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Cybernetics and Ego Death

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The real origin of the term "cybernetics"

Ampere, not Wiener, coined the term "cybernetics", and defined it as the science of governance.

UCLA Cybernetics Major - The mathematician and engineer Norbert Wiener coined the term 'cybernetics' in a book* published in the late 1940's. In brief, it is the study of control and communication processes in living beings (humans and other animals), machines, or both functioning together. As such, it is a synthesis of a multitude of traditional disciplines in the life, mathematical, physical and engineering sciences. The word cybernetics is actually an English transliteration of the ancient Greek word for steersmanship. Plato associated cybernetics with the "art of controlling (governing) society" in his dialogs on Laws and the State.

Notes to "Political Economy's Metatheoretical Discourse" - In the 1830s the French physicist Ampere devised a grand classificatory system of human knowledge. He designated one branch the realm of "noological sciences," with a subrealm of politics, wherein the science of cybernetics was referred to as the science of governance. Norbert Wiener, a mathematician, engineer and social philosopher, coined [sic] the word "cybernetics" from the Greek word meaning steersman. He defined it as the science of communication and control in the animal and the machine. Ampere, before him [then how could Weiner have "coined" the term?], wanted cybernetics to be the science of government. For philosopher Warren McCulloch, cybernetics was an experimental epistemology concerned with the communication within an observer and between the observer and his environment. Stafford Beer, a management consultant, defined cybernetics as the science of effective organization. Anthropologist Gregory Bateson noted that whereas previous sciences dealt with matter and energy, the new science of cybernetics focuses on form and pattern. (3) A way of looking at things and a language for expressing what one sees (Margaret Mead)

Cybernetics page at Principia Cybernetica - The term 'cybernetics' derives from the Greek word for steersman. Initially, the science of control and communication in the animal and the machine (Wiener). Before this modern definition, the science of government (Ampere).

Ampere coined the term "cybernetics" - In 1948, Norbert Wiener gave new form, new [redacção] and more extensive objectives to Cybernetics, already defined by Ampere in 1834. American Society for Cybernetics: Definitions of Cybernetics

Several traditions in cybernetics have existed side by side since its beginning. One is concerned with circular causality, manifest in technological developments--notably in the design of computers and automata--and finds its intellectual expression in theories of computation, regulation and control. Another tradition, which emerged from human and social concerns, emphasizes epistemology--how we come to know-- and explores theories of self-reference to understand such phenomena as autonomy, identity, and purpose. Some cyberneticians seek to create a more humane world, while others seek merely to understand how people and their environment have co-evolved. Some are interested in systems as we observe them, others in systems that do the observing. Some seek to develop methods for modeling the relationships among measurable variables. Others aim to understand the dialogue that occurs between models or theories and social systems. Early work sought to define and apply principles by whi ch systems may be controlled. More recent work has attempted to understand how systems describe themselves, control themselves, and organize themselves. Despite its short history, cybernetics has developed a concern with a wide range of processes involving people as active organizers, as sharing communicators, and as autonomous, responsible individuals.

The strange loop of personal control

The changing meaning of "Cybernetics"

Cybernetics is about feedback and control in animal and machine.

Draw a plot for the popularity of the term "cybernetics" and the prefix "cyber". It started post-WWII, peaked around 1970, had strong but decreasing visibility about 1980, practically disappeared for a couple years, then came back with Mondo 2000 magazine in the late 80s. Over time, "feedback" and "control" -- essential to the original definition of "cybernetics" -- have been left out of the definition, and have been literally forgotten. The tacky prefix "cyber-" now means "computer-related" and no longer means "feedback" or "control". The definition of "cybernetics" has become diffused and trivialized, or at least re-defined to become a synonym for romanticized futuristic computer networks, with no deliberate thought given to the principles of feedback and control between the physical and online realms. Now, telepresence, such as remote control of a mobile machine using first-person perspective, is not considered to be "cyber", but online chat is. This new connotation of "cyber" overemphasizes t he computer, to the point of excluding concern with the general harnessing of feedback to effect control.

Cybernetics in the old sense died around 1982 because it had always been too inclusive, and it became diffused. The original, fundamental cybernetics, concerned about feedback and control, became greedy and became a general theory of everything. Cybernetics lost the sense of having its own core framework or position; it lost touch with itself.

Cybernetics applies to individual self-control and self-determination with an intensity that is distinct from the problems of sociological control. Alan Watts wrote about the problematic nature of self-control cybernetics in his article "Zen and the Problem of Control" in the book _This Is It_. The problematic nature of personal self-control is the core of my theory of Ego Death and Self-Control Cybernetics.

I haven't much interest in sociological problems, because I've been fully occupied and driven to grapple with problems of personal, individual self-control.

Now my systematization of personal self-control cybernetics is languishing while I waste precious time learning Web-oriented programming to pay the bills, to support my risky system of philosophy. My core insights happened in the midst of programming jobs and computer labs, while grappling to secure a concrete attainment within present society: posi-control over my own thoughts and actions. I chased the promise of full self-determination through reason and logic -- self-determination through metaprogramming.

Engineering, reason, and practical mental-model construction have been my guiding lights, not any sort of religion (including spirituality), nor socio-political concerns. One can hardly think deeply about ones own mind without some encounter with religion and society. New-Age love of mystery and sociological concerns were only indirectly relevant to my pressing concern, which was to think in a logical way and have posi-control and stop being in a state of self-conflict. Ken Wilber had a few ideas about the nature of transcendence, and Watts had a few ideas about Zen as self-control cybernetics. And I had flashes of insights into moral agency and responsibility, visions of Abraham's raising the knife and Jesus on the cross. And I sometimes had the sense of being a helpless puppet in the hands of some higher-level controller who is free from the machinery of time.

Religion and socio-political concerns get too much attention. The workings of the personal mind, how one controls oneself, needs more attention, something other than self-help, psychological spirituality, and transpersonal psychology. Some approach characterized by rational mental-model construction applied to the problem of how one consciously controls one's thoughts and actions, with the aim of increasing personal self-control and self-determination. This problem requires new tools, new approaches, new definitions of the driving concerns. In the essential summary of my Theory, I stripped out all terms that originated from the language of spirituality, and converted my models of religious experiencing into pure cybernetics terminology to discover the real character of my thinking, in isolation from the many links that I have forged to other people's conceptual frameworks. (There were practically no sociological links to break, no sociological cliches and frameworks to detach from, just religious links a nd terminology.) Yes, I am somewhat interested in the politics of consciousness, the politics of keeping the mental development of the average citizen as low as is economically expedient.

But I'm not investing much attention in social change; my goal is not to change the world, but to direct my attention to modelling the problem of personal self-control, neglecting the sociological backdrop. My chosen problem is, given this sort of society, where people are in a state of partial self-conflict, how can individuals attain maximum personal self-control in order to direct their own thoughts and actions?

There are interesting questions in cybernetics other than social control of one group by another. There is an interesting cybernetics problem at the heart of our individual, personal agency. We are cybernetic individuals, responsible and self-directing control-agents who choose our goals and control ourselves toward those goals, monitoring our progress and modifying our actions to reach our chosen goals. Cybernetics principles apply to individual self-management as well as to social power-relations.

The history of cybernetics has a place for Watts and for those who pursue his analysis of the problem of personal self-control. "Zen and the Problem of Control" is a landmark paper from the mid-60s. Watts also discussed feedback, personal control, and self-grappling in his book _The Way of Zen_ in the mid-50s. Several rock bands have also covered the problem of personal self-control in ways that are highly innovative and contemporary.

Zen as self-control cybernetics

Only a loser would lose control. People could control their trip if they just had more will power.

Alan Watts Mailing List - General Information: "Alan Watts (1915-1973) was a philosopher, writer, and speaker. He wrote over twenty books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, and the pursuit of happiness, relating his experience to scientific knowledge and the teachings of Eastern and Western religions and philosophies. He also gave many lectures, seminars, and radio talks which are now on audio tape, and a number of TV and film talks which are now on videotape. Some of us find his writings and recordings to be an invaluable resource in our quest to understand and enjoy life."

Watts identified the connection between cybernetics, self-control, and Zen.

A Wattsian concept: Self-control there is, but the homunculus who controls is essentially illusory.

The illusory aspect of cybernetic self-control and personal power

Many cognitive scientists are interested in the puzzle of the inner homunculus who appears to live inside the mind and control the thoughts and actions. But this presents an infinite regress. How can self-control control self-control itself? Self-control there is, but no additional layer of control controlling that control -- that would be an infinite regress, a redundant and superfluous layer of mental control like "adding legs on a snake" or "walking by lifting your legs using your arms", as Watts loves to say.

The essence of Zen and mystic enlightenment is actually self-control cybernetics. Usually I sense myself as an autonomous source of my own thoughts. But in the mystic altered state, the thoughts are perceived as arising by themselves, from beyond my mental control. Do you control your own thoughts before they arise, or after they arise? Your very act of controlling your thoughts is itself a "thought".

All control actions are predetermined, including the most gratuitous, random actions you can think of. This is a logical conclusion as opposed to the normal, gullible dualism of our concept of self-control. There is only my stream of control actions, no controller entity above and beyond the entire stream of control events.

'Cyber-' means control, not computers. Pop cyber-theorists entirely overlook the most important aspect of cybernetics: control. And the most interesting and profound type of control is self-control -- for example, regulators, governors, and steering devices such as a ship's rudder. Do you steer yourself? Are you an independent, sovereign governor of your mental state? Or are you a helpless puppet of the time-axis? There is no time for freedom. Cybernetics as the dynamics of self-control steersmanship turns out to be associated with determinism. While people assume cybernetic control emphasizes freedom, actually cybernetics fits better with the clockwork determinism type of scientific worldview.

One of the most interesting juxtapositions of theories is to insert cybernetics dynamics inside a static, clockwork, predetermined block universe model. How can there be control and choice if everything is fixed? Actually, there is no contradiction. All cybernetic control actions are eternally predecided, and are 'completetely free' only in a limited sense, or on a surface level. The thread of cybernetic control actions across time, the trail of events traced out by a steam governor or by an automaton's decisions, is forever fixed. Each control action at each moment in time exists fully in itself, by itself. Each control event everywhere in time has its own self-sufficient, independent existence. All these control acts just sit in spacetime forever, whether past or future. And each cybernetic control-act in a conscious mind experiences itself as the present moment.

My favorite philosophical cybernetic lyrics, by Rush, from the acid rock album _Caress of Steel_:

III. No One At the Bridge

Also of great interest to cognitive cyberpunks and cyberneticists: [to do: link to my Rock page]

Rush, from _Grace Under Pressure_ - "The Body Electric"

If you examine these songs line by line, you can find several lines concerned with guidance systems, self-control, personal power, and self-steering... and a disturbing illumination of the illusory aspect of such cybernetic self-control. We are free, not clockwork automatons. But this freedom might very well be clockwork. There is no time for freedom. Neither is quantum freedom a legitimate refuge for Mr. Homunculus, he who lives inside the mind and controls his thoughts of self-control. From this logic there is no escape, no place to hide. This is the legendary illumination: the revealing of the underlying impotence of all control systems -- not quite the power of spiritual freedom that many seek. The mystery of Eleusis steps forth to show its fearsome countenance: the nature of the kubernetes, our beloved governor.

Books about personal self-control cybernetics

Some authors from which the field of self-control cybernetics can be assembled: Douglas Hofstadter, Daniel Dennett, Alan Watts, and Marvin Minsky.


Hofstadter: _Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid_ (see the recent interview in Wired magazine for perspective on his cognitive-psychological motivations)

Hofstadter and Dennett: _The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul_

Dennett: _Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting_

Watts: "Zen and the problem of control" in _This Is It_

Minsky: free will material and control-oriented material in _Society of Mind_.

The cross-time superego controller becomes disengaged - character becomes disengaged, replaced by radically innovative, psychotically creative imagination and vision (envisionment-power) (radically powerful and flexible vision-logic). accustomed intention-set and thinking style (accustomed character) is replaced by wild vision-logic - a crazily flexible, hyper-envisionary thinking-style. hyper-dynamic cognitive power. uncontrollably hyper-dynamic cognition. hyper-dynamic cognition. uncontrollably dynamic cognition.

It must be possible to construct a mental construct structure/device that coerces will -- long route: will can be transgressed and values inverted, in order to crush delusion. short route: will can be transgressed and values inverted, for no reason -- in truth, none is needed. "Just because I legitimately can." Or, "to show that I can". But the later are not profound. Mere chaos to show that's truly possible, to show that the accustomed egoic values have no real force whatsoever. But will you do that? How does your will ever stay on track? Does the will tend to be guided for the better, or not? Where in the hell does the will-act-stream come from? Why do some people will this, while some people will that? Why do I will X at time 1, and Y at time 2? Who is the original author of my will-act-stream? What has that Author laid in store for me up ahead in the will-act-stream? Why? What guides that author in making me will X vs Y at the future point? The mystery of the decisions that the Author made in creating each person's will-act-stream. What is my fate? WHAT AM I FATED TO WILL? I don't know. What am I fated to will?

Fear of god is knowing that the Author has already fated me to will my future will-acts; they are already set ahead in time, and when I am there, I will get to see what these will-acts are -- what there were made, timelessly, to be. I am helpless to affect or change them, because any act or anything I will can only, by definition, lead to something.... struggle is fundamentally futile.

trembling in fear of our own will power overpowering itself and running amok [a hypothetical possibility] -- or fear just from having the accustomed IS pushed aside and replaced by some emphatically undesired intention-set. -- will-coercion, will-rebellion; backfiring of the effort to control.

If your will is free, then it cannot be controlled, for it is free and not chained. The strange loop of personal control

THINK! Magazine - A Philosophical Journal

The cover shows a very cool black-and-white reproduction of Escher's self-chomping dragon.

I think of the serpent biting its tail as the cybernetic feedback loop involved in human self-control. The loop of delusion, containing an autonomous, power-wielding, self-moving homunculus-entity. A king of himself, receiving his power not from the divine will or the omnipotent Fates, but from himself.

The serpent steers himself, he lives in the middle of his control-loop.

Relevant, clear books about fatalism, determinism and cybernetics

There seem to be no books relating determinism, self-control, mystic phenomena, and cybernetics, though some sections of _Godel, Escher, Bach_ imply such a confluence of topics.

The first book on determinism that I read was _Free Will and Determinism: A Dialog_ by Clifford Williams. This is probably the clearest, most accessible book presenting the usual arguments. Usually the dialog format irritates me, but in the case of the determinism debate, the dialog format works especially well. "The aim of this book is to present the main features of the problem of free will and determinism via a dialogue that is clear, readable and interesting. I have attempted to make the dialogue suitable for persons who have had little or no background in philosophy." By the time I found this book, I already had discovered the world-model which successfully integrates determinism, the type of freedom which we experience, self-control, cybernetics, and choice, so reading the book merely affirmed my understanding of the misconceptions and systematic errors of thinking and semantics and gave me practice in pointing out the standard misunderstandings.

Everyone should read certain sections in the following books, but they should also read about many other things, in order to understand the way in which many separate domains of philosophy can be very powerfully combined, with breathtaking and tangibly disconcerting results -- with destabilizing results.

All these are extremely readable and accessible, and very computer-conscious:

First, read this short article, in my opinion, the most profound and suggestive article ever written: Alan Watts: "Zen and the problem of control" in _This Is It_

Hofstadter: _Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid_ (see the recent interview in Wired magazine for perspective on his cognitive-psychological motivations). Find the sections on levels of control, self-control, and determinism.

Excellent and readable -- discusses computer science, AI, cybernetics, cognitive science: Hofstadter and Dennett: _The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul_

A very recent summary of the cliche, rutted arguments -- he points out key errors that cause deadlocked arguments: Dennett: _Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting_

Minsky: free will material and control-oriented material in _Society of Mind_, a very widely read, browsable book about AI.

Cyberneticist Charles Muses is a colleague of Norbert Weiner and Arthur Young. He wrote a fascinating book entitled "Destiny and Control In Human Systems". [to do: search DejaNews for that and It was printed by Kluwer as a textbook, and can be hard to find except in university libraries. Someone wrote: "Unfortunately it has several key typographical errors that are confusing. Indeed, I corrresponded with him a few times to try and carify some of those things, and he provided me with several pages of corrections. But with your interest in the control function, I would imagine that you might want to take a look at it."

This could be highly suggestive for integrating self-control cybernetics, determinism, and the block universe.

Books about cognition and cybernetics; limitations of established approaches

Relevant books that study life, consciousness, and higher experiencing in addition to cognition and cybernetics.

Cognitive science has been, in practice, predominantly mindless and lifeless. There are a couple of cognitive science books that study interesting modes of cognition. Cognitive Science is half-asleep minds studying how the half-asleep mind works.

I've read The Embodied Mind by Varela et al. I'll check out his other works including The Theory of Autopoiesis. Thanks for the pointer to the critique of the objectivist stance of the early cyberneticists -- _The Phenomenon of Life_ by Hans Jonas. The book sounds familiar but I didn't know it had a passage on cybernetics. Cybernetics and cognitive science have potential that's broader than what people happen to have done with them.

A field is defined by what people have done with it, yet the field can be said to contain approaches that haven't been discovered or tried. It is important to know what approaches have historically been taken in a field, but also important to re-conceptualize the field to address concerns that those approaches, so far, have overlooked.

I specifically study self-control cybernetics in humans, and that involves subjective experiencing. If one studies self-control cybernetics, they should study the relevant mystic phenomena and insights. If a researcher fails to address these most interesting topics, it's not the fault of the field of self-control cybernetics.

Too bad the second wave of cybernetics is completely bogus -- "cyber-"computers and the "cyber"-Internet completely lack an intelligent, substantial connection to the field of cybernetics. Maybe the essence of the original definition of 'cybernetics' deserves to be forgotten, given that the cyberneticists were so general that the subject dissolved and dissipated.

An issue of the MAPS (Multi-disciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies) newsletter had a brochure for the _Technologies of the Sacred_ conference in South America, put on by Stan Grof, with quite a few names from the psychedelics and transpersonal psychology communities. It's satisfying to see the connection fully acknowledged. I hope the term "technologies" in the conference name is more than just a vague, gratuitous allusion to synthetic drugs. I doubt they will develop the general concept of cerebral technology at all. Well, at least, the opportunity remains open to publish something all the more timely and innovative.

Dissociative destabilization of self-control cybernetics

Instability of the will

In loose cognition, you feel not only dangerously unrestrained; you feel frightfully imaginative and creative - inability to contain one's crazily imaginative and creative thoughts and mental forces ie will -- will imagination break the will and result in disaster? not only crazily unrestrained, but crazily imaginative and ideationally/cognitively creative. can create entirely new types of cognitive structures/constructions; can create radically innovative mental constructs (devices) -- here's one, the ego-death singularity vortex. here's one, "control-coercion". In the "vision-logic" concept, must emphasize incredibly creative and psychotically'/dangerously imaginative vision. Out-of-control, hyper-, overwhelmingly creative and innovative vision -- and intense logic too. "10 eyes, 10 ears, and 10 brains, all working overtime." What happens when you suddenly are subject to the hyperactivity of 10 brains, all working overtime? Can you control that awesome firepower, pyrotechnics? trying to keep from sheer chaos of hyper-creative imagination-intensity.

The accustomed personal will is taken over and coerced, so that it is no longer your will, not the will of the usual, reliable you. That is, the essential minimal-sense 'will' force is there, but now, no longer colored by your egoic established character. It becomes genericized, characterless will.

Rules for tripping

Be prepared to pray to a puppetmaster god. This is powerful wisdom. If you are willing to humble yourself in supplication, you can trip harder. This is the experience of many people, including professional acid rock bands. LSD is the Holy Spirit establishing a relationship between the lower realm of humans and the higher plane of the transcendent. Having learned of this, you are now under the obligation/ability to blow your mind harder, but relatively safely. When the vortex of will-cancellation starts pulling you in, what can you do or think to save you? Mentally pray.

The mesmerizing fascination of instability - this hypothetical potential for control-singularity/breakdown exerts a fascinating hypnotic pull on the mind. Can control increase to a point in which it deconstructs? That would be amazing and fascinating, the key to all philosophy and self-knowledge.

Only the inexperienced are fools enough to scoff, from lack of intense experience. Such fools, being novices at Doom and at apprehending Fate, rush in where angels fear to tread. Learn, and integrate, this fearful respect, through establishing such a relationship. We're only human, and our thinking is based around ego-power, a power that is partly illusory. Divine powerlessness is part of the highest experience.

The problematic nature of control-power during cognitive dissociation

The following is not very blatantly about LSD itself, but focuses more on the phenomena encountered by using LSD. I intend these postings to be the most specific, helpful, substantial, and original postings in the drugs newsgroups.

LSD is absolutely the king of drugs. Its effects resemble psychosis, but based on my extensive reading, it is unproven and doubtful that LSD can push people into a permanently dissociated state. LSD dis-integrates cognitive associations and the mental structures that are built up using these associations. But it does not wash the structures entirely away, during the session; rather, it loosens the mental associations, effecting an assembly language reprogramming state in which you can easily re-construct and systematically adjust your mental model of self, control, time, and the world.

The cocky cyberpunk finds that his sense of autonomous self-direction fails him utterly and is forced to pray for a personal compassionate supercontroller entity, the puppetmaster, so that the cognitive cyberpunk's future actions and decisions are safe and harmless. All your power of self-control fails you, through a logical realization that your power is always partly illusory. Coming face to face with this realization is an ego-death experience that throws you into a tailspin. Your model of your control over your thoughts and actions deconstructs itself. 'Deconstruction' means turning the internal logic of a text against itself, in an explosive amplification.

You experience your train of thought as a runaway train: if you are going to think an awful thought and have a dreadful realization in 2 minutes, you realize, trembling, that there is logically nothing you can do to avoid this predetermined fate -- you discover the plausibility that your every act of will, of choice, of thought, is already lurking in the future, ready to hunt you down.

Posting is a great opportunity to immediately go public and "publish" -- better, an opportunity to be like an ancient Greek philosopher: a completely independent teacher.

Does loose cognitive binding simply make you or inspire you to run amok? Is that the bottom line? Would it do so in the name of Truth (that is, as a manfestation or Sign of the falsity and illegitimacy of moral-control-agency)?

Mere vulgar common running amok, loss of control? There is nothing to theorize about in that case, except to ask what ever prevents this from happening? "Normal egoic restraints. In loose cognitive binding these are suspended, gone, therefore, you can lose control and run amok." Assume the egoic restraints are what keeps me on track normally. Assume that egoic restraints are simply completely gone in loose cognitive binding. There is nothing to keep one on track; one goes off the track. One loses guidance -- but, one prays for control, stability, guidance; prays for the return of egoic restraints -- the effect of this prayer is to back away from complete disengagement of egoic restraints; prayer serves to re-engage egoic restraints. But what if one is not caused (by the Ground) to pray and thus to re-engage egoic restraints?

The controller loses the grip on the steering wheel, seeing that it really originates from beyond the control agent -- but the controller agent still has virtual control, so that's not the worst problem. The worst problem is that the agent's cross-time glue -- the egoic restraint and intention system -- is threatened as on the verge of suspension -- so that, whether the agent has control or the Ground controls the agent, either way, the problem is that egoic restraints are lifted.

Do people lose control of their mind, while their mind is so powerful/ hyperactive that it escapes its accustomed restraint, its accustomed propriety... loose cognition escapes the egoic forms of control, the egoic mode of control. Loose/T't cognition escapes egoic control. But is there a t't mode of control that is more suited to loose cognition? There is, certainly, at least in some sense -- simply by virtue of being "used to" loose cognition. To be "used to" loose cognition is to be more stable than the mind that is not used to loose cognition. "Don't resist; let go of control" really means "hold control loosely, don't think about it too much, don't press for absolutely secure control, or it will backfire; be humble, be meek, don't be overly bold and panicky and grabby at control."

Destabilization of cybernetic control

THC combines strangely with LSD. Beware.

In a real LSD trip, you have tingling, vibrating fingers. Your stomach feels funny but rarely nausea. Often there is a moderate, temporary laxitive ("purgative") effect 90 minutes into it; have convenient access to a bathroom. Your accustomed, familiar sense of being you loosens and evaporates. The music sounds a hundred times richer and more beautiful than it did before. The pitch goes up and down. You see through a fish-eye lens. Everything bends and flows. At the peak, time freezes, you see the flow of experience as a simultaneous pile of static pictures, and then you see all the universe as one giant block, and you rise up to remembering God-perspective and become no one and everyone, then you shoot back down into your particular personhood again. The past "you" becomes reduced to just an unconvincing memory. You have the supreme classic philosophical insights.

You feel radically, even dangerously free and unstable, and also, paradoxically, you feel like a puzzle, part of the fated script -- completely unfree. Your "sense of freedom" goes away, yet also you feel free in an exagerrated way. White clouds become pink on one side and green on the other. White walls are smudged with a rainbow of discoloration. Sweep an arm in front, or watch a car go by, and these acts become objects arc'ing in front of you -- the trail is a fixed object that sits there for a whole second. You can't control your thoughts; well, self-steering becomes problematic. Your speaking comes out strange, like glossolalia. Your emotions shift and change crazily. Images blur and warp like looking through the windshield of a parked car while rain oozes down. Playing guitar, you become ultra-fluid and creative. Your imagination is on overdrive, for better or worse. You feel too warm and muggy, and you feel chills.

The beginning and end of the following email exchange have some descriptions of the standard phenomena.

The middle long part is about the philosophical discoveries available from the high doses such as 500-800 micrograms. (Any more than this amount tends to waste precious doses due to diminishing returns.) You might want to skip the long middle part, particularly any mention of trembling prayer due to cybernetic principles of self-control cancellation -- the self-deconstruction of self-control.

Sometimes there can be annoying whining from THC+LSD, as though there were a video monitor on nearby (they make a very high pitched whine sometimes).

Effect: Time wrinkles, auditory hills of pitch-shifting or "flanging"

Effect: the white light of the void: consciousness feedback as the camera of attention catches itself -- 3rd eye meta-awareness

Derealization of memories -- maybe you didn't exist 5 minutes ago; how could you know? Each time-slice is seen to be independent. "Be here now" -- "only now is real"

ego death

Everything goes into manual, metaprogramming mode, rather than automatic (still, it's robotic either way, though some type of freedom remains and can increase beyond the usual psychological constraints).

I don't think you can have greater intensity of the essential effect, which I call 'cognitive looseness', but there are more experiences to be discovered on that high "master-level of the video game", or "superuser level". You are exploring a space of mental phenomena, or exploring a game-level. There is not a higher level of the game, but there are more phenomena to encounter.

I am not yet able to rattle off a true explanation at the drop of a hat. However, I can very well portray the kinds of experiences and reasoning that many people have reported. This is half-describing, half-explaining.

There awaits a "potential" inside the mind. Not the potential to talk to spirits or bend spoons, but something more astonishing: the potential to apprehend a self-control vortex in the mind. This vortex is a potential structure made possible by the twistedness of our normal conception of ourselves as autonomous, self-steering agents who creat and choose our own thoughts for ourselves.

This is the Cybernetic Revelation, the revealing of the hidden dynamics and logical loops of self-steering.

The "spirit-entities" metaphor is a distortion and misinterpretation of insights into entity-ness itself. The mind contains an ego-image of "myself", but when the mind does not identify with that symbol, or token, then the agent-symbol is seen as what it is: a symbol posing as an entity. It would be very challenging to explain this precisely in a paragraph -- symbols and representations to interface the self, world, and other entities are so profoundly woven deep into our thinking, that a hundred topics and implications come up. So I say, roughly, that the mind dis-identifies with the ego-symbol.

Some people have reported a strange-attractor beacon as the most fascinating dynamic object up there, and people have reported praying to avoid their freedom going out of control. While the theory and expressions are hypothetical, the psychological phenomenon of grappling with this Dionysian vortex is a given datum of experience, calling out for explanation. An urgent, crucial problem is posed to you, personally, as a personal agent. The brilliance of creative vision combines with dangerously amplified logic. This "vision-logic" is dangerous because it is so powerful. You are forced to grapple with your own unrestrained freedom of thought and action. Normally you feel you have some power to control your thoughts and actions. You perceive them as free and under control sufficiently well. But this cognitive "sense of freedom" backfires and cancels itself out.

Here is a seeming paradox: you become totally helpless, at the mercy of time, of the future. The door leading to the future is black, and any possible action or thought could be on the other side of that door. It's already sitting there, and you now can do nothing to control, with sufficient force, the you who is on the other side: the near-future you. He is as free and unconstrained as you are. So, self-control across time disintegrates. Taken to its extreme, you are as helpless to stop your actual future actions as your past action. Both of them are seen to be fixed in concrete: stoned into the one stone of all time. You discover the hypothesis of block-universe determinism that includes but incapacitates freedom.

You now have a radically unconstrained freedom, but it is impotent to control the future you, because he too is radically unconstrained. But this implies that all your current radically free acts are beyond the control of you-yesterday and you-1-moment-ago. Then where did they come from? They just exist of their own power. Your free actions don't come from yourself, but just float in time forever. To completely understand this, is to encounter the great self-control vortex, the Dionysian maelstrom that gives rise to philosophical terror and insight. Only intelligent, logic-committed thinkers can really grasp this and blow up their ego-power. Ego power self-deconstructs; it disproves its own logic. Sartre has some ideas that plug right in here. You stand over the abyss of freedom, lacking all guidance. You forget the power of all guidance and constraint. You are condemned: condemned to be free. Radical freedom and complete loss of power are somehow the same.

Having recourse to praying strategically enables you to explore the full arena including the difficult slopes. This technique is effectively a shield against feeding-back into the vortex-problem of self-control. This is beseeching compassion from a conscious entity who is outside the system you are trapped in. At its fullest intensity, this results in trembling prayer; cybernetic trembling which forces you to choose between practical loss of control or some act of absolutely transgressing morality, in recognition of the true nature of personal power.

This is what ego death is about, specifically: rendering the will urgently problematic. I'm just summarizing ideas from here and there. To explain is too hard -- but it is all perfectly rational, requiring a cognitive mode that accesses "superhuman rationality".

What about the blissful experience of cosmic oneness? That is most fully experienced when it is most fully understood. Your mental model of the relationship between yourself and the world becomes adjusted and refined, as you learn to make important distinctions and connections regarding time, will, freedom, change, and self-control. The latter is better thought of as insight into self-control cybernetics. This is the highest aspect of the study of 'cybernetics': the self-steering helmsman, the cybernetic steersman homunculus.

The cognitive scientists have written about the confusions of the homunculus. The little man that you are, who lives inside of your mind: how does he control his self-control? There is an infinite regress. I can spew the language in which people have discussed this topic: control there is, but no one who controls. Self-control exists, forever, along the time axis, frozen.

Metaphors aside, I'm referring to very specific instabilities inherent in our faulty self-conception as cybernetic steermen. It's a problem with will-power, fatedness, self-control, transgression of moral constraint, and frozen time. These problems show up in much "transpersonal psychology" literature and most clearly in acid rock. I am the first to formally systematize and gather and organize these ideas, but I am not the first explorer. The consensus is, watch out for the pride of "I control my own thoughts". The cognitive scientists believe that cognitive self-control is highly problematic, not nearly as simple as we normally assume. In Zen, ego is caught in its own trap. This includes ego-power, or will. Ego is a complex of cognitive dynamics, which all get caught in their own trap.

Can this ever really be explained, fully and rationally? I would emphasize modelling it -- yes, you can engineer a model of the self-control delusion and its breakdown and conversion. The religious experience of conversion is essentially about changing your mental model of your locus-of-control.

It's safest to start with many smaller trips and work your way up.

Do a small dose, and beware of combining it with THC - that has a very wacky effect that is only for the intrepid.

For a good trip, hang out in parks and cool pads where there is minimal interaction required. Being out in public can actually be more anonymous and relaxed than being near people you know who are not in the scene. If you glitch in a public interaction, it just gets lost in the hubbub. Mostly it depends on what you're into. Most everything is interesting. Jam on acoustic guitars.

It is hard to control thinking during cognitive dissociation.

Control and self-control are inherently problematic. A major theme in psychedelic experiencing is the destabilization of control. One's control becomes so powerful it escapes itself and control is effectively lost. Alan Watts wrote "Zen and the Problem of Control" in the book "This Is It". Try reading that on LSD.

Daniel Dennet argues that though there might be no free will, there still exists control dynamics in the universe. The issue is the nature of control, not simply whether it exists or not.

Transcendent knowledge, as a mental model of control, enables you to see and experience ego death, even though ego death is still somewhat tentative (you can always say "I retained control even whle going out of control") -- ego death is not "loss of control" so much as "loss of stable cross-time control" -- the skillful destabilization of control and transcendence of that stability. It's vague and misleading to say that ego death is "loss of control". Ego death is "loss of stable cross-time control." Rather, "destabilization of cross-time control". "Loss of control" really means "destabilization of cross-time control, problematization of the source of will, and metaphysically problematic invariability of future will-acts".

The problem of controlling thoughts and will during dissociative cognition: Can you control your thoughts?

Is Satan already in complete control of your interpretation of reality? Is God? Are you? Who is this controller-entity -- are they for real?

Many people find that praying to some religious figure, in complete submission and contrite dependence, helps them get through this sort of thing. In fact, for many devout believers, this is the blessed beginning of their faith.

Afterwards, you can always chuck the religious figure in the trash can.

The meaning of the name ""

There are probably many people using this moniker online. The most important user of the moniker is the person who can best explain and justify their use of ''. 'Cyber' means "control", not "computers". Self-control cybernetics is the foundation for my entire system of thinking; my treatment of 'control' is as original as anything could be. '' sounds like 'cyberpunk'; implying the anarchic, anything-goes approach to attaining mystic understanding. Such understanding can only be achieved when you ignore everything that has ever been said about mystic phenomena, and use whatever methods you can get your hands on to find enlightenment. The punk mystic does not submit to any master except the great Tao that flows everywhere, even into the decision-core of the punk monk's mind. Like the cyberpunk, the control-conscious monk breaks into information systems: in this case, he cracks the code of the puzzle lying at the core of his own identity as an autonomous steersman. In striving to access the superuser level of his own mind, the discovers a level of original control that forever eludes his own area of control.

Was Buddha a monk? If so, from what master did he receive his transmission of enlightenment?

The destabilization of self-control cybernetics

Personal self-control forms a cybernetic control loop. The ego-entity is an essentially illusory homunculus, a self-steering helmsman dwelling inside the mind's self-control loop. Self-control controls itself indirectly. Alcoholism and compulsions demonstrate the inability of self-control to reach across time. Climbing up a level to metaprogram one's mental computer as a superuser promises power over one's thoughts and actions, but leads to the problem of controlling the source of one's thoughts and will.

Using loose cognition as a tool for fundamental self-programming, the mind attempts to surmount the mental operating system and re-program the mental operating system to obtain greater control. But raising the locus of control, which is a core part of the ego system, is an attempt to split apart the self-control center to raise it above itself. The ego-center cannot be lifted above the self-control function, because they are the same subsystem. This attempt causes a short-circuiting of the practical logic of control, and the egoic operating system crashes. To restabilize control, the mind has to lower the ego-center back down, rebooting or resetting the egoic mental mode.

Control agents are embodied as self-control tunnels or streams, floating in locked, stationary spacetime. The loosened mind can feel remotely monitored and controlled by a dominant observer-and-controller entity who is in a position of power; one becomes a cybernetic puppet, and the perceived locus of control shifts up to a separate control agent who resides on a higher level in the control hierarchy.

Near the control vortex, events seem to be leading toward an increasingly compelling singularity point of encountering a dangerous realization of something devastating about one's nature as a controller. This is a logical cancellation of creation-power - my ego, as an entity, is denied as a 1st-order creator. One's every action seems driven by the world, with the personal will as a mere intermediate gear. The ego remains a steering-related system, but its steering actions are experienced as being driven by the all-inclusive world, rather than feeling like an independent steerer within the world (an ultimate origin, unmoved mover, ultimate cause, or 1st-order cause). This intuited devastating insight lies ahead on the worldline, on the pre-set path of one's personal control-actions.

Personal guidance systems can be malfunctioning, while interpretation ability can be actually increased. Part of the reason why guidance is reduced during LSD is that interpretation can be more perceptive. The loosened mind is able to see the weaknesses of our accustomed mental structures of control.

The next thing on my research list is the theory of dominance and submission. Bondage and slavery, helplessness and dependence, autonomy and maturity and our childlike relationship to the higher source of control. To know truth you must become like a child -- like a slave: completely dependent on a Father level of control. They say the Lord is king of kings: that translates into cybernetics as "the ultimate source of control is the controller of the controllers."

Tolerance timing might depend on personal chemistry. Some people seem to be hypersensitive, and others seem to be unaffected, according to reports here. For most people, 3 1/2 days is adequate recovery time, and 1 week is certainly completely beyond the range of the tolerance effect. But for those elsewhere on the bell curve, your mileage may vary. Therefore, you have to test and discover your own personal parameters.

LSD + THC = wacky. It puts the peak in your peak. Highly recommended for those who wish to tread where angels dare not. You will find that your strings are being pulled. By the CIA? By the aliens? By God? By demons? By your plotting cohorts? By evil scientists? Who knows, but they are being pulled. I propose that your strings are being pulled by the Ground of Being, which thrusts forth our sense of being an autonomous helmsman piloting the ship of our own thoughts and actions. Every move of my hand upon the helm is an emanation from the ground of being. But is the ground of being a compassionate puller of your strings? Only a personal Controller could be a compassionate puppetmaster. This is why electrified mystics are more likely to pray to a personified entity than to an impersonal conception of the ground of being.

I recommend listening to "Chemistry" by Rush from the album _Signals_. It has hidden allusions to pot and mystic phenomena that unfold when you are in the proper decoding mode.

I don't like being doped into a pot stupor, because I can't waste so much time. The only time I smoke pot now is 3 hours into a serious research session.

The first posting in this thread is only available in rec.drugs.psychedelic. If you missed it, I think you should check it out. Otherwise, you might fail to blow your mind the next time the walls are shifting and ominous implications are leering at you. Also in that posting is a recommended mental bodybuilding program so you don't pull a muscle lifting too many doses to your tongue and pushing yourself to hard. After all, if you go berserk and fall to pieces, you can never fully understand the interesting phenomenon in the world: EGO DEATH and the ego transcendence that follows in its wake.

Inability to act: puppet-mode

Inability to restrain: transcendence of guidance systems

Neitzsche, Schopenhauer, the will

The major influence of Schopenhauer on Nietzsche. This is where Nietzsche took his ideas of the will, a cornerstone of his particular philosophy. Schopenhauer was the first to concentrate on the will as the basis and yardstick of ethics, logic, metaphysics, and epistomology (the four branches of philosophy). Nietzsche however made the idea of will as a primary force his own when it made it a conscious will that is not destructive but transcendent. The will then becomes the dynamic engine to something better, in other words the overman which reevalutes all that is considered reality. Kierkegaard dealt with the actual perceived reality and the making of a purpose for man inside it.

Infinite regress arguments

Douglas Hofstadter wrote a great deal about infinite regress and the 'self' concept in _Godel, Escher, Bach_.

Alan Watts wrote about infinite regress of self-control in an essay in the book _This Is It_, titled "Zen and the Problem of Control". This matches his passages on self-control cybernetics in _The Way of Zen_.

I think Marvin Minsky wrote about the subject in _The Society of Mind_.

Restabilization principles

[There are no notes for this section, but see Reconciling levels of Control in the Virtual Ego notes file.

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