I would like to posit that Spirituality is nothing more or less than mental health attuned both to this world and the next. Mental health and moral growth are the same thing in my world, and moral growth at some point is best described as spiritual growth. Morality is just the foundation, the beginnings, the parameters and rules of a game which needs to be transcended. It is rules for children, until they can see with their own eyes, and feel honestly with their own hearts.
As a system for rejecting individual moral growth, Socialism is therefore counter-Spiritual. It contains and diminishes souls. It does not exalt and expand them. Indeed, most Socialists are overt atheists. This is why they are Socialists in the first place: their meaning-makers are broken.
Now, I have many friends who I am very fond of who no doubt more or less conflate leftist economic policies with generosity of spirit and compassionate intercession. They feel that the people who want to feed and clothe and shelter the poor are intrinsically good for this reason alone.
In this regard, it is worth separating actual generosity from Socialism. Socialism is a moral philosophy based upon egalitarianism, whose first premise is that no people are better than any others, and whose necessary first correlate is that only societies can be good: individuals cannot, and the creed named for them is intrinsically to be rejected as selfish in a formal sense: it retains notions of self apart from its relation to the State.
The ESSENCE of the teaching of Christ, among others, is that people are different. They make different decisions, follow different paths. All the deep spiritual teachers taught that some paths are better than others, that the people who follow them become better than others--not in the sense that they increase their right to demand obedience or wealth from others, but on the contrary that such things become less important to them as they develop personal--intrinsically individual--relations with Spirit, or Dharma, or Christ, or God, or the Tao, or whatever words you want to use to describe the indescribable.
It is categorically good to feed the poor and provide them with the opportunities to better themselves. But that is not the task the modern Democrats have set themselves. They decided long ago that actual economic outcomes are far less important than political outcomes. It has been obvious for some time that what poor kids need are two parents, but that does not fit the socialist meme that all people--and implicitly all family forms--are instrinsically equal. So what do they do? Paper over their failures with indefensible excuses, hatred for anyone who still fails to agree with them, and on-going promises they still cannot keep, and which they never will be able to keep.
It is position that annoys people, but to my mind there can be no doubt that Christ would be a socially liberal but politically conservative Republican. He would feel deep compassion not just for the poor--and by the standards of his day, our poor are very rich--but much more for the people who are lost, who are despairing of God, of meaning, of hope for something better; who despair they will never be loved, understood, cared for, integrated into something meaningful and large.
He would love gays equally as straights, but I think he would ask the same questions I am asking: where is the mutual consideration? Where the mutual respect? Where the concern for the feelings and sensibilities of those who are profoundly torn and disturbed by being compelled by force of law to betray--as they see it--the very reason they have for living, the very purpose of their life, by people who have only inferior ideas and practices to suggest in its stead?
Where is all this going? Much is being taken away, but very little given. We are told what we cannot do, but no one is spending much time thinking about what we can do that is worth doing. Hedonism is a vacuous philosophy. People need to make sense of death, and need to know how the universe works so as to feel they are doing useful work while alive. Leftism cannot provide this.
People need challenges. They need hard work. War has often provided this, but so too do the radicals. This is one of the main methods of Communists: to demand not little of their accolytes, but an excessive amount. It provides what people need, and pulls them even closer to the cause, since everyone is naturally more fond of anything they have given much to.
Thoreau once wrote "it need not be long, but it takes so very long to make it short." When I repeat myself, as I clearly do, it is in a process of trying to take complex ideas and reducing them to their smallest irreducible, but still faithful to my concept, selves. I think that sentence makes sense. Little bits which mean something.
Socialism, then, is a creed which inherently rejects individual moral growth. Rather than uplifting it, it replaces it. It is necessarily, then, an assault on the individual ego, sense of agency and choice in matters of importance, and an agent of infantilism, learned helplessness, and ultimately of despair. These facts are clothed over by two current processes: the sense of mission in implementing Socialism, with no capacity for reflecting on what that means; and pervasive distraction.
If all electronics crashed tomorrow, I think half of America would lapse instantly into overt mental illness. Erich Fromm said this of newspapers half a century ago. But nobody, then, read their papers all day and into the night.
My thought is: who has anything worth saying anymore? What can people discuss? Other people--who themselves have nothing interesting to say--or current cultural productions of very questionable ultimate value.
But this sort of thing meets a very real need of CONSTANT CONTACT, constant reconciliation. If you don't know who you are, if all inner direction has been eradicated through effective long term social propaganda and imbecilic lack of skill in structured thought on the part of our alleged thought leaders, then you MUST "refresh" yourself constantly. You must be told all day every day that you exist, that this person with your name is in fact known to others. Your thoughts are not your own. Your actions are not your own. But every time you ping the world, something comes back, so there must be something or someone they are responding to.
I am not sanguine about the future. I wish I could be. I wish I could be all sunshine and rainbows. But I have spent most of my life depressed, and the one clear positive of this is that it improves reality testing (although one could of course dispute that this is a positive here).
We all must do our work. Doing work without a reasonable hope of success is harder. But I have always persevered, and I always will, and history--while filled with preventable and idiotic tragedy--does also furnish occasional examples of triumphs against all odds, and a rebirth of good things via good people.
It seems to me the two basic approaches to life are those of aggregation and transformation. The first consists in collecting objects and experiences, which can and often does include the experience of power, but could also include travel and the gratification of varied interests.
The latter consists in a focus on inner reality, and where and how that reality meets the external world, and continually working to refine it so as to have transformative, paradigmatic, qualitative experiences, ones which do not add to previous experiences, but supplant them.
I would submit that both Consumerism and Socialism are variants of the first objective, where Socialism is preoccupied not with adding things or experiences, but in theory with deducting them, with eliminating the possibility of negative experiences of racism, sexism, greed, and inequality. It is assumed that purely by deducting the alleged negatives, happiness will blossom. In the long term, and particularly where the alleged grievances were not actually that severe, this is very rarely the case.
I thought this thoughtful. Anyone who has watched this non-debate must, regardless of their views on the actual topic, be impressed and discomfited by the sheer weight of conformist violence which has been levied against anyone still articulating views which were commonplace 10 years ago.
And we must wonder where this abstract war against the very real existence of penises and vaginas is leading. As I have asked repeatedly: what virtue inheres in denigrating the obvious fact that women and men differ in their biology and social expressions, even if the range of possibilities on both sides is wide?
It is my view that we are born wired with a "difference maker", a tribal instinct. And this instinct, far from being extinguished in egalitarian projects, is in fact inflamed and made all the more vicious for its very intellectual and moral vacuousness.
Leftism results in extreme violence precisely BECAUSE of the intellectual sophistry underlying its claims. People become MORE violent the weaker their claims to injustice.
One must always, in the end at least, and preferably in the beginning, ask what the purpose is. What is the purpose of life? Where do we want to go as a nation, and as a people?
I would argue that the real oppression of gays is not the existence of laws regulating the words they can use to describe their relationships, but rather in their very existence in a society which has renounced the use of reason, capitulated in its quest to find enduring meaning in life, and all but abandoned the conforming masses to the beliefs that human souls are a fantasy, that human life ends in biological decay, and that all our work means nothing.
As I have often said, the colors of autumn signal not new life, but new decay, and all the supposed efflorescence of this new reality--that of using the Bill of Rights to confer a right which appears nowhere within it--is in fact a signal of cultural loss and decline.
As has become customary for those seeking to avoid the censure of the reflexive, I will admit candidly I don't care whether or not gays can marry, because it doesn't affect me. Every gay within ten miles of me could be married and I wouldn't know it. It is the larger realities which alone concern me. It is the tone, and the lack of intellectual principle--of genuine Liberality--which concerns me.
And at the end of the day, I think my principal concern even with gays is that this whole project is making it HARDER to answer the question "who am I"?, not easier. If everyone and everything is equal to everyone and everything else, the loss of the ego is assured. As they say implicitly in this interesting article, it is in important respects better to be "oppressed" that fully integrated: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/scotus-same-sex-marriage-gay-culture.html?_r=0
What I want more than anything is a return to--or first general use of, depending on your reading of history--the use of negotiation to resolve difference. There is a profound difference between eradicating alterity, and accepting it. The first is the egalitarian impulse, and it leads to existential angst and unhappiness. The latter is the basis of genuine Liberalism and the persistence of meaning.
I took a brief hiatus there because I had to see a man about a horse, but I'm back. My brain has of course been percolating, and I will allow it fuller expression tomorrow, but for now I wanted to submit that my emerging conviction is that fearlessness and spirituality are more or less synonymous--at least the proper beginning of spirituality, which is a word I have used only rarely as abused, misused, and largely denuded of the capacity for conveying any important truths.
Constant vigilance is not fearlessness. Constant preparedness is not fearlessness. What is needed is to step into the ether, and stay there as well as you can, floating on whatever emerges to meet you. This is the path forward.
As I mention from time to time, I have some interesting nights. Last night was quite useful. I will often wake up babbling nonsense words, but I had this interesting vision: a set of boxes that contained different experiences. I opened them. In one of them, I was happy, laughing, babbling, and then BAM I took this major shot in my solar plexus. I think biologically, archeologically, this is what happened. I was punched as a baby.
Then I was given a clear message: a feeling of happy verbalizing, the punch, then shaking. It was literally a phased message in body code, as crystal clear as it could be. Words that were better than words, because it included the demonstration of "that".
This is a great thing. I think having pulled that out, it will take my solar plexus out of the loop in terms of generating tension.
And I feel pride in having pulled a Houdini. Born to narcissistic parents, traumatized before I could walk, hit regularly from age 1 to 4, moved around regularly--preventing the formation of stable, long term friendships--and disconnected from regular contact with any family: I am still growing. Fuck the odds. I am still alive.
And after this I had all sorts of paranoid dreams. An omnipotent security state tracking down the last remnants of humanity. Dreams of course can have multiple levels. For me, of course, what I was seeing represented was my fear, the fear soup I have lived in all these years, of being chased and pursued. Actually, another one of the boxes contained me crawling, desperate to escape, and being unable to, since of course I was just a small baby.
But we of course do need to fear this. There are, in my view, a considerable number of well organized and well funded people who want to build a planetary government, which will be run by emotionally immature people with crap ethical systems, no empathy, and no true long term vision other than universalization of control. They want to rule the world because they can't figure out how to live actually useful lives.
In my case, fear is disappearing outright. It is simply dropping away. I will resist these people--and try to talk to them, through this blog--by pointing out better way, more human ways, less evil ways, of building a global civilization. This is what we want: civilization. Culture. Global government is merely a system of control. Laws exist where men are bad. We should want less laws, not more, because men (and of course women) are growing steadily morally. No plan exists among the globalists, that I can see, to do more than indoctrinate kids in egalitarianism, where radical environmentalism adds the postulate that we are all equal to the earth, and it us. Socialism as mass death, despite the scientific feasibility of continuing with the present population, and letting it naturally decline as standards of living get higher.
This is the fundamental challenge I am negotiating at the moment. My history is to view the world as a hostile place, and all action to start from the presumption of resistance. This of course creates problems that did not exist, and more than anything, it is tiring. The amygdala can only take so much fight or flight activation. Practically, every time you activate it, you will need a recovery period.
The alternative is what I once called the Turtle Approach, which is to nurture, to feed, to shine light on, all the things I want, and do it daily, and for a long period of time. Never take anything to the limit, but always show up. Be consistent. And most importantly, enjoy the process of nurturing. Enjoy the current, very small result, and look forward to the long term result, but not too much. If you take enough care in the now, the future will take care of itself.
And one of the things I am thinking is that for people who like to fight, there is no end. You can win every contest across a lifetime, and not run out of opponents. Musashi was never defeated (actually, I think he was once, by a bo practitioner), but I wonder how well he slept at night.
The way I think it works is fights come to you. And if you build every day, when they come, you will be ready. And if they don't come, you have not wasted your time in useless tension.
We all die. It is not a great failure if your sin is taking a walk in the park rather than fortifying your windows. To fear greatly, is to live poorly.
This has been one of my issues: I don't want to die stupidly. I have not wanted to fail to investigate that weird noise. I have wanted my perceptions to be perfect. Let nothing happen to me or my loved ones simply because I was not paranoid enough, not prepared enough.
But you can live a life looking constantly over your shoulder, worried about everything. This is not living. This is not confronting the inevitability of death directly. This is not confronting the EVITABILTY of living directly.
I read a warrior is prepared for everything. This may well be true. If so, I do not want to be a warrior. I want to be a simple man, perhaps a foolish man, but a free one: free from fear, and free to live openly with confidence, courage, and optimism. Let them take me when they will: I surrender to fate, and what will be.
As I mention from time to time, I find it an interesting practice to draw a weekly and annual Tarot card. I don't know if I believe in it, but it really doesn't matter. It's interesting. It acts like a Rorschach or a filter, allowing you to focus on one aspect of your life. Imagine if you took a series of lens and looked the world, to see what colors it elicited: a green lens, a purple lens, a pink lens.
Or imagine using essential oils to pull out latent aromas in food, cigars and wine? What if you drank cherry wine while diffusing cherry essential oil (or something complimentary)? I may actually need to try that. Kijafa is quite good.
But of course I meant to say something else entirely. Here is the thing about Tarot: ALL the cards are good. There are no bad cards. There are no cards that are gloom and doom. I have pulled the Death card. I have pulled a card where a dead body lies bleeding, pierced by many swords.
Living is transforming. Not transforming, not changing, is mere existence. It is dull, and not at all the point of life. To transform, parts of you must die. You must leave things and people and ideas and old emotions behind. You must live light.
So all the cards, essentially, are either amplifications, or indications something is falling away. Either something bad is ending, or something good is beginning or getting stronger.
You cannot do better for a philosophy of life than by assuming you can handle everything Life throws at you and make good of it somehow. Tarot, to me, embodies this.
Edit: I will share a dream I had a few weeks ago. I was in a many wheeled off-road vehicle with my kids, and everything was falling apart. I wound up driving on a series of telephone poles many feet off the ground, all of which were collapsing as I was driving, but I stayed the course. I kept above it all, in a constant dance of power and balance, and in the dream I thought to myself "This engine is damn strong.". It all ended well. We covered the contested ground.
There's a meme floating around that goes something like: "when a man says he'll do something, he'll do it. No need to remind him every six months."
What stands in the way of gradualism for most of us? Is it not fear? That little project is not something you've done before, and you're not sure you can do it, so you distract yourself. You look at other things. That project disappears through a process of negative hallucination.
But that project represents your unprocessed Shadow. It is by no means inconsequential, especially if its something that could be done in a few hours.
I think we could view the sum of our chosen Delays as the sum of our external Shadows. Each of them needs a ray of daylight. It needs to get done: and not hastily, sloppily. It needs to get done with affection and tenderness, and friendship.
What you offer the world is what you offer yourself. Therefore, what you offer yourself can be seen all around you.
Look around you. I would encourage you to make decisions, if they are needed. Do some one little thing, now.
It is one thing to live in a cave; and another to scamper out, tag a tree, and make it back alive.
I did that today: I replaced two toilet paper holders. Holy shit, you say, how fucking lame is that? Are you kidding me? Who says that kind of crap?
I do. I was squeezed into a tiny little space long ago, and crushed. For many years I have spent hours each day on the internet, and next to no time cleaning or organizing. I have a good art collection on my walls, but beyond that, I have barely done anything.
The internet, I see, is one way I avoid life. Drinking is another. Intellectualizing is another. For many people this role is played by watching TV or playing video games.
Nobody really wants to be alone with themselves when they have a lot to deal with. But before TV, you had a lot less distractions. It was far less easy to escape, which meant that most people on some level had to come to grips with life and living. Now, it can be postponed indefinitely. If you get an Information Age job, you never, anywhere, have to encounter messy emotions. You can push them out there, and act childishly your whole life. The only reckoning is death itself.
And what I am realizing is that life can be really good when you touch it, shake its hand, make friends with it. There are so many fun things you can do. Every day can be FILLED with accomplishments, each of which you can take pleasure in. You cooked a meal: pride. You organized everything: pride. You worked out: pride.
And all of these things put together do in fact equal considerable actual, real accomplishment over time. They are how you get "switched on".
I think that was John Wooden's great secret: he derived pleasure from every exertion of every day. Every movement he made in the direction of perfection filled him with joy, and even at times elation. He was happy in every practice, and every game, and in PREPARING for the practice and the game, all by himself, often.
My current Kum Nye level has me looking for joy. They say it is sometimes hidden at the bottom corner of your experience, or partially hidden behind a veil. It is a blinking light you only slowly become aware of. It is a faint melody or scent, almost too ephemeral and ethereal to catch, but which leaves a stronger impression for it. It was there, dammit, I know it was there.
I have reached a point where I look at people differently, or at least I have. I was driving down my main drag two or three days ago--a pleasant series of shops and trendy bars--and realizing that before I saw how everyone was suffering. Now, I see that I actually may be in a position soon to help them do something about it. It is not an innate human condition: it is a potentially temporary condition, brought on by ignorance. There are tools and methods and ideas which can alter states at a fundamental, deep level, and do so permanently.
This, I think, is the essence of the Buddha's insight. He saw pain, but he also saw a way out.
If you think about it, Quantitative Easing is actually a negative interest rate. How do you get interest rates below zero? You give money away.
Our nation is heavily indebted at all levels. Our children start adulthood heavily indebted for school, and continue the process all their lives, most of them. Our State and local and National governments: all heavily in debt.
Short of something like my proposal, we really have no means of absorbing and recovering from a major economic shock. The Fed can't do it. The national government can't do it.
And in large measure, WE can't do it. We owe too many people too much money. It makes you clumsy, slow, unwieldy, inflexible. When you have a large monthly nut you have to cover, then you can't invest, and you have no savings. Most Americans have no savings.
It continues to baffle me how the criminality of our system is not the subject of widespread outrage, at least among those who, in theory, ought to be able to render intelligent opinions on the topic. Why am I the only one (as far as I know, and of course this is a large world with many voices) proposing the obvious?
Helpfully, I have had some major technical problems lately. I bought a new iPhone, for example, and it took a good six hours of work to get it to synchronize (I said a while back I wouldn't buy another Apple product, but eventually reached the conclusion that there really are no good guys in high tech, and I may as well use something that tends to work more than to not work. Music is important to me.)
As I was wrestling with this and a couple other unanticipated problems, it occurred to me that there is machine time, and non-machine time. There is interacting abstractly with an abstract environment, which is what I am doing here. And there is sitting at my kitchen table, working on a model, or practicing Tai Chi, or finally putting up new toilet paper holders and fixing the coat rack. They feel different. Here, I am more comfortable, but I think precisely because it takes me out of ordinary time.
My Lumosity scores have been going down the past few days, and I am realizing it is because I am living less in my head. This is a good thing.
I was reading comments on an article at Blue Nation Review--doesn't matter the one---and they were uniformly ignorant and self righteous, like always. I started to do my thing, to put together a coherent counter-argument, to state the facts they were assiduously ignoring, to say the things their groupthink was evolving out of their consciousness as possibilities, and then it hit me: stupid people are stupid because they can't imagine any other way to be. They cannot imagine anything else they could believe.
And they are very happy, having reached simple and clear certainties they never have to question. Why would they look outside their circle for anything?
And by telling them they are stupid, I can only be attacking them as people, even if I justify my claims with enormous efforts at facts and reason. None of that matters. Logically, if there is only one possibility, and someone disagrees with it, then they are haters. And there is no reason to listen to haters.
I often fear for the future obviously. It is frustrating to me to see such--to my way of thinking, which I can justify at length, and which I have often exposed to criticism--idiotic and dangerous ideas proposed so often and so enthusiastically.
There is no reason 90% of the stores on Main Street might not be shuttered in 10 years if nothing changes.
There is no reason this nation, from coast to coast, might not be filled with the sighs of the hopeless and the dispirited, helpless in the face of an omnipotent government which alone provides salvation.
Everything is in place for a crash. Fed policy cannot be made more easy, and they have been pumping $50 billion a month into the economy for most of Obama's tenure.
But as tempting as it is to feel I am doing SOMETHING in engaging with these people, the fact is I am not. I am in important ways completely helpless in the face of stubborn and proud imbecility.
It is time for me to acknowledge this fully and finally. There is no reason I can't write a book, and no reason I can't start doing presentations to people who will listen to me. There is no reason I can't continue sending emails to economists, and working on my other projects.
But I need to be realistic. I have never been. I have more to say, but will say it in the next post.
I have had a productive day, in my terms. I set up an internal process that is already bearing fruit. I will likely post on that at some point.
But I wanted to comment on PTSD. The way it works is you can only be traumatized once, no matter how many traumatic events you have in your life. That one time, that first time, causes you to create a room within yourself that is not public, that is beyond the reach of intruding emotions. It is a zone of relative safety.
But this room comes with rent. There is a psychic cost to maintaining it. And the more trauma you have, the harder and harder the beating on the door. If it ever breaks fully, then that is a psychotic breakdown. It is taking you beyond the breaking point.
Short of that, though, there is a lot of psychic energy that has to go into keeping it closed. All of this pulls energy out of your daily life. It makes you less energetic, less open emotionally, and often depressed. Fear leaks out under the door that cannot be fully ignored.
In my view, when he put that electrical cord in his mouth at age 4, he got PTSD. It gave him access to emotional dissociation, and practice in performing despite lacking some common emotions. It likely made him better as an operator, but also unable to process in any meaningful way what happened to him, which was the fatal chink in his armor.
In coming years, if we survive the efforts of the Left, the Globalists, and the Islamists to destroy everything decent in the world, we will, I think, come to realize that pre-verbal PTSD is much more common that we has supposed. In my dreams, we develop ways to identify it and treat it effectively.
The struggle I have been through could have been much shorter, but the categories I needed did not exist in any of the many dozens--likely hundreds--of books I read, or in the minds of any of the "professionals" I paid to help me.
Everyone carries marks of childhood--and not infrequently adult experience--with them. Your experience dictates how you move in space. Everyone has their own posture, or acture, as Feldenkrais called it, which is precisely those modifications your experience compelled on you from normal, relaxed, optimized movement. In point of fact, and to make a brief turn to the negative, in additional to facial recognition, the people who are foolish enough to gladly participate in using the pretext of terrorism to build a perfect authoritarian state are working on gait analysis, so that even if your face is covered or altered, how you WALK can still be identified. Hiding will become very, very difficult. I have thought about this: even if you walk differently, use molds to change your face, and wear sunglasses, the technology will evolve to where, if they can identify everyone BUT you, then you stand out for that reason alone. It is my considered view that a huge part of the value of "anti-terrorism" is that the EXACT same tools that can be used against people who are overwhelmingly not trying to attack us, can be used to build a perfect Orwellian state. There will be no escape but death.
So, with that happy thought, not entirely irrelevant, it occurs to me that we all have a mix of emotions that can best be viewed as a solution. They are dissolved in our everyday experience, and combine in ways which are constant and hard to see and define. Fear, for example, can be inferred as much by what you feel, as in what you choose not to see. Its presence can be inferred by negative hallucinations, where people fail to see what is right in front of them. Such a person may otherwise seem fear-free, but they are not.
A principle task in spiritual/emotional growth is isolating through precipitation those emotions which are not desired, which impede open and happy expression. In my case, I have found that a primal fear underlies my tendencies towards anger, depression, and anxiety, all of which spring from a common root.
In my last post, what I was describing, I realize, is a precipitate of fear. This is an unambiguously good thing, from a personal growth perspective. I have isolated and concentrated it, and I can now deal with it on its own terms. I have some terrible nights, but have noticed the past few days I have been quite calm during the day.
This whole process is as difficult as an analogous chemical reaction, but it is needed. Alchemy was held in mystical reverence for a reason.
I realized this morning that I have nightmares without the content. I taught myself to fight all evil creatures in my dreams. Nothing chases me. Nothing attacks me that I don't attack back.
But I sometimes--and last night was an example--mainline fear. It is like fear--really terror--was concentrated and injected into me. And I have all the normal reactions. I shout out, I shake. I more or less literally fell out of bed twice last night and wound up shaking on the floor. Not pleasant. And I verbalize in weird ways I won't try to describe, but this is the main feature that makes me think this is most likely PTSD, and not some other ailment, like heart trouble, or metabolic derangement, or sleep apnea. I had some particularly odd experiences last night I won't describe, but which were completely inconsistent with any of those diagnoses. It is not something I have seen described anywhere. I continue to most trust myself as my own therapist.
And you live with something long enough, you begin to show contempt for it. And its source is changing. It was in my legs, then my belly, now it is in my heart region. There is an energy of panic and being startled/terrified just floating around there, somewhat randomly. This dovetails with my current Kum Nye practice, which is oriented around releasing areas of holding. This iteration I am again working on the belly, but now the face as well, and implicitly everything in between.
I am going to need to focus on positive things for a period of time. I am going to need to focus on sleeping through the night, which will include eradicating blood sugar issues (not a big factor, but may be a factor), getting more consistent in my Kum Nye, and overall reducing for the time being the number of things I am worrying about. I worry about global events that I can little affect, and certainly not control. All that tension and anxiety adds up. It accumulates, and there is some part of me that is the perfect place to receive it.
Google Chrome has an app called StayFocused. I'm not a big fan of Google--after all, they were Obamas's biggest campaign contributor and employ Ray Kurzweil--but if I want to use only politically and economically sane technology companies, I am pretty much SOL. Anyway, I'm going to block all my political sites, and only allow 15 minutes a day on Facebook until I can sleep all night.
Edit: Stayfocused wasn't doing shit--it was not counting down on the sites I blocked--and I then realized it allows Google to track me in even finer detail than before, and they have NO way of removing it from Chrome, once installed. So I switched to Firefox, and am simply going to try and control myself.
Correction: you CAN remove this extension. I still don't like Google, but I try to tell the truth about things.
I read through the list of attendees, and I have to say, I think there is another convention somewhere else that the actual power elite are going to. The Prime Minister of Belgium? Yes, Eric Schmidt is there, and some Goldman Sachs folks, but surely any good mind would have to grant that with the secrecy gone, with more protesters showing up every year, sooner or later they would convene a separate meeting somewhere else, in actual privacy, and actual secrecy? They keep this show going, so no one is the wiser, but re-Bilderberg the Bilderberg conference.
Specifically, I'm wondering where Bill Gates is. And Jamie Dimon.
I think Jekyll Island would be quite appropriate. It has a history of secret machinations.
I just finished watching Kieslowski's Blue. It is the best treatment of the process of grief and mourning I have ever seen. It was hard to watch at times, but ultimately redemptive. I don't know who the composer was, but the music was quite beautiful.
And it occurs to me that a principal challenge I have faced is both the presence of grief, and the fact that it is linear. A typical cycle of grieving is life-death-life. I started with death.
I have done the thought-work of creating a complete world for myself, cognitively. I have developed a moral code, and comprehensive worldview. I have understood myself deeply, down to a very, very primitive level. I know where I come from.
But it seems to me now that the only way forward is to allow myself to touch moving water and let it guide me into something new. Will will not avail me in this process. This is my truth, today. Acceptance must be my truth today.
Please note that I
don’t wish to get into a debate. There are many books and many university
courses on the role of money in the economy, you need to begin
This is useful on several levels. One, I now know that the emails are getting through at least some of the Spam filters. I send them one at a time to reduce the chances of this.
Two, I think I can view this response as representative. They have been solving the problems created by our infernal system so long they can no longer think outside of it. I honestly think the entire DISCIPLINE of Economics exists in large measure to help address the problems fractional reserve banking creates. If people were not fucking with our money, everything would run itself. There would be no cause or reason to even contemplate government tampering in the economy.
But I seem to be the only one saying this. Certainly, Murry Rothbard and some others like him understand the predatory nature of fractional reserve banking, but no one to my knowledge has proposed fixing it by reversing the theft. I've seen calls for full reserve banking, but never for fixing the money supply and never changing it. The most radical people merely call for a return to the gold standard. But gold can be mined, and the only TRUE gold standard is using gold itself for currency. Money STARTED as a stand-in for actual specie.
I don't know if I enjoy being a tribe of one, but I value immensely the feeling of independence from the need to think like other people. I can come and go as I please, and explore what I want, how I want. I answer to no one.
This, by the way, is why I've never made any serious effort to become a paid writer. I tried for five minutes with Front Page Magazine--actually, a little thing within the overall enterprise--but my first piece got shot down, and I realized that having an editor may as well be conflated with having an intellectual jailor [edit, in an non-obvious decision of irony, I chose to conflate jailer and captor. I can do that: it's my blog], at least where I am concerned.
My piece was on the fact--which I've posted on here somewhere--that at least $15-$20 billion of the so-called Stimulus appears to have vanished entirely. They used a system in which they only knew money had been allocated by being informed by people who had received checks. Turns out many of those who said they got money didn't exist. The money vanished. The obvious conclusion is that this money was diverted to black ops. By whom, and to what purpose, of course, only those involved know. But Congress has never investigated this. Only in a United States budget is $20 billion an unimportant sum. But it would pay to harden our energy grid against an EMP roughly 10x over.
I just took a chance. I sent a DVD on 9/11 to someone I figured would be pissed off at me. It's unclear if that's what happened, but preliminary indirect indications are yes. Yes, plus fucking ignorance: he didn't watch it, goddamn it.
Here is my position: it obviously takes balls to run into enemy fire, and face death. But you are running with a lot of other people. You are doing EXACTLY what you were trained to do, what you were brainwashed to do, to do reflexively without thinking about it. You are conforming to the behavior of everyone around you. Particularly given your training, it is in many respects easier to do what is expected, than what would otherwise be natural.
When you are taking an unpopular position, you are not, in most cases, in danger of death. No blood will flow. No letters will be written to next of kin. This is all to the good.
But you will be hated. You will be attacked verbally and often implicitly threatened physically. You are doing the opposite of what your cohort otherwise would have wanted you to do. You are swimming against the current. You have no companions. No one has your back. You must fear people swarming around you in open contempt.
This is not death. This is an important point. BUT, I think many people would sooner face physical death than censure by those around them.
I think most people would sooner face bullets with their friends, than hard decisions, alone, on contentious topics.
This is, to take a Spockian perspective, illogical. One case may kill you. The other may merely embarrass you. But I feel strongly, based on long term personal observation, that this is the case.
People very simply do not want to be the only ones saying something. They do not want to feel that solitude. They do not want to endure that neglect and ire.
My fear is slowly falling away. This means I give less and less fucks every day. If people want to be willfully ignorant imbeciles, with a nod to Yogi Berra, nobody is going to stop them.
I was a drunk when I made that last post. I'm trending that way right now.
But I've spent about 12 hours driving between yesterday and today, and done a fair amount of thinking. I'll have more posts, but thought I'd revisit my last one.
I travel lines. I travel them doggedly, mercilessly, like a chase dog pursuing prey. I go wherever the logic or facts lead me. I smash preconceptions. They are useless to the task of perception.
And what if a travel a path a certain distance, and wind up in a place where people call me crazy? What if I travel more, and they call me sane again? And then I travel more and now I am insane again? Then more, and now I am sane?
Does my passion, attention, capacity, or intelligence differ along that trip? No: what varies is my conformity to views most people have simply imbibed somewhere, from either an unserious source, or someone willfully trying to skew their perception.
You have to be willing to be called crazy to be capable of anything approaching sanity. Most people are terrified of public opinion, and this makes them stupid/crazy.
I like the word "erledigt". It is a German word for "done" or "finished', but has a strong tone of competence and finality. Done, and done right. You can trust in this done-ness.
I in the process of erledigen the mails to Harvard. I just sent one to Larry Summers, clearly one of the power elite. I sent emails to a number of Nobel Laureates at the University of Chicago.
And you might say "it's pretty ballsy, sending emails to these people telling them they have missed the forest for the trees--or implying that they are a part of a conspiracy to end what they call "global Capitalism" using trickery"--and all I can say is: yes, it is.
So what? The fucking Emperor has no fucking clothes. If I am the only one who can see both this fact and propose what to me is the only rational solution, then so be it. I am accustomed to solitude, and to being misunderstood. Neither frightens me.
My IQ is 150 or so. It's high, but not super-high. Most of these people likely test significantly higher than me.
But I would argue that courage and imagination and openness, so-called "Beginner's Mind" is of primary importance, once you reach a certain level of intelligence.
Vanity and habit and cowardice fuck so many things up.
Edit: Schon erledigt.
Let the silence begin.
I may never hear a word from anyone, but I tried. And I will try again. And again.
There is a scene in Gates of Fire where they practice "tree fucking", which is pushing with all their might against an immovable object. Nothing can be done there. But it is good training for things which DO move.
As may be obvious, I am a bit stubborn. I can fail all day every day for years on end. I can and often have persisted for long, long periods in the face of unrelenting criticism and personal attack.
One of my on-again, off-again projects is trying to get a professional economist to take my ideas seriously. Towards that end, I will send them emails from time to time. I've sent letters or emails to the faculties of Stanford, Yale, Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, Yale, and Princeton (except Paul Krugman: he is an asshole, and clearly beyond any hope of redemption).
This is the latest iteration of this email, which I tweak from time to time.
I have developed what I think is a unique perspective on
our financial system and am soliciting feedback from credentialed economists.
If it would make a difference, I would be willing to make a $200 donation to a
charity of your choice in exchange for a substantive response, if only a short
one. My concern is with my children's future, and social justice.
The logic of my idea is quite simple: anyone
who creates money creates nothing of intrinsic value, but is still able to make
a claim on our actual, material wealth. It is quite appropriate to
call this theft, even though we are of course long accustomed to
I would contrast this with what I would call true
Capitalism, in which the only way to make money is to provide a good or service
people want and are able to afford. As we all know, per capita productivity has
been increasing for some time, but wages have not. This requires an answer,
which I think relates to the system as a whole.
In making loans banks create money which had not
existed. This places more money into circulation, with a resulting decline in
the overall value of existing money. We call this inflation, and expect some
amount of it every year, since deflation is feared.
Deflation is feared because in conditions of widespread
debt the amount of money to be repaid--the labor hours required to satisfy
it--rises steadily, resulting in higher rates of default, and thus higher rates
of banking insolvency, which propagated enough, generate economic
However, if there were no public or private debt, then a
steady increase in the value of money would be a good thing. We see many people
asking why wages have been stagnant or even declining for the past 15 years or
so. My view is that the purchasing power of money has been transferred via
monetary inflation from workers and corporations to bankers and governments.
The sheer quantity of money in existence has increased HUGELY since 1981 or so
(M2 at least five-fold), as has the wealth controlled by the worlds largest
financial institutions. The two are obviously related.
I propose that in the coming economic collapse--it
appears overwhelmingly likely both that our debt will soon be downgraded, and
that this will have vast rippling effects throughout our economy (and this is
assuming we are not attacked economically)--a plan be proposed somewhat similar
to the Chicago Plan of the 1930's, with some significant
Specifically, I propose that the Fed be brought
in-house and made an accountable and controllable instrument of government. I
propose that it then use its power to create money to pay off ALL debts in the
United States, public and private. All mortgages, all cars, all credit cards,
the national debt, State debt, municipal debt. Everything. This will transfer
wealth from the banks to the people. In the short term this will of course
be hugely inflationary, but I think things would settle down within a month or
two; and at that, far quicker and with much, much less suffering than would be
the case with a prolonged Depression.
Then we end the Fed, require all banks to be 100% reserve
(they would make money by loaning the investor's principle, by offering check
cashing and account services for a fee, and by warehousing money and other
valuables), and never alter the quantity of dollars in circulation again. This
should then, with productivity increases, gradually cause an increase in the
purchasing power of the dollar. This, in turn, will enable self financing of
new business, and completely eradicate business cycles.
My view is that in a just, properly ordered
financial system people should be able to make a good living on 20 hours of work
a week. Health care, retirement, unemployment: all will quickly cease
to be problems.
I have a longer treatment of this topic posted on the
internet, but I think the factors involved are quite simple. Self evidently,
this is a radical plan, but in my view we are facing desperate straits at some
point in the next 15 years or so, if not sooner.
Please let me know what you think. If you don't have
time to respond, I would be happy to hear from a graduate student, or anyone who
might be able to render a knowledgeable opinion. Thanks for your
[Decent School Pedigree]
P.S. As you might imagine, nobody replies to these. I
doubt most even open them. The reason I continue is that this is an enormously
important topic. If you have any feedback as to how I might more productively
solicit feedback or discussion, please let me know. There is no ulterior motive
other than a general amelioration of the human condition, and the advancement of
true fairness. This confuses nearly everyone.
I was watching a video of the bassist for the Scorpions (Rock you like a Hurricane, etc.) saying that he once attended a party where people were killed for entertainment. TMZ treats it like a joke: http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?tid=51997 This was in 2012, so it's an old story.
Most people nowadays are incapable of taking anything seriously: not their own lives, not those of others.
At the risk of stating the obvious, Berlin was the epicenter of the Nazis, and much of the sexual and emotional energy that gave rise to the Nazis is apparently still there. Dire Straits had a song about it 25 years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neBIzWZDaP4 He talks about SS caps, and S & M for fun.
What I am feeling is that my gut instincts are correct. There are groups of evil in this world. There are people who can find NO WAY OUT--for his part, Sartre clearly was not able to--and this can only lead to power lust. That and suicide are the only answers to this illness. Absolute emotional solitude is a given. Only the shared exercise of power relieves it, and then only temporarily. It is a mania that cannot heal itself. Only growth can do that. Only Goodness can do that. Otherwise, it is an endless and ultimately very dull circle. The Time Warp.
What I am finding is that my shaking is fading. Fear is falling away from me. I am developing an indifference to life, not in the sense that I am unengaged with it--but that the thought of dying doesn't frighten me.
At the end of the day, all fear is fear of death. There are deaths and there is Death, but they are all of a kind. When my fear falls away finally, then I will sleep peacefully. It seems that is the only solution: and it is a good solution. I like it.
If you want to pursue spirituality in any form, I would argue that what you want, in the end, is a felt SENSE of the presence of God, of Spirit, of Light, of inherent Goodness, of Love. Does it not then make the most sense to cultivate the senses? You can't think your way to a sense of anything, merely to a thought about a sense of something.
I am good and bad about my Kum Nye practice. Some weeks I do it daily, but others I don't do it at all, because I am doing it ALL DAY. I spend most of the day, every day, alone. If you want to increase your self understanding, I would encourage you to try it. But what I have been doing is allowing feelings to come up, and then expanding them, filling them with light, and letting them be. I stay with feelings, off and on, for hours at a time. As should be obvious, I have very powerful focus and ability to concentrate.
There is a large form of my terror. I was having what I will call traumatic intrusions yesterday, in which my mother tied me to a bed and gagged me, because she "loved" me so much. I share this only because it is actually a sign of sanity, of increasing clarity. The image was always there, just hidden. It was the REALITY when I was a baby. I was fully helpless. I could neither talk nor move, and I lived in terror of her.
But I am increasingly fearless. I went into these sensations, and ballooned them up, filled them with space, and yes I can see this sense, floating massive across the sky. But nothing in it is hard. Nothing in it can hurt me. I am beyond it.
And I feel clearly that learning the PROCESS of doing this is the key to liberating myself from the cage of reflexive reactions, and trapped in cycles of emotion.
With regard to that last term, I was contemplating the time warp in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. That movie is and remains in my view quite emblematic of the nihilism of the 70's, which has since put on a suit, and is running this country.
The basic plot element that concerns me here is that Dr. Frankenfurter lives in a circle. He does his demonic work of reducing everything to physical sensations--and I would emphasize here that when I use the word "sense" I include far more than merely pleasurable physical sensations--reaches an end point, then goes back in time, in a circle. He only appears to move, but he is in reality stuck.
And I got to thinking about what I might term "Ritual Motion". The thing about trauma is it encapsulates some part of you in a moment, in a wax museum, in a scene in a horror film that plays over and over and over. But outwardly you move. You go to school, and get a job, maybe you have kids, and buy a house, and water your lawn every Wednesday and Saturday.
Many people never live down their trauma, their horror, their shame. They get on, but they never get over it. Increasingly, I look at everyone on every street as "walking wounded". The meanest son of a bitch you ever met has a story. The biggest fuck up you ever met has a story.
In terms of its effect on me, my favorite Bruce Springsteen album is his darkest: Darkness on the Edge of Town. He has a line in there that I've always liked:
Everybody's got a secret, Sonny, Something that they just can't face, Some folks spend their whole lives trying to keep it, They carry it with them every step that they take. Till some day they just cut it loose Cut it loose or let it drag 'em down, Where no one asks any questions, or looks too long in your face,
So where the hell was I going? I lit a cigar, so somewhere deep, for me.
In graduate school, I read a lot of the work of a French literary critic/theorist named Rene Girard, who wrote a lot about sacrifice and religious violence. The gist of his ideas was that sacrifice was a way of creating an "outside" within a homogeneous social order. That's greatly simplified, but let's run with it.
We all have this existential task of figuring out who we are, and what that implies about what we should do. In terms of what is written in the stars and rocks, there is no instruction manual. I would argue that we can and should use the testimony of those who have died and returned (NDE's), the testimony of mediums, and the direct information of spirits who manifest in this world. These things are all, I am convinced, quite real. All tell us that love is the answer.
But we are part animal. Some part of us wants to tear things apart and eat them. And true love is an enormously advanced emotion, in terms of psychosocial development. Most people are trapped by one or many traumas, that for most of history could not even be labeled such, at least in civilizations that existed as ritual orders.
So here is the thing: ritual evolved both to centralize and control the impulse to kill and eat, through sacrifice, through ritual violence (which is seen in every religion I have studied and of course central to even Christianity); and to create a sense of motion in a very stable social order in which full emotional freedom of expression was impossible. Holiday=Holy Day.
We do not have true rituals in the modern world. We did not understand their importance, and called them irrational. I think, though, that we could see war as a ritual, and a particularly important one in the cults of Communism and Fascism, where the paradigmatic Communist war is against the citizens, and that of Fascism hated others in other countries. Fascism is much more human than Communism, because at least there is an inside, although of course both are insane, until we understand them as large scale reactions to important and unmet emotional needs.
So someone has this trauma inside them, and no good way to get it out. You can watch horror movies. You can play video games. You can listen to appallingly violent and dissonant music.
The executions in the French--I am going to call it the Confusion--were ritualistic. They were popular. They appealed to the gut sense, the animal instincts. It would not be off to call it mass human sacrifice.
Everywhere you look, there are people who have within them a taste for killing, for death. Just look at what people watch in large numbers on TV every night. It is not just about solving the murders, about appreciating cleverness. It is about watching the murders, and participating vicariously in them.
This is the human condition.
And I continue to have the sense that forms of Satanism appear logically necessary, for people unable to creatively grow beyond these contradictions. In its simplest form, it is nothing more or less than feeding our gut energies as they exist, rather than transforming them by connecting them to higher energies. [have you read about this: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/charlie-charlie-challenge-vatican-exorcist-5783395 . It is kids seeking some transcendent reality, in a world which is focused on the machine-like aspects of our existence, which everywhere tells them that only evanescent pleasures and death are real.]
It must be a circular process. The rituals must be done regularly. You have your outwardly normal life, then a liminal phase preparing for a sacrificial ritual of some sort (and it could be a "sacrifice" of common virtues, common decency, through profanity, blasphemy, use of intoxicants, grotesque sexuality, etc.), then a climax, which releases the pent up energies for a time, then a return.
But there is no true emotional motion. There is and can be no learning, no growth. It merely creates the APPEARANCE of motion, by transiting a circle, and pretending it is a line.
It is a paradox of human nature that we both fear change and fear cages. What is so terrifying about a cage? You cannot move freely. What is so terrifying about change? It CONSISTS in moving freely, in new ways, along unconditioned, newly discovered paths.
I think I have said what I needed to say. I will need to smoke some more on all this. None of these ideas are particularly new to me, but ideas have textures, and soft scents. They have forms which are malleable like mists. They both exist out there, and as watered growths within us. It is good to revisit them and see what is new, what is happening, where they have traveled and what they can tell us.
And it seems obvious to me that humanities task is to evolve a post-Ritual order. The thirst for contained realities and the task of self liberation are at odds. It may be that we devolve into a new ritual order, but my hope is that we can learn enough, fast enough, to avoid that. I will do my part to help in that process. I am one man, but I am one man. There can be no other unit for the New to enter the world.
Start the practices. It is an odd fact of my personal history that I bought the two original books back in the mid-1980's, and carried them all over in my travels, but never really did anything with them. Only once I started SOMETHING flowing with Holotropic Breathwork was I finally able to start doing that work, and I've continued to need alcohol to have the emotional strength to keep doing it. That need is slowly fading, thank God.
Tarthang Tulku rarely appears in public. I suspect even the people who live at the retreat centers rarely if ever see him. He has done his work. He has created bodies of practice which will work on anyone to open them up to the possibility of spiritual growth. Everything he can teach in words is out there. One path forward is an open secret. I do think the whole thing can and should be marketed much more aggressively. I have never met anyone who has heard of it, and have only seen it mentioned once, in Peter Levine's book. One feels the sense of hope in the books, that if the world only embraced this practice, it would be transformed. But people are stupid.
Try not to be stupid. This might be a good motto for all of us today.
I think if you have one book on Buddhism--of any sort--on your shelf, that is sufficient. The task is to master desire and attachment, and neither of those exist or arise at the cognitive level. They arise in sensations, and that is where their cessation must be found.
And if I posit that thoughts, too, arise from a non-thought place--from sensations and emotions, except when thinking is needed as a tool to solve some concrete problem--then that place is where you must look to control them.
I was thinking last night about the process of what I guess gets called mindfulness meditation, where you focus on just sitting, or on your breath, or on a mantra, and try to keep your mind clear, letting thoughts arise and then pass on. And it felt to me like you are taking the output of the end of a tunnel, and trying to use that to work backwards, such that if you don't feed thought, the part of you which creates thought will in turn cease creating them, being malnourished.
This could work, but I also read that meditation quickly becomes stressful for many people, and it is easy to see why: you are not fundamentally liberating the trapped energy, because you are not starting with sensation and emotion and learning to allow it to flow freely.
My reasonably erudite opinion, therefore, is that there is no faster or better path to the heart of Buddhism than Kum Nye.
I think I am making progress. It occurred to me I am a ghost. We are all ghosts. We are insubstantial, misty, in constant flux. If I ask you who you are, you might poke your arm. That is a correct answer, but only a very partial one. You might tell me your occupation, ideas, personality quirks. Also correct, but also incomplete.
As I am increasingly arguing, we are characterized by both an Unconscious related to our animal instincts, AND an unconscious related to our spiritual side. We exist in the middle, stupid.
And we are ghosts in machines. It is our task to learn to operate the machines, but it much more our task to learn that we are ghosts.
This is the essence, in my view, of the Buddhist Anatta/Anatman doctrine, the "No Self" creed. Your self is so much more vast than you can possibly imagine, so much more in flux and change and evolution than you can imagine, that you may as well say that on this level it doesn't even exist, and needs to be discarded; this is particularly true since anything we can think or reason at this level can only contain and hinder us. If I say "that", but you can't see it, then I must leave you behind.
On a related note, I have made a major change, as these things go in my world. I don't change avatars or names. I have had the same Facebook avatar since changing it once when I first signed up however many years ago. I have had the same handle here. But I changed it, to one of my psychological/spiritual animals. I discussed all this several years ago, and have no desire to rehash it here.
I grew up in a physically and emotionally violent home. It was not the quantity of violence, but the quality. I am very sensitive, and I have always seen more than was likely good for me. I have many, many pictures from all ages where I am the only one looking at the camera, because I was the only one who sensed it. My very first prized book as a child, which I perused over and over and over and over, was a book of World War 2 weapons. I had a G.I. Joe and a Lone Ranger, and I always idolized the military.
Even as an adult, I would seek out military metaphors. I would beat myself up to get things done. I was an early and militant adopter of CrossFit, because of the militaristic ethos. I may in fact bear some blame for some of the less attractive cultural elements there.
And I have often thought about doing things like the Bataan Death March (in New Mexico every March), not so much because I want to honor the soldiers--although they certainly deserve it--but because it would be painful and difficult for me. All my life I have faced pain and difficulty, and sort of internalized a need to think about it.
But I really don't want to do the Death March. That is why I haven't done it. We all do the things we actually want to do, and don't do the things we don't. This is a little spoken truth of life. And it's OK to not want things as much as you think you ought to. Desire works the way it works, not the way we might prefer it to work.
All of this to say I don't think I have anything to prove. I know what it is like to spend years fighting on in despair with no hope. I know what it is like to have to use a powerful will each and every day just to get through it. I don't know what it is like to get shot at, but I do know what it is like to face things which scare the shit out of you, and what it is like to do it daily for long periods of time. Terror is terror, even if it is rational in one case, and completely (outwardly) irrational in another.
Long story short, I am tired of aspiring to butt heads. I am tired of anger and violence, and using conflict to sharpen my spirits and take me back home for a while. I will continue to say my say, and I'm sure reply to the innumerable idiots and shitheads on the internet. But no longer as Mountain Goat.
I was trying to decide if I should get some "New Science of Mind" thing--which I doubt has anything truly new at all--and it hit me that I don't want to improve my thinking. I want to improve the part of me that throws off thinking, that projects it, that generates it, like a fountain. Thought is an outgrowth of something rooted in sensation and emotion.
If we think of all our possible affective states as the frequencies on a radio, I want access to all of them, all the time, and you can't do that consciously. You can teach yourself to tune into certain frequencies. You can pinpoint the positive self talk at 102.9, and that is all good, but that leaves a lot missing.
I want my work to be sensual, in the sense that I want to develop a relationship with it of friendship, companionship, comfort, play. In America particularly so much material exists which teaches you how to succeed, how to set and achieve goals. But it seems absolutely obvious to me that if you learn to love work, success is a foregone conclusion. I have taught both my kids that any activity they can learn to love, they will eventually excel at.
So what I'm realizing is its not even the process, but what you bring to the process, WHO you bring to the process, who you are, deep within. Something within me seems to be coalescing which can bring something good to the table of life.
How is it that those who are concerned that government can be bought want more government?
If I currently have to go to the butcher shop, produce shop, dairy shop, and bread shop to get my food, is it not MORE efficient if I can go one place and get everything I want?
People who demonize money makers are doing one of two things: 1) planning to destroy them, and thus the economy, aka Communism; or 2) put the competition out of business so they can make fat profits with no competition, aka Fascism. Both of these models are anti-free market, and thus exist as polar opposites of true Liberalism.
I think those of us who were brought up in the operant conditioning model of parenting--who mainly were punished for actual or alleged failings, usually physically, but certainly by yelling too--find it hard to make peace with the voice in our heads telling us what to do. It is the voice of a parent who was often cruel, and at least in my case completely lacking in empathy and understanding.
I should lose weight. I can stand to lose 45 pounds of fat, which would make me a lean, mean 225 (my lean body mass is around 200). But what I find is some part of me rebels every time I get serious about diet. It doesn't like being told what to do. That stentorian voice breeds resistance, which is overcome by force. When this is an intrapsychic conflict is involved, that force is will, which as I have noted repeatedly wears out eventually.
There are ways to deal with this. I continue to pursue personal growth, and have decided to try visualization again, but I did want to point out that in my view a PRINCIPLE task of life is learning to be on easy speaking terms with, to be friends with, the processes of learning, growth, and mastery.
I hearken back again to John Wooden, who every day pursued perfection gradualistically but passionately. He taught his young men how to put on socks. He not only taught perfect guarding, but taught himself how to TEACH guarding, and how to develop better and better drills for it. He was not just perfecting how to PLAY basketball, but how to COACH it, which included motivation. He was perfecting how to perfect the process. If he had done anything else, he would have seen equal success.
This should be the model for all of us, in my view. He was very healthy psychologically, or at least that is my clear impression. Could he have done more? Of course. I would have added spiritual disciplines. But if you DO add those, and take his process, you can scarcely do better.
Wow. That was one of the worst nights sleep I can remember. I think I dozed for about 15 minutes about 3am and again for about 30 minutes around 5. Surprisingly, I feel pretty good, but there are lessons to be learned.
First and foremost, I am going to hypothesize that video games are a method for dealing with anxiety by consciously invoking it, then creating situations of mastery. The fight or flight response gives us the power/fear dichotomy, does it not? I think this seems reasonable.
As Lara, I kept getting killed in really unpleasant ways, which made me mad, which made me go again. As anyone who has played video games can readily attest, some levels are just damn hard, and you have to do them repeatedly, at least if you are an old geezer like me. I started playing about 5pm, after pouring myself some tea and feeding my dog, and I awoke from my spell about midnight. I don't think I walked the dog, and the tea was cold.
That is a powerful focus.
What I want to say about it, though, is it is not play. It is not the reconciliation of the social instinct with the hunter instinct. It both creates and provides the solution for acute anxiety. This is why it is so addictive. When you finally get through a level, it is a huge relief, but then you want to do it again. And again. It fills you with energy, which is why I think I'm not that sleepy, despite having something less than 2 hours of sleep.
But what you are NOT doing is learning to deal with the anxieties of real life in an appropriate way. I was feeling very keenly the passage of time yesterday. I was clearing out old clothes and art projects and the like from my kids room, and going down memory lane. I am getting older. So too are they. Their lives are in front of them. This is a common enough happening for people of my certain age.
And it occurs to me that NOBODY wants to do this mourning, wants to deal with this change, but it is a fact of life. It is a fact of life if we believe in God and if we don't. It is a fact of life if we have a fundamentally optimistic mindset, or if we are pessimists. The former in both cases make it easier, but not effortless.
We have to--I have to--throw myself in the stream of life and let it carry me along. I have to accept it. This is my task. And what I did was short circuit that process somewhat yesterday. I have had more than my share of sadness and change and bereavement. Much, much more. But that does not change the facts of the matter. Happiness is courage, true courage.
I can't say or tell where all these video games are leading, what the long term effects of social isolation and the weird sexual expressions that pornography (that is one addiction that has never tempted me) likely causes will be.
What I know is that the future exists in the future, and that I am capable of living in the moment contentedly and in peace, and can commit myself to doing what I can to build a better future, knowing that I may fail--we all may fail--but waiting to feel that grief, to feel that anxiety, until it actually comes.
As far as me playing these games, I am going to have to ponder if I want this energy in my life. In small doses, these games are supposedly good for your brain, but me being me, I am going to periodically binge on them, and I have to wonder if Lumosity isn't sufficient. Of course, I have the Kinect and some dance games. That might be fun. It would be at least more social.
So I finished Assassin's Creed 4, which set up a dichotomy between the authority loving Templars, who had a secret surveillance weapon that allowed them to spy on anybody at any time, and the Assassins, who were understood to be more or less anarchists, although of course the game was not overly developed philosophically. Not too hard to read commentary on current events in there.
But I was feeling agitated today. I am starting to engage with the world, and it feels weird. I allowed myself to disengage after nearly a days good work. I started up Tomb Raider. It starts up nearly immediately with very macabre images, with dead bodies hanging upside down everywhere, corpses and skulls everywhere. I don't know if this is a feature of this series, but it was a bit disturbing to see the imaginative outputs of some very creative and probably young people.
Then I got to thinking about it. In the game thus far I have seen perhaps 200 bodies, of people who were killed by some sort of sacrificial cult. That may be on the low side. Some of these scenes were quite over the top. We react with horror to sacrificial cults, to human sacrifice.
But we killed some 100,000 Iraqis. The number may be higher, or it may be lower. But it was oceanic compared to even the awful scenes in this game.
And there was a lot of religious imagery, Buddhist and East Asian iconography, and it struck me that most of humanity has been crazy for most of human history. War is craziness, but it has been a feature of human life for all of history. History was CREATED to chronicle a war.
I get sometimes at a state I suppose the Existentialists would call authentic. I feel keenly the shortness of life, the perishability of all relationships, and everything we build, and the constant possibility of the eruption of atavism into the order we think we have built. Our animal natures are unseen by most, and fully tamed by virtually none.
And it struck me what a perfect thing it was that the Buddha came upon a method for NOT being crazy. Very few of us value the knowledge that is handed to us on a silver platter daily.
I can honestly say I take my Kum Nye practice seriously. I do the work. I try to focus. I try to learn the lessons. But I can do better.
And I just threw the game away. The game creators derived far too much pleasure in killing Lara in grotesque ways.
The lesson here, though, is that humanity has always been crazy, at least most of it. It may be that some tribes of people for periods of time have not been crazy. The Australian Aboriginals, and maybe some Native American tribes, and some African tribes, and some Asian Indian tribes, etc: some of them may have been largely sane.
But kings are insane. War and violence are insane. Being stuck in a ritual order is insane. Being other than happy, connected with people, and engaged with life is insane.
And I think about our troops and the wars we have fought. I support our troops, but something in me has popped as far as wanting to emulate them. All wars are tragedies.
We need to secure our borders, harden our grid to an EMP, rationalize our financial markets, develop an effective missile defense system, and vastly increase our HumInt capabilities. And then we need to bring everyone home. I'm fine with the fleets being out there, but everyone else needs to look after themselves. It somebody attacks us, we hit them so hard nobody thinks about it again any time soon.
But particularly once you realize 9/11 was much larger than we have been told, and that beyond any doubt government investigators both suppressed information and outright lied to get the conclusions they did, then much of the past decade makes a whole lot less sense.
As I've said in many ways, directly and indirectly, I identify strongly with the values of duty, honor and courage. Going the extra mile, and the mile after that, and the mile after that, because it is my job. Now, nobody assigned me this job. I volunteered, for the simple reason that THE WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE.
Every day, without exception, I wake up trying to solve problems, trying to understand myself, trying to heal, trying to perceive something new about the world, and to dream something new about how it might be improved, how it might be led in a better direction.
And there is a cost to this: solitude. The one unquestionable benefit of being in an actual military unit is shared difficulty. Your buddies understand you, and you them, at least in important ways. Me, nobody understands me. I am a tribe of one. I walk through the world largely unseen. I do manual labor. I walk in the construction entrance, and use the construction elevator, and spend my days with people who got their GED's. It's better this way: I feel less misunderstood with people no one expects to do any hard thinking, than with people who theoretically could, but choose not to; who are encumbered with a variety of emotional issues even they can't see; who are enmeshed in a political field which requires constant maintenance and tinkering.
Somewhere, though, there is a tribe of people who will get me. It may not be in this world, but we aren't here so very long after all. I'm not feeling melancholy. It is, I think, a good thing I am allowing myself this line of thought, though. I have been alone so long I forget there are alternatives, and it's always good to remember alternatives: it is a part of perception.
I was told many years ago by a hot Austrian "don't think so much". In this country especially, people who think too much are not held in much esteem, and as a general rule, those who do identify as "intellectuals" are leftists. There are not a lot of conservative intellectuals. But that may change.
At the end of the day, I am what I am. I am not going to change to suit the winds. I am not going to change to make things easier. I am going to continue to do what I perceive as my job, until time takes this job away from me and assigns it to someone else.
Can you see why this card would excite me? Other than me being really weird, and screwed up in the head? Why would this excite a psychologically healthy, but very contemplative person? Answer it for yourself. Your answer may differ from mine. That's good.
Guess before you look it up, if you even give a shit.
I think PTSD is fully healed when you can survey the landscape of that epic battle, that place where your nervous system failed you through no lack of will, no fault of your own, and see it with curiosity. This is a connection freed from the chains of horror. This is of course a follow up/continuation of my previous post.
I will add to this that battles only need to be fought once. They are won, lost, postponed, or cancelled, but only once. Ever after, you need to be either learning from them, or letting them disappear. Preferably the first, then the second.
Nothing can be worse than a battle you can't win, and can't stop fighting. You can't change the past, but it can continue to change you if you give it the power to.
Never impose on yourself a guilt you would hesitate to hang on the neck of someone else. Excessive guilt is actually a theatrical way of avoiding the responsibility of growing through failure and pain.
The more I grow, the more I realize the value of curiosity. I truly think, in the end, this is the most important virtue. It is the virtue which connects you with life. Love, in my view, flows from curiosity, which is the first step in an affirmative life path.
Specifically, what I am realizing is that every grain of our bodies is suffused with experience, some of it good, and some of it what we label bad. And what I am realizing, in my own healing, is that my task it not just to accept the bad, but to enter into it with curiosity, which, again, is the opposite of trauma.
You have to be able to explore a house of horrors--something from a Saw movie--with openness and curiosity. It is all gone now. The terror is gone. The novelty and newness and unexpectedness is gone. But it is still there. The memories are still there. There is a gallery in my consciousness that welcomes me, that welcomes my visiting, that wants to make my acquaintance, that wants to tell me its story openly, rather than through symptoms it is forced to use to capture my attention and maintain its own sense of existence.
The task is to do this exploration, not with fascination or repulsion, but with curiosity and interest. To CONNECT with it in a relaxed, perambulating way.
My shaking is not going to kill me. Accepted, it is not that unpleasant. My task is to "massage" it--to take a term directly from Kum Nye, where mNye means "massage": to loosen it up, to give it space, to let it breathe, to give it life and wings and release it.
I get glimpses of light sometimes. I felt a powerful rainbow last night, and it made me very sad. That was a small blink of the home we all come from, and are destined to return to. It is so hard to remember light, living in such a dark place.
Where I am trying there to post completed position pieces dealing with specific topics, here I post in-process musings, some of which I may well disagree with six months from now. If you never change your mind, it atrophies for want of use.
If you have anything to say, say it. I get emails when people post, and I'll usually respond promptly.