Shifting determinism.

There is a considerable amount of self-censorship taking place in each individual every day. We keep ourselves constantly on the “safe and narrow” and keep ourselves from thinking bad thoughts or committing actions we “might regret.” This is a commonplace process that takes place at many different levels (personal, mediatic, work-related, etc), and much of it can be conceived as an extension of the capital-democratic hierarchies and uses of force.

This being the case, it’s interesting to ask ourselves, why is this going on? Why do we accept to censor ourselves? My idea is that we do this because we are no longer able to identify an enemy. In fact, we are brainwashed to believe that we live in a classless society, that we are now equal (basically living the Communist dream without the bread lines), and that we should all be united in a set of common purposes. Therefore, any feeling of oppression or exploitation must be repressed and contained in order to conform with this imaginary equality and classlessness.

Because we are all equal and we all have a chance to be rich and privileged, we all have to stay in the game and keep following the rules of the game. This necessarily implies suppressing individual values. But even those who want to drop out have a button about being “mature” and “doing the responsible thing,” which is to see it through, which is an obstacle to them leaving.

As a lot of people already know, deconverting from any belief system is the hardest thing you can do in your life, in no small part because of all the “should”s and “must”s that accompany them and create a great deal of guilt. In comparison, fighting any exterior determinism is a lot easier, because you can be yourself.

There are three general levels of determinism that we can identify:

1. Exterior determinism- where the individual is driven by exterior threats, motivations and moral principles.
2. Self-determinism- where the individual is free in his own mind but still subject to exterior factors as a social agent.
3. Pan-determinism- where the individual is free on all dynamics.

A person who is moved primarily by exterior determinism (it is impossible for this control to be complete, since only the individual can move his own thoughts and his own body) tries to “fit in” and is driven by the desire for “success” in all the various games conditions he is engaged in. This is the stereotype of the politician, the businessman, and in general people who are moved by a very linear and simplistic form of logic (religion, politics, capitalism, control in general).

The exterior determined person sees himself and all his fellows as equals, and his society as being free from class, because that’s what he’s been indoctrinated to believe. He is therefore solely concerned with winning.

A person who is moved primarily by self-determinism, cleared in the first dynamic only (which we can also call “free will”), is a misfit. He is often depressed because he feels alienated from aberrated individuals living in an aberrated society to which he cannot relate. This is the stereotype of the artist, the misanthrope, the freethinker, and in general people who are more driven by feelings (including feelings of right and wrong). While these people are not completely self-determined, they do develop partial self-determinism and thus feel alienated.

The self-determined person may still be heavily self-censoring because he wishes to “fit in.” He may also self-censor as part of his attempt to use the games (especially the democratic game) in order to obtain a higher status for himself and his fellows. Finally, he may self-censor because of his aberrations on the other dynamics.

A person who is moved by internal determinism on all dynamics is pan-determined. Instead of feeling alienated, he is able to recreate his own relationships and even his own society. Within these, he is free to participate in new games which he has helped create. Remember that the individual at this point is not free from social friction or aberration, which is impossible, but rather that the individual is free from its noxious effects on all dynamics.

The closest stereotype here would be that of the hippie. However, remember that this is a stereotype, and hippies were not actually pan-determined, at least not most of them. Their chosen lifestyle demanded of them to be, but they were not, so the hippie movement had to fail. You can’t make yourself act in a certain way and hope that your mind will follow suit; your mind is stronger than your body.

The pan-determined individual is a synthesis of the previous two, in that he is not only in full possession of his free will, but he is also re-engaged with society (although in his own way) and no longer sees himself as a victim, unlike the self-determined person. He sees himself as equal, not in the capital-democratic sense of “equality of opportunities,” which is purely theoretical and doctrinal, but in the sense that all human beings can be happy if they are free, because happiness, which depends on value-expression, cannot be sustained without some form of freedom.

Censorship does not exist because the ideas in themselves are too dangerous to the power elite. Ideas without a substrate are powerless. Censorship exists because the ideas it suppresses are ideas that may lead others to undesired actions. Holocaust denial in and of itself is not dangerous to them. The fact that it fuels neo-nazi sentiments, however, is.

Self-censorship exists because the ideas expressed may lead one in an undesired direction. We self-censor ourselves out of dissent because we fear that dropping out will make us a “loser,” or we fear more physical consequences (e.g. “if I say this and lose my job, I won’t be able to make it this month”). Not all self-censorship is bad for oneself, as long as one is not merely ignoring an issue for the sake of ignoring it. It is valid for me to not always say what I think, as long as I don’t forbid myself from thinking it. Insofar as I need to “fit in” to a certain extent, I need to self-censor. We can only be free from this burden if we are free to create our own way of life and our own society.

7 thoughts on “Shifting determinism.

  1. Andrew May 3, 2009 at 22:39

    Really good piece, Francois. :-)

  2. David Gendron May 4, 2009 at 15:08

    Great post!

    “We self-censor ourselves out of dissent because we fear that dropping out will make us a “loser,” or we fear more physical consequences (e.g. “if I say this and lose my job, I won’t be able to make it this month”). Not all self-censorship is bad for oneself, as long as one is not merely ignoring an issue for the sake of ignoring it. It is valid for me to not always say what I think, as long as I don’t forbid myself from thinking it. Insofar as I need to “fit in” to a certain extent, I need to self-censor. We can only be free from this burden if we are free to create our own way of life and our own society.”

    That’s the way I feel right now!

  3. Francois Tremblay May 4, 2009 at 16:05

    Why’s that?

  4. Eric Sundwall May 5, 2009 at 16:08

    ” The exterior determined person sees himself and all his fellows as equals, and his society as being free from class, because that’s what he’s been indoctrinated to believe. He is therefore solely concerned with winning.”

    I always find these type of Tremblay leaps problematic. If exterior determinism is: “where the individual is driven by exterior threats, motivations and moral principles”, why does it follow that the person sees his fellows as equals ? Presumably exterior threats are devloped and understood as being very unequal. Thus A threatens B, not based on equality or the perception thereof, but rather a motivation that implicitly expects results from such threat.

    While it may in fact be the case that some motivations and moral principles are acceptably thought of and derived from or as equals, does it necessarily follow that ‘winning’ is the sole concern ?

    This capacity to rely on indoctrination and conditioning as that of the feeble minded fool seems prevalent more than in in fact necessary for the primary and critical points. Presumably a ‘good’ christian or ‘anarchist’ could easily find a live and let live attitude as equally necessary as ‘winning’. And of course this last statement is where I’ll get hit back with . . .

  5. Francois Tremblay May 5, 2009 at 16:13

    ““where the individual is driven by exterior threats, motivations and moral principles”, why does it follow that the person sees his fellows as equals ?”

    Because that’s what we’re all taught to believe. We’re all taught to believe that we live in a classless society, that everyone is roughly equal, and that if you fail, it’s your fault.

  6. David Gendron May 7, 2009 at 14:15

    I feel like that because it seems necessary for me to self-censor myself but I don’t want to!

  7. […] We Are Brainwashed to Believe We Are in a Classless Society by Francois Tremblay […]

Comments are closed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: