Contaminants and "Noise"
Ingo Swann (12Dec97)
The central purpose of this Section 5 is to address the possibility that certain sociological situations keep knowledge about the superpowers as perpetually degraded, inadequate, and even undiscovered.
Since individuals, knowingly or unknowingly, may participate or be dragged into the sociological situations, it's worthwhile to attempt to examine whatever aspects one can manage to identify.
The chief, or bigger picture, sociological situation may consist of the one that has been briefly summarized in the Introductory as the relationship of the superpowers to Earthside power structures.
One can accept or reject this possible bigger picture reason. But either way, it can easily be shown that knowledge about the superpowers clearly suffers within the descriptive contexts of the terms selected for the heading of this Section.
Furthermore, it can also easily be pointed up that just about all human activities are accompanied by their share of distractions, deterrents, derailments, etc., and that many human activities end up becoming pismires personified.
Organized research into creativity, for example, usually suffers from derailments and deconstructions. Research addressing the enormously important topics of human sentiency and sensitivity are almost non-existent.
If one accepts the existence of "human nature," then it can be adduced that the descriptive terms of this Section are inherent in human nature fabric -- and the workings of which are delightfully seized upon and elaborated in espionage, political and sociological thrillers, and in soap opera formats.
But even without the context of human nature, the descriptive elements of this Section's title are anyway everywhere redundant and thickly scattered throughout human history.
In any event, any potential aspirant wishing to activate his or her latent superpower faculties might as well get ready to deal with the superpower preventives -- if only to be able to recognize them when encountered. After all, if one interprets disinformation as information, then one might have only oneself to blame when one finds oneself in some contaminating kind of pismire the disinformation has led one into.
In order to approach the two central topics (Contaminants and Noise) of this present essay, it seems necessary to start at some distance and then drawing closer to them.
Two Major Pathways to Learning
The first and preferred pathway of learning how to understand and develop something is to consult all information about it -- and then to more or less duplicate the information in one's mental information processing grids.
An extension of this first pathway is to make new discoveries if existing information and knowledge proves to be insufficient, inefficient or non-existent.
This first pathway is usually very workable, and the history of our species developmental aspects is quite firmly and broadly based on it.
When, however, one has given the first pathway a good workout and found that what one thought one would achieve by doing so has not in fact been achieved, then one might realize two things:
That the goal may have been illusory all along; or
That the first and preferred pathway is cluttered with accumulated junk, garbage, bullshit, and misinformation.
If this is the case, then one may be obliged to launch upon a second pathway regarding learning and developing whatever is involved.
Briefly put, the second pathway consists of divesting the first pathway of the accumulated junk, garbage, bullshit and misinformation.
The divesting process, however, can be very complicated in that it is often difficult to tell the difference, for example, between fact and bullshit, or between information and disinformation.
And indeed, if accepted social forces are perpetuating disinformation as real and valid information, then the ways and means of recognizing the disinformation can themselves be very difficult to discover.
However, there is a salient fact that can be emphasized. It can easily be shown that understanding and developmental approaches normally do not speed onward to success if the learning pathways are littered with bullshit and disinformation.
And this is especially the case where the goal to be reached is really meaningful -- especially if the goal has connotations of power.
Since any of the superpower enhancing methods are suggestive of power, one can perhaps intuit the multitudes of strata of bullshit and misinformation superpower aspirants might expect to encounter.
But even if this power thing is NOT the problem, superpower aspirants will encounter bullshit and misinformation anyway -- if only because many specimens of our species like to entertain and dazzle everyone with bullshit -- and which can easily be elevated to an art form.
The Real Reality of the Superpower Preventitives
Many seem to feel that bullshit and disinformation go away if and when they are seen through. In this regard, they are seen as kind of impermanent, and therefore of lesser importance, than what is permanent. In this sense, they do not deserve clinical examination or research.
However, bullshit and misinformation, etc., are not merely subsidiary factors, or tangential elements, that have accumulated by mere chance, ignorance, stupidity, or blindness.
Rather, the factors and elements represent a combined, interacting series of phenomena resulting in a Situation that has breadth, depth and dimensions in its own right.
Avoidance of the Second Learning Pathway
Generally speaking, it has been my experience that most people avoid a consideration of the second pathway because it can be seen as consisting of "negative" factors many don't want to get dirtied by.
In the sense of that avoidance, then, the desired pathway is the first one. It is thus pursued under the generally shared conviction that if one focuses principally on the "positive," then the "negative" will automatically become eliminated at some point.
There was a once popular song called, if I remember correctly: Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.
Also, in my childhood people were fond of quoting the three monkey thing: See no evil, hear no evil, do no evil. So I used to ask: if one never sees or hears evil, then how is one supposed to recognize it?
Likewise, I fail to see how one can "eliminate the negative" if one cannot recognize what it consists of, where it's at, and what it's doing.
Thus, the so-called sweetness-and-light-only thing, i.e., where ONLY the positive is pursued, is somewhat silly even if temporarily comforting.
So, the generally shared conviction of pursuing the positive, ignoring the negative, is somewhat philosophical and idealizing in vaporous kinds of ways, and some aspects of it can be compared to the creature with its head buried in a hole in the ground -- or in a pismire.
There is one principal reason why this generally shared positivistic conviction may be vaporous and empty of any long-term constructive merit.
Our species, as fabulous as it is in many ways, demonstrates a quite long RECORDED history of being completely willing to deal in information AND misinformation/disinformation -- as well as in lies, cheating, trickery, obfuscating and worse.
Thus, while our species and its variety of societies have set up and instituted centers of information collection and teaching, it can also be shown that methodologies for establishing misinformation and conducting disinformation have become equally institutionalized.
And along these lines, a significant but little noticed aspect can be pointed up:
That the public is invited to partake of the "knowledge" made available through centers of education;
The same public, however, is excluded from partaking in studies and methodologies of how to misinform and disinform.
This is to say, then, that we can view the junk, garbage, bullshit and misinformation stuff via two ways:
That the stuff might have accumulated merely by unfortuituous chance; or
That the stuff might have been more or less deliberately set up, effected, and thence cleverly managed.
In this sense, then, misinformation stuff that arises merely from stupidity, ignorance, etc., can be corrected by attempts to cure whatever is involved, or by making new discoveries.
If, however, the bullshit, junk and misinformation has achieved its destructive or contaminating factors by deliberate disinformation, then the contours of the resulting Situation become meaningful in quite different ways -- especially when it comes to trying to recognize and cure them.
The purpose of this Section 5, however, is not to bitch and moan about the existence of bullshit, & etc., or to luxuriate one's imaginative faculties in the dramas of conspiracy aesthetics.
The purpose is to try to give some dimensions to the second pathway of discovering what PREVENTS progress, understanding and development.
Those dimensions not only constitute a legitimate topic for discussion, but a necessary one with respect to the superpower faculties.
The nature and potential superpower activity of our species has clearly been surrounded with bullshit, infested with deterrents, junk thinking and contaminants, and limelighted with bad mainstream press and propaganda.
It is now helpful to discuss some of the most identifiable sociological inhibitors of the superpowers from TWO larger picture angles. This is to say that the same inhibitors will be discussed from two separate points of view -- as CONTAMINANTS and then as NOISE.
Contaminants Regarding the Superpowers
The terms used for the somewhat overblown heading of this Section represent a variety of factors that act as eroding contaminants with regard to achieving better understanding of and contact with the superpower faculties.
In large part, these contaminants are more active in sociological contexts than in individual or personal activity -- unless one has knowingly or unknowingly chanced to have duplicated them in one's mental grids.
If one has duplicated them, then one can say that one's grids are infested or contaminated with them.
But since individuals can knowingly and unknowingly be influenced by social processes, any distinctive boundaries between self and social-shaping forces are often hard to detect.
The superior goal in this regard is NOT to complain and blame anyone or anything as the source of cause of the bullshit or disinformation.
The superior goal is to recognize the existence and dysfunctional nature of whatever is involved.
Putting this another way, if one thinks that the goal is to cure and prevent bullshit, then one is laboring under a rather first class illusion. You see, Bullshit HAPPENS -- because it IS a full part of our dazzling species.
The superior goal, then, is to somehow avoid stepping in it.
As will unfold ahead in the few essays that will ultimately comprise this section, the contaminating factors range from silly to gruesome. But this is to say, they produce silly to gruesome effects within those affected by them.
Within the two sentences above, there is a distinction that is difficult to articulate.
In an attempt to articulate, we can say that social forces exist, and that some of them range from silly to gruesome.
From these forces we can expect at least two basic kinds of situations to emerge:
If we are UNAWARE that the contaminating social forces exist as such, then the probability might be high that they will become incorporated into individual information grids. The reason for this is that we DO program our thinking patterns to conform to our social environments in order to fit our behavior and activity into them.
If we are AWARE that the social forces ARE contaminants, whether silly or gruesome, then because of the awareness they may not affect us directly -- unless one is of the scumbaggy types that want to utilize the contaminants for one reason or another.
In any event, it has been shown, and broadly accepted, that awareness of contaminants acts to put some kind of perceptive or psychological DISTANCE between us and the contaminants.
But even so, the contaminants still exist in the social environment, and we may occasionally have to deal with them as such.
This is to say, then, that perceiving or knowing that the contaminants exist serves at least as a partial protective measure against being sucked into the dynamics of the contaminating factors in a wholesale and completely unknowing ways.
Sources of the Superpower Contaminants
It is tempting to try to point up the major sources or causes of contaminating factors in relationship to processes of thinking, perception and analysis. But very little in the way or organized research has taken place along those lines. So it is difficult to refer to documents containing the needed data and theoretical or factual discussions.
Here is yet another knowledge vacuum -- one that exists possibly because most of us believe that how we think is not the result of our mental information processing grids having become contaminated.
But one indeed can accept that the contaminants exist, that they are undesirable, but that they are often also USEFUL for various purposes.
However, in the past it has often been observed that Human Nature is comprised of both positive and negative aspects. Additionally many past human nature researchers considered that while the social and informational contexts might change, that the basic rudiments of human nature did not.
For example, greed remained greed, lust remained lust, the urges for power remained as such -- and did so throughout generations and whatever changes that societal, religious, economic, philosophic or scientific factors brought about.
In any event, wherefore and why the contaminants and preventives exist is an interesting matter. But there is another interesting matter: i.e., how they function within individuals and in their societies.
One way of defining how they function is to call them viruses of mind -- a topic that occasionally will be addressed in this database.
Meanwhile, a quite large perspective on mind viruses can be found in a book entitled VIRUS OF THE MIND (1997), written by Richard Brodie, the original author of Microsoft Word, one of the world's best-selling computer programs.
Identifying the Major Contaminants
The terms utilized in the title of this Section Five have been selected because their meanings are not dependent on social perspectives that come and go.
This is to say that the meanings of the terms are time and culture transcending and can be applied as regards the past and the future as well as any given present.
In this sense, then, the process dynamics of deterrents and demolitions are just as much a part of basic human nature as are the dynamics of gossip.
The terms have also been selected because, for example, HOW TO IMPLEMENT deterrents has been studied and the functional dynamic process of deterring are thus well known. Much the same can also be said for the other selected terms.
Of course, we will add other concept terms in essays ahead -- such as "pissing contests."
The accepted, and quite understandable, definition of CONTAMINATE refers to factors "that soil, stain, or infect by contact or association."
The term also refers to "making unfit for use by introduction of unwholesome, undesirable, erroneous or inappropriate elements."
Three synonyms are usually given for CONTAMINATE:
TAINT -- implies that corruption and decay have begun to take effect;
POLLUTE -- stresses the loss of purity, clarity, and cleanness through contamination;
DEFILE -- implies a deliberate effort of befouling of what ought to be clear and pure, and suggests a violation or desecration.
CONTAMINATE itself is an incorporation of the meanings of the three synonyms, but specifically refers to intrusion of or contact with an OUTSIDE source as the cause.
These meanings are certainly functional ones. Admittedly, they are usually linked only to PHYSICAL phenomena. But they can just as well be comprehensively linked to the five terms brought together as the title of this Section. For example, most people realize that one form of thinking or information etc., can contaminate another form of thinking or information, etc.
Employed Active Measures of Contaminating
DISTRACT: to cause to turn aside from.
DETER: to cause to turn aside from, to discourage, or to prevent from acting (as by fear or by misdirecting).
DERAIL: to cause to run off the rails, to throw off course.
DEMOLISH: to tear down or to destroy completely, so as to make vanish.
DECONSTRUCT: also to tear down, but by the methods of undoing and devaluating so that sense or function is terminated or lost.
PISMIRE: formally refers to urine + ant, i.e., ant piss, pungently smelling of formic acid; this term was adapted some time ago to refer to certain types of thinking that are PISIFORM in nature, PISIFORM referring to something the size of a pea.
DROOL: refers to DRIVEL, in turn meaning nonsense; but also meaning saliva leaking from mouth.
Although some of the early researchers of human nature in the past (c. 1500-1920) managed to construct convincing "maps" of its major attributes, to my knowledge no one ever found out how to change any of the attributes in our species as a whole.
The sum of human nature wisdom has always held that human nature is not very readily changed -- and therefore the wisdom part consists of knowing as much about human nature as one can and thereafter ALWAYS utilizing the knowledge in consideration of anything.
The dynamics of distractions, deterrents and demolitions, for example, will never "go away" or even be permanently eradicated or corrected -- because they are useful, perpetually useful.
This is to say that they are not merely defects of misguided thinking, but functional attributes within human nature when it comes to competitiveness -- and which attribute is one of the most clearly defined human nature attributes of our species as a whole.
Indeed, throughout recorded history there is hardly a human societal activity that is not laced through and through with competitiveness -- and its major functional armaments including tricksterism, cheating and deceit.
The overall meaning being attempted here is that the elements and factors of contaminants are probably permanently with us -- whether we like it or not.
Even if they were extensively studied and researched, few would really want them to be obliterated -- because their functions and dynamics are useful in all sorts of competitive arenas.
However, the idea that the dynamics of contaminants should be ignored because they are here to stay and won't go away is foolish -- except if one is a confirmed "sweetness and light" type (sweetness and light being one type of distracting drooling).
All of this might be expressed another way: "shit happens" -- and somewhat to avoid having it drop on one, or gum up one's thinking processes, it's perhaps the better part of wisdom to at least be able to identify contaminants.
After all, contaminants ignored will contaminate. With contaminants perceived and identified, there is at least the possibility of seeing through them.
And indeed, it can be shown that one of the secrets of achieving power of any kind is to see through contaminants. Thus, what we today call "empowerment" is somewhat related to developing skills with regard not only to seeing through contaminants, but to perceiving their functioning dynamics.
In this light, it can clearly be understood that if one's cognitive routes to one's own superpower faculties are cluttered with unrecognized contaminants, then one should not be surprised that one's superpower faculties might fail to activate.
By way of analogy here, if one's radar or sonar scanning systems, or one's computer hardware and software, are cluttered with unrecognized contaminants, the one will have to be content with products that are a mix of contaminated functioning.
This is more or less in keeping with the very ancient adage that what goes in also comes out -- at some point, anyway.
Even if one manages to activate a superpower faculty in the midst of unrecognized contaminants, the combined, the frustrating mixed result might not be very spectacular -- IF there is a result.
There are two essential, or principal aspects of these critical implications. The first of these is easy enough to articulate.
It has to do with the first and second pathways, as already mentioned, that can lead to fuller understanding and development of the superpower faculties.
The first pathway, the preferred one, has to do with obtaining information and knowledge about the superpowers, with the expectation that if such is taken on board then proficiency and efficiency regarding the superpowers will result.
But! One aspect of this first pathway few realize exist is that one also has to learn how to negotiate one's way through all of the information and knowledge available.
This is to say that if the REAL, so to speak, information and knowledge is not negotiated through in some proper way, then it is unlikely that any crucial alignment will take place within the mental information processing grids of individuals, groups, or societies.
If and when one realizes that it is necessary to enter into the second, less preferred pathway, in order to discover what deterrents consist of, one is then faced with the same problem of negotiating one's way through the deterrents. But to achieve anything of the kind, one first has to find out and recognize what the deterrents consist of.
All of this is the same as saying that one cannot negotiate one's way through anything unless one can learn to identify what it is that one is supposed to negotiate through.
Thus, for example, if one is obliged, for some reason or another, to negotiate one's way through a MESS, one can no longer treat the mess AS a mess. One has to break it apart, break it down, into its recognizable constituent elements -- this in order to perceive how to negotiate through it.
And here, rather inadvertently it seems, is revealed the most efficient and workable way to institute, apply and manage misinformation and disinformation: i.e., to make such a mess of something (such as the superpowers) that few will ever be able to negotiate their way through it.
Contaminants as "Noise" -- "Noise" as Contaminating -- Contaminants and "Noise" as Virus of Mind
Having said this much, it is now necessary to attempt to distill and clarify what, for example, correct and incorrect information add up to regarding the superpowers.
This is best done via a kind of chart:
Correct Information -- versus
Information -- versus
Truth / Facts -- versus
Lies / Deceit
Valid Directions -- versus
Uncontaminated -- versus
All of the above equate to...
SIGNAL versus NOISE
Thus, regarding the first, and more enthusiastic pathway of learning, one hopes to get onboard and negotiate one's way through SIGNALS.
Regarding the second, and less enthusiastic pathway of learning, one hopes to negotiate one's way through NOISE, so as to be able to identify and circumvent it -- or, with something akin to high hopes, eradicate it.
The Signal-To-Noise Ratio
Perusers of this website will already have come across an essential essay on the Signal-To-Noise Ratio already placed herein some time ago.
But for easy reference here, NOISE refers to whatever distorts, interferes with, or obscures "SIGNALS." In giving definitions or NOISE, most dictionaries indicate "an unwanted signal in an electronic communication system, or whatever is spread by rumor or false report."
For our purposes here, NOISE and contaminants are roughly the same if the results of them are taken into consideration.
SIGNAL refers to a detectable quality or impulse by which messages or information can be transmitted efficiently, clearly or unimpeded, or to whatever constitutes a characteristic feature of something.
In its original sense, the concept of the Signal-To-Noise Ratio admittedly is drawn from problems of electrical engineering.
But the Ratio has also, and quite appropriately, been extended as entirely workable into the realms of information theory and communications.
But even so, the Ratio is easily taken into other areas of activity themselves characterized by topics, subjects, or environments that possess constituents of information, misinformation and disinformation.
In the largest sense, then, we might be talking of humanity, of our species -- certainly of its sociological patterns, and of the competitiveness which might be the chief hallmark of ours species, with the ability to think coming second.
In computer lingo, the Noise part of the Ratio is often the principal constituent of GIGO -- i.e., garbage in, garbage out.
The point of possible enlightenment being led up to by all of the foregoing is that a noisy information and sensing system, whatever it is, probably will produce noise.
And so if we now consider that the superpower faculties are SENTIENT systems that deal with identifying certain signals among billions of all possible signals, then we can grasp the concept that if the superpower faculties might not function well if inundated by or overwhelmed with noise.
This is then to say that if one wishes to activate one's superpower faculties, one is ALSO equally obliged to learn to identify signal AND noise.
And so it can be considered, hypothetically at least, that the superpowers constitute an arena of human functioning where noise is just as important as signal.
Therefore, if one wishes to attempt to activate their superpowers, from the ground up one must become just as much a noise expert as a signal expert.
In this regard, now somewhat obvious perhaps, one cannot hope to get very far regarding the superpowers by following only the first, and most preferred pathway.
You see, and somewhat metaphorically speaking, the superpower faculties "inhabit" both the signal and noise universes.
Indeed, the aligning of KNOWN knowledge and information so that others can benefit from it is the dominant basis of most Earthside educational formats. If new discoveries come about, then these are incorporated into the prior existing knowledge base.
When, then, people want to learn something about the superpowers and how to develop them, they usually attempt to utilize the first and preferred learning pathway either as self-learning or taught learning.
However, something enlightening can be said about the first and preferred pathway: That it works and succeeds best with regard to whatever falls into any kind of physical parameters, or with regard to human activities which in large part involve physical aspects.
The principal reason why the first pathway works best regarding physicality is that physical stuff, being the stubborn stuff that it is, sooner or later provides its own reality checks.
Physical stuff is also suggestive of its own rules and laws, and which scientists set about to discover some time ago. But even if the average person doesn't grok the laws and rules of physicality, they can nevertheless learn a lot merely by trial and error -- and which is what most scientists have learned from, too.
Now, there are quite a number of human activities regarding which outside physical variables do not provide easily accessible reality checks.
One of those activities is THINKING per se. And thinking is perhaps the biggest of the big time activities of our species after competitiveness.
If there is not some outside variable, usually physical, against which human thinking can experience some kind of reality check, then the human thinker has to attempt to self-identify such reality checks.
And with this we come up to a rather amusing situation, but one of large dimensions and import, that needs some discussion. This discussion, however, will be postponed until after certain other topics have been addressed.
The following essay in this Section will attempt to deal with the topic of power structures within contaminants and noise.