Tell a man a tiger should be free and they will agree. Tell him that a man should be free and they will scoff!thrice8hermes in conversation with al.
This is the first of what I hope will be an ongoing series. The idea has been forming in me over the last couple of days. This article serves as an initial exploration of these thoughts. I hope the reader will journey with me, and perhaps, add their own insights as we go.
For now, this is a first attempt at teasing out my observations and ideas.
Language as categorisation of thought
This first section was inspired by a post that al made on TNG’s discord server and the conversation that followed. Al suggested that ‘what we call ‘language’ is actually more of a classification system, than a means to communicate.’
We have discussed this further, and I suggested a possible variation on his theme: “What we call language is primarily a classification system, and then secondarily functions as a means to communicate.” Al confirmed that this is the idea that he is toying with.
He further suggested that language may be ‘a mental way of organising one’s thoughts.’
Al then explored how this may link to the control system: ‘what if using language is a way for an external force to organise your thoughts?’ To which, I suggested that this may be an explanatory model for how Newspeak functioned in 1984.
I have been thinking over al’s idea and I think (although he may not) it ties into what I have said about the map/terrain distinction; truth & lies in the light of Nietzsche, the realm of stories and its parasitic infiltration.
I have described the control system as having both vertical and horizontal qualities. Perhaps the external force that impinges on one’s self-categorisation also has these qualities. The vertical force of provided authoritative texts e.g. the bible; state-defined legal terms; global organisations such as the WHO defining and redefining terms such as pandemic, herd immunity, vaccine.
And then there is the horizontal force of memetics.
As always, these are probably not hard dichotomies, just ways of understanding the terrain. The vertical infiltrates the horizontal and vice versa e.g deliberately engineered meme warfare by the State. Or, the vertical having to react to the memetic pressures of the herd affecting the provided terms.
When categorising his thoughts, Man often turns to dichotomies e.g Up & down. The act of categorisation creates a hard separation, but on the terrain these things are relative. What is up for one may be down for another. It may be closer to the terrain to consider these categories to be directional and on a continuum.
One advantage in categorising one’s thoughts is that it makes them easier to play with. Perhaps the answer is to remember that one is categorising one’s thoughts about the terrain, rather than the terrain itself. But I am not sure about that.
Hard dichotomies would then be the product of categorisation and would not be the terrain itself. They are the product of categorising thoughts that are tethered to the terrain’s directional continuum. To forget this is to lose the tether between the terrain & one’s ideas about the terrain.
Soft dichotomies seen to be part of the terrain but continuous and relative.
PCs vs NPCs
“Which is yet another perversion of Star Wars and the current pseudo-mythologies. In them, everyone is either a hero, a demon, or a droid. While in real life, almost no one is a hero, a demon, or a droid.”The Spirit & The Muse, by Miles Mathis.
NB. I’ll try to keep this section short as I have gone over it many times. See: Till the Fearless Come. I almost deleted this part entirely but I do feel that a brief overview is relevant to this article.
In the ACT realm, the PCvsNPC dichotomy is a good example where observations have been made on the terrain, mentally considered & then categorised into a dichotomy.
Perhaps no one talks about the NPC meme as much as John le Bon. Or perhaps me as the antagonist. For this reason alone I am going to go over some of his statements on the matter.
Here are a couple of quotes that I feel succinctly describe the typical hard model:
“When I say that I am dealing with Non-Playable characters, it’s not based on the meme, it is based on my experience. When I ask these questions, why do people find it triggering and why do so many people respond like lemmings.”
Emphasis mine. I do so because I think it indicates why JLB finds it difficult to understand why many simply don’t subscribe to his particular form of the model. And all that is being discussed in this introductory section should indicate why. But I will leave that to the reader to work out for themselves as I have rehashed this ground too many times. Hint: It is not ‘cos I am triggered!
Anyhoo: I think the following quote is the most succinct description of JLB’s thoughts on the matter:
“They are no different in form or function from Non-Playable Characters, they are programmable robots.”
JLB often seems to imply the subtext that, if you don’t subscribe to his particular categorisation of the terrain into a PCvsNPC hard dichotomy, then you yourself are an NPC.
JLB & his followers seem to be of the opinion that the PCvsNPC hard dichotomy is the great revelation of our age. They say something like the NPC meme was never just an idea. And I suppose the gravitas of the italics is supposed to impart some divine revelation onto the reader.
But there are other categorisations one can make and in this essay I will offer one that operates across the PCvsNPC distinction.
As I have described, by the act of categorising my thoughts I have created the dichotomy and what may appear to be a hard distinction. But try to bear in mind what I have said about all this so far. Remember this, and there will be no problems.
Pacing Lions & Stoical Sheep.
There is a phenomenon in the ACT realm whereby a certain type of person (the Great Ones as I will call them) is as dismayed with the rest of the ACT realm, as the ACT realm is with Normiedom. Everyone else is hopeless, losers, and the primary source of the problems that the Great Ones face. I share many of these frustrations, and I am not saying that they are wrong, but I hope I am offering something deeper.
There seems to be a rather broad overlap between the Great Ones & hard NPCvsPC model believers. They face an unpleasant bind. They appreciate Normiedom for what it is, but they cannot interact with the normies beyond a superficial level. The rest of the ACT realm bothers them greatly – with its loserish, downbeat, negative ways – but they cannot pull themselves away from it. The Great Ones return again & again to remind the losers about what terrible people they are.
Perhaps this is due to their belief in the hard NPCvsPC model. Perhaps it can be explained in another way. One that the Great Ones themselves may have intuited, but not yet categorised.
This model: Pacing lions vs stoical sheep.
It is said that some animals do much better in captivity than others. Those that do well included domesticated pets e.g. dogs and cats; farmed herd animals e.g. cattle, sheep etc.; zoo animals with a naturally smaller range of lifestyle e.g ring-tailed lemurs, american mink.
Those that do worst in captivity are wild animals with a naturally wide-ranging lifestyle e.g. polar bears, lions, asian elephants, canaries.
In 2003, Nature published an article ‘Captivity effects on wide-ranging carnivores’ which investigated the:
…previously unexplained variation in captive animals’ welfare by focusing on caged carnivores, and show that it stems from constraints imposed on the natural behaviour of susceptible animals, with wide-ranging lifestyles in the wild predicting stereotypy and the extent of infant mortality in captivity.
Our findings indicate that the keeping of naturally wide-ranging carnivores should be either fundamentally improved or phased out.Captivity Effects on Wide-Ranging Carnivores (Ros Clubb & Georgia Mason, Nature, 2003. https://atrium.lib.uoguelph.ca/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10214/4715/Clubb_%26_Mason_2003.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Stereotypy: This word is an obvious form of stereotype. All will probably be aware of how it is used culturally: a preconceived and oversimplified notion of characteristics typical of a person or group.
The older meaning derives from a form of printing and meant ‘”image perpetuated without change”
Zoologically speaking, stereotypy refers to a type of behaviour manifested by animals in captivity. For all of its faults, Wikipedia offers a good introductory summary to the field:
“A stereotypy is a term for a group of phenotypic behaviours that are repetitive, morphologically identical and which possess no obvious goal or function. These behaviours have been defined as ‘abnormal’ as they exhibit themselves solely to animals subjected to barren environments, scheduled or restricted feedings, social deprivation and other cases of frustration, but do not arise in ‘normal’ animals in their natural environments.
These behaviours may be maladaptive, involving self-injury or reduced reproductive success, and in laboratory animals can confound behavioural research.
Stereotypical behaviours are thought to be caused ultimately by artificial environments that do not allow animals to satisfy their normal behavioural needs.
Rather than refer to the behaviour as abnormal, it has been suggested that it be described as “behaviour indicative of an abnormal environment.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotypy_(non-human)
There is so much that jumps out at me from this one quote alone!
For one, this could be related to what I have said about whether these things will be judged (in a non-yahwehistic fashion) from within this construct, or from without.
ASIDE: One of the problems in researching this topic is that much of what is provided is framed within the model of evolutionary biology. I do not subscribe to this model, although I think it does have some useful explanatory power within a broader game theory framework. So long as one remembers that this is what one is doing.
However, for my purposes, the evolutionary framework is not necessary. I am using the categorisation of terrain-based thought for quite different reasons. Although some aspects of game theory may be useful. END OF ASIDE
Examples of stereotypic behaviour in captive wild animals:
“If the captive environment does not fully cater for the species-specific needs of an animal, or if it imposes unnatural stress or frustration, there can be a deterioration in the animal’s physical and mental health. This may manifest in the development of physical disease or abnormal behaviour.
Abnormal behaviour in captive animals can include stereotypic behaviours – highly repetitive, invariant, functionless behaviour, such as repetitive pacing, swaying, head-bobbing, bar-biting, over-grooming or excessive licking. These behaviours result from “the frustration of natural behaviour patterns, impaired brain function, or repeated attempts to deal with some problem” (Mason, 2005).”https://www.bornfree.org.uk/zoochosis
This is when the Great Ones, the stoical sheep, usually appear with their ready made lectures.
The Born Free foundation use the term Zoochosis which seems to be a relatively common one. (see link above)
A good description of how zoochosis manifests in captive lions is found here:
“Zoochosis refers to the same psychological effects from confinement that occurs in people. Tigers unable to freely move, denied a rich social life, their every need and instinct thwarted, and in possession of complex minds, zoo animals suffer from various psychological problems, from “stereotypic” behaviour that includes pacing, head-bobbing, rocking, walking in circles, compulsive licking, bar biting, and even self-mutiliation (Best, 1999).”
The effects of zoochosis may be exacerbated by the effects of zoochosis itself, in general: ‘frustration, stress, or lack of control’. (Stereotypies: A Critical Review. Mason)
ASIDE: The suffix -osis “ in medical terminology denoting “a state of disease,” from Latin –osis and directly from Greek –osis, formed from the aorist of verbs ending in -o. It corresponds to Latin -atio.”
Hence, ‘psychosis’ is a state of disease regarding the psyche. In Zoochosis, they have kept ‘ch’ to maintain the link with the psychological aspect; ‘-chosis’ isn’t a latin or greek suffix itself.
To a certain degree, zoochosis may be a good framework for understanding the effects of lockdown. I have been toying with a new term – Cosmosis. Something like: a state of disease affecting man, as he finds himself in a state of existential captivity. The root – cosmos (world) – obviously indicates something else but this is not for the introductory essay. END OF ASIDE
I mentioned in a recent ramble, that I have long felt like there is a cage over my heart. This is a figurative description but it describes something real. I feel it roughly around my heart’s anatomical position. Perhaps the Great Ones do not feel it. If I ignore it, or pretend it isn’t there, then I feel superficially better at least for a while. But this is not a long-term solution. It is still just pretending.
Perhaps this is why lions pace; pretending they are not in captivity. But deep down they know that they are. They remember something different. It is not enough for them to say that it all just a game. They feel the nobility of spirit deep within, and captive life is not enough for them.
It will never be.
Perhaps the pacing lions would be better to listen to the lectures of the stoical sheep. But this would be to deny something of utmost value that they feel deep within. And the lion would rather suffer the temporary ignobility of the sheep’s mockings than to give up the deepest yearnings of his soul.
When I acknowledge the cage that I feel over my heart, I feel mentally many of the stereotypic descriptions that apply to the noblest of wild beasts. My thoughts, or better spirit, pacing back and forth, and around and around. The provided languages could be one of these cages. The stoical sheep tell me to stop pacing, to stop considering these things that can never be, or maybe never were.
But how can this be? To the stoical sheep I am a loser, incapable of the heights of their success within the framework of captivity.
How is it that I feel feel these noble longings?
Just a reminder, I am building a model to describe and perhaps explain some behavioural characteristics that we see in mankind. To do this I am using behaviour seen in captive animals. Not because I think there is a 1:1 comparison to be made. But due to its illustrative and metaphorical power.
Just because some aspects of the pacing lion description match up here and there, this is not to say that some men’s behaviour is completely determined by lion behaviour. Nor that every aspect of lion behaviour in captivity applies to mankind. It is what I described in the introduction.
And the same applies to stoical sheep. I am not even, (as yet!), offering any moral judgement. And I am not saying that some men are purely lions, or purely sheep. Again I refer the reader back to the introduction.
I am speaking generally and categorising broadly. Nothing that I say applies to anyone exactly, and I doubt there is a man who about whom one can say – yes he is a true lion. In myself, I see aspects of all of it. That is why I am able to write about it.
Getting back to stoical sheep:
Some animals do better in captivity than others. Domesticated farm animals tend to fare better but this is not absolute. If sheep are treated poorly, or in a manner that is extremely unfitting to their natural characteristics, then they will also exhibit stereotypic behaviour. For example, stereotypy is greater in single-housed than in group-housed sheep. http://nbcgib.uesc.br/ppgca/files/docentes_processo_seletivo/artigo02_mason.pdf
But, in general, domesticated pets, farmed herd animals, and low-ranging wild animals, fare better in captivity than the ‘pacing lions’ and are less likely to exhibit stereotypic behaviour.
Funnily enough, whilst doing some random internet searches to see if anyone else had approached this idea in this way I came across this web article: https://whatisstoicism.com/stoicism-resources/try-this-look-at-a-sheep/
I would encourage the reader to read it themselves. It is quite short and I am going to carry on as if you did…
…And you are back.
Well, I never. What animal do they pick to describe the stoic? Sheep. And if not sheep, a cow. Two domesticated herd animals used for farming.
Those that seem to function best in captivity. Perhaps this is the best way to go or perhaps it is lambs being led to the slaughter.
In the past, I have described an element of the act realm as super-normies or high-functioning NPCs. Perhaps now I will call them stoical sheep. Or PC-stoical sheep. And I say all this as one, from within the judgement of captivity, would be rightly described as a loser.
“It’s a misconception that Stoics, because they encourage acceptance of one’s fate, just passively allow things to happen to them and assume that any effort to the contrary is pointless. Stoics have no issue with making an effort to improve one’s circumstances, they just try not to view the outcome of that effort as either good or bad.”From article above
The PC-stoical sheep are an unusual type. They are aware of their captivity, but many (though probably not all) have the inherent order following capabilities of the herd animal – which they might call encouraging the acceptance of one’s fate. Then the question arises. Does fate lead to the need for acceptance? Or does the need for acceptance create fate?
Perhaps they do create fate because of their passive acceptance; whether they be normie-stoical sheep, or super-normie stoical sheep. And maybe this is where the generalisations fail. Are the pacing lions not in the exact same situation? And will they not themselves follow eventually? If the sheep will drag us all in eventually, why go kicking and screaming? Why rage against the dying of the light?
Again, this is when I feel that none of this can be ultimately judged from within the construct.
ASIDE – There is something I was going to get into here but I think for the sake of brevity I will leave it for a future article. I will offer a little summary as it is probably something the reader has already considered.
It relates to the allegorical nature of the comparison. There are many, like myself, for whom it is not the lockdowns in themselves that bother them most. I don’t pay any attention to whatever is the current manifestation of the Secular Torah. I haven’t had a clue what they are for at least 6 months. I don’t know how many people I am ‘allowed’ to meet, and I don’t meet with a lot of people anyway. I don’t wear a mask and I hardly ever get bothered by anyone about it.
There may be some that, because of their individual circumstances do do these things. But this is not the essence of what I am getting at and I am not trying to judge them for doing so. Our individual circumstances may be different. I may be in a larger enclosure to you.
It is the effect that living within a system of captivity – based on deception, manipulation, and control – has on the allegorical captive lion. It is primarily what these things represent, and not how much one is able to get away with things. It is not about whether one is able to slip through the cracks more than another.
I’m going to finish this aside. In one way, I think it would have been better to have said nothing on this matter. And yet, I have said just enough to be somewhat understood, but not enough to avoid being misunderstood.
END OF ASIDE
Introductory Conclusion – Or where I try to conclude but start running away with myself.
There is much more that I would like to say about this model, but I am limiting myself to nothing more than an introductory overview. Those that have followed my recent rambles will already be able to see how this idea can be more broadly applied.
Because I love caveats, I refer the reader back to what I said in more detail at the beginning. And for the sake of redundancy:
- I am not saying that everything about lions & sheep applies in a 1:1 fashion.
- I am not saying that there is a hard and fast divide, and that there aren’t elements of both in the individual to varying degrees.
- I am not saying that there are no benefits, at least from an in-world view, to follow the stoical imperative: ‘“Do not let us build a second story to our sorrow by being sorry for our sorrow.”
- I am not trying to get on the reader’s case for wherever they feel they fit in my description. I am simply exploring my thoughts.
- I am saying what I am saying but not saying what I am not.
To the reader that has followed so far, please feel free to offer any observations, even those that ignore my caveats (so long as you caveat your ignoring of my caveats!) as I think it will be interesting to see in which ways the model works, and in which way it fails. Think of what I am offering as a starting point for more observations, more thought, more ideas, more categorisation of thoughts & ideas and more communication and discussion.
What I am offering is a secondary communication of my primary categorization of my thoughts about my inner experience, and the behaviour that I have observed in others, and the words and models that they proffer.
I am not the world’s greatest syncophile (see Urban dictionary definition of syncophile for lulz ). But I am a Leo. I do feel this cage over my heart. The image of the pacing lion does somewhat describe my inner responses to this place I find myself in, and how these responses manifest externally. At heart, I am not a pacing lion, but a spiritual lion who has found himself in captivity.
Perhaps all I am saying is that those with a higher expression of certain qualities in their souls are naturally more negatively affected by captivity. But as we have found, this does not mean that the stoical sheep are not negatively affected.
And I think that the system is moving in a direction which will cause more stereotypies in the stoical sheep. Unless the system has decided to make adjustments to mankind in order to mitigate these.
Many readers will be able to think of some obvious examples of this. The stoical sheep will likely view this as possibly a good thing, or not something to be concerned about. Perhaps one more example of the differences between the pacing lions and the stoical sheep. The pacing lions have a much broader view of such things, which the stoical sheep call ‘negative.’
Looking at all that I have said, I do think that it says something very negative about not only the system man finds himself in, but the very construct itself. The stoical sheep don’t like it when I say this. And I suppose the article on stoicism and sheep explains why. But the purpose of this website is for me to have a place to be sincere about how I see things. My savannah of thought.
In other ways I would like to transcend this gnostic-style negativity itself. And I all ready have many thoughts about which will be discussed in due course. But for now, my views on this place are ‘negative.’
In captivity, the stoical sheep function better than the lions. But I would rather the suffering of the pacing lion if it means I can keep the ideal of the free savannah in my heart. This is a hard path, and I can’t say that I recommend it. I meant that. Just writing this article fills me with anxiety. What if I phrase something badly and thereby harm another. Or I cause my fellow man to go down the wrong path for them. I don’t mean to be a Schopenhauer and say that ‘suffering (the Cross) is the true aim of life.‘ No! It is not that. Suffering is not the true aim of life. Away with this! But neither is avoiding the legitimate suffering of a sincere soul in captivity.
Ah, the true aim of life! So much that I want to say, but I know I am not ready.
I feel that the stoical sheep would also be better off in the spiritual wilderness where their soul was meant to be. Even the stoical sheep display stereotypies – and one of these may be their acceptance of captivity and going along to get along.
Spiritual Wilderness! Yes my heart’s true desire. But how many negative connotations have been piled onto the word ‘wilderness.’
Do not desire your spiritual wilderness some may say. It will only lead to suffering. Now we see why we must kill Buddha if we meet him on the road.
ASIDE – regarding the obvious implication of the relationship between lions and sheep in the wild – every analogy has its limitations.
Humour (or is it?) – perhaps this is the reason behind the biblical Mandela Effect. “The wolf (lion) also shall dwell with the lamb,”
END OF ASIDE
Perhaps, one of the great ironies of the PC-stoical sheep is that deep down they are great followers. The PC-sheep does not fear the farmer nor the sheepdogs. But still, he follows.
When the farmer appears with his sheepdogs, the most NPC-like are the first to succumb to fear. They bolt towards the gate and pastures new. The PC-sheep laugh at the fear and folly of the NPC-sheep. But they observe the vast majority of the sheep heading through the gate into their new variant of captivity. The NPC-sheep stoically shrug their shoulders, put on their masks, and say, why fight fate? May as well follow the rest of the sheep. And thus the stoical sheep may be the greatest followers of them all, or perhaps the most adapted to captivity. It is not fear that makes them follow, but the acceptance of following itself.
The lions are more likely to be metaphorically dragged kicking and screaming. Raging against the dying of the light. Again, perhaps the significance of this cannot be known from within this construct. But what can be known is that on the other side of the gate, they will receive a stern lecture from the stoical sheep.
According to the earlier article, the stoical sheep actively encourage the acceptance of one’s fate. Despite this, they ‘have no issue with making an effort to improve one’s circumstances, they just try not to view the outcome of that effort as either good or bad.’ And, ‘The only things Stoics view as truly good are the four cardinal virtues – wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance. The only true bad is therefore vice, the corruption of these virtues.’
But the stoical sheep seem to judge these things from within captivity. They value wisdom, but it seems to them to be wise to go along to get along. They do not like the folly of the pacing lion but they don’t understand that, underneath it all, the heart of the wild lion still burns.
So, in having these cardinal virtues it appears as if the stoical sheep have some transcendent memory of what it means to be a wild sheep, free to roam the wilderness of spirit. But in the name of acquiescing to fate, the stoical sheep have placed these eternal virtues into captivity as well.
The lion, however, knows that he may be in captivity, but he will not place these virtues into captivity with him. He may fail to live up to these noble ideals but he will not place them under captivity as well. He will suffer the full understanding of the ignobility of his condition, rather than call his failings a virtue.
This is not to say that the lions are perfect. Far from it, and they make crushing mistakes every day. One of these is to use all that I have said as an excuse for not improving in themselves what they can. Of this, I am the most guilty. In this regard, the pacing lion has much that he can learn from the stoical sheep. It is probably better that the lion tries to get his pacing thoughts under some control and doesn’t let them spiral away from him. But some degree of pacing is a natural outcome of captivity.
Due to his own particular circumstances, the lion may acquiesce to the mask, to being taxed, or follow any of the insane diktats. But he will not drag virtue down to this level. If he must wear the mask, pay taxes, and so on, he will suffer the ignobility, and not pretend it is anything else. In a zoo, the lion has no choice but to physically acquiesce. If he does follow his master’s whims, he will be tranquilised, or cattle-prodded. The essence of the distinction lies not in the particulars of such things, but whether the memory of the savannah and the ideality of the spiritual wilderness still burns in his heart. And whether he is willing to bear the suffering that it causes him, without making the ‘cross’ his ideal, or his deepest aim. Not a necessary evil, but perhaps an unfortunate one.
The sorrow of the lion is the sorrow of captivity. At least for now, the lion cannot escape his cage, but he will not acquiesce to its virtue. What a predicament. In the zoological lion, this manifests in its stereotypies such as pacing. In the spiritual lion, both the situation and the stereotypies may be allegorised.
The caged heart, pacing and repetitive thoughts, self-destructive behaviour, procrastination (see the captive lions sleeping habits). The remembrance of his nobility, his true home and way of being, the sound of his roar as it travelled through the boundless plain.
But alas, he must listen to the lectures of the stoical sheep about how much of a loser he is; how great the NPC-sheep are at functioning as bound and captive slaves; and how well the PC sheep can adapt to the nonsense.
Final caveat: I am acutely aware in writing this that I may fall into the category of what Miles Mathis calls a Hindu Priest. One that increases the suffering of others by his false understanding of these things. I am open to this accusation and it is not one that I mean to do. But what can I do? Pretend to feel something else to avoid falling into a categorisation? If I am wrong, and with my track record I am open to this, then the best way to find out is to do what I have done:
Observe internally & externally. Consider these things to the best of my ability. Try to categorise these ideas and present them to others the best that I can.
Please feel free to comment as you wish. It is not my intention to offend, but it is my intention to be sincere.
I just thought of a way to combine the PC & NPC model, with the Pacing lion & Stoical Sheep model.
NPC-stoical sheep – stoical lamb
PC-stoical sheep – stoical sheep.
NPC-pacing lion – pacing cub
PC-pacing lion – pacing lion