Originally published 18th November 2019.
The following is an adapted transcript of my video essay: The Third layer of Programming. I have provided extra commentary where some points could be misunderstood and also corrected some points where I now feel that I erred. There is still much that could be expressed better but there you go.
Watson on Sherlock Holmes from a Study in Scarlet: His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.
“You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.”
“To forget it!”
“You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. …..
“But the Solar System!” I protested.
“What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently; “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”
“A Study in Scarlet,” by Arthur Conan Doyle
The first layer of programming you received in childhood. Even in the womb you received the shadows of your mother’s programming. Once you entered into this realm you were surrounded by your family and their culture. You absorbed Nietzsche’s “mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms…truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are.”
You programming was furthered by schooling: “THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM by Emmanuel Goldstein.”
It was to make Man fit for the system. Was this nefarious? The optimistic say that for most this made their life easier. Man is made fit for the culture surrounding them. I suggest that this may be the least harmful layer of programming.
At school your behaviour was noted, your results recorded, your demeanor observed. In our algorithmic age, the system knows your past and future behaviour better than you do. It noticed that there were some for whom this first level of programming would not be enough. It noticed the rebellious, the thoughtful, the proto-anarchist, the one who wished to break free of convention and chain, ones for whom the standard conventions of society would not be enough. Real rebellion would be harmful for the rebel and harmful for the system.
Commentary: I feel that in my description of the algorithmic nature of the school-level programming, I should have been more tentative in my wording. The algorithmic nature is possible but may not be necessary. All the stories and myths could just be presented to a malleable mind, and those who are susceptible will create their own connections anyway. It is for those who had some perhaps ‘natural’ resistance to this level of programming that the next level is provided.
For these few ,the first layer of programming was not enough. So distractions are provided in the form of conspiracies. Whether they are true or not is not important. The idea of chains is provided so man can strive to break free. Whether there really are chains or not is not important. This is the second layer of programming, a sub-culture to exist within and on the good will of the former.
Commentary: There is much in this paragraph that I now disagree with.
For those who remain stuck in this layer of programming, I suspect that the condition is worse than the former. Old Boogeymen are seen through and new conspiracies provided for investigation.
Moreover she took it for granted that everyone, or nearly everyone, secretly hated the Party and would break the rules if he thought it safe to do so. But she refused to believe that widespread, organized opposition existed or could exist.The tales about Goldstein and his underground army, she said, were simply a lot of rubbish which the Party had invented for its own purposes and which you had to pretend to believe in.
“1984,” by George Orwell. Part 2, Chapter 5
The old telescreen is now seen as the enemy, thanks to the revelations of the new telescreen we call the internet. Truth movements are established which lead their followers into further distraction. Seeking the truth is of no more significance than following your local football team. The evidence for and structure of these truth movements is established and propagated by the System, whether directly or pseudo-organically by the programmed e.g. leaders of the truth community, it does not matter
For some the second layer of programming is still not enough. The System uses the world-theatre and reveals to them that the conspiracies are in fact Hollywood-style movie hoaxes.
Further distractions are needed through esoteric revelations. Occult knowledge and gnostic fables are given new life through syncs in mass media. Once again the new telescreen of the internet programmes and controls man through distracted attention. I am now suggesting that this is the third layer of programming. Man still loves his stories and his deception is deeper. He feels that he is creating his own models and that these help him as he gropes towards some secret brotherhood of which he is a part.
[Winston] ‘Then there is such a person as Goldstein?’ he said. ‘Yes, there is such a person, and he is alive. Where, I do not know.’ ‘And the conspiracy—the organization? Is it real? It is not simply an invention of the Thought Police?’ ‘No, it is real. The Brotherhood, we call it. You will never learn much more about the Brotherhood than that it exists and that you belong to it.” (1984, Part 2, Chapter 8)
“1984,” by George Orwell Part 2, Chapter 8)
The third layer of programming can be modelled by scriptwriters and music moguls who work with with the latent layers of programming residing the mind of the seeker. One might think that he has solved the riddle, but he has been guided to the solution, which only creates further problems. The seeker of truth is dragged deeper into distraction and further from his simple reality and from his inner peace. Unconsciously, he has fallen deeper in love with the System. The ‘Truth & Lie System’ exists in a make-believe world of bards and minstrels. It is perpetuated by the telescreen both old and new, and its older cousins like the newspapers. Its power exists in the form of an idea. The truthfulness or otherwise of the idea is not important.
Commentary: The Matrix is an idea, a new problem created from the solutions provided to the seeker. The Matrix has no existence outside of the truth & lie system and it’s creative force of solution-reaction-problem.
Does the Brotherhood exist?’ ‘That, Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to be ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the answer to that question is Yes or No. As long as you live it will be an unsolved riddle in your mind.
“1984,” by George Orwell. Part 3 Chapter 2.
Without the attention of man the System would be of no more significance than a single man talkinging into a mirror, telling himself tales of alien invaders. But the seeker cannot stop asking his questions.
The Fool Card
At the risk of contradiction, I have a fondness for the fool card, and on my wanderings(wonderings) I have juxtaposed it with the Ten of Wands.
Ten of Wands
In fact I think all the tarot may be is a tale of the different distractions and programming available to the seeker. The more he seeks, the further he finds himself from where he desires to be. In itself it contains the one card needful, but the seeker loses himself in the pack.
He can no longer see that all he needs to do is lay down the wands of belief and his stories. Instead he desires to weave new ones. Perhaps he can live as an unassuming fool amongst the first tier. If he can’t, it would be better to return to the first level of programming then to remain at the third. This may no longer be possible, I do not know and I cannot help you.
Creating new stories and beliefs from the stock footage of the fake world-play only gives the illusion of freedom which is slavery. The proles were always more free than Winston.
Commentary: “Freedom is Slavery” modelled as “Solution – Reaction – Problem”
I suspect that the conspiracies, hoaxes and syncs are planted by the System and in the end only lead to O’Brien and the stretching rack. In this I am admitting that syncs may sometimes indeed be meaningful connections, but the source of the meaning is your latent programming.
Commentary: This does not need to be the case with purely natural syncs. However, once one has been programmed, this risk must be maintained in one’s mind. I believe that few if any do so. In fact, even with syncs that come from the “World-Theatre,” it many be possible to find personal significance without risk. I have done so throughout this piece. How much I have idolised them I leave up to the reader.
This drama that I have played out with you during seven years will be played out over and over again generation after generation, always in subtler forms. Always we shall have the heretic here at our mercy, screaming with pain, broken up, contemptible—and in the end utterly penitent, saved from himself, crawling to our feet of his own accord.
“1984” by George Orwell, Part 3, Chapter 3
The individual who cannot be satisfied with being the wise fool amongst the proles, will be brought to love Big Brother, more sincerely and more earnestly then those whom he considers his lessers. He cannot be left to lead the proles astray.
If you are content with the terrain of your sensory experiences and the simplicity of you inner life unplugged from the world theatre, then why do you need the syncs of Hollywood movies and Pop Music? I’m not saying there is anything wrong with listening to the music that you love, (and in finding some personal significance or meaning) but why weave illusions?
There is reality and there is the world-theatre which distracts you ever further as you chase the white rabbit into the abyss. At the bottom of the abyss you will find your true love, Big Brother.
Nobody can teach you anything, they can only programme you. I understand the irony of what I am saying. I understand why there are some for whom the system sees fit to provide these deeper levels of programming, I understand why one accepts them.
In the beginning, nothing really matters. I don’t mean to say that there aren’t personal significance or meaning that can be found in the lyrics to a song or a scene in a movie. I have used quotes throughout this piece. However, I am using these quotes to illustrate my experiences that I have seen for myself. This itself may be simply programming. It seems to me that the danger arises when one begins to weave stories together on the basis of the content of the old or new telescreens; the fake world-play that you willingly plug yourself into.
The telescreen is a powerful soporific. Immediately man forgets that this has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. Any significance that man finds is but a personal map for a certain time and can be picked up at will and should be put down at will. At least until one gets back to the beginning. If you make it back don’t go wandering again.
Erratum – I feel that I erred here in suggesting that one needs to get back to the beginning. I do not mean to say the the goal, even the word goal is a problem, is to get back to some womb-like existence. There is really no where to get back to because you never left. All this is a fantasy created by your acceptance of the “Truth & Lie System”
Because remember, the stories that you weave are not made by a blank slate, but by the shadows of your earlier programming and the fake world play provided to you by master storytellers.
This is why they are called masters.
The true Church of England, at this moment, lies in the Editors of its Newspapers.
The true religion of Man lies in the hands of the story tellers. The stories that you weave are but a bastardised version. See the Truth & Lie System and return to reality, (see above erratum) or at least accept your stories for what they are, otherwise you will forever buy illusions for truths.
But then again who am I to tell you what to do? Perhaps there is no harm in the personal stories that we weave, they may be beneficial on the return journey (see above erratum). I am not certain. What I suspect is that man loves to idolise his stories, and the temptation to project your models onto others and onto the terrain may be too great to resist.
Perhaps all I have done in this piece is project my programmed models on to you, and onto the terrain. If this is what I have done, then I am sorry.
Either way “What the deuce is it to me?” …“you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”