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The Person-World Premise -- III

Henry Flynt (February 1983; revised[1] )

(c) 1983, 1996 Henry A. Flynt, Jr.

Part I. Orientation

A. A preliminary view

B. Framework 1 and Framework 2

C. Insisting on the person-world

D. Obstacles to entertaining meta-technology -- 1

E. Obstacles to entertaining meta-technology -- 2

F. Culminating stages

G. The meta-technologist's person-world

H. Keys

Part II. Formulations

A. General provisos about the delimitation of the phenomenon

B. Framework 1

C. Framework 2


Part I. Orientation

Let me begin with meta-technology.[2] Meta-technology is the family of instrumental modalities for higher civilization whose field of action is the determination of reality. It starts from the shared culture which we are supposed to possess already.[3]

At a common-sense level, this culture is forced to posit an objective reality in which there are a plurality of human minds--an objectivist dualism, for want of a better term. Of course, there is no basis for this common-sense notion in natural science, the culture's most esteemed cognitive activity. That, and other incoherences of the culture, are details which are supposed to be familiar to my readers. All the same, scientific psychology concedes the perceptual illusions, the fact of dreaming, the effects of psychotropic drugs, etc. Those are some of the phenomena on which meta-technology draws.

Meta-technological investigations proceed directly to undermine established culture. They do so by selecting already-recognized phenomena--often interpersonally comparable subjective phenomena like the psychological phenomena just mentioned--in order to utilize these phenomena in constructs which break the bonds of objective reality or of scientism. Thus, strict meta-technology is a paradoxical, undermining and instrumental dynamic applied to the culture we supposedly share--or to the objective reality which that culture purports to represent.


In what follows there are a few terms correlative to questions under active investigation, which the reader should be alerted to.

personally relative totality

personal microcosm

generic subjectivity

high-level affection

consenting sham


A. A preliminary view

The Person-World Premise -- III (hereafter PWP III) complements meta-technology, as I will explain at length.[4] To some extent, PWP III addresses subject-matter addressed previously in meta-technological investigations like "Dreams and Reality," and in other statements of mine like "On Social Recognition" and "Proposal for a Geniuses' Liberation Project."[5] My unpublished manuscript "Identity of the Self" (March 1981) provides data for both meta-technology and PWP III.

But PWP III departs from the meta-technological method. Like meta-technology, PWP III starts from the culture in which we supposedly find ourselves already. But PWP III devotes a painstaking effort to selecting a portion of that shared culture and stipulating it as a new subject-matter, before proceeding to the fault lines as is characteristic of meta-technology.

Most of my writings have as their controlling limit a radical empiricism in which the word "experience" is shorthand for beliefless experience (momentary sense-contents). But in PWP III, the word "experience" has its more usual meaning (in English) of the human process of existence. "Experience" refers to such easily available examples as:

- emotional upheavals

- life-or-death decisions under uncertainty

- psychotic episodes

- assertion of one's thematic personal identity or values.

Some authors call this lived experience.

PWP III proposes to make a topic or subject-matter out of the following: the individuated (i.e. the individual's) "world" or totality as it is consciously integrated in action (or passivity or submission for that matter). Thus--and this point seems truistic but it is actually a difficult methodological point--we ask for general principles of the personally relative world of each member of the human multitude. (Colloquially, "my palpable world.") So far, we accept the established common sense which posits a plurality of human minds within an objective reality. (This notion is reflected in the natural language by the permission for every human to use the word "I" as his or her own designation. Indeed, PWP III is correlative to the word "I" in that each expression/perspective concerns a phenomenon which is both personally relative and generic. But the topic for PWP III is not just the ego but the personally relative totality.)

I already considered philosophical anthropology as a proposed endeavor in Blueprint for a Higher Civilization.6 There I gave two reasons to be wary of all philosophical anthropologies. First, when philosophical anthropology undertakes to give an account or analysis of lived experience, it overlooks that such experience is mythified; and it insidiously passes from describing the conformist myth to affirming and espousing it. Secondly, philosophical anthropology makes Absolutes out of explanations of lived experience which are no more provable or plausible than other, opposing explanations. PWP III is not a philosophical anthropology in that it does not seek affirmative-dogmatic results, and does not absolutize the ostensible configurations.

PWP III continues by addressing the personally relative totality in a way which takes it more literally than is usual, and which takes it as rationally prior to the various doctrines by which the culture explains it. For example, human existence is a matter of choice-making. Now there are any number of doctrines which locate the control of my choices in some source which is external to myself, prior to myself, and predestined. But no objectivist explanation can unburden humans from the experience of choice-making. Not only that. Choice-making is one of the phenomena which here will be called generic subjectivities. (Other examples are boredom, despair, romantic affection.[7] ) There are religious and scientistic ideologies which slight choice-making. But they cannot tell you how to modulate or mutate choice-making except through brutalization. In general, the ideologies forestall any discovery of how to modulate or mutate a generic subjectivity (aside from brutalization).

The general principle is that if we address the personally bounded totality in a literal way, the result is a very strange selection of subject-matter from the shared culture--even before we proceed to the fault lines. What is to be taken as palpable or proximate in "my world"? If I know enough about the Chinese language to make guesses about whether I am hearing it spoken--but nevertheless do not understand one word of Chinese--then in this personally relative totality, Chinese words do not have meaning except at the level of circuitous and hypothetical connections: I can find a translator, undertake to learn Chinese, etc. On the other hand, for a person who is bilingual in English and Chinese, the truncation of my world at the frontier of the Chinese language is ridiculous to him. If a third person shouts in Chinese to me and the bilingual person to watch out for an oncoming automobile, the bilingual person has an advantage on me vaguely like telepathy. Thus, to seek generalizations about the personally relative totality demands an unusual standpoint: because we learn from the shared culture that the concrete details of the personally relative totalities plainly are not co-extensive. Nevertheless, the new venture has not made an error; it has noted that a foreign language may enter my personally relative totality as a circuitous and hypothetical possibility rather than as an immediate, palpable vehicle of meaning.


B. Framework 1 and Framework 2

In my research to date, I have defined two different frameworks for the analysis of the personally relative totality.

Framework 1 conceives the personally relative totality as a fusion, co-constitutivity, or configuration of self and "objectivities" (or informally, self and world).

Framework 2 conceives that the primary feature of the personal totality is the ensemble of so-called human-conventional meanings which are understood (by "the person"). The obvious example is the expressions in one's native language.

Referring back to the person who speaks English but not Chinese, the ensemble of meanings for this person includes English but not Chinese. Whatever the framework, the totality remains personally relative. Heuristically speaking, Framework 2 partially makes relative shared consciousness elemental. "My" self becomes in part derivative: the (personally relative) field of shared meaning discriminates part of itself as me. (An analogy would be the way in which I common-sensically discriminate my leg as part of me and a perceived table-leg as not part of me, even though both are inside "my world."--?)

Framework 1 and Framework 2 reflect two different emphases in the personally relative totality. Framework 1 is egoic, emphasizing that I don't reach other people as real subjectivities in life, that I can't have another person's self/world relationship in that person's stead. Framework 2 emphasizes those moments in which I have a highly suggestive experience of consciousness different from mine: when another person demonstrates that he or she "knows more than I do"; or when an external language-event catalyzes my thinking. Also suggestive for Framework 2 is the competition of wills and interpretations in the adult world, the politics of upholding an "authentic core experience."[8] Framework 2 wants to acknowledge more depth in the personally relative totality by recognizing the shared character or exteriority of certain communications which I encounter. But this acknowledgement no more "proves other minds" than anything else does. Indeed, one of the sidelights of meta-technology which personhood theory was needed to explain is the blocking of communication by differences between entire cultures or civilizations. And in working with such blocks, one realizes that I cannot be catalyzed by an externally supplied meaning unless it is latent in me.

That gives one reason why Framework 1 has dominated Framework 2 in the research to date. Another is that it seems appropriate to treat desire, etc. as irreducibly individuated. Otherwise, we confuse mere explanation with the palpable "burden of living" (to underline an aspect of life which PWP III insists on addressing). Once we choose personally relative totalities as a topic, it is easier to follow up on this initial choice by accepting the phenomenon as egoic or as me-directed for any "me." It would be elegant if subsequent thought could unify the two frameworks. But we may as well be aware of the reason why two frameworks emerge. The frameworks are defined at the level where we are selecting subject-matter from the established culture. There is a dichotomy in that culture as to what is plausible, and we reflect it. At a later stage of the undertaking, when the subversive dynamic is applied to the two paradigms, they converge, and the dichotomy disappears.


C. Insisting on the person-world

Once we select the subject-matter from the established culture in the foregoing way, and then continue by investigating it with a literal attitude, it begins to diverge from the prevalent assumptions about reality. The personally relative totality is given preference. "The totality" is identified with a personal microcosm. At this point, I have often encountered the reflex reaction that this approach is metaphysical idealism or solipsism--as if I were no better than Berkeley or Schopenhauer. Let me try to guide the reader beyond this obstacle without being drawn into a quarrel which shouldn't have started. What I object to in metaphysical idealism and solipsism is not that they are outrageous, but that they are sterile. They inveigle the reader to assent to some self-defeating proposition or other, and then that is the end of it: nothing changes. As for PWP III, it is--like meta-technology--a paradoxical, undermining and instrumental dynamic. The preference given to the personal microcosm is paradoxical and dynamic; and the boundaries of what is immediate are indistinct. Also this individual world of (lived) experience is not flat; but rather has the depth that comes from the alienness of objects to the self within experience. ("The world" as resistance. What people feel when a crashing airplane knocks the roof off their house.)

As for metaphysics, to have an airplane knock the roof off your house does not disprove solipsism or prove objective reality. The solipsist is no more a fool than his opponent. Or to put it another way, after the metaphysician has absolutely proved his objective reality, person-world theory will turn around and smash that reality to dust. But let us be specific. The lesson, for us, of having the roof of your house knocked off is that it illustrates the world-depth or polarity or estrangement which is possible in the personal microcosm.

What our preferential stance means is that notwithstanding the world-depth, polarity, or estrangement, everything that is not proximate and palpable in the person-world begins to seem chimerical. Not only the objectivities of science and of the societal world, but other minds, and even one's own existence in periods of unconsciousness, can no longer be accepted at the prevailing consensus' valuation.

Let me elaborate on one departure from the established culture which follows from Framework 1. The notion of consciousness as a separate substance, which is in a person's head like a fly in a bottle, is eliminated--but not in favor of behaviorism. Rather, the personal totality is a fusion of self and "objectivities"--and it is the fusion that is "conscious." The distinction of mental and non-mental phenomena is kept: but the notion of an unconscious existence is relegated to the realm of fantasy. It is becoming clear that more and more of the established tenets of industrial-scientific civilization will have to be suspended as we proceed. The astrophysical picture of a dead universe which preceded the emergence of our consciousness must be relegated to the status of one of the chimeras.


A. PWP III acknowledges "objectivities," systems of factual judgments, and action-systems as constituents of the personally relative totality. But it cannot tell you how to discover any given scientific law (except in the course of a reconstruction of science as a warped world-projection). That is not an oversight. PWP III deliberately apprehends all scientific laws as superstitions. Every such law can be abrogated at some appropriately chosen level.

It also becomes clear that the subject-matter which we are shaping is not the human being as defined biologically. That is why I need not concede that this unfolding understanding of the "conscious gestalt" is an anthropomorphism. PWP III is agnostic on whether an animal or an artificial being or an extra-terrestrial could possess sentience with a non-human configuration.

All of meta-technology devolves from the insight that every objective resistance which supposedly proves the real world can be breached at some appropriately chosen level. But PWP III has the specific feature of globally disabusing us of objective reality. PWP III leads to a global understanding of objective reality as a hallucination or delusion corresponding to the so-called socialization process--actually, sustained by circular or scrambled causation within the palpable personal totality. (The rest of meta-technology gives us a multiplicity of more intensive but more narrow results.)


B. PWP III directs us to an action-system of sudden, global dissolutions of the mundane world. Psychedelic experience has already suggested this possibility. But PWP III directs us to several avenues of this sort, and at least one is more enduring than the psychedelic experience. Specifically, we find that much of objective reality is a matter of community-approved mental play-acting. One is encouraged to derive gratification from a belief easily ascertainable as as lie.[9] By identifying these ploys in the culture (a very advanced task), and motivating you to distance yourself from them, PWP III can produce unprecedentedly massive disillusionment: suddenly and globally annulling the mundane world in the alert waking state.

Some of my associates objected to personhood theory on the grounds that it was mere myth-making or mere interpretation and did not have the instrumental power of meta-technology. But my interest is in action on the determination of reality, and (B) indicates that PWP III could prove to be compelling in this respect.

One of the motivations of PWP III is that it is the most appropriate perspective for fulfilling many purposes important to the aspiration to a higher civilization. As one example, there is a mystique which proposes that psychedelic experience will divest people of mundane belief. And indeed it should. And yet the "drug re-education" proves in the end to be inconsequential. A person can experience a psychedelic episode in which the person-world or "the reality" is modulated for a time, then later dismiss the experience as "a movie." PWP III allows us to ponder systematically why the lesson of tripping so easily becomes a vapid one.

Another example of the nature of PWP III as a perspective. To the extent that modern knowledge recognizes the phenomenon of love, particularly romantic affection, it can analyze romantic affection only in a reductionist or adversarial way. Modern knowledge can reduce love to biology and to societal norms; and it can list all sorts of reasons why romantic affection is "neurotic." Psychology routinizes emotional life and turns it into a currency: everybody is supposed to have "relationships." But modern knowledge cannot attend to love empathetically, and discern the valuable, conscious aspect of romantic affection. It turns out, by the way, that the valuable, conscious aspect of romantic affection is easily dissipated--rather like the psychedelic experience. PWP III provides a framework in which the valuable, conscious aspect of romantic affection could be discerned.[10]

Imagine a "bull session" in which the participants are challenged with respect to their need for companionship, their denied nature, its discouragement by society, and their defiance or timidity throughout their lives. It is possible that the participants would find this "test" threatening and humiliating. The test could not be a proper scientific experiment, that is, a neutral clinical experiment. The very people who would be ignited by such an experiment would not agree to participate in it on a neutral clinical basis. People could be drawn into this test only in a situation of camaraderie and personal conflict which challenged their thematic identities and their dignity.

Modern socio-psychology would assess this test as follows. People repress their real wishes, and their real wishes go unsatisfied, because of the pressure of opposing societal norms. But issues are involved here which are outside the province of science.

(The issue of denied nature transcends the categories of science. That does not mean, however, that every denied nature deserves to be lionized. Abstractly, this or that denied nature has not been proved to be a virtue. Today, deviant personal styles are quickly turned into saleable tokens of collective specialness, of hipness.)

The example is an attempt to bring the reader to the next observation, which concerns a non-routine and intellectually weighty whole. Factual reality (e.g. the matter of allowing a culturally established physico-mathematical reality to depersonalize and degrade you, to state the matter from the negative side) interacts with dignity. Factual reality is not a clinically neutral problem (although modern culture says that it is). What is more, the savants who stipulate factual reality in the culture will not entertain a serious challenge to that reality on a neutral clinical basis.

C. Factual reality is interdependent with the culturally correlated pruning of human faculties, with consenting shams, with esteem, with morale, and with dignity.

Yet there is a pitfall, again, in approaching what is after all an intellectual whole from this direction. Demagogues can attempt to redirect scientific inquiry according to political demands--as has happened in the twentieth century. Here we have mere fraud and bullying--and the politically imposed doctrines have subsequently been swept away by democratic transformations and conscientious and pragmatically resolute science. Without belaboring the point, I am making an issue of (C) in order to slice culture open--not to legitimate propaganda.


1996. PWP III availed itself of the term `dignity'. Already, my older writings like "Dreams and Reality," "On Social Recognition," and "Proposal for a Geniuses' Liberation Project" had appealed to notions like personal identity and dignity. The term became explicit in the discussion in the Seventies, being used in various ways. It goes without saying that the word is difficult to work with because its connotations are unctuous, and because it legitimately has diverse meanings. Not only that: the word becomes a question in person-world analysis, not an answer. Nevertheless, my 1983 use of the term should be preserved to keep the sequence of syllabi intact.

The familiar meaning of `dignity' is transformed when it is related to my undertaking. Dignity is one's supportive expectation from oneself of responsible caring, emotional receptivity, independence, steadfastness, ability, honesty, astuteness (and such traits).--Relative to the perspective of personal faculties and personal possibility allowed by meta-technological dismantling of culturally correlated credulity and objectification.

So I do not wish dignity to be a catchword for all virtues. Christer Hennix gave the word important meanings which are not identical to the foregoing. (I resort to the word `consecration' for a condition of heightened presence and activation, sublime relish, and uncanniness.)

As I just intimated, at a later stage of the inquiry or a different level of credulity, constituents of dignity may be found to be mirages. Our first glimpse of those stages will come with (D) below. Another 1996 remark is that my present research on "high-level affections" seeks an account of the phenomena which dispenses with the overly burdened terms. Nevertheless, here `dignity' is retained as a shorthand for the explication given.


It is important not to vitiate my aims by concealing their audacity. To raise these issues is perhaps to suggest that people should forego culture or myth as such, in its inherited sense. Such a step would go beyond social revolution, which is a modern European project. (It would devalue my ideas to urge them as "a cure for the current sickness of the West.")

But the task of an analysis of ordinary personhood is to treat lived experience's cognitive pattern. Thus, a speculation on collective escape from culture as such should be in a separate essay--which I haven't written yet.


D. Obstacles to entertaining meta-technology -- 1

Around 1980, my circle found that attempts to communicate or promulgate meta-technology encountered grotesque obstacles. One speculation we were driven to was that these obstacles were comparable to the blocking of communication by differences between civilizations. These obstacles formed one of the initial motivations to look for an orientation such as the person-world.

The point ties in with and extends the remarks of the previous section. If one person tried to propound Newton's law of inertia in ancient Rome, he would be told that all the premises of the law (point mass, infinite empty space, absence of all impinging influences, etc.) were literally, utterly insane; and that there was no practical advantage in this kind of thinking anyway. (Here again, the illustration is only a pointer--since I really want to be underneath the barrier between Roman and English instrumental cognition, ancient European and modern European cognition.)

Or, let us turn the illustration around and imagine a conformist in an enclave of deviants. We have the bull session whose participants share a denied nature. Suppose that an uninvited conformist friend is present also; and that the participants quarrel throughout the session about whether the friend is in denial of his nature. This evaluation cannot be clinical and neutral: the friend's self-assurance that he is not deviant is at issue. (Hennix said that some people ran away because we were exposing a nature which they were struggling to repress or wanted to be unspoken.)

With the reservations I have already stated concerning my analogies, the attempt to promulgate meta-technology today encounters suchlike resistances. A single contribution in meta-technology might, for example, prove that 1+1 != 2 and that 1 = 2; or to be more precise, that 1+1 != 2 and 1 = 2 are available whenever we want to make logically impossible events happen, etc. etc.[11] Descartes said that even God cannot make 1+1 != 2; so that I am seeking, for humans, powers greater than what humans have ascribed to God. The enterprise, as I said, is audacious. We seek to let loose a range of possibilities which no extant "social system" can contain. To accept this contribution as a worthwhile one places at stake an individual pride, cowardice, and sanity which are not merely idiosyncratic but are correlated to the culture.

In addition, obstacles to the appreciation of meta-technology are created by the specific pruning of faculties and the impotence of humanistic pursuits in contemporary civilization. Readers equate meta-technology with surrealism (it's not mechanistic so it must be a merely esthetic pursuit), phenomenology (an apologism which some neophytes misperceived as revolution), etc. etc.

Incidentally, I had better head off another culturally supplied source of misunderstanding. Formalist scientism has reduced "communication" to information theory, etc. PWP III argues against this reductionism, analyzing language, communication, and meaning as generic subjectivities. (As if they had something in common with boredom, despair, and romantic affection. Of course, vernacular English allows this for "meaning" and "communication.")


E. Obstacles to entertaining meta-technology -- 2

To further this aspiration to a higher civilization, we need the capability to investigate certain problem-areas, which I have begin to define and will continue to define. I don't see how these problem-areas can be adequately comprehended by meta-technology, even though it discerns data relevant to them. Meta-technology is not thingist, but it is impersonal, and it does not address the individual as a doer with a thematic personal identity. The additional, carefully chosen framework called the person-world is needed to crystallize "the whole person who is at stake as a whole" in these problem-areas. The problem-areas need to be conceived as manifestations of circular or scrambled causation in the person-world with dignity at the heart of the matter. A re-examination of my older writings like "Dreams and Reality," "On Social Recognition," and "Proposal for a Geniuses' Liberation Project" discovers that they appealed to notions like personal identity and dignity, but without a basis for these notions consonant with my perspective.


F. Culminating stages

To recap, I have stipulatively selected, from the culture we are already in, a new phenomenon called the person-world. The person-world is determined as a phenomenon which is paradoxically trans-personal and trans-idiosyncratic and yet prioritizes the personal microcosm. Let me suggest that it is at this point, in the last stage of selecting and displacing notions from the established culture, that whole, integrative aspects of the person-world like imminent character (stretching "imminent" to mean in-the-moment) and thematic personal identity would be defined.[12]

Now comes the crucial turn.

D. Once the person-world is delimited as a phenomenon, it is not treated as an Absolute. (Especially not as an Absolute which can solve the subject/object problem in a way that vindicates conventional thought.) Rather, it is treated as a phenomenon to be critically unraveled.

In other words, I begin to search out the fault-lines of the person-world. One outcome is that I gain the capability to re-form the constituents of personhood into "impossible" realities.

1. Personhood theory reflects on the distinction between illusions and legitimate perceptions; the distinction between dreaming and waking; appeal to memory to organize the person-world; language, communication, and meaning as generic subjectivities; alteration of the "visual field" associated with closing one's eyes; other minds and the first-person pronoun; etc. We find that the person-world is massively incoherent. Its phenomena consist largely of "objectivities"; but nothing validates those objectivities.

2. We find that the person-world is segmented in the sense that at different times, the alert waking state is interrupted, and also the person-world becomes modally different (dreaming, fever, hypnagogic states, "morning amnesia,"[13] psychedelic episodes, etc.). PWP III continues the job (begun in meta-technology) to ascertain the rationales of these modalities. (For example, I pointed out in "Dreams and Reality" that in the hypnagogic state, the peripheral environment of a perception may be absent.)


3. Ultimately, I transfer the "Is there language?" trap--which is the controlling limit for meta-technology, and the insight warranting my extreme claims about the malleability of objective reality--into the person-world: yielding the insight of personhood's self-cancellation.[14] The very "depth" which I talked about earlier as characterizing even the personal microcosm is seen to be collapsible; just as one can suddenly realize that visual perspective is not radial distance and cannot validate radial distance. The person-world devolves to experience-flat consciousness(?).

By the time of F.W.J. Schelling's System of Transcendental Idealism, the "transcendental argument" meant an argument which discovered that some "immediate given" guaranteed the objectivity and unity of the world: verifying that this eighteenth-century German belief-system (Euclidian geometry and all) was the eternal absolute from which we could never escape. Be that as it may, PWP III now accedes to possibilities far beyond what Schelling feared as madness.

E. In personhood's self-cancellation, the immediate givens from which the transcendental argument extracts the objectivity and unity of the world are annulled.

(E) guarantees that PWP III does not fetishize the personal microcosm.


G. The meta-technologist's person-world

PWP III can address another ramification of meta-technology which it was not appropriate to mention until now. What becomes of personhood for the person or collective which implements meta-technology? This topic ties in with a further topic. Christer Hennix has independently concluded that we want access to a preferred extra-mundane state of being or action involving an intentional mutability of the world-apparition. The problem-area is the controversy over how to achieve this.

I am here mentioning certain topics for investigation because of their speculative interest. (These topics may be rather distant from primitive meta-technology, which needs to be expanded in order to concretely substantiate my enterprise.[15] ) An additional speculative topic, tied to the ones already mentioned, concerns how primitive meta-technology and the personhood theory achieved so far can best be potentiated.

This question widens into the question of future perspectives of scientificity. Physico-mathematical science has achieved a functional precision tied to instrumental uses (yielding algorithms for the manipulation of matter) which exemplifies the coercive effectiveness of scientificity. It would be a miscalculation to assume that personhood theory can follow in the footsteps of methods which fetishize abstract mechanism. Indeed, the beginning of personhood theory was the realization that no matter how intimidating the fetishism of abstract mechanism is, it is obviated by the potential of meta-technology and by the person-world orientation.

With reference to an extrapolation of scientificity beyond modern science, non-formalized, non-quantitative, eclectic methods may still produce powerful results more quickly than any other approach. Most important of all, we must understand that the extrapolated scientificity will not perpetuate the compartmentation of culture embodied in the modern branches of knowledge.

As one example, the extrapolated scientificity might need a "language" of words like Rorschach blots. Different users would project different meanings on a given word, or complete the meaning in different ways. Yet paradigmatic sentences would give results for each user that were valid or practical by the appropriate criteria.


H. Keys

The features labeled (A)-(E) in the foregoing discussion are important enough to be collected in one place.

A. PWP III acknowledges "objectivities," systems of factual judgments, and action-systems, as constituents of the personally relative totality. But it cannot tell you how to discover any given scientific law (except in the course of a reconstruction of science as a warped world-projection). That is not an oversight. PWP III deliberately apprehends all scientific laws as superstitions. Every such law can be abrogated at some appropriately chosen level.

B. PWP III directs us to an action-system of sudden, global dissolutions of the mundane world. Psychedelic experience has already suggested this possibility. But PWP III directs us to several avenues of this sort, and at least one is more enduring than the psychedelic experience. Specifically, we find that much of objective reality is a matter of community-approved mental play-acting (consenting shams). By identifying these ploys in the culture (a very advanced task), and motivating you to distance yourself from them, PWP III can produce unprecedentedly massive disillusionment: suddenly and globally annulling the mundane world in the alert waking state.

C. Factual reality is interdependent with the culturally correlated pruning of human faculties, with consenting shams, with esteem, with morale, and with dignity.

D. Once the person-world is delimited as a phenomenon, it is not treated as an Absolute. (Especially not as an Absolute which can solve the subject/object problem in a way that vindicates conventional thought.) Rather, it is treated as a phenomenon to be critically unraveled.

E. In personhood's self-cancellation, the immediate givens from which the transcendental argument extracts the objectivity and unity of the world are annulled.

* * *

Part II. Formulations

Now that the master decisions about methodology have been made in a fairly definitive and cogent way, I continue by reviewing some important principles and specifics of PWP III. (As of 1983.)

A. General provisos about the delimitation of the phenomenon

l. A totality is stipulatively selected for analysis from the usual, familiar "world"-conception(s). The analysis invokes the circumstance that I think I already know a language and there already are intersubjective meanings. The addressee to which the propositions of the analysis are offered is "the reader."

2. Preferred or elemental status is given to the "immediate" or palpable--notwithstanding that the boundary between palpable and impalpable, tangible and intangible, is indistinct.

3. "Subjectivity" or consciousness must always be palpably present in the totality. Validation of the analysis always involves a component of introspection (although that is true for all science in the sense that every human observation is personal).

4. An implication is that autonomous things become hypothetical or chimerical. Also, "realities" or "objectivities" which are entirely impalpable are treated as merely hypothetical, derivative phenomena.

5. An implication is that the totality is personally relative in one way or another.

6. The analysis must provide some conceptual process which accounts for the sense-of-self, in the surroundings of not-self.

7. Remark: the analysis is not a psychology, a theory of the mind, an "it's-all-in-your-head" doctrine. The analysis covers world, "universe." What requires attention is where conventional notions of "universe" get assigned in this analysis. E.g. most of the scientific universe is relegated to hypothetical reality--and even, inasmuch as it amounts to a cosmos consisting entirely of things, to nonsensical fantasy.

8. Remark: delimitation of the phenomenon yields a result which is deliberately non-congruent to received common sense or prevailing notions of objective reality. Even though the phenomenon has been selected from usual, familiar conceptions, those conceptions have been dislocated by the preceding provisos.

9. The analysis seeks to expose the credulities (often incoherent credulities) which hold the received world-conception together. Thus the analysis is deliberately adversarial to conformist credulity.


B. Framework 1

1. Framework 1 begins as an account of the ostensible, personally bounded "world" of my "coping" or ordinary functioning. Framework 1 draws upon the usual, familiar way in which I conceive myself as I cope. In other words, Framework 1 invokes a certain conception or picture as being already familiar to "the audience." But the familiar picture is highly indeterminate and inconsistent. Framework 1 at once selects certain tenets in the familiar conception to be taken literally and rigorously, to the extent of causing other tenets to be downgraded or suspended. In other words, certain tenets are posited literally and rigorously (and thus as rationally prior or elementary). The familiar picture is then critically explored from this standpoint.

2. Ordinary personhood (the ostensible personal totality) is a bonding of my direct awareness (including feelings, urges, moods) to "objectivities." I interact with objectivities fragmentarily and sequentially while conceiving them as persisting wholes. The point is not the separability of self and objectivities but their inseparability and interdependency. Again, the bonding of self and objectivities is taken as rationally prior or elementary.

3. I can act, producing change or expending effort. (Mental action, somatic action, action upon exterior objectivities are all included.)

a. I can realize a preference in action: implemented choice or willful action.

b. I may act contrary to my preference: "loss of self-control."

c. There is a spectrum of actions between those which are acutely willful and those which are acutely unwanted: habit, being enthralled, lassitude, etc.

4. More basic than (2)-(3): "the totality" is polarized as self and non-self (or world). The most characteristic features of self are centered activation, presence, drive. These features can be attenuated in a fever or a drowsy state.

5. Some aspects of the self as mentation are as follows: desire, mood, choice, beliefs (espoused assertions), self-observation (self-consciousness), etc. It seems that self should also include wordless mental phenomena such as visualizations, daydreaming, and "vicarious experience" (noting though that such experience can have somatic correlatives). Self includes a range of constituents to which I give the technical name incipiently semantic consciousness-events: attribution of realism in dreams and remembering; recognition; imputations of objectivity to apparitions; expectation, anticipation, apprehension.

6. "Objectivities" are non-mental phenomena which confront me, which I "address" (engage, exert myself upon), etc. These phenomena are integrated by my imaginative syntheses (logico-perceptual collations, mental models). For example, I identify the sight and touch, or the different spatial orientations, of a drinking glass as "the glass." Or, as another example, suppose I am performing some task with objects in a lighted environment and the light goes out. Insofar as I can continue the task, it is because I can integrate the objects with a mental model.

7. The point of (5)-(6) is that in this analysis, neither the zone of self nor the zone of objectivities should be considered empty. On the other hand, self and objectivities are not necessarily distinct. Objectivities are correlative to imaginative syntheses carried on by the self, which are matters of belief. When you act, you actively mentally integrate objects in the surroundings--as is illustrated both by continual sight-touch correlations and by imaginative substitution for the visual component when sight is denied.

8. Indeed, one of the problems of Framework 1 is that objectivities have an imaginative aspect, and don't have the same contours as sensation. Thus, when Framework 1 is merely descriptive, and seeks to portray palpable phenomena, there is a problem of where to position the description as between sensation and objectivity. If I hold a pencil vertically in the near center of the visual field, I can make it divide in two by looking through it. If I tap the floor with a stick, I feel the floor in the end of the stick. Then, if I focus on one instrument in a musical ensemble, the easiest way to describe my mental operation is to name the instrument focused on. Or again, it is typical for volition to be indistinguishable from its somatic actualization (i.e. I don't formulate that I want to move, separately from doing it).

9. My body is the unique objectivity which corporealizes my self. Its features are disclosed by such phenomena as volition, illness, intoxication, phantom limb, the circumstance that thinking of an object of fear may cause me to sweat, etc. These considerations do not yield the definition of my body or its frontier found in biology. Nor can my body be just a counterpart to other people's bodies. Any difficulty of comprehending my body in Framework 1 arises because my body is involved in the indistinctness of self and objectivities and the disparity between objectivities and sensation.

10. The ostensible personal totality can manifest different "world-orders." These include waking alertness, dreaming, fever, "morning amnesia," various psychedelic states, and perhaps drowsiness. Only in memory do I unite these modally different episodes to obtain a continuing self. Considering that I am a discernibly different person in dreaming and waking, my synthesis of a single identity for myself is downright contrived, in this respect.

11. Returning to the principle that the analysis only accepts palpable phenomena as elemental, the notion that I exist in periods of unconsciousness must be relegated to the level of fantasy or hypothesis.

12. A great deal can be said about the palpable importance of other people to me. And the notion that other people have sentiences counterpart to my own is one of the common-sense notions by which I "manage." The first-person pronoun, as it is successively claimed by different speakers, is a linguistic device which establishes the "lattice" of separated minds (which supposedly perceive a single common thing-world). Nevertheless, the notion of other minds is undermined--is seen to be incoherent--when the palpable totality is taken literally. The notion that I could have another person's self/world relationship in that person's stead is nonsensical fantasy.

13. A situation in which objectivities are conjoined with my feelings, urges, expectations, and anticipations fixates me on a system of factual judgments and a system of actions. In more detail, the situation fixates me on a logico-perceptual collation of objectivities, on a system of factual judgments, on a method of ascertaining facts, and on an action-system (including skills, judgments of feasibility, etc.). I can be fixated by anticipation (involving discomfort, fear, or hope), by emotional dependence on other people, etc. This situation may be called an attached state of consciousness (as distinguished from detachment). Attachment does not have to be all-encompassing; I can be attached in part and aloof or contemplative otherwise. Attachment is involuntary while it occurs. In the waking state, it is normal to be attached, but it is also normal not to be attached, so that I have the option of suspending beliefs. In dreams and some other states, I lose options of suspending beliefs.


C. Framework 2

1. By "a meaning" I refer to a so-called human-conventional meaning which is understood (by "me"). (Palpable) objects which have meanings (the obvious examples are spoken or written expressions in my native language) are taken as elemental. Such objects are not attributed fundamentally either to self or other, self or world. Phrased differently, meanings are taken as an elemental constituent of the totality. Needless to say, this postulate is a direct inversion of the common-sense notion, or prevailing objectivist notion, that meanings are conventions coming from the outside and acquired cumulatively. Common sense must be inverted to comprehend this postulate. (An obvious objection is that the framework is so foolish that it cannot even explain that I can know more words this week than last week. But if the framework is considered very literally, it does have an explanation of this circumstance--which so to speak inverts the common-sense explanation.)

a. There is a range of meanings which are understood as being mine: episodic memory, expectations, etc. Some meanings are understood as being specific to my self--and a self is in part derived in this way.

b. Remark: the depth which lived experience pretends to have comes from meanings.

2.a. (Palpable) indifferent "things," "things" to which so-called human-conventional meanings are not ascribed, are included as elemental.

b. Sensations (and body sense) which are understood as "mine" are included as elemental.

c. Mental events to which (so-called human-conventional) meanings are not ascribed, and which are understood as "mine," are included as elemental. (Examples would be languageless visualizations, or "ringing in the ears.")

3. The desire, willfulness, and choice which are understood as "mine" are included as elemental.


[1] The revisions seek to improve the explanations while preserving this text's 1983 syllabus, important for the chronological sequence.

[2] The major survey of meta-technology in print is in Perforations 5 (Atlanta, 1994), although I published the term long before that. Supplying a bibliography of my publications is not the purpose here.

[3] Described externally, economically, as global technocapitalism.

[4] 1996. As the title suggests, there were earlier treatments of the person-world premise, including those designated "I" and "II." As will be noted from the context, I conceive each treatment as a self-contained venture, even though they are successive versions of the same venture. As part of the attempt to improve the explanations, I am replacing "personhood" with "person-world premise."

[5] Published in e.g. H. Flynt, Blueprint for a Higher Civilization (Milan, 1975); Ausgabe Nr. 1 (Berlin, May 1976).

6Blueprint, pp. 20-21 (also pp. 33-35).

[7] 1996. Another possible designation is high-level affections. The research continues.

[8] To borrow a phrase from John Alten, which was meant to be intuitively understandable, but which, in today's climate, requires something like a theory of genius to explicate it. I give some explanations in Depth Psychology as a Post-Scientific Modality, for example.

[9] 1991 Note. A consenting sham.

[10] It happens that my completed essay on romantic affection is in my unpublished psychology, Depth Psychology as a Post-Scientific Modality.

[11] Hennix wrote an essay, "Framework 3 in the `Foundations of Mathematics'" (c. 1983-4)--as yet unvindicated--which proposed to prove that if 1 = 1, then 0 = 1. Hennix's parallel with the "Frameworks" of PWP III was intentional.

[12] Cf. "Personhood II," to be re-titled "The Person-World Premise -- II."

[13] Defined in H. Flynt, "Critical Notes on Personhood," unpublished typescript, Part III.

[14] H. Flynt, "Extracts from Personhood's Self-Cancellation," in Art Journal, Summer 1982, pp. 119-121. The complete text is in "Critical Notes on Personhood."

[15] 1996. Fortunately, the contributions in rudimentary meta-technology have become stronger and stronger over the years.