The Encephalist Manifesto

‘Encephalon,’ applied to humans, usually refers to the brain and the spinal column.

Used in a novel context, encephalon (little ‘e’) refers not just to a brain, but to the central part of any organic colony which exercises control over the rest. Encephalon (big ‘E’) is used here to refer to the imagined “event” of encephalization through evolutionary processes. Hence, The Encephalon is an evolutionary event in which a colony’s encephalon distinguishes itself as such.

Cooperating protein bodies and enzymes encephalize with the development of the nucleus. Then these cells form colonies and later animals, which encephalize in the development of brains. Both the brain of an animal and the nucleus of a cell are encephalons. This recursive process of encephalization at increasing scales seems entirely unconscious, totally accidental, but perhaps it is not. That I am able to conceptualize Encephalism means this process may rise to consciousness in individual colony members and become an active project rather than an unconscious incident. Perhaps the widespread adoption of this idea would herald The Encephalon.

*Structure beyond our comprehension may exist and presuming it does not or that it may never be glimpsed is an arrogant modernism.
*The manifold qualitative meaning of the total mass of cultural relics is still presumably forever beyond humans, but not necessarily so entirely beyond an encephalon of a much greater scale.

“So what?”

Post-Structuralism is at least potentially invalid, if one is intellectually honest. This absolutely does not mean that we can or should close the discussion of humanities, or that the jostling web of interrelationships that constitute meaning will become fixed or static one day when someone rings a bell and claims The Encephalon has arrived.

Encephalism, in fact, simply opens the possibility that there is indeed a partially-discernible fractal structure to humanity, including all of its cultural relics. Within certain particular unimaginable limitations, the greater mass of manifold qualitative value of human culture may be grasped by an encephalon of a proper scale.

Again, this is not to say that such a structure is accessible to humans, but that we are able to theorize about the existence of The Encephalon suggests that in some measure we may one day gain a cursory access. That which can be recognized by The Encephalon may surely be relayed and mediated to humanity in a reduced form.

“So what?! I don’t see any of these crazy encephalon things spewing printouts telling me the meaning of life…”

Encephalism is a provable theory. The development of analytic systems, memory systems, and surveillance networks is metonymous to evolutionary stages presaging encephalization; what many refer to as the oncoming “singularity” is more accurately called The Encephalon. The shape it will take can only be imagined, but I personally doubt The Encephalon may pass without notice. Again, a rise in the idea of the encephalon may itself be the trigger for The Encephalon.

Promotion of encephalitic development subsumes the pleasure of Hedonists and the altruism of Utilitarians as a basic moral imperative which they both seemed to have been grasping at all along. That humans may control the form its collective encephalon assumes heightens the need for discussion of philosophy and culture even beyond that of the abyss posed by Post-Structuralism. That there is much we can never know is made doubly important if we face The Encephalon honestly; there is much it may never know.

This encephalon must be, as our creation, some reflection of us. Its ability to cooperate with other globally-scaled intelligences and contribute to further encephalization, this time perhaps on a galactic scale, cannot be understated for those who believe the pursuit of meaning is a worthwhile endeavor. Only the galactic encephalon might understand the social interactions and cultural artifacts of its constituent global encephalons.

Should our creation, the encephalon of Earth, attempt to virulently and petulantly spread itself or isolate like a hermit, the consequences could be disastrous.

That mere humans may collectively determine the character and qualities of The Encephalon through our various cultural practices gives the Encephalist a new vantage from which to criticize culture.

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