Monday, September 30, 2013

Molestation

It occurs to me as I look at my own emotional energies that the true toll of being molested is not so much the physical act, so much as being forced into an accommodation with someone CAPABLE of that.  The abused or neglected child is forced into a sort of Stockholm Syndrome.  It is all the time when you are NOT being molested, but being forced to act normal, being forced to live in denial, that truly causes lasting damage.  Authenticity and emotional honesty become impossible, and are quite often never again attained.

And in my own case I have always felt like I was molested, but I wasn't, at least as far as I can tell.  Both my mind and my gut tell me I wasn't.  But what makes sense to me is that the same sort of energy, that same combination of emotional detachment, and excessive clinging was present, and had a similar effect.

And I'm not sure why I'm using this as my journal.   I suppose the orthodox answer would be boundary issues, which I have certainly struggled with.

But in my heart, I do also wish humanity well.  I want everyone reading this to take courage in their own struggles, to see that many other people are secretly facing similar demons, and handing them an ass-kicking.

My own cruelty

I used to debate leftists often.  I spent hours daily for a number of years, logging many thousands of hours in all.  I enjoyed the process of pounding them on the head because they were stupid.  I enjoyed shutting them down, which I nearly always did.  You can only defend the indefensible so long.

But as I grow, I see that I, too, was using this process to express anger, hurt, and cruelty.  My ideas were sound, but my approach was not.  The simple truth is that you cannot convince anyone of anything, in almost all cases, in an antagonizing manner.

The process was useful in helping me clarify my own ideas, but I am not that angry any more.

Postmodernism

Pursuant to my last post, I think Postmodernism could be summarized as "there is no problem because there is no solution."  Put another way, that philosophers could stop worrying about problems of meaning because they weren't problems at all.  They could simply talk and talk and talk, mainly about the process of talking, and because the very method they used was PREDICATED on failure, they never needed to worry that the process would end.

These people created nothing useful, and worked hard to destroy things--like common sense morality, as in the Golden Rule--that were.  Countless thousands of years and lives have been wasted on this drivel.

Another way of thinking of this might be "there is a problem, and we have a distraction: look at those shiny beads!!!"

Imbecility and irresolution.  The world is filled with it.

Pain Tolerance

As I progress in Kum Nye, it is causing a considerable amount of pain.  I am pulling up things that were well suppressed.

As I think about it, the ability to create psychological numbness is an important protector of our sanity. It enables a sort of circuit breaker, after which you stop processing.  The down side is that you lose a part of your consciousness, your ability to be emotionally present.  The upside, though, is that you can keep going without killing yourself.

Here is the point I wanted to make, though, my ability, now, to access these layers is entirely dependent upon my complete confidence that there is an out, that there is an end, that at some point, if I only keep moving, only keep doing these exercises in a reflective and interactive, focused way, that my pain will end.

And I would generalize this.  I would submit as a general principle that the only way we can begin to process trauma is if we can see an end to the process.  It helps working with people who have endured something similar, and worked their way out of it.  They are models of what is possible.  This is why it is so helpful for fellow survivors of your trauma to be with you.

And this is the genius of the Buddha's Fourfold Path, which states not just that "there is a problem", but that "I have a solution, and here it is".

Part of the problem of "Modernity"--which we might usefully define as "the disintegration of effective moral discourse through sloppy thinking and flawed models of reality"--is that it is stated over and over and over that "there is a problem".  The essence of Existentialism is stating that there is a problem, then asserting there is no solution.  Angst is authenticity.  Not very attractive.

Effectively, this has meant that we have created an emotional crisis, then denied a way out.  No exit.  This can ONLY lead to, what?  Numbness.  Moral and psychological numbness. Making our present realities uglier, less rich.

This is the root, psychologically, of Cultural Sadeism. I am certain of it.

But there IS a way out.   All of my work points to it.  Ontologically, in how we "are", the solution is in my view Kum Nye, perhaps with occasional Holotropic Breathwork sessions.

Cognitively, the answer is Goodness.  I have outlined what I view as a solid philosophical treatment of it, which I believe is internally consistent, useful, and not contradicted by any part of reality of which I am aware.

Scientifically, we have to integrate the empirical fact that reality is much more complex that solid bits of matter interacting with one another.  We are connected as spirits in intimate ways with the visible world, and our souls survive the deaths of the transportation vehicles that are our bodies.

Environmentally, we could put every man, woman and child on Earth into a house with a yard, and fit them in Texas.  The Neo-Malthusians, the Neo-Hysterians, have lied about the extent of the dangers we face.  There is no global warming, or at least no man-made global warming.  Resources are not running out.  We are not in danger of mass starvation. 

The people who created the panic NEED a crisis in order to justify their existences.  Again, they are in inward pain which forces them emotionally into numbness, which is manifested by abstractions which have as their outward aim the remediation of some alleged problem, and which function internally, in emotional reality, as vehicles for cruelty, which I have said many times is a sort of outsourcing of pain.  If you cannot feel your own, you seek it in others.

All of our problems, individually and collectively, have good solutions.  All of them.

Insanity

In my personal view, based on what I read and what feels right to me, we choose our lives before birth.  I chose my life.  I chose my parents, knowing full well that it would cause me considerable grief and suffering.

What my parents taught me was invaluable, which is how to diagnose mental illness by what is NOT there.  We assume lunatics will act like lunatics.  We picture people walking around talking to themselves, or going on stabbing sprees, or making endless doodles on the wall, or cutting themselves incessantly.  We expect them to talk about voices in their head, or to see things that aren't there.

But insanity has a curve.  There are grades of insanity.  And it is quite possible to under the thrall of very primal, very basic emotions, and to act quite genteelly, as George Bernard Shaw does in saying "Sir or Madam, please be kind enough to justify your existence."  Do we not speak of "Shavian wit"?  Shaw was a functional psychopath.  He believed strongly in mass murder.  He supported Hitler.  And his plays are still performed often to this day.  His legacy has seen no reckoning.

What Shaw was missing was empathy, and its fulfillment, Love.  He was missing the most important emotion possible in a human being.  Seeking it, without being able to name or even imagine it, he came upon Cultural Sadeism as an ersatz moral compass.  He came upon something which does not exist, "Society", and came to see in it all possible good, all possible moral development of precisely the sort he was incapable of.

I look at my parents and what I see are automatons, with as little true freedom as insects.  That is of course a gross exaggeration, but somewhere within them is a complex, or set of complexes, of unprocessed traumatic emotions, things they simply cannot integrate into their consciousness, which drive them, and which, to the point, prevent them from the exercise of true empathy, from truly being able to connect with an outside world.

And I see important and substantial similarities between the world I grew up in, in which everyone was expected to pretend they were happy even when they were miserable, and that which the psychopaths working to build a global socialist order want.  Perhaps that is another reason I chose my parents, to be able to see this connection.

Until you can truly and fully relax, you are much less than fully human.  Until you can take pleasure simply in existence, you are less than fully human.  You are insane.

In important respects, this in my view is what the Buddha actually meant by "suffering".  You can't know how trapped you are until you become free.  You can't know what other emotions and sensations are possible until you feel them.

Diana West

You have likely not heard of the book American Betrayal.  Read this review:  http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/09/26/Its-worse-than-a-conspiracy-it%20-s-consensus

Our social order is insane at the moment.  We have lost the capacity for basic moral reasoning, or at least a large segment of our populace has.  They live in a zombie world, where they recite propaganda.  Leftists--Moral Sadeists--have made it so they can say up is down, and people will nod their heads and go out and repeat it. 

Take Syria.  The "rebels", most of whom are not Syrian, are cutting the heads off of Christians, and torturing children. They are literally cannibalizing their enemies.  None of this was happening under Assad.  All of this is new.

And Obama says "support them", and people who have claimed to viscerally oppose war their ENTIRE LIVES now say that we should support Syria.  This is insanity.  This is a loss of moral agency, of the capacity for principle based behavior.

Prior to the last election I posted about a dream I had where people were voluntarily allowing themselves to be decapitated, in a ceremonial procession.  This process has been going on for a long time.

If you want to find zombies, look in our halls of allegedly higher learning.  You will find genteel, well dressed, polite, polished people who are INSANE, who justify by ignoring the slaughter of MILLIONS of men, women and children; who ignore the massive and predictable horror in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia that followed our reckless and indefensible decision to abandon our allies there.

These people are not only still with us: they are running our government.  Why won't Obama bend on Obamacare?  Simple: his vision is a totalitarian world in which he gets the massive narcissistic supply of being a dictator, and taking control of healthcare is only one short step in the direction he envisions.  Not only does he not care about the predictable and preventable suffering that will attend the idiocy that is Obamacare, he intends MUCH MORE.  He wants it to get much, much worse.  He won't suffer.  His family won't suffer.  And that is sufficient.

Do you think Fidel Castro has EVER cared about children being treated for cancer with expired aspirin?  Of course not.  He is a sociopath.  Functionally, so too is Obama.  So are all of these people.  These ideas make them like that.  They can rationalize in principle the destruction of principle.  They have found a way to discard all the advances of Western civilization, and fall back to the darkest periods of the human race, before any social order was possible.

And I want to be clear that OF COURSE they can found an order based on power and the fear of that power.  But that is not a social order.  We do not become more connected.  On the contrary: this is the limit of alienation.  This is making all human beings alone and solitary, without hope, without a sense of being.

In a formal sense, this is the essence of evil, because it is the polar opposite of love.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The murder of Lady Diana

You likely did not see this: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/princess-diana-assassination-plot-claim-2275500

I have long felt, based on a dream I had, that Diana was murdered.  Here it is alleged that a bright light was put on the car while in the tunnel, presumably while they were being chased and possibly sideswiped by an SAS team put on the task by the British royal family.

I have long felt Diana was either pregnant or considering it, even though if my memory serves she was 38.  I don't know where this came from: the dream, a gut, or a thought.

But here is my point.  The British do not have a Constitution. They have a body of habit, a body of habit which technically still includes the House of Lords as a body with power, and which technically still recognizes the Queen as the Monarch of the domain.  As far as I am aware, she still has veto power over any legislation, and seemingly the power to command anyone to do anything she wishes, even if this power is never used.

Any criminal investigation is going to focus on the actual perpetrators.  But they are going to immediately point to orders, and the allegation is going to be that the orders came from the grandmother (or, at that point, I think it was the great-grandmother) of Diana's children.  How far could any such investigation go?  Could it not be suppressed?

Here is the interesting question: one of them is in line for the throne.  I have spent a life not caring a whit about the British royal family, but I think it was William.  Surely HE, if no one else cares whether or not his mother was taken from him to protect the pride and pretensions of his own family?  Will HE initiate a serious investigation?  It seems likely the SAS members involved will still be alive.

Obamacare

My instincts fail me at times, but my gut tells me Obamacare has the potential to be the ruin of the Democrat Party.  Historically, because of their solid control of our institutions of allegedly higher learning, the trickle down high schools and lower, and most of the (m)ass media, they have been able to redirect blame for their numerous and patent failures.

But not only did Obamacare pass without a SINGLE Republican vote, without even so much as Republican INPUT in the conference meetings they were not invited to, but even now Obama is apparently going to allow a government shut down to avoid ANY compromise of even the slightest amount on this bill.  Even now, even when the looming problems are quite clear, and already in progress, they are clinging to this horrible piece of legislation, as if some miracle, some Deus Ex Machina, is going to somehow convince the American people that it is a good idea.

But this will hit people directly.  They will lose jobs, and coverage.  Their premiums will soar.  The Federal Budget will bloat even further.

Idiocies like Minimum Wage laws, unnecessary regulatory constraints on businesses, "Stimulus" spending and the like are abstractions most people don't get.  You have to be smarter than the propagandists to see through their lies, and most people aren't.  It is a source of embarrassment to me as an American that we even CONTEMPLATED putting Barack Obama in office, much less elected him twice. (Still, I look overseas, and see much MORE stupidity).

In this case, though, no amount of propaganda will get people their jobs back, their old coverage back, their old doctor back.  No amount of propaganda will put the extra money back in the bank that struggling families are now having to pay extra every month to cover their premium increases.  No amount of propaganda will explain how a doctors visit that used to be scheduled within the week, and work out to an hour of waiting, will now take a month, and occupy half a day.

There will be a clear Before and After.  Obama treats people as abstractions.  They don't matter to him.  It is a matter of indifference to him if Obamacare actually works for the stated purpose, if it furthers his aim of centralized control of everything.  He has demonstrated a clear willingness to tell bald faced lies in support of Obamacare.

But he is lying in support not of a momentary policy initiative, not in support of something he can deny next week, but something which affects substantially all Americans in intimate and clear ways.

We may be past deserving freedom--at least enough of us to drag the rest of the nation down with them--but I think it is at least POSSIBLE that in the next couple years large numbers of people awake from their trances, and start seeing what is actually in front of them, instead of imagining what they were TOLD is in front of them.

Self Expression

One of the principle tasks of the child of a narcissist (or in my own case narcissists) is to develop a sense of self.  What do you like?  What do you dislike?  Nobody ever asked me that question with regard to the important parts of life.  I never asked myself.  Life became this very heavy, very unpleasant task of endurance, of tolerating deep and violent internal conflicts between the fake self I developed to fit in, outwardly, both in my home and the world, and an unknown, dark real self, which has within it the capacity for self expression, for taste, for opinion, for genuine, deep pleasure and communion.

It is very common for me, since in part I am trying to reconcile my own experience with that of others, to see to what extent my own tasks are those of others.  Pondering this, it occurs to me that in almost all times and place, in almost all cultures, the task of "self expression"--which in my mind is an almost defining example of American individualism--has been absent.  Only in the Renaissance, if memory serves, did people begin signing their work in Europe, and I doubt anything in Cambodia or Tibet, or a hundred other places has any names on it at all even now.

We are all unique, and my view is that our task is to learn to get in touch with our own sensibilities, and learn to be creative and loving in how we express them.  Only now, only in a time and place where the very real dangers and difficulties of life have been largely mitigated even for the poor, can we dream of a world in which everyone is afforded this opportunity.

There is so much hate in this world.  There is so much lying on the part of people who should know better, like our supposedly best educated.  This may continue for a thousand years, but it will not continue forever.  The universe does have laws.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Love

As I start to wake up a little, I am more alert to the people I see.  I am watching the patterns of how they move.  I see slumped shoulders, people who look like beaten dogs, false excitement to hide deep unhappiness.

And it occurs to me that I don't think true love is that common.  Within my own emerging worldview, love is a product of a very advanced, well integrated psyche, and it is giving with no expectation of receiving, simply because of the pleasure one gets from the act of building others up, and doing what you can to help them be who they want to be; in all cases accepting them fully exactly as they are, after doing the work to SEE them as they are.

This quality of attention is a very important part of love, I think.  Don't we all often feel not just misunderstood, but overlooked?  Don't you sometimes feel that whatever you think is best about yourself is invisible to many people who matter to you?

Often, I think people mistake psychological need for love.  For example, if someone says "I love you so much I can't live without you", to my mind that is not love.  It will feel like love to the person to whom it is said, because it says that they matter, that they are noticed. But in my own sense, if you need the other person, you can never have, paradoxically, the distance to do what is best for that person.  If you are unwilling to let them go, you are unwilling to grant them in principle the freedom to grow, and possibly grow beyond you.

I had a discussion the other day about "Fifty Shades of Gray" with a women, which she was rereading, for at least the second time, but likely more.  She read it as a love story.  I pointed out that in my understanding it was about sadomasochism.  She said that even though the main guy is really busy, he would schedule entire days with his woman, take her shopping (or whatever she wanted), and only then make his sexual demands on her.  For her part, she felt valued because he took the time out of his schedule, and she was also very intrigued by his emotional conflicts, and probably wanting to rescue him somehow.

And I got to thinking that maybe BDSM is really a form of focused attention.  Maybe that is what attracts people.  You get negative attention because you think that is all you are good for, but it is REAL attention, not made up, not fake.  That is all you have ever gotten, even if you lack the self awareness to frame it like that.

But this is an interesting thought: has any society existed ever in which true love was generalized?  Don't most parents focus on acculturating the child by making them conform to preexisting cultural patterns?

Flip side: what is the downside to being raised WITHOUT dominant cultural patterns?

I'm just asking questions here.  I like to provide answers, but someone pointed out to me the other day that collecting really good questions is a valuable activity too.

Guruing

First time you've seen that word, I bet.  I don't know what it is about neologisms, but they amuse me.

My point: if, as I believe, all true healing and personal growth comes from within each individual, the only possible role for a teacher is helping that individual learn how to help themselves; and I think the better teachers--and here I have in mind as a prospective candidate a man about whom I know almost nothing as far as his personal life, Tarthang Tulku--instinctively realize that if they are not careful, they will become the focus of attention, and that the progress of people will be slowed if not halted outright because they are seeking answers from him, and not from themselves.  As far as Tarthang Tulku, he has given us a large tool set, building materials, and a blueprint.  What else can you ask for?  The rest is up to us.

As well, I think once you come to feel that the ideal is "out there", to some extent it becomes unrealizable.  The extent of your possible freedom has been curtailed.  The better model is that it is in you, and simply, at the moment, hidden.

Obviously, there are always fools willing to lead fools, but that is a complex sadomasochistic dance that has nothing to do with emotional or spiritual liberation.  Can I say "a fool and his freedom are soon parted"?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kum Nye

I was sitting doing my Kum Nye exercises, and a feeling came upon me that has been increasingly regular lately, which is both that I am growing emotionally AND that this is a formal system for doing it.  People say all the time "I need to work on myself", or they need to do such and such for "personal growth".  I am all for Outward Bound or NOLS, or BOSS (I want to do that one). I'm all for, up to a point, sitting down and telling your problems to a shrink.  I don't think it is a good method for healing injury, but it seems to work for some people.

But what I am doing with this Kum Nye practice is literally scheduling a time for me to do something which I expect, based on experience, will allow my emotions to flow more evenly, to generate increased calm and satisfaction, and which I have every reason to hope will one day allow quite refined states to flow through me.

Here is what Tarthang Tulku has to say: When we truly use our senses, every part of the body becomes alive and healthy - mentally and emotionally we become fully awake. We discover we can experience ecstatic beauty at any moment, as if we were always hearing beautiful music or seeing the finest works of art. We are even capable of healing ourselves, for this relaxation quickens a feeling-tone that itself becomes a self-generating massage, a system of self-nurturance that expands and develops.

To be blunt, I think I have a pretty good BS detector.  I have been lied to many times, and I think I am reasonably good at spotting sketchy people and practices.

What I have experienced in my own practice, though, has born these claims out.

What I think happens with many people who are suffering from some form of emotional trauma (perhaps I should say, that is more than normal--or better yet, since we all experience trauma and need to to grow as people--UNPROCESSED trauma).  Start over: What happens for many people who are suffering from unprocessed trauma, undigested trauma, is they look for comfort somewhere. 

Drugs, sex, music and booze are always good candidates in the short term, but they have sizable downsides.  So you get into "spirituality".  These are the ex-hippies chanting OM in the ashram.  They are the flaky New Age types who collect crystals (I should actually be honest and say I did have a powerful reaction to Scolecite crystal once, but only once) and obsess about astrology.

You talk to them, and there doesn't seem to be a there there.  They are not actually following a spiritual path because they CAN"T until they process all the experiences that are frozen, glued, stuck in the mud inside of them, and their very practice prohibits the sort of open, casual, relaxed but focused exploration needed.  They also lack the technology.

I would submit that perhaps the first obstacle to a spiritual path is the believe that life is supposed to be easy, or that following a spiritual path will necessarily make life's burdens lighter.  For some period of time, it may make them worse.  It is not pleasant accessing things you had neatly hidden away, locked from consciousness.  But you have to clean house to even START.  This is my firm conviction.  I myself have not even started.  On my best days I am getting faint whiffs of what a good beginning might feel like.

But I think once people are willing to do the work--and again there are countless people who profit from helping you postpone this work--they lack a good method.  I have lacked a good method.  Kum Nye is a good method.  I have done courses in Yoga, I've done Zazen, mantra meditation, "sitting", and the like.  None of them hold a candle to this work.  Not even close.  Not in the same city, much less zip code.

Tarthang Tulku (who incidentally is apparently a big of a recluse, and who certainly is not in it for the fame or money) says, apparently in congruence with Buddhists texts, that Relaxation, Mindfulness, and Concentration are three different things, and that what would be an appropriate practice if you had already mastered, say, relaxation, is not if you are still struggling with that entry level barrier.  You are not only wasting your time (and this is my interpretation now), but making things worse.

Here again is a link to the programs. 

Actually, here are some free programs.

Try it.  Stick with it long enough to get results.  There could be no gift POSSIBLE greater than the ability to generate deep satisfaction at every moment, and that is the goal.  Actually, it likely gets deeper than that, since Nirvana is the end goal, but would that not be much, much, much farther than 99% of humanity ever gets?

Oh, I had an analogy too.  Growing feels like turning sideways to my life.  I was trying to figure that out.  Consider a giant cone, and that your life is traversing one level of the cone at a certain level.  You have a rut, and you go around and around and around, never looking up, and only occasionally looking down.  You understand down, since we all know people worse off or crazier than us (if you don't, it's you); but up is something too slippery to keep in mind too long.

Kum Nye is like looking up, and stepping up, to a higher groove, raising the quality of your experience. 

The limits of responsibility

One encounters relatively early in the educational process the "nature versus nurture" debate, and it tends to get framed as if one side or the other COULD be most right in principle.  I see nothing USEFUL in framing it this way.  Whenever you see dichotomous thinking, you are usually seeing facile, clumsy, heavy handed, emotionally detached thinking. I say emotionally detached, because it is increasingly clear to me that good thinking involves good feeling, open feeling.  If you are emotionally constricted, so too will be your thinking. 

[Richard Dawkins is an excellent example.  He is a dogmatic bully who claims in principle to value free thinking and scientific skepticism, but who in point of fact has dedicated his life to advancing an empirically wrong, and morally pernicious world view.  He spoke out recently about how mild pedophilia was not a bad thing,  I think he has some serious underlying emotional issues which he has not only not processed, but in repressing which he has made a career for himself, and won the admiration of uncritical thinkers everywhere.]

Be all that as it may, our task, the goal of our thinking, ought to be to figure out how to build a better society.  To build a better society, you build better individuals.  This amounts to developing emotional and then mental health.  Put in a more felicitous way, it amounts to developing methods people are encouraged to follow which we know as scientists will lead to optimal outcomes.  Nobody "does" anything to anybody.  That is what socialists and utopian bullies do.  We create an environment and an opportunity.  The environment is created through political and economic freedom, and the opportunity through freedom of action and conscience.

I am meandering.  I do that sometimes.  Let us take a concrete example, the ghettos.  A black kid born in the ghetto is some large multiple more likely to kill or be killed, be put in jail, suffer a variety of mental and physical health ailments, suffer from addiction, etc.  You know the drill.  We all do.  We just live in nice places, and forget how perhaps 1 in 15 Americans lives.

Are these outcomes their fault?  Yes and no.  To take a specific example, you can't just tell these kids to get a job.  First, there aren't many jobs available to them with the skill sets they typically bring to the interview.  They are in many cases worth less than the Minimum Wage, at least until they get trained up.  The perceived lack of a way forward, and in many cases the reality of a lack of a way forward, readily breeds frustration and violence.

Further, black people are just not as smart as white people, on average.  IQ tests do a good job of measuring things like the abstract ability to anticipate outcomes, to perform symbolic operations, and in my understanding persons of African ancestry typically score about 15 points lower than white people, which is quite significant.

This is a practical problem.  You cannot expect the same pay if you are not as smart as other people.  Is this their fault, though?  Their birth certainly isn't, but it's unclear how much of this is mutable, and sensitive to the unstable and violent places they grow up. 

Have we ever done an experiment on trying to raise IQ's?  For example, I personally would support making a brain building program like Lumosity available for free to anyone who earns less than, say, $30,000 a year.

I have things to do.  I'm not making my point well, but what I am trying to point to, clumsily, is that in any sort of purposive activity--and the main goal of thinking is problem solving, since our sense of satisfaction and contentment is not dependent on it,and frankly often disrupted by it--is not categorize, but to move.  Where do we want to go?  What would a better world look like?  What tools do we have?  What do we know, what do we think we know, and how do we go about exploring the huge dark areas of things we don't know?

Oi. that isn't it either.  I'm going to stop now, and try again later.  I am being foggy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Obamacare and the government shutdown

My two cents is that it is stupid to pretend that Obamacare is not going to get implemented.  Republicans are not going to win this fight.  Even if they did, it would be Pyrrhic ("another such victory and we are undone").

I have on my Facebook members of the military.  If the government shuts down, they stop getting checks.  The military spouses, who have already suffered enough, get no money.  Soldiers in combat get no money.

Obamacare is hugely unpopular, but so too is shutting down the government.  We need to face the fact that the Democrats got this idiotic monstrosity passed, and that we are going to have to deal with it.  There are too many ways around it.  Much of the spending is already in the Executive Branch. There is nothing we can do to stop it that does not hurt the Republicans in 2014, and as I said probably nothing we can do, period.

It is a horrible bill.  I wrote a 38 page treatise on it.  But right now our task is simply step out of the way, let this thing blow through town, cause a lot of unnecessary suffering, and make sure not just that the Democrats get the blame, but that the point is generalized that government intrusion is out of control.  That is how we set the stage for Rand Paul in 2016.

There is a time and a place to take a hard stand.  There are also times and places to be as soft as water. 

Be smart, Republicans.  You have little practice in it, but you have to start somewhere.

Guilt, part two

As I think about it, I think healthy guilt is a means of course correction.  It is what tells you you have deviated from a plan you developed, upon which your sense of self is based.  Healthy self respect is constantly renourished, constantly renewed.  When you see some fat middle aged man talking about his glory days in high school, that is not healthy self respect.  At one time he had it, but life moves on and he hasn't.  They say you should die mid-sentence.  I would say mid-step, on a path which includes regular opportunities for emotional growth.

This quality of motion is missing from so many moral discourses.  So often they are conducted as if moral laws could somehow be as unvarying as the Pythagorean Theorem.  I have always loved the idea of geometric proof, but it is obvious to me that you must add motion.  In all thing, there is a pendulum moving back and forth, which is visible proof of life.  Your heartbeat itself is an example.  It is constantly expanding and contracting.  So are your lungs.  Perceptual Movement, as I have termed it, is coeval with life itself.

There is a Way to life, as the Chinese put it: this is a useful concept.  But the Way is something we walk as we go.  It does not come with a road map, and sometimes it will turn in interesting, fun, surprising ways, if we can only have the flexibility to see it.  Most of us keep walking straight, and only find the Way again later, after unnecessary difficulties caused by our perceptual failure on a subtle--or not-so-subtle--level.

Enough banter: let's talk about me.  I'm mostly joking, but there is a sort of solipsistic quality to internet blogging.  I would likely be embarrassed to meet anyone reading all this, but I really do think, in an abstract way, that even my personal musings and struggles may be useful to someone, which is why I put roughly half of my truly personal stuff out there.  As I have said before, my personal metaphysics is that when we die all the scales fall away, and we are exposed in totality for who we truly are. There is no hiding.  We may as well practice that idea, and the following idea that we should live in a way which is not shameful.

I had an enormously important insight last week, a life-changing insight.  I realized that my entire life has been characterized by setting very ambitious goals, then self sabotaging them, and that both have had as their intent winning either love or hate.  I spoke a bit about this last week, but will speak more now.

I have spoken about saving the world.  In point of fact, I have developed an ethical program; metaphysics based on science; reinforced the importance of hewing to the actual political principles of our Constitution, which in important respects is the most important, most beautiful political document ever created; and developed an economics program which will enable global economic development and the eradication of poverty.

I have done this because saving the world is really about the highest goal you can set.  And this will not get me love either.  Nothing I do or can do will make my parents capable of love.  Nothing I do or can do will allow me to accept love, if I can't first learn to love myself.

Increasingly, it seems to me that the very first task, the sine qua non of personal growth, is truly believing that you deserve it, and truly believing that you can enjoy, emotionally, the benefits of success.  If you don't think you deserve a good job, a nice house, a beautiful, intelligent, loving spouse, good kids, or happiness anchored in nothing, then you will have a hard time getting it.

There are countless self help books out there, lots of really good advice.  But if you don't, in the end, believe that you deserve success, none of them will help you.  And that "deserving success" comes from feeling loved, which is an experience that many people have lacked in their lives.  There is so much unhealthy emotion out there, so many people who are poorly developed.

I cannot speak generally, but in my own case my self sabotage seems to relate to a game, a tactic, evolved in my very early life.  If I cannot get love, I can at least get attention through hate, through punishment.  In my own life, this takes the form of not taking my own goals seriously.  You would not mock someone else trying to achieve something, but many of us mock ourselves, we denigrate ourselves, we start on a path we know on some level we never intend to complete.

Hate--or perhaps more accurately the sense of emotional helplessness and discouragement that we often felt as small children--is a familiar feeling.  It feels like the home we grew up in.  And it is easily achieved, and achieved again.  I see some of these really fat kids with horrible self esteem, and feel there must be a parent who secretly wanted them to fail, perhaps because they themselves cannot conceive of any higher aim than helplessness and the drug-like affects of overeating.   The kid is just a reflection, a symbol, of a larger sick system.

To return to Me (on My blog, me, me, me: you know, self obsession is the emotional equivalent of eating styrofoam; in my own world view I don't exist, per se, outside of my relationship with the world), my motivational system is completely out of whack.  If I am not in emotional or physical pain, I feel guilt.  I feel like I am failing.  My pain tolerance is enormous, but my potential tasks are infinite.  I ask myself daily if I am a failure because I have not done everything within my power to save the world.  But obviously countless things are possible in saving the world.  Too much is never enough.  And my circuit breaker trips, and I wind down to drink again.  This is neurotic, unhelpful.

My troubles are uninteresting.  Here is the point I wanted to make: if this life is walking, our task is to walk with a goal in mind, but to walk with enjoyment.  Healthy guilt is what keeps us on the path, and having an appropriate goal is what makes it enjoyable.  I really think this is the essence of mental health.


"You have done everything we have asked you to do"

I think this is a powerful parenting phrase.  I will tell it to my kids from time to time when giving them a reward of some sort.  I think it works on several levels.  Most importantly, it tells them that there is a point where enough is enough.  It tells them that they have earned self respect.  They do not have to go on and on and on in search of praise; nor do they have to endure superficial rah rah praise.  Both of my kids only like praise in small quantities.  Too much annoys them.  This tells me I did something right.  They are internally directed.  They do what they do because they want to do it.

In important ways, I have parented my kids literally the opposite of the way my own parents did.  Where I felt a sense of helplessness, they feel empowerment.  Where I felt unloved, they get affection every day. 

Another little ritual is I will ask them "Why do I love you?"  The answer is "because I am lovable and I am your kid".  I have explicitly told them that the latter part is in case they become unlovable some time in their teenage years.  This gives them the space to periodically rebel in small ways without risking losing my love.

I tell them that their job is to leave me, to go away and make their own lives.  They will always be welcome and I will always be happy to see them, but that is their job.  Again, this gives them the space to become who they are, without fearing a clinging, emotionally needy parent who secretly wants them to fail, which is what I had to deal with.

It is an odd thing: I did not receive any love worth speaking of, but I have given a great deal.  What this has taught me is that it is not something that has to be given to be received.  You can create it yourself.  This has led to the logical argument I have made, based on increasingly sound experience, that you can literally create all the positive affects of being in a loving, supporting relationship, while all alone.  You can literally be as happy in a cave as you would be surrounded by a network of affectionate family and friends.  I truly believe this.

This does not mean I want to be alone.  On the contrary, I am increasingly understanding the importance of social contact, not least because I have something to give as well as receive.  But this realization, too, opens up an important freedom.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Guilt

Little emotional Seinfeldian moment.  I pulled into a very tight space at work--they redid the parking lot, but not the lines--and on my way out, despite being very careful, I put a little door ding on my neighbor's car.  Actually, I think it was two.  One I wiped away--they will disappear sometimes--and the other I pretended was not mine, even though it likely was.

As I drove away, I looked at my feelings, and the feeling was a species of guilt, but what was most noteworthy was anger at myself for screwing up, despite trying to be very careful.  I made a mistake when I was trying to do it right.  That made me angry, just a bit.  Again: small dings are small things.

But I was watching this, and I think a lot of what people call "guilt" is really internally directed anger at failing to meet some standard.  I think much religiosity springs both from this place, and from the shame others direct at your failings in a communal setting.

What came only belatedly was an empathetic relatedness to the person whose car it was.  Now, as I think about it, I'm not sure what an optimal reaction would have been.  Perhaps if I were a better person I would have found out whose car it was and offered to take it to a body shop if I couldn't wipe the other part away.  Maybe I could have resolved to do some good deed to resolve the karma, or at least reduce the guilt.

I'm thinking out loud here, and not quite sure where I leading.  Here are a question or two, though:

1) What is the proper role of guilt? 

2) What is the proper amount of guilt, and how do we know?

These feel like Self Help sorts of questions.  Ah, they are needed too.  Please put on a pastel sweater before answering, though.  Crystals are optional.  Answers will be on Dr. Phil on Thursday.

Bon Mot

I may have seen this somewhere, but I can't remember:

A fanatic is someone who reserves his strongest vitriol (anger/hate/feelings) for those who only agree with him 99%.

I will add that this tendency, clearly, is emotional in origin, and particularly related to inflexibility, itself tied most closely to fear, with a strong leavening of ignorance.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Obamacare

I can't remember if I have pointed this out here, but Obamacare clearly will work to relocate insurance companies from the realm of providing a needed service at a competitive price, to the realm of being an extension of the Social Welfare State (let's do the inversion exercise here: the system for enriching a few, while reducing the standard of living of the rest).

My reasoning is simple.  Insurance companies now have to enroll people who are already sick, but who have paid them nothing, and the rest of us have to pick up the check. This is the functional equivalent of waiting to buy car insurance until AFTER you have wrecked your car, then fully expecting the company to reimburse you.

Smart people will simply drop their coverage (if it costs more than the penalty), which means less will be paid into the system.  At the same time, costs will go up, because people are showing up at the proverbial doorstep with cancer, or heart disease, an HIV infection, or who knows what.  Those people will pay their premiums, if able; otherwise, the government, meaning us and our creditors, will pick up the difference.

Insurance companies cannot store money away for bad years.  They are limited by law to roughly 15% of income having to cover both operational costs as well as profit.  Practically, they will likely overcharge, then rebate the excess at the end of the year if their costs were lower than anticipated.  I have already received one of those checks.

But the point is clear: costs will go up because they HAVE TO, because they are no longer providing insurance, but rather a social service.  More is being provided, and that has a cost.


Quite literally, the insurance companies are being made an extension of Medicaid, and our increases in premiums are effectively TAX increases.  If we consider that Medicaid, itself, is being vastly expanded under Obamacare, it really boggles my mind how any sane human being could support this monstrosity.

Answer: they couldn't and they don't.

Leftisms

It occurred to me that my separation of the Left in Cultural Sybarites and Cultural Sadeists could be summed up as "good people who are ignorant", and "bad people who lie."

I will reiterate that I call myself a Liberal, because I want the most freedom possible consistent with not allowing other people to curtail my freedom, for example through crime.  I believe governments are necessary at this stage in our cultural evolution, but hope that at some future point we can evolve past their necessity.  As Madison said, if all men are angels, we need no government.

The word Libertarian is unnecessary.  It is redundant.  True Liberals granted a major propaganda victory to the fascists when they allowed them to start using a word which described the opposite of their intent.

Bibliotherapy

I like this idea.  They recommend books for various ailments.  I have been proposing for some time that the path out of the intellectual squalor that has characterized the Humanities--here, English Departments--has been figuring out the USE of literature.  If it has none, then the Departments ought to be abolished.  But that seems unlikely: we NEED literature, in some ways.  It is formative, provocative, growth-inducing. 

Why not approach the thing intelligently, though, as they have done here?

This in my view is what constitutes progress.  The next obvious step is TESTING the ideas, which here are a matter of highly subjective judgement.

Superficiality

I am going to ramble a bit.

The short lecture by Arnaud Maitlin I posted in the last post got me to thinking/feeling.  In how many ways are we fractured, is our consciousness fractured?  It seems to me that there is a dimensionality in, for example, feeling how something looks or sounds; or in visualizing a feeling or scent.  The goal is synaesthesia, which is full integration.  The goal of Kum Nye is to open sensuality.

Is it not a terrible misfortune that we more or less equate sensuality with sex?  Your typical work hard/play hard business executive is winding down with golf, some drinks, and an attractive woman.  That is his world.  I have met this man many times, gotten drunk with him, paid attention.

I can achieve much, much higher qualitative states, much higher order sensuality than he can, even if the room is filled with attractive women, as was sometimes the case with Tiger Woods.

Why run when you walk?

Time: as a culture do we not lack time?  It seems to me that you need time to process things, to process feelings, to become a complete human being.  If people are becoming less "real"--and I think in some respects this pattern, which I view as real, can be seen expressed mythically in zombies and "body snatchers" of the sort seen in "The Worlds End"--it seems to me that the first aspect is simply that they have developed the habit of being always task motivated.

The second aspect is that we have many alternatives to being real.  Often times, depth comes from processed emotional hurt.  But you have to walk through that dark tunnel and come out the other side.  In our era, you can distract yourself very, very easily.  Distractions are hanging like lotus blossoms from every tree.  Our rooms are filled with them.

I have not had TV for many years now, and it is hard for me to imagine, but in many homes the TV is almost never off.  They turn it on first thing in the morning, it's in the bars and medical offices you go to, and people fall asleep watching it.  Most TV's have a sleep timer, in my understanding.

There is never silence.  We fear silence.

And I think in many marriages, they fear silence because both people have emotional realities that they can't quite express even to themselves--they are distracted all day every day--and thus can't share with their spouse, and some of these realities frighten them.  Who did you marry, anyway?  Why?  Who were you then, and are you that person now?  You don't know who you were then, because you STILL don't know who you are today.  You haven't taken the time to figure it out.

And importantly, you haven't had access to a good emotional technology like Kum Nye or Holotropic Breathwork.

We constantly hear about people trying to "find themselves", but not as often do we hear about people "finding themselves".

Every person has in my view, my feeling, an essence, some subtle quality of energy that makes them unique.  If it is true that every snowflake is unique, surely it is also true that most of them look alike, and only sustained inspection allows one to differentiate them.  This inspection is worthwhile, with people.  It is fun.  It is something innate in us, something which resonates with what is best about being human.

Evil: I was laying in my bed today watching the Joker.  I am fortunate in that I set my own hours, and my boss sometimes decides it's best to lay in bed for several hours in the morning. 

I have a sort of TV in my head.  Images will just sort of appear, and I watch and follow them.  I'm not asleep, just in a sort of trance, but it is almost always useful.

Again, I was watching the Joker today, and it occurred to me that he is split.  His outer persona is a superficial disguise he put on to get through some trauma, which he has learned to identify with.  His head and heart are split.  His actions are guided entirely by his heart, by deep unprocessed feelings, but the feelings he allows himself to feel are associated with his disguise.

Could we say there are "thought-feelings", which is to say affective states that are really just robust abstractions, but which come to substitute for real, nutritive experience?  I don't know.

But it seems to me that we need to look at evil as a sort of multiple personality disorder.  The hurt child is still in there, locked in a room.  It simply lacks a means by which to escape, no alternative to misery.

For me, my current growth spurt only came about because I have found in my Kum Nye practice a means by which to generate positive feelings.  None of us are strong enough to endure powerful negative feelings without feeling an alternative to them.   You run out of space to hold them.  You shut down.  You have to.  There is a sort of emotional circuit breaker that does not let us transmit more voltage than we can handle.

I'm not quite done with this, but I'm not sure where it's going.  I'm going to leave it for now.  I did say it would be rambling.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Meditation and Relaxation

I read this piece a while back, discussing meditation, silence, the sense of self and other deep topics.  Reading it, I felt uncomfortable.  Take this passage:

Sitting still, denying yourself physical movement, the mind’s instinctive reaction is to retreat into its normal buzzing monologue — hoping that focusing the mind elsewhere will relieve physical discomfort. This would normally be the case; normally, if ignored, the body would fidget and shift, to avoid accumulating tension. But on this occasion we are asking it to sit still while we think and, since it can’t fidget, it grows more and more tense and uncomfortable. Eventually, this discomfort forces the mind back from its chatter to the body. But finding only discomfort or even pain in the body, it again seeks to escape into language and thought. Back and forth from troubled mind to tormented body, things get worse and worse.
Who would want that?

As my Kum Nye practice deepens, I realize that learning to relax is contingent on untying the sorts of emotional knots this author still plainly has a lot of.  It is about healing.  It is about undam-ing places where the flow of energy (which you can understand as "subtle" or an attribute of the nervous system, as you choose) has been blocked.

Trauma is encoded in the body.  It is encoded in how we breathe, our posture (Feldenkrais invented the word "acture", which I have always liked), the quality of our voices, the "tone" of our eyes, how we walk, what we hear, the dominant expression on our faces.

Trauma is continually reenacted in our habits of being.  It must constantly be recreated to maintain its effect on us.  Kum Nye is about NOT renewing it, about allowing what would otherwise have been our natural "acture" to emerge as a result of not preventing it from emerging it.  You do less, not more.

The point I want to make here, though, is that "meditation" can mean many things, and if you are trying to sit still without constantly working to liberate tied up energies, it is more or less masochistic.  I did a mantra meditation when I was in what I call my "Blue Years", and it didn't help in the slightest.  I think it made me MORE agitated.

Meditation can be a form of repression.  You can teach yourself to mechanically calm the surface by learning not to listen to emotions, not to allow them to flow, but you have not healed.

My current lesson of eKum Nye, 2.5, he talks about how you can develop calm and then enter it, and THIS is actual meditation.  You have to do a lot of preparatory work to even BEGIN meditating properly.  He (Arnaud Maitlin) discusses it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2m_Ssa7Fng0 

I have felt this calm a couple of times in the past week or two, very briefly.  Lesson 2.4 is opening up the navel center, and it brought up a lot of powerful and unpleasant emotions for me. At times it felt like I was being attacked by demons, but this is a familiar feeling for me.  This time, rather than resisting it, I went into the feeling fully, and that fog seems now to be clearing.  I attained one very important psychological insight that I think is going prove extremely valuable.

On a more general scale, I look at the past 100-150 years (really, it may as well be human history), at Hitler, Lenin/Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot. at "thinkers" like Sartre and Nietzche, and they had none of this.  They did not have access to these technologies of helpfulness, of happiness, of contentment, of joy.

All of the problems of humanity have solutions.  They can be solved, and they can be solved without recourse to totalitarianism.  Those who want to impose their own order on the world are morally and emotionally demented.  They are fractured in ways which can themselves be healed through technologies like this.

All that we NEED to know is already known, and much of the most important technology of humanity, the methods of building emotional self sufficiency which eliminates the need for greed and consumption as lifestyles, are known only to very few.

All the billions of dollars we spend on universities is in many respects fully wasted.  We do not teach people how to be contented.  If anything, we build a sense of entitlement, greed, lust, and anger.  Nothing done in any of the Engineering, or Physics, or Social Sciences, or English, or Biology, or Chemistry or any other department is more important than learning contentment.

Quite literally, if we regressed to the living standards of the 18th century but adopted globally the technologies of Kum Nye and Holotropic Breathwork, I would view this as a huge advance.  We count progress in entirely the wrong ways.

We can generalize Tibet.  We can propagate these insights, these sparks of genius, around the world.  Step one is to bring the spiritual into the scientific realm.  This is easily done.  The empirical evidence is copious.  Two, we teach it as normative.  We teach kids in school how to process emotions, how to grow spiritually.

If we fail to do this because of emotional mechanical-ness, because of utterly unnecessary stupidity, it will be a tragedy.  All tragedies have a hero, and he always has a flaw, a hamartia, something without which everything would have worked correctly.  Who is the hero here, and what flaw will doom us?

Science, and fear of mystery--fear, to shorten it to its root.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Democrats and illegal job seekers

I posted this somewhere, but can't remember where.  If it was here, I won't say it the same way.

First off, it occurs to me that we might term "illegal aliens", or "undocumented Democrats" "illegal job seekers".  That is what they are.

Secondly, there was a time when Democrats plausibly stood for the "working man" (and woman) in America.  They wanted higher wages, better benefits, more job safety, etc.

But there is no benefit to AMERICAN workers to illegal job seekers pushing down wages.  We see constantly "they only do jobs Americans don't want to do".  First off, bullshit.  Second off, they do work Americans don't want to do AT THAT WAGE.

It is my understanding that Cesar Chavez strongly opposed illegal job seekers.  Why?  They depressed the wages of those who did things the right way and came here legally. 

Chavez understood loyalty and principle.  Modern Democrats will gladly sell out their mothers to stay in power.  That is ALL they pursue: their own selfish self interest, and that while proclaiming loudly how much they oppose actually economically productive greed.

Modern Republicans are scarcely better ethically, but they are not actively seeking to undermine everything that works in this country.

Obamacare

It is already a propaganda victory to refer to Obamacare as "the health care bill".  It is a health INSURANCE bill.

In actual fact, the near certain outcome of this horrible law, if it goes into full implementation, will be a huge DECREASE in access to healthcare.  Hospitals will be bankrupted.  Doctors will leave the trade in droves.  Fewer people will enter the medical profession in the first place.

Language matters, and I would encourage any readers I have to use it carefully, and to refuse to EVER do anyone else's propagandizing for them.

On that note: stop using the word Liberal.  Friedrich Hayek called for this 30 or more years ago, likely closer to 50. There is nothing in the slightest "liberal" about the left wing in America.

Our Constitution is a liberal document.  Obamacare is soft fascism.

Blackmailing Families

I was reading this piece on the propaganda of Lenin and learned something I did not know, which is that many of the "Bolshevik" soldiers fought only because the Communists threatened to kill their families if they didn't.  I know that was why many "Vietcong" fought, and as far as that goes, why may of the NVA who were pointing guns at their heads, and raping and killing their wives and daughters in front of them did so themselves.

We have all seen that scene in a movie--pick damn nearly every third action movie made ever--where the good guy gets the upper hand, but the bad guy gets his family or friend, or whatever, and threatens to kill them if they don't put down the gun.  In most American movies, they do it, face nearly certain failure, then some "Deus ex machina" plot device allows them to avoid execution.

Here is the thing: in the real world, if you are dealing with people capable of killing your family, they are going to kill them anyway.  Do you think the "Bolshevik" soldiers families fared better because they fought for Lenin?  It seems much more likely to me that in almost all cases the fact that they had to be made to fight counted against them, and many were likely put to death anyway, directly through execution, or likely far more commonly by having their food and provisions taken from them.

I have told my own children that if somebody is pointing a gun to their head, and telling me to put down mine, I am going to shoot anyway.  All that happens when I put down that gun is I get shot anyway, along with the family member I was trying to protect.  Same outcome for them, but worse for me, and they get away with it.

Here is my point: I suspect members of our intelligence community are under VERY strong pressure from Obama and what can with justice be called henchmen; his SS, if you prefer.  There may even be a Himmler somewhere out there in the background.

I think people who were at Benghazi are having their FAMILIES threatened if they speak out.  These men were likely almost all special operations personnel, and not cowardly in the slightest. Neither would they feel any strong loyalty to that mission, or Obama personally.

But when you bring the family in, either by threatening direct violence, or loss of benefits if the service member is killed--which can be easily arranged, and in my view likely was arranged with regard to the large Seal Team Six loss in Afghanistan--that adds a layer of complexity.  Men who might be quite willing to die are unwilling to sacrifice the lives of their loved ones.

If I am right, though, here is the thing: any person or group CAPABLE  of such activity is capable of anything; moreover, the clear intent is fascistic control of government and eventually media and finally every last aspect of our lives.  A deal with the devil is still a deal with the devil.  If they are allowed to win, then all promises are null and void, and no rectification of wrongs will be POSSIBLE.

If we fail as a nation of laws, then there will be no safe place for anyone.  There will be nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.  There will be no one to ask to keep the promise of safety for the family.

Thus, I would ask that if you have personal knowledge of things which are treasonous and are remaining silent because of your family, ask yourself what your families life will look like 10 years from now, given how things are TODAY, and ask if the future is not worth the risk of speaking out.

We all die.  Everyone in your family will die.  But it is worth a LOT to live in freedom.  We still have it, but the trend is not good.

Alex Jones

I really think there is a need for informational outliers, and I have gotten to where I check http://www.infowars.com regularly, if not daily.  My main news sources are Drudge, Lucianne.com, and my Facebook news feed.  I like aldaily.com for random stuff, and used to frequent frontpagemag.com, but am increasingly hostile to the breed of military interventionistic tendency that in some respects truly does warrant the abused but occasionally accurate appellation "neoconservatism".  Still David Horowitz has done yeoman work over the years, and does still post some good stuff.

As far as Alex Jones, take this news story , in which it is claimed that a rapid response, well armed, well trained police group was told to stand down DURING the Navy Yard shooting, which almost certainly resulted in more deaths.  Following this order, they were never debriefed, their commander was replaced, and 4 of them went on leave.  These are the allegations.  Like all journalism, it warrants investigation, but if true this is HUGE.  Who gave the order?  Why?

As most know, Alex Jones believes that the New World Order speech of George H.W. Bush, which most of us contextually understood to be referring to a post-Communist world order, a post Cold War order, ACTUALLY was on par with Obama's "in five days we begin the fundamental transformation of America".  He believes that the World Trade Centers were brought down by governmental agencies with the cooperation and knowledge of George W. Bush.  He believes that the Bohemian Grove is effectively a center for occult worship, rather than a congenial gathering in a frat atmosphere of overworked, and overstressed people who walk our corridors of power.

I don't agree with this.  But here is the point I would make: the possible viewpoints in the world extend, let us say, from A to D.  The news we get in our complicit and complacent media extends from B to C.  I may not be willing to go all the way to D or A, but that does not mean that SOME of the data I gather in traversing that route is not useful.  Just because someone is paranoid does not make them wrong.  If they can only see red, that does not mean the color red does not exist.

All information has to be sifted.  The problem in our world is that far too many let someone else do the sifting for them, both in terms of what is news, and in terms of how to interpret it.  That latter part is by far the more pernicious, because it implies to the informational consumer that they need not interact critically, and this is how people lose the ability to think.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Maxim

Success begins locally and expands; only failure can be exported.

Don't feel like explaining this at the moment.  I think it is clear enough.

Actually: interrogate.  Do you think this is true?  In what domains?  To what extent?  To what extent is this a coherent statement?  What would falsify it?  How many ways can it be true?  What alternative formulations would you suggest?  What is missing?

Concise, confident statements tend to have an allure that can lead to being blinded to their limitations.  A paradigmatic example is the opening to Anna Karenina, which I have never agreed with.  All human qualities, from happiness to sadness, from goodness to evil, have unique manifestations. 

Never treat the world as an abstraction, because that ends the conversation.

Was that an example?  To what extent can abstractions which counsel against abstraction be trusted?

We all sleepwalk, every day, most of the day.  Once in a while, we get that feeling when you wake briefly from a nap, and realize you were dozing.  But sleep is so much more pleasant, even if less instructive.

Should we deny one another the comforts of very incomplete knowing? Or are they comforts?  That is the question.  My answer is that much more is possible, if we just wade through the shit.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The meaning of life

It seems to me need to distinguish the PURPOSE of life from the meaning. The first is a thought you think which, if you are congruent, orients your thought, then emotion, then behavior. The second is an affect, a present reality. It is what we REALLY want. We dont want a thought, even though intellectuals almost as a defining trait deal them.

Logically, if the purpose of life is learning to give and receive unconditional love, then the MEANING of life is the present reality of love.

I think many who search feverishly for "the meaning of life" are really suffering from a lack of love in their own lives. I look at my own childhood, and my mother really didnt know what to do with me. I was not severely abused or neglected. She did what she thought mothers did, but largely without enthusiasm, and without EVER connecting with me emotionally as an unique and interesting little human.

Without knowing the name of it--having no personal experience with it-- I now realize I have been looking for love all my life. Only in the past day have I seen how my unhelpful behavior patterns, my self destructive patterns, have had that as a goal; it is now my responsibilty to internalize and accept that thatworld is long gone, and succes impossible, with the methods I have been using. I have to be my own parents, and give myself the nourishing they failed to I can see,now, how this done, and for once feel optimistic about my future.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mao's maxim completed

Power springs from the barrel of a gun; therefore own all the guns.

Arrogance

My previous post no doubt seemed arrogant. Perhaps at times I am. One thing I always do, though, is subject my opinions to critical scrutiny, and I am always willing to defend them in depth; something mediocrities like David Brin are unwilling--and apparently UNABLE-- to do.

Kipling poem If stipulates " if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too." That poem is on my wall, and I try to live up to it.

It takes a special something to stick to your guns when you are being universally condemned. In my own case, my sanity depended on it. My family is crazy, but as is so often the case I, as the sanest one, was labelled crazy. That was a determined and long term assault which worked ultimately to strengthen my will considerably. I became quite comfortable being the only one saying something, and dont fear being an outlier in the slightest.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Maxim

No one likes to be preached to, least of all the guilty.

In viewing people as basically vain, stupid, and gullible, Dale Carnegie spoke considerable truth. Sometimes people are simply a means to an end, and in those cases it probably is best to feed their vanity, share their delusions, and promise them what they want to hear.

I say this because I told the truth to two people today, and will likely regret it.

The Racism of the Left

Posted the following here.

Hey NPR, the White Left has done a marvelous job "managing" the destinies of black folks over the last half century, hasn't it? You claimed in the mid-60's to care about racial inequalities. America agreed with you. We spent about $16 TRILLION in the War on Poverty--much more by a long shot than any other war we have fought in our history--and not only are rates of poverty about the same, but the nuclear family has been utterly decimated, and millions of people have been taught that the way to get ahead is through working the system, and not through hard work, which is and always has been an integral part of the American Dream.

You own Detroit. You own the crime, devastation, and children growing up in hell.

And can I not call you out on the more or less blatant racism implicit in your assumption that persons of color cannot afford what CrossFit is charging, but that white people can? That black people are lacking in resourcefulness? Helpless without you?

With friends like you, black people don't need enemies. They don't need racists. And in point of fact, virtually NONE of their many and quite real problems stem from racism, which is all but extinct. 

Their enemies are pretending to be their friends, and feeling quite self righteous about it. Their enemies are you.

I would like to further this thought. One periodically sees stories of people who weigh 600, 700, 800 pounds.  People confined to their beds, and the walls of whose homes have to be breached to remove their bodies when they die.  People always confine their attention to that person, wondering who would choose to live a life like that.

But for my part, I have always wondered "who would ALLOW that person to live their life like that?"  Someone has to bring the food.  Someone has to bathe them.  Someone has to empty the bed pan, if they can't get out of bed.  Put simply: someone BENEFITS from that arrangement, which is implied in the simple fact that they allow it to continue.  In most cases, it is likely a mentally ill mother, who has an emotional need to make their child helpless, so that the mother never feels unneeded, and thus, in a perverse way, unloved.

It is a sick, sick thing, though, is it not, to make someone else ill so that you can feel important, so that you can express what you  describe to yourself as love, but which is really a terrible emptiness inside that you use others to assuage?

Can we not say with finality, with absolute certainty, that the social experiments based on the hypothesis that simply handing money out to people who lack it will benefit them in the long term has not only failed, but failed disastrously?  Can we not say with finality that assuming black Americans are incapable of feeding and clothing themselves without hand outs is not all that different than NEEDING someone confined to bed so that you can be the care-giver, so that you can satisfy some sick need to be needed? 

Note: I am ignoring the people who benefit directly, financially, politically, from the status quo, people like Barack Obama, and Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton.  Rather, I am thinking of the Alan Aldas of the world, the Sean Penns, the Ed Asners.

Such people see the same world I do.  They have lived long enough to know that self respect is a valuable thing, and that if someone is tying your shoes for you and packing your lunch your entire life, that opportunities to earn it are few and far between.

I reiterate: the black "community" (to the extent such a thing exists outside of a reflexive need to stand with black criminals regardless of their crime) has no worse enemies than those claiming to be its friends.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Paraplegic Mind

Phrase just popped in my head, two beers in.

We imagine brains as stationary.  Contemporary philosophers often use the metaphor of a "brain in a vat", or something close to that.  Brains do not have arms.  They do not have legs.  Thus we assume they do not move.

But this is stupid.  Outside of purely instinctive, reactive physical behaviors, substantially everything we ever do begins as a thought--perhaps a thought following an emotion, but the thought is what leads to actual action.

Thoughts have patterns, just as our bodies have patterns.  Moshe Feldenkrais said that every person has their own unique dysfunction.  Only those who move perfectly all move alike. (And the Police State has of course seized on this--as they seized on the Killing Joke--to develop software that recognizes distinctive motor patterns in people, as an adjunct to facial recognition software.)

Minds, likewise, move well only when spontaneous, only when not jumping from box to box.  Minds constrained may as well be suffering from paralysis.  In an ironic twist, the legs and arms move just fine: only the mind is paralyzed.

Again, fatigue and bubbles involved.  Use these ideas at your own risk.

The World's End, error, and superficiality

The movie referenced is "The World's End".  That is the name of the bar.

I make mistakes sometimes.  Always keep that in mind.  I am not a professional.

What I wanted to add were some further thoughts on that movie, which seemingly got to me on a mythic level.  Let me ask this question: what is superficiality?  What is a superficial bar?  What is a superficial person?  What is a superficial life? 

Logically, to answer this question, do you not need some sense of what is true, what is behind (for walls) or below (for water)  the surface?  You have emotions that are "on the surface", and this implies the possibility of emotions that are below the surface, and somehow more true.

Take greed: is it inherently a superficial emotion?  If you have enough, and want more, more, more, do we call this superficial?  Well, what is below the surface?  Is it not a sense of emotional disconnection from people--or at least some people; you can be greedy for your family, but feel no compunction in taking from others--and a deep underlying fear of some sort?

Indeed: could we not speak of "greeds" in the plural?  Can we not even consider both all vices and virtues as utterly unique both to individuals and moments?  Can I not express greed differently in different contexts?

The Buddhists split everything up: there is no unitary self, no unitary space, and no unitary time.  Everything consists of little bits with infinitesimal spaces between them.  Space, perhaps, is the primary reality on their account, Mahakasha if memory serves.  Certainly this has been mentioned in my Kum Nye series.  I don't even know if they consider the bits--dharmas--to be actually in motion, or only apparently in motion.  This, itself, may vary from school to school.

So, back to the "Blanks" (British humor is certainly quite dry), the automatons with seeming personalities of "The World's End".  Are they happy?  Do we not need a sense of what happy is to answer this question?

Is it really good sex?  This is an answer we are given implicitly constantly.  We chase chicks, or are chased by dicks, and somehow bliss is supposed to follow. 

But it doesn't.  You get to a certain age, and if you are growing emotionally, you realize that most of life is not about evanescent pleasures, which we can call superficial because we realize deeper pleasures are possible.

But is pleasure the purpose of life?  In my view, yes, it is.  But pleasure of a qualitatively rich variety, which ultimately transcends the very need for pleasure.

As I think out loud, though, it increasingly seems obvious to me that if you lack a sense of life being about other than procreating and dying--which is more or less the Freudian/Materialistic account--then becoming deeper as a person is difficult. 

Richard Dawkins seemingly thrives on aesthetics, particularly intellectual aesthetics.  But how in his world does a deep sense of connection to other humans beings, of love, arise?  Love is just an illusion, a manifestation of some genetically determined social impulse, with likely a good amount of the procreative instinct dominating it.

As I begin to climb a ladder out of my hole, my cell, I realize that any life lived without the cultivation of love as its primary purpose is largely wasted.  This is where we go when we want to get below the surface, or behind our own walls, and those we erect to defend from others.

To be deeper is to expand.  Perhaps, then, a better word than superficiality is "emotionally small", or constricted, or dense--or, to put it properly, afraid.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Partial Suicide and Efficiency

Watched "The End of the World" tonight.  Very odd movie, which included a significant stab at the globalists, and their arrogant claim to know what is best for all of us.  Drunk and stupid, many of us are their moral superiors, precisely because we are not claiming to know all the answers.

It got me to thinking about the "Starbucksification" of the world, about plastic people, about superficiality, about not being real.  Here are a few thoughts.

Do we not drift in and out of being "real"?  Do we not drift in and out of emotional presence?  Are we not at times more plastic than others?

If I live less than I could have, if a given day has less purposive engagement than was possible, is that a partial suicide?  Did I not sacrifice part of my life to convenience, or laziness, or emotional or intellectual rigidity.

Flip side: if I spend my life obsessed with living well, obsessed with not missing a moment, not missing one opportunity to learn or grow, or feel joy and connection, does not this mindset ITSELF lead to rigidity and the loss of "moments" of various sorts?

I am using a good form of self growth, a good form of meditation.  But it is my strong belief--and this has been echoed by the head teacher--that it is quite possible to be diligent in sitting, diligent in following directions, and yet to spend DECADES substantially as you were.

I like this concept of Tao, of a way which is a bit foggy, which is imprecise, but quite real, and quite useful none the less.

It seems to me at times that the fetishization of efficiency in the industrial and business worlds has trickled down to interpersonal relations, in which other people's use is our personal satisfaction, and we expect them to be efficient in that.  As a physical act, sex is somewhat efficient, but no amount of skill can substitute for true emotional openness, intimacy, and tenderness.

Ah, few attempts to record vaporous perceptual threads that flit into and out of my life.  Lines are inefficient.  So is time.

Religion and Leftism

I saw today in my Kum Nye practice that religion, just like Leftism, can be both a way of disengaging from the real problems of the world--in which it is analogous to what I call Sybaritic Leftism--and a means of expressing cruelty in the name of love and goodness, in which case it is analogous to what I call Cultural Sadeism.

There can never be a substitute for open perception.  As I grow, I see that I have never in my life felt the possibility of spontaneous goodness.  Somewhere in a time I can't remember, I adopted a mindset of "another day, another beating".  I adopted a mindset of endurance, and put aside any tender feelings, any possible optimism, any sensitive, open engagement with the world.

Yet this is precisely not just where happiness happens, but Goodness.  I have defined Goodness as in part being able to be happy on your own.  Logically, this means that if you cannot be happy on your own, your capacity for Goodness is greatly diminished, and the likelihood you will periodically turn to cloaked cruelty to salve your own pain greatly increased.

Islam is more or less the direct analogue in the moral realm of Leftism, in the sense that it is in a very great many cases openly cruel, violent, insensitive, inflexible, and rooted somewhere other than the present moment.  It is a monstrous abstraction, in which cutting the arms off of children and decapitating women can somehow be made to seem good, just as it was made to seem good by Robespierre and Lenin and Hitler.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Art

I was walking in with the groceries just now and it hit me that the moment you complete a work of art it is dead.  All the glow disappears.

Any new work has manifold possibilities when it is still taking form.  It can go anywhere as long as you are still working on it, shaping matter--sound--to reflect something intangible.  But once you are done, it only has one possibility: what it is. It can be interpreted many ways, but can no longer add anything to the discussion.

In my understanding, this was why Socrates refused to write anything down.  In his view dialogues were living things, and once complete, they were dead and gone.  They were also all completely unique.

Specifically, I was thinking about my own ideas, and my own critical engagement with them.  Perhaps with a bit of vanity, I view them as my own "art", in the sense that I am constantly endeavoring to perceive (and no doubt sometimes create) patterns which were hitherto unmanifest, latent.

And I was thinking that once they are out there, once I hit Publish, I have no more emotional attachment to them than if they were someone else's.

The magic of art--any creative form which involves in part spontaneity and creative engagement with something or someone--is in ELICITATION.  You are trying to bring out inchoate patterns, and necessarily such patterns can only be those which can find a home within you.  Thus, you are eliciting some higher form of awareness.

This in my view is the proper purpose of art.  I have made this rough point many ways, many times.  The UTILITY of art is as a tool for personal growth by offering up a means, a pathway, for bringing up latent awareness, and for processing it--mourning it, accepting it, playing with it.

Van Gogh is dead.  So is his art EXCEPT to the extent that he offers other artists a chance to see their own worlds in a new way.  His work should not be fetishized in a manner quite similar to the tribal cults from which we get that word.

I have always liked, and spoken often of, the Tibetan practice of creating temporary art, art they invest an ENORMOUS amount of care and time in creating, which they value for a time, then destroy.  This is not just a lesson in impermanence and the rejection of attachment, but also in my view a wise understanding that what is dead should be buried--ceremoniously, of course--but buried.

If I extend this metaphor slightly farther, are the works of art in museums zombies?  Are they reflections of life past, but denuded of the creative spark which animated the PEOPLE whose lives were shaped by their creative output?

Frankly, I don't know if the previous paragraph makes sense.  I don't understand it.  I am operating symbolically in a fishing trip for something interesting.  If you can pull it out of the water, have at it.  Then throw it back.

Tibet, the parable of the talents and the Industrialization of Dharma

If one recalls the parable of the talents, it seems to me that Tibet was given 5 talents, and dug them into the ground.  What I mean by this is that they have exquisite, highly developed spiritual technologies, which facilitate a sense of well-being, true spiritual growth, and social harmony.  But they remained for many centuries the Hermit Kingdom, and the only reason we see any diffusion of their science today is because the Chinese invaded them.  I think Tarthang Tulku is the best of them--at least that have published--and it seems a virtual certainty that had the Chinese not decided to subjugate the Tibetans in the name of freeing them, he would have lived his life anonymously (to us), and eventually died without leaving a trace.

Technologies like Kum Nye, knowledge like Kum Nye, once in the public domain, can spread.  The speed with which good ideas can propagate in our modern world is astonishing, and this technology or one like it may well save all of us.  Our would-be saviors--which is to say the ones who want to enslave the whole world to make it "free"--presumably retain some sense that they are doing good.  They have a moral sense.  No one who truly opens up their emotional worlds, though, can retain a fundamentally false understanding of themselves or their true purposes.  One can hope that somewhere one of these people steps into something truly useful, and comes out truly useful.

In Tibet, as I have mentioned, they spin prayer wheels.  They hang prayer flags, and burn prayers in fires (unless that is the Japanese).  Mostly, they pray for universal salvation, that all come to a knowledge of how to be truly happy, and how to be truly free of all the psychic constraints that bedevil the ignorant.

But is the spread of knowledge not a LOGISTICAL problem?  And is that problem best solved by wishful thinking, even if we do grant some ability to send energy out into the world, and some concreteness to thoughts, which can be transmitted?  I think not.  The most fervent wish is scarcely a match for a well constructed sales pitch delivered in a tone that is right for the audience.  It is direct transmission.

Compassion might in some sense be a feeling--it STARTS as a feeling--but if it is sincere it is interested in abstraction, because it is interested in EFFECTIVENESS.  It is interested in treating the problem of enlightening humanity with the same seriousness with which battlefield generals approach an aggressive campaign against their enemies.  The tone is different, of course--love can and should be a "weapon"--but surveying the terrain, assessing logistical requirements, taking the tone of situation and place, putting the right people in the right places, and trusting intuition are not that different than the problems Sun Tzu sought to solve several thousand years ago.

In our modern world we have made the manufacture of objects easy.  If the banking system had not diluted our wealth twentyfold or more, we would have no material wants of any sort in this or most other countries.

What we have not even come CLOSE to achieving is consistency with regard to spiritual growth.  We are not even CLOSE to having methods we can say with relative certainty will always lead down a long road, and carry people where they want to go. 

Hell, even asking the QUESTION "what makes people happy" has only been tolerated within the broader field of psychology perhaps a decade, and has only become popular in the last 5 years or so (or so I assume, based on the books I see on the shelves.)

It is much cheaper and easier to seek the ability to easily achieve satisfaction, contentment, satiety, peace first, then work backwards and figure out what you actually NEED materially.  You want to help the environment?  Let's not institute a Fascist regime and get Al Gore the uniform and whip he has always wanted.  Let's figure out how to end our obsession with consumption.  Let's figure out how to earn time more easily, and with that time work on being happier and happier with less and less.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Scientism

Here is a link to a discussion about Scientism.  Steven Pinker writes a piece, which I read. Leon Wieseltier writes a piece I really enjoyed.  Daniel Dennett sets himself the task of refuting Wieseltier.

For my part, I am not going to defend the current guardians of the humanities.  They are stupid and have been for some time.  I am going to say the two ways in which they ACTUALLY move forward.  If you read Wieseltier's piece carefully, it is defensive, not offensive.  He is telling others to stay away, not where to go.

1. In  my view, the humanities should recognize the subjective element of the human experience--our subjectivity, our non-object-ness, but it should be as objective as possible in its measurement of outcomes.  For example, what is the effect of reading Herman Hesse when one is 15?  What lasting effects, if any, are achieved from exposure to art, and are they positive or negative?

Or to use my own proposal in my essay on Goodness, why not search for models of the rejection of self pity, perseverance, and a blossoming perceptual capacity, and see how, particularly in ritual, religious traditions, they are cultivated.  What is essential in ritual for actual, measurable outcomes useful to the modern Western world?  If I was still in Religious Studies, that is the direction I would likely try to take, and be denied. (which is why I am no longer at a university.)

Put another way, and I hate to say this, but I agree with Pinker that particularly psychology--current psychology, and particularly the psychology of optimal well being--should be incorporated into the academy.

Ultimately, we pay teachers to be USEFUL.  If they teach history, they need to teach the lessons of history.  If they teach English, or Philosophy, we need to teach people to THINK and to express themselves with felicity.  There is surely some means of measuring this.

To the extent literature or art is consumed for pleasure, it HAS NO BUSINESS in the university.  It can be consumed outside the university, and no pretence need be made that the activity is other than autotelic (to use Czikszertmily's (sp definitely off) word from "Flow").  Reading or other ways of the pursuing the arts are quite useful as recreation and for the processing of experience.

Studying HOW literature is good for the soul WOULD be the proper domain of academics.  One of my many projects is getting certified in the Tomatis method, which involves listening to a lot of Mozart and Bach through specialized headphones that as I understand it periodically block certain frequencies, so as to resensitize your ear to them.  The effects are supposedly salutary on many levels.

How much have you read about Tomatis?  Likely little.

2. In important ways, though, I side with Wieseltier's root project, which is making our consciousness PRIMARY, our subjectivity PRIMARY, and recognizing that any effort to make of humans objects necessarily deducts from what is most important in our lives, which is our sense of self.  If Dennett truly acted daily like the machine he thinks he is, he would kill himself.  He enjoys things, such as what he is pleased to call science.  He probably likes walking his dog, and drinking good tea, even though within his own system his life is completely meaningless, and he is not different in principle from a cockroach scuttling along the sidewalk.

Again, to be clear, we are told that "consciousness" and "free will" are illusions with the same dogmatism and shitty thinking Dennett accuses Wieseltier of, but the simple fact is that AMPLE evidence exists showing that mind and brain are severable, and that the mind is not confined in its potential consciousness to its immediate domain. 

When we get to the level of what is "really real", our best model for the root reality is that it doesn't exist.  Everything we see and touch is the product of consciousness, it is CONTINGENT on consciousness.  This means that at the very heart, the soul of their project, proselytizing materialistic atheists stand not on shaky ground, but NONEXISTENT ground, at least according to "science" as it exists today.

General Relativity--which IS a materialistic model--was falsified by the Alain Aspect's measurement of non-locality.  It is not true.  God DOES play dice with the universe.  Physicists have been trying without success to avoid this truth for 50 years.

People like Daniel Dennett and Steven Pinker have done an excellent job of explaining human consciousness from  B to C, but the universe goes from A to G.  They do well within their domain, and thus never leave it.

This needs to be pointed out, as it is a terrible flaw.  Whatever merits they see in telling the "truth"--which leaves out mountains of available but contradictory empirical data--the sociological fact is that the notion that we are machines made out of meat, devoid of "mind" in a higher sense, and that our freedom is illusory, have pernicious effects.  No, it doesn't floor people immediately.  They wear nice sweaters, and drink good coffee, and become ardent socialists or Objectivists.

But as Malcolm Gladwell noted in "Outliers", over long periods of time small differences can have enormous effects.  All the problems we have in solving social issues, of finding meaning, devolve in my personal view into varying accounts of the nature of life.

My beef with these people is that they are failing to avail themselves of the very good data, as one example, in support of the theory that souls survive death.  Science CAN and SHOULD meet religion.  Christianity may be empirically untenable--that is my own view--but large segments of its core tenets may be salvageable.

Why argue about what sort of God would commit capricious acts?  Why not have the balls to look at ALL the data with an open--scientific, not scientistic--mind?