Gnostic Holding Tank
This is going to look screwed up because it's still bbcode formatted.
[quote author=Cramulus link=topic=28088.msg996104#msg996104 date=1295453699] [b][color=red]WARNING - LONG POST AHEAD[/color][/b]
Dearest Farka Zarka,
I might have mailed you one of those things.
I don't know. It's been such a blur. And I'm sorry if this letter doesn't address your confusion, but it's important that I get this stuff down on paper.
I've been on this gnostic kick. It all started when everything turned to bullshit. Let me give you the order of events, maybe it'll help me sort things out.
-First there was Moosemas, which was great. We had like 30 people at my house. One of them was Cainad. As a Moosemas gift, he gave me a pair of diabetic socks. This was a joke because we all know [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvubyoR2XnQ]DIABETICS ARE ASSHOLES[/url]. -Then there was Christmas, which was bullshit. -Then, a few days before New Years, I tried on these wretched socks. This was a mistake. Within 48 hours: -My girlfriend dumped me. One of the ferrets died. My grandpa went into critical condition. My childhood cat died. 5 gigantic tumors were found on the other ferrets body. My best friend's relationship is in the shitter too.
This should have been a horrible week. But something odd happened, it WASN'T a horrible week. I kept going on adventures and laughing. Instead of falling to the ground in a worthless heap, I bounced really hard.
And that in itself sort of disconcerted me, because when it becomes total bullshit, it's supposed to fuck you up. Everybody was giving me all this sympathy, and I appreciated it, but I wasn't miserable. Maybe I'm misaligned? Maybe my hilarious metabelief system has insulated me from real emotions and I'm on some far plane, disconnected from reality. My grandpa kicked it two days ago and I AM sad about it, but not as sad as people think I should be I guess. There is a note of guilt about it.
It's like somebody pulled a Death card on my house. But the Death card, it really means CHANGE, see?
So I started digging. I started searching again for ways to ignite myself. Started trying to knock over some of the pillars I've built. Time to build myself a [i]new[/i] Black Iron Prison.
I happened upon the Gospel of Thomas. I never would have guessed that inspiration would come from a Christian text, but this one is apocryphal, buried and hidden by the church. It's really kind of amazing. It was only rediscovered in the 40s. It's written by Doubting Thomas, the guy who couldn't believe that Jesus came back from the dead. In his Gospel, Jesus is just a regular dude with no super powers. Thomas thinks that Jesus was a human who had this personal, internal experience and it changed him into a divine being. And he thinks Jesus wasn't even that special, we can [i]all[/i] have that experience. In Thomas, Jesus warns that religion and orthodoxy actually DISTRACT you from the epiphany. They make you think religion is something specific - something that it was never meant to be.
The Gnostic tradition is a quesadilla of different religious practices from Pythagoras to Buddha to Jesus. One of the things I've never liked about them is that they have this distinction between matter and spirit. They think that the world we live in is bullshit, it's just a distraction from the spiritual world. It wasn't created by somebody who is omnibenevolent, it was created by a regular flawed creature like you and me. The [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra5-H9ZBS1U]architect[/url] of our world has the breath of god, but he's not perfect. In fact, in certain ways he's totally incompetent. What actually makes him dangerous is that he THINKS he is benevolent. He THINKS he's creating a perfect world, but the truth is that we all have to live in bullshit.
The gnostics posit these things called Archons, these custodians of reality. They think that certain parts of the universe are guarded by these beings. And I never liked the idea of reality being generated from the top down, I usually think it gets generated from the bottom up, but as I was watching the Powers that Be perform a holy rite which transubstantiates Julian Assange from a journalist into a terrorist, something clicked. The Gnostics don't think the Archons are perfect either, they are also petty, flawed, territorial fucks, just like human beings. They operate in a world above ours. And what clicked is that Archons DO exist, it's just that they're not spiritual beings, they're made of flesh and matter like you and me. Right now they have names like Tim Geitner, Julian Assange, Rush Limbaugh. I'm not talking about silly little pundits, I'm talking about the keystone players who affect ALL of our lives in some small way.
So let's accept for a second that there are these Higher Powers who generate the meaning of our universe. And like us, they have the breath of god, but they're trapped in these bodies which have their own drives and desires and motivations, and that compromises the spirit. The meaning in our universe is generated by regular fucking humans, assholes who are worried about their retirement homes in the Keys and not at all connected to what it's like when you take $20 out of the ATM and it feels like you just lost another few millimeters off your penis.
Aristotle posited a world of Forms, a heaven hidden behind this world where ideas exist before they appear in the material world. He told us that in this heaven, there are only Perfect Forms, the Absolute, there are no gray areas or flaws, everything is as it should be. If you go there and see an apple, it is not just an apple. It is the Idea-of-an-Apple-Which-is-present-in-All-Apples. You are looking at THE Apple. I always hated that shit because I want to believe the world is how it should be. We haven't fallen from grace, this IS nature, we ARE natural. [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLFYx6xlhB0]This Is It. Fuck It. It Is What It Is[/url].
But the way these ideas came through the filter in early January 2011 -- actually [url=http://discordia.wikia.com/wiki/Mungday]Mungday[/url] of 3177 -- the gnostics spoke to me. Jesus spoke to me. He spoke through this painting:
and the thing is ----- this isn't a painting of Jesus. It's a painting of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesare_Borgia]Cesare Borgia[/url]. Borgia was an egomaniac in the high renaissance. It's possible that our image of Jesus is actually based off of him. There were images of Jesus before Cesare, but due to his influence, Jesus' Cesare-like features became accented over time. Today, we think it's Jesus but it might just be this power mad ruler of rome. He sits in heaven now, one of the Archons I talked about earlier.
And doesn't that just sum it up? Jesus, the major touchstone for most people in America, has gotten wrapped up into this European power trip. He generates the universe's meaning for so many people, but he himself is not perfect. He is not a part of Aristotle's world of Forms and Perfection. He is a flawed human being like all of us. He covets, he masturbates, he doubts himself, he acts out of fear, and he's running the whole fucking show!
SLAY the fucking Archons, man. The Gospel of Thomas suggests that we can ALL be those goddamn archons. We can't be the archons for everybody, but at least we can be the archons of our own world. Meaning -- whatever it is -- is inherently flawed because it's generated by both the perfect breath of god, and disgusting flesh, ruled by moment-to-moment impulses and the tragic human condition.
What I like about this worldview I've concocted is that it offers a direction for us. It suggests that the higher tiers of heaven, the platforms upon which reality is built, are accessible to us. But in order to ascend, we have to get beyond the bullshit meaning generated by the people we want to replace. There are people having conversations like you and me, and those conversations are steering the economy, politics, they are FORMING THE FUTURE. In memetic talk, we're referring to a network of communication nodes which most of us don't have access to, and those nodes influence how other nodes communicate.
They're outside of our world. Do you think Barack Obama and George Bush really believe in good or evil? Those words are for us plebs, us sad flesh at the bottom tier. They use an entirely different currency on their plane. Their world is dictated by the rules of influence and flexibility, not morality. The meaning in our day to day lives is nothing more than one of their toys.
I've only been able to access two or three planes so far. The first is the material world, the chair I'm sitting in right now. The second is the world of ideas and impressions. It is the domain of the limbic system and the monkey brain. I can access only a little bit of it at a time, I do it through posters and word of mouth. And I've gotten a glimpse of the plane two planes above that, the one where Eris sits and pulls me towards the strangeness. Her ideas filter down into the material world and become the shit we talk about here on the board. But they have to get mangled by reality filters first, they have to get spun by the Archons of our world.
That's why I [i]didn't[/i] send you the Correct Idea Machine, Zarca. Don't get me wrong, I want you to agree with me, but I want you to find the divine spark yourself, and if I tell you where to find it, it'll distract you. It won't be the breath of God, it'll be MY breath, the second hand smoke of God. Siddhartha had say fuck off to his teachers, he had to go walk the Path of Paths himself. And when he got back, he was Jesus and he trashed the temples, flipping over tables and starting fires that would last a thousand years.
I'm going to stay in this headspace for another few weeks before I return to my brand of militant subjectivity.
Yours in me,
[quote author=Cramulus link=topic=28548.msg1013543#msg1013543 date=1299187487] I really like where you're going with this... let me fire some thoughts your way, and I apologize in advance if I'm barking down the wrong tangent:
I've been lugging around a few different models of reality which deal with this problem in different ways.
The stuff you're talking about is presented in a similar way to the Art of Memetics - we're essentially dealing with the information age as a complex signal detection problem. It's difficult to parse out the signal and the noise. In order to flourish in this environment, we not only need to learn how to filter signal from noise, but we also need to examine our filtering process. This is sticky because it's not like the signal we're getting are entirely distinct. Off the top of my head - I could really use a new pair of shoes right now. And meanwhile, I've programmed myself to filter out shoe ads (99.9% of the time they are noise, not signal). Maybe I see the solution to my shoe problem every day but I've filtered it out.
AOM suggests that before we can do any real memetic work, we need to come through a Long Dark Night of the Soul. This is a confusing time characterized by doubt and introspection. I think it's one of the reasons that Eris makes a good patroness, she illustrates that confusion and doubt can be more useful than certainty, especially when it comes to self development. Dee, Kelley, and Crowley call this the Abyss, and it is guarded by a demon called Choronzon. the last obstacle before enlightenment.
So how do we slay Chornozon and with him, the world of traps and illusions? Well Crowley says that you need to contact your Holy Guardian Angel, the True version of yourself. I'm not real big on destiny or angels or anything like that, but I do like the idea that there's a version of me out there who is Killing It, and my task is to discover who that guy is. Figure out what that guy is like ...and become him.
I haven't read Crowley's ritual to discover the holy guardian angel, but I've read a summary of it. If we look past the occult dressings, I think it's actually pretty interesting. Crowley recommends this elaborate and complex ritual which will take all of your focus. (read: every day life) You continue doing these actions until you are totally consumed by them. Then, abruptly, you STOP. You shock yourself out of the cycle. You break the everyday mind. And in that moment of release from the automatic [i]robotic [/i]nature of the mind and body, you get a glimpse of your True Will.
That's the guiding star between your ears. Crowley knows what you mean, he used the same language "Every person is a star."
So if we take this as a story about our lives....
We go through the everyday routine. It consumes us. This is a false consciousness, fixated on duties and responsibilities. Even the things you find fun are one of these duties, a little garden which you must water every day because you are chained to it. We're steered by the melioration principle, the idea that we're robotically addicted to these existing neurochemical rewards. Our behavior is crystallized by this principle, we can't escape it! And that's why we need to go into the abyss and draw the True Self up like a pearl from a very deep well.
So the second idea I've been hung up on is this idea of Gnosis.
The Gnostic view is that we live in a flawed world. You and the True God are allied against this flawed world. But it's hard to know what's up because we live in a world of illusion. We live in a world created by somebody that [i]thinks[/i] he's' the True God, but he's not, and this is what actually makes him evil. He has archons which work for him, these beings which actively create the world we live in.
Our job is to transcend this bullshit and live, as much as we can, in the spiritual world behind the material illusion.
Gnosis is this moment of epiphany where you see behind the veil. I think it's similar to slaying Choronzon, or it's at least part of the fight against him. In the Matrix, Neo has to realize that his Mr. Anderson persona is false, it's made of illusory choices, and he has to shed it in order to become Neo, his true self.
This is what I was talking about a few weeks ago regarding the Nafs, this idea that our desires are a trickster which distract us from the real world. The Nafs keeps us anchored to things like money and politics and pussy and the flashy illusions meant to hijack us through the melioration principle.
alright I've been rambling so let me bring this back to Grand and Glory Old Discordjia....
There's this guy Linji founded the Rinzai school of buddhism. This is the ancient eastern equivalent of Discordia. Rinzai is centered on Kensho, or "seeing one's true nature".
This guy Linji had an interesting technique to achieve Kensho, I think you'll like it. He shouted at the top of his lulngs. But he shouted when it wasn't expected.
The student would say, "Master, what is the buddha nature?"
and Linji would look deep into the student's eyes, open his mouth as if he was about to whisper the secret of existence, and then shout
and the student, expecting a lesson but surprised by this blast of sound, would suddenly snap out of it. For just a second they were not a student, they were a reaction to the sound. The shout scared them out of their daydream. And in this, they experience the buddha nature, and they were enlightened.
I think there is a technique for filtering the filters, cutting past the illusions, dropping the dead weight, swimming in the memetic ocean...
and I think that technique has to do with springboarding yourself out of the daily rut, shocking your robotic nervous system, discovering your true will and malnourished free will.
And yeah, the star between your ears points to fun times - but that's not [i]the point[/i], you know? If it were [i]just[/i] about fun, if it was [i]just[/i] about hedonism, we'd never escape the tiring cycle of duties and responsibilities. We need new techniques now, things which work in the information age. There are new illusions we need to cut past, new temptations and desires that nobody in history has ever experienced. And this is where we come in.
Because if we can figure out how to do it, others will do it too. And eventually we won't be alone in the memetic ocean, we'll be on an island with some likeminded spags. We won't be marooned, we'll be on vacation. We'll be poor subjects, bad slaves, sovereign to no one but ourselves. [/quote]