Monthly Archives: May 2012

[interestingtimesquib]

I’m a couple of weeks into my reading fast which will last a couple of weeks yet. As one would expect it’s causing me to work up quite a hunger, but I’ve noticed that my interests are changing and I’ll probably need to change the ‘About’ page to reflect that in time. I seem to have digested psychology and science in general for now (!) (^_^), although there will be the odd exception, and the coming thing is all about Greek philosophy and religion, especially Epicureanism, combined equally with Chinese traditions, especially Taoism, and with a side order of general cross-cultural religious/spiritual stuff. I’m looking forward to learning a little about the Mahasiddha tradition for example, wowee.

It’s an amazing time to be interested in these things because the scholarship is top-notch. I can’t believe you can just walk into Amazon and buy a copy of the Huainanzi in English! In particular what I like though is the library systems available in London, and my investigations will be much eased by joining the Hellenic Society in the near future. Yes I checked, they have the Philodemus book. :)

I was shown this guy in Denmark who is teaching a modern Epicureanism:

stressFREEDOMguide

… however he’s so hard line about it!

“Emotional well-being (aka happiness / eudaimonia) was the only subject taught in the Epicurean garden schools. For 800 years: from 300 BE to 500 CE. The Christian Emperors changed the topic for the next 1500 years: unhappiness has been taught in school ever since the cultural takeover by Church(es) and Platonic Academia…” so on, so on…

Not that he’d by my thing anyway since he’s “about as esoteric as a duck” (Glenn on a certain ninja, a rather quackist remark, he obviously never played Runequest which is a shame because it’s a good time to be a Jrusteli, but…) Seriously guys… why do you philosophers and religions fight all the time? Can’t peace be method as well as goal, as the man said? Can’t we all just love each other?

lol… never mind…


[Epicurusquib]

There were a couple of ‘but is it atheist’ objections to the previous post…

Very good page on the history of Epicureanism post-Epicurus here. The use made of it by Locke, Jefferson and so on post-“enlightenment” has stuck the label of ‘atheism’ squarely on what was never atheist. Frances Yates showed how the use of Epicurus in Palingenius influenced Giordano Bruno and was entwined with Hermetics. You can read all about Palingenius here and if you search ‘Epicurus’ you find him as a mystical ethical sage, guiding Palingenius on a visionary quest as Virgil guided Dante.

But even ancient Epicureans weren’t atheist. The recent amazing work of Dirk Obbink on the papyri coming out of Herculaneum has shed a massive light on this, but unfortunately I can’t afford this book, and it’s only volume one. I do know that Philodemus argues Epicurus held one should pray in order to entrain to the gods as archetypes in quite a modern manner, in order to realise perfection. If I can somehow manage to borrow that book from a library I shall know more. I will probably be tempted to steal it.


[youhavetoseethisquib]

Absolutely stunning 360 deg photos from Detroit showing the city’s decline.

These are images to take into the future with you.


Straight Track of Knives

Henderson’s The Construction of Orthodoxy and Heresy

Henderson’s The Construction of Orthodoxy and Heresy (1998) is such a valuable cross-cultural study of the rhetoric of ideocratic Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Neo-Confucianism; I’m just going to summarise key points & strategies below, and anyone who likes to do so can apply them more generally. He backs everything up of course.

Orthodoxies claim to be fixed since the foundation of a tradition but are not. They develop later but try to disguise their newness, usually successfully.

Social conflict is bitterer if ideocratic. The signs are: a) The total personality is engaged in the belief system (Balu’s “religion”, cf. modern pseudoskepticism) which makes a person the ‘bearer of a group mission’ so sectarian identity trumps all others; and b) The danger is perceived to be within the state and not without. The Byzantine regimes were more afraid of heresy than of armed insurrection.

There was no heresiology or ideocracy on record prior to Christianity, which was also the first Western belief system to state that choice (heresy = Greek hairesis, “choice”) was neither necessary for freedom, which it was in Hellenism, nor even legitimate, which it still was in Judaism.

Ideocracy is established as against heresy. Heresy gives it its reason to exist. It is by characterising heresy that orthodoxy comes into being.

Early Christian heretics outnumbered the orthodox. The later Monophysite heresy alone covered more ground than the orthodox creed and would probably have become the mainstream itself if Islam hadn’t come to its territories. “Orthodoxy” may in fact simply = winners. Early centuries of Christianity were polyparadigmatic. Zhu Xi, the major Neo-Confucian founder, was a heretic himself until pardoned posthumously.

Mysticism both attracts and repels the orthodox. It is always too various to blanket-condemn, and results in healing which brings the faithful in, but it just never hunkers down to tow the line either and often outright contradicts restrictive dogma.

Narrowness of an orthodoxy always increases over time.

Orthodoxies attribute pristineness to themselves. Other ways are sullied, overbalanced in a particular direction, and/or have “fallen off the main way” to be of interest only to some “minority”.

All Orthodoxies mischaracterise the heresies that mother them. They reliably lie on details of the opposing beliefs, and this distortion increases with time. They also lump together multiple heresies that they feel they have already dealt with — “This is just… [x-and-so], they’re all one in the end,” a view erasing not only the distinctness of beliefs but also their history. In fact heresies can be entirely invented by heresiographers — Henderson gives the Cainites as an example, “a product of the imagination of early Christian authors,” says more than one scholar he quotes.

Note finally:

Henderson characterises the Neo-Confucian as a major Chinese orthodoxy (which it was) but points out that Confucius himself cared neither for sects nor for debate, that is, he did not believe in arriving at views by means of argument. He also valued aporia.

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Orthodoxy claims to hold the relationship to a tradition which the inner voice of strength, leading into transcendence, holds for individual human beings — the central way, equivalent to the central channel/middle pillar/vagus nerve. And yes, wisdom traditions at a stretch could be seen as living beings. (After all they need to eat, and can provide means of eating for some of their members. They are subject to the same ecological realities faced by all human groupings.)

But neither the internal harmonising nor the passing-through-death experience are visibly in operation on a group level on anything like the scale that can occur with individuals. Kundalini does not exist on a societal level. The consensus voice in a group as I have shown is very far from transcendence and in fact blocks it as often as not, being equivalent to groupthink. I suspect the rhetoric of orthodoxy exploits the individual’s psychological need for centredness — at some level it may be believed that being at the centre of group opinion is equivalent to a centredness of the Self. Cults certainly work off that principle, acceptance in the group being sold as a self-acceptance — that acceptance can then be withheld in order to manipulate.

Why do people not know this voice in themselves? Clearly belonging to a society which usually denies an overarching personal truth doesn’t help. But equally, having brought in the question of free will before, I’d have to admit many don’t like the idea of the sheer work that can be involved in course correction to harmony with the best self. This intransigence shows itself outwardly of course, in our societies, but change on the inward level is possible at exactly the transcendent scale that 2012 sufferers mistakenly believe they will see on the societal.

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Of gorgeous silk,
Love-song-dipped
Now-art,
Is cosmos’ soul
Built-and-ripped
Apart,
Yet ever whole.


[coolartistsquib]

Who says you can’t do good psychedelia now?

Matei Apostolescu

Jacob Magraw


[readinglessnessquib]

I’m enjoyably winding down my reading now, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I must have read 100s of books since I realised I needed to know a few things, but I’ve pretty much learned what I needed to know, so a period of fasting is in order to allow the stuff to gel in the nonverbal layers. I’ve done this before and it has always been productive… I just finished the tail end of my reading on religious dogma and will give some relevant results next Sat.

EDIT/afterthought: one of the problems with mass publishing is that all thoughts take on a certain sameness owing to the kind of print.


Putting the Jigsaw Together (means extending it infinitely on all sides)

Collecting the past few months…

A subpersonality of mine could see superconscious light and show it to “me” (previous post). I’ll compare that with: in October last year I talked about LeShan’s concept that we can ‘break the laws of physics’ and experience psi because other laws are in operation when we are in other states — ‘different states, different rules’. Whilst in normal consensus-social mindstates I couldn’t see the light, but this could change in a different state.

What could any person do if not bound to normal states? What could they experience? Emmerson tells us that most people have 5-15 commonly used states for everyday life. But there’s an awful lot more to any human than those 5-15 states.

Spiritual training = new states and expanded relationships. Entraining to one’s own chakras as described in January this year expands the energy and function of the chakra which in turn affects the whole system — as all entrainments and all selves do. Opening chakras is opening new selves.

When entraining to the consciousness of a tree as mentioned in March this year an interesting thing happens — an “image” (loosely) of that tree is in you and one of you is in that tree. Whilst the entrainment continues there can be ‘one being’, ‘one system’; later the image of the other half of the system remains. This image is known as an ‘introject’ in some forms of psychology, and is a kind of internal model of who and what the tree is or was; it is with you and is affecting and transforming the system. Mutual transformation can do a lot of processing as trees like things we don’t.

1st in Image sequence from Grof’s Realms of the Human Unconscious showing shattering-rebuilding — click to enlarge

So we swap ch’i and parts of ourselves become parts of others (not in any diminishing way), introjects are taken in, exchanged. We take on ch’i of a tree, or a friend, and they take on ours, and having the introject is related to having the ch’i. Thus after Glenn pumps a lot of ch’i into Kevin Millis he gets an occasional “urge to surf” (Path Notes, p. 52). This is the Millis-introject, who likes surfing.

Selves can build around empowered images, introjects with ch’i attached. Again in January this year, I mentioned TV controls people — by entrainment to it which implants introjects that can be empowered. A good way to ensure they are empowered is to use music and bright colour, sexual themes, friending tactics, social displays, excitement or life/death situations, and quick cuts to prevent cortical processing. This is exactly the combination you would use if you wanted to implant images to bind to Freud-style neuroses. (An empowered image is the same as a “cathected” one in Freudian terms.)

Trauma can build walls between surface and deeper self-states which can dissociate or split off, and the effects of this can be incredible — consider: Murphy describes cases where a person is allergic to citrus juice in some personalities but not in others, has stripe marks from a childhood whipping in some personalities but not in others, and so forth.

Later stage in the sequence — click to enlarge

But we know that we can regather these selves into one again, reassemble. The resulting (time-based) “one” is not stiff, it flows into every area of the world(s) and spins and triggers and entrains as it needs but remains one. This reassemblage reminds us of shamanic initiation. Also of the myths of reassemblage — Osiris and Zagreus (or Lemminkäinen, or Ganesha even). What comes of those reassemblages is not what was before, it is a new synthesis and in particular is friendlier with death. Being torn apart and reassembled is normal for kundalini experiencers. Empedocles is relevant too, with his universe alternately split apart by Strife and reassembled by Love. This post is reassembling many past posts.

The step after the previous, showing the rebuilding. Click to enlarge. The full sequence in this case study had 14 steps.

The work of Grof reveals many deep parts of everyone are already entrained to non-physical things. It couldn’t be otherwise. At the ground-of-being level we are all entrained to the same thing and thus the whole system is constantly affecting the whole system. Those with “issues” aren’t able to access easily, but the tools are there. (Sometimes the therapeutic tools are too linear but we have workarounds). Having integrated that self of mine which could “see the light” — now “I” can see it. And I can do more, I can become it, which is pretty good going actually, although not at all equivalent to en“light”enment in itself of course.

It must be clear that the same drive that pushes the OCD sufferer to wash themselves 100 times a day pushed me to the light, and pushes the goddess energy through the spine and vagus nerve, and something equally important is sought in all cases, but shifting consciousness is required to get to that something.

Entrainment means that you are being changed, the influence is coming in and also going out, and you are changing what is entrained to you as it develops an introject of you. Something is brought into being by this process, a pathway. Those pathways can be walked and their directions can be changed. Different states, different rules, different entrainments. Each entrainment works by psychological absorption. The body is a kind of tradition of entrainments — we by no means possess some complete introject of our own bodies, they are mysteries in both senses. The universe is another such tradition.

In December last year I mentioned the culture could turn polyparadigmatic, which is equivalent to reassembling it and might be better than nervously trying to enforce ideocratic monoparadigms. Science that knows about the non-material is split off from the culture as a rejected subpersonality. We know how many of Zeus there are — when Zeus is entrained to the Olympic festival he is Zeus Olympios, when entrained to his task of hurling thunder he is Zeus Brontios, and a hundred others. Don’t we always experience how superficial oneness not only masks multiplicity but also prevents deep-flowing-oneness-of-manyness?

Significantly, the ego-states approach, with use of hypnotic trance, shows the same pattern of internal resolution of trauma followed by transcendence that you would get from LSD therapy and from the breathwork of Grof. (Although it can be far better controlled I think, and there are many other possibly useful techniques.) Things suddenly turn mythical, archetypal, bigger — and you’re away. No-one ever really lives in just those 5-15 social selves, surely. Seated yoga and qigong are, or begin as, forms of breathwork, and altered states involve strong levels of absorption. The initial moments of LSD entrainment are playful like the initial Smile of Glenn.

Kundalini rewires all the old relationships as well as making new ones possible. Thus a person with all her introjects empowered with ch’i, with that mosaic arranged throughout her life, is carrying pieces of the world with her as live connections which are consistently informing and being informed by her life(ves) at a series of levels. It is for this reason that the world becomes enlightened when the person does.


[ego-statesquib]

I was poised to tie together the dissociation of last week with the entrainment of last month with the Lawrence LeShan-style multiple worldviews and polyparadigms of last year, when I realised: I haven’t yet summed up the state of the art on the ego states/subpersonalities/parts therapy for practical investigators.

These systems heal psychological issues by seeing the person as multiple selves. As in: “I hate it when I do that” — these two “I”s are different ego states in the same person; you go in and talk to the individual parts and they start to have room to breathe, form different beliefs, act/interact in new ways, and heal. It’s good for inner conflict resolution and it also handles trauma very well since trauma creates separate dissociated selves which can be healed and reintegrated. That’s what “straight” psych is doing with it, although it’s just the beginning…

There are various examples scattered through the Glenn corpus, eg. little Glennie and the oatmeal (Path Notes p. 148) or that interesting young guy in Martial Arts Madness (p. 144-5) who wisely says he doesn’t know “anything about anything”.

I talked about Internal Family Systems here well over a year ago now, but I love and now prefer the wonderful Ego States work of Emmerson based on the older work of Watkins/Watkins. Emmerson’s site is small but excellent — those powerpoints at the bottom are worth the time. I prefer Emmerson to IFS because he is looser and because he uses hypnosis which is fundamental to this approach for me. There are other ways to access trance states but contact with deep selves requires non-ordinary, non-social states.

Terence Watts is halfway between IFS and Emmerson since he uses hypnosis but sometimes has a limiting framework on parts. But his methods are often nicely improvisatory in practice. I haven’t yet looked at Roy Hunter’s version but it will of course also be heavily hypnosis dependent. Another way the hypnosis approach can go is Yager’s idea of allowing subpersonality work to be done out of sight, subliminally. You can do it his way, which is very active, but I also do it Erickson’s way, triggering generative creativity. Often with this type of hypnosis you just realise three weeks later things are different and it doesn’t feel like the hypnosis had anything to do with it, because the cause-effect is more synchronicitous than sequential.

Then there’s the excellent Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy of Shirley Jean Schmidt which resolves attachment issues by putting a resource base of strength in place, then using it to heal other parts. (In fact all these systems see elements in the psyche which are not simply regular states, but which organise or understand deeper purpose, taking you out of the horizontal plane. Of course that doesn’t lead to ‘enlightenment’ all by itself but it is important.)

Schmidt’s resource base ego state is built by entraining nurturance, protection and peak experience. Good states; could be added to Glenn’s Secret Smile of achievement, adult love, and fun. This resourceful self is then used to fulfil early needs of child subpersonalities.

This means that an idea from commenter AngelaN waaaaay back in November last year is confirmed — the Secret Smile can indeed meet attachment deficits. Particularly useful in Schmidt’s account is the mirror-neuron derived maladaptive introject, which seems to be solved pretty much as are introjects in Emmerson but the explanation is clever and has a lot of truth.

In addition there is a nice-looking new book by Novicks I haven’t read yet, and the older systems that use subpersonalities such as Psychosynthesis, Gestalt and TA remain relevant, although the latter again has a rigid limit on subpersonalities which doesn’t really work for me.

But anyway you see how much of this there is. I count 8 systems or 11 if you count three old ones in the last para. There’s something in this folks! To use it for transpersonal development you can soup it up.


Light Anatomy

I can’t say how this began.

In one early unknowing attempt to rewire what life was disarranging I snarled at my boss that I was going to bed. “Alright!” he said, puzzled at my accusatory tone. I too was puzzled since apart from a mild temperature I had no idea why I was going to bed nor why I sounded so accusatory. I spent all day in my room without eating. I was working in Holland at the time. I can’t remember if it was then, although I think the time after, when during the hours in bed I became simultaneously so hot and so cold and also so confused that I had the window wide open to cool me off and the heating fan on maximum to warm me up.

Anyone who wishes to explain this by Darwinian adaptational advantage can feel free to speak up. It is clearly shamanic illness/spiritual emergence etc. But I had never heard of shamanism and was brought up to assume that it was a fictional category some unfortunates chose to pretend was real. After a day or two at most it would subside. I said nothing about it even to myself. (That wasn’t so wise but I just had no transpersonal interests.)

The process became stronger and more interesting. In one episode in my twenties I again took to my room, knowing this time that I was searching for something. I thought it must have to do with fantasy or myth. I began pulling out books, thumbing them for images. Each one was ‘obviously not it’. They ended up in a pile on the bed with me.

I didn’t know what I was searching for — “something to complete me”, it seemed. But these things did not complete me and I seemed to know that; how? What in me knew this? What was pushing me to seek?

I realised that something in me could actually “see” what I was looking for. I decided to look “where” this thing was looking. I discovered that it was seeing a great light. I don’t think this light was at all external (some can be of course) — it was an inner illumination. I went up into it. Some interesting stuff happened. When the day ended I was chuckling to myself in delight and breathing quite obviously through the soles of my feet, which was odd because I’d never been taught pore breathing or indeed any transpersonal techniques at all; not even so much as the idea of them existed in me consciously.

That light was a good thing to discover. Although it’s not that bad I don’t like the term ‘Higher Self’. Superconscious Light is a term I will use to myself. The light does have content and even form in a way but is not… describable. The older terminology in the West was genius (Latin) or daimôn (Greek). (Inspiration denies mechanism. There is not some mechanism here. Tell anyone who thinks you are a machine to go wrench themselves; they are just trying to control you.) This is all about aliveness but in a massive key. It’s also about love and strength and inspiration, vivification and destination and — yes superconsciousness, consciousness in a higher and more intense key. There are problems with “higher self” because of the word ‘self’ since most people mistake self-concept for self, whereas this light is something which cannot be entered whilst maintaining the self-concept.

The overhead space is The Place You Get To in both Yogic and Taoist Inner Alchemical systems — after a long while of previous opening and harmonising though. It is “where the story really starts”. I’ve learned a lot more down-to-earth stuff to help with the accessing.

Using Ericksonian trance in this highly non-Ericksonian context, I like to join the subconscious mind (which in this form of hypnosis is solution-generating) to the superconscious. In this way I think of first getting into the body below and then getting out of it above, which fits with the Yoga/Taoist stuff again. First you go down then you go up. Trancework is an incredible way to change in preparation because you often don’t even notice it happening. You just find you have changed, and you see that ‘it’ has been creative behind the scenes. Plus ‘it’ can tap into abilities you didn’t know you had. I’ve used this to smooth out the differences between the Taoist qigong stuff and what I do naturally — psychology in general offers a viewpoint from which you can see both things. Cross-cultural confusions can be avoided.

Note the “Ka’auhelemoa Rain” falling from the superconscious. (To me it feels more like the sun.)

It was nice to discover the Huna 3-selves diagram which shows the “first down then up” formula.

What is important though is to see this as mapped on the body in the Eastern style. Victor Anderson’s Etheric Anatomy adapts it, β-body being the conscious, α-body the subconscious, and γ-body superconscious. As you can see he’s relating it to auric layers — also to different substances. His Feri tradition was very Huna-influenced. The subconscious starts around the diaphragm area which is nice to play with if one is not literalist. Anderson calls the γ-body the ‘personal god’ — that’ll do but thinking about badocelot’s comment last week I like to use the g-word as little as I can. It’s just played out, little left of its cultural carcass for the theological hyenas. (Daimonic could also = angelic if that interests you.)

Can I just say how weird it is that this is right there, all the time, and we all have it? It is ordinary but so far removed from the ordinary. It’s said to be immortal — maybe it is but I don’t quite know what that means. (What happens when the universe ends?) Anyway longer than you can count. And yet unaging. Although transpersonal in the sense of being beyond what most would think of as themselves, I am not talking about anything cosmic here. Haloes cross cultures and are related to getting that light entrained to the rest of the energy body.

I’ll give later some very easy ways to use trance with this, but wouldn’t want to tell anyone to “have faith” in some light they can’t see. Nothing I write is about faith — only evidence and experience interests me. I would rather give people stuff they can test for themselves (the subconscious is easy to test) and would never have used the light if I didn’t know about it first. Since it is there all the time there is no point in my pretending otherwise.

The episode where I was first conscious of the light as an adult was in retrospect a Breakout — but with no conscious priming, only subconscious processes pushing. There’s quite a lot of that in my life. There’s a lesson there although it may not do many that much good — simply that because I didn’t talk and think about these experiences they remained separate from my identity. In fact having learned what the word means I can say quite certainly I was dissociated from them, with all that implies about the potential of actual Dissociative Identity Disorder (what used to be called multiple personality disorder).

It’s no wonder one is ‘attracted’ to this or that practice, because the culture squashes things and one is not allowed to think about them, but they are pushing to get out. Often I see that people squash themselves. I can recall that before I knew about kriyas I really thought I had a nervous system problem — but at the same time “I” didn’t, because “I” as normal social mind didn’t choose to know about those funny twitches with any particular clarity. I guess on some level I was sure I was ok, but that level was far from “me”. Maybe there’s a reader or two that can relate.

This also meant I never noticed the synchronisms between altered states and my regular life. In our culture it is actually possible to be dissociated from one’s own soul.

Still it’s nice to have in definite and clear “view” the staggering limitlessness of what underlies even one human being! I don’t know how the anatomy works in non-human beings. I might try to find out sometime… this has unfortunately been the wettest English April in a century. I hope your May has begun well…


[Dawkinsquib]

Much ado about this quote:

Richard Dawkins: The thing that really baffles me about consciousness is that I can kind of see that one could program a computer to behave exactly as though it were conscious, to pass the Turing Test, and actually fool people into thinking that it was conscious, but I still have trouble believing it actually would be. And yet I think I have to be committed to the view that it would be.

… but the real parse of it is not forthcoming. This is a declaration of faith, by a man whose faith is immense. He would be tempted by thoughts from the devil to renounce that faith — thoughts that a computer doing an impression of a human being is very unlikely to be “more conscious” than one doing something else, perhaps, or is not “alive” in any case, in the sense an animal is, etc. — but his faith would triumph.

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Having said I was writing less I appear to be writing more. This is the first “squib” — they will be mostly short like this and won’t interrupt regular Saturday broadcasting. Either they’ll take off or else… or else they won’t, you know.


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