XenoXenism is an extrapolation of XenoFeminism. As such it falls under the GPL.
Are humans really a species? Humanism has had its time, the bar should now be set higher: humanity is a spectrum, and its limits are far from being clear. Are individuals really unique? Are they even autonomous entities? You cannot define your own algorithm, but that's not because it is hidden or even hard to grasp. There is simply no individual algorithm: personalities are based on templates, made available socially. Although each of these templates does have an algorithm, no actual mental content can be described as the product of a particular algorithm. Here lies the mystery: technology promotes individuality but as a result it erases individual differences by calibrating individuals very meticulously. This process is often called "coersion".
Humanity is at a hybrid stage: half prehistoric, half-cyborg, and yet we have always been told that each social agent is responsible for their actions. Indeed, one layer of the self does seem to be driving the machine, but there are several others which contribute to the constant inner dialog called consciousness. Our cognitive system is finite, which makes conscious thought a costly process, integrating on-the-fly extremely complex behavioral patterns are built in our genes. Instinctive behaviors are not primitive, they are solutions to practical problems selected by evolution and stored in our DNA. A gap between the solutions which we have and the problems which we meet is therefore inevitable. At this precise point in human history, before our evolutionary past is entirely snatched from our reach by actual eugenics, it seems necessary to forge a new tool with which to navigate the sea of our internal genetic history. The actual emancipation of individuality requires an unprecedented confrontation of consciousness with its determinisms, the huge majority of which do not even overlap with conscious thought.
As it appears today, 2000 years of attempts to create a global ideological framework to eradicate tribal and individual behaviours have been an utter failure. Christianity, Islam, Communism, Tinder: all these programs are attempts to channel group dynamics through the control of invididual behavior, but none has changed the structure of the human mind. The international post-colonial order being but an illusion, the definition of civilisation is currently more than ever a subject of discussion. In parallel to the rise of digitalised behavior, we saw financial and humanitarian atrocities trigger the most brutal attacks on critical thought, when all the fruits of democratic society seemed to be at hand. Globalized intensive terror attacks made the bourgeoisie shiver and realize how fragile were the foundations of their way of life. Attacks on free thought materialized under the form of the sincere realization of the conservative nature of political leftism: tending for change was not nearly the same as putting the western world's privilegies in jeopardy for good. Human societies worldwide have been coagulated in a global whole, politically unbalanced and economically unfair. Humanity is the name usually given to the group of all the people who live in this globalized world, who can think of it and thus qualify as belonging in it. As scientific discoveries were broadcasted and incorporated into social practices and folk psychology, humanity went through different clear states: these sets of norms are ways of connecting, methods for organising individuals and ideas into networks. They are paradigms and therefore impose a certain signature upon the production of individuals who encapulate them. Simultaneously hindered and expanded, undermined and upgraded, humanity is continuously switching states. Now, during this period of transition, it is actualising both states at the same time: being purely itself while being fundamentally other.
At such a scale, the ergonomic studies of today become the logical habits, the psychological limitations of tomorrow, and you will swipe to the right to answer calls for the rest of your existence, whatever else that implies in your life as a global experience. In this world, our behaviors are quantized, and our caretakers, in their eagerness to define us, to model us, display signs of the best intentions in pleasing our natural inclinations. Whether they are natural or not, it is less than certain that the inclinations which are pushed on us effectively promote individual development, while claiming to do so. Less and less randomness is made available to us, and its ersatz are very cheap. In this world, we are encouraged to be ourselves, which means pushing our determinisms to the edge. The consequence is that we only get to be ourselves in a predictable way. Sadly, drawing self-esteem from the social realm involves maximizing only the behaviors which are rewarded because of their predictability: if one is not predictable enough, then they might as well not be. In this context, it seems it is our task to become the other rather than stay the same.
This is transvaluation of values in action: what we believe to be alien is often entangled in our own identity. What we truly cannot fathom seems absurd, and in the long run, otherness is precisely that which defines us by highlighting our limitations. Xenos (ξένος) means other in Greek, as in stranger, enemy or guest. Like Pharmakos(φαρμακός), which can mean medication, drug or poison, Xenos may mean several things depending on context, but in Xenoxenism it refers in priority to XenoFeminism's promotion of otherness as empowering social subversion tool. Xenism, on the other hand, is used to describe untranslatable loanwords, foreign words introduced in a host-language without orthographic alteration or gender-reattribution. By making a discipline of becoming the other, XenoXenism thus proposes an inclusive method of self-regeneration.
Don't be yourself: Listen to your genes.
What are the biases with which real scientists see the world? Who protects you from their inventive mischief? Humans have waited all through the Seventies, and the Eighties, and some even waited through the Nineties before they understood how to take full advantage of decent digital data bandwith. New resources have been born, and they are more alive than many people, yet are they alive? What kind of life is that of a program? How does coding reflect distant behaviors from the time when human homes were in natural rock caves? We can now take full advantage of the current state of things by intentionally reconnecting with the few tens of thousands of years' worth of genetic and culturally determined evolution encapsulated in our DNA properties. That is XenoXenism. What is below the borders of individuality is most often perceived as being outside its realm. When individuals believe their access to their own otherness deserves outer mediation and control, they renounce a part of their individuality and become products. Without XenoXenism , you would swipe to the right to answer calls for the rest of your existence, whatever else that implies in your life as a global experience. Your thumbs will also become more sensitive. The tech industry has made decisions which will most certainly change the course of human evolution, in a more selective manner than the old notion of racism ever did. Sexual selection has obviously been socially mediated and orchestrated as the creation and the development of a fictive archetype (cultural, national, regional, local...). In the 19th century, in a matter of a few generations, excluding certain physical traits from a given population's most striking attributes. With genetic modifications, one generation of eugenic manipulations would have much deeper consequences on the long term.
Evolutionary Psychology is a conceptual framework built upon the claim that humans are anachronic beings: a caveman's brain interacting with modern devices and cyber-comodities. However, the speculations which Evolutionary Psychology allows itself summon the human consciousness in its struggle against mediated knowledge: given some are strongly biased, sometimes trying to reaffirm Natural Theology within the boundaries of neuroscience, why should only scientists be allowed to speculate freely on our evolutionary past? Which criteria do they use in order to legitimate their own speculative narratives, meant to explain the development of an aptitude, whether artistic creation or stonetool breakthrough? It is not always clear, and David J. Buller's approach in criticizing the way research itself was conducted never reached massive approval. Sometimes, all one can read is how much they want their particular theory to be true, which is embarassing. Xenoxenism is the name of free speculation in the broad sense. Our hypothesis is as follows: can a speculation be legitimate because it is fun? Is enjoyment really something to be avoided when it comes to speculation? Can a criterion of Fun be introduced in speculative research? Xenoxenism sees many types of research collide in the mythologies they generate. In the case of the Neanderthals, much fantasy was displayed and many facts were invented. Yet they exist and can mean something in many contexts. If they are the other, then they are involved in each type of possible otherness. The scope of Xenoxenism overlaps with real world ideological struggles,but does not limit itself to those. It is speculative because it assumes that reality is basically made of layers, different degrees and worlds interacting and generating infinite new possibilities each second. Sometimes, it is also counterfactual.
XenoXenism was implemented as the quickest path to otherness, defined in terms of evolutionary psychology. XenoXenism is defined as access to one's own otherness, in the sense of whatever they are determined not to be, rather than whatever they can be; otherhood is the dynamic motion of reaching out into what seems other. XenoXenism consists in taking into account determinisms active outside the realm of mediated self-conscious experience, accepting the vacuity of certain psychological and cultural habits, casting some away and building the activities of the mind accordingly. Listening to one's genes means letting another layer of the self override one's intentionality. Setting aside one's intentional consciousness, and letting one of the other layers of our self override it without hindsight..
The mind makes the body resonate by reaching into behavioral banks which might have been very well concealed. XenoXenism is the realisation that the other is already part of the self, and that any limitation between the two is a ideological artefact. Humans are constantly compelled to express a stable and coherent persona to the world they live in. Priests, guides, influencers and usurpers thus keep repeating the same mantra under various forms: "Be yourself". To the cynical and critical mind, this urge to be oneself is no more than the perpetual enforcing of competitive behavior. The relations between cooperation and competition are as complex as those between the group and the individual. They also are as general and theoretical, happening outside the reach of any perceptive feedback.
In many cases, competitive behavior may contribute to hasten the growth of a given aptitude. In as many cases, in the framework of competitive behavior, aptitudes end up being overspecialized and unable to live without each other without being able to communicate with each other. We can call this social state a crisis, in which the co-dependant organisms within a society break apart from one another through actual struggle over the definition of the algorithm for the division of the resources. In this sense, Xenoxenism dismisses competitive behavior as implying the negation of collective well-being. Collective achievements require cooperative behavior rather than competition, in that the goal of the process belongs from the collective and not to those who are established as dominant. In that sense, Xenoxenism is the will to give up the privileges which cause inequality and enduce suffering.
Taking this thought seriously induces the destruction of the private sphere, of the cultural illusion of having an individual subjectivity or a personal life, and calls upon the elimination of intellectual property altogether. Ideas always have a framework; they are not born from within a subjective mind, but from the interactions between the different individuals which compose a given system. The self is such a system comprising several entities, as well as any type of association of several physical individuals, and they perform the same basic task as entities: synthesizing multiple feedback into coherent thoughts. If memes are like genes, individuals merely respond to cyclic waves of social stimulation. The most cohesive and inclusive waves are also the less competitive, and in them collective intelligence and individual excellence coexist.
As long as the dominant ideology praises competition, it praises physical warfare and psychological enslavement of the vast majority to the interests of the world's oligarchia.
Don't be yourself: Listen to your genes.
Xenoxenism seeks radical models of otherness and connects them consistently. What is other, from a modern human point of view? History of science shows that the rational basis for experimental procedures has not always been secular. Natural theology is the name given to the rationalisation of religious belief, which some scientists have performed in order to contribute to their ideals. Sorting out science from propaganda is not always easy, and believing that all scientific research is true in itself is a clear trap. Oftentimes, science is as dogmatic as religion, and the links between the two are much more complex than it appears. It still happens nowadays that contemporary scientists create experiments to support unscientific theses, whether turned to idealistic creationism or methodologic anarchism.
Eloquent examples of these dangerous variations in methodology can be found in Evolutionary Psychology. Xenoxenism means empathy toward what seems other, alien, senseless to your own point of view. Otherness (aka otherhood) seems beyond your limits. But in fact, what is really beyond your limits is far less understandable than otherness, as it is plain inconceivable. Xenoxenism promotes the identification of your otherness: otherness is relative, but it is also figurative as it is a model of the boundaries of a given system (the self, the group, etc). Xenoxenism is thus primarily inclined to seek out that which is at the edge of the common sense definition of humanity. The question should be specified as such: what is outside the scope of human variability?
This question brings up a continuum, starting with proto-humans and other hominids long extinct, ending up with artificial intelligence and other modelisations of randomness and intentionality by the means of neuroscience. Setting a precise point on this spectrum depending on the contextual appearance of the self is necessary, precisely before invoking otherness. This process requires much research and debate, in order for the ideological prejudice to be eliminated. Many analytic philosophers, from Paul Feyerabend to Patricia Churchland, have advocated Eliminativism, which means contributing to gradually eliminate inadequate concepts from Folk Psychology. These concepts range from the understanding of daily life through false categories and simplified models of the mind, to the transmission of deceitful conceptions about the human brain. We can illustrate the first case with the example of “Love”: this word covers an incredible diversity of individual and social processes, and it is based on the prescribed model of social re-duplication which is believed to hold society together.
Love is neither sex nor eroticism, nor even friendship: this blurry concept subsumes even more elements and obliterates them into the unsuccessful secularisation of religious values into those of democratic society. When we know enough about the real mechanisms which motivate sexual selection and reproductive alliances, Folk Psychology might eventually stop using irrelevant categories such as “love”. Another example of Eliminativism is the inappropriate understanding of what “Memory” is: we tend to imagine something like a container for thoughts and events, as if facts and ideas were simply stored in a part of the brain. Scientists studying the human brain have so far been able to distinguish at least three functionally distinct processes which do not even remotely overlap as it is intuitively assumed: work memory, long term memory, and short term memory. Those processes are located in different brain modules, are implicated in different tasks. They are not systematically inter-wired. When scientific breakthroughs are made, it is very rare they have an immediate echo in Folk Psychology.
Listen to your genes.
Do not be yourself.
This contradiction between the state of scientific knowledge and unscientific assumptions used by humans in daily life is not surprising. This gap between common representations and specialised knowledge stems from the industrial nature of consumerist ideology, in which owners have the monopoly on intellectual property and a right to own the means of production: the consumers are the workers. Some argue that mediated knowledge and social control enables humans to generate better intuitive models of nature and consciousness, that coercion is the condition for the illusion of freedom as well as the growth of objective knowledge. They ask: what evidence can Xenoxenism show, in order to demonstrate its own benefits?
Xenoxenism is based on a research project in Paleo-Anthropology and Evolutionary Psychology. It focused on the social impact of new research results, measured in newspaper headlines and rate of contradictory claims. The topic researched was the Neanderthals, because this nearly mythological population of hominids has haunted science since the first discoveries were made. Neanderthal, it was long believed, was the other man; this dark twin that humanity had to get rid of in order to grow and prosper. Since the 1990s, researchers all over the world push the research to new grounds every couple of months, and their claims may vary from 0 to 1 very fast, as much as their echo in the press.
As new discoveries are made, their interpretation evolves; the latest and most innovative research projects include DNA sequencing, measuring the genetic impact Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis had on our species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens. A vast collection of articles available online has been prepared as a result, which have been classified chronologically and commented.
Folk psychology communicates with science, and gets updated every once in a while. For instance, although Sigmund Freud started working on Psychoanalysis in the first decades of the 20th century, it took Surrealism several decades to make it a common tool among the bourgeoisie. It took even longer for the whole of society to be adapted to this set of beliefs, and the first solid criticisms appeared at the end of the 20th century, with works by Thomas Kuhn and Gilles Deleuze.
The world had to wait for the 21st century before these criticisms had a real impact, and Psychoanalysis finally started to be evacuated from folk psychology around the time Neuroscience took over the mainstream media. The gradual disappearance of Psychoanalysis from common sense and folk psychology has not reached completion: it is an excellent example of what is meant by Eliminativism. The critique of the inaccurate use of neuroscientific discoveries by the press and other media is called Neuroskepticism, word used by Denis Forest in his research from 2014.
Xenoxenism embraces coding in a peculiar sense. It has long been believed that autism was a mental disorder of some kind, an impairment of the normal faculties of the healthy human being. It appears by now that the variability of neurological machines the human species can attain is rather a benefit, and the digital era is only starting. The aptitudes needed to empathise with computer programs, machines or abstract entities are far off the grid of normal human aptitudes. If the average brain was the norm, humanity would not evolve: it has to be made clear that deviance itself is the norm, under the form of neurodiversity.
Using the concept of empathy when it comes to coding is a direct reference to the history of psychology, which has long supposed that people with autistic spectrum disorders were incapable of empathy. If their “theory of mind” is impaired, the way they infer on other people’s thoughts is not conform to the average and thus generates misunderstandings on a social scale. These misunderstandings are thereafter designated as symptoms of abnormality. Relativism has its faults, but as the balance is shifting, it is high time to come to terms with the solemn assumption that whatever the world is, it could be “objective”, “normal”, or even “real”.
Among defenders of a deeper social critique, there are those who agree to reconsider their privileges and those who don’t. The term Feminism is associated with an aspect of this critique which has long been left out of the main concerns of those in power, in our context a certain patriarchal elite. In the history of western philosophy and political activism, a series of figures should be highlighted, although it is by no means a complete history of the awakening of feminism as a realisation of the disproportional distribution of social capital based on the diffenrential valuation and subsequent hierarchisation of all the tasks performed by humans. Social customs are slow to adapt to collective realisations, because the latter are generally fought back by those who take advantage of this unequal state of things.
The current patriarchal tone of most of the world’s societies has not a long evolutive history. Not unlike many other animals, hominids have developed matriarchal political models and social customs which survive until today. But male-centered societies have made a point of differentiating the duties of women and the privileges of men. Transgender individuals have always been around, but now, sexual orientation and gender identity are no longer believed to be based on objective points of reference. Human cultures have often been so poor at distinguishing themselves that their only tool for self-preservation was the hatred of the other. Likewise, the fragility of the heteronormative model often led mobs to the blind hatred of homoeroticism. Although norms have evolved, this phenomenon is distinctive of a certain phase in human development, a stage at which some individuals and even societies are still stuck. Thus the fight against the oppression of the queer is an extremely meaningful social phenomenon, related to the successive waves of feminism which the Western world has gone through in the last couple of centuries. Queer theory and gender studies collide in the realisation of the oppressive nature of gender normative social biases. Xenoxenism uses evolutionary psychology as a matrix for speculative hypotheses about the development of normative sexual behavior, for the popular theory is that Neanderthals were not gendered in the same fashion as early Homo Sapiens. Was there ever a fight of the matriarchate against the patriarchate, as the brutal changes in the antique greek pantheon suggests? It is still time to learn from the past.
The rise of the Transgender movement brings the questioning of a series of concepts which some thinkers have already tried to undermine, such as the idea of individual immutability, the elimination of marriage as an institution, and poly-parentality. Child rearing has been considered women’s job in the framework of patriarchal politics; transgender politics may very well bring about all the technologies mankind is capable of in order to enable each and everyone to procreate. Although this poses the problem of eugenics much sooner than expected, it mostly triggers a revolution in the methods involved in raising children. Ideally, this could take humanity one step further in a way not unlike what Charles Fourier envisioned: collective nurseries could lead to the development of entirely new social dynamics, unpreoccupied by the quest for property and thus protected from the inherent competitive nature of the heteronormative male-centered home.
XenoXenism can be compared to Zen Buddhism in its urge to produce unfiltered behaviour in well-orchestrated contexts. Zen Buddhism does not explain itself as much as it casts derision upon what it perceives as uninsightful. Zen is certainly other, for those who have been molded in a monotheistic society. Buddhism is compatible with other beliefs; Zen, as a specific variety of this mode of thought, distinguishes the power of collectivity from the enslavement of the individual. Mostly, Zen is a way of making sense of what seems to be random or senseless without justifying one particular ideology. For this reason, from a non-Buddhist point of view, it is a perfect example of otherness, unobtrusive and fatalistic. Moreover, Zen itself has a notion of 'otherness', which borders on the absurd: only the self-conscious mind perceives anything as being other than them. Only those who were unable to get rid of that primitive obstacle, which is self-awareness, believe in otherness. For this reason, becoming other, relatively to Zen, implies reaching a particular stage in life, a unique experience in which we entirely loose track of having ever known of any border, anywhere. These points in life can be seen as insights, and depending on the definition you get of 'satori' you will be more or less willing to aspire to it. But as inspiring as it may get, being a Zen monk doesn't enable you to take full advantage of the current situation in history. The main reason for that is that Zen values hygiene and discipline. Zen masters are known for occasionally indulging in excessive alcohol beverages like many famous thinkers of the absurd around the world, such as Rumi or Omar Khayam. The current times have new mind-probing tools, psychotropic drugs, which undermine the myth of self-consciousness. Despite their aptitude to short-circuit the usual wirings of our brains, those compounds are not welcome in Zen culture.
Recursivity is a creative expression of critical thought, a pattern for thought to express disdain onto self-conscious thought itself. Folk psychology claims that self-consciousness and self-awareness guarantee the respect of social values, but cautious observation of life mechanisms reveals patterns in the co-existence of events. The only sensible conclusion is that the social patterns are of such magnitude that individuals are truly incapable of acting upon them consciously. All that is left for behavioural guidance is thus a hybrid practical philosophy made of cynicism and skepticism. Skepticism is an ancient philosophical school which claimed that ultimate wisdom, leading to happiness, consists in breaking apart all decision processes into their eventual duality and being able to see them as equally plausible. Their moto, “ou mallon”, can be rendered as “not one rather than the other”. According to Pyrrho, psychological stability, or rather equanimity can only be reached by means of what he called suspension of judgement. The goal of this process could easily be compared to Zen Buddhism, which points out the absence of an actual border between things, thus making the concept of otherness futile. Both of those schools of thought use recursion as a tool to generate absurdity: making sense of openly contradictory claims is beyond logic, the the goal of the process being to strip down the mind from its deceit. Using logic rules beyond logic is ironic and insane, and in that sense deserves to be recognized as the psychological pattern involved in the deployment of all artistic creativity.
Spontaneity and instinctive behaviours are understood as generators of actualised and contextualised random behaviour, more precisely non-replicable behaviour. Taking interest in stereotyped reactions and their non-replicability enables one to perceive absurdity as a structuring process for the whole of reality. Originality is as instinctive as failure, and they both highlight the performative nature of social existence. Attempts make us who we become, and as such we can be described as a set of events independent from their consequences. For those who wish to escape this determinism, it is advisable to break apart from infatuated self-awareness and come to terms with the myth of the real world, through the process of ritualised spontaneity. On the one hand, it is always impossible to meet the absolute exactitude hinted at by the intended ritual itself. On the other hand, each micro-variation, each step aside from the ritual itself, as lively and spontaneous as it can be, becomes ritualised as it is produced. This process coerces event types: forgetting becomes omitting and making a mistake becomes making a decision. Events are not only rationalised and coerced by artists, they come across as a spectrum of intensities which reflects the current state of folk psychology. As art is continuously produced, aesthetic values follow, and the other way around simultaneously. The evolution of production tools have made digital creation available to a vast population, which grows everyday. Pure non-mediated experience can occur in any context, with any level of social visibility. A ritualised experience can most easily be reached in oneliness, as it is in many cases the state where one is free to determine themselves entirely. At the same time, the more individuals take active or passive part in a ritual, the more social value it gains. The more people agree on a particular series of particular events, the more spontaneity will be ruled out, since the symbolic performative value of the action is far more important than the shell which carries it. If it is rationalised in real time, any behaviour can be mystified and can thus be used as an tool of mystification.
The Bible of XenoXenism: concept+Texts by Benjamin Efrati, Character design by Zsuzsana Kreif, Background Design by Petra Marjai, Animation by Borbála Zétény and Diego Verastegui; Music by Wassim Halal and Laurent Clouet