Information Warfare Education, Propaganda, and How to Tell the Difference




If we want to discuss this topic impartially, without polarizing into opposing political views, we might try to reframe the problem from first principles. I’m still not confident, as it still seems that there are parties here that are steadfastly entrenched, and refusing to let go of prior assumptions… but let’s give it my best shot. Nonetheless, we do need to get the science right. To this end, I recently posted the following in response to a query exploring the nature of consciousness:

There already exists at least one science that has defined the properties of consciousness. It is the semiotic theory of Charles Sanders Peirce. Peirce’s categories relate to motivation, association (learning by association) and habituation. Peirce’s theory is then taken to the next level, as a general theory for ALL creatures, in the biosemiotic theory of Jakob von Uexküll. His key insight is to factor in the role of a creature’s body in establishing what kinds of motivations, associations and habituations matter.

Now with reference to Jakob von Uexküll, his theoretical extension (biosemiotics) can be applied to understanding sex and gender roles, and how they evolve in culture. So, @corey-devos , if you want an answer to your query, we need to factor in what impact abortion and our contraceptive technologies have on the evolution of mind. I suggest that more of the same will yield more of the same. Let’s explore…

The neo-Darwinian paradigm, with its emphasis on mutations as the basis for adaptive traits, is a step-wise account of evolution. A successful mutation becomes an adaptive trait, and bingo… you go from having pinhole eyes (like in the Nautilus jellyfish), to having wonderful lensed eyes capable of color vision. The critter with the lensed eyes goes on to found a whole new prolific species that survives into future generations. [NOTE: This is a simplistic interpretation that I use to illustrate my point. Neo-Darwinists, like Richard Dawkins, proffer a more gradualist interpretation of smaller steps, but crucially, with its emphasis on adaptive traits, it still remains a stepwise interpretation of evolution]

But step-wise evolution is not how life actually works. Life evolves gradually, as a flowing around experiences, incorporating experiences into history. Life is semiotic, evolving gradually, as meanings change, and NOT as superior agents, suddenly materializing by a mutation birth, taking over.

If one assumes this neo-Darwinian, stepwise account of evolution, then they will interpret contraception as analogous to an adaptive trait, and therefore it’s all good. It’s all just a part of the natural-selection process. But on the contrary, it’s not all good. How long did it take for humans to evolve from the hunter-gatherer stage to now? How many millennia? If nature had intended sex to be casual, she would have designed it into our biology, and we would not have had to invent the contraceptive pill.

In the space of half a century, with the sexual revolution, we’ve undone chiliads of millennia of evolution. Contrary to how nature works, our contraceptive technologies, co-emerging with the sexual revolution, represent an abrupt leap in evolutionary change, and not a gradual flowing into a shared cultural consensus. Cultures that have taken millennia to unfold gradually, around shared experiences and meanings, are suddenly thrust into alien contexts of clashing beliefs. Do we doubt this? Consider our forum of polarized, politicized interests. In this context, it is all set to unravel with no solution in sight.

I get it that this is a controversial slant and that I’m unlikely to get anyone to agree with me, but hey, I’m giving it my best shot. Maybe I’ll be rewarded for the effort in my next life in another part of the universe :grinning:


Looking at all sides of these polarizing issues. What is the integral holistic cognition that would help us all assimilate a comprehension and acceptance of it all? What might that Integral Life community look like?

Would this be based solely on our own logic and reason or “our group” think? Would that be integrally sound? Rather then the obvious of asking which side is most accurate or acceptable to us as an individual, would it better to ask how can we be leaders in a direction of healing or bridging these threatening divides?

Perhaps a more integral question or inquiry might be … how can all of these views, evidenced as true and accurate in practice and in expansion in our community collectives, be reconciled into a holistic whole? A comprehensive integral understanding?

Perhaps brining a spiritual view, above and separate from it all might prove wise? Asking what structure in our common reality brings all these differences to arise and propagate in opposite directions simultaneously?

What human tendencies trap us as individuals into debating only one side in a polarity echo-chamber? Does the integral evidence not clearly show us that all ideas do exist and all are genuinely relevant to the adherents of their particular side?

Would anyone or any belief not be welcomed into an integral understanding? Which group of humans are we willing to execute from consideration and acceptance? These certainly are better more integral ideas to pursue, no?

I wish we were contemplating these together in accepting all people from all sides in our integral understanding? What is this integral community really for? Does anyone here agree with me? Perhaps I am the one that does not belong here?


I think Corey mentioned some good Conservative intellectuals that I also find very stimulating and extremely insightful - and none of which would you ever likely consider as “political commentators” (no Shapiro, Rubin, …) .

  • Coleman Hughes - more a podcaster, young, broad spectrum topics (black)
  • John McWhorter - (black) - His linguistics lectures in the '90’s changed my view on language - middle weight
  • Glenn Loury - economics background (black) - Hosts great podcasts - middle weight

A few additions:

  • Jordan Peterson - psychology background - actually a Liberal - not a fan of Collectivism - amazing broad spectrum interviews - heavy weight
  • Victor Davis Hansen - historian, Hoover Institute - best roots of Western Civ lectures - heavy weight
  • Thomas Sowell - economist - Amazing speeches over decades (black) - heavy weight
  • John Anderson - Australian, US in global perspective - heavy weight
  • Douglas Murray - author, “Madness of Crowds” and a few others (British, gay) - middle weight
  • Hoover Institute - Top conservative think tank - Good one stop shop for Conservative intellectualism. Chancellor happens to be a black woman that has not won any awards from Ebony. - heavy weight

I’ve noted race or other intersectionality traits to perhaps have people introspect on their “knowing about those Conservatives”. None of the above are politicians or public attention seekers, and when they do look at politics or public opinion it’s from a sociology, economic, or global (meta) contexts.


I think if you presented more discussions from these sources rather than political commentators you might find many people in Integral are fairly conservative in the traditional Pre-Trump meaning.

What I notice is that the one you list as the “Top Conservative Think Tank” doesn’t even remotely cover the same topics as the Political Commentators. The Political commentators use fear and separation to get people all excited in an unbalanced fanatical and unreasonable way, often casting logic or moral compass completely by the wayside. Or as in the case of Jordan Peterson, just one section of their work might attract a disproportionate number of fanatical and unreasonable people and so he kind of gets pulled (not altogether unwillingly) into a narrow political commentary. While he might cover “heavyweight” topics, he gets dragged by his followers more and more into the politics of grievance and victimization.
The “Think Tank” on the other hand, is refreshingly free of victim or grievance mentality, and is not reliant on “us vs them” - because the have a position that is well reasoned, logical and congruent with their morals. They are not against a people or a movement, but support well thought out policies. They don’t just suddenly flip-flop and do a 180 on policy just because the white house changed hands, then another 180 when it changes again.
I think the more people stick to covering the topic or the policy and the less they form their political identity as being “against” other people or groups - the more “Heavyweight” they are.


Excellent insightful comments Mr. @raybennett
I’ve found it difficult to discuss what I consider very non-political topics without it devolving extremely quickly into political or Politi-gral or Integral-ics. And also I acknowledge that is quite easy to, actually very difficult not to, “domain shift” to what we are each most comfortable with. With the realm of public perception and politics perhaps being the “rock bottom floor” since by definition are fraught with opinion and subjectivity. It’s not easy.

This thread that @excecutive started, is a prime example, of an attempt at a high level Epistemology review/discussion on Education, Propaganda, How to Tell the Difference which then with just a few emotive condemnation posts and we end up with front row seats at the shit show.

It might be worth while for each of us to review this thread with a particular focus on our own posts.
Did I help create a context for dialog?
Did I help further the conversation?
Did I disrupt or distract from meaningful dialog?
Am I domain shifting, both-siding, deflecting to “win” an argument?
Are there small things (wording, language, phrasing, etc) that I could clean up that would perhaps make a big difference in creating a space for dialog?
Is this the right thread for this posting?
Should I create a new thread, or perhaps shift to an existing thread more relevant?

Self flagellation isn’t necessary, but we do have a pretty good log which we can each review for ourselves.

I do find it HIGHLY POSITIVE when I look at the vast terrain we have covered in this thread alone :slight_smile:


Yes, self-flagellation isn’t necessary.
Self challenge is always healthy.

From my view - I see my critiques and accolades regarding many of the people you listed as very similar to my critiques and accolades in this thread and perhaps a dozen other discussions.

When we address the topic as a point of agreement or disagreement, the discussion evolves. It’s easier to find a middle ground when it is a topic rather than our identity that needs to be compromised. Nobody wants to compromise who they are or feel that they are wrong as a person. An idea, however can be adjusted and it is easier to do so when we do not equate the idea as our identity. If a person identifies with an idea as part of them, when the idea is criticized they feel they are attacked personally and may retort with personal attacks against the other person rather than discussing the ideas.

From your list, I see a few people who have fallen into this less productive mode. After reading about them, some of them are actually quite liberal and even openly so, but on one subject they disagree with liberalism. Then people on both the right and the left try to push the dialogue on identity rather than the topic, and it becomes impossible to find a reasonable position because the sides become entrenched.


It’s just occurred to me, from writing my own post. Now it makes sense why nothing makes sense. Funny how unfolding works.


Bingo! What I refer to as domain shifting, almost always into more subjective domains where the ego, identity can rip, snort and tear!

In complete agreement here as well. I would add that it’s also ok to “not agree”. Sometimes it’s a difference of problem statement as example Pro XYZ doesn’t necessarily equate to Anti ZYX. If we can give each other the space to “explore” these discussions they might be more meaningful for all, but perhaps not as expedient. And it’s tough when we lose the expediency to not drop into emotive or provocative domains/languaging. That almost never helps increase understanding and/or agreement.


Oh yes, of course. “Coming together” on an issue is great, but many times nonagreement gives either or both sides (or all sides) an opportunity to more deeply engage the roots and source of nonagreement.


It’s the integral version of the socialist “comrade” meeting I shared above. They love to make up a thousand rules in order to pass a single rule. We love having a thousand conversations in order to have a single conversation :slight_smile:


Yes, now that you’ve listed them here, I remember these are the names Corey mentioned. Thanks for what you’ve added. I’m somewhat familiar with everyone on the list, to one degree or another, except Victor Davis Hansen, and maybe John Anderson, although the Australian rings a bell.

Some particularly good clarity and sobriety you’ve brought to your last few posts in this thread. Easy to read and appreciate.

Thanks also @raybennett for your additional comments.


I missed a few as well. Sir Roger Scruton is a heavy. He and Peterson just looked at roots of feminism in abiut as dry a fashion as KW might.


Who does everyone else go to for deep thinking?


Good question. I’ve been thinking about it since you posted it. Where do I go? I’m familiar with most of the names mentioned, but I don’t “go to” any one of them. I take on board what people say, and then make up my own mind. Here’s the problem as I see it. We are all trapped in the silos of our cultural assumptions, each and every one of us. My go-to authorities are therefore those who factor this realization, regarding our dependency on signs and meaning, into their theories… namely, Charles Sanders Peirce (semiotics) and Jakob von Uexküll (biosemiotics). They’ve provided for the life sciences, the same sort of axiomatic framework that Isaac Newton provided for physics.


Me, lol
Even if I find someone who I can discuss deep topics with, there are inevitably third parties around who drag the dialogue into the world of tropes.

Or people who I previously enjoyed listening or reading - to at some point it gets repetitive because the dialogue is not interactive. For example, at one point I like listening to Terrence McKenna - but now I’ve basically heard all his ideas so it’s boring to listen again. Alan Watts is starting to get that way for me now.
With Integral Theory - I find theory at some point starts to lose its luster if it isn’t practically applied. I know there are applications of Integral Theory, but quite a lot of topics for discussion is descriptive, and then drilling down deeper and deeper into the descriptive without practical application.


So perhaps we could add for others. Would you characterize them as deep thinker/heavy, middle weight, or spokesman @steljarkos, @raybennett

  • Charles Sanders Peirce (semiotics)
  • Jakob von Uexküll (biosemiotics)
  • Terrence McKenna - Ethnobotanist, Psychedelics
  • Alan Watts - ??

We should also add:

  • Hanzi Freinacht -, Metamodernism - Nordic Ideology - mid level - thanks to @Julia248 and @WillE for the recommendation
  • Peter Thiel - Capitalist - mid/heavy weight intellectually - heavy weight on action/implementation


A few of my fans on the left Eric Weinstein and Sam Harris


Sam Harris is an interesting one.
I first came to know the name through his “Waking Up” app. It seems to be a fairly decent introduction to meditation (I haven’t tried it though). It skyrocketed in popularity because it has a business model where people can try to make a bit of pocket money by offering their friends a free trial (and if they don’t cancel they’ll be charged, yada yada yada).
I actually haven’t listened to any of his podcasts, but I know the name.


Peirce and von Uexküll: heavy. Both are Newton heavy, as in “axiomatic-framework” grade. But the real magic is in the synthesis of Peirce with Uexküll. This synthesis sets the stage for properly interpreting the relationship between mind and body and doing away with Cartesian dualism. Despite their significance, though, they have difficulty gaining a foothold, in a cultural narrative overwhelmed by neo-Darwinian, humans-r-speshul, materialism.