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Messages - Cramulus

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1
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: October 12, 2018, 02:35:38 pm »
Quote from: 1924, ‘Gurdjieff’s early talks’
Sacred dances have always been one of the vital subjects taught in esoteric schools of the East. They have a double aim: they contain and express a certain form of knowledge and at the same time serve as a means to acquire an harmonious state of being. The combination of unnatural movements helps to obtain certain qualities of sensation, various degrees of concentration as well as the directing of thought and senses.

This dancing has another meaning than we are accustomed to. Ancient dance was a branch of art, and in ancient time art served the purpose of higher knowledge and religion. Knowledge was expressed in works of art, particularly in dances, just as today we give out our wisdom through books. Thus ancient sacred dance is not only an aesthetic experience but a book containing a definite piece of knowledge. Yet a book that not everyone can read who would, which not everyone can read who will.

The Sacred Movements aren't just about body movement or concentration, though that's a big part of it. The movements themselves contain knowledge. I get the sense that concentrating on two different rhythms at once is kinda like learning how to hold the pencil. We haven't even gotten to the alphabet yet.

There were a few movements for which we were given a specific meaning.

In one movement, we were told to express "up". When you get into the posture, your shoulders should rise, your hips should rise, your eyes should rise. And when you take that step, try to "go up" with your entire being.

Another movement was a bold step forward. We were told to put our entire being into this step. As if to say I AM HERE. While we made this step, the instructor reminded us to feel our presence in the world, where are we? when is it? what's happening right now?

In one movement, we held our hands straight up in the air, hands pointed vertically, parallel to each other. Our teacher said that when we do this, we should think of it as trying to connect to The Above. Using that as a key, it helped me understand the meaning of a few related movements. After the vertical, you recenter yourself, and then reach out left and right, arms parallel to the ground, straight, horizontal, the earth. Then you recenter yourself. In the next motion, you point forward, one arm at a time.

It felt like establishing coordinates. Here I Am in 4 Dimensions. This "meaning" was not given by the instructor, I inferred it myself -- which gives it a different quality than something you are given. While we're doing this, we're chanting.

Gurdjieff's version of "prayer" is not devotional (Praise God!), and it's not transactional (Dear Santa!). It's about focusing oneself on a goal. The one you're addressing is the inner self. You intone a phrase, focusing entirely on each word and the meaning of that specific word.

I AM (think about who you are, your presence in the world, and as the word vibrates in your throat, FEEL that self)
I WISH (feel desire, the feeling of wanting something, not just momentarily like a craving, but something you want in your whole being)
I CAN WORK (the ability to struggle past difficulty, to overcome the machine... the feeling of being a person who can overcome)


There was a movie called "Meetins with Remarkable Men", made in the 70s, based on the Gurdjieff book of the same name. You can find it on youtube. Towards the end, young Gurdjieff is in the mythical Sarmoung monastery and is being shown the sacred movements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVgLNo6ZMX4&t=1h36m14s

He asks: What is the real meaning of these movements?
The master answers: They tell us of two qualities of energy moving without interruption throughout the body. As long as the dancer can keep in balance these two energies, he has a force that nothing else can give.


2
I've got a print copy of the Book of Chaos And It's Virtues. (Oh Eris, How I hate that apostrophe)

Its a great read. Not my style of Discordia, but I appreciate that old St. Vincent was drinking from the source.


I was in New Orleans last weekend... raised a glass to him, wherever he is.

3
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: October 11, 2018, 05:31:36 pm »
So they are inducing you into hypnotic trance and training your bodies to be acrobatic and flexible. Maybe it's grossly offensive to say, but if you start going all Manchurian candidate on us, losing time, disappearances of political and industry figures in the newspapers, I am calling it now.

I told you guys I was losing my shit, and none of you stopped me, so I hold all of you responsible for the assassinations to come.

Quote
I really like this metaphor, especially the driver and the carriage, the horse is the only part that is hazy to me. If you calm the emotions and get them to be driven by your will, is it still the horse that is propelling the carriage, is emotion the only thing propelling the carriage, could memory be another horse, it is that something that can set off emotion in conflict with the driver?

All the parts have friction until they learn how to work together. It's difficult to coordinate them because are independant and speak different languages. If they work together, they are a harmonious whole.

A more concrete example of this can be found in the body's tension. The body is like its own brain, it processes inputs in its own way. When it gets cold, it shivers. When it's hot, it sweats. Sometimes it gets sent data from the emotional brain -- it tries to process these data, but its only able to work in its own way. This is one way of looking at how emotions manifest as muscle tension. Your body is trying to work through these emotions but all it knows how to do is squeeze.

In a properly organized human,
   the emotional-brain processes the emotions and
   the intellectual-brain processes ideas and
   the body-brain processes physical inputs.

By default, these inputs are all crossed up. We try (and fail) to rationalize our way through emotional problems, our emotions suck at solving intellectual problems, and your body wastes a lot of your energy working on the wrong stuff all the time.

This is why (for a lot of things) you do your best work when you're relaxed. Muscle tension is a waste of energy--releasing it is a small way of reorganizing the work being done.



To answer your question about memory - in this model, memory is not a processor (ie another horse), it is material that gets used in a process. Like, I'm deciding where to get dinner - my memories are fuel for the emotional calculus, intellectual calculus, and physical calculus which results in a decision.

4
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: October 11, 2018, 04:11:41 pm »
When you get some time, would you mind expanding on the self not being the ego?

It's very difficult to put into words. Talking about it doesn't do it justice. I will not be able to communicate it in writing, it won't make sense to you unless you experience it yourself. So I apologize that this is might sound like woo woo nonsense, (the truth that can be spoken is not the eternal truth...) but maybe I can lay a few fingertips on the elephant.

William James says it like this: the mind is just a fragment of the overmind.

I can say that this Truth (and I am comfortable using the capital-T there) is accessible through a few different traditions.  It's available via zen meditation. It's present in the AUM meditation. All genuine mystical experiences reflect it too. Most Gnostic traditions draw from it. It is quintessential, ancient.




In the brief (sacred) moments of ego death I've experienced, there is an awareness that there is this electric spark animating me. It's the organizing principle behind my thoughts. It's present in every voluntary act and motion. And it's ancient, like, as old as cellular life. That first cell, way back in the beginning, with its primordial desire to survive, was the first particle of consciousness. Each living being has passed the spark on to its descendants, like a torch lighting another torch, since the dawn of organic life on earth.

The brain is the CPU, the spark I'm talking about is the electricity inside of it. That electricity is not ours, it's given to us. It's something we share. It's the true self. Hidden away, drowned out, inaudible amidst the cacophonous order and disorder of everyday life.




In the Gurdjieff work, there's a listening exercise. Listen to the world around you. Don't use your intellect, separating and labeling these different sounds. Listen to it as if it's not individual instruments, but one harmonious piece of music.

Eventually, I develop an awareness that the self is one of these instruments, and lose it in the exchange of figure/ground. The ego is the instrument, the self is the music.

We Discordians describe this music as 'Primal Chaos'. The raw universe exists outside of our petty preferences and labels  like Order and Disorder. This is what it means to see Chaos, the raw unformed stuff of the cosmos. It is what it is. We're all just toys that the Eternal plays with.

Quote from: The Rubiyaat of Omar Khayyam
Life is a checkerboard of nights and days
Where Destiny with men for pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, mates, checks, and slays,
And one by one back in the closet lays.”

5
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: October 11, 2018, 03:33:47 pm »
I started Movement classes last night. If you'll recall, the Sacred Movements are one of the things which originally got me interested in studying the Gurdjieff work.

It's a commitment - learning the movements will take a full year of Wednesday night classes. And it's a challenge to get there. The classes are in Manhattan at 9 PM, so I've gotta take an hour long train into the city, wait around for an hour, do the class, and then race for another hour long train ride home. If I miss that second train, there's another 45 minutes of waiting tacked on. So now I'm giving up two nights per week to Mr. Gurdjieff, and the rest of my life rankles at the sacrifice.

After complaining about this, the teacher said to me "Maybe this isn't the right year to do it."

On some level, I was hoping she'd convince me, but she so easily let it drop. They're really not forcing anything. The desire to attend has to come from the self, or it will erode.



The class began at 9 PM in the upper floor of the Gurdjieff Foundation. The Movements have an aura of secrecy... No one has ever told us what takes place here, anything I've said about the Movements has been my own conclusions based on the fragments I've observed. We got changed into movement clothes (that is, clothes that are easy to move in, not some sacred-movement-specific uniform) and stood on a large Enneagram painted on the floor.

I expected some discussion, some explanation, some background... but there wasn't anything like that. We just began. Our teacher started by arranging us into a circle, and had us all raise our right hand to eye level. We practiced doing it in sync, feeling the shared energy -- as if it's not us individually moving, but the group moving.

After a few similar movements, she arranged us into rows and columns. We practiced different movement routines. All of them require a lot of concentration and attention. I have no grounding in theater or dance, so remembering a sequence of body movements is very difficult for me. I found myself frustrated and chagrinned. I tried not to identify with that feeling, so that I could use it as fuel for Being. When one is challenged, one must work through the frustration.

The music helps. The piano player brings us to another world.


Last summer, I wrote about a concentration exercise they gave us... As you walk, you count each step your right foot makes, from 1 to 50. And meanwhile, with your left foot, you're counting each step down from 100 to 50. Eventually they meet in the middle. The feeling of this exercise is like two cogs in the mind acting independantly. Eventually, something appears between them.

A lot of the movements felt like that. You're trying to repeat a series of steps which is 8 beats long. Meanwhile, you're repeating a series of motions with your arms that is 6 beats long. They do not sync up. Your habitual-mind tries to memorize the pattern, and fails. Through repetition, you eventually just start doing it. I couldn't explain what I was doing, but my body seemed to know.


One of Gurdjieff's explanations of Self is the "carriage metaphor".

There's a carriage (the body), a horse (the emotions), and a driver (the mind). They're all connected to each other. They all "speak" different languages. The carriage can't move without the horse, the horse will do its own thing without the driver, and the driver needs to convince the horse to move the right way. The driver must also groom and take care of the horse. But this group is missing something--the master. The master tells the driver where to go (if they understand each other).

The master can't talk to the horse or the carriage, they don't speak the same language.

There is the potential for this group to act harmoniously, not resisting one another, but to coordinate and arrive at a destination intentionally--that is to say, non-accidentally. Not just based on the momentary whims of the driver, the meanderings of the horse, or the limitations of the carriage.



When we began the movements, I expected an explanation. I expected the teacher to talk to the driver (my intellect) and let him know where to lead. But she ignored him. She was talking to the horse and the carriage. The movements are a kind of language. There is meaning encoded in them. I could explain this here, in text, but I don't think it would actually be conveyed.

At the end of the class, I didn't feel like I had learned or mastered anything. I didn't feel any differently. I was actually really frustrated at my inability to learn the steps and keep in sync with the group. But I'm going to keep trying.


6
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: October 11, 2018, 02:59:04 pm »
just as a coda to this:

Quote
Talking about the impossibility of not serving the ego... it reminds me of our old discussions about how there's no such thing as "white magic", everything you can do serves the self in some way. This is the ego trap: the everyday mind can only consider things in terms of what rewards they offer to it. The ego cannot comprehend a truly selfless act, it just doesn't work that way.

I didn't think this particular jailbreak was possible. You will find plenty of places on this forum where I deny the possibility of free will--after all, we are slaves to tastes, desires, fears, the melioration principle.

But my mind has changed. Disciplined self observation, and the brief moments of ego death I've experienced, serve as fuel for this ... alchemical change.  I do think an act of free will is possible--and it's possible to be truly altruistic--but it's very difficult and requires "fuel".

Quote from: Roger Asks...
to what purpose is free will and ego death except the promotion of the ego that you're trying to separate yourself from?

The short answer to this question is that the self isn't actually the ego.

In the moments when I can wrap my head around that, I gain degrees of freedom.



7
Apple Talk / Re: Dream a Little Dream With Me, part VIII
« on: October 05, 2018, 06:34:39 pm »
I love the idea of singing 80s music in sea shanty format


HEAVE HO
ALL RIGHT
TAKE IT EASY BABY
MAKE IT LAST ALL NIGHT
   *cainad at higher octave* make it last all night

8
I grew up in Connecticut about 4 miles from the GE headquarters. They brought a lot of money into CT.

A few years ago, our governor killed the goose that laid the golden eggs by slapping them with heavy taxes, basically driving them out of the state. Everybody thought he was an idiot, even though they all wanted to see the rich pay their share. So to some degree it's kind of a relief that they were dying anyway?

anyway, CT is fucked regardless

9
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: October 04, 2018, 05:47:41 pm »
That question is this:  "If robotic or suspected robotic behavior gets you through you life happily and successfully, then to what purpose is free will and ego death except the promotion of the ego that you're trying to separate yourself from?"

I don't mean ego in the popular sense of the word, but rather the psychological sense of the word.  Assuming that someone is genuine about this, it's still a service to that person's ego.

Happiness and success is a fine goal, it does not require inner freedom. Plenty of people are fully satisfied with life without getting into any of this. And for a lot of people, inner freedom leads to misery.

There is a whole commerical cargo cult around selling meditation techniques and mindfulness as a key to productivity - to me, this misses the point entirely. Nowhere in this body of work do they say that Consciousness* is a tool to achieve happiness or prosperity. I've found that "spirituality" is not calming, but upsetting and disturbing.

Talking about the impossibility of not serving the ego... it reminds me of our old discussions about how there's no such thing as "white magic", everything you can do serves the self in some way. This is the ego trap: the everyday mind can only consider things in terms of what rewards they offer to it. The ego cannot comprehend a truly selfless act, it just doesn't work that way.

This is why Gurdjieff reccommended that people practice generosity.. but in secret.




Quote
Slavery implies a master.  To whom am I enslaved, assuming I am rampaging through the world without concern for their speed limits and their stop signs and their "gravity"? 

external circumstances &
the law of accident

10
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: October 04, 2018, 05:20:10 pm »
Free will is also possible if you are a dumbass.  I know this, because I am an utter dumbass and I engage in free will all the time.  The Buddhists call this "no mind", IIRC, though with me it's "no brain".  Overthinking things will often lead your head directly up your ass.

Consider: I have been a dumbfuck my entire life, but I have a great family life, a good job that interests me, and I am happier more than what would normally be called reasonable.  And all of this without once worrying whether or not I am robotic or not.  The wind whistles between my ears, Cram, and I like it this way.  Also, I didn't have to murder my ego.  It's along for the ride.

The way of the monk is one of the "three traditional ways" (to which the Gurdjieff work is the fourth). Gurdjieff said the difficulty is that the monk practices overcoming desire while in the monastery, but as soon as they come down off the mountain, they're back in the world of Love and Hate, Approach and Avoid - and therefore their actions are determined by external circumstances.

The monk attains inner freedom by halting their judgments, seeing the world (the raw chaos) without attaching our subjective little labels of "good" and "bad", "order" and "disorder". But then the car splashes cold water all over them and they say "this fuckin sucks"--and immediately become a slave again.


I wouldn't know what to do with free will if I had it.
What do you do with free will, anyway?


you do what's needed


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Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: October 04, 2018, 03:27:50 pm »
one of the things I've struggled with for 15 years now is the idea of free will.

There's a "law" in behavioral psychology called the Melioration Principle. It says that an organism will engage in a behavior until a competing behavior offers a better reward. You can see this every day, in everything you do. When you make a choice, what you're doing is really just a quantitative weighing of rewards. And doesn't that sound mechanical? Does that seem like free will? It seems like free will is just solving this calculus equation.

Gurdjieff says there's a way out of this. That there are moments when you can escape this inner slavery. Moments when your actions aren't mechanically dictated by external circumstances. With work, with awareness of the internal world, with "conscious labor and intentional suffering", we can achieve brief moments of internal freedom.

And I say: I will believe it when I see it.

But I'm not dismissing it until I have walked down the path myself. If this kind of freedom is possible, I want to taste it.




I believe it now. It's possible to have a moment of genuine free will.


It's only possible when you've brought about a contact between your conscious and unconscious parts.


Eventually, the limb-sensing exercise becomes a map to that place. In this place, in the inner circle of self, you can become momentarily free of the mechanical influences of the material world (behavioral conditioning ... stimulus & response).

Once you are outside of the ego, your actions can originate from something else.

(a voice in the distance whispers the word "reality"
another voice goes "shhhhhh")





Joseph Campbell talks about Holiness as the thing which bridges the higher and lower worlds, it is the neutral force between up and down.  The Holy Grail, to me, is the correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm. The laws of the inner world and the laws of the universe are the same.

The universe is the big jazz chaos, the AUM mantra. We're just one of the sounds inside of it. But if you sit for long enough, you lose the sense of that sound, you hear the whole composition. Being able to act on behalf of that composition, rather than the instrument in your hands, is holy.



Years ago, I had this epiphany when I noticed the dust behind my computer monitor. It occured to me that I look at this dust all the time, every day, and I never clean it! because I don't actually notice it.

How do we notice these things which are around us all the time, but are occluded by our daily rhythms and the way we choose to distribute our attention?

You need a Shock. I thought, once, that I could build these Shocks into my daily life as a routine. Every other Wednesday, I'd take 2 hours to do something different. And that novelty would allow me to return to the rhythm with fresh eyes, finally sensing the dust behind the monitor -- and also the unnoticed dust behind everything in my life.


This is why the Bible says you must remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. It means you need a break from your life, to go away and return. Because only then can you overcome the ego which drives everyday life and act in service to the higher world - this bigger picture is invisible unless you can step outside of the everyday rhythm and see it for what it is. The Old Testament also tells farmers they should let 1/7th of their fields lay fallow every season. This allows the soil time to regenerate, ensures the long term life of the farm. All things must rest so that they may again awaken.

Madame de Salzmann says that ordering your life so as to create the conditions for this awareness is sacred. In the Gurdjieff work, we don't casually throw around words like Holy and Sacred, they have so much baggage...  But now I understand what it means.



If you exercise every day, you may observe incremental change. But every so often, you can look back and notice how far you've come since the beginning. Right now I'm noticing how far I've come since I started this Work. And I've realized that I was doing the Work before I learned about Gurdjieff. (my Fractal Cult art project / cabal was part of it too.) A moment of ego death is holy. I can now recognize that I may have had a few flickering moments of free will during my life. And I am preparing myself to have one intentionally.  To experience free will, consciously, is like being born again.

Gurdjieff observed as a child that Yazidis were unable to step out of a circle traced around them on the ground. We are all like this, the circle is ego, behavioral conditioning, association, stimulus & response, culture, dogma, good and evil---the circle is the womb.

12
Principia Discussion / Re: The Smillsoid Has Landed!
« on: October 02, 2018, 09:23:54 pm »
hi music guy

leading with the foot fetish thing is an interesting choice


no judgments from me about kinks, but like, its a weird choice for a first impression topic on a non-kink forum


if you need me, I'll be in my bunk, jamming it off to scat granny lemon parties



13
Roger's poops didn't make me belive in God, but they did make me believe in the devil.

14
Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: September 26, 2018, 11:01:08 pm »
 :lulz: :lulz: he just delivered a 5-min long explanation that everybody was actually laughing with him

15
Apple Talk / Re: PICS VIII: 10% LARGER THAN PICS VII
« on: September 26, 2018, 10:56:51 pm »
 :lulz: reminds me of


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