As the political domain
becomes increasingly polarized, there is a greater need for people
to expose themselves to alternative viewpoints and opinions.
At the same time, the rise of
social media has
resulted in more
subtle yet dangerous forms of propaganda and
control where people are often unknowingly exposed only to those who
hold similar views to their own, stuck in a 'social validation
Guerrilla ontology may provide the answer...
Wilson defines it as an approach adopted in his novels that mixes,
In other words, it functions as an exercise in cognitive dissonance, where,
This is similar to the postmodernist claim that textual discourse can be interpreted in a number of different ways (potentially infinite) since there is no singular interpretation.
guerrilla ontology is much more than a literary technique, however.
As Wilson stated in an interview:
In other words, the primary aim of guerrilla ontology is to remain in a permanent state of agnosticism and interpret reality through a multitude of cultural, political, economic, philosophical, scientific and spiritual perspectives.
Instead of subscribing to a
single belief system, guerrilla ontology promotes a radical form of
intellectual pragmatism in which contrasting ideologies are
synthesized, integrated and assimilated to provide a more complex
and dynamic understanding of the world.
This multi-modal approach
results in an expansion of human consciousness in which all
explanatory models are considered both 'true' and 'false'
Guerrilla ontology could be considered a form of philosophical warfare in which the ontologist attempts to undermine authority by subverting the symbols, signs and semiotic systems through which power is exercised and maintained.
Using specialized tactics such as culture jamming, reality-hacking, subvertizing and meme-magic, the ontologist becomes an active participant in the cultural arena and generates new locations of meaning.
Fomenting contradictory ideas induces a sense of confusion and disorientation, causing a malfunction in the psychological programming required for ideological control to function effectively.
For Wilson, Internet technologies can play a fundamental role in challenging our ideological assumptions, creating a decentralized matrix of information where no singular worldview is predominant.
Various public and private actors compete for cultural authority, undermining the very concept of 'truth' as we know it.
As communication networks become increasingly globalised, there is greater exposure to different ideas, theories, concepts and perspectives.
While there are dangers that this could lead to new forms of manipulation and control, it will also result in,
As Wilson states, this 'information revolution' is merely a continuum of an ongoing historical trend towards cultural relativism:
In this sense, guerrilla ontology enables us to navigate the new
'post-truth' age, where user-generated content undermines the
informational monopoly of mass-media gatekeepers and popularizes
alternative narratives, which would have previously remained on the
fringes of society.
For Wilson, Internet technologies are part of this expansion of consciousness as more and more people are exposed to different models of reality.
Instead, scientists must explain such phenomenon in terms of 'probabilities', the different outcomes that occur within a quantum system until the act of measurement results in the occurrence of a single outcome.
For example, quantum mechanics demonstrates that light functions as both a particle and a wave, despite the fact that the former has a gravitational mass while the latter does not. 5
In this sense, we are
limited by the linguistic models that we have at our disposal when
observing scientific phenomena.
Rather, they describe the,
For example, when we describe the Universe as a three-dimensional space-time continuum, we are actually describing how our minds organize sensory experience.
Another life-form may experience reality as fourth or even fifth dimensional, and therefore the equations they use to describe reality will be radically different from our own.
Wilson, guerrilla ontology (or cognitive dissonance) is based on the
idea that by embracing seemingly contradictory models of the world,
we become aware of our own relativistic position within the
As Wilson states,
The Upanishads, an ancient text central to Hinduism, is full of various paradoxes, intended to spiritually enlighten the reader.
For example, it describes Brahman (the ultimate reality) as,
These contradictions reveal what modern science is only beginning to discover:
For example, he asks his readers to buy a copy of Christian Science Sentinel and read all the faith healings that month, then buy a copy of The Peyote Cult by anthropologist Weston LeBarre which attributes all this to auto-suggestion, and then read Brain/Mind Bulletin and observe that similar healings are attributed to endorphins in the brain.
After that, re-read all the miracles in the New Testament, using each of these filters:
By examining the
phenomenon of faith-healing through a multitude of perspectives, one
realizes that no single explanation is valid, causing a paradigmatic
shift in understanding.
All we can possibly 'know' is what our mind registers:
The brain, in the process of performing 100,000,000 calculations per minute, edits, organizes and labels all raw "existential" experience and then classifies according to our belief systems.
These systems will vary from culture to culture.
Wilson describes this phenomenon as "neurological relativism":
Through the practice of guerrilla ontology, one is aware that the mind and its contents are 'functionally identical' - the distinction between 'me' (mental awareness) and 'not me' (external reality) is merely a linguistic one.
We become what Wilson calls "meta-programmers,"
The meta-programming circuit, known as,
represents the brain becoming aware of itself. 10
Modern psychology demonstrates that neural networks in the brain are able to change through reorganization, a phenomenon described as neuroplasticity.
Neuroscientists used to believe that neuroplasticity only occurred during childhood, but modern research has now proven the brain can be altered during adulthood as well.
Learning a new language is particularly valuable in this regard; various studies suggest that multilingualism not only restructures the brain but also boosts its capacity for plasticity.
As Wilson argues,
In the same way that foreign words and phrases allow us to see the world differently, so too do new belief systems expand the boundaries of human consciousness.
Through meta-programming (exposing oneself to contradictory models of reality), we are able to rewire the very circuitry of our brains, resulting in more fluid and dynamic modalities of thought.
As our world becomes increasingly complex, due to the forces of globalization and technological acceleration,
Those who remain in bondage to a single 'reality-tunnel' will inevitably get swept up in the tsunami of information and manufactured narratives.
Many people will undoubtedly experience
'existential crises' as they encounter numerous theories, models,
concepts and frameworks that challenge the stability of their
...we must learn to embrace a multi-model approach.
While it is important that we remain skeptical of how Internet technologies are used to manipulate our thinking, the 'information age' allows us to become more open-minded than ever before.
As Aleister Crowley once famously stated,