Thursday, December 31, 2015

Self Mortification

Can you train a dog to enjoy playing with a ball with a club?

People rarely physically conduct penance now, but how often every day do most of us limit who we can be through conditioned fear?

Original Sin

An important part of life is to open yourself to daily change.  Every day, ideally every moment, spirituality consists in a curiosity what is in this present moment, and where it is going.

We see some teachers saying "stay in the moment, that is where life is".  This is of course true, but moments generally come in groupings.  There are winds that flow through our lives, scents, textures.  Feelings, of all sorts.  Change is all around us if we but open ourselves to it.

It seems to me that most of the people who actually live in the moment are living in series of moments, who are swept away by things which fascinate them, and whose principal virtue consists in the openness required both to see and to be led by what comes by.

A kite is of course tethered, as we are by our physical bodies, and sense of self, but it is wildly free to roam about within those limits.  Even when apparently stationary, it feels the flow of air underneath it, and the precariousness and exhilaration of its position.


I have been speaking of evil, the evil I find in me, and which I assume must exist in varying measures in others.  I have perhaps been wounded more deeply than many, and carry deeper scars, but the principle of emotional death and resurrection is the same, I think, for all of us.  We have all suffered deaths.  And I think my own case is far more common that generally supposed.  I think if anything is unique about me, it is simply that I have discovered it, contacted it, and am in the process of dissolving and dispersing it.

But of course you cannot be me, thinking about evil, VIEWING evil, feeling it course through me, and not think about Original Sin. Christ talked about sin.  All the early Christians were obsessed with sin, with the "flesh".  Many of the most "saintly" of the Christians were those most willing to inflict pain upon themselves obsessively, through fasting, through whipping themselves, through wearing uncomfortable clothes, and living solitary lives for many years.

This all seems stupid to me. Edward Gibbon comments upon all this repeatedly, asking how someone who hates themselves can love humanity.  They can't, of course. It is solipsistic.  It is one part of the evil.

Some atavistic part of you--I think in most cases relating to some unknown trauma endured as a baby--says you are unworthy, worthless, useless, a piece of shit.  Some other part asserts, rightly, that no, you are worth something.  But we are social animals, and it is hard to sustain an internal image that is not ratified in the eyes of others.  So how do you reclaim your power?  You take that self loathing rage out on your body and call it good, and this pronouncement is ratified in the eyes of others; if not in adoring laity, then at least in the eyes of fellow penitents, for whom you perform the same service.

Alternately, of course, you seek out power over others.  You make others smaller that you might feel the bigger.  Self abuse and other abuse is still causing pain, still unpleasant, still unnecessary.

And sex, sex, sex.  Sex is expurgated.  Evil.  Wrong.  When you have wet dreams or wake up with a hard-on as a man or dream of some man penetrating you or sucking on your nipples as a woman, you have "sinned".  You couldn't help it, any more than a small child who wets his or her pants, but you are a "sinner".  How awful is this?

Small wonder that some take an equally extreme and opposite approach and make sex the focal point of religious practice, as Aleister Crowley seems to have.

I propose we rename "Original Sin" a "birthright of growth".  We are born as animals.  We behave as animals.  These are not in my view theoretical postulates, but obvious facts.  Can we help the fact of needing comfort as infants?  Can we help the fact of our biological needs for warmth, food, rest, and shelter? Is there anything the slightest bit moral about any of this?  Can we help the genetic traits (and astrological traits, for those who believe in them; I view the two as part and parcel of the same issue)  with which we were born?  Can we as adults control the conditions under which we were raised as infants?  When puberty sets in, is any part of this voluntary?

Can we help that some part of us is hard-wired to be voracious, aggressive, and concerned on a deep genetic level solely with survival and reproduction?

As I have mentioned, I am listening to the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and it is a story of invasion after invasion, betrayal after betrayal, with humans behaving as ravaging beasts, as soulless monsters.  It is the story that what is built up by one will be torn down by another.

And it is the story of the ascendancy of the Christian Church, which used this creed of the original worthlessness of all humankind to build a vast and powerful empire--what we cannot call a spiritual empire, but an empire of psychological coercion dependent upon terrors created through visions of hell conjured by those who benefited from fear--of people who benefited by providing an answer to it: redemption through the sacrifice of individual conscience to group norms; to rules enforced through violence; to conformity compelled under threat of death, torture, exile, and public execration.

Christ cannot have wanted or willed any of this.  Assuming he was a real human being, someone who walked this Earth, he must have been up there thinking "I fucked up".  But what can he have done, but let this disease--this new disease, which contained within itself its cure--surge through the body of humanity, hoping one day it would run its course?

Can we not find within the notion of universal human rights--which is under attack by the egalitarians, who invoke an ancient tribalism in their false appeals to the universal--an origin in "love thy neighbor as thyself"?  There was nothing in European history one could not find in Chinese history, or Indian history, or Aztec history.  Conflict.  Death.  Famine.  Tyranny.  Compelled conformity.  The thirst for power and glory.  Structural separation from the actually Divine.

Marx was not wrong in seeing in religion an organized effort to coerce the masses.  One of Constantine's initial reasons for embracing Christianity--it seems to have been the primary reason, although his beliefs seem to have evolved over time--was that it encouraged passiveness and obedience to temporal authority.  We might even wonder if Christ ever said "render unto Caesar what is Caesars".  Much blood attended the suppression of the various "heresies".  Tens of thousands at least, likely hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, died for failing to conform to the ascendant "Universal" faith.  Such a creed of love!!!  Nothing says love like rivers of blood, and tears which are not destined ever to be comforted in this life.

Gibbon seems to be misunderstood as blaming Christianity for the fall of the western Roman empire. As he points out, all the conquerers of Rome were themselves Christians.  Attila was not, but he never conquered Rome itself, nor did he rule in Italy.  The Goths were Christian.  So were the Vandals.

So obviously being war-like and being Christian were not mutually exclusive.  The Romans were decadent because they lived at the expense of others for many hundreds of years.  They did not plow fields, or do useful work.  They did not earn or deserve "paychecks".  They partied and they played, and let others do their fighting and working for them.  They were provided food and entertainment, and as Gibbon also points out, what is interesting is not that they were conquered, but that it took so long.

Returning to my main point, we are bred and conditioned to easily feel rage and fear.  Existing at this level is natural for us. As I see in myself, there is little difference between the two.  Both remove from consideration the perceptions of space, of options, of flexibility, of patient pursuit of long-term ends reachable only through self restraint borne of a longer, more relaxed vision.

We are bred as conditioned animals.  This is our birthright.  Few see this.  We all want to say we chose what we were compelled to accept.  Our vanity demands it.  But it is a lie.

The sine qua non of a spiritual life is to awaken to the power of choice. You must see in life what those around you do not see.  You must be willing to submit to the risk of ostracism or worse in order to follow a road whose path you cannot see down more than the next moment, the next breath.  You must cast yourself into a different sort of wind, and be willing to die to what you know--rather, what you think you know.

To understand Original Sin is to understand and feel the yoke you were born with, the pressure to act like all others, to be an animal like all others, to live and die with little purpose or progress.

We live in an exceptional time.  All the old restraints have been loosened.  Human societies are far freer in what they will tolerate than ever before.  And this scares the living shit out of a lot of people.  They want a return to chains, and are quite willing to tolerate the lie of freedom in the name of escaping it.

Who will win?  Who will lose?  I of course cannot say.  I am limited to my own life, my own words, my own conduct, my own pursuit of excellence as I perceive it.  There is much in here worth pondering, for those willing to expose their vanities to the possibility of loss without immediate gain.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Worth noting

I've said this many times, in many ways.  This is today's way.

The Anti-Tribalist ethos serves the cause of Tribalism quite well.  You get to hate everyone who is not just like you, and feel morally superior in so doing, all while surrounded by people just like you.

The other side is in the middle. Blink twice, then look again.  You are not actually seeing what you are actually seeing.

This amounts to secret courts

http://www.breitbart.com/california/2015/12/29/police-may-confiscate-guns-without-notice-owner-starting-january-1/

I will again encourage people to watch Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil.  Of all the dystopias, his seems to have come closest to reality as it exists today.

Others

I don't know if I am unusual in this, but I spend no time wondering if there is someone out there who can "fix" me or complete me.  I know I am a very unusual cat, and finding someone who really gets me is going to be tough.

But over and above that what seems obvious to me is that if I am not complete, then I am asking someone else to do the work of completing me.  Practically, for men seeking women, they are looking for mothers, or at least cheer-leaders.  They want someone else to put out effort they could and should be putting into themselves.  Many women are happy to do this, since care-taking comes naturally to them, even to the point of being harmful to themselves and their own happiness.

You cannot expand until you exist as a unit of consciousness.  Until then, you are getting into various muddles of confused emotions, codependence, emotional life-sucking, and unhealthiness.  You can mislabel all this and call it "spirituality" by talking continually about love and compassion, and how much you care about others.  Many do.  Many spend their lives as articulate imbeciles.

But spirit, true spirit, true Truth, doesn't give a flying fuck about who you pretend to yourself and others to be.

The world has rules.  This seems clear enough.  Step one is learning them.  I'm still working on it.

Evil

As I investigate my own evil, I realize I have often been a bully.  The way this works is that if you are not cruel and belittling to others, you are so to yourself.  Even the most sniveling, apparently cowardly person has within themselves the capacity for rage.  You can go a life without expressing it, but it remains there, nonetheless.

My father was and remains a bully.  I suppose I have dealt with my mothers energy, now it is time for his.

And in what does bullying--power seeking, evil--consist?  It is the opposite of love: where love builds, it tears down; where love values, it denigrates; where love brings peace and happiness, it brings obsession, anxiety, self loathing and chronic anger.

The essence of power seeking is to make others smaller by making oneself relatively bigger.  Since you have forsworn actual emotional growth, this consists practically in remaining exactly who you were, and making everyone else cringe and shrink.  All sadisms exists on a continuum, but at root consist in making others feel small, however that is done.

And sadism and so-called masochism are related.  Sade himself was a masochist.  He liked being whipped, too, in my understanding.  This is not necessarily what he wrote--I am hardly a Sade scholar, or desirous of becoming so--but what he did.

And why not?  He was cruel because he was small.  Allowing a full circle, allowing others to denigrate him, simply validated his own self perception. He wanted his grave to disappear from human sight.

The essence of love is to make oneself actually bigger by making others bigger.

What I am going through currently is a very non-linear, cloud-like expansion.  I do not feel love, but rather see billowing waves of what was small within me expanding into my sight and perception.

It is not pleasant.  I sat down to a meditation last night and it felt like I was sitting with evil, like I was drinking tea with the eminently mythic (in a formal psychological sense) Lord Voldemort, and imbibing all his energy.

But what I feel is that these heat waves, these shimmering clouds, also want to expand.  They were trapped, and it is the nature of all coiled up emotional energies to blend with life, with motion, with air, and to lose their immediate power in rejoining the universe, which of course retains its power always.

I will add as well that I vowed to give this blog up as a crutch.  Well, seemingly I still need this crutch.  A soldier uses every tool at his disposal, however ridiculous or inappropriate it may seem.  The goal is victory, not victory in a specific way.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Principle

The other side is in the middle.

I'm going to leave this a bit cryptic, not least because I'm not fully sure myself what I mean by it.  Do ponder this, though: what inferences must be made based upon the principle that "the truth is somewhere in the middle"?  If we take this "truth" at its word, must the truth not be found somewhere other than the middle?

Empirically, of course, many people repeat stupid, illogical and empirically false arguments for decades, even when they are allegedly "educated", allegedly "intelligent", and allegedly concerned for the common welfare.


I will offer as well something of a non sequitur, that when we walk in darkness, it is always our own darkness.  And it is the perception alone of our own darkness that creates the possibility of light.  It is like the darkness hides within, and only when you have grown to such an extent that it can hide no more does it reveal itself, and create a seemingly dark day.  What seemed bright becomes dark.  But this is progress.  I was pondering last night if the night--literally and figuratively speaking--is perhaps more honest, in offering us no false lights.

I am learning that negatives, cast out from within, mean that I am slowly learning to deny them residence in my psyche.

Monday, December 28, 2015

This world

I was in a deep meditation the other day, and it was made clear to me that if I feel confusion, nausea and disorientation, those are all features of this world.  They are in the air.  They are in the water.  We are disconnected from the Source, at least consciously.

The task is to function and persevere anyway.  I think of jet pilots, who cannot spend too much time worrying about which way is up and which down, who endure multiple "g's" in their work, and who nonetheless do it well.  The method is focus and intention, and not clinging to one way of being, one way of moving, one fixed target.  The race is with ourselves, with our quality of energy, with our own evolution, which always takes place by going inside.

I was thinking yesterday, too, walking in the rain, that having a code can be both simplifying and confining.  Take Bushido.  It makes light of death and fear.  It makes life into something clear and simple.  But it also means that you inflexible in some ways.  You buy one freedom for one confinement.  It is clearly better than cowardice, but it is only appropriate at the level of development which feels and wants to embrace cowardice.

What code is mutable in the right way?  Growth.  Growth is ordered motion, but it can go in any way it needs, on the way home.

And what does growth MEAN?  You tell me.

What is fascinating about trauma

Concealed trauma tries to remain hidden.  When you approach it, it has warning signs everywhere, and tries to push you off track, to guide you anywhere but where you were hurt, and continue to bleed.

But if you ignore the signs, and march on in, then on the other side is a truly interesting landscape, one denied those who were not pushed over the edge into the abyss, and forced into creative adaptation.

This landscape, believe it or not, is warm. And it is peaceful.  And it is richly textured.  It is a good basis for a different sort of life.

Middle Age

It occurred to me last night, in my sleep battles, that middle age is a sort of second adolescence.  We speak of a "mid-life crisis", but one could equally speak of a second crisis of emergence.  Rather than emerging into a world of possibility, we are emerging into a world of reality, that of aging, of the awareness of finite possibilities.  And just as adulthood must be accepted for mental health, so too must old age and time.

And do we really want it all?  I think most of us just want a few things that are really good: a good partner, good friends, simple pleasures, and useful work.  These can be had.  They are quite possible.

V for Vendetta

I am slowly working my way through movies I probably should have seen years ago.  I've been focusing on Jim Jarmusch lately--A Night on Earth is my next--but needed a break.  I find his films take work.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps because he does not fill in any of the blank spaces, or offer obvious answers to the problems he does make obvious.

Couple notes.

1) there is an obvious, to me, comparison with 9/11.  Ponder, if you have not, how that date was obviously chosen for symbolic effect.  Can you think of any other combination of digits which would so conjure emergency and fear?  4/11?  3/3?

I am not entirely willing to say I feel sure 9/11 was perpetrated by high elements in our government, but it seems absolutely clear that the investigation was botched from the outset by the destruction of evidence, and that wrong and empirically indefensible conclusions were reached by an official body after what could and should have been a thorough, honest, and professional investigation.  These points are in my view beyond dispute.

Neither is it in dispute that the conspiracy extended at a minimum to pre-planted explosives/cutting charges in Tower 7, and almost certainly to all three towers.

2) The malefactors were shown to be hypocritical Christians.  Particularly in Britain this was then, and is even more so today, ridiculous.  It was an attempt to villify Bush, obviously, but as such constituted itself a propaganda.  Many Occupy Wall Street protesters seem to have failed to grasp that totalitarians use many rhetorics, but that the rhetoric of the Left has most often been used to build the social order that film portrayed.  Hitler and his National Socialists found their support among working class Germans, and it was not his universal healthcare, education and other State-funded perks that Leftists objected to, or to his de facto control of the German economy and habit of expropriating the private property of citizens deemed undesirable,  but rather his nationalism, and particularly his opposition to the Soviet state.

But Hitler was to Stalin roughly what Trotsky was: a disavowed brother.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  And self evidently, they were close brothers for a time.  They each viewed the other as seeing the world in the same way.  That was part of the reason Stalin found it so hard to believe Hitler has betrayed him, which caused his military enormous tactical and strategic difficulties in the early stage of the invasion.

3) And by what process of logic does a group which fears a totalitarian government want to abjure the right to gun ownership?  As the police commissioner said, in response to the question "what do you think will happen?": "what usually happens when unarmed people face people with guns". Those masses would have broken and fled in the first volley, had those soldiers fired.  The tactical situation would have been much different if there had been a gun under every cloak.

It is so hard not to see Leftists as unprincipled imbeciles who munch propaganda happily all their lives, that I have ceased making the effort.  Obviously.  They are stupid, do not understand history, do not think deeply, and live their lives in a muddle of sentiment, vacuous pipe dreams, and the very real if unconscious acceptance of despotic violence as a means to the end of their moral confusions, but not an end to human suffering.  They know utopias are not born at gunpoint, but being weak they have ceased to care.

4) And finally, V never would have gotten away with anything in the modern surveillance state. He walks out the door, and then disappears to the authorities.  How?  There would be cameras on every street corner, informers on every block.  There would be satellites and even drones watching every street, every alley.  If there were sewers they would be covered with cameras too.  Just put yourself in the seat of a competent authoritarian, particularly one facing one person.  How hard would it be to catch this guy when you can call curfew and detain anyone you want at any time?

I see this fallacy often.  I saw it in the last Hunger Games movie.  People seem to fail to grasp that cameras everywhere means an ubiquitous eye.  American movies are filled with miraculous escapes which are not recognized as such merely because they cut to the next scene. In the real world, the people with resources and planning and the upper hand pretty much always win.

I wonder sometimes if these are not mere plot devices, but an unconscious effort to avoid awareness of just how tight the noose has become.

My sense is that an acceptance of death itself is a prerequisite to the acceptance of the modern world. It is giving my some difficulty--this is indeed an audacious project, to remain consciously awake but cultivate inner calm--but I am making progress.  My world is an odd one, but the one I choose.

Student Loan Debt

Read this .  It is really quite astonishing.

This problem is easily resolved: make student loan debt like any other form of debt, dischargable in Chapter 7, and reorganizable in Chapter 13.  This would force banks to make intelligent loans, and force universities to stop their fucking feeding frenzy and rationalize tuition costs within the constraints of the actual value of their product.  As things stand, market forces have been eliminated entirely.  There is nothing to hold any of these bastards accountable, on the university side or the banking side.  This applies even if it is "the government"--which is to say that monstrosity that takes taxes in from one group, and feeds them out to another, often borrowing from our grandchildren to do so--making the loans.

I will submit as well, as a public minded citizen who detests most banks and our banking system in general, for reasons I have articulated at great length, that you can pay off student loans with other loans which CAN be discharged in bankruptcy.  If you are willing to sacrifice a house, you can use a second or third mortgage.  You can use credit cards and lines of credit.

This is a poor solution, and yet, remarkably, still better than a Terminator-like debt that follows you to the very edge of the grave.  Ethically, you can assume not one of the entities making these loans wants you anywhere but on your knees.

An actually Liberal Democrat Party would recognize this.  But of course the Democrats have become an elitist anti-Populist Party which actually serves the interests only of a power hungry elite who are quite willing to use any rhetoric, to pander to anyone who will listen, in the full confidence that no one will ever hold them accountable for servicing the constituencies--blacks, the poor and working classes, the cause of peace--which they claim to value.

How else to explain their enthusiasm for importing millions of competitors for scarce jobs, which can only make them harder to find for native-born Americans, and make them pay less?

How else to explain the wars Obama and Hillary have started, which have only damaged our national security?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Judgement

I have realized that if life is to be an adventure, I need to have freedom of movement, and one of the things judgement--particularly combined with Emerson's foolish consistencies--does, is create no go zones.

Who will I need to be tomorrow?  I have no fucking clue.  My line is not straight in any visible sense.  It is always the next step, but how can I know where that will be?

Trying too hard to be smart will always make you stupid.  I see it every goddamned day.  I have learned, more or less, though, to keep my mouth shut.

There is possibility in silence.  When you are speaking, you are telling the world who you cannot be.  Why?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Video games

I am currently playing Fallout 3.  It is set in a post-Apocalyptic Washington D.C./northern Virginia, with many of the ruins, I suspect, modeled with occasional fidelity on actually existing places they mapped out and included, like Arlington National Cemetery.

As an unknown intellectual--I will use that word here--I see no limits on where I can go.  I have no reputation at all, which is a clear blessing.

And I am finding that video games calm me.  It is a way of practicing persistence, and experiencing success in a very tightly controlled environment.  Some situations I have to go through 20-30-50 times to master, since I am not a quick learner.  I tend to want to do frontal assaults, and they usually fail.  I don't use my brain, and this game requires the use of intelligence.

It is a way of harnessing aggressive and destructive energies in a controlled environment.  On the one hand we read that first person shooters are very similar to the way that the Army trains people to kill, which it has gotten very good at. David Grossman has written about this quite a bit.  I don't doubt this.  All tools have their place, and this sort of "tool" is available to everyone at all times, and some people are made sick by this one, particularly those who use immersion in a fake world as real world acculturation.

At the same time, it is connecting me, personally, with energies that were already there.  Combined with a meditative practice it constitutes a sort of Tantric immersion in death.  I see the effects in my dreams, and I watch them, and learn from them.  On balance, I have learned needed lessons.  In my own case, it is making me more compassionate.

Traumatized individuals, particularly, have some part of themselves that is trapped in a subversive sweat, a sense of helplessness, within which is enfolded both life and expressive rage.  You cannot get the one without the other.

I am a very different sort of person.  I am unique in my experience.  I have not knowingly met anyone like me, although I look like a redneck construction worker, and have often been mistaken as such.  If I am invisible, then others like me must be too.

Be that as it may, my experience may differ from most.  But I suspect that the sheer volume of the video game business--about $100 billion or so--speaks to a variety of cultural needs that games meet.

Could we perhaps posit that anything anyone can get addicted to meets on some level, and in an appropriate proportion, an actual need?  Do not most people need at times a River Lethe, sex, work, risk, an immersive experience?

Spiritual Growth

One of the deepest spiritual insights you can get to is that we are all born with an instinct to kill.  Our alimentary tract has equipped itself through evolutionary adaptation with a perceptual and locomotive apparatus that meets its imperative for survival.

On a "spiritual path" we are not supposed to speak of this.  We are supposed to cultivate compassion, and wisdom and grace; humility, kindness, self abnegation and service.

But as I grow I realize I need to know and befriend the part of me that sometimes wants to stick a knife in someone's throat.  We all have it.  Let me repeat: we all have it.

So often growth is conceived as a falling away of undesired traits.  You lose anger, and you lose greed, and you lose self absorption.  This is a simple idea, one which does not require conquering the fear of what lies within us, our primal demons, our ancient decay, the atavistic desire for rapine we share with animals.

In recent days I have been meeting these parts.  They are terrifying.  Anyone who really knows, who really sees, who really contacts on an emotional level what they are actually capable of, must feel shock, and other emotions I don't quite have words for. I do not want to shoehorn them into inadequate words.  Terror and horror, though, certainly belong in this mix.

Ponder the quasi-death cult which is the obsession with relics, with the bones of supposed holy men.

Ponder Saint Simeon the Elder: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simeon_Stylites

There are several interesting points here.  One, that he chose to leave the world, where he lived in the constant presence, according the iconography, of temptation, which he resisted through what would amount to physical torture if it were inflicted on someone unwilling.

What is this temptation?  His own anger and violence, which he merely avoided and did not process through his asceticism.  Sex--primal, animal passion--is merely a gateway drug to everything else.  A good solution allows one to live happily in the company of others, in peace, in communion and community, as we were meant to do.

Second, the fight over his "relics", which are the pieces of his skeleton.  The Christians, certainly, but I believe also some Buddhists and some Muslims of some sects, revered a thumb of a saint, or a knuckle; a knee, or perhaps even a skull.  God lived in these.  God blessed the believers through these bones, or so it was believed.

We all know death waits for us.  It cannot be avoided, even if its fact can be pressed out of polite conversation, its existence made something which happens somewhere else until you reach an age where everyone you know is dying.  In our world, that is 60 years or more of avoiding most death. Pestilence and war are strangers to most of us.

But I think acceptance of death is tied to the acceptance of our own culpability in the violence of every era.  When I say culpability I do not think most of us are directly, physically guilty.  What I mean is that some part of us relates to the desires enacted by some for death, torture, and glorifying both.  None of us are innocent.  And none of us are truly absolved by the "blood of the lamb", or by submission to the Koran or Torah.  Or by sacrifice, of animals, people, or our own comfort.

Walking through the valley of death is a necessary rite of passage for us all.  We need fear our evil, our own capacity for destruction, but only until we know them, and walk with them too, until they make themselves known and accessible.

I am getting to these places in recent days, and it is freeing me from bonds I did not know tied me down, prisons whose walls I could not see.

We all see the sky as the limit, but in truth we live in an infinite universe.  We need the sky as a limit, and use it as such.

Who would you be, if you were a ball of light, without arms, without legs, without an up and down?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Addiction

It's a reasonably well guarded fact--one at least that I only recently became aware of, despite what I think is a well earned self image of being reasonably knowledgeable--that only about 1 in 20 AA members achieves long term sobriety. Most no doubt achieve short bouts of being clean, likely often with the assistance of court orders and looming financial disasters, but not long term.

This means that the job of addiction counselor is likely one filled, also, with tales of chronic failure.

I was thinking about it today, and I think if I were doing that job the first thing I would do would be counter-intuitive: I would ask them to take their time and provide as comprehensive an inventory as possible of what that substance gives them.  I would ask them to write poems of praise, provide music that supports them in that habit, and really inhabit consciously what is in that world.

This is what addicts are really up against.  They understand conceptually that, logically, their poison will shorten their life, damage relationships, etc.  They have been through the list of negatives that naive people think should be enough to get them to quit.  These lists, from the perspective of non-addicts, should be enough to make ANYONE quit.

But they have never been addicted in the first place.  What drives addiction is a deep-seated emotional lack, and no one who has not experienced it can really understand it.

In own case, alcohol has helped protect my self from very vicious assaults from a deep place within my being.  But I got to that place, and my perception of need to drink has plummeted as a consequence.

I had many good times drinking.  I really like alcohol.  I think I always will.

But I am looking at the inventory of the needed things it did for me, and that list has been shortened near to zero.  Right now, it is a cure for boredom, insomnia, and confusion (read procrastination) , all of which I have strategies for dealing with.  It is not a solution for a deep wound.  It is not a solution for a failed sense of self.  It is not a balm for fear.  I no longer need shelter from the wind.  At one time, and recently, I did.  Absolutely.  I do not regret my drinking one bit.  

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Knowing yourself

The mind is in general the least interesting part of the self.  You might say "but oh the life of the mind is fascinating".  Really?  Where does "fascination" happen?  Are naked women not also fascinating if you are a heterosexual man?  The "life of the mind" leads somewhere, and that somewhere is unquestionably interesting, but it is not in the mind.  As I have said repeatedly, the mind is a tool, and when used as a source of aesthetic pleasure it tends to be abused.  It is separated from the need for usefulness, which is its main value. Pleasure can and should be pursued elsewhere.  Where, elsewhere, is a proper task for thinking.  The enjoyment of elsewhere, is not.

I just did a forward bend for 21 minutes.  I have just discovered that very long stretches lead interesting places.  If you bring a quality of patient attention, of the sort used in Kum Nye, then a great deal of movement and motion happen in that 21 minutes.  Now, I move around.  I rock gently at the limit of my range of motion, as I read is useful.  I sit up and focus on my upper back.  I alternately push one leg then the other out a couple inches.

But I have found areas of tightness will over time release information. This is fascinating.  My next experiment is going to focus on my very tight hip flexors for an hour.  I am going to alternate myofascial release with stretching.  I'll post results.  I suspect it will tell me something, something non-verbal, which means I can't write about it, but something useful.

The past

It seems to me that the cultural consequences of Leftist ideology are vastly more pernicious than most of us perceive.

I was thinking about babies 200 years ago.  Who calmed them?  We assume the mother, but in most homes was there not also an aunt or two or three, and a grandmother, whose energy was in most cases likely much more serene and patient than that of the young mother?

The cultural model in most of the world is not to create remote places to cast our unwanted old and abandon them to the care of the State, much as Rousseau envisioned for unwanted children (of which he personally fathered a couple).

No, the old live with the young and help out. They cook, and care for the home.  They exist in that cultural space and impart what they know of life, which I am hopefully not being too romantic in thinking once consisted in something more than how to invest in stocks and tips for playing golf.

Does it not seem that in casting off our old, we cast off both our past, and our connection to the future?  Can we not learn to live for more than the weekend, the sportsing and beer, the Cosmos and girl chat?

Here is what I wonder: does some of this hypersensitivity among the young come from the fact that their mothers went back to work a month or two after having them, and were never fully emotionally present to them because they worked all day and were tired?  Their care-givers varied at the daycare, and the grandmothers were in other States.

We are supposed to exist as productive economic atoms, able to move and merge with other atoms at will.  But we are born to live in webs: of connection, of  meaning, of history.

It is just one of the ironies, the intellectual hypocrisies, of Socialism that it presents itself as a giving, loving, compassionate creed, but that in actual fact it separates people from one another, from their past, from their people and creeds.

Yes, we can say tribalism leads to violence.  But Liberalism was intended to solve that problem.  And it still can, if we return to a genuinely Liberal ethos, as opposed to the overt Fascism which has overtaken our universities, and largely our news media, and political order.

Edit: You know, a big part of what enables nursing homes and full time skilled nursing, is economic progress.  Wealth.  People buy enormous homes and make no place for mom and dad.  And part of this is mutually desired.  What I am not noting is how much tension, how many fights, how much unwished unpleasantness must have attended, and must still attend, the care of the elderly.

What I had in mind was Social Security and Medicare, which pay for State run homes, but the progress (and regress) made possible by free markets and property rights (what is mistakenly called "Capitalism", which was Marx's term for a system he critiqued in so doing) is a big part of it too.

Growth

It seems to me you have to first become fully conscious of who you are in order to begin to choose a path of growth.  Until you know yourself, that is your primary work

If you equate your mind with your self, it is easy to believe that it is easy to change.

But you are a pattern of energy flow, some of which is overtly emotional, some of which is something else which needs its own name.  I will call it "that", as that is the least reductive.

People, and the world, are vastly more complex and interesting than is assumed by those who are compelled to conquer both.  You can get outer silence, clearly, and external order through violence, and call it peace.

But true calm and peace flow outward from the inside.  Nothing in the outer world can equal the peace and joy of what lies within all of us.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Life

If you think about it, no matter where you go, or what you do, you will always be the center of your own life, even if that life is focused on others.  You are the middle.  Everything you will ever know and see and experience and learn and enjoy and fear will come to you here, where you are.  There is nowhere else, for you.

So often we seek something out there.  If it is to exist for us, it can never be anywhere but here, and now.  If it was, and is not now, then it is not.  If it is there, it is not here.

Perhaps this is gibberish.  Perhaps not.

The Boy, Antique horror, and Jazz solos

I watched a trailer for a new horror movie called "The Boy" a few weeks ago when I saw the last Hunger Games with my kids.  The gist of it is that this doll is treated as human by his parents, even though the boy he is based on died some years earlier.  This doll has rules, and if you don't follow them, the sorts of things happen that people go to horror movies to watch.

I can't speak to other people's experience, but it had a deep affective resonance with me.

In recent days, every night has brought new revelations, and every morning a coalescence--slow, but diligent; a learning, a stock taking, a measuring, and a movement of the marker, denoting progress.

Last night I first contacted the spirit of my shaking.  It is bird like, flighty.  Although I used to find it intimidating in itself, I see now that it is merely a bird leaving its branch when it detects a predator.

The predator is a baby doll.  This doll has rules which must be followed, or else bad things happen.  It cannot be satiated, only given away.  As long as it is your burden, it is a constant burden.  The feelings of this dream were the sort that sends literal chills up your spine, and makes you want to run in terror, but you can't because you know it will pursue you. You must stay, captive, and pretend.

And I got to thinking about a frustrated baby.  It is completely helpless.  It is for all intents and purposes paralyzed in a way not that different than a toy baby.  Neither can choose to go from here to there to get needs met.

And when it cries too long, or hurts too much the result is RAGE: insatiate, omnidirectional, absolutely primal.

And what does it crave, if not solace?  Order.  At least order.  At least consistency.  Small children love routines.  They love knowing what is next.  And they hate randomness, especially random and to them incomprehensible emotions.

How many of us have a baby within us that screamed itself to sleep more than once?  The needs of this baby do not disappear, and what I think I saw is that they reappear in compulsive conformity.  This is a root, perhaps THE root of Fascism.  How often in history must small children have gone without, gone uncomforted?

And I was thinking too that modern thinkers want to find some sort of explanation for Fascism, while ignoring that violent imposition of conformity has been the rule for most human societies for most of human history.  War has been the rule.  Tribalism and taking other peoples stuff have been the rule.  The only thing surprising about Communo-fascism is the extent of the intellectual subterfuge needed to enable minds trained in reason and concepts of universal human rights to tolerate them.  Otherwise, they are merely new iterations of very old things.

And it occurred to me that science has often been the handmaiden of cultural atavism and tribalism.  It is merely a tool for rationalizing.  It allows people to appear to belong to this world, while dancing naked around fires in the wilderness.

And all this layered on a feeling I had the other day that each and every day is like a new jazz solo.  It may sound much the same day to day, but it is never exactly the same, and our true mission in life is come up with new melodies, new harmonies, new rhythms.

Of course Hitler had to find jazz degenerate.  It could not be heard by a trapped child who only wanted the same thing, day after day after day, and which was quite willing to commit psychological and even physical violence to whomever and whatever prevented this perfect repetition that was not there when it was most needed.

How to free yourself?  See.  Feel.  Understand.  When it feels the motion, it is already too late for everything built in the sand next to an ocean.  The work is the work of the universe.

Fear of fear

It happens fairly regularly, I just noticed, that I sit calmly in my practice as primal terrors come up.  I am not connected to them, even though of course I am. I have learned they have a texture that is neither good nor bad.  It is THAT, and that can at times be very interesting.

Is a road connected to a car?  They are related, obviously, but the one will never be mistaken for the other.

What makes roads useful?  I will plagiarize Lao Tzu and say space.  If they are filled, they are useless or slow.


Sufism

It seems to me an essential outward element of being a true Sufi is one must contradict oneself.  There is no other way.

Yes, immodest as it may sound, I do consider myself one, with the proviso, of course, that one cannot be one.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Resurrection

I was dreaming last night--I would say I had an odd dream, but aren't they all?--and saw a sort of reverse Apocalypse.  Aliens had conquered Earth, and the bodies of the dead were everywhere, all turned blue.  A vortex had opened in the sky, and an alternate universe was engulfing this one.  Then--and it was made clear to me in the dream I had nothing whatever to do with this--it stopped.  The vortex closed and the normal sky returned.  And the dead started coming back to life.  People who had died in hospital beds, and even already been placed in coffins came back to life.  The feeling was very joyous, after a feeling of deep despair and loss.

And I got to thinking about it.  I have been seeing scenes of the dead, or near dead lately, in my dreams.  On one had, one could see that as a fixation with death. But that is not the case with me.  What I think it is is seeing FOR THE FIRST TIME the existing death in my own life.

As they say, when you are dead you do not know you are dead.  I do not remember most of my sleeping hours.  I do not remember what I could have seen while driving somewhere day dreaming.  I do not know what at this moment I could perceive, but am dead to.

To see a new life, you first have to see the old death.  To see death, you need life.  Death cannot see death.

And to see death from life is a resurrection of sorts, is it not? Is not the task of the spiritual worker to resurrect the dead, who fill the streets and homes of this Earth, after first resurrecting themselves, or, more probably, connecting with a Spirit capable of this task, and accepting it gratefully?

Healing is not something you can will.  I cannot will a wound to heal faster than it is going to, and I cannot force my spirit to bring to peace old scars and fears, deep shames, deep penetrations of evil, and the devastations they bring with them.  What I can do is feed a process which does this.  This is the Nye of Kum Nye, and what I have been carefully cultivating in most of my waking hours for the past several years.

There are four things, as I see it, you can do with deep psychic wounds.  You can seek our processes and people who comfort you when you need comforting, and challenge you when it is necessary for growth.  You can take the spiritual path, in other words.

You can rationalize the dysfunctional behavior that comes from these wounds.  This is not quite the same as lying, but also not quite telling the truth.

You can repress these wounds.  This can only be done at a very primitive psychological level, and I think typically only at a very young age.  The effect of this is that you get periodic eruptions, or consistent irrational behavior that you cannot explain to yourself or others.

You can embrace the evil.  You can say to yourself that it is good for you, and seek out more.  I think this is a combination of 2 and 3.  I think such people cannot truly access their pain existentially, but they know on some level  it is there, and rationalize evil as a means of dealing with it. I think most genuinely evil people still need to find reasons--specious as they may be--to justify their hatred and violence.  Hitler has reasons for everything he did.  So did Lenin, and so does Castro.  All monsters, but they could easily tell you with seemingly perfect sincerity why so much torture and murder was the only possible solution to unavoidable problems.

And here is what I think is a symptom of deep healing: being able to look at your wounds with interest.  That is the stage I am at.  I think the stage after that is compassion, but I am not there yet.

Hillary, my two cents

She was likely speaking with an adviser about strategy, was told what the time limit was, and simply chose to ignore it.  She thinks we are all peons, and that the world should conform to her convenience and desire.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hobbies of growth

As I climb out of my slumber I get more in more in touch with my absolutely irrepressible curiosity.  It is a defining trait for me.  Even as a small child I was always opening all the doctors cabinets and peaking under the bed, and doing as much investigating as my mother would let me.

And I have been doing some of the quizzes on Sporcle.com.  Some of them are really useful, like trying to find all the countries of Africa or Asia without any lines at all.  You have to start with easy ones like China or Japan, and work your way in, typically with lots of errors.  I still have major problems with Inner Asia.

And it hit me that it might be fun to have a Country of the Week, where I read a couple articles about its history, and make one of its dishes.  Every recipe you can imagine is on the internet.

This week is Bulgaria, and the dish is Ljutenitsa, which is a red pepper relish.  Good fun in my world.

Then I was like: why not listen to a play by Shakespeare every week too?  It's about 3 hours, give or take, of audio.  Most people watch that much TV every night.  As I think I mentioned, I did "A Winter's Tale" this week.  That was an odd play.  I underline the lines I recognize.  A merry heart goes all day was from there (I may have slightly misquoted it).

Then I thought: why not listen to some classic piece of music, too, like the major jazz records of the 20th century.  Devote 45 minutes to it.  45 minutes of listening to music never killed anyone, I don't think.  So I listened to Dave Brubek's "Time Out" twice.  Now I'm on John Coltrane's "Blue Train".  All this stuff is available free, with ads, and ad-free with only a minor cost from Apple or Spotify.

This is a nice hobby, one I expect to stick with for some time.  We live in an Information Age, I am told.  It seems to mostly get used to track our every move, but why not apply it to personal growth?  

Grief, further thought

It seems to me that it may be useful to think of grief as a planted seed, one inured by nature from all the hazards of surviving in hard soil, without water, wind and sun for long periods of time, which may with time blossom.

And what is that blossom?  A new self, one without what was lost, which may retain some hurt for this lifetime, but which has also been transformed by the process.  Such flowers grow in the winter, and are thus inherently beautiful, because they are always miraculous.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Grief

One of the bartenders at my bar is going through some intense grieving.  I have watched myself trying to counsel her, as I have tried to counsel others.

I have fucked this up often.

Here is what I have come to believe: people who are not grieving tend to think of grief as a problem to be solved, that there are words which help, actions which reliably help, things which can be done and thought and felt.  This is, speaking generally, not the case.  Quite the opposite.

Grief is not a problem to be solved.  It is a happening, like clouds crossing the sky.  You can observe, you can interact, you can witness, but by and large we are all helpless.

And there is dignity in grief, if we allow it.

So--and I intend to create a rulebook for dealing with grief in others, which I intend to run by people I know who have experienced recent and severe grief--by and large if your mouth is moving, you are probably screwing up.

If you are hugging them, that is likely good.

If they are talking and you are doing nothing but listening, that is likely good.

If you are helping the worst stricken with cooked food--delivered with few words--or chores done while they lie around and grieve, that is likely good.

Every grief, I feel, is a bit different.  They are not all the same, and none of them are problems.  All of them are existential opportunities both for failure and for growth, and which it is is ultimately up to those suffering.

This is a rough beginning.  At some point, I will do better.  It is a worthy topic.

a hard bed

As I mentioned a while back, I have started to sleep on a relatively hard futon mattress on the floor.  My reasoning is that as I sleep my inner organs get a massage.  Everything gets moved around, rather than being stuck.  Everything has to adapt to the surface, versus a soft surface accepting my rigidities and inflexibility.

My lower back hurt for a time, so I started spending 3 minutes a day in the squatting posture used the world over for people live with dirt floors, or who spend a lot of time outside.  Actually, that is the posture used in much of the world for crapping.  I remember visiting a bathroom in Geneva with running water, but which had two foot pedestals in the middle of a giant basis.  You squatted, did your business, then flushed the whole thing down.

In any event, it worked.  And it has changed the quality of my sleep for the better.  I can't say how, merely that it is different.  The night seems more open somehow.  I first noticed this sleeping on hotel room floors while traveling with my kids when they were littler.

I do sometimes miss softer beds, and do sometimes get them when I travel, but this practice is on the whole salubrious.  The Buddhists made it a point to sleep on hard surfaces.  One can see this as a sort of asceticism, but there may be a practical reason as well, one conducive to inner work in some way I am not prepared to speculate on at the moment.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Spirituality, free will and morality

I am at a point where I can feel brief bursts of new feelings, but I don't know how to keep them, to invite them to stay.  It is a bit maddening, knowing that who I am I will soon not be, and all at the same time that I am looking around me and realizing that everyone is crazy.  I don't  know anyone who can help me with this.  I am on my own.  Certainly many people have been through this, but I don't know any that I trust have.  It's a strange thing, setting off to cross a desert.

And it occurs to me that I have both an advantage and a disadvantage in that my time is my own.  Most days I can get up when I want, do what I want in the order I want, and go to bed when I want.  I have to get certain things done, or the money will stop flowing, but I have wide latitude.  It is not uncommon for me not to speak to one person all day.  I work out of my home, even though I do in theory have an office I can go in to.

Our jobs are powerful medicine.  They help to provide structure and routine, even if most people resent that structure and routine.  Cziszentmilhi (I don't feel like looking it up) found that most people, contrary to their own predictions, were actually happier at work than watching TV.  We have just been conditioned to reject work as one of the most basic dignities afforded a free people.

Me, I live in trackless waters, and it confuses me sometimes.  I am directly confronted with deep existential realities in my solitude, and, most of the time, silence.  It is a sort of meditative retreat, I suppose.  I am not alone all the time, but I am alone enough that I feel I can feel currents flowing around me, which would be unseen if I felt I had to talk or listen all the time.

Spirituality, it seems to me, is always at root the feeling of new feelings.  Whoever you are, no matter how happy or sad your childhood and life until now, you can go deeper, travel farther.  There are states of awareness which have been described many times, which are real, but which cannot be reached through the feelings and emotions you have until now allowed yourself.  You must go somewhere new, and that is frightening.

It seems to me drugs are quicker, but less profound.  There is something about dwelling on that threshold (nod to Van Mo), and crossing it in little ways over and over, that opens it wider, and allows, over time, more and more of the energy of that space to billow into and occupy your life in your normal waking hours.  I feel what is in my future are more and more happy days, a fascination with life and the world around me, and the ability to see people as they are and love them anyway.

I do feel often that some part of me has a large cloak over it.  It is hidden, from myself and the world.  It is a part that sees nearly everything, that feels nearly everything, and if it were liberated all of a sudden, it would flood me in an unuseful way.  But again, I can pendulate over that threshold and back, and train that part of me which is actually in touch with my true needs to gradually increase the information it gives me, as my ability to digest it increases.


AND NOW FOR SOMETHING NOT COMPLETELY DIFFERENT


Tonight, driving to my workout, it struck me that once one grasps the ubiquity of developmental and shock traumas, you have to rethink the whole concept of morality, and the concept of free will and responsibility upon which it is based.  These things color entire lives, often without the person ever realizing they are there.

I continue my study of history.  I spent about 10 hours last week listening to Gibbon, and 2 hours yesterday working through Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale".  As I think I mentioned, it is fun to check the audios out from the library and listen along.  You get far more of the nuance.

Be that as it may, it seems to me that violence and submission have been the rule for most of human history.  Servants and masters.  And what serves those causes best?  Trauma.  Fear.  Violence.  For most of human history, most people have been driven by forces which we would today call manifestly pathological, but which were efficient and accepted in their social orders.

One sees Marxist treatments of power relations, but where are the narratives asking how the need for power came about, and what the psychosocial solutions to this lust are?  Revolution, involving the same people in the same culture, can only achieve the same result.  That is what happened in Russia, and China, and Cuba, and Vietnam, and Korea. Yes, they traded one rhetoric of power for another, but not the inner forms, the inner compulsions, the inner violence, and the rationalizations for preexisting realities.

Again, if you want something REALLY new you have to grab your balls and jump in the deep end.  Or start in the shallow end, and wade out.  However you do it, you must go where you have never been, and never wanted to go, because it is unknown.  Intellectuals, their conceits to the contrary notwithstanding, invariably go to what is known.  They just rename it, then proclaim themselves geniuses in, say, the way the  Roman Catholics proclaimed their superiority to the Arians.  They then pretend this subterfuge is new, when in fact it was old 2,000 years ago.

We see philosophical treatments of free will which go nowhere.  The new fashion is to look at evolutionary biology, and things like epigenetics, to try and say intelligent things.  This doesn't interest me.

But where do we see people talking about the manifest fact that we have unconscious minds which are often programmed to react in habitual and even reflexive ways?

It seems to me it is far better to talk about emotionally healthy and emotionally dysfunctional than good and evil.  In my own way, I have anticipated this by making Goodness contingent upon emotional realities which are only open to the healthy.  I see Tarthang Tulku anticipating this by promulgating a practice which teaches people how to "make their homes in the world of feeling".

Wherever one comes down on the free will argument--and it remains my view that to reach a final conclusion on the operation of the system one would have to be external to the system, which is not finally possible for humans--it is a manifest and obvious reality that most people operate with little more self awareness than dogs and cats.

Yes, decisions are made.  Yes, reasons are offered for those decisions.  Sometimes those reasons are valid, but particularly in emotionally charged issues, that is rarely the case.

As I open and penetrate my own inner space, I can feel clearly what has been driving me.  After a certain period of practicing Kum Nye, feelings come to have an almost tangible, touchable reality.  They are like words made manifest.  You can touch them in space, and move through them, get to know them, all without any actual words.  It is an extremely interesting process, even if it remains one quite often filled with pain for me.  I am in touch with rage, and I don't like it.  I am in touch with rage, and I realize it is me, too.


MY FINAL POINT


I was feeling non-judgmental the other day, and it hit me that judgement is always a splitting of the psyche.  To call something good you have to call something bad.  And to say that both the good and the bad are possible is to say that YOU have both in you, since you are capable of both.  So you develop a split in your psyche, between the part of you that you accept, and the part of you that you reject; the part you feed, and the part you consciously starve.

But it is all you, and in rejecting a part of yourself, you are committing an act of violence on yourself, one which is unjustified, because to be capable of conceiving a sin is not the same as committing it, and even committing it is not the same as BEING a "sinner".  The "being" part is added as a feature of the attack pattern you already programmed, which was an essential element of the judging process.

There is a certain nimbleness needed for morality as I conceive it.  You cannot get stuck.  You do not get to imbibe one moral order forever and then apply it mechanically with no more thought than a postage machine.

And the moment you create the good you create the bad.  This is a pretty standard Taoist concept, but virtually everything in the Tao Te Ching and other Taoist texts goes very, very deep.

I would say that Christianity created Satanism.  Satan had no power, Satan was not an important figure in any religion, until the possibility of heaven created the need for hell.

Certainly, you had cults like that of Baal, in which living children were thrown into massive fires.  One can likely see evidence of a sacrificial cult in the story of Abraham and Isaac.  These have always, in my view, been the emanations of unprocessed, deep traumas.

But to make an ideology out of it, requires a prior ideology.

To paraphrase the Tao Te Ching, who can walk quietly, leaving no mark?  Who can pass through the doors without a key, and without announcing themselves?  Who can tend a garden which always blooms?  Who can look into the Sun without flinching?

Oh, I'll leave it at that.  I am not drunk, but I am drinking.  This has been a very odd day.  I don't know what to make of it, and there is no one to ask, to consult about it, or who would really understand what it is I am feeling.  I value and fear my freedom and solitude.

Tree of life

This world is filled with mystery, and by mystery I mean hidden connections, synchronicities, brief moments where the underlying structure of things--or structures--are briefly visible.

It is not hard to critique those who point to these things, to call them coincidence, without meaning.  And sometimes this view is correct.  But not, in my view, always.

It is both my belief, and my belief that this is a useful belief, that this world has an order behind it, underlying it, which is vastly too complex for human minds to think or perceive.  We are left with clues because at this level of existence, we are incapable of consciously playing our part other than through trying to live in accordance with decency, with dignity, with self respect, kindness, generosity, love, and faith.  All of these are small orders which blend with the larger order.

As I may have mentioned, one of my favorite movies is Terrence Malick's "Thin Red Line".  That movie wrecks me every time, but in a good way.

I watched his Tree of Life for the first time last night, and it also wrecked me.  It brought up powerful emotions.  I spent much of last night dreaming about my family, about what could have been but never was.

And I think of this wind flowing through the world. It played in a few scenes in that movie, and it made me think of the very powerful wind theme in Fellini's "Amarcord", and if memory serves Juliette of the Spirits.  I recall that at the end of Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude, the winds blow everything away.

Watching the movie, I felt powerfully this wind that blows through all of us, through every human life, this spiritual energy we do not understand, which is close to God, but perhaps not.  Perhaps it is just another kind of wind.

And lo and behold it blew all night here.  We occasionally--perhaps 3-4 times a year--get all night winds, and they always feel to me like change.  I will draw a new Tarot card, because it feels like a season is beginning or ending.

And I felt keenly this morning this connection to these seasons.  Modern society does not recognize seasons which are beyond our control.  We have mastered the elements.  We can be warm in the winter and cool in the summer, no matter where we are, if we have joined modern society, modern technological society.

And there are to be no periods which we do not master.  We control the sun and moon with alarm clocks.  We banish them from relevance.  We work the same hours every week year round.  We work like machines, with no souls, and with no intuition.  Of what use is intuition in a world where your time is not your own?

And it struck me that this movie in large measure is about grief, tragic loss, and redemption.  It is about a season in a  life with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  There is nothing said about grief in the liner notes.  And it struck me that this theme was missed entirely in Kieslowki's Blue as well, in the liner notes, and by most of the reviewers I read.

Grief, it seems to me, has its own season.  It has its own pace.  And we incorporate it poorly in this world we have built because as something outside the mechanical system--which cannot be tamed, which cannot be medicated, truly, which exists as a strange and unwelcome animal in our perfect world--it is a reminder of everything we have lost: the love, the intimacy, the shared moments free of guilt and time, the joy, the dancing, the spontaneity, the goodness.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Trump Pinatas

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/12/video-kids-scream-i-want-to-kill-him-while-battering-trump-pinata-in-portland-oregon/

I want to underscore that I spend far too much time reading both the news, and history, and when I make generalized statements, they come from a place both of considerable erudition, and countless thousands of hours examining my own heart, and my own psyche.

When I say that the Left is hate, and that what remains of open, honest hate is on the Left, I speak clinically.  I speak based on observation of actual events which, as here, leave photographic and narrative evidence.

The Left, as I say often, does not see it this way.  They are deluded.  I will speak plainly.  Even those who do not allow the fear and anger in their hearts to lead to on-going hatred, fail to oppose and often take the part of those who do.

No emotion goes away when you lie about it.  You can't simply say: "I'm not going to judge anyone any more" and expect some critical faculty hard-wired into you over millions of years to stop operating.

What happens is you start saying to your conscious mind that you are now a good person who judges no one, and you simultaneously hand a package over to your shadow self telling it to start finding reasons to continue judging, to continue hating, and ideally to do so  in ways which the conscious mind can rationalize as virtuous.

How did the Communists kill a hundred million people in the name of progress, human rights, democracy, and justice?  Lies, exactly like that.

Once you have made virtues abstract, once you have denuded them of true human feeling, true compassion, true empathy, true connection, then everything is possible.

I see no emotive difference between radical Islamists, who cut the heads off of children, and Communists, who force the parents of those children to eat them in artificial famines.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Idea

How about if we don't ban all Muslims, just the ones who think gay marriage is wrong?

The Flash and Duality Cycles

I added superspeed to my list of dream superpowers last night.  That was kind of interesting.  I was already telekinetic, able to fly, and able to walk through solid objects. I can of course control my dreams when I want to, but any more I just let them go.  They are trying to tell me something, and consciously directing them prevents the flow of information, which I need, even if it is painful.  I know, even in the dreams, that the pain is illusory. I am sometimes trying to interpret the dreams even as they happen, which is likely something I need to stop.

Anyway, some things that came out that I can't tell if they are deep or not.  I'm going to post them anyway.

1) Even with super-speed, you cannot recall words once you have spoken them.  Choose carefully.

2) Take the initials of your first and last name and make opposites using words starting with those letters.  For John I get Joy and jumpiness.  Now make a circle with them.  You alternate between them.  Sometimes you are joyous, sometimes nervous.

Now contemplate that this distinction is artificial, and that neither ever exists in pure form, and that by using words, you have already limited your experience.

Smith: Sonorous and Succinct. Are these opposites?  Well, I just made them opposites.  I alternate between pleasing, languid, flowing words, and terseness and a laconic spirit.  I make a circle, and move through both.  I choose to value being Sonorous, and regret lapsing into succinctness.  I speak and speak and speak and Oh how wonderful the words I have to say.

And some part of me says "fuck this."

There is something interesting in this perceptual process.  There are countless tools for learning, and this seems to be one useful for subverting the tendency of mind to think dualistically. Maybe.


Populism

"Populism",when used by people who have columns, is a code-word for "stupid white people".  As such, it is a signification for people that person does not know, does not interact socially with, and does not understand.

That will not of course prevent such people, from the mainstream of either party, from presuming to speak on these people's behalf, and not caring when their policies fail.  As I said, they don't understand or know these people.  Why should their sufferings matter to them?

Me, I am educated.  I am intelligent.  And I support Trump for reasons I have articulated. Am I certain he will excel?  No. Am I certain he will make decisions based on a gut level love of this country?  Yes.  And as I have said, that is more than we can expect from anyone else running for office.

We have heard good stories before, but if you are not willing to go where no one else will go in election season, how much less will you be willing to rock the boat once you get into office, decide you like it, and want to be reelected?

In American history, the only person who can relatively make George W. Bush look frugal by comparison is Barack Obama. Bush had a Republican Congress for 6 of his 8 years, and he not only spent like a Democrat, he spent like a drunk Democrat.  As I was reminded by a meme recently, the drunk sailor analogy is inapt, because sailors only spend their own money, and I will add that they do not expect to get anything for it.  Politicians who spend our money expect to buy the support of a large section of us with it, thinking, accurately in most cases, that we are too fucking stupid to see the long term consequences of it.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mickey's Big Mouth, Taco Bell, and the silence of Buddhism

So I'm in Eastern Tennessee somewhere, and they card everybody everywhere who wants to buy alcohol.  If you landed on D-Day and can prove it, they still want ID.

And I went to the grocery store--I forget the chain--and I looked at a parking lot full of empty spaces, and wondered how many were filled with Fundamentalist Christians who feel drinking is wrong.

I was annoyed at the stupidity of carding gray haired people--or me--and wondering if it might have roots in the fundamental antipathy of Christians to the means we heathens use to calm down and relax.  With no good means to reach a conclusion, that is my operative hypothesis.

So I'm sitting there in the lot thinking that a lot of the people I have defended--Christians--really are assholes.  I say this as someone raised as one, who knows well how they think, and how they interpret the Bible.
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And I'm sitting there, thinking:shit, I like to argue.  Then I'm sitting there thinking, shit, judging other people is hard work.  I have judged the judgers, and judged those who judge them.

And I think: simple split: consumer society/thoughtful society.  I of course am a thinker, and they of course are not.

Then: fuck.

Growth as a spiritual  being is expansion.  It is increased clarity of spirit, getting rid of all the clouds in your Ku, your being in space.

Every time I say I am this or that, I simultaneously say I am not that or this.  I bring a wall into the universe as I see it.  Oh, I go up to there, but then I stop.  It's likely fucking dragons on the other side.

So I made the only logical conclusions I could, which were to buy a six pack of Mickey's Big Mouth, which I got carded for, and then went and had a bean burrito, and some meaty something at Taco Bell.

And I'm in Taco Bell, thinking oh I am so superior to these people, but I really do like some of those hot sauce packs, and then: goddamn it, if I am here, and they are there, I have deluded myself again.  I fucking fell off the path of non-duality.

Spirituality is quiet, I think.  It is not having thoughts pushing in on you saying accept this and reject that.  You maybe feel reactions, but the world is not forcing itself on you, forcing you to swing one way then the other, forcing you to choose one way of being or the other, relative to freedom, which is the only honest, only good way to be.

And I think: how can there be words to express non-duality?  There can't, of course.  Then I think: why is there so fucking much Buddhist "theology"/philosophy/words spilled on Dharma and related concepts?

And it seems to me that non-duality is a state you phase in to, and phase out of.  You can go there, but not live there, not stay there.  You visit, and it is a vacation from the troubles of life.  Enough is as good as a feast.

What the Dharma does, ideally, and I am not blind to the fact that much of Buddhism is corrupted by tradition and habit, is create a space in which what is valuable, is in fact valued, is in fact sought, is in fact made an ideal, and that ideal placed within a space where every intellect can find itself amused and occupied.

Perhaps self evidently, I drank all six Mickey's, while watching 2 Person of Interest episodes.  I kind of like that show.

I will add, though, that this sort of drinking is foreign to me.  A six pack of beer is not even remotelyi close enough to get me drunk. By and large, I can't get drunk on beer period.  It doesn't take affect fast enough.

So this is a new phase.  A little something is enough.  I don't have to kill my pain with alcohol.  I am increasingly able to access, and watch blow out in billows of smoke the rage within me while I do my Kum Nye.  This energy is so thick it is almost tangible.  I can almost see it.  I can certainly feel it strongly.  I feel my so-called Third Eye when it activates. I feel energy fields flowing out of my body.  I feel this Nye, as they call it, activate, and start to move energy within me.

Good things are happening.  I am getting more and more moments of absolute pleasure in existence.  This has long been the goal.  When I can conjure them often and sustain them, then I will be useful.

Tolerance

If I tell you a story about Zelda, who is different, do you agree that different is bad, and that regardless of how she is different, Zelda should be shamed until she conforms with those around her?

Or do you think that hating the different is only what Conservatives do?

Do you think that different is good, and that we should encourage Zelda in her individuality?  Is this what Liberals do?

What if I tell you that Zelda is a highly artistic Christian conservative going to school in San Francisco, where she is hated by nearly everyone?  Is different still good, or does she need to be a boy who wants to pretend he doesn't have a penis?  Or black?  Or someone who wears a tutu, because we can reliably infer the politics of those who wear tutu's to school?

It seems to me most leftists really are so deep into propagandistic indoctrination that they can't see it.  They can't see that calling Donald Trump a Hitler, or Fascist, or racist, or whatever, neither  accurately represents his position, nor creates the space for creative and integrative dialogue.  What it creates the space for is Hate Campaigns, for emotional  and perhaps physical violence.  What it creates the space for is Integration Propaganda aimed at solidifying the attachment of the propaganda targets to those who create the propaganda.

If you want good zombies, call all your enemies Fascists, and watch them bounce like bugs.

Donald Trump, the children who called "racist", and the cult of niceness

I have to say, I am really enjoying how much the Donald is pissing off the professionally pissed off.  Their experience is that when they say they are pissed off, this threat of being offended in public is enough to get people to understand the bullying implied by this threat, and back off.

Most people don't want to seem ungenteel, even when speaking obvious truths, even when those who are offended are being something between hypersensitive and overtly manipulative, and even when the people opposing them see no need on their part for reciprocal courtesy, decency, fairness, or proportioned language.  They are free to call their opponents every name in the book, and if they respond in kind, OH THE HUMANITY.

Fuck all that, says Donald.

Here is the thing: all the people who have been called racist for the past eternity that this asshole has been President are PISSED OFF.  They KNOW they are not racist.  They know they are being unfairly slimed.  They know that the people saying these things hate them not for what they stand for, but simply because they are not part of the Borg yet.  They have not assimilated.  They retain the capacity for speaking truths which are not mediated by the complicit media.  This is unacceptable.

But you can only lie  to and about people so long before they get what I will call shame fatigue.  You just stop giving a shit.  In fact, anybody who can piss off the people who have been insulting your character, your intelligence, your ancestry, your  motivations, and your very existence, get a lot of points for that.  The Left has long assumed that even in a free society they can browbeat people into submission indefinitely.  Donald Trump is proving that is not true.

He can and should win the Republican nomination, and I think he can and should win the national election, particularly against Hillary.  I think all sane people understand that the ideas he is proposing, even if they may not agree with them in full, make sense.

I read roughly 25% of American Muslims support Jihad.  I read roughly one in four Syrians support Jihad.  And by jihad, I mean "killing American civilians", just like the most recent jihadis did.

If we knew that within a given group one in four supported serial murder, and aspired to commit it, in what respect would it be anything but prudent to either stop offering guest rooms to those people, or at least ask for references?

No group in American history has had the demonstrated history of aggressive and completely unprovoked aggression against civilians that Islam does.  None.  I am not aware of one, ever.  You pick an immigrant group: Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Irish, Indians (Hindus), etc.  None of them have anything like Jihad.

And what is astonishing is that ISIS is SAYING that they not only want to commit acts of jihad, but saying they are planting their people in the refugees.

There are plenty of real refugees, plenty of people who can benefit from, and should be relocated here.  The Yazidis and Christians in Syria, for example, face a genuine holocaust.  But Obama, for reasons that have to do with him being a complete fucking asshole, has only let in one Christian in the past year.  I have no objection to 100,000 immigrants, but why not start with groups who do not contain large numbers of people who have sworn to kill us simply because we exist?

I  am reminded of Russell Peters excellent piece on why white people should beat their children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv-0Uil9Oao

I have the Ryan story in mind, which starts about 3:30.

I think most Americans really do not understand how different some cultures are in how they raise their children, and how those practices affect adult understandings.

In America--and in most of what might be called the intellectually bleached West--we have this compulsive need for niceness.  If we are nice and someone is not nice back, we have this codependent need to find out why.  Sometimes the why is that they are assholes.  Sometimes the why is that they hate us not for anything we have done, but simply because we are different, and they are radically intolerant.

I have said before that before I would even think about considering a Muslim a moderate, he or she would have be able to honestly answer yes to the following three questions:

1) do you accept the right of Israel to continue to exist as a Jewish nation?

2) Do you reject all use of terror and violence to further the cause of Islam?

3) Do you accept in principle and forever the primacy of the United States Constitution as the ultimate law of the land?

Returning to Ryan, we have Muslims more or less telling us to go fuck ourselves to our faces, and we somehow want to rationalize it.  For their part, they know if they tried that in their native lands, they would be arrested, tortured, and/or killed.  Here, they get to sing their sad songs to a largely sympathetic audience, which is temperamentally not capable of understanding people who hate as a matter of principle, as a matter of ideology, as a matter of culture.

We have gotten almost no help from Muslims since 9/11 http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/12/07/fmr-fbi-counterterrorism-agent-weve-received-nearly-zero-help-from-u-s-muslim-community-since-911/

Why would we, when their Holy Book condemns those who fail to condemn us?

We live in a Never Never Land, where adults who should know better allow people to insult them to their faces, to tell them they hate them and plan to kill them, and who STILL accept them for the insipid and imbecilic reason that they simply can't believe them.

You know who said in advance everything he was going to do?  Hitler.

And speaking of those who want to compare Trump to Hitler, I wonder how many of those people are concerned about the plight of Jews in Europe?  Hitler hated Jews, and so do Muslims, who kill them every chance they get.  This is fact, not fancy.

And what was most shocking to the Jews in the Holocaust was that they had done everything in their power to get along with Europeans.  They worked hard, they kept their noses clean, the accepted restrictions on their employment and movements.

This is completely different with Muslims.  No large group has been better positioned since the Communists of the 1930's to completely overwhelm our way of life through subversion within.  As I keep repeating, because it is astonishing to me that it, manifestly, NEEDS repeating: they are TELLING us they hate us.  Not all of them, but large numbers, and the apologies of those who want to claim terror is against Islam are very hard to believe when virtually all of them support Hamas' violence against Israel, all of it directed against civilians, up to and including babies who have had their throats slit.

There is no more effective way to tell the lunatics and assholes to go fuck themselves than to support Donald Trump.  He is not calling for concentration camps, the vitiation of American law, or anything but commonsense responses to incipient and preventable crimes.  All but the most deluded understand this.  This is why I believe that if he is not assassinated--my major fear in this regard--he will and should be our next President.

Something has to give.  Something has to change in major way.  Business as usual is destroying this nation.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Zombie Vaccine, further thought

You know, this is a really good metaphor for addiction.  Who are you when you are fucked up on booze and drugs?

You are not "you".  You inhabit a body, but your mouth does not form words, your mind does not think coherent thoughts.  You are not there.  You are a zombie, all primitive impulse.

And of course addicts willingly drink from the River Lethe.  Something is bouncing around them that stops for a time when they drink that water, that both anesthetizes their minds, detaches them from reality, and makes the pain fade away.

But they are zombies.  If you wake them from a comatose sleep, they are of no use to anyone.

For myself, my abuse of alcohol is slowly fading.  I am going more and more days not just not drinking, but not wanting it, and more and more days drinking a little, but not a lot.

I don't want to be a zombie.  I want to be there for my life.

That pain was very real.  I understand it intimately.  It is hard to communicate the gut level nausea and unreality that attends connecting with an energy in which a caregiver willfully hurt you.  That is not supposed to happen.  But of course it does, regrettably often.

And we the wreckage are left to learn.  This is painful, but also beautiful.

The Zombie vaccine and the future of humanity

Progress continues to be made, even if I am still externalizing some of it here.  I can type vastly faster than I can write, and if I"m going to type anyway, may as well post it here.  What the fuck.

So I was dreaming last night I walked into a sort of clinic and they were giving out a zombie vaccine.  This vaccine required a shot in the stomach and one in the arm, and then you would turn into a zombie.  This was understood at the outset.

I asked them if the effect was temporary, and they said no, it's permanent.

And I asked them what it did, and they looked at each other a bit uncomfortably, as if that question was so stupid they weren't sure how to answer it.

And I got it.  They shot me in the stomach in the same way you would a victim of rabies, but this was supposed to, more or less, CAUSE rabies.

I remembered this dream in my meditation this morning, and asked myself what it was all about.  Am I regressing?  Has my ability to say no somehow eroded?  Am I becoming a conformist, or giving up?

And it hit me that I took that shot many, many years ago.  I feel I had some sense of possibility up to about age 7, then it was all taken from me and existence became a quest for survival, one bought at the cost of conformity to generalized lunacy.

And it occurred to me growth requires remembering and seeing the cages you have lived in, grown accustomed to, accepted.  I have accepted cages. I do not want to admit it.  I don't want to have to say that I gave in, that I accepted defeat, that I quit and embraced my captors.  But what else can you do as a child? The proposition made in my family was submit or die. I am still here, and some part of me likely believes that submission is necessary for survival.  Obviously, my rational mind, and my protective selves do not.

And then it occurred to me without exception all adult humans have accepted cages as the cost of maturing.  They have internalized artificial barriers, creating emotional "no go" places, and consequently, that all human beings on Earth would benefit from sustained and focused and methodical inner work. Not just the misfits.  Not just those of us with symptoms.

You can see the person having vigorous conversations with themselves in People's Park in Berkeley and call those presenting symptoms.

But can the perceptive also not see the countless negative hallucinations which constitute mass delusion?  Can we not see the dialogues which SHOULD happen, but do not?

We cannot have universal peace until we have universal mental health, and we cannot have that until all people are willing to learn who they are, accept themselves, and become able to relax on a very deep level with grace and ease.

There are certainly signs that people in some ways have become more introspective, but it seems to me most on all sides of the political spectrum where most people live have little to say about the propagandas of efficiency, of pursuing happiness, of membership in an anomizing industrial and post-industrial order.

With regard to happiness, it occurred to me yesterday that natural life includes periodicity.  You cannot be happy all the time, but if you allow it, it will come regularly, like a wheel.  Only when you make an end of it, only when you pin it down and demand it fly, will it stop coming.

Happiness is something we are supposed to be able to produce, like Fig Newtons, and #2 pencils. And in an industrial economy, the answer to a consumer need is a manufactured product.  We have a Happiness Industry.

But I get the sense that most of the smiling faces at these retreats, most of the people who write the books, are acting.  They are playing a role.  They assume that because they did all the happy things they must be happy.  Certainly, they want to SEEM happy.  And we see these people who have visited, say, a castle in Armenia, and posted pictures, and think WOW, IF ONLY. . . .

I am certainly not well traveled, but I've spent time in many of the major cities in America, lived for at least months of time several times in Europe, and am even now often on the road seeing new things.   And my experience has been that no travel ever brings me more satisfaction than my daily Kum Nye session.  That is where the movement that matters happens, for me.

It is possible to imagine an emotionally organic order. It is possible to imagine a world where everyone takes the task of self knowledge and growth seriously.  We are merely opposed by ghouls who do not know that they took the zombie vaccine long ago, and see their incoherent and unprincipled rants as the essence of reason, the summit of virtue, the purity of truth.  Up is so often down that few seem willing to question it.

I am and hope to remain one of those few.  I will carry on with my project even if I get no more votes.