Doing Something with Non-Buddhism

“the most reactionary discourse of all: the x-buddhist decision I call the atman-that-is-not-one. We have no self, so we don’t need to do anything in the world”

Speculative Non-Buddhism

As an attempt at “doing something with non-buddhism,” I want to consider an email I received the other day from The Buddhist Peace Fellowship—a post in Turning Wheel Media entitled “Changing Positions: An Exchange on Buddhist Practice and Psychological Decolonization” (links at bottom). Since the Buddhist Peace Fellowship is dedicated to “engaged Buddhism,” and particularly, recently, to a consideration of what is wrong with the system of capitalism (“However we define ‘The System,’ we are it and it is us — there is no separation”), I was momentarily hopeful about this post. Of course, one participant in the exchange is Josh Korda, a publicity hound who spouts popular catch-phrases from discourses he doesn’t understand, and resorts to childish tantrums and name-calling immediately when questioned; but the other participant is Joshua Stephens, an anarchist anti-capitalist who, although he can’t list as many celebrity teachers he’s “studied with” as…

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intro to “The Fourth Way”

So there’s this thing called “The Fourth Way,” it’s a school of thought that sort of combines existentialism and self-psychiatry with the belief that rather than your self just being the sum-of-your-neurons, it is actually an immaterial (or bizarro-material) soul.

I got it from these psychos and it was particularly beaten into my head by this psycho who had previous dealings with the first psychos but decided to simplify things and zone in on what he found to be the essential method of selfhood, which turned out to be Fourth Way.

Basic idea is, most of the time humanity is asleep.  It’s asleep because our natural state of being is not to be one unified consciousness, but a million little splinter wills and compartmentalized thoughts.  To become a real being with real will, personhood, agency etc, you overcome this state of disarray by finding the “I’s” in you that represent your strongest desires and can form a magnetic center for the other chaotic “I’s.”  It resembles the social process of swarm-formation, with the high-consistency people serving as a rallying point/catalyst for the passionate but directionless thousands.

One more facet of my big goofy sin-thesis.

I lifted all these images from this text, simply titled “The Fourth Way” from one of its two primary authors.  My personal favorites:

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astrological map of this revolutionary era

I’m sure a lot of you think I’ve gone off my rocker here (who doesn’t at this point?), but I beg you to keep an open mind.

Remember that a true skeptic at least tries a theory out before dismissing it — just having a prejudice against anything that doesn’t jive with the current scientific community’s consensus is not skepticism, it is pseudo-skepticism.

I read a book called Cosmos and Psyche, which, rather than focusing on the silly personal type of astrology found in the back of newspapers, emphasized the astrology of macro-historical events, and it was mind-blowing.

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It has a view of history similar to Marx/Gramsci: there’s an economic base, there’s a political state layer, there’s a cultural-ideological superstructure.  There are periods of war and reaction, periods of revolution, periods of economic buildup.  The perspective was overwhelmingly progressive and socialist uprisings tended to be looked upon positively — 1905, 1917, the complexity of the 1930s, others like 1968, etc.

Every modern period of war and reaction has begun with a Saturn-Pluto alignment of some sort: WWI, WWII, the Cold War, freeze-periods in the Cold War, the depths of the 1980s, 9/11 and the War on Terror.  Practically every revolutionary period that you can think of occurred beneath a Uranus-Pluto.

So what is this?  Determinism?  The author argues against that.  He insists people should still try to influence the world however they want by their own free wills.  He merely introduces a rhythm, a sort of clock that historical actors should be aware of.

(There’s also the objection that “we shouldn’t believe in anything we can’t explain,” but let’s remember that a lot of science merely documents correlations and doesn’t explain them.  Otherwise, be prepared to part with the theory of gravity, which is still just observed and not explained.  “Correlation does not imply causation” but what-goes-up-must-come-down is still good to live by; same with this.)

Now, for the good part:

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*The last triple-alignments of Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter were the fateful 1968 and 2011. (2011 also involved Saturn, mixing the uprising with crackdown.) The next Uranus-Jupiter(-Pluto) will be October 2016 to September 2018, centered on 2017.

Pluto is the planet of unleashed force, and the cycle of destructive-creative transformation.  Major historical events tend to occur when Pluto intersects with another major body like Uranus, Saturn, or Jupiter.

Uranus is the planet of progression, rebellion, liberation.

Saturn is the planet of order, structure, and discipline.

Jupiter is the planet of expansion, harmony, levity, and prosperity.

Uranus-Pluto alignments involve revolution and mass uprising. The last major one was 1960-1972. Saturn-Pluto alignments correspond with periods of destructive reaction and conservative empowerment, and heralded the beginnings of WWI, WWII, the Cold War and its points of tension, plus 9/11 and start of the War on Terror.

Jupiter-Uranus alignments tend to involve times of scientific discovery, artistic expression, and jubilant social progress.

Uranus-Saturn can involve standoff between reactionary and progressive social forces, or movements which somehow embody both (libertarian conservatism, revolutionary discipline).

So peaks to look out for are 2013-14 and circa 2017. There may be a sharp plunge around 2019-2020, but depending on how things go, this could actually serve as a disciplined consolidation of the revolution rather than as a conservative termination of it.  Or it could be the victory of reaction.

Looking forward to 2017!

Keep it simple, follow your gut

One thing that has spiritually frustrated me possibly more than anything else is the mistaken feeling that if it isn’t elaborate, it isn’t genuine.

The authenticity does not come from ancient cultures, it does not come from an exact phrasing of words, it does not come from knowing occult trivia, it does not come from length.

And then there are some things which are authentic, and yet still, ultimately not necessary.  Having a like-minded group is one of those things.

It would be nice to have a lot of people near you in person who are on the same spiritual path as you.  It would be nice to have a group with whom you shared a set of elaborate rituals, but which aren’t just so much verbiage or near-misses, but actually have deep personal meaning for you and hit the nail on the head.   Alas, such a thing is hard to find.  For dark siders, the spiritual connection you tend to have with most of the population is negative: disagreement, distrust, misunderstanding, antagonism, isolation.

It’s alright: honor the dark alone.  Don’t worry about not knowing any incantations.  Just tune in deep, open yourself to signals, and make any wishes like you mean it.  Aesthetics can be simple – wait til night for the dark, maybe a candle, maybe write something on paper and light it, maybe draw a simple sigil.  Whatever.  The force all comes from your selfhood.

Again, sometimes it’s as simple as kneeling down and praying.

Following your nose isn’t just a spiritual thing.  I recently left a political group that I’d been with for a long time.  Honestly it hurts.  They are very smart people.  I think I have a brain too, but when you walk away from a crew like that, you always have a nagging insecurity that if you ever run into them again, they will have some argument for why you should have stayed that will make you feel stupid.

Well, at some point I just had to trust my gut and say fuck it.

Nietzsche once said something like, when leaving a party, do not ask yourself if your actions make sense; ask yourself if the thing that once connected you to that party is there anymore.

The thing connecting me was that the group seemed like a well-oiled machine that could really get us from here to revolution.  After some relocating and the passage of time, it no longer seems like that.

It’s obvious to any dark sider that you can often apply a group’s principles more effectively, ironically enough, when you’re not a member of that group.  So it’s not selling out, it’s getting serious.  But just like every other major social force I’ve had to walk away from – Catholicism, the Right, purist anarchism – it can take a lot more brutal experience for it to sink into your skull than you might like to admit.

As far as you know, the intuitions you are feeling might not simply be whims.  Read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell to understand how much smarter your unconscious mind is than you.  But actually you might be psychic, and the intuitions you receive may be signals to you from strands of future possibility, particles traveling backward in time touching your mind.  Maybe there is a deep force working behind the scenes which honors your decisions, because they place you on your correct path of destiny toward events that have not even happened and people you have not even met, but who long for each other because in the randomness of the beyond you have already formed an unconscious psychic bond.

Or maybe not.  Sometimes you’re just groping around in the dark.  Oh well.  Gotta keep trying.

The Dark Side

The Dark Side, which is more or less my faith, is pretty multi-faceted.  I can’t exactly pin down what about it is central so I’m going to ramble.  In my life it’s taken multiple forms, whether it was my initial rejection of religious dogma, a taste for dark art, a tendency toward melancholy, a willingness to think forbidden thoughts, or an active religious pursuit.

EMBRACE THE HATE

When you’re watching a movie or something, and there’s a character who has a moral falling, doesn’t it sometimes seem like it’s actually their finest hour?  Do you ever find yourself rooting for them right then?  And then, typically, there is always some moment of “conscience” that brings them back to the light, some mentor who hits them with warnings and begs them not to “go too far,” or “cross a terrible line.”  Usually the mentor’s argument would never stand up to logical analysis, which is kind of my point.

Maybe things ARE horrible, maybe we DO need to “go too far,” maybe we DO need to cross all sorts of lines.  Maybe it’s cool when the protagonist goes rogue and starts making decisions for themselves instead of being a little tool who is constantly hurt but never declares independence or reorients their priorities.

Most religions have some kind of advisement against, rule against, or punishment for negative emotions.  I say let those fuckers rip.  They’re part of who you are!  I got real sick of being told that I shouldn’t have any anger or selfishness, that I should be a blank forgiveness machine.  Not only were there things to be legitimately angry at, but I was angry that I had to feel bad for even having the anger.

It’s not just negative emotions.  There are other banned emotions that are not precisely “dark,” but get lumped in with the dark side because mainstream religions/polite civilization bans them or places too much restriction on them.  Obviously sex is a big issue here; certainly no rules against that in the dark.  (No rules against anything, really!)  There is also the animalistic energy of being alive which I think many religions are either uncomfortable with or just fail to celebrate.  Why must reverence always be restrained and serene?  Where is the religion of going apeshit?  That lively energy gets lumped in with the dark, and the more it is repressed, the more it becomes truly dark.

INDIVIDUALISM

This may throw the socialists for a loop.  A natural extension of embracing your dark emotions is accepting that you will not always get along with others.  You’ve got to form a strong personal core (existentialism) that knows what it wants and is possibly willing to step on other people to get it.

Why is all this religious crap important?  Why not just focus on life?  I think because it’s possible to waste life, to waste a lifetime — if you aren’t living for yourself, truly living for yourself, there is literally no point to existence.  Make it count.

The Dark Side has a great advantage that is absent in many beliefs – the total freedom to critical thought.  No rules in the void.  In all the groups you were born into or have entered, you have an inner emotional freedom to think for yourself that many don’t.  There’s a reason they call it the Devil’s Advocate.  Besides, you better think for yourself, because if you don’t, you could be taken advantage of.  It’s a jungle out there.

THE INHERENT MASSIVE DIFFICULTY OF LIFE

One of the fundamental aspects of matter is that it imposes massive limitations.  You can’t stick your hand through a wall; matter blocks other matter.  This is the astrological meaning of Saturn: gravity, constriction, discipline, severity, isolation, being tested.  This is what matter, and living in a material universe, does to the beings that live in it.

Did you know that there are animals that are constantly born into hopeless positions of being killed before ever reaching maturity?  Imagine being a bug accidentally born underground with no way to tunnel out and get to any food (or air or water).  Imagine being a cub or chick whose mother is killed and, undefended, is later hunted down by predators or scavengers.  Worst of all, this is not limited to non-human animals: infant mortality happens all the time, and not just from complications, but from outright third world child hunger.  Whoever is in charge on this planet, it’s not a benevolent God.

I think it’s quite possible that there are other “layers” to reality – more spiritual, ethereal dimensions where beings are pure thought or pure feeling.  These other dimensions may even have some limited sway in this material realm – consciousness may be an example of that.

But for the most part, the hippies are wrong.  We’re stuck here in this nightmare reality.  All is not one; all is divided, and if the material world is connected with itself, sometimes its connections are merely points of contact made of violence and conflict.  There is no transcendence.

Even if there was, would it be preferable?  I like my solid objects, I would be so confused as a disembodied soul.  So even if this material realm is not the only realm, I think I have a love for it.  I like the challenge.  I suppose that makes me not a transcendentalist, but a descendentalist.

GIVE SOME BACK/NO EXISTENCE WITHOUT AUTHENTICITY, NO AUTHENTICITY WITHOUT RESISTANCE

This is totally immature, but then maybe being immature is the key to life: in a world that causes so much suffering, it’s just wickedly blissful to hit back.

There’s also a more mature way of looking at it.  Politically, you should resist the things that make life suck for you.  Because life does seriously suck, and there are very rich people who benefit from that.  No turning the other cheek for me.

THE DARK BEYOND/THE SOUL/THE SUPERNATURAL/SORCERY

You may have heard that the blackness of space is not emptiness, but is actually a substance.  I suspect this substance may have a low level of consciousness, acting as a subconscious to the universe, and a source of power to those who would embrace it.  Cthulhu is out there.

I wouldn’t just turn to this stuff out of boredom or intellectual curiosity.  I’ve had multiple instances of dreams eventually coming true in ways I could verify were not déjà vu  — keeping a dream journal, writing down the date of the dream.  It seems to run in my family (oddly enough clairvoyant bloodlines are now a motif in Game of Thrones).  I can’t explain the violation of linear time — some people talk about alternate universes of possibly, particles travelling backwards, or some other model of possibility, when discussing quantum mechanics.  Maybe it’s an explanation but I don’t know.  I have also had experiences with rites performed seeking results which have been granted.  Not going into details – the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

There is actually some science and philosophy behind this too.  This is where my Marxism gets heavily adulterated with other philosophical views.

In Roger Penrose’s Shadows of the Mind, there is an exploration of quantum mechanics and brain structure.  You may have heard that two particles can behave in tandem if they ever touched, even if they are nowhere near each other, what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.”  It’s now called quantum entanglement.

So if that exists, what are the chances that our brains our not somehow quantum-entangled to all sorts of things – other people?  Random particles?  In fact, while most quantum movements have no effect on Newtonian-scale matter (atoms/molecules), there are specific conditions in which they indeed can, and the microtubules in our brain cells create the perfect environment for quantum activity affecting the electrical charge of neurons.  Penrose theorized that the brain is actually just a mind-body interface machine, and what is really behind the mind is a bunch of quantum entanglements that drive our associations.

You have to forgive most marxists for being so skeptical.  Marxism rightly believes that most of the world’s phenomena are materially determined, that most of the time being determines consciousness, that most things have a logical explanation, and that in human society this mostly means the causal dominance of economics, which leads to cultural dominance by the rich.

I agree with all of that, but there is an assumption that, simply because so many things have been explained by material causes, that there is NO thing that cannot be explained by material causes.  That is an assumption, not a safe deduction.  Anything is possible.  Besides, maybe there are just things that have a material explanation which we are not yet advanced enough to grasp.  What if ghosts are some kind of electro-magnetic pattern?  Anything is possible.

The one big thing that matter cannot explain is human experience.  The mind exists.  Its nature and behavior is different from that of matter.  There are correlations between things a person experiences, brain chemicals, and external triggers such as light hitting the eyes.  But all of that just draws a chain of correlation – none of it can explain what the hell experience, itself, is.  The definition of matter is that it has mass and takes up space.  Do your thoughts do that?    (These lines of thought were learned from Black Magic, introductory text of the Temple of Set.)

To be scientific is to be open to new ideas and experiences, so there you have it.

Ov stinkbugs and the void

I’m in a shitty life situation and my usual modus operandi of mopiness has given way to emotionlessness.  I remain functional but without emotions my life is pointless.  Sounds riveting, but I can actually be pretty apathetic about this melodramatic-sounding situation.

It’s a tough cycle to break but I think the answer was given to me in a sign.  Maybe a month ago a huge stinkbug was flying around my room.  I really liked it, I watched it for a while.

I noticed that it flew toward my overhead lamp.  It circled around it, flew around it a few times.  But it could never touch the light, every time it got near the light something repulsed it, maybe the heat, I don’t know.  Then it veered off into a corner behind some furniture, the darkest place in my room.

If you belong in the darkness but you’ve lost your way, head toward the light.  The repulsion will send you home.  Best way I’ve found is to kneel down and pray.  That always brings back the hate.