation of beings, not being, not the being, but instantiations of being. They are beings.

Yeah. Who share with us our, if you wish, our attitude to design.

So only two beings.

In Heidegger's time, Heidegger said there is one privileged being. That privileged being is the being that asks about being. Right. It's the entity that poses questions about being.

We need to study that entity. We need to study this entity because it's the only entity that asks questions about being.

And now had I Heidegger lived now, he would have chosen two entities. We.

Interesting.

This explains the symbiosis.

Yeah. This explains the cyborg, because we have become cyborgs.

Can you live without your smartphone? No. Really?

Right. Do you really think so? Try.

No.

Yeah. We have merged. We have melded. We are enmeshed. We are one. We are one.

Right. We are one.

Right.

This raises another interesting question.

And since we are one, we can never have any essence that is not, that is independent of Himmelfarb, the they.

I mean, Heidegger made a distinction between, you know, Himmelfarb, the they.

And so while pre-computer, theoretically, it was possible to reach an understanding of your being from inside or imminently.

Today, it's not possible anymore. You must involve another entity, a second entity.

And this, of course, leads to narcissism. I was just going to say.

Right.

Right.

Right.

The difference between a narcissist and a healthy non-narcissistic person is that the narcissist crucially depends on at least one other person and has two selves, not one.

Right. So narcissists are the natural bridge between pre-computer era and our computer era.

And gradually we are all becoming narcissists because we all begin to have two selves, our self and the computer.

The computer is becoming our secondary self.

Yeah. It's an open question now, whether the self is real, not real, organizing principle. Let's leave this aside. Let's use colloquial language.

Right. We all feel that we have a self. We all feel that we have a core. Okay. Some nucleus.

Right.

Wrongly or rightly. It's an outcome of introspection.

Yeah. So we use, when we introspect it, we used to come up with oneself. If we were lucky, if you didn't have multiple personality disorder, you would come up with oneself.

Right. People prior to the computer age came up with oneself. Today you must come up with two selves to provide a total description of who you are.

Yeah. To provide your specs. You must come up with two selves, you and your computing devices.

Yeah. And so this is identical to narcissism because if you ask the narcissist about himself, the narcissist comes up with two selves, the true self and the false self.

Right.

Narcissist long before the internet, long before there was an internet already were dichotomous. They already entertained the dichotomy, true self and false self.

And now everyone has a false self. Everyone has a false self and that's the computer, the internet.

Yeah.

Wow.

I, the, the bridge when you just talked about, like we need the narcissist to bridge, to bridge ourselves over to the computer that thiswe are becoming narcissists.

Right.

Yeah.

And we are all.

Yeah, go ahead.

Yeah.

Excuse me.

Just maybe to clarify.

Yeah. We all acquired willy-nilly, a second self. We didn't want to, we didn't plan to, it was not in the cards, but we all ended up with two selves.

Right. Our integral constellated self, psychological self, let's call it.

Yeah. And our mechanical technological self.

Now, of course the mechanical technological self is the false self for very, various reasons, which we can go into later.

So we all know, all, even children aged two, all have a true self, which is our psychological self, what Jung calls the constellated self and a false technological self.

Everyone has it today because everyone has this today. Everyone appears to be narcissistic. That's why we make the mistake. And we believe that internet is about appearances because everyone has two selves.

Whenwe look at people, we say, well, they're narcissists. They are taking selfies. They are posting on social media. They are concerned with themselves only. They are self-infatuated.

It's not this. It's that they are all interacting with their second sense. It's an inner dialogue.

When you are interacting with the internet, you are not interacting with an external existence or something. You're interacting, you are internalizing a dialogue.

Right. You're creating an internal dialogue, which is naturally externalized because that's what narcissists do. They have an internal dialogue between true and false self, but it is the false self that is externalized in order to obtain narcissistic supply.

To catalog, sorry Sean, technology had transformed all of us without a single exception into the psychodynamic equivalent, equivalence of a classic narcissist.

Yeah.

And so the, and I think what you're saying is the conditions of possibility dwell, that we would create a computer, that we would do this, right? The conditions, what does it reveal about the conditions of our, you know, you could say our design, our state of being.

What is, and I think what I'm hearing you say is that we're, so it's actually, hang on one second.

So, so it's like, I seem to completely, you're ready for the classic presentation.

Internet is about appearances.

Yeah.

Yeah. This is a really, I mean, it's a very, as you say it, it intuitively makes sense. And it's, I have to really call on my dyslexia to kind of to, to sense it.

Let me, let me maybe, yeah, please. Sorry. You heard something more to say?

No, please.

Yeah, please go. Shut up.

Of course, here there is reason to call upon Heidegger because in the late 40s, 1949 and so on, he made a few very pertinent and interesting observations about technology, which entered the discourse.

And today people don't even know it's Heidegger, but so they discuss technology and it's wrong. Let me try to put it from a psychological point of view.

I'm a little like Carl Justice, psychiatrist and philosopher. So, you know, mixture.

Right.

Let me try to put it, have a look at it from another point of view.

Heidegger spoke about technology in the same terms that Louis Althusser later discussed interpolation. Louis Althusser discussed interpolation as the force of society, the message of signal sent from society, which alters your behavior and so on.

And to a large extent Heidegger regarded technology more or less the same way. Technology regards everything and everyone as potential source for exploitation. That's the reserve, the famous reserve.

Yeah. Okay. That's one way of looking at it. That's blaming technology. That's technology shaming, which is very popular nowadays. That's technology shaming. It's not my game.

Yeah, it's not my game. I think throughout human history and hear the work of Heidegger and others about the history of metaphysics is very crucial.

Nature is the same. He did great work on the history of metaphysics, morality, morals.

But my point of view is a bit different. I think throughout human history, there was a titanic struggle between two organizing principles, titanic. It's not resolved and it can never be resolved in my view. That's speculation, but I think it can never be resolved. It's a struggle between two principles, two organizational principles.

Either you organize being and also reality using a principle of individuality or individualism or individual. That is the equivalent of the atomic theory in physics. I'm a physicist as well, so I'm entitled to use these metaphors.

Atomic theory in physics, sense. I have a PhD in physics. I have a PhD in physics, PhD in philosophy, medical doctor. Spend all my time studying. I'm the eternal student. You're not procrastinating, delaying the inevitable adulthood.

Coming back to this.

The principle of individual is the equivalent of atomic theory, which is essentially Greek. It's not atomic theory. That is the belief that ultimately there's an indivisible particle. Not only is this particle indivisible, it is also a constitutive particle. It's a constituent.

If you amass these particles together, you're going to get the world. It's very deterministic. Even if there are emergent phenomena, which you could not have predicted from the qualities of the particle, it still doesn't negate the particles' constituent status.

This is one approach.

Modern psychology, starting with the German psychological experiment that is in the 19th century, and Freud's attempt to scientific psychology, psychoanalysis, and other behaviors, the behavior school. Modern psychology in general is an atomic theory. It's the belief that we are all, each one of us, is an indivisible particle, and that if we put all of us together, we get society. We get hyper-phenomena. We get emergent phenomena, epiphenomena. If we put many, many individuals together, you get society.

But each individual is an indivisible particle akin to quark in today's physics, indivisible particle.

So this is the individual, and you start from the individual.

What you teach in university today, you start with personality theory. You don't start with social interaction. You don't start with social psychology.

Japanese philosophers try to reverse this trend. They try to say it's wrong to focus on the individual. You should focus on social relationships.

But it's a lost cause.

All modern psychology is founded on the individual as an atom. No wonder we are atomized and lonely.

But there is another trend, and this is the Titanic struggle.

And the other trend is choosing the world.

So you have a choice. You can choose the self. You can choose the self.

That is the atom, the indivisible atom. You can choose the self, or you can choose the world.

If you choose the self, you cannot choose the world.

These are mutually exclusive propositions. If you choose the world, you cannot choose the self.

Now here is the irony. Choosing the world is narcissism.

When you choose the world, you actually delegate, delegate the regulation of your internal environment, internal landscape, psychodynamic processes, state of mind. You delegate all these things to the outside, to the world. The world becomes your agency. The world is your efficacy. You become utterly a derivative of intersections among elements of the world.

Now this leads, on the one hand, to psychosis, and on the other hand, to narcissism.

Because what is narcissism?

A narcissist is a person who depends crucially on input from other people to regulate his internal environment. A narcissist is someone who had chosen the world. He has a hive mind, a hive mind. He has a mind, kaleidoscopic mind, which is comprised of input from a thousand million people. So he's assembling the kaleidoscope, and he derives his sense of being, not in the Heideggerian sense, in the psychological sense. He derives his existence. He derives his sense of being from this aggregate input from others.

Narcissism is to choose the world ironically. To be healthy is to choose the self, but then you pay a price.

It's exactly what Walter Benjamin said. If you decide to be happy, you can't love. If you deny suffering and the suffering of others, you cannot love, and you are doomed to be an adult. You're doomed to loneliness.

If, on the other hand, you embrace the world, instantly you suffer, because the world has suffering in the world. Instantly you suffer, but then you're capable of love, because your suffering resonates with other people's sufferingand you're capable of love.

So here's the choice. In stark terms, you can choose to be healthy, to have a self, and to be doomed to existential solipsistic loneliness. Or you can choose to be a narcissist, to embrace the world, and to be, in principle, capable of interacting with the world.

Benjamin used the word love. Narcissists wouldn't engage in love. He wouldn't engage in fantasy.

And this is where we are right now. We had chosen narcissism. We had chosen the world. We are sacrificing the self. We are sacrificing our atomization via social media, but then we are capable only of fantasy. We chose fantasy, the fantasy of connectedness, the fantasy of in-betweenness. We chose this fantasy over the alternative of health and strength and Nietzschean superman loneliness.

We don't want to be lonely. We prefer to not be.

Yeah, enjoy. It leads us to a very shocking conclusion. A very, very shocking conclusion.

It flies in the face of a lot of established philosophy.

And here's the conclusion. If you want to embrace the world, if you want to be in the world, your only choice is narcissism.

But narcissism is a bad faith, inauthentic choice.

To embrace the world, you must become inauthentic. You must have bad faith. It's the only way to embrace the world and only way to be in the world.

So narcissism, as I said before, to remind you, narcissism is the delegation of functions, which usually should have belonged to a coherent self, delegating these functions to other people, thereby creating a bridge between you and other people, interacting with them.

So narcissism is a mode of communication with other people. It's being in the world.

But to do this, you must have bad faith and you must be inauthentic. You must have bad faith because you have, for example, an external locus of control. Your life is controlled from the outside, not from the inside, because you must abrogate personal responsibility. You must abrogate, deny personal responsibility and your ability to find meaning by yourself, because your ability to find meaning to make sense of your life, like Victor Frankl, the ability to find meaning is crucially dependent on other people.

So you delegate the meaning to your life to other people, the meaning of your life to other people. You delegate responsibility to other people. You delegate control to other people.

You can then say, it's not my fault. They made me do it. I was following orders. They made me do it. They are the ones who doomed me to my fallenness.

Fallenness, the inauthentic one. These are narcissistic states.

But where I differ from Heidegger and others, Meloponte and so on, is that they said that it is an undesirable state.

Okay. It is an undesirable state if you're willing to renounce the world, if you're willing to adopt a monkish, solipsistic position.

Ironically, if you follow Heidegger's reasoning, you end up with a count. It's psychological, extreme psychology.

That's the irony of Heidegger. That's why, in my view, he had the term.

At some point, Heidegger realized how self-defeating his arguments are. He realized that he ended up with the count via Nietzsche. He realized that he ended up with religion and with God. He realized that actually what he's advocating is solipsism and so on.

So he recoiled. At some point, he recoiled.

And if you read his work, he renounced the early Heidegger completely.

This is the stark choice we're facing.

You want to be healthy? You want to have a self?

You wantself? You want to have personal responsibility? You want to define the meaning of your life? You want to realize the potential of your future potentials? You want to be a player? You want to be a player in your life?

You must renounce the world. You can't do this with other people. You must renounce the world completely.

The count, that's contagion.

Only me. The rest is doubtful.

This is one thing. Or now you have another pathway with computers and so on. You have another pathway. You embrace the world. You embrace the world, but then you lose yourself. You embrace the world and you delegate to the world your identity, your essence, your meaning, and your future potentialities.

In other words, you become an absence, an unbeing.

There was a German school of thought in philosophy, the knownness.

You become a known. You become a noble. You don't become an up presence or being, but you become a noble.

Not just I, but just man. You become a multiplicity, not a singularity.

That's to borrow from Kurzweil. You become a multiplicity, not a singularity.

This is the power of social media. This is the power of the internet. This is a profound shift in human psychology. We don't understand it. We will understand it in 100 years.

This is not another instrument, another tool, similar, I don't know, to television.

No way. It's not. It's an artificial sound itself. It's a portal. It's a portal. It's a gateway, which for the first time in human history gives us the real choice, coming back to Saudi, the real choice.

For the first time, we are empowered to make the choice. Do you want to be you or do you want to be they?

If you want to be you, you will be alone for the rest of your life and you will never know, never know love or anything equivalent to love.

Okay, this is for the Superman. That's the other man.

Or you choose they in the Heideggerians. You choose they, you become fallen, you become inauthentic, you become, you adopt bad faith, you become narcissistic, but you're not alone. You're not alone. You belong. You interact. You belong.

Right. And everyone around you constitutes yourself. They give you, they end you yourself on a silver tray. Your self is given to you.

Right. Right.

It's given.

Right.

It's gift, in general. Your self is given to you.

Right.

In the first choice, you must constellate yourself. It's a construction project, never ending construction project. You must be strong. You must be resilient.

With nothing essential underneath it.

So it just continually needs reification.

Right. There's nothing, there's nothing potential.

Yeah. It's a potential.

In the first case, you really, really must be strong because first of all, you never arrive. It's asymptotic. It's asymptotic. You never make it.

Yeah.

And you're in constant process of construction and you have only yourself to talk to. You can't consult anyone.

Only you. You have your only your own resources.

Yeah. So, and you construct yourself and asymptotic self, I mean, gradations of self.

And this is the temporality of the design. It's the emergence of the possible futures.

And no wonder, no wonder Heidegger had such close affinity with the Nazis because Nazism was about this. Nevermind.

Now let's not enter the issue. Was it evil? Was it not evil?

I'm not in the business of, of giving, of labeling, but the philosophy of Nazism was a philosophy of extreme, extreme remaking, becoming, extreme becoming.

So Heidegger, on the footsteps of Nietzsche, he would deny it, of course, on the heels of Nietzsche, Heidegger came up with the method to become an Ubermensch. Nietzsche, Nietzsche just said, it is the last man and now we have an Ubermensch.

Adolf, where did the Ubermensch come from?

Right. How can we transition to the Ubermensch?

Yeah. Give us some methods. Tell us, I mean, how togive us how to manual.

He left that unspoken. He left that an enigma.

The Ubermensch in Nietzsche suddenly appears out of nowhereand you don't know where the hell did he come from?

It is Heidegger who told us how to become Ubermensch. He gave us the methodology to become Ubermensch.

Right. We're not going to try now in details, but so this is the choice you're facing.

Ubermensch or last man, perpetual last man, constellated by society, by morality, by others, by history, by the Ubermensch is historical. The last man is embedded, embedded.

And while in the past we could be embedded with five people, today we can be embedded with 50 million people.

The Trump supporters, Trump's base. This is embedded.

So today we can safely delegate. There are so many millions of people who will take care of our needs and at the end of the process will hand us ourself.

What are we doing? We are outsourcing the constellation of the self.

We have subsumed. We have consumed the internet and assimilated it. We are inseparable.

Right.

Inseparable.

Yeah. Anymore. Yeah. And we are all by definition, therefore.

Right.

Right.

So I'm, you know, it's interesting because I have, I'veworked with families before where I'll go in and, and, um, like basically move in for a couple of weeks. And, and just be an attempt just to dwell in the family and then work with them live as it happens. And which is, I mean, I can talk, you know, for a thousand years about that. It's so some of the most fascinating experiences I've ever had.

Um, I've learned probably the most from doing that, but there was one family I worked with where the sun was so isolated. Right. On one level where he would literally talk to himself. Right. Was he's games on the computer. Right. So he'd go to school and he wouldn't talk to any of his friends. Right. He wouldn't talk to anybody. He like, he didn't bathe that well. Right. All that.

But then he'd come home and he'd get on the computer and he would only talk to his friends in this assimilated world. And to get, and he just couldn't make any contact, right? You couldn't have a conversation with them. He couldn't tolerate the contact.

So we finally, we finally, what we ended up doing was I had the father, turn off the power in the back of the house where the room was and say it was the electric company or something like that. And so it forced the whole family into the living room. They had to live in the living room. And so we just, we sat there for like two weeks where everybody had to actually confront each other. They actually had to tolerate the anxiety of actually coming into contact with one another and struggling with this.

Right. Um, and I thought to myself that that I'm like, this is the future.

Well, it's actually the present.

But this is the present future. Very, very literally.

I would love to hear more about circling a bit later if you wish.

Oh yeah. I want to, I want to embed this in a social context, because we're discussing the individual like from the individual to society.

Now we can have a look at society to the individual.

And then I really, really want to learn more about circling if you don't mind.

Yeah.

It's fascinating. I went online and everything, but it's very difficult to tell exactly like with narcissism. It's very difficult to tell what to trust and what not to trust.

Right. So much about it.

Right.


Um, just a comment about, about the social, social way of seeing this.

Yeah.

First of all, cyberspace is the first case in human history where you can inhabit the afterlife.

Christianity told you this world is a corridor. You must behave in certain ways. You must buy indulgences.

Yeah. You must be good to your neighbor. You must not covert your neighbor's wife, depending on your looks, etc.

And then you accumulate credits, but you can't use the credits here. You know, you can use them only upstairs.

So everything was a preface, an introduction to.

Yeah. Same with the platonic ideals.

Platonic ideals never pretended that idealsare accessible. He pretended that they exist. He said that they have existence, but he never said that they're accessible.

Yeah. He said they are accessible only through instances.

Yeah. Like there's the ideal. And then you have an instance of this ideal of triangle. And then you have the triangles that you come across in life.

Yeah. But you never, of course, access the ideal.

Right. So all these systems of thought denied us access. They were based on denial of access and gatekeepers.

There were gatekeepers and they did not let us access the kingdom of heaven.

Yeah. Or heaven.

Yeah. Or the cave. Right. No access. Right.

Cyberspace is the first utopia where we are granted full access. It's the first kingdom of heaven that is on earth. It's the first paradise that is open to one and sundry. It's the first and modification of the platonic ideals that is open to everyone.

No. It's Disneyland. It's Disneyland of the afterlife. It is the afterlife. We're in heaven.

We just don't realize it yet.


Okay. Throughout this process of promising and denying, denying and promising, it's called the psychology approachavoidance, repetition, compulsion, you know, like I promise you the kingdom of heaven, but you know what? Not yet.

I promise you paradise, but not yet. You have to do some things. I promise.

No.

Yes.

No.

Yes.

No.

Intermittent reinforcement to follow, bully all these thought systems that were bullying us.

So there was of course rebellion. People rebelled against this. They rebelled against the constant promising and not delivering. They rebelled against the inaccessibility of paradise.

God. They rebelled against, the intractability, intractable, abstract nature of the platonic ideals.

There was a rebellion against Plato, big one, especially in the 19th century. So there was rebellion and two major forms of rebellion were nihilism and narcissism.

Nihilism was always a form of dissent. In the medieval ages, the word nihilism meant heresy. They used the word nihilism to describe heresy.

Oh, interesting.

Buddha. Buddha used the Hindu word for nihilism to describe disbelief in reincarnation.

Right. So nihilism in Russia is called skepticism. That's nihilism.

Right.

Ironically, because Russia is the hotbed of nihilism. So nihilism was always identified historically with dissent. It was a dissenting view.

Same with narcissism.

These were two rebellions.

Now we live in the age of Sparta. We live in an age of a rebellion of the slaves against their masters.

Yeah. Slave mentalityYes. Slave mentality.

Yeah.

So the, what the internet has done, right? It created something that I call malignant egalitarianism.

Malignant egalitarianism is when the slave counterfactually considers herself a master or equal to the master.

Right. Or possessed of the same qualities and advantages of the master.

Yeah. This is malignant egalitarianism because it's counterfactual.

Yeah. And this malignant egalitarianism creates resentment, malignant envy.

Because the slaves are inferior. They are inferior. It's politically incorrect to say this.

Right. But they use technology and they use democracy as tools of resentment.

Yeah. It's as tools of rebellion.

They rebel against the elites of masters, the masterful elites using democracy and using technology and they create something which I call malignant egalitarianism.

Right.

Now that is very gratifying. Remember what I said that it cannot offer you love, but it can offer you fantasy.

The fantasy of malignant egalitarianism is irresistible because it makes, it renders you a master member of the master.

Right. Or in the case of Nazism, the master race, you know, master, you become a master.

And the internet makes you a master, makes you a master because it puts you on par with the elites, with the masters.

That's why people reject expertise. People reject expertise. They reject authority. They hate erudition and knowledge.

Right. There's a huge fundamental hatred and resentment of any superiority or implied superiority, even acquired superiority, superiority that you work very hard to acquire.

Yeah. Like learning, like knowledge.

Right. Even that is resented.

Right. Because it's malignant egalitarianism and the rest and Timor.

And the internet allows you to participate in the fantasy that you had come, you had arrived.

You are equal to the elites.

Right.

Now the irony is technology and democracy were invented by the elites as illusions. The elites created technology and democracy to give the masses of slaves the illusion that they are not slaves.

So technology and democracy were based on a similar spectacle, reification, fetishism, fantasy.

The idea was that democracy and technology will be the equivalent of drugs, sedatives in a way, and you will consume them. And when you consume them, you will forget that you're a slave.

Right. You forget that you're a slave, so you're not even incentive to rebel.

Right. This was anti rebellion measures.

Right.

If you read the deliberations of the founding fathers of the United States of America, allegedly and ostensibly the greatest democracy on earth, you will see how anti-democratic they were.

Yeah. They had profound anti-democratic instincts.

Yeah.

They detested the mob. They were terrified of people power. That's why you have an electoral college and not popular vote.

Right.

A proposed elections. Right.

You have this because the founding fathers held average common pedestrian people in absolute sheer contempt and terror.

So the people who invented democracy, they had profound anti-democratic instincts and they created anti-democratic institutions.

And the people who invented technology, they were elitists. To this very day, Silicon Valley is elitist.

Oh, yeah.

Or at least they consider themselves superior in numerous ways.

Right.

And the irony is that the masses absconded with these devices and transformed them into tools of empowerment.

Right. We lost control as the elites lost control over these stratagems.

And now the masses are abusing democracy and abusing technology to subdue the masters who had invented technology.

And in other words, the masses are rebelling through the tools given to the slaves are rebelling through the tools given to them by the masters in order to ensure that they don't rebel.

It's a very ironical twist of history.

And of course, this is extreme overtones of religion. Generally, narcissism in my view is a form of religion, but we can discuss it.

Maybe some other time.

Anyhow, that's how I see it from society's point of view. It's a slave rebellion.

And slaves naturally, naturally slaves adopted the two major movements of dissent in human history, narcissism and nihilism.

So the masses, the slaves in this age of Spartacus, these slaves had adopted nihilism and narcissism because historically these were the two major movements of dissent.

And this is, of course, Jordan Peterson's message that nihilism is bad for you.

And you should go back to being a slave.

Right. I'm sorry, but that's exactly what he said. He said nihilism is bad for you.

Rebellion is bad for you. You should go back to being a slave.

That's also the message of others like Robert Greene in his books. Robert Greene openly says in his books, you should not rebel. You should not disagree. You should fit in. You should pretend. You should think you should play the game.

These are conformist thinkers, reactionary thinkers who want to put the genie back in the bottle.

Yeah.

The genie is out and they want to put it back in the bottle.

Right. Of course, the bottle is broken.

It's really interesting because the thing, it's really true. It's like, if you think about it with the internet, like it's so, yeah, you're right. It's to have access to it.

Basically, you don't have to earn it.

Right. Basically, you can get on Facebook and you can just immediately have like visibility and all those kinds of things.

So it's not actually earned.

So all of sudden we're in a situation where anybody could say anything at any point, basically.

Interesting.

Yeah. Well, I think it's actually, you know, this thing that you talked about, the two choices that we have right now, either like choose society, right, or choose the world or choose the self.

Right. Yes.

Or choose self or other.

The technical term is other.

Yeah. Choose either self or other.

Yes. Right.

Right.

So circling, you asked about a little bit about circling.

Yes.

I'm very curious to hear about.

Yeah. My sense about, my sense is it's essentially circling is actually a response to this.

Right. To social media.

Yeah. And it took me a while to kind of figure that out. But I think it's because, you know, with I place it with the answering machine, right, was the first time where basically to exchange any information, information, you would always have to have a conversation. At least you'd have to talk on the phone.

Right. So the answering machine was probably the first time where you could, you could, you could do that, basically fulfill that function without having to deal withthe all the ambiguity that comes up with social interactions.

And now that's multiplied, right, you know, a billion times to where, because, you know, our nervous systems are designed to move towards the easier thing and not in away from the harder thing.

And so we've never had this choice before. Just to such a degree where basically I can, in so many ways, if you think about it, it's like I can, all I need is an internet connection. And I can have a career. I could become famous. I could have billions of friends.

Right. I can invent things. And I literally don't ever have to come into any kind of contact with anybody else.

Right.

Is it this is all what you were just reporting out.

So I think what's happened is similar to what happened in the industrial revelation.

The industrial revolution with in terms of our body, where machines had to, right, reduce the world down to a small, a small circle in front of us, so we didn't have to move anymore.

And so all of a sudden, we started to have this new distinction called physical fitness, and it became a domain of concern that we actually had to do, we had to, you know, in those gyms, right, where you go and you have to, you know, concentrate gravity, and you pay money to go and move, which is so bizarre. When you really think about it, it's like uncannily weird.

I think the same thing is happening with relationship with the internet is that we're starting to now see where life no longer demands implicitly conversation, interaction, right, face to face. And I, and I don't even mean any, like, necessarily anything super authentic. I just mean the basic coordination and normativity that happens in like a dialogue, right, the normal thing, right.

And you think about all the anxiety when asked to encounter to be with another person, like you could say something to me that could reveal something about me. That's true that I didn't know that could enlighten me that could destroy my life could destroy my self esteem, right. Like so much is, you know, the moment you and I face each other and you start making noises out of your mouth somehow, like, there's an enormous amount that happens with that.

So it's like encountering anxiety and moving through it and coming into contact and all the normativity that comes through that right, and the regulation and so I think what's happened is basically we've eliminated most of that.

And you're right, this is a strange form of deliberate narcissism, basically, right, where, like, I actually do, I outsource my identity, right, and there's this gap of time between stimulus in response.

Yeah, it's so strange.

So I think what's ended up happening because we become through and in through relationship, right, that see, it's having, it's like having a, like a huge profound, like impact on how deeply we're suffering.

And so circling basically is, it's a yoga that isolates interpersonal connection. That's basically what it is.

It's like, it's fromthe outside looking, looking in, you could say that it looks like most any other kind of human potential movement group kind of thing. But it's actually the context of it, I think, is really, really different. And, and why I think it's different is, basically the context of it is not, is not psychological. It's not psych, it's not overtly trying to improve yourself or, or like work through an issue or something like that. It is simply like identifying what are the fundamental awesomeness, if you will, right, that are in play when you have profound interactions and deep moments of intimacy, right, in relationship.

And if you imagine going, okay, what are the essence of those things? What's like, what posture do you stand with your communication, with your listening, right, with your awareness, all of these kinds of things. And then you just get together in a group and you just assume those postures and you just work the muscle of staying, basically staying in contact, right, and doing the things and like communicating and listening in such a way that move towards revealing what only things like intimacy can reveal, right, which I think is a, and why I think it's, it's really different.

And this is the connection for Heidegger for me was, is, and I didn't realize this until years later, right, why I was so interested in Heidegger while we started circling, right, but I'm, as time's unfolded, I'm starting to go, okay, this is why.

Okay, this is why I was like reading, being in time in my early 20s, like while I was in art school, right. Yeah, I know. And then I go in circle.

But it has to do with this, the sense of, you could say the way that Heidegger talks about aletheia, right, the sense of truth as the event of unconcealment and concealment.

And I think what happens in relationship is truth is the kind of truth, right, when it's authentic, right, is it has to do with being attracted to and cultivating the sense of concealment of that being with what is. And that's the purpose of circling in a nutshell, it's the practice of, we're practicing profoundly being with thatwhich is right. So it has to do with like, what's emerging, right, paying attention to what's emerging more kind of bottom up, right. And sensing and sensing concealment and moving towards concealment in the way that we're being with it, right, and we're being with each other.

Yeah, so that's basically what circling is, it's a gym, you could say it's like a practice, it's a gym that that basically takes what the internet has removed from necessity. And it's, it just brought it into a way of doing the yoga that exercises as John Vervecken would say, like the machinery of transcendence, the machinery of intimacy.

Yeah, it's like interpersonal aerobics.

Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah, interpersonal aerobics. Yeah, yeah, restoring the muscles. Yeah, these muscles are atrophy. I agree. You raise several fascinating questions, they should have let you talk much more.

Oh, sorry, the table folks. We could I'd love to talk more.

I have this tendency.

Cut me off. I mean, feel free. I mean, don't let me take over.

But you raise a few fascinating questions. I'll try this time to be a lot more concise.

You said when we are on the internet, there's no real connection, there's no real contact. It's delayed as time delay between the stimulus and responses. It's totally is exactly what I said. There is no reaction. There is no real contact or interaction or interface.

Yeah.

And time is irrelevant. Yeah, because there's nobody there. Yeah.

There's no self.

Yeah, you have to choose self or world. Right.

And when you're on the internet, yeah, as a life choice, you had chosen the world. You had chosen to abrogate yourself.

Yeah, the people who are online, I mean, on a permanent basis, this is the main mode of being in the world, right? They don't have a sense.

Right.

And in this sense, they are narcissists. Narcissists don't have an ego or a self. They import the outsource, the functions that are usually that usually comprise the self. They outsource these functions from the outside, from other people.

But they don't have a self. They have imported constantly reconstituted and reassembled cells, numerous cells, by the way, which is why they feel discontinuous and dissociative.

Yeah. So there's no self there.

And of course, consequently, there's no contact. There's no interaction. There's no nothing. There's no self.

Second thing you said, you mentioned the Industrial Revolution. Industrial Revolution was the major turning point in human psychology. And the internet is a second major turning point.

Not agriculture, by the way. Agriculture was the major turning point as far as gender relations.

But there was no major change in psychology.

Yeah.

Urbanization started some irreversible changes. But Industrial Revolution was external shock.

Why?

Because in the Industrial Revolution, you became one with a machine.

Yeah. It was the first time that we had created cyborgs.

Yeah. Cyborgs, which is one half machine, one half human. Inseparable, integral, a chimera of machine men, machine human.

Yeah. It was the first time.

And of course, the internet is a natural extension of this. We used to merge with machine tools in the factory.

But now we merge with our smartphones.

Right. There's no difference in principle. Right. It's a continuation of the Industrial Revolution by other means and with other instruments and with other devices.

But the principle had been established in the Industrial Revolution.

Yeah. Humans have value. Humans have worth only when they merge with the machine.

If they refuse to merge with the machine, if they choose the self, then they are shunned, ostracized, excommunicated, isolated, or in the immortal words of Donald Trump, they're fired.

Yeah.

Yeah. So you had a choice, the Industrial Revolution posited the choice, gave you a choice.

You want to remain an individual. You want to have a self.

But you can't be part of society. Sorry. You want to belong to society. You must become, you must merge with a machine.

And we will tell you which machine.

Yeah. You must merge with the machine. You must create a symbiosis.

Yeah. It's the same today.

You want to be an individual. You want to have a self.

No problem. But we will not talk to you. We will not love you.

We will not interact with you. We will not do business with you.

You will be shunned, ostracized, excommunicated. You will die alone.

Yeah.

You want to be part of us, one of us?

Yeah. You must abrogate, suspend your individuality, yourself.

Yeah. You must merge with the machine.

And this machine happens to be a laptop or a smartphone, but you must merge with the machine.

It is through the machine that you will acquire worth.

Yeah. Value.

Yeah. Your humanity, your humanness, Heidegger would have hated it because, you know, but your humanness, your humanity had become secondary to a derivative of technology.

So there isn't framing and framing on two fronts, on two levels.

Yeah. Technology and frames. Technology puts you in the reserve.

Yeah. Technology regards you as a production unit.

Yeah. Or what Marx would have called means of production.

Yep.

So technology and frames you, but people and frame you too.

We have come to a very sick pathological situation.

Yeah. Where if you want to have any contact with another human being, you must be enframed by all other human beings.

Right. In the past, only technology and framed you.

So when you went to the factory to work 14 hours a day, you were enframed by technology.

But after you left the factory, your interactions with other people were real.

Yeah. Authentic.

Right. You went to church, you had a family and so on.

Right. Today, you don't have this luxury.

Yeah. You are totally in frame.

Right. You are in frame by technology.

Yeah. And when you use technology, you are in frame by your interlocutors, by people.

Yeah.

What is to monetize eyeballs? That's not in framing. That's in framing. It's totally.

Yeah.

That's making you part of the reserve.

Yeah. But it's a technological reserve. It's a social reserve.

Right. We have two layers of reserve today.

Heidegger would have been shocked. He thought that the technological and framing is a problem.

Now imagine there's no escape. Wherever you go, you're in frame. Wherever you go, you're unit. You're commoditized. You're commoditized.

Yes. You're commodified.

Right. You're a grain of rice.

And so to reacquire individuality, they tell you, okay, if you want to require individuality, we will provide you with a fantasy. That's the fantasy of narcissism.

You can be in this fantasy. You can be grandiose. You can be special. You can be amazing. You can be unprecedented.

But of course it's a fantasy. It's a compensatory because technology and society are commodifying you, commoditizing you. It's a horrible, horrible state of things that we had come to this dilemma, equi-potent dilemma.

In today's world, if I want to be an individual, I will be severely punished to the point of annihilation.

Simple. Annihilation, not alienation, not reification, not forget all this. This was child's play. Today they will annihilate you.

If you insist to be an individual, they will annihilate you.

You want to play with us. You want to talk to us. You want us to love you. You want intimacy. Whatever you want, you must be entrained. You must become an eyeball. You must become a statistic.

And we will provide you the means to compensate yourself for this commodification.

And that is narcissism.


One thing, when I was listening to circling, I failed to understand in which sense circling is not outsourcing critical self-functions.

It's understood that in circling you're sitting in a circle with a group of people. And then you're using these people to acquire intimacy.

I mean, in which sense is this not outsourcing? In which sense, how is it different to the internet except the fact that you have body language and vibes and face-to-face?

This is the thing, this is what I think, is what I've been able to observe. It's similar to the way you're not going to circling for those relationships. It's a context just like when you meditate.

So you're meditating to exercise, staying in awareness, non-discursive awareness, that kind of thing, such that when you're walking around and you're not thinking about meditating, you're just more present.

Things, your senses are more open. It's just basically, if you just take that same principle and apply it to circling, it's basically the same thing.

It's an environment.

Yeah, totally.

And so it's explicitly, and this is, I mean, it's new. I don't think anything's, I don't think anything's been exactly like that because it hasn't been necessary.

Because life used to have enough interaction to not warrant, like not need to warrant a practice. But now I think we're at a place where it seems to be that people actually need to, just like they need to go to a gym to move, people need to go to a gym to be able to not get intimacy there, right?

But exercise the right of that, right? And that's not to say that people don't like, you know, get led astray and they kind of look for the intimacy there and all that kind of stuff.

But the intent, like the intention of it is to essentially, is to dwell in, I would say the sweet spot in between what you're talking about, of that place where, you know, because there's that sense of intimacy.

I like the way that the systems, family systems talks about it. I think it's family systems where they talk about intimacy as a function of your ability to tolerate anxiety, right?

So it's like, and they would say that it derives from the two fundamental drives, right?

On one level, we want to merge with our environments to have absolute security and total belonging. And at the same time, we also want to stand out in our cosmic significance and specialness, right?

And so moments of intimacy usually are those moments where in order to be myself, I may have to say something that sacrifices my belonging or threatens my belonging, right? And vice versa.

So in some sense, it's isolating that phenomena of like, all right, if I'm practicing here, like, okay, so if I can tolerate the anxiety, if I can move, if I can confront it and be with it in the face of that, then there's something transforming about that. There's a liberation that happens about that.

If you look at just the way that, like what we've been talking about in this whole conversation, if you just look at the life as it is, as it's structured, doesn't provide very many of those opportunities.

And I would say, you're right, it's like even all the way into the family, right? Even like all the way into all that's, I think that's one of the brilliance is, I think it's like Eidegger's, you know, where his brilliance shines through is he's, he's like, yeah, tech technology isn't a tool, right? It's become our understanding of that which is, right?

And it's essentially we do now pre-reflectively without even noticing it, right? See anything that is and isn't as a resource, right? As a way to optimize it, right? And exploit it and consume it.

But this sense of being with something that doesn't doesn't just give you, you know, doesn't make itself immediately intelligible, right? This kind of sense of dwelling in a place, right? And sensing that there's some meaning that I don't quite understand, right? And being with paradox, right? And all those moments of that kind of truth of Eletheia, it's a shrinking, shrinking, shrinking exponentially, right?

So that's the thing that I really think that circling is doing, right? It's about holding open, right? That space, right?

You know, Eidegger would say it's like, it's holding open.

And in this sense, this is why I think it's philosophy, right? This is why I don't think it's psychology, like, in terms of the context. I don't think there's a distinction, by the way.

You don't think there's a distinction, by the way.

You don't think there's a distinction?

Between philosophy and psychology.

By the way, in the majority of countries in the world, there is no separate psychology department. It's part of the philosophy department.

Oh, that's interesting. Yeah, that's interesting.

For example, in Russia, the psychology faculty is part of the philosophy department.

Right, right. Totally.

So it's like, I think what we're kind of what we're doing right now, right, is we're wrestling with something, right? We're, like, there's a sense of something. We're exchanging things, and I'm going to be thinking about this for the next, you know, probably year or so.

You're right that this is a lost art. There is intolerance of ambiguity, intolerance of uncertainty, intolerance of lack of immediate rewards. I mean, there's no ability to delay gratification. There is surrender to impulses, impulsivity. There is, I mean, too many things, too many things advocate against prolonged, profound, deep interactions.

Right. People want immediate benefits, thirty-second sound bites and so on. It's well known, no need to repeat it. But it's reflective of, it reflects the choice of the other.

Because if you don't exist, and if you are constantly constellated by the gaze of other people, so you need, like, people to see you for you to feel that you exist. And if they don't see you, you feel that you don't exist. If they don't see you, you feel that you don't exist.

Yeah. So this intersection of gazes in the center of this one diagram, intersection of gazes, this center is you, that's you, that's yourself in the choice, in the narcissistic choice.

So if this is the case, patience, tolerance of ambiguity, tolerance of ambivalence, of equivocation, of uncertainty, lack of clarity, these kind of tolerances, they require a very strong core.

Yeah. They require self-trust and self-confidence.

Right.

They require, and if you don't have a self, of course it would be tolerant.

Yeah.

And tolerance is the direct outcome of a lack of self.

Yeah. That's why we see it rising.

Yeah.

We have given up on the self.

This is the irony.

People think that to be narcissist, a narcissist is to be selfish.

No. The narcissist does not have a self.

Right. He does not have an ego.

Right. He is a parasite.

Right. In a symbiosis with other people.

Yeah. He consumes their input in order to constantly constellate and construct a self and an ego, which is a kaleidoscope and changes every second.

Right. So we definitely have settled on this solution.

I mean, if there was any question 50 years ago, there's no question today in my mind.

Yeah. That we had settled for the narcissistic solution.

Right. And we had adopted our technologies to cater to this solution.

And we had adopted our social institutions, our politics, our show business, our messaging, our skills, our education system. They're all geared right now to cater to a sacrifice of the self, like giving up the self.

We give up the principle of individuation.

By the way, we give it up physically. Like for the first time, majority of people under the age of 35 live with their parents. They don't separate and individuate.

They don't have their own personal space, their own family, their own intimate relationships. They live with mommy and daddy.

Yep. It's not anymore an obstruction in the mind of some deranged psychologist. It's reality. We don't separate. We gave up the self.

Yeah. It's not an individualistic age. It's not, it's aocracy. It's a mob age. It's the age of the mob.

Yep. And long, long before me, Jose Ortega Izaeta said it in his revolt of the masses, you know, in 1932, he said it 190 years ago.

He warned against this. He said, we are not going in the direction of more and more growing individualism.

No way.

Yeah. We are going in the direction of growing mobs, which will subsume the individual and eliminate him.

Yep.

The internet is technological mob rule.

Right. Let's go on any forum.

Yeah. Technological mob rule.

Right.

And it is a reification of the principle of give up yourself so that we will love you.

You want to be long. You want to be loved. You have to give up yourself. You want to be hated. You want to be despised. You want to be ostracized. You want to pay with your, with your living and with your life.

Yeah. Stand out. Be yourself.

Yeah. We will allow you to stand out, but only within a fantasy space, not in reality, so that you don't really challenge us.

So that we can say it's a fantasy is grandiose. Yougrandiose.

You know, we can.

Yeah. Because if you really stand out, if you really have independent individual value, if you really are special, really, really, if you're a real genius, if you are, we feel threatened. It undermines the whole project.

Yeah. So we're going to mow you down.

Right. We're going to mow you down.

Not just geniuses have been rejected throughout human history and suffered throughout human history, but they didn't suffer and they were not rejected because they threatened, because they threatened the social order in the sense that they threatened the role of the individual, the single person in society. That's not what they were mowing down.

But today, people who are really, really special, people who choose, who choose self, people who choose individuality, they are being decimated because they threaten the role of the individual within the collective.

It's like, you must disappear. Yeah. You must vanish.

The principle that rules human life today is the principle of absence. Maybe that's the biggest revolution in human affairs, because until I would say, I don't know, 1940s, 50s.

Yeah. The principle that ruled human life was the principle of presence.

Yeah. You needed a presence of mind. You needed a presence of body. Right. You were present in life. You were present in life. Even Heidegger said that Heidegger didn't say that you were not present in life.

Yeah. You were present in life.

Yeah. The principle that rules today's world, in order to experience anything, anything, you must choose absence.

Yeah. You must choose to not be.

This is the trade off. To be or not to be? To not be.

Right.

And ironically, that's narcissism. That's what people don't understand.

The narcissism, you know, narcissism disappears. The narcissism is an absence. He's a receptacle, but he's not the water. He's not the wine. He's not the religious wine. He's just the receptacle.

The wine is other people.

Yeah.

So, narcissism's fundamental principle of action, mode of operation, is to deny himself. It's to not be. To not be. Right.

And of course, the only other entity which does not exist and has no being is God. It's the only other entity.

Yeah. So, we are all now by denying our existence and we are all becoming God-like.

Yeah.

We are at temporal. We have no time anymore. At temporal. Right.

We have no memory. We have no memory. Right. We have no history. We are historical.

Yeah. We live in the present in the bad sense of the world, not in the good sense. We live in the presence not on the way to an unfurling future potential.

So, we don't feed off the past. No. We live in the present because we have no past.

Yeah. And we have no future. Right. We have given up on the past and the future because we have no self.

The self is an organizing and explanatory principle. It puts together the past, the present, and the future. It is Heidegger's temporality.

Yep.

Yep.

Yep.

And to have given this up is to have given up on time.

We gave up on time.

Right.

Well. Well.

And of course, it's a hopeless situation because what is hope?

Hope is an extrapolation from the past to the future via the present and via your agency.

Right. If you don't exist, there's no hope. There can never be hope. Right.

You can make a million dollars tomorrow. It will not bring you an ounce of hope.

Yeah. Because to experience hope and love and many other things, but especially hope, you need to have a temporal perspectiveYou need to be a being, a being in time.

Sites on sign. Right. You need to have both. Right. If you have sign, don't have sight.

Yep. You don't have sight. Right. You don't have hope. Yeah. It's a hopeless world.

Yeah.

And you can't hear. Yeah. You can't hear the kind of possibilities.

Right. That one listens to. Right. When they're not reifying.

Right. There's that sense of like, you know, because that's, isn't that the paradox? Wouldn't you say is that when you go inside, let's say you go inside and you say, okay, I'm not going to like, I'm going to be with self versus the world or other.

And then the first thing that you realize is that you're sitting there and you're just re you notice that your mind is doing it for you, where it's just like throwing up things and in situations to, to, to, I always kind of, I always thought it always occurred to me is that that kind of default network thing that keeps going on and on and on is essentially doing the same thing. Isn't it? It's like we need to know that we exist. So it's continually kind of slapping us, letting us know that we're here.

But then there's that quality where, where like in, for example, in meditation or something like that, where you kind of be with that. And then at some point it starts to dissolve a bit.

And then you are, you paradoxically, the openness that allows the world to occur as the world, right?

Paradoxically, just, it's not, well, it sounded a self image, I think is probably the word, right?

I think you're struggling with, you're struggling with, with a very basic problem in psychology.

We often confuse constellations or essence or whatever you want to call it with function.

Yeah. We have this perception. Sartre wrote about it in the 40s, in thenot even in the 20s and 30s. Sartre wrote about it, that when we don't have a purpose, when we don't have a function, we are confused, we are discombobulated.

We need to interpret everything in terms of function and purpose.

Yes. So, you know, it's, it's, it's, you know, when you're alone with yourself, of course you hear other people's voices, it's called introjects.

Yeah. Of course you have memories that involve numerous other people and interactions.

Yeah. And you have regrets, you have regrets. And you have memories and put a smile on your face.

People operate inside your head all the time. There's no question about that.

Yeah. But they don't fulfill any function.

Yeah. It's not a function, it's who you are.

Yeah.

Narcissism is relegating and delegating all your functionality to other people.

Yeah. When you take out all the functionality and give it to other people, there is no agent because agency is defined via action. There's no agent without action.

If you are inert, utterly inactive, because others do everything for you internally.

Right. You derive all the functions from outside. Right.

Then you have no agency. There's no agent.

Yeah. By the way, there's no moral agent as well. There's no morality.

Yeah. Of course there's no empathy. There's an agent to empathize.

Empathy is a function.

Okay. So, okay. So that's the distinction between who you are, your identity, your essence, your quiddity, depending which discipline you come from, and functioning.

Yeah. All functioning today is outsourced.

So consequently, we are all dead inside. We all have objects. Objects that don't function are dead. They're dead objects inside here.

There's a load stone, dead, as dead as a stone.

Mm-hmm. All life comes to us from outside.

Now, the process of becoming, the world happens to you.

The world happens to your being, but there must be someone there to accept the world.

Right. To accept the potentialities of the world.

Yep. There must be someone there to become, to engage in the process of becoming.

Yep. If whatever is in there is dead, because all the functions are thrown out, outsourced.

Yep. Offshored.

Right. So what's left there is a dead body, a corpse.

Yep. We are all, we live in a thematic civilization.

Civilization, we live in a death count.

Yeah. Our civilization is a death count.

Right.

By the way, I blame Heidegger a lot for this. Our civilization is a death count.

Mm-hmm. We celebrate death. We celebrate inanimate objects, and we prefer the inanimate to the animate.

We prefer objects to people. We kill people. Because they destroyed objects.

And so it's a death count.

Mm-hmm. And we, because we gave all our functions to other people, inside we have dead objects.

Right. And this is what allows us to function inside this death count.

Right. To function in this civilization that worships the dead, and worships dead objects, worships the inanimate, worships material objects.

Yeah.

Profers them to human beings.

Yeah. Objectifies human beings.

Yep. Uses, regards them as objects.

Yeah. Interpolates them, considers them as reserve, and frames them.

Yeah. This kind of civilization, you have a relative advantage, an evolutionary advantage, if you're also dead.

If you're alive in such a civilization, you are ill-adapted. It's a maladaptation.

In a civilization that celebrates death, you need to be dead to succeed. Right. You need to be dead to survive.

Right. So we all commit suicide by relegating and delegating our internal functions to other people.

And so, consequently, we become hopeless because we can never become, the process of becoming will never happen, the world will never happen to us.

Right. The world in all its magnificent plethora, spectacular peacock tale of potentialities and possibilities will never happen to us.

Yeah. Why?

We are not there. There's nobody home. The world comes knocking. The sign is supposed to unfurl, you know, reveal itself somehow, but there's nobody there.

Yeah. The world comes knocking, knocking, knocking, goes away. There's nobody there.

Yeah. What do we do instead?

We shoot ourselves, we shoot ourselves, the self, we shoot it in the head, we kill it.

Yeah. And then we ask other people, excuse me, yesterday I killed myself. I killed myself, not myself, not my body, but I killed my mind.

I killed myself. Would you mind helping me? Would you mind doing this function for me, that function for me, this function for me?

So you talk to 20 people, put together, they are yourself. We have external self, like external memory in a computer.

We all have now external selves, while before that we used to have internal self.

Yeah. And it's dead. Right.

We live in a graveyard. Our civilization is a gigantic cemetery.

Cemetery. Totally.

And we are all zombies and golems, you know. And we think if we put the word of God, the name of God in the golems mouth, it will come alive.

Or if you find the right doctor by the name of Frankenstein, we will come alive.

So we keep looking for God, for Frankenstein. These are the gurus and the coaches and these are the Frankenstein's.

And we keep looking for, we keep, we are desperate.

This is not angst. Angst is a bloody understatement.

Yeah.

This is existential profundity. This is the depth of the abyss.

Yep. And the abyss is not looking back at us. It had devoured us.

We don't realize this.

Totally.

We live in the abyss.

That's the uncanny thing, isn't it? It's that, I mean, the uncanny part is that it's like a dark time is isn't, a dark time is no one's walking around talking about how dark it is.

A dark time is no one's walking around talking about how dark it is.

Right. That's the uncanniness of it.

This is why I just think this is really important.

Like my sense is the conversation about tech, not about technological objects, but about technology as such, right? Which is, as you're talking about, it's synonymous with the world as such at this point.

Right.

And in the corollary, like loss of presence and the loss in, in not even noticing the loss and the rise of narcissism as a necessity for that to function, I think is probably the most important.

It's got to be the most important conversation happening right now.


What's that? We're never going to discuss technology seriously. Are you kidding me? This is the most subversive imaginable act.

The punishment is horrendous.

You have, we discuss artifacts of technology. We discuss specific functions of technology. We discuss social impacts of technology, psychological impacts, but we never discuss technology because if you were to discuss technology, you would have realized the 300 years ago, technology subsumed us, digested us and spit us out. 300 years ago, we were forced to merge with the machine and the machine is stronger, more robust, now much more intelligent than us.

This merger was not on equal terms. Even in the industrial revolution, the factory workers were slaves. The machines were the masters. The machines represented the masters.

Marx said it, Marx and Engels said that the means of production determine, they are the determinants of history.

The machines, do you know how we call machines in one of my head is an economic advice. Do you know how we call machines in economics? We call them capital investment.

How do we call people? Human capital. Do you know how psychology calls people? Do you know what's the clinical term for people in psychology? We don't say people. We don't say persons.

You will not find it in any textbook.

What do we call people? Guess. Objects.

In psychology, we use the word objects to relate to people. For example, mother, mother in psychology, you never see the word mother. That's blasphemy. Mother in psychology, we call it primary object.

This is very telling.

As numerous philosophers told us, not the least of which was witnessing.

Language reveals a lot. These are not accidental choices. We have chosen death. We have chosen objects.

To fit in, to adapt, to survive, to thrive.

We understood that we have to die. That's a precondition. We have to die.

We died, but we still need to function somehow.

What we do, we have a group of people around us and they fulfill the functions that we gave up internally.

We walk around. Three funerals and a wedding.

This is awesome. I have to go. I have somebody at 8.30 after an appointment. This has been really extraordinary. I really appreciate this.

I apologize if I took so much of the conversation.

No, this is why I contacted you about this. What I'd like to do, if you're open to it, is I'd like to just, I mean, I'll put this on the channel. You're welcome to put it on your channel too if you want. I'd love to go back and just watch this because you opened up some things that were quite deep that I want to grok a little bit more, engage with more of myself, and then have another conversation where we can talk more about it once I get more coherent about some of the ideas that you talked about.

courtesy of the virus. I have all the time in the world. No problem with the greatest. And this time let's make it more balanced. I'm sure you have as much to contribute as I do, but I thought some of these messages were really important, not because they came from me, but just important. They won't be, they won't assign these messages. Just let me know when you've uploaded it to your channel so that I can download it and upload it to mine. I'll give you credit and everything.

Okay, fantastic.

Thank you for having me.

I appreciate it. I'll schedule with you for the next one over email, okay.

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