#1. Snow Crash. Neil Stephenson.
#2. Dissemination. Jacques Derrida.
#3. Self-Consuming Artifacts. Stanley Fish.
#4. Philosophy Through the Looking Glass. Jean-Jacques Lecercle.
#5. Godel Escher & Bach. Douglas Hofstadter.
#6. The Book of Urizen. William Blake
#7. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. William Blake
Let's talk about Snow Crash for a second, since it's the one I'm firstly, the most interested in currently, and second, the one which gets me asked startling and annoyingly pointed questions by psychiatric professionals:
"What exactly do you program?"
Anyway, I was interested in hypnosis. Why? Because these techniques are used every day in advertising and in tv-broadcasting in fact are so commonplace that they are largely ignored.
However, if someone who was paying close enough attention to point it out, in fact, to utlize the same methodology in his own work, this poor fucker is psychopath.
What a shame, to judge your own culture so harshly purely for using techniques of manipulation that sometimes work and sometimes don't. We are agents after all, capable of making choices, we can choose how we react to those images and thus if we are manipulated we are manipulated because we want to be manipulated.
My interest in Stephenson's work revolves around the idea of some psychic algorithm that can blank slate your conditioned response matrix leaving you hyper-susceptible to suggestion. This is largely because many mystical religious communities, secret societies, and mystery religions of the Ancient Greeks practice this method as a means of really making their peace with their old world so that they can be successfully reborn anew.
It becomes a right of passage for adults, and for the Ancient Greeks ensured immortality in the next world.
These things are powerful, so we're afraid of them. So am I, take a look around you. It's everywhere.
Once you're aware of it, you can control it and thus hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Now if you think of the way hypnosis works, by pendulums and countdowns, and repeating patterns of sound and motion, you can see why work which is cyclic and patterned would seem "hypnotic."
Yes, Snow Crash is the major reason I am interested in the recursive properties of language.
Please don't lock me up.