General Philosophy Discussion

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General Philosophy Discussion

Believe it or don't believe it, but some people think all of the philosophy discussion in the comments section is just a whole lot of meta-blah-blah. Some posted content may be more philosophical than others, but expounding a philosophical perspective contra the posted content is wrong and evil. Evil and wrong = ignorance of forum!

This one time, I was doing-conversation with emile in the comments section and the formatting of our responses to each other made me quit! I don't want to be a quitter because quitting is ignorance of forum.

Here's a big general: what are the epistemological and/or metaphysical foundations for the decisions you make that you consider anarchist decisions?

Sir Einzige
Well for me Anything going

Well for me Anything going back to Heraclitus(pre Socratics) and a Taoist to Zen Ancient framework. The more modern would be Stirner and Nietzsche to be primary. Former for an orientational framework, the latter for an epistemic.

When it comes to the pomo/post-structuralist stuff, my general view is to get Marx and Freud out of the analysis(both are reductionists) and replace them with Stirner and Jung. It would make for a change of language and analysis more conducive to anarchic thinking and overall less wrong.

That's my opening salvo for now.

to take it out of the way

'decisions you make' is all ping no pong etc

Philosophy is best discussed

Philosophy is best discussed while waiting your turn at the gallows. Keep them heads high your aristocratic wannabe posers, gotta fit that rope around your pompous necks.

In the anarchist society, we

In the anarchist society, we would all take turns hanging people and I'm sure we would discuss philosophy while we wait. Thanks for your input.

Every moment is death

Every moment is death

I don't think I'll say anything

I don't think I'll say anything, I've done the full circle ontologically, there's just me now, the sexist racist who washes the dishes for his indigenous friends.

life moves in spirals, rules

life moves in spirals, rules r like straight lines

'philosophy' is a misleading term

the word 'philosophy' makes most people think in terms of working the realm of 'ideas', 'thinking', 'reasoning', and in the process, turning their backs on the pressing problems of the day ['fiddling while Rome is burning']. my view, induced by studying and working in science, is like schroedinger's, mach's etc. that the Western popular view of the world dynamic and the analysis of 'today's pressing problems' is 'Maya', illusion. to pick up on the implications alluded to in Vedic philosophy is therefore to begin to address the real world dynamic; i.e. the physical reality of our actual, natural experience, and to break free of the language-based bewitchment of our understanding [Wittgenstein].

so, point number one. i am not coming 'off line' of the mainstream comments to 'do philosophy' in the sense of coming up with a new and better 'reasoning' about what is going because my sense is that 'reason' is the source of 'illusion'; i.e. the debate that has to happen is about 'what is real' and when a group of people break off and go into the philosophy club, it is assumed that they are going to come up with a better-reasoned analysis of the world dynamic. that's not where i'm coming from; i.e. my aim is to help bring to the surface an awareness that 'reason' is the source of 'Appollonian dreaming illusion' (Maya).

for example, john lennon's quote; "Life is what happens to us while we're busy making other plans" captures the inversion that is characteristic of mainstream Western culture where we put 'reason' based on logical propositions [inherently incomplete in capturing our actual experience] into an unnatural precedence over 'intuition' which comes directly from actual naturally complex experience. both mach and poincare have pounded on this point that (a) our culture uses 'science' to 'correct our experience' [after deriving generalized scientific principles ['universals'] from our experience], and (b) science captures things in purely mechanical [material dynamics] terms while we know that all material dynamics induce transformation in 'fields' of relational influence which are at the same time inducing changes in material dynamics. this reciprocal complementary or self-organizing is captured in Mach's principle, but this is ignored [and not even denied nor dealt with] in Western mainstream 'reason'.

furthermore, in the 'relations-are-all-there-are' view of modern physics, there is no past and no future, there is only 'earlier' and 'later' in the transforming relational activity continuum [a la Heraclitus, Nietzsche, Schroedinger et al].

Western people born, raised (and educated) in the Western culture trust science because of its predictions and proofs, but science bases such predictions and proofs on 'measurements' and scientific measurements can never capture a world that is only given once, as a transforming relational activity continuum. so, scientific reasoning measures what it wants to measure, such as concentrations of DDT and density of mosquito populations and/or military forces and the nasty results caused by the military of rogue leaders like Saddam Hussein, and makes predictions based on these measurements that give the sense of being able to change the variables so as to bring about a [subjectively valued] 'more desired future state' [e.g. no more mosquitoes, or no more saddam hussein] and 'succeeds' in bringing about this desired 'future state', as scientific reasoning predicted that it would [gotta love that scientific 'always coming up with the promised results']. the problem is that 'everything is in flux' [relational transformation] and there is NOT REALLY any such thing as 'the state of the world' that 'changes over time', other than in the intellectual idealizations constituted by subject-verb-predicate language logic ['language game play'].

in other words, we work the problem 'in time' and impute that we can change the 'state of the world' over time so as bring about a 'desired future state', but this 'state of the world' can only be defined by 'what we measure' and 'what we measure' does not capture the physical reality of our actual, natural experience. to say that the world had too many mosquitoes and rogues like saddam hussein and that we were able to use our scientific reasoning to remove them, evidently affirms our scientific modeling of the world [in terms of measurable 'states' that change 'in time'] and 'proves' the correctness of our logical propositions/hypotheses which maintained that a designated suite of causal actions would bring about the specified 'desired future state'.

all of this transpires in an intellectually idealized 'operative reality' based on subject-verb-predicate language constructs and it is otherwise referred to [by Schroedinger et al] as 'Maya', the 'illusion' of a plurality of independent material entities that reside in a notional absolute space and which operate and interact in the passage of absolute time [thanks to the past, present and future tenses in our subject-verb-predicate language constructs].

this idealized world of 'reason', this illusion of a world called 'Maya' by the Vedics that Wittgenstein calls a 'language-based bewitchment of our understanding', is what modern Western society is confusing for reality and using as its 'operative reality'. 'reason' is thus the source of 'illusion'.

so, given that most people think of 'philosophers' as 'fiddling-while-Rome-burns' types who are working on coming up with new and better reasoned ideas as to how to keep the horses in the stable even as the horses are bolting from the stable, i would like to make clear that i am not into 'philosophy' for the purpose of coming up with a superior reasoned view of what is going on in the world, but for intuitively sussing out 'what is real' and 'what is not real', using our actual, natural experience as a reference, instead of innately incomplete reasoning based on absolute 'true or false' logic. in other words, my view is that 'reason' is the source of illusion and 'superior reasoning' is the source of 'superior illusions' [Appollonian dreams].

segregating philosophers from 'direct action types' is like splitting apart the realm of mind from the realm of matter when it is, in the physical reality of our natural experience, all One. the split is part of the 'illusion'.

'philosophy with a hammer' is nietzsche's alternative title for 'twilight of the idols' [Götzen-Dämmerung, oder, Wie man mit dem Hammer philosophirt], and in this treatise, nietzsche is smashing all philosophical views that put reason before our experience-based intuition.

indigenous anarchists put experience-based intuition into a natural precedence over intellectual reasoning, ... that's how they avoid the herd behaviour [when we dream the Appollonian science dream together, it is (an operative) reality] that comes from putting reason into an unnatural precedence over experience.

the real job is to mix in with our brothers and sisters trapped in reason-based illusion and help them to liberate themselves from their Appollonian dreamscapes; i.e. to help restore the understanding that the reality-dichotomy in the expression "life is what happens to us while we're busy working on our reason-based construction of a desired future" does not mean that the latter reality is 'primary' and that our actual experience involves noise that causes departures from primary reality, ... it means that the former reality is the physical reality of our natural experience while the latter reality is intellectually idealized dreamworks.

'anarchism', to me, associates with the restoring of the physical reality of our experience to its natural precedence over reason and 'science'.

the term 'philosophy' is not an appropriate title for such an undertaking since it has been hijacked by those who see 'philosophy' (as in wikipedia and dictionaries) as synonymous with thinking, thought, reasoning; e.g.

"The study of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning."

what is needed is 'philosophy with a hammer' that breaks this constraining mold and restores experience-based 'intuiting' to its natural precedence over linguistic intellectual idealizations based 'reasoning'.

I'll take a turn...

I'll take a turn...

I talk about existentialists a lot, but that doesn't summarize where I anchor stuff. My favorite writers range. Some other big influences have been Douglas Hofstadter, Tor Nørretranders, Peter J. Carroll. They're all people who have dealt with questions of subjectivity in different ways. That said, I begin with psychology and mostly accept existentialist arguments for why I do. I think Foucault outlined the limits of this quite well and pointed towards other domains of inquiry that existential psychology is contingent upon considering ...which in a round-about-way becomes a social psychology.

In the move towards ethics, politics, anarchism ...this has put me closer to Stirner, Hakim Bey, etc. than others. Sort of. One way I'd put it is that I'm interested in the personal and my approach is the informal. My anarchist decisions (projects I participate in, events I attend, issues I focus on) come out of the intersection of those two qualities. For as much as I like logic puzzles, impersonal discourse isn't my goal.

I also part with thinkers I may be close to because I not only accept, but promote long-term thinking. For instance, one of my main problems with the activities of Identity Politicians is the short-term aspect of the solutions they come up with. Policing language is a problem to me because it's a way to not consider the whole person, to pretend that new words will impact a relationship. However, I don't mean a long-term strategy. My emphasis on informality is an emphasis on a commitment to others as individuals. I have fundamental doubts about an asymmetrical conflict with "the social order" taking the form of an institution or anything that would even pretend to shape character. That doesn't say anything about how I think about revenge, nor other acts of revolts. I just don't think shallow, short-term social thinking is very powerful.


subjectivity and circularity

you speak of your 'anchors'. i find the concept of 'anchors' redundant [it could be that i am misinterpreting your meaning] since they are almost always operationalized, in our Western society, as a 'subjective foundation' aka 'identity'. for my own part, coming from the physical reality of our natural experience, i don't see why any subjective 'anchors' are necessary in a 'foundational' sense [what's wrong with relational balance and harmony?].

'identity' [subjective anchoring] infuses a 'break in symmetry', the natural symmetry being, arguably, purely relational circularity as in the 'panta rhei' understanding of Heraclitus (mentioned by Sir Einzige) and Mach and others.

'flow' is a purely relational dynamic; i.e. it is the union of fielding-and-hitting, listener and speaker, receiver and transmitter that pulls against itself within a relational consciousness [e.g. as in awareness of relational forms within the transforming relational activity continuum].

the world of our experience as purely relational is suggested by our experience-based intuition [panta rhei implies that flow is first and emergent 'things' are relational interdependencies as in a union-in-opposition-with-itself]. this world of experience is replaced in our thought-and-language based intellection [our Western/Scientific noun-and-verb-language-and-grammar], by subject-anchored constructions which serve as an 'operative reality'. for some people [realists], this operative reality is taken to be 'reality' and for others [pragmatist idealists], this operative reality is taken to be a useful rough guiding tool. as Emerson says, Western society is afflicted by 'the tool running away with the workman'.

we are not born with language. it is a cultural development. the thinking functions and 'operative reality' of the infant 'identical-twin' [inherent-misnomer in a fluid universe] raised in a non-dualist indigenous anarchist culture and his brother-twin raised in a dualist colonizer culture are going to differ insofar as they use flow-based language [indigenous] or subject-based language [colonizer] to develop their understandings/views.

so, i am not sure whether you deal with the influence of language shaping our 'operative reality' or simply ignore it, since you speak of 'anchoring' to 'thought' [which is post-lingual or 'reason'-based], rather than to experience.

"I talk about existentialists a lot, but that doesn't summarize where I anchor stuff."

i.e. you seem to advocate building upon 'thinking' [does this over-ride cultivating, restoring and sustaining harmony in the continuing now of relational experience?]

"I also part with thinkers I may be close to because I not only accept, but promote long-term thinking."

orienting to 'the long term' implies 'identity' [the long term of 'what'?]; i.e. 'this is the society/community [anthropocentric organization] we are building together and we must protect and nurture IT.

this is very different from community as a relational form wherein people cultivate and sustain a nurturing relationship with the habitat and one another, and defend against those who would impose their 'identity politics' and install intellectual direction as the engine of the community social dynamic [dismantling the relations with the land so that the community becomes an intellectual 'reason' driven exploitive parasite orienting to anthropocentric self-interest measured in terms of 'wealth accumulation' or 'profit' [a clear contra-nature symmetry break for a relational form in a transforming relational activity continuum, and since it is impossible, it can only happen in an intellectually fabricated 'operative reality'].

i am not trying to put my words in your mouth, ... just raising a question about what you do not mention; i.e. the dependency of your thinking on 'language' as is prevalent in Western civilization where people have abandoned the practice of putting experience based intuition into its natural primacy over simplistic language-and-thought based intellectual idealizations.

in the circular symmetry of non-dualism, forms and systems such as 'community' do not have 'their own identity'. as in the Lamarckian view, inside-outward asserting organizing [les fluides contenables] is excited by outside-inward relational influence [les fluides incontenables aka 'field/flow']. the relational forms are features of the ONE flow that noun-and-verb language-and-grammar endow with 'identity' aka 'subjecthood' so that the flow can be reconstructed from notional 'local entities with their-own (perceived-by-us) individual ID (principium individuationis); i.e. 'ID'-endowed-entities']

post-structuralism as 'the death of the author' COULD BE an acknowledgement of the inherent 'circularity' [impredicative logic] in the world dynamic where it is recognized that 'it takes a whole community to raise a 'child soldier'', but post-structuralism seen as 'the death of the author' is happening in the degenerate sense of the listener having the upper hand in assigning meaning to the speaker's actions and utterances [in the world of forms, epigenesis is in precedence over genesis, flow over form-in-flow]. public shaming and moral judgement are 'dualist' practices that impute jumpstart authorship [genesis] of actions and utterances to 'the author' [breaking the circular symmetry] but these dualist shamers and moral judges, us IDENTITY not only distance themselves ABSOLUTELY from contribution to authorship but reserve for themselves precedence in imputing meaning to the actions and utterances of others. gone is the understanding, as in non-dualist cultures [who opt for restorative justice rather than moral judgement based retributive justice], that "it takes a whole community to raise a child-soldier [criminal, terrorist]". the dualist cry is "don't make excuses for terrorists, criminals, child soldiers".

this dualism that anchors its understanding on 'belief' in intellectual thought-and-language constructs otherwise known as 'identities' delivers a notional absolute separation between individuals, between communities and between individual sovereign states [e.g. Britain and Germany are imputed to be independent entities, even though it took a whole community of European states to raise the child soldier called Nazi Germany].

i have a question re what seems to be contradiction in your mentioning of support for 'long term thinking' and your objection to symmetry breaking in the case of the social order;

"I have fundamental doubts about an asymmetrical conflict with "the social order" taking the form of an institution or anything that would even pretend to shape character."

and your statement that;

"I not only accept, but promote long-term thinking."

'long term' usually implies the 'identity' of something or other. i am not sure what you intend here.

i am not 'trying to find fault'. much if not most of what you say resonates with me, so when a seeming divergence pops up, i am interested in exploring its origins.

Tor Nørretranders

Tor Nørretranders

In his book, the User Illusion, Tor Nørretranders uses the notion of "exformation" to describe an often unacknowledged aspect of language-use. Exformation is everything we do not actually say but have in our heads when, or before, we say anything at all - whereas information is the measurable, demonstrable utterance we actually come out with. An example of how the concept is used:

Consider the following phrase: "the best horse at the race is number 7". The information carried is very small, if considered from the point of view of information theory: just a few words. However let's assume that this phrase was spoken by a knowledgeable person, after a complex study of all the horses in the race, to someone interested in betting. The details are discarded, but the receiver of the information might get the same practical value of a complete analysis.

Nørretranders also discusses the way that "exformation" relates to entropy, DNA, consciousness, and the cosmos. Here is a decent summary of the book I found at

The Danish mathematician Tor Norretranders has an important thesis: that mind is more than we see. And he has an intriguing sub-thesis: that this is a ubiquitous property in nature. He starts by introducing entropy, and its relationship to information.
James Maxwell showed a flaw in the law of entropy with his imaginary "demon", an intelligent being who manages to separate fast molecules and slow molecules in two separate rooms and therefore create a temperature differential without doing any real work. Maxwell's demon was meant to prove that the law of entropy is valid only "statistically". And it seems to refer more to our intellectual limitations (we are not as smart as the demon) than to a property of the universe. Leon Brillouin started solving the paradox when he discovered that information is a material quantity: information comes from a physical measurement. Wojcieh Zurek finished solving the paradox in 1990 by linking entropy, algorithmic complexity and Turing's machine.
Norretranders then gives a quick overview of the development of mathematical thought in our century: Hilbert, Goedel, Turing, all the way to contemporary algorithmic complexity.
The concept that captures his imagination is "exformation": what is discarded during communication of information.
This concept applies as well to our mind. The senses process huge amount of information but conscioussness contains amost no information at all. Most mental life is not conscious. Large quantities of information are discarded before consciousness occurs. The discarded information, nonetheless, has an influence on our behavior. There is a nonconscious aspect of man that we are not familiar with because we cannot "feel" it.
Consciousness is mostly about what happens inside us, not what happens outside. Sense data are processed according to our brain structure and matched with data in memory, and processed again, and then a conscious feeling arises. Very little of the original sense data is present when the feeling arises. Sense data are filtered by countless neural processes in the brain before they become conscious sensations: we cannot experience the sense data, the original. We can only experience the finished product, never the raw material. We only experience a bit of what our body experiences and even that "bit" is not exactly what the body experienced but a "doctored" version of it. The paradox is that our mind knows more than our consciousness does. There is self-deception on the part of consciousness ("the user illusion" of the title): before we experience it, the content of consciousness has been processed and transformed from its original format. Consciousness presents us with an altered, subjective, tampered with view of reality but doesn't tell us so.
Norretranders separates the conscious (thinking) "I" from the acting (instinctive) "me" (the "I" is responsible for the "me") and draws a (far-fetched) parallel with existentialism.
To locate our place in the universe Norretranders analyzes the relationship between the "me" and Gaia, and resorts to Margulis' theory of evolution through endosymbiosis: each "me" is made of other "me's".
The last part of the book is very speculative and not always plausible, but the core idea (that a lot of data processed by the brain never surfaces in our consciousness and we don't really know what that is) is powerful.

Douglas Hofstadter

Hofstadter is also concerned with the way that problems in mathematics, information, consciousness, and reflective choice relate with each other. In Metamagical Themas he takes up the issue of monism and decision making, among other things. In other words, he addresses the question, "how one thing [the Universe] can lead to self-awareness" (and not just human self-awareness). Like Nørretranders, he ruminates over the appearance of a Self and discusses many of the problems associated with that appearance.

Peter J Carroll

Peter J Carroll is one of the more well-known authors of books on Chaos Magick. Although his discussions of Chaos are by no means comparable to James Gleick, the "magick" emphasis takes Chaos out of the realm of theory and into the realm of practical application. Even then, it isn't the "magick" aspect of Carroll that I find interesting. It is Carroll's notion of multiple selves and the implications of this on praxis, spiritual practice, and decision making. It's similar to Gestalt, but it isn't Gestalt. I also read his work long before Fritz Perls, whose In and Out of the Garbage Pale is also an important book for me.


So considering the above, when I use the term "anchor", I am referring to the assumptions about knowledge, truth, subjectivity, and the way the universe operates that become the "exformation" of statements about anarchism. What is unsaid when someone is discussing matters of anarchist practice. The sort of stuff you get at when you dissemble the dualistic logic of someone's statements.

Long-term thinking

Selves are situational, but some situations are more persistent than others. More persistent situations (such as waged labor, cultural prejudices, and state government) shape the decision-making tree or behavioral menu of those subjects whose identity is contingent upon experiences of those situations. These habits in-turn persist outside the context of such situations. Such habitual behavior is what I think you mean by "identity".

The thing with habits is that they're difficult to change. The literature surrounding addiction is informative in this way. What is noteworthy regarding "long-term thinking" from the study of habit is that you don't see very good results from superficial approaches (D.A.R.E., shaming, short-term counseling programs, etc.). Where you begin to see changes is when someone spends enough time in situations that are no longer inspiring the 'conditioned response' their habit-forming situation had. You also see changes with exposure therapy and the likes, where over time the subject encounters the 'stimulus' without responding the same way they had been: the conditioning 'expires' the more this happens.

So from this perspective, as someone who is mostly concerned with the quality of our relationships with each other (and how they're mediated by authoritarian practices and institutions), I believe that the habits we reproduce Capital, the State, etc. out of will not change until something like different situations are available. This implies a focus on how those different situations may come about.

So that implies infrastructure and care about "comrades" (whatever you want to call them) as my focus. I think attack and shit is great, but it's such an uneven conflict that I think what is powerful is going to come from the quality of the relationships we have with one another.


Give the above, I also reject a formal counter-power strategy. I take issue with the appearances of formal organizations. One of those issues is that I simply don't recognize anything beneficial to them. The experiments I've been part of based on informal sharing and living together haven't been limited by any lack of official-seeming qualities. The other issues would be the more typically discussed problems of identity that I don't feel a need to rehearse here.

So what this means is that my approach is something more cultural than it is political. It's the actual, long-term relationships we have that trump the "projects" and "actions" to me. It's the informality that focuses attention to how people are actually relating to each other, rather than the representation of consensus (or whatever else) presented by a formal organization.

This is difficult to explain to someone that does not come from a situation of interacting with the same people for almost two decades. However, that is my situation. Over time, it has been the persistence of those relationships that has improved them ...not some organized effort to shame and attack "bad behavior".

I think that this eventually comes back to assumptions about subjectivity and the implications of stuff like Tør Norretranders' emphasis on exformation. This is also the path through which I attempt to understand your emphases: as pointing towards the exformation of relational inclusion in a dynamic and shared living space. Something language does through its exclusions and not through its extant notations.

Sir Einzige
Dupont has talked about

Dupont has talked about things like therapeutic spaces as well as emphasizing a relaxing(as opposed to refusing) of constraints. Like him I also agree on paying attention to the habitual fall backs and defaults of human beings beyond their radical positions.

Like Seaweed, I prefer friendship to position/solution based comradery. Very much concur that quality relationships matter.

Good interesting post.



seaweed is

a pretty well-known green anarchist-y author (wrote land and freedom)

That Viking guy just rehashed

That Viking guy just rehashed an old concept of linguistics called "connotation", you fool. Unless you were trolling the trolls, you're just giving weight to po-mo reformulators who the standing proofs of how Western intellectual culture is nothing but a zombie since at least the sixties.

Except it's not just

Except it's not just linguistics. It is based on issues that come up in studying physical information (see: It also isn't a PoMo type of author, but something more like a pop-science author.

Connotation is dealing with a system of meanings, contrasted with denotation. It's similar, but to say that it is being "rehashed" is a stretch. The notion of exformation would have more in common with studies in non-verbal communication than it would with linguistics.

ok, thanks, that is helpful in defining a ‘difference’

the orientation of Nørretranders (The User Illusion) unlike mine and/or Schrödingers, is to a ‘personal consciousness’. for Schroedinger and for the ‘flow’ view in general, individual consciousness is only a manifestation of a unitary consciousness pervading the universe.

In ‘Meine Weltansicht’, Schroedinger writes;

“This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.”

tat tvam asi refers to the ‘Mundaka Upanishad mantra’ which expresses a form of ‘all-in-ONE’;
ब्रह्मैवेदममृतं पुरस्तात् ब्रह्म पश्चात् ब्रह्म उत्तरतो दक्षिणतश्चोत्तरेण । अधश्चोर्ध्वं च प्रसृतं ब्रह्मैवेदं विश्वमिदं वरिष्ठम् ॥ 2.2.11 ॥ ]

The point being made is that there is a difference between the material body and the living entity and the difference is that the material body [Atman] is the local, visible, tangible form stirred up within the transforming relational activity continuum [Brahman]. Western materialism mistakes the material inhabitants for ‘all there is’ and fills in the space between them with notional ‘void’ [an intellectually idealized concept which is not found in the physical reality of our actual, natural experience; i.e. the emptiness of absolute space where it is not inhabited by material being, both of these two being intellectual idealizations that are foundational to ‘dualism’].

Schrödinger, in speaking of a universe in which particles are represented by wave functions, said;

“The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. This is entirely consistent with the Vedanta concept of All in One.”

Schroedinger’s “All in One” is very different from Nørretranders.

First of all, ‘information’ is an intellectual idealization. ‘information’ does not come ‘before consciousness’ as ‘material quantity’ does not come before consciousness [except in the ‘materialist’ view which is intellectual idealization based on relational form in the flow]. e.g.

“Leon Brillouin started solving the paradox when he discovered that information is a material quantity: information comes from a physical measurement. Wojcieh Zurek finished solving the paradox in 1990 by linking entropy, algorithmic complexity and Turing's machine.”

this is ‘information theory’ based investigation which depends on the initial assumption that the “raw material” of the world is “information”. this is intellectual idealization that is not supported in the physical reality of our natural experience. furthermore, it is intellectual idealization that turns living forms into ‘information processors’. this defines consciousness as the personal consciousness of an ‘information processor’ that feeds on the “raw material” of the world; i.e. “information” and retains only a processed version of it in a purported “personal consciousness” and drops out the rest;

“The discarded information, nonetheless, has an influence on our behavior. There is a nonconscious aspect of man that we are not familiar with because we cannot "feel" it.”

furthermore, Nørretranders reduces our ‘experience’ to an ‘information processor’s experience’;

“before we experience it, the content of consciousness has been processed and transformed from its original format.” ... “We can only experience the finished product, never the raw material.” ... “Consciousness is mostly about what happens inside us, not what happens outside.”

In the Schroedingerian view, ‘experience’ is far more than an information processing experience, it is our direct intuition of being situationally included in a transforming relational activity continuum. As with Nietzsche’s views, and Emerson’s, we are the transforming relational activity continuum and ‘information’, ‘material quantity’ and ‘information processing’ do not come into it, except as intellectually idealized machinery supported by language-and-grammar; i.e. ‘pragmatic idealizations’ or ‘tools’ that are not to be confused for ‘reality’;

““We … should beware lest the intellectual machinery, employed in the representation of the world on the stage of thought, be regarded as the basis of the real world.” – Ernst Mach

the information processor view of man is a dualist view which splits man-the-observer apart from a world of material quantities (material existences).
“To locate our place in the universe Norretranders analyzes the relationship between the "me" and Gaia, and resorts to Margulis' theory of evolution through endosymbiosis: each "me" is made of other "me's"”

this is the ‘whole-istic view’ wherein the many parts together constitute the ‘whole’, making the world into ONE living organism called Gaia [it is a mono-theist whole]. this is radically unlike the ‘hole-istic view’ where the many parts are ‘illusion’ or ‘Maya’ since there is only ‘the One’; i.e. ‘the flow’ or ‘the transforming relational activity continuum’.

i would defer to Allen Ginsberg’s view on this, as captured in an interview by David Jay Brown in a ‘Mavericks of the Mind’ interview series;

“DJB: Do you see the earth as being like an organism?
Allen: No, no, no, absolutely not. None of that bullshit! No Gaia hypothesis. (laughter) No theism need sneak in here. No monotheistic hallucinations needed in this. Not another fascist central authority.
DJB: That’s interesting, that you see the Gaia hypothesis as monotheistic and fascist whereas other see it as liberating.
Allen: Well, you’ve got this one big thing. Who says it’s got to be one? Why does everything have to be one? I think there’s no such thing as one - only many eyes looking out in all directions. The center is everywhere, not in any one spot. Does it have to be one organism, in the sense of one brain, or one consciousness?
DJB: Well, it could be like you said earlier, about how reality is simultaneously real and a dream. Maybe the earth or the universe is many and one at the same time.
Allen: Well, yeah, but the tendency is to sentimentalize it into another godhead and to re-inaugurate the whole Judeo-Christian-Islamic mind-trap.”

in the non-dualist ‘holodynamical’ view of Mach, Nietzsche, Bohm, Schroedinger et al, there are no pluralities that are ‘real’; i.e. the energy-charged transforming relational activity continuum manifests to the human observer as a multiplicity of local, visible, material forms which, while relational forms in a flow-continu-unum, we intellectually assign individual identities to and concretize these with subject-verb-predicate logic.

in other words, there is no plurality of material ‘me’s’, and as Ginsberg points out, to explain the ‘unity’ of ‘many real material me’s’ as coming from ‘one consciousness’ is the essence of monotheism.

in the Schroedingerian view, which it seems as if Ginsberg is also coming from [see Ginsberg’s testimony at the Chicago Eight trial] , consciousness comes before material entities; i.e. the essence of the universe is ‘field’ and individual consciousness is only a manifestation of a unitary consciousness pervading the universe. the plurality of parts is the intellectual RE-presentation constructed by the observer, just as the observer would construct a plurality of thunder-storm cells separated by nothing-in-particular when the physical reality is the transforming relational flow-plenum (turbulent flow) which manifests as a plurality of local ‘pimples’ or ‘whorls’, which we intellectual impute ‘individual identity’ to.

so, where you say;

“I think what is powerful is going to come from the quality of the relationships we have with one another.”

the schroedingerian view, which i share, would augment that phraseology and the understanding behind it, to acknowledge that the plurality is an illusion and that we are already related [i.e. ‘mitakuye oyasin’] and don’t have to bother ourselves with ‘improving our relations with one another’, we simply have to dissolve our intellectual pre-occupation with ‘ego’ as in the notion of ‘independent selfhood’. as schroedinger puts it;

“Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves” “Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge.. It has nothing to do with individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion.” --Erwin Schroedinger, ‘What is life’

evidently, schroedinger’s view of what is powerful is; “Some blood transfusion from the East to the West” to save Western science from spiritual anemia.

Schroedinger explicitly affirmed his conviction that non-dualism as in Vedantic jnana yoga provided a true sense of reality (the unity of Brahman and Atman as with flow and flow-feature) so that there is no need to look outside ourselves for divinity, and the challenge is for us to understand our true relational nature and the relational nature of the world we are situationally included in, which comes with developing an ability to see through the veil of Maya where we intellectually idealize the world as a collection/plurality of material entities that we use thought and language to synthetically endow with identity.

ok, there are clearly multiple views of ‘what is real’ out there, and in this note, i have tried to contrast the non-dualism of Mach, Nietzsche, Schroedinger et al with the dualism of Nørretranders and those who see the universe as ‘information’ waiting to be processed by humans-seen-as-information-processors that serve as individual personal consciousnesses.

for those of us whose understanding is akin to Mach, Nietzsche, Schroedinger, Wittgenstein, Ginsberg; i.e. non-dualists who see independent individuals as ‘illusion’, ‘consciousness’ is not something that belongs to each material being because material being is a product of consciousness.

instead of focusing on the quality of relations between 'one' and 'other', we see ourselves are being relational forms within a transforming relational spatial commons, therefore we orient to the quality of relations between one, other and the common relational space we share inclusion in. i.e. we leave the change in the coke machine so that someone we may never know may draw nourishment from we who will never know them; i.e. the female ethos is to cultivate a nourishing space that one's children and friends etc can draw on in achieving their development and assertive accomplishings; i.e. there is no 'hitting' without 'fielding' and mothers and others cultivate a nourishing 'fielding' that can make us as 'hitters' look real good.

"The dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants" -- Mach's principle

that is, in this view, it is not simply about 'people' and the quality of relational 'interactions', nor about the persistance of inter-human relationships.

in the non-dualist view, moral judgement based retributive justice makes no sense and the associated separation of ‘innocent’ and ‘guilty’ makes no sense since ‘an action’ (as something isolated in space and time) makes no sense, ... so what is powerful is the subsuming of all of the binaries such as the existential binary of ‘is’ or ‘is not’ [underpinning the notion of people interacting with people] which equates to dissolving the veil of Maya and acknowledging, as comes to those like Mach and Schroedinger in their modern physics inquiry, “The ego or its separation is an illusion.”.

i would add that this does not reduce the self to nothing, it augments the self from a ‘doer-of-deeds’ [mensch] to an ‘agent of transformation’ [uebermensch] whose individuality derives NOT from ‘independent being’ but from his unique situational inclusion within the transforming relational activity continuum; i.e. there may be room for Stirner in this alongside Nietzsche!?

That's definitely a different

That's definitely a different perspective. I'm not sure how Stirner would play into it. The way that I describe the difference between Stirner and Nietzsche is exactly this difference between Nietzsche's Will and Stirner's Ich. I'm pretty sure that for Stirner, the creative nothingness at the foundation of the Ich does not include a transcendental Will or Consciousness. I could imagine Stirner saying something like "the Will or the Consciousness has an ego, why should I serve it?" Preserving the atomic ego. Nietzsche's Will seems to fit in fine with Schroedinger, Mach, etc.

I'm not sure if it's possible to avoid the dualistic conclusion unless a transcendental consciousness, Will, or something similar to that is at the heart of a philosophy. The basic logic problem is that whenever an exclusive property is defined for an entity, it creates a split. So entities may be a location of a transforming universe, but the contents of "entities" could not become isolated. They couldn't fold in and contain within any sort of special content (information, ideas, etc.).

Pluralism can do that, but at the expense of giving entities generative capacities (like the generation of mind, the generation of genes, etc.). Interesting problems.

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