A Critique of Jon Rappoport
In my pop culture files I use the concept of the Sophist as a name for the “villains.” I also frequently describe the philosopher Nietzsche as the Sophist King.
Jon Rappoport is a philosopher with direct inspirational background in Nietzsche, and from all the other elements of the Matrix Conspiracy: postmodernism, management theory, New Age and Self-help industry. He is in other words a Matrix Sophist.
Furthermore: Rappoport is one of a growing number of Matrix Sophists, who directly uses the concept of the Matrix in his sophism. And with his philosophical background (he holds an BA in philosophy) he is also one of the more refined Sophists. My intention with this article on Jon Rappoport is to show this direct inspiration, and where it goes wrong when dealing with philosophy and spiritualiy. Let´s therefore begin with the background for the concept of the Sophist.
After centuries of successful trading, the local gods and festivals could no longer satisfy the religious needs of the ancient Athenians. Their spiritual hunger was exacerbated by the stress of city life, by the constant threat of destruction, and by the grim vision of totalitarian Sparta: the vision of Greeks living without light or grace or humour, as though the gods had withdrawn from their world.
Into the crowded space of Periclean Athens came the wandering teachers, selling their “wisdom” to the bewildered populace. Any charlatan could make a killing, if enough people believed in him. Men like Gorgias and Protagoras, who wandered from house to house demanding fees for their instruction, preyed on the gullibility of a people made anxious by war.
To the young Plato, who observed their antics with outrage, these “Sophists” were a threat to the very soul of Athens. One alone among them seemed worthy of attention, and that one, the great Socrates whom Plato immortalised in his dialogues, was not a Sophist, but a true philosopher.
The philosopher, in Plato´s characterisation, awakens the spirit of inquiry. He helps his listeners to discover the truth, and it is they who bring forth, under his catalysing influence, the answer to life´s riddles. The philosopher is the midwife, and his duty is to help us to what we are – free and rational beings, who lack nothing that is required to understand our condition. The Sophist, by contrast, misleads us with cunning fallacies, takes advantage of our weakness, and offers himself as the solution to problems of which he himself is the cause.
There are many signs of the Sophists, but principal among these is that they are subjectivists and relativists. Their teachings are about how to get on in the world, and not about how to find the truth. Anything goes: not facts, but the best story wins. And the result is mumbo-jumbo, condescension and the taking of fees. The philosopher uses plain language, does not talk down to his audience, and never asks for payment. Such was Socrates, and in proposing him as an ideal, Plato defined the social status of the philosopher for centuries to come.
No one should doubt that sophistry is alive and well. My concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is permeated with it (see my article The Matrix Conspiracy). We see it in the mix of postmodern intellectualism (constructivism), management culture, self-help and New Age – and in the two main methods of this mix: psychotherapy and coaching.
The Sophists are back with a vengeance, and are all the more to be feared, in that they come disguised as philosophers and scientists. For, in this time of helpless relativism and subjectivity, philosophy and science alone have stood against the tide, reminding us that those crucial distinctions on which life depends – between true and false, good and evil, right and wrong – are objective and binding. Philosophy and science have until now spoken with the accents of the academy and laboratory, and not with the voice of the fortune teller.
When Plato founded the first academy, and placed philosophy at the heart of it, he did so in order to protect the precious store of wisdom from the assaults of charlatans, to create a kind of temple to truth in the midst of falsehood, and to marginalise the Sophists who preyed on human confusion.
The Sophists were teachers of rhetoric, who against a fee, taught people how to persuade other people about their “truths”. Rhetoric, or sophistry, is the art of persuasion. Rather than giving reasons and presenting arguments to support conclusions, as Socrates did, then those who use sophistry are employing a battery of techniques, such as emphatic assertion, persuader words and emotive language, to convince the listener, or reader, that what they say or imply is true.
The Sophists taught their pupils how to win arguments by any means available; they were supposedly more interested in teaching ways of getting on in the world than ways of finding the truth, as Socrates did. Therefore any charlatan is welcome. And the use of thought distortions is seen as the best tool, when practising the mantra of the management culture: “It is not facts, but the best story, that wins!”
Let´s begin with Rappoport´s bio introduced on his website (where he like other Matrix Sophists is describing himself in third person):
Jon Rappoport has worked as a free-lance investigative reporter for over 30 years.
He is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX.
He has written articles on politics, health, media, culture and art for LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, Village Voice, Nexus, CBS Healthwatch, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe.
In 1982, the LA Weekly submitted his name for a Pulitzer prize, for his interview with the president of El Salvador University, where the military had taken over the campus.
Jon has hosted, produced, and written radio programs and segments in Los Angeles and Las Vegas (KPFK, KLAV). He has appeared as a guest on over 200 radio and television programs, including ABC's Nightline, Tony Brown's Journal (PBS), and Hard Copy.
In 1994, Jon ran for a seat in the US Congress from the 29th district in Los Angeles. After six months of campaigning, on a very small budget, he garnered 20 percent of the vote running against an incumbent who had occupied his seat for 20 years.
In 1996, Jon started The Great Boycott, against eight corporate chemical giants: Monsanto, Dow, Du Pont, Bayer, Hoechst, Rhone-Poulenc, Imperial Chemical Industries, and Ciba-Geigy. The Boycott continues to operate today.
Jon has lectured extensively all over the US on the question: Who runs the world and what can we do about it?
Since 2000, Jon has operated largely away from the mainstream because, as he puts it, "My research was not friendly to the conventional media."
Over the last 30 years, Jon's independent research has encompassed such areas as: deep politics, conspiracies, alternative health, the potential of the human imagination, mind control, the medical cartel, symbology, and solutions to the takeover of the planet by hidden elites.
He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power.
A painter, Jon's work has been shown in galleries in Los Angeles and New York. His poetry has been published by The Massachusetts Review.
He is a graduate of Amherst College (BA, Philosophy), and lives with his wife, Laura, in San Diego.
As we saw, Rappoport works with the concept of The Matrix. So what does he mean with it?
Both in Eastern and Western philosophy they have always worked with the so-called Dream Hypothesis; the philosophers have always reflected over, whether life is a dream. These philosophical questions have always followed them: whether we sleep, whether we dream this long dream, which is life? How can we know that life not is a dream? How can we know, that we are not lying sleeping somewhere, dreaming the whole world?
The philosopher René Descartes created his own variant of the Dream Hypothesis, the Argument of the Evil Demon: How can I know, that I am not decepted by an evil demon concerning all realization?
In the discussion about the reliability of our realization you often meet a variant of Descartes´ Argument from the Evil Demon. The variant (the so-called Brain-in-jar Hypothesis) says as follows: Some day surgery will have reached so far, that you will be able to operate the brain out of a human being and keep it alive by placing it in a jar with some nutrient substratum. At that time the computer research will perhaps have reached so far, that you will be able to connect a computer to such a brain and feed it with all kinds of data, so that the brain thinks that it is a human being, who lives in the real world with all the experiences, memories etc., this is implying, while the fact is that it only is a brain in a jar.
It is this hypothesis the movie The Matrix is based on. And this movie is beginning to achieve more and more influence within New Age, and it is also this movie which Rappoport is inspired by (see my pop culture file on The Matrix).
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis. It depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called "the Matrix", created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies' heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer Neo learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the "dream world."
New Agers believe that the concept of a “Matrix” simply is reality itself. This is due to their overruling metaphysical theory: idealism. This is also a theory Rappoport shares. In philosophy, idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas—especially beliefs and values—shape society. As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further, asserting that all entities are composed of mind or spirit. Idealism thus rejects physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind.
This is the reason why they can believe that the whole of reality, including the physical reality, is a mental construct. And from that it is also easy to infer to the idea that we could live in a computer simulation. You can see this idea discussed in this article in Scientific American, by Clara Moskowitz, April 7, 2016: Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? A popular argument for the simulation hypothesis came from University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrum in 2003, when he suggested that members of an advanced civilization with enormous computing power might decide to run simulations of their ancestors. They would probably have the ability to run many, many such simulations, to the point where the vast majority of minds would actually be artificial ones within such simulations, rather than the original ancestral minds. So simple statistics suggest it is much more likely that we are among the simulated minds (see the Matrix Dictionary entry Simulation Theory).
The proposal of idealism is also the reason why they think you can´t get out of the Matrix (that is: from illusion to reality), since the Matrix is reality itself: a mental construct, or a computer simulation. It is here they differ from the message of the movie, which claim that you can exit the Matrix and enter a mind-independent reality itself.
My professor in philosophy, the late David Favrholdt, was the first who drew my attention to The Matrix. He saw the connections between the film and Descartes´ speculations on the possibility of deception by dreams or an evil deceiver. He asked the question which Morpheus asks Neo in The Matrix: “What pill would you choose, the red or the blue? Is ignorance bliss, or is the truth worth knowing, no matter what? My experience and his was similar to those of philosophy professors and students around the world. Which pill would you choose? Why?
Or, asking the question rhetorical, as agent Smith would have done it, when the president in Aldous Huxley´s novel Brave New World, asks the main character Johannes: Would you rather be right than happy? This question is scary enough also a central question which the creator of Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg, asks people (see my article Nonviolent Communication is an Instrument of Psychic Terror). As if being right equals being unhappy. Such rhetorical manipulation is typical for the so-called Sophists (teachers of rhetoric), who are the archetypal opposition to the philosopher.
According to Morpheus, Smith is an Agent of the system. Like other Agents, Smith's role is to police and maintain the Matrix by eliminating potential threats to the stability of the system, such as Redpills and defective programs. Smith is personified as stern, serious, and nearly invincible. Agent Smith is in that way the archetypal Matrix Sophist.
The red pill is a new symbol of bold choice, and most people insist they would take it if they were in Neo´s shoes. If they take it they will major in philosophy, stay in Wonderland and “see how far down the rabbit hole goes.” If they take the blue pill they will return to their previous virtual reality and forget they had ever given thoughts to questions that matter and mysteries of the universe.
That´s what Agent Smith and the Sophists would try to persuade you to prefer. A refined trick is precisely, as Rappoport is doing, to induce in you a program that makes you believe you can reveal the Matrix, and exit the Matrix, and live outside the Matrix. Because is that what happens? No, what they try to make you believe is that you could be a Matrix Agent or a Sophist yourself, and create your own reality-program, be a master of the Matrix, instead of a rebel trying to expose the Matrix, and thereby get out of it. If you should be a true rebel you couldn´t be an idealist, you would need to be a realist, and believe that there is a mind-independent reality outside the Matrix.
So, when Rappoport is talking about exiting The Matrix he is not talking about reaching reality, because he believes reality is a construction of the mind. What he is referring to as the Matrix is a social construction created through mind-control, and that we can escape by creating our own reality. In other words: Rappoport is supporting what I call individual constructivism. He is talking about moving from social constructivism to individual constructivism (there are many other New Age versions of the Matrix, but the support of philosophical idealism is shared by all of them).
The first time I was introduced to the strange world of social constructivism, was by my professor David Favrholdt, and I could hardly believe my own ears. The following account is inspired by Favrholdt´s celebration lecture November 2, 2001, in the occasion of the end-of-master celebration on Center for Philosophy, University of Southern Denmark.
The latest craze in reductionism is social constructivism (read more about reductionism in my article The Pseudoscience of Reductionism and the Problem of Mind). Actually we ought to speak about a sociologism, but the dance was opened in 1967 with Berger and Luckmann´s work The Social Construction of Reality. A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. And the term ”social constructivism” has been stuck and is used with much pleasure by the followers of the movement.
In today´s literature social constructivism occurs in a weak and in a strong version. The weak version is about, that a line of institutions in society have been produced, and have to be explained, only from social/sociological causes. Examples on such institutions are legislation, for instance about traffic, monetary matters with everything that this include of banks, credit institutions, stock markets etc., standards of behaviour, ethical systems, religion and much more, but not scientific results such as the explanation of the periodic system of the elements, of the chemical connections, or of the laws of gestalt psychology, for just to mention some examples.
The strong version - which among others are framed by the Edinburgh sociologists David Bloor, Barry Barnes and Steven Shapin, and since followed up by a long line of others, among these Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar - is about, that not just the mentioned institutions, but also all scientific results and discoveries, are social constructions. In short: the very physical world is also a social construction. Here the weirdness begins.
With the words of Favrholdt, then we here speak about a reductionism, which conclusions are so rabid and stark raving stupid, that we hardly can give an account of them without immediately becoming accused of having distorted them – what Favrholdt at that time also was by colleagues on the philosophical institute on University of Southern Denmark. But this is what the extreme social constructivists claims. If there weren´t any social constructions made by humans the universe wouldn´t exist.
The individual constructivism isn´t better. According to the Sophist king, Nietzsche, the will to power is the basic power of all life. He therefore thought about a special meaning of the word will. Normally the will is understood as Man´s ability to bring a more or less reasonable decision out in life. And ahead of the will´s effort goes the consideration. But Nietzsche´s will to power is neither connected to reasonable considerations, nor consciousness. On the contrary it describes life´s fundamental character of striving towards increase.
Will is normally a psychological concept. It describes an ability, or an aspect, of the human consciousness. In contrast to this Nietzsche is seeing it as an ontological, or even metaphysical, concept. The fundamental idea is, that if we shall understand the multifold expressions of all life, then we must interpret them as outcome of will to power. This idea led to Nietzsche´s revaluation of all values. The eternal values are only a slavemoral without reality and truth. They are illusions or fictions. Therefore he dethroned reason as the ability to insight in the eternal values. Body, desires, and nature, are the central in Man, not reason. God is dead and the world is chaotic, empty, absurd; something, which Man himself must control. Man must himself create his values: a master moral created by the so-called superman.
Now, if we take Nietzsche, then his idea about the will to power has to do with the outgoing movement of time, the future; but as an ontological principle. What he is talking about is the becoming of everything, becoming and not being; that is: a state of non-being, nothingness, which only you yourself can fill with meaning. So - though Nietzsche is talking about the will to power as a creative force - this is not something positive connected with life itself. Nietzsche´s view of life itself, the eternal recurrence of the same, is a view of life devoid of values. God is dead.
According to Nietzsche there neither exists a sensuous, a material, or a spiritual world given in advance. Everything is created by being interpreted. Nietzsche believed that the will - that is to say: the defeating, the remodeling, the striving - is something creative. The will to power, according to Nietzsche, is a creating power. That this power is the basic power in Man means, according to Nietzsche, that all expressions of the human life must be understood as forms of will to power; intake of food, arrangement of the everyday life with home and clothes, cultivation of nature, as well as sensation, feelings, thinking and will in usual sense - are expressions of the will to power.
In other words: Nietzsche is thinking about the will to power in the image of art. All human unfolding is actually a creative process where a content, or a material, is formed. Life is seen as a work of art. This is precisely Rappoport´s view. He sees a human being as an artist. A reality-creating artist. Actually, a kind of God able to create new realities in his own image. He just needs the tools, and those tools he can get from Rappoport…if he wants to pay the price, that is.
A similar thought exists in the so-called self-production thesis, which is the thought about, that Man is the being, who creates himself through his history, and thereby controls his own freedom. The thought exists in the German idealism, for instance in Fichte, Schelling, Hegel. Both Existentialism, as well as Marxism, also builds on the understanding of the freedom of Man to form his own life, and that this is an unconditional value. Freedom is a good thing, a demand and a responsibility. What it is about, is the freedom to be the creative power in your own history. In the Existentialists it is the life-story of the individual, in the Marxists it is the world-history of the community.
The self-production thesis builds on the thought, that Man is in a continual state of becoming. The concept formation also often becomes used in connection with the concept of becoming. In my book A Portrait of a Lifeartist I have examined this in details in the section The Lifeartist as a Desirous Being.
With this Nietzsche introduced a quite central concept: perspectivism. Through our interpretations (language) we directly construct the world. And you must therefore have the will and power to create new values, and you must have the power to give them name in a new way, because namegiving is the same as an unfolding of power. Or else you end up as a slave.
To live is to will, to will is to create values. The will to power is becoming through us, and in that way we gain control over the things through a perspective. All this is also Rappoport´s view. He just has another name for perspectivism, namely imagination. Imagination is the creative power, and this power is unlimited. It must be because we are talking about the creation of reality itself.
It is now easy to see how much the modern management theory and coaching industry is inspired by Nietzsche: the relativistic and subjectivistic ideas about that it only is the individual himself who, through his interpretations, or stories, can supply the world with values – or rather, not supply, but directly create it like a God; the denial of the past, and the orientation towards future; the superman idea about being a winner, a succes, a person standing on the top of the mountain; the preaching about that it is not facts, but the best story, which wins.
Also existentialism can be used to justify these thoughts. The act-oriented ideas of existentialism match as hand in glove with a capitalistic-liberalistic ideology about being the architect of your own fortune, the right for each individual person to seek his own idea of happiness – the philosophical point of view, that there isn´t any objective value-goals for the human life, only individual subjective choices. That is: value-subjectivism.
Heidegger and Sartre both think from Kierkegaard´s philosophy of existence, but without his Christianity and humanism, and therefore they end in subjectivism and irrationalism. They both show, in different ways, what the danger is in subjectivism and its belonging irrationalism. Irrationalism led Heidegger to Nazism, though only for a shorter period, and Sartre had difficulties explaining why you not as well could choose an anti-humanistic project of life such as Leninism or Nazism.
The New Thought movement, or New Thought, is a spiritual movement, which developed in the United States during the late 19th century and emphasizes metaphysical beliefs. It consists of a loosely allied group of religious denominations, secular membership organizations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of metaphysical beliefs concerning the effects of positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, life force, creative visualization, and personal power. Here we see another of Rappoport´s sources of inspiration for his concept of imagination.
The three major religious denominations within the New Thought movement are Religious Science, Unity Church and the Church of Divine Science (so it is important to know, that there is a special religious movement behind the management theories and the self-help industry, which everyone today, through education and work, is forced to accept).
The main theory is also here the subjectivist belief, that your thoughts create reality. By focusing on positive thinking, and by avoiding everything you find negative, you can create your life in accordance with your needs, feelings and wishes. The “positive” is identified as success, money, sex, material glory, etc. Examples of book-titles are: “Prosperity Through Thought Force”, “The Science of Getting Rich”, “Think and Grow Rich”.
Rappoport doesn´t care about specific goals. He is utterly subjectivistic and says: “just create your own reality.” He obviously doesn´t bother to ask about what kind of reality that might be.
All the above theories is today seen in a whole tendency of time within school, folk high school and continuing education, where you focus on so-called ”personal development” and ”Personality-developing courses” in connection with demands about lifelong learning, continuing education, readiness for change and flexibility; precisely what management theory and coaching are all about.
For instance they use Sartre´s scriptures as a request for uninhibited and egoistic self-expression, where the individual person is letting his choices decide everything. The existentialists say that Man has the freedom, through his choices, to be the creative power in his own history. As management theorists and coaches say: ”It is not facts, but the best story, which wins!”
In the existentialists the choice gives reasons for all meaning, but can´t in itself be given reasons for. The viewpoint is called decisionism, because values at base are founded on a choice, or a decision. Nietzsche called it perspectivism, Rappoport calls it imagination. It doesn´t matter, it is all expressions of the same philosophical idealism.
The ideology is in that way extremely ingenious, because it precisely is based on an assertion about, that you have the freedom to create your happiness. So, we now have the philosophical background for looking into Rappoport´s concrete theory of the Matrix.
Here are three videos where he presents it:
THE MATRIX REVEALED, introducing video:
In this project he presents his concept of the Matrix. The Matrix is a conspiracy which especially consist of what he calls global cartels, which otherwise are known as secret societies. With his own words:
The actual Matrix involves a number of areas: government; money; energy; the military; intelligence agencies; medicine; mega-corporations; psychology and mind control; science...
This conspiracy is a social construction created through mind control. The leaders of the conspiracy are an evil elite (this is also what social constructivists talk about). The task is to deprogram the individual from this socially constructed reality. So, Rappoport is clearly a part of the anti-intellectual and anti-scientific movement (see the Matrix Dictionary entry Anti-intellectualism and Anti-science).
EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, introducing video:
In this project he presents the methods to get out of the Matrix which consists in exercises of imagination. The exit is a movement from social constructivism to individual constructivism, not to any mind-independent reality like the movie Matrix is talking about (important!). The main figure is here the reality-creating artist.
As mentioned: this is the trick of Agent Smith. The individual is kept within the virtual reality of the Matrix. Now he is just a master of it, not a slave.
We are also introduced the whole New Age package of management theory, business and success coaching, mixed with the paranormal, past lives, modern Zen, modern alchemy, Tibetan Magicians, and Eastern concepts of spiritual enlightenment
POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX introducing video:
In this project he is talking about the irrationality of the Matrix, and how logic is a tool to control this. He says: “It is far more than a logic course. It's an advanced approach to analysis.” He is introducing a new form of logic.
He also talks about the more advanced power of the reality-creating artist, and more advanced steps of the things mentioned in Exit the Matrix.
My Critique of Jon Rappoport
Contains the following points:
1) Specious logic
2) The Mythology of Authenticity
3) Self-refuting arguments
4) Magical thinking
5) Reductio ad Absurdum
6) Ethical problems
7) Spiritual misunderstanding
1) Specious logic
A part of Rappoport´s courses is logic. He says:
My complete 18-lesson course, LOGIC AND ANALYSIS, which includes the written teacher's manual and a audio to guide you. I was previously selling the course for $375. This is a new way to teach logic, the subject that has been missing from schools for decades.
One can only be glad that it has been missing. It can only be defined as specious logic. Specious logic is any argument or analysis which has the apparent ring of truth or plausibility but is actually fallacious.
His use of logic reminds about Alice in Wonderland. Philosophers who read Alice recognize that she is by no means the first to be victimized by the use of specious logic. In fact, the logic of Wonderland has a long real-life history in philosophy. The great Greek philosopher Socrates, famous for saying, “The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being,” had no contend with a clique of the already-mentioned self-proclaimed savants calling themselves Sophists, who were notorious for using logic precisely to prevent such examination in favour of cleverly demonstrating how you could believe in six impossible things – before or after breakfast, as the Queen in Wonderland claims she can (see my pop culture file Alice in Wonderland).
What I find puzzling when reading Rappoport, or listening to him, is the constant stream of paradoxes floating from his pen and mouth. A paradox is a statement that, despite apparently sound reasoning from true premises, leads to an apparently self-contradictory or logically unacceptable conclusion. A paradox involves contradictory yet interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time.
Common themes in paradoxes include self-reference, infinite regress, circular definitions, and confusion between different levels of abstraction.
Patrick Hughes outlines three laws of the paradox:
An example is "This statement is false", a form of the liar paradox. The statement is referring to itself. Another example of self-reference is the question of whether the barber shaves himself in the barber paradox. One more example would be "Is the answer to this question 'No'?"
"This statement is false"; the statement cannot be false and true at the same time. Another example of contradiction is if a man talking to a genie wishes that wishes couldn't come true. This contradicts itself because if the genie grants his wish, he did not grant his wish, and if he refuses to grant his wish, then he did indeed grant his wish, therefore making it impossible to either grant or not grant his wish because his wish contradicts itself.
3) Vicious circularity, or infinite regress
"This statement is false"; if the statement is true, then the statement is false, thereby making the statement true. Another example of vicious circularity is the following group of statements:
"The following sentence is true."
"The previous sentence is false."
Other paradoxes involve false statements ("impossible is not a word in my vocabulary", a simple paradox) or half-truths and the resulting biased assumptions. This form is common in howlers.
Here is some examples of paradoxes in Rappoport:
1) In a blog post he is critizing Donald Trump, but already in the title of his website NoMoreFakeNews.com - the Real News, he is using Trump methods himself. He accuses all information he doesn´t like for being fake news, whereafter he introduces the real news. But the real news he himself is presenting can´t be called anything else than fake news; they are paranoid conspiracy theories. The whole thing is turned upside down. It is the same Trump does when talking about alternate facts (see the Matrix dictionary entry Fake News).
2) When he is talking about other´s conspiracy, you soon find that he himself is doing everything he accuses the conspiracists for doing. For example: you don´t need to look much into what he himself practices in his exercises for exit the Matrix: mind control in a nutshell (about mind control: see my article The Devastating New Age Turn in Psychotherapy).
3) He is also criticizing New Age, but when you look into his stuff, you find standard New Age stuff everywhere. This is actually typical for New Age. There isn´t many who defines themselves as New Agers. I actually haven´t found any. Because a trait of new agers is to sell themselves as revolutionary, unique, and paradigm shifters.
These way of inducing logical paradoxes goes through everything he writes and says and I just wonder if he does this deliberately. After all, he holds a BA in philosophy, and it seems almost impossible how he at one time can give a whole class in logic, at the same time as he is using fallacious reasoning in evert second sentence. But of course: since he is introducing his own logic, then classical logic could be something the evil elite has created. Also note: this anti-intellectual attitude is not due to a specific thing solely created by Rappoport. It is a central part of the postmodern propaganda streaming from the universities.
The best concepts for describing the confusion Rappoport is creating are gaslightning and doublethink (see the Matrix Dictionary entry Doublethink).
The goal is to blur the line between fact and fiction. And therewith we have the Scientology game. As he says:
The ten and a half hours of mp3 audio are my solo presentation, based on these interviews and my own research. Title: The Multi-Dimensional Planetary Chessboard—The Matrix Vs. the Un-Conditioning of the Individual.
Reality is described as nothing more than a role-playing game. Note that my concept of the Scientology Game just is a concept to describe what The Matrix Conspiracy as a whole is doing: namely describing reality as a role-playing game. Rappoport is by no means a scientologist. He is just one of the usual Matrix Sophists, who in the same way are describing reality as a role-playing game, where you can buy yourself to titles, abilities and levels (see my Ebook The Scientology Game – and The Matrix Player´s Handbook).
Tools for blurring the line between fact and fiction are the imagination exercises.
2. The Mythology of Authenticity
In a broad perspective beliefs such as Rappoport´s are today rooted in what I call the mythology of authenticity. This mythology is the main mythology of popular culture.
The mythology of authenticity is characterized by two specific methods: psychotherapy and coaching. Psychotherapy and coaching are by no means methods, which only exist within a defined theory. The mythology is characterized by that people constantly are inventing new forms of therapeutic interventions, but the basic mythology is the same.
The two world-images can in other words be seen as two versions of the same superior psychologizing understanding of life, which I call the mythology of authenticity. This mythology is so to speak a compilation of the two world-images into one.
So, psychotherapy (with root in humanistic psychology) and coaching (with root in constructivism) can be seen as new, large, meaning-carrying world-images in a psychologized and therapized age. Even though they, in their sources of inspiration, at first specify two quite different views of Man and his possibilities and purposes in the world, they are common in explaining humans from a conception about, that humans have lost (or all the time are in risk of losing) himself and therefore constantly have to work with personal development in order to find himself (psychotherapy and the dream of a lost past) or to become himself (coaching and the hope of a richer future). You can say that the two world-images both are based on the claim, that a human being not is himself, before he becomes himself, and that both world-images see lifelong therapeutic self-improvement as a presumption for, that a human being can become and live authentic.
So the mythology of authenticity defines Man as a being, who continuously need to cultivate himself therapeutic. The mythology does so by making Man into a problem to himself. It is indoctrinating people to see the Now as a problem by comparing with earlier, and hoping, desiring or fearing something else. This is precisely what traditional spiritual practice seeks to avoid.
A central part of the problem is that the mythology of authenticity only is dealing with the content of mind, the personal content. Religion and philosophy have been reduced to psychotherapy (or coaching). The wholeness (and the metaphysical and ontological realms) has been reduced to psychological realms. Humanity, in its relation to nature and universe, has been reduced to person and ego.
I hear protest, because the mythology is also working with the now. They also use mindfulness, which has become a buzzword in the mythology of authenticity. But when meditation, as in the mindfulness movement, are combined with the mythology of authenticity, mindfulness works as a hypnotic means of inducing the mythology into the mind. There will be created a conflict between the now (mindfulness) and the mythology of a lost past and a richer future.
Rappoport belongs to the coaching oriented version which has it roots in individual constructivism.
The difference between mindfulness and traditional spiritual practice is that where authenticity in the mindfulness movement is the same as becoming another (authenticity is a dream, a mythology), then authenticity in spirituality is the same as being what you are (authenticity is reality); or said shortly: the difference between becoming and being.
3. Self-refuting arguments
Rappoport´s subjective idealism is self-refuting. Subjectivism considers all views as subjective, and therefore equally good. Subjectivism is logical fallacious because it of course considers itself as being true. But it can precisely, in accordance with its own built-in subjectivism, not itself be regarded as truer than for example absolutism. For that reason it is followed by a long line of self-contradictions.
The self-contradiction is that subjectivism makes an exception of its own position: the very assertion of subjectivism is itself nonsubjectivist. After all, Rappoport tries to convince others about his ideas and that they should buy them. So, he must consider the ideas as being true.
4. Magical Thinking
The main reason for the rise of magical thinking is that you don´t discriminate between image and reality, the map and the landscape, subject and object. Imagination creates reality, landscape and object. Again it is important to emphasize that Rappoport believes this quite literary.
It is therefore he is talking so much about alchemy and Tibetan magicians whom he calls “artists of reality.“
But remember: if you think Rappoport is weird, then look at the universities: this is something you can see promoted in social constructivism and other postmodern trends (note that I´m not necessary against the possibility of magic in Tibetan Buddhism or other spiritual tradition, but Rappoport misunderstands these traditions, as I will show in the end of this article).
The difference between the use of thought distortions and the use of critical thinking is very shortly said, that those who use thought distortions are in the control of the thought distortion magical thinking, which is active when you don´t discriminate between image and reality, while critical thinking is active, when you do make this discrimination.
5. Reductio ad Absurdum
If you preach subjectivism like Rappoport, and believe that everything is subjective and for that reason equally true, you have thereby accepted that nazism, fascism, dictatorship, popular murder, terror and violence, are as equally great blessings for mankind as democracy, negotiation and dialogue. Then other people have no basis in order to criticize, because they haven´t got any rational frame to start from. They can´t criticize you for argumentation bungling, or to replace arguments with machine guns, because this presupposes, that there is a rational foundation in their arguments. Therefore, subjectivism can be used for justifying just about anything.
In my article on Fake News I mention that the website RationalWiki.org is a quite good fact checking website (something Rappoport would despise). Below I will show some of the absurdities Rappoport is involving himself in, due to his subjectivism. Some of the links are to RationalWiki.org.
According to his bio, he “has lectured extensively all over the US on the question: Who runs the world and what can we do about it?” For the last decade, however, he has “operated largely away from the mainstream” because, as he puts it, “[m]y research was not friendly to the conventional media.” Indeed. His independent research encompasses “deep politics, conspiracies, alternative health, the potential of the human imagination, mind control, the medical cartel, symbology, and solutions to the takeover of the planet by hidden elites.”
He is, for instance, a germ theory denialist, and in his post “Germ theory and depopulation” (discussed here) he argues that “[i]n general, so-called contagious diseases are caused, not by germs, but by IMMUNE SYSTEMS THAT ARE TOO WEAK TO FIGHT OFF THOSE GERMS” (yes, the capitalization is in the original). Indeed, “GERMS ARE A COVER STORY. What do they cover up? The fact that immune systems are the more basic target for depopulation and debilitation of populations.” The main tool is of course vaccines, which are weapons the nefarious powers that be use to kill off, well, it is a bit hard to see, partially because Rappoport’s post is mostly all-caps from there. At least HIV is a cover story as well.
He has a similar screed on flu vaccines on whale.to if that’s the kind of stuff you fancy reading. It is barely grammatical, but at least he gets his enthusiastic anger across rather well.
Currently Rappoport seems to write on various topics for InfoWars. Recently, for instance, Rappoport and InfoWars dubbed Rep. Tim Murphy’s bill seeking to reform the way the government addresses mental health services a “diabolical legislative package,” since Rappoport thought the legislation would require almost all children to take “psychiatric meds,” and that the bill will ultimately give the federal government “a monopoly of the mind.” He is regular featured on Gaia.com.
6. Ethical problems
The same energy, which can be used unselfish, can also be used turned stimulative into the Ego-structures, whereby the Ego can lose balance and expand to a super-Ego, or in another way be demonized. It is this, that happens in the spiritual crisis. You have gone out in the collective time with your Ego.
As mentioned: the main reason for the rise of magical thinking is that you don´t discriminate between image and reality, the map and the landscape.
True spirituality is about discriminating between language and reality. Discrimination is a central virtue in critical thinking. The Dominican mystics call this step Discriminatio, the ability to discriminate between how the energy is used temporal or religious. And despite that magical thinking actually can create something magical, then in true spirituality it is still something temporal, or relatively (black magic/occultism), which will create negative karma if practised (in my article on New Thought I have explained how this movement is a direct teaching of black magic – see my article The New Thought Movement and the Law of Attraction).
The Orientals call the ability of discrimination viveka, discrimination, the ability to use your will on that part of the energy, you can steer yourself, and steer it towards exercises, prayer, mantras, meditation, instead of towards career, worldliness, self-unfolding, as the New Thought movement teaches it (for example read the Indian philosopher Shankara´s book The Crown-juvel of discrimination).
The same energy-process and function, which realized spiritual teachers use, can therefore be used for other purposes than spiritual. When the collective time´s energy-processes are used spiritual, then the Ego, in its egoistic isolating and self-affirmative function, steps aside, and the energy is turned into the Now, and therefore in towards the Source and the spiritual dimension. The people, who around a spiritual teacher, constitute the energy-mandala, are in this way made transparent for a higher common human spirituality.
In the Ego-inflation the contact with, and the ability to manipulate with such collective forms of energy, will be used for other purposes than spiritual. It can be creative, Ego affirmative, political, demonical and so on.
The powers that, by realized spiritual teachers, are given to others´ disposal in healing, energy transmission and spiritual information exchange, the same powers can themselves be turned in through the Ego-structures, and therewith into past and future. In this way there can be opened creative channels, created super Egos, created political leaders and popular seducers.
This is a demonical element.
Many gurus seem to have fallen into this temptation. In the story about the temptation in the desert, we can see these possible ways of using the energy pictured in anticipated form. Here you see the possibility of using the freedom and the power, to elevation of the Ego and the consequent power and material glory. But Jesus abstains from this deification of the Ego.
However, many false gurus have fallen for the temptation. And in the present time, where spirituality is blended with coaching and management theory - the belief in, that worship of money, success and winner-mentality, is the same as being in compliance with the universal laws - we will undoubtedly see an explosion of such super Egos – and experiences show, that the world will follow them.
In Doctor Faustus Thomas Mann describes, how the main character Adrian Leverkühn discovers and releases such collective powers and is using them to intensify his musical creativity to genius heights. He goes deliberately into a demonizing-process by making love with the whore Esmeralda, whereby he conscious catches syphilis, for then to use the inner pole-tension of this disease to heighten his creative capacity.
Afterwards the universal energy-mandala unfolds itself out through lines of genius musical works, where both those, who perform them, and those, who listen, are being catched by the magical circle.
Thomas Mann partially builds his figure on Nietzsche, and the whole of the novel is on a collective plane about, what the Germans did under The Second World War, where demonical polarized energy spread from Hitler and the secret SS-rituals.
In Adrian Leverkühn´s dialogues with the Devil are clearly seen haughtiness and superman-feeling as the motives, which control the use of the collective creative energy.
As mentioned: If you preach subjectivism and believe that everything is subjective and for that reason equally true, you have thereby accepted that nazism, fascism, dictatorship, popular murder, terror and violence, are as equally great blessings for mankind as democracy, negotiation and dialogue. Then you have no basis in order to criticize, because you haven´t got any rational frame to start from. You can´t criticize anyone for argumentation bungling, or to replace arguments with machine guns, because this presupposes, that there is a rational foundation in your arguments. We looked at the problems Sartre and Heidegger faced. And we have seen how Nietzsche´s philosophy can justify just about anything. The same we see in the New Thought movement.
This doesn´t mean, though, that all great art is coming through because a creative person turns the collective energies in through the Ego-structures: Thomas Mann´s musical image, which intuitively and poetical seeks to understand Hitler-Germany, is for example a contra-image to Bach´s music, which toned God to honour and mankind to uplifting. To all the great works Bach added ”Soli Deo Gloria”.
Though Karen Blixen´s philosophy clearly has a demonical element, she is a borderline figure between the ego and the spiritual dimension. She also has a concept of the anti-authoritarian artist as a central idea in her worldview but this is the direct opposite of both Nietzsche and Rappoport. True creativity rises in total self-forgetful openness in the now. Here there is no will: In Out of Africa she says:
“People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the artist, who has no will, who is free of will. The pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream, but in this: that there things happen without any interference from his side, and altogether outside his control. Great landscapes create themselves, long splendid views, rich and delicate colours, roads, houses, which he has never seen or heard of...”
I have explained the differences further in my blog posts: What is a Life Artist? And A Shadow Odyssey.
7. Spiritual misunderstandings
Rappoport´s final goal state (enlightenment) is similar to George Berkeley´s concept of God (George Berkeley is the founder of the kind of subjective idealism which Rappoport´s “philosophy” is based on). A convinced adherent of Christianity, Berkeley believed God to be present as an immediate cause of all our experiences.
He did not evade the question of the external source of the diversity of the sense data at the disposal of the human individual. He strove simply to show that the causes of sensations could not be things, because what we called things, and considered without grounds to be something different from our sensations, were built up wholly from sensations. There must consequently be some other external source of the inexhaustible diversity of sensations. The source of our sensations, Berkeley concluded, could only be God; He gave them to man, who had to see in them signs and symbols that carried God's word.
Here is Berkeley's proof of the existence of God:
“Whatever power I may have over my own thoughts, I find the ideas actually perceived by Sense have not a like dependence on my will. When in broad daylight I open my eyes, it is not in my power to choose whether I shall see or no, or to determine what particular objects shall present themselves to my view; and so likewise as to the hearing and other senses; the ideas imprinted on them are not creatures of my will. There is therefore some other Will or Spirit that produces them.” (Berkeley. Principles #29)
As T.I. Oizerman explained:
“Berkeley's mystic idealism (as Kant aptly christened it = subjective idealism) claimed that nothing separated man and God (except materialist misconceptions, of course), since nature or matter did not exist as a reality independent of consciousness. The revelation of God was directly accessible to man, according to this doctrine; it was the sense-perceived world, the world of man's sensations, which came to him from on high for him to decipher and so grasp the divine purpose.”
This conception of God (the good, the true and the beautiful) is invalid, because it has no foundation for that the cause of our sensations is God. It could with the same weight be claimed to be the Devil. The latter might even be a better explanation, if you take the theory seriously, that is. This is also somehow what Rappoport does in his thoughts about the Matrix and the evil scientists.
Rappoport doesn´t support Berkeley´s Christianity (or any other classic wisdom tradition, only in his own “modernized” forms). Rappoport is talking about enlightenment, but he somehow confuses Berkeley´s concept of God with the Eastern concept of enlightenment. He therefore seems unaware of the possibility for authentic realization of the Supreme God-Self or Atman (though quoting a lot of Eastern sources), this Self is not other than the transcosmic, Suprapersonal Divine Reality or Brahman. This incomparable, supernal Reality is what the Buddha independently calls Nirvana, the “Unborn, Uncompounded, Unmade,” Awareness-sans-surface (vinnana anidassana).
Very shortly said: Rappoport reduces Eastern concepts of ontological realms (external to the subject) to psychological realms (internal in the subject). What Rappoport, as well as New Age as such, does, is to place enlightenment in the subject, what would end in metaphysical solipsism, the terrible result of a total metaphysical subjectivism. You could term it "Black Enlightenment."
The Eastern notion of enlightenment is the direct opposite. So also this is turned upside down. With his “modernized” forms of Zen and Alchemy he is a part of the same exploitative form of colonialism we see in New Age, and one step in the destruction of Indigenous cultures, and eventually all the original wisdom traditions (see the last part of my booklet The Psychedelic Experience versus The Mystical Experience). I have called this tendency of turning the traditional wisdom traditions upside down for the 666 conspiracy-aspect of The Matrix Conspiracy.
The Eastern notion of enlightenment is metaphysical objectivism. It is the complete experience of reality itself, or the complete absence of the subject. You could also say that the subject has been made transparent in objective light. The subject is open like a Lotus flower for the sun. So, even the Eastern idealists have this as an end goal. Their idealism is founded in this, wherefore they don´t end in solipsism. Rappoport´s theories are founded in subjective idealism.
I have explained, and debunked, this confusion of Berkeleyan subjective idealism with Eastern notions of metaphysical idealism/metaphysical naturalism several places (for some new explanations see The Matrix Dictionary entries on Simulation Theory and Robert Lanza, my booklet The Psychedelic Experience versus The Mystical Experience, as well as the pop culture file on Star Wars).
The idea that the world doesn´t exist when you´re not there to observe it, is purely subjective idealism; that is: metaphysical solipsism. Metaphysical solipsists maintain that your own mind is the only existing reality and that all other realities, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that mind, and have no independent existence. It´s an incredible easy idea to debunk (again: see my Matrix Dictionary entry on Simulation theory).
Moreover: it is an extremely frightening thought, which can be compared with the horror of Borges´s stories (see the Matrix Dictionary entry of Jorge Luis Borges). It is a vision of Hell that wants something: you yourself have to simulate (Rappoport: imagine) infinity each and endless moment in an infinite past and infinite future. You have no family, no friends, no other humans to support you, and no other existence at all, except yourself and your Sisyphean imagination-work that each and every moment in an endless past and an endless future has to simulate/imagine every atom in the whole endless universe in an endless ongoing Time, where there is no rest, no death, no end. And - (just to add one more reason to the thousand other reasons why you should abandon the idea) - there is no reason at all to share the idea because there is no one to share it with. But this is what Rappoport, like a business man, is almost aggressively doing.
You can buy his material for 3 x 125 $. Why does he need to sell it when he can imagine, and therewith magically manifest, the money himself? He must be the authority on his own products?
But if Rappoport eventually should try to explain that there exist other people whom he can share his insights with, the whole thing becomes self-refuting.
The Scientology Game – and The Matrix Player´s Handbook
Related in The Matrix Dictionary:
The Matrix Conspiracy Updates
Anti-intellectualism and Anti-science
Gaia.com (A New Age propaganda site where Rappoport is featured on this page).
The Matrix Conspiracy
Constructivism: the Postmodern Intellectualism behind New Age and the Self-help Industry
The New Thought movement and the Law of Attraction
Self-help and The Mythology of Authenticity
The Confabulation of Trump
Related pop culture files:
Alice in Wonderland