Study of false personality is one of the quickest methods for self-remembering. The more you understand your false personality, the more you will remember yourself. What prevents self-remembering is, first of all, false personality. It cannot and does not wish to remember itself, and it does not wish to let any other personality remember. It tries in every possible way to stop self-remembering, takes some form of sleep and calls it self-remembering. Then it is quite happy. You must not trust your false personality—its ideas, its words, its actions. You cannot destroy it, but you can make it passive for some time and then, little by little, you can make it weaker.
Another illusion is that we are awake. When we realize that we are asleep we will see that all history is made by people who are asleep. Sleeping people fight, make laws; sleeping people obey or disobey them. The worst of our illusions are the wrong ideas among which we live and which govern our lives. If we could change our attitude towards these wrong ideas and understand what they are, this in itself would be a great change and would immediately change other things.
Some of the Gnostics thought there were several kinds of people at any one time: the sarkikos, the people of the flesh where carnal elements predominate; the psychikos, who are more self-determining and aware and whose lives can go any way; and the pneumatikos, the noetic, who are truly spiritual people, those who have the capacity for search and knowledge. Real knowledge springs from the immediate perception of a transformed aware consciousness. With awareness come the knowledge that ‘all power is a source of alienation… all institutions, laws, religions, churches and powers are nothing but a sham and a trap, the perpetration of an age-old deception.’
Hegemony refers to the predominant influence, both legitimate and natural, exercised by a provisional alliance of certain social groups exerting ‘total social authority’ over other social groups by ‘winning and shaping consent so that the power of the dominant classes appears’.
A sign does not simply exist as part of reality – it reflects and refracts another reality. Therefore it may distort that reality or be true to it, or may perceive it from a special point of view, and so forth. Every sign is subject to the criteria of ideological evaluation… The domain of ideology coincides with the domain of signs. They equate with one another. Whenever a sign is present, ideology is present too. Everything ideological possesses a semiotic value.
What civilization is, is 7 billion people trying to make themselves happy by standing on each other’s shoulders and kicking each other’s teeth in. It’s not a pleasant situation. And yet, you can stand back and look at this planet and see that we have the money, the power, the medical understanding, the scientific know-how, the love, and the community to produce a kind of human paradise. But we are led by the least among us: the least intelligent, the least noble, the least visionary. We are led by the least among us and we do not fight back against the dehumanizing values that are handed down as control icons. Culture is not your friend. It is not your friend. It insults you. It disempowers you. It uses and abuses you. The culture is a perversion. It fetishizes objects, creates consumer mania, it preaches endless forms of false happiness, endless forms of false understanding in the form of squirrelly religions and silly cults. It invites people to diminish themselves and dehumanize themselves by behaving like machines; meme processors of memes passed down from Madison Avenue and Hollywood.
The body must become a cyborg to retain its presence in the world, resituated in technological space and reconfigured in technological terms. Whether this represents a continuation, a sacrifice, a transcendence, or a surrender of “the subject” is not certain.