Delusional Beings Lab : Intro

This is a document containing material for a performance piece.

 

Two actors sit before an audience speaking alone until joined by a video interview onscreen behind them.

 

THYS KRUGE – Former Campaign Manager for Doug Walters

DOUG WALTERS – Former Congressional Candidate, himself one of SBL’s Syncretic Beings in Development (or Synbedevils), and Syncretic Beings Labs Board Chair

OLAF EMBER – another one of SBL’s Syncretic Beings in Development (or Synbedevils) and Delusional Beings Labs Director

As TYS KRUGE speaks, clips of DOUG WALTERS walking through a Michigan woods are mixed with campaign clips.

____

THYS

I first met Doug Walters when he had just returned to Michigan from New York.  He was running a campaign for U.S. House of Representatives.

Campaign clip

At that time he didn’t have a campaign manager as such, and I was asked by several people if I would be willing to manage his campaign.

Wooded scene

In terms of his anthropological background, in which he has a PhD, I think we can take a look at him by way of being able to see things in a little more, well not a little more, in a considerably DIFFERENT point of view, as opposed to the typical politician.

Wooded scene

In other words, rather than looking at things in the so-called, quote “common sense” basis, he would look at it from a cultural, valuative, normative point of view.

Wooded scene

And how people interact with one another, and what it means to be part of a particular group and so on, and what the needs and so forth are based on the cultural background of these people.

Wooded scene

This makes a big difference, and this is what really drew me to him as a candidate.

DOUG

The phrase I use is “helping improve the fortunes of others” and for me there’s always this tendency, and it’s kind of a part of this world that I live in sometimes, where I think people are getting my double and triple meanings that I’m kind of prone to and I’m always doing this kind of thing. But when I say improving the FORTUNES of people, I mean improve both their well being in the sense of money, in the sense of career, but I also mean it in terms of improving their fortunes in the sense of improving their FATES.

[SLIDE]

In doing that, you have to take on certain kinds of power and that in itself is something that you have to DEAL with because that could dangerous both to others and to yourself in so many ways.

Onscreen: Syncretic Beings Labs Conference Room

Doug watches OLAF EMBER interviewed on a screen by some unknown person. Their voices sound as if coming from a speakerphone in the room.

OLAF

My experience with Walters is as one of our synbedevels.

[Olaf seems to hear a question from unknown interlocutor.]

Yeah right, sorry. A synbedevel is lab speak for SYNcretic BEings in DEVELopment.

DOUG

(to unknown interlocutor)

So I’m a “being…” not a scientist, analyst, writer or any of that?

OLAF

Yes, to us he is. We don’t absolutely know WHAT he is, let alone what he will BE.

[DOUG’S REACTION]

OLAF

I work in Michigan. It’s my field site.

Michigan is an ASSEMBLAGE, an assemblage of historic environments, economic environments, and infotainment environments. All of these are larger delusional beings, and this synbedevel, Doug Walters, is employed by my Delusional Beings Lab to study this delusional assemblage of beings.

In addition to this, this assemblage of environments we call Michigan is a part of an even larger set of environments, which the synbedevel Doug Walters has been used to study.  This larger set of environments has so far included:

(Olaf counts with his fingers, each one followed by the following categories)

One, the US electoral process, two, the Soviet Union and Berlin, three, anthropology and the military, four, the Police, protection and security, and last but not least, jobs.

The Delusional Beings Lab studies these environments in Doug Walters. This includes Walters the politician and really anything having to do with the role of syncretic scientist studying state power that he’s been playing as a trained anthropologist.

Dr. Walters is the perfect syncretic being for study mainly because like all scientific enterprises, SBL is most interested in why things DO NOT work rather than why they DO work.

Off screen, an unheard question is asked that seems to have to do with what the element of delusion has to do with this

OUR take on delusion is that delusional persons confuse syncretic SCIENTIFIC delving with actionable practice. They act on a false appraisal of what the real, social practice is in a given case.

A delusional system somehow fixes or fixates a person’s syncretic scientific delving, making it seem somehow palpable and immediately actionable.

The working notion is that while delusion is fixed, fixated, real syncretic scientific activity IS NOT.

Delusional beings aren’t just imaginary … they actually work, they actually function in the world. They actually change the universe by deluding other people who more often that not WANT to be deluded.

(Olaf is watching a laptop in the SBL conference room.  He listens to an unheard question about what it means that delusional beings delude others who want to be deluded.)

Above all else maybe, I’d say what you have to understand is that my lab creates and employs SYNCRETIC BEINGS, beings like campaigns, initiatives, and so on, persons, places and things that are created by scientists who are overtly or covertly acting as syncretic scientists.

These syncretic scientists, who are themselves syncretic beings, create OTHER syncretic beings that take on a being of their own.

In my lab we don’t study all of these, but just the ones that are more delusional.

To find these kinds of delusional syncretic beings already in exisence, we focus on three areas of activity.

(Olaf counts with his fingers, each one followed by the following categories)

(1) The research and writing of history, (2) economic analyses, and (3) infotainment, campaigns, etc.

A history, an economic analysis, or an infotainment piece, is a DELUSIONAL syncretic being when it involves:

(Olaf counts with his fingers, each one followed by the following categories)

(a) an act or instance of misleading the mind or judgment;

(b) an act of deceiving, and

(c) a state of being mislead or deceived.

Such beings allow persons to stay within and defend rationally inconsistent cultures they’re participating in.

Clips

OLAF

Candidates are delusional, hypersyncretic beings. They actually present themselves as delusional syncretic SCIENTISTS working ensconced in stories of syncretic activity with other, common, folks, histories, economic analyses and other infotainment pieces.

The delusional part of their behavior is first that they think they steer the state, and second that they get others to AFFIRM this.

Supporters want to play in the game of judging the candidate’s delusion and ability to delude them.

They treat this delusion and ability to delude as the end, and are not interested or really concerned with any syncretic/causal scientific ability of the candidate.

Any supposed syncretic scientific ability of the candidate is merely a part of his or her delusional repertoire.

Good question.  I’d say the link between infotainment and history, at least in the work of the Delusional Beings Lab is that all history is pop history it’s all History Channel.

Infotainment junkies are storytellers. So are economists.  They’re infotainers. In what so many of them do there is no real separation between economics and moral economies. Consumer behavior or market studies, market behavior, ethics are all based on acceptable infotainment stories.

The nature of political, bureaucratic, and business careers is that they all in one way or another come to find a sort of gravitational center in bean counting, funding, budgets. By studying the behavior around these things instead of around ideas, actual performance, outcomes, and so on, the delusion of steering the state is maintained.

 

[SLIDE]

We study the electoral process by focusing on Michigan’s 7th congressional district.  The campaign of Doug Walters was our main project there.

[SLIDE]

The public knowledge of the system through which candidates are chosen and supported is one of the most interesting things to study. While political scientists might study this through survey type quantitative research, our lab has had the use of Dr. Walters.

With political candidates you often see a kind of HYPERsyncretic masquerade, a kind of being something to everyone, and this masquerade leads to kind of soul corruption.

That’s my own term, and not really big here around SBL.

[SLIDE]

One thing I think is lost on many trying to understand political and electoral processes is the essentially ephemeral nature of power.  When you mix this fact with the hypersyncretic masquerade that is commonplace, you the move into other kinds of corruption.  People less familiar with the reality of this life, with the fact that this power comes and goes, are perhaps the most easily and dangerously deluded.

Maybe let’s go back a bit to the five sets of environments I’m studying via employing Walters in particular.

[SLIDE]

(1) When it comes to the Soviet Union and Berlin, much of our study is semi-historical and biographical, again focusing on Walters who both studied Russian at the University and went on to live in West Berlin, spending a good deal of time in East Berlin in the 1980’s. His close, longterm relation with the city since then is also of key interest, more so to a special project headed up by the Mnemonic Beings Lab.

[SLIDE]

(2) When it comes to the role of Social Anthropology in the military, my lab combines the historical and biographical study of Walters from his time in Kosovo, to more recent studies actively employing Walters to engage those involved in combining these two areas.

[SLIDE]

(3) To study policing, protection and security, my lab has focused on Walters’ work with the State of Michigan, especially in his work  on the financial exploitation and abuse of older people, and his work with disability groups.

[SLIDE]

(4) The last and perhaps least developed study we do in the Delusional Beings Lab is on the politics of jobs. This is very complicated at this point, and is a point of interlab discussion within SBL.

What was needed to create such a being?  That’s another good question.  What Walters has of particular interest, what makes him special in all that we have worked on really stems from: First,the basic fact that he can communicate with us on a scientific level, that he is a device, a method that can actually speak to us and help us, and has always been an inspiration in much of what we do. The second answer to the question of “Why him?” is due a variety of basic biographical situations that make him a great fit to study Michigan. We wouldn’t be here in Michigan if not for these biographical situations?

Right. These are subjects, themes, and not the core, the main focus of what I see  the lab’s work. Well, MY main focus of study is HOW EXACTLY in many cultures, whether it’s professional cultures, or those of religious, civic and hobby cultures, and others, delusions, or rather our delusional synbedevels are USED or IGNORED by certain certain other individuals who participate in these cultures. I’ve been studying this exact process via Walters.

Using these delusional synbedevels, we study how certain individuals compel other individuals within a culture to affirm one origin, one set of beliefs and so on. By employing a series of mnemonic systems, these individuals rationally compel those who participate in the culture to deny the essentially syncretic nature that all groups share, and to deny how they make outsiders of those who break this taboo. Examples of such cultures or Causes are: Economics, History, Psychology, Anthropology, Storytelling, and Infotainment.

Does Doug Walters fit in here? Yes, he does. As a delusional synbedevel, Walters works AGAINST this.

Walters, like all candidates, appears to be delusional or wanting to cause delusional behavior, yet his causal delusional beings are routinely rejected.  He is a faulty delusional being, a poor candidate of the syncretic people.

Yes, exactly. We learn to affect the delusions we are studying through Doug Walters’s failures

Syncretic Scientists are changing the way the universe is understood and dealt with in order to change the universe in new, more successful ways.

Simultaneity and sameness (what Walters has called “likeability”) is one subject all syncretic scientists seem to be engaged in, in one way or another.

Maybe above all else, social or cultural anthropology is associated with is the notion of cultural relativity. This amounts to the fact that while cultures often have overall different ways of understanding and changing the universe, all are equally cohesive and functional in their own rights.

Things “work” or function because of some quasi, machinelike social structure through which they operate such as a language, a set of practices, symbolic acts, sign behaviors, and so on.

We don’t accept this, really.

To us, it’s not that other, culturally different ways are somehow all equal because they make up some coherent system or because they satisfy some social need.  Many of them are, in fact, NOT equal. Some succeed less than others at changing the universe, and others are equal because they succeed just as well or better than others. Just because we cannot understand how two things we see as distinct are not acting as one, that doesn’t mean that their explanation is nonsense or impossible.