A psychotic is a guy who's just found out what's going on.
William S. Burroughs
The experience of social isolation has the potential of extracting an individual consciousness from the collective dream. Finding myself outside of the initial society, language, and culture, I feel something that seems to be equivalent to my introduction to the LSD. Everything societal seems conditional, and relative. This experience is deeply instrumental for it allows seeing the human reality in a detached way, if only for a moment.
There was a time when I thought that the liberation from society is possible only outside any group practices, in death, seclusion, or autism. In other words, it is necessary to commit suicide, go deep into woods or into yourself. These seemed the only ways to evade the social mechanism’s repressions. However, what is it, apart from a reactionary escape? There is a common weakness between hermits and wood hippies. It is their delusion that everything’s gonna be alright if you, like an intestinal dweller, hide yourself in the gloom far from life.
The common belief is that one can understand a social system only from within. The inside status is perceived as a real participation that leads to understanding of processes taking place in a specific social organism. But wait! In order to understand anything one should be positioned outside of your object. One should be an alien. Only in a contemplative detachment, one can get rid of the turgid mono-context.
By emigrating, by committing social suicide in one society, and still not being reborn in another one, I found out that the society itself does not have any power over you if you are outside the ether of its culture and language. It means that the social medium is essentially a program, and everything human in it is a coded edifice of informational structures.
This realization hints at the impossibility of finding freedom in society. On the other hand, what is this freedom for if acquiring it dooms you to the vacuum loneliness, and Ouroboros’s entropy? Is it possible, after all, to become a programmer of existence instead of devouring the lines of code written by someone else?
I started moving from one country to another, looking into the eyes of each, if it was possible. And every time, even when their systems were radically different, there was something constant in all of them. That something was the inner principle each societal organism obeyed. It was the principle of the culture being primary as an edifying organizational basis, and a matrix of endlessly reproducing information units, the memes.
Every message is charged with the will, the urge to reach the addressee, to penetrate the Other, and to imprint itself on the Other’s consciousness. Every word is a directed action. In this sense, the language is the social media, the symbolic matter for building memes as self-fertilizing imperatives. It means that all human keys are to be found in the phenomenon of language. The philosophy realized this as late as the 20th century when some memes, like Christianity, turned one thousand years, and they shifted into the genetic dimension where they are now harder to uproot.
In any case, the language is the reason, and the society is the box. If you’re in the box, it is impossible to see the entire picture. In the recurrent social isolation, there is a creative philosophical practice to be found. For the most part, everything we call humans and have names for are senseless biological receivers that re-broadcast memes of a specific culture through their specific language, from one generation to another. The pure reason is available only to a child, and only before that child is not memeized.
Apart from that, any notion of good and evil, any principle or directive, opinion or belief are also subjective, and relative. They are balanced only in the context of the repressive yet inevitable social contract. We do not kill each other only while we are socially involved. Only in the social dimension, we conclude that there is a difference between the statements, “to wash you hands” and “to kill a child.” This essentially means that the freedom as a particular is inherently amoral, thus asocial.
Standing in social isolation, in the middle of any street in the world, I am not sure that people are real. More and more often, one encounters dolls or brooches in their midst. They are occasional programs in fixed ruts and mapped-out stage scenery. Everyone is his or her soap bubble cocoon. All of them are in their prisons of their own. This feeling is not dissimilar to the embodied horror of The Matrix that is as much a meme as everything around us. Not to lose your mind in this sorry existential impasse, it would be nice to realize how instrumental the above interpretation might be.
Memes are transferred via interpersonal exchanges. It is a common belief that they come from the outside as viral cultural imperatives, like “respect the elders,” “give birth to a child,” “be a good man,” “go to church,” “love your government” or “identify yourself through your ethnicity.” All these are just words, and nevertheless, they manipulations with those words can transform the order of things. Words are powerful. If any human aspiration is based on memes, a meme then is a social guide. Without them, a modern human is impossible, so an urgent personal task would be to form counter-memes and their complexes*, to alienate the monopolized memetic mare from the ossified repressive sources like a state, church, or school*. A sensible individual today should become a memetic parent, and be cleansed of those superficial memes that conflict his or her individual nature. No doubt, this will only expand the freedom space of a specific individual.
On the other hand, not everyone is prepared to pay the price of freedom sacrificing the other. The liberation, alas, is accompanied with the memes’ aggressive invasion into one’s reality. Unfailingly, this invasion occurs through other people. A virus needs a carrier. A human is an exchange entity. The very wish to articulate and spread ideas implies the existence of a subservient Other, a replicator. It is necessary to exploit him, and it constitutes an ethical conflict on the level of a humanistic notion of the social contract.
It is quite possible that there is simply no humane freedom, and the freedom by its very nature is egocentric and anti-human though nothing but culture dramatizes these epithets. The freedom as the French revolution’s utopian illusion and the freedom as the expanding space of possibilities appear as vehement opponents. One’s freedom that ends where the other’s freedom begins is nothing but an immobilized populist utopia of “limited freedom,” and it sounds like an oxymoronic half-measure.
When you find yourself in a situation where the realization of your freedom suggests coercion of someone else, you can only coerce—or abandon your freedom completely. The choice is always in the sacrifice. The complexity of a human personality excludes justice for all, no matter how attractive this urge might be. You program or be programmed. The exploitation is found even where one expresses his love to another for a simple moving of the air is the coercion to listening, agreed to only after the fact.
The free participation in the human Universe is creating the reality though dissemination of some kind of subjective consciousness. Only a uniform education bears a utopian light of hope here, for some humane justice, and unity around some evolutionary will.
In any case, the future will emerge in the battle for memes. The attempts to perceive their nature were the basis for the memesis practices of the late last century but only today, when we finally have new technologies for informational participation available, we can freely trip into Memonia. How does a meme appear? How can we single it out? How do we give the characteristics of autonomous replication to an information unit? How do we free ourselves from an alien meme, and become ourselves in the world where you are not alone, where you dream to travel in outer space or do not want to hang priests on trees? These are just a few questions posed for our contemporaries. The sooner we start our quest for answers the sooner, one hopes to believe, we drop out of the realm of false illusions, and are able to negotiate before we tear out each other’s throats.