“The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill.” ~Robert Anton Wilson
Guerilla ontology is a philosophical method coined by Robert Anton Wilson. Its intent is to expose people to radically unique ideas and concepts in order to invoke cognitive dissonance and a state of “generalized agnosticism.” It promotes open-mindedness and new ways of perceiving and adapting to reality.
Guerilla ontology is the study of being –taken to the nth degree. It’s anti-brainwashing. It’s Meta-insurgent. It’s self-inflicted philosophy. It’s all about raging against the dying of the light. The light being truth and openness, freedom and liberation. It prevents fixed and dogmatic thinking from creeping in and fucking up vital flow states and adaptive, intuitive discovery.
Guerilla ontology is the philosophical worldview that recommends swimming against the tide in order to gain the kind of wisdom that neither seeks authority nor submits to it. It’s another way of applying the concept of crazy wisdom to entrenched dogma. It seeks to enlarge the soul, light up the brain, and liberate the spirit; while emphasizing risk-taking and courageous vulnerability as vital skills one must master in order to remain fluid and flexible regarding the vicissitudes of life.
“To be human is necessarily to be a vulnerable risk-taker; to be a courageous human is to be good at it.” –Jonathan Lear
Cultural conditioning, political propaganda, and indoctrinated brainwashing are all problems that have ailed human beings since time immemorial. Operation Minfuck is all about poking holes in our cup of certainty, melting down the golden pedestals of idolatry, burning down uppity high horses, upsetting outdated apple carts, and continuously unwashing the brainwash. No matter how comforting the brainwashing may have been.
Indeed. Unwashing the brainwash begins at home. If we unwash our brain again and again, we might earn the right to unwash the brainwash that ails everybody else.
Operation Mindfuck is the daily practice of unwashing the brainwash, even if it doesn’t seem to be necessary. It’s done despite ourselves, and in spite of our petty placations and sentimental comforts.
It’s strategically going against the tide in order to learn something new. It’s embracing insecurity (leap of courage) in order to expand on healthy security (stretching comfort zones). It’s honoring paradox in order to push the Fibonacci sequence of thought ever-closer to the Phi of enlightenment. It’s courting the unexpected in order to maintain curiosity, wonder, and awe. It’s shunning orthodoxy so that the unorthodox may breathe.
In short: Operation Mindfuck is about questioning to the nth degree. It’s about shocking the settled system, waking up the sleeping soul, and agitating the tired and boring routine. It’s about getting down to the roots in order to distinguish vital necessity from invalid opinion. It’s untangling unnecessary knots of thought. It’s peeling away superfluous layers of cultural conditioning in order to reveal the Desert of the Real.
The focus here is on breaking things down to their core, to their fundamental essence. Once the cornerstone has been unveiled, the philosopher’s stone can be used to align opinion with universal validity. That’s where Operation Dissonance comes into play…
“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem
We break taboos in order to destroy the power they have over us. Once we’ve broken their spell, we realize that the taboo was nothing more than a cultural abstraction of an abstraction. We’ve all at once distinguished necessity from indoctrinated opinion. We’ve unveiled the cornerstone. And now we are free to use the philosopher’s stone to build a healthier more open-minded perspective.
When we come to such revolutionary realizations, we are left with a liberated outlook. We are free to turn the tables on dissonance by lampooning it. We’ve strategically gotten ahead of our sentimental connection to it using Operation Mindfuck, so now we can more clearly evaluate our disposition. We are now open-minded enough to ridicule it, satirize it, and mock it with ruthless incredulity. We can transform it into art.
This applies to cognitive dissonance as well. Cognitive dissonance is merely the discomfort experienced when two worldviews clash. The key with Operation Dissonance is figuring out which worldview is healthier, and thus more valid. And then discarding, but learning from, the unhealthier one (Way easier said than done).
But the critical ingredient here is having a strategic sense of humor about it: the ability to take a step back from the dissonance and have a laugh. Mostly at ourselves, using self-deprecating humor that loosens us up and makes us more flexible in the face of our discomfort, and thus more likely to maintain our open-mindedness once we’ve “come up for air.”
If all of this sounds counterintuitive, that’s because it is. Sometimes in order to get at what’s healthy we must break away from what’s comfortable. Sometimes revealing a deeper truth means discarding a truth that we’ve always held dear. Sometimes progressive evolution will feel like regressive devolution, and the only way we’ll know for sure is in hindsight. Indeed. As George Bernard Shaw cryptically surmised, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
“Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.” ~Tom Robbins
Guerilla ontology is all about subjugating the small-picture codependent agenda to a big-picture interdependent perspective. It is in this sense that the ontological (the being and the becoming) is dependent upon the guerilla (the insurgent and the rebellious).
The intellectual insurrection of Operation Mindfuck leads to the open-minded ontology of Operation Dissonance. Being and becoming comes from undoing and unbecoming. We think outside the box so as not to get stuck in rigid thinking. We stretch our comfort zone so as not to get too comfortable. We question so that we can break away from outdated answers. Expansion comes from strategic destruction. New order comes from the reordered disorder of an older order (say that ten times fast). Advancement comes from getting out of our own way. Especially regarding cognitive dissonance.
This is precisely why the cycle must continue. A mindfuck a day keeps the brainwash away. Making self-interrogation a daily practice is critical, not only for healthy self-improvement but for the healthy evolution of the species.
This is the essence of Operation Re-mindfuck: keeping the cycle going so as to maintain a fluid and flexible mindset that leverages open-mindedness against dogmatic and fixed thinking. It’s adaptable and robust. It cultivates an outlook that simply takes things into consideration without the need to believe in them. As Aristotle wisely stated, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Operation Re-mindfuck is the epitome of entertaining newer and newer mind-blowing thoughts, all without accepting them.
We keep the cycle going in order to keep life going. So that life wins out over entropy. So that progression wins out over stagnation. So that empathy wins out over apathy. So that health, truth, and liberation win out over disease, deceit, and slavery. We implement Operation Mindfuck so that open-mindedness wins out over close-mindedness. We implement Operation Dissonance so that healthy updated worldviews win out over unhealthy outdated worldviews. Indeed. We play the Infinite Game, despite all the petty finite games, in order to keep the game of life itself progressive and healthy. Operation Re-mindfuck just keeps the cycle going. We are free to continually free ourselves into further freedom.
This is all easier said than done, of course. But, as the great Spinoza once said, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”