The M0 hypothesis proposes that as people are born into societies of unwell people, they become ritual addicted by social pressures that are called "normal", so they in turn become unwell. To date there have only been two ways to avoid becoming unwell in this way. Some people have a non-working dopamine D4 receptor by luck of the genetic draw, rendering them naturally immune. That is what genetic diversity is all about. Natural immunes pay a heavy social price for their retained awareness. The other way is to be born into one of the rare non-ritualised societies, such as traditional Native American societies.
There is nothing in here that suggests that ritual addicted people are wicked, or that they are congenital imbeciles. So when I first saw complaints that even if the hypothesis is correct, we must pretend that it is not because to do otherwise it would be racist, I was staggered. There is nothing racist in this at all! It is a matter of public health - not race war!
Yet these objections didn't stop coming. What was happening? Why were people doing this? Why this extraordinary point missing? Here is an extract from an exchange with one correspondant where I attempt to make sense of things. My correspondant's comments are in italics, mine in normal text:
It is out of this concern that I write this to you. My concern is twofold. First I am concerned any time anyone claims to know a truth and feels compelled to convince anyone else of that 'truth'.
Me to. What I'm hoping to do with the argument as far as I have been able to develop it is convince people that it might be true enough to perform the necessary experiments, or test the reasoning as appropriate, that I am not competent or qualified or rich enough to test. I'm asking rather than telling, and have put forward an hypothesis which is falsifiable (can be tested by making predictions that people can test and prove false if the idea is baloney) and which specifically states where it departs from existing understanding. I've never done anything else.
Secondly, I am concerned any time I see a reason to segregate people into 'us' and 'them' groups where the people in the 'us' group see the people in the 'them' group as somehow inferior.
Let me spell out exactly what I am, and am not, saying here. My study began in commercial programming shops. There I eventually became convinced that there were two distinct cognitive strategies (as I called them) observable in the workplace. Before I even discovered this, I had discovered that people using the inferior strategy could be taught to use the superior strategy. I managed this feat of reasoning because I was doing practical teaching of practical attitudes to engineering. I was quite good at "turning people on" before I realised that there were two distinct groups of bozos and awake people (or packers and mappers as I later descriptively called them) each with its own identifiable characteristics. Less a feat of reasoning than the luck that sometimes comes our way when we try.
You may have become upset because I used the word "inferior" above. Why shouldn't I? If a person has been taught to mow the lawn by lobbing hand grenades at it until there is no more grass, this is an inferior way to mow the lawn. It does not mean that the person is a Bad Person (I'll come back to the "childish" use of language later - it's a clue). I never said that Mr. Grenade Mower was a Bad Person at all. I said he'd been taught a lousy way to mow the lawn. It reduces the pleasure he gets from his garden, causes nasty shrapnel to come whizzing over the fence and generally we'd all be better off if someone taught him a better way. If you look in the Programmers' Stone, you'll see mapping is posited as the way we all come out of the womb, and packing as an inferior approach that had been taught by society. The Programmers' Stone is all about regaining mapping and allowing people to enjoy their full capabilities, which will make their lives richer and make them valuable members of the information age economy.
You see, I'd watched the mappers and the packers - people with a natural cognitive strategy and people with a poor taught one - and I'd become convinced that the only things that packers had over mappers was that they don't get harrassed by other packers. Now the packers all count not being harrassed by other packers as a faculty - I don't. Being able to be wrong about concrete, testable matters in order to keep in exact step with one's herd is not a faculty of any human psychology I'd want to lay claim to.
But right from the start, I was misrepresented as saying that people are born mappers or packers, and also saying that packers are Bad People. Then I was slagged off for the second non-existant statement! I've had a great many communications along the lines of "packers are valuable too". I rejected these claims on two grounds. Firstly, there are no "packers". There are only people who have been taught a cognitive strategy that was inefficient (but maybe had something in that it keeps farmers and production line workers docile) at the best, and is now very dangerous to have around. These people need to be taught to think about complex issues as nature equipped them to instead of getting into the "mental lock-down" that I kept seeing people dive into as fast as they possibly could. When a person using the inefficient strategy is in the room, one might say, "There is a packer in the room". If he or she left the room or woke up, we could say, "There is no longer a packer in the room." The second reason I rejected the "packers are valuable too" stuff is that packing isn't valuable. It certainly isn't beneficial to the species since we mechanised warfare, and it's never beneficial to the individual.
It was odd. No matter how hard I made these points, I couldn't get through to many people. It's like you were commenting on how best to run an automobile workshop, and said "We shouldn't let drunks near the engines. People should only come near the engines when they are sober". Imagine you did that and everybody suddenly started carrying on as if drunks and sobers were two distinct races - not two distinct states. One race staggers around and smashes things including itself, the other does not. However, we must immeadiately deny that there is any distinction between the two races of drunks and sobers because to do otherwise would be "racist". So we encourage drunk people into the engine bays. Madness.
From my current perspective I reckon I know where this persistant misrepresentation of my assertions came from, although not before I lost a few friends. In the later M0 paper I propose a situation where most human societies are constructed in a particular, bizarre way. This bizarre construction traps most people in a hypnotized kind of a state. Most people are trapped between ages 4 and 6 - very young. The few who do not succumb when their little friends do are also very young. There is a subtle X factor in play that they might be able to form some impressions about, but not nail down - not even as a conscious recognition that there is something wrong. The young immune does get a sense that there is something wrong with most people, and certain behaviours are nearer the quick of it than others. Meanwhile the young immune is starting to suffer from the name-calling, sabotage, and contempt/threat displays that will likely follow him or her through life. This causes very great stress for the young immune (I'll return to this also). The young immune learns to see things in what the pop psychologists call an "adjusted" way. They learn to see the behaviour of the majority as "normal" - the correct way to behave. They may even learn to see themselves as inferior. They will develop the belief that even inferior people such as themselves should be granted human rights - and be very twichy about it when certain topics are being discussed. And so, believing this "adjusted" nonsense, they will proceed to waste their lives, pitifully grateful for the times when they are not being picked on as imbeciles because they do not engage in cretinous herd behaviours, and near heartbreak from all the stupidity around them.
Then I come along. I don't need to say there are two races. My description of the two states is so close to these people's own greatest fears that they fill in the bits I never said from their own fears, and then go into emotional denials of the ideas that frighten them. Worse, I suggest that the cognition of the "others" that these people are afraid of is actually inferior to their own cognition! They have been conditioned - bullied by zombies - in early childhood. Never question a zombie when it is performing rituals or else! So they start sending me childishly worded stuff along the lines of, "Alan says packers are Bad People ha ha ha!" - complete with silly capitals - and performing the same contempt/threat displays that they themselves were bullied with in childhood. It took me a while to cotton on to the "Methinks thou dost protest too much" aspect of all this silly protesting against things I never, ever said!
In the later M0 development, the situation I propose remains the same as far as this "racist" question is concerned. Most humans, everywhere, are vulnerable to a socially induced neurochemical lockdown, and most societies are structured so as to trap them. There are some who are naturally immune, and there are some who grow up in non-M0 societies. These are fully awake. Everyone else is asleep. They have a whole layer of cognition turned off, and it's the best bit. It is not missing. It is simply turned off. Worse, once people have got to that state, they can slide down a worstening slope of delusional self-confidence and reducing awareness in which immunes become more and more disturbing. The only limitations are economic, and we've recently just solved that problem with automation. So the mass delusional state and the situation of immunes is getting worse. Immunity to a cognition damaging disease does not make a person mentally superior to another - when that other is well. Similarly natural immunity to a physical disease does not make the immune stronger than another - when that other is well. That is why I stress that we must find out if the reconstruction of the data on dopamine that I propose is correct. Find out if most people are in fact missing a class of cognitive functions that they regain when environmental novelty increases above a certain level, and the changes correlate as predicted with dopamine levels. If so it becomes a health and safety issue that we keep background novelty high enough to keep people who evolved in the wild awake in the town. No gas chambers. Perhaps small mammals living in the potted plants would be good. Kids asking "Why" in the workplace. Regular job rotation so last month's secretaries do the wages this month - we make up with wakefulness what we lose in unfamiliarity.
Now I'd like to come at the question from a couple of different angles, and see what you make of them. It really does sadden me that I can't seem to stop people seeing a racist picture in what explicitly isn't. Not least because I do think there are some very important ethical issues that must be addressed, and aren't going to be at this rate. You see, I agree very, very much with what you said about ideas suddenly igniting. When I wrote the first paper, I was very much aware that although the idea was radical, the evidence was actually very good. At some point I felt sure that the idea and myself would be parted. It would go off to get verification and application, and I'd just be catching sight of some of its adventures. So I wanted to make sure that the ethical issues which I had spent a great deal of time pondering were included from the first. If you look in the first paper you will see that I discuss situations where addressing a person's dopamine self-addictive behaviour would not be indicated. (And always remember that if dopamine self-addiction is not verified as a cognition damaging neurochemical reality then there is nothing to discuss.) I discuss the emotionally traumatic experiences that I believe are associated with this issue, and try to show that we must make gentle changes if we are to avoid doing harm during the transition. I describe some of the thinking that will have to be done in workplace, educational, judicial, governmental and clinical contexts about the implications of the idea. I give a short but I believe profound argument that shows that we must not allow the use of M0 as a technology of social control under any circumstances. My reason is that we're going to have to regain our self-respect as a species. I can't see how we can do that if we allow any humans to hold any others in a behavioural trap by ritualising them. That goes for a wide range of things, from marketing behaviour to military training. Perhaps as the most extreme example of what I mean, I quote from the M0 paper:
Chronics. Very ritualised people who have been deeply conditioned by circumstance to fear the loss of their rituals must not be compelled in any way, even though this may mean compensating them financially and ritualistically for loss of employment now regarded as inappropriate for a person trapped in high dopamine. There is so much ongoing damage to sort out that we not only need, but also can easily afford, the principle that defeating M0 is a healing activity and no further harm will be done to anyone under the misguided belief that the ends justify the means. There have been enough profoundly damaging attacks on people's very identities via the hardware layer of their neurology by non-culpable but unswervable and terrifying M0 hosts compelled to enforce ritual fixing at all costs. There must be no more.
See what I mean? That what I actually wrote. :-(
Next angle, the race war that is going on. In the M0 model, automation of the real work that produces the material goods we consume has meant that most people have pretend jobs and we'd be richer if they stayed at home. Less stimulation from nature, more ritualised little offices. Society is becoming stupider. As it does so, it persecutes young natural immunes. Attention Deficit Disorder - the "gifted children" of 20 years ago and great visionaries of 100 years ago, are now classified as defective and disordered. They are drugged with a stimulant called Ritalin (because they are hyperactive?) which I reckon produces an approximation to a dopamine self-addict through burnout. 4,000,000 children are currently being fed Ritalin for a "genetic disease" that was unheard of a generation ago - in the US alone. Moreover, in the M0 model (although it's not in the first paper), acquired autism is an inability to cope with the endless, thought destroying, frenetic yammering of M0 society. Autistic children are now up to 1 in 300 births. I'd got the link between CFIDS and immunes over a year ago. I'm currently talking to some people that run ADHD support groups, who are well aware that where the noisy child in a family has been "diagnosed" as ADHD, the quiet one will have a good chance of being stricken with CFIDS. I model CFIDS as immune system breakdown caused by the stress of all the bullying by ritual junkies, unaware of what they are doing and unaware that "following procedures" really isn't an inherent good after all.
And now at http://nids.com and http://www.neuroimmunedr.com we have a bunch of physicians with a different clinical model (they don't know about M0) but data that fit wonderfully - right down to the bizzarely high proportion of autistic kids with engineer parents. Engineers have to cope with nature - "deeming" things correct won't do - and are preferentially drawn from natural immunes.
There are two points here. What am I actually doing with this stuff? I'm trying to propose that the mass drugging of 4 million kids is a terrible mistake, and we're doing nearly as badly by their classmates. I'm suggesting we find out the facts. That's what I'm doing. The second point? If anyone is going to protest against invasive, coercive behaviour, what about the 4,000,000 kids, bullied and namecalled and drugged - and worse - by everyone from classmates to teachers to doctors. Who won't even have a civilised discussion about whether the "disease" even exists! This is the characteristic pattern of inversion that I talk about.
The most logical way to explain myself and my concerns is to step through the progression of elation, dismay, and concern and let you know why I felt these emotions, and then to offer a suggestion to you. Here goes.
Elation. When I read your outline of the topics of your essays, and when I skimmed over the essays preparing to print them and saw some of the diagrams, I thought I recognized some of my own ideas. I was also delighted to find that your background is similar to mine. I also, at first, identified myself as a natural immune to M0.
Dismay. Your description of M0 made sense to me, but your essay on the Ghost Not was not convincing to me. I found that your construct of the reciprocal cosmos did not correspond as closely as I originally thought to my own construct of the cosmos.
Concerns. I became concerned when I read some of the conversations among your followers in the Progstone forum in which they discussed the merits of coercion and persuasion in order to awaken M0 infected people.
Oo-err. I do hope those people aren't "followers"! I've investigated a puzzle that became more and more interesting, and have gotten to the point where I can make experimentally testable and theoretically disprovable statements (as appropriate). Now I'm trying to get people to shoot it down in flames. If they can't, we can try applying the ideas and see if improvements come about. All open-source, testable science. That's it. And it's a doctrine that gets stronger the deeper one gets into the train of thought. By the 6th and 7th papers, it is clear that while the "deep structural" essense patterns that I collect during my life are of value to me in a cosmological "information ecology", patterns simply copied from others are not. Of course I can take some-one else's patterns and use them to find new ones of my own, but doing, learning, anything that someone else has done, learned, isn't any use at all.
And I think that actually most people in the group have been taking an attitude I'm quite comfortable with, because it isn't coercive. Yes, some people have discussed the possibility of using "counter-viruses". Bear in mind that designing such would only be possible if it were an established fact that most people are already in the grip of a phenomenon broadly like I've described. The main reason I'm not involved in those discussions is that I reckon we've already got a huge great multi-faceted counter-virus, created by different people at different times, already in play. To do our bit in that august distributed team, we have to get the scientifically testable facts and just tell people.
You also might see some practical attitudes that I see as quite healthy. For example, I happen to be diabetic. I usually take care to casually ensure that those around me know that I'm diabetic because if I take too much insulin relative to the calories in my meal I get can quite woozy. I can even appear drunk at times (although I don't drink). If I start losing awareness and staggering into things I don't want people hissing, "How dare you say that Alan just crashed through the French window! Such a thing to say that Alan is a Bad Person! He did not!" and leave me to die in a pool of blood by the shattered French window. What I want them to do is say, "Let's get a can of Coca-Cola into hypo-features there before he smashes something!" My friends are safe in doing this because my non-drinking and diabetes are known about. They cannot possibly be interrupting a drunken weep over an unhappy love affair or anything like that. If dopamine self-addiction tests as a reality, then acting to prevent people doing harm to themselves or their surroundings in chronic cases of a well understood neurochemical disorder is not an invasion of privacy in exactly the same way as my friends giving me a Coco-Cola isn't an invasion of my privacy.
I have no problem with your claim that the theory of M0 may explain some important aspects of human thought and behavior. I even have no problem with a claim that this theory might be true. I do, however, think it is dangerous when you, or your followers, actively consider ways of convincing others of the truth of that claim. Richard Feynman wrote: "If we suppress all discussion, all criticism, proclaiming 'This is the answer, my friends; man is saved!' we will doom humanity for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination. It has been done so many times before."
Have you seen that film of Feynman where he's pacing up an down, ranting. The students are in hysterics, and he's shouting, "It doesn't matter how beautiful it is... it doesn't matter what his name is... if it doesn't fit the experiment... it's WRONG!" I want the experiments. Then we'll know if most of our fellow humans are currently unwell, half awake, and able to be returned to full cognition by carefully increasing their background novelty. Or not. And so will they. We get the stress off the naturally immune kids first, then we get more and more people choosing to stop performing contempt/threat displays, take the bike to work and go a different route each day. Wear bright clothes into work and never mind the pompous, mindless people's whining complaints, and so on.
In fact, there was a point in the project where I had to think about what Feynman would have done. Well, we all have people we admire very deeply and Feynman's one of mine. I had a logical trick which promised that it could show me the overlooked ideas. A map of our cultural blindspot. I'd applied it to some puzzles in physics and seemed to have found wonders. The wonderful alternative construction allowed some important ideas in consciousness studies to fall into place. The thing wasn't coming unravelled, it was running and running. Then I discovered that the logical trick and alternative cosmology (including consciousness) was identifiable in an ancient Dead Sea Scroll. This was very interesting in many ways that are off topic here. But the problem was, what does a scientist do when he finds evidence that the founder of a great religion really did know things we are only starting to get a hint of today? Feynman spoke of honesty. In the end I concluded that Feynman would put his tin hat on and call it as he saw it, and never mind those who think that real science has an atheistic hidden agenda. It doesn't. Only the truth. Science wants to know the truth, whatever it may be.
The second danger is the potential for inhumanity caused by the dehumanization that is in turn caused by partitioning people into 'superior' and 'inferior' groups. I think your description of people 'infected with' and 'immune from' M0 is such a partitioning.
I hope I've answered this. Either the locked-down diseased state is not real in which case no issue, or it is, in which case we know how to cure it. Shall we refuse to do so because we've conned ourselves that in this one, special case, to recognise that our fellows are clinically, neurochemically, demonstrably unwell would be to cast racist slurs on them? Should we not at least make a public information film, or should we instead egg on the mass drugging of healthy children and persecution of children already harrassed into the CFIDS level of immune system failure?
The history of revolution demonstrates the takeover of ideas by action. We see the most noble of ideas play a part in the initiation of revolution only to be completely ignored by the strong and ruthless leaders that inevitably take over the revolution once it gets going. This is exemplified by the sequences Marx - Engels - Kerensky - Trotsky - Lenin - Stalin, Voltaire - Rousseau - Robespierre - Napoleon, and Wyclif - Erasmus - Luther - Calvin - Henry VIII.
OK. This stuff is playing with fire. You have sensed this, and I agree. The dangers that you sense are I think real, and the forces involved here are, I believe, greater than most people would believe - one reason why I'd don't discuss them much. One has to get used to thinking at these scales. It worries me, and probably the first thing any spiritually grown-up person would tell me is that worrying about it is the worst possible response. But I do worry, because it's the only way I know of getting things right.
It's worth pointing out however, that the stuff I'm not discussing publicly makes the main papers sound like the time of day. Also, perhaps to set your mind at rest, I'm not working entirely in the dark. You may notice that most of the Reciprocality papers were written up last May. They were mainly sorted out in January and February, but it took 3 months to serialise the mental model and make it as condensed as I could. I didn't record the final paper until last month. Until that time, I knew it was not right to discuss the stuff. Then, I knew it was. The section describing how to reach the fourth state of consciousness was the problem. Don't ask me why - I don't know. If I described the chain of chance that led to a great many of the key observations, you would be staggered. And as for the extraordinary goodwill of the most astonishing people who've been popping up to give me a critical little hand here and there while everything else in my life falls into chaos around me... there's danger here, but a tide of goodwill that is big enough to be scary in itself.