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Messages - Cramulus

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Or Kill Me / Re: You're not conscious
« on: April 25, 2017, 10:32:32 pm »
I'm intrigued by all kinds of consciousness, and I'm not convinced that "mindfulness" is an appropriate measuring stick for it.

Mindfulness isn't a measuring stick -- it's a technique.

It isn't particularly useful to define "levels" (or gradiations, or whatever) of consciousness as becoming more true or real or appropriate as they approach greater proximity to the "here and now". A lollygagging daydream that steals whole minutes or hours from one's memory or perception of the immediate moment or environment isn't evidence that consciousness itself is waning to anyone except maybe an outside observer.

I disagree with you here.

There are a few voices in this thread which discuss these different mental experiences kinda impartially, like, they're all basically just different flavors, as opposed to steps on a hierarchy. And yeah, you don't need to be in full-self-awareness mode all the time (which is impossible, anyway). When you're doing monotonous paperwork, let the habitual mind drive, it's better at that stuff.

But I do think that there is a form of awareness that most of us only experience in brief flickering elusive moments.. that state is desirable and it's worth thinking about how to increase it.

Let me revisit the metaphor of the Black Iron Prison. We're all trapped in this cell of our tastes and routines and habits. We call this situation a 'self-constructed cell', and we refer to the self as the jailer. If we find that our lives are mediocre, or that we are not able to find fulfillment, we have to accept that the personal ettin of desire and fear trapped us here.

The self that daydreams, the part of the self that gets lost in the everyday... that self cannot plan a jailbreak. It can't even recognize that it's in jail, it's too easily distracted, or hyperfocused on what's immediately in front of it.

If we want to escape our cell, if we don't want to keep getting bossed around by the personal ettin of desire and fear, we need to promote the "watcher". We need to develop an internal moderator who can choose which desires and fears get to drive the meat machine. In the absence of this moderator, we are ruled by whichever fears and desires are making the most noise in any given moment.

It seems better to approach the fitness of one's state of mind in terms of how useful that state is to one's chosen objective: Mindfulness is probably a good idea when interacting with other people or studying psychology or the environment. It may be less useful or even wholly inappropriate for other pursuits, as in artistic or creative work.

At the risk of tangent --- you said you thought mindfulness might be bad for artistic or creative works. I strongly disagree there too... Yeah, the mechanical aspects of creative production don't require mindfulness. But at the conceptual level? Don't we create better art/music/whatever when we're not just reacting?

The author Robert Pirsig died this week, so Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is on my mind. In that amazing book, he discusses Quality as a harmony between the technical and aesthetic. He thinks that our world has suffered by treating the artistic/aesthetic realm as separate from the rational/technical realm. In a way, Pirsig's saying that to create anything of Quality, you need balance between these two. The motorcycle is his symbol of something that can be appreciated both technically and aesthetically.

Repairing a motorcycle also requires both 'minds' - it doesn't just require a technical, mechanical understanding, but also your intuition and feelings.

This rings true to my creative process - I can't create anything good unless I'm in a space where I can hear my intellect and my intuition. If I'm too zoomed-in, I end up producing something either boring or ugly.

I'm also going to say I find reductive materialism so incredibly, mercilessly dull that it is its own excuse for intentionally believing preposterous woo just to escape it.


I spent a good chunk of my life rationalizing why religion sucks

now I'm trying to suck the marrow out of its bones

part of why I'm exploring Gurdjieff is that I think he's onto something that you can't hit from a purely scientific angle

these ancient systems of mythology don't tell us much about the universe, but they do tell us a hell of a lot about the self

Or Kill Me / Re: You're not conscious
« on: April 25, 2017, 09:33:46 pm »
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.

This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.

I dunno if you saw it, but that's exactly what the article I posted is about... let me know if you can't access it, I can't tell whether it's behind a paywall or not when I'm logged in at work.

Here's the abstract:
It is now widely accepted that instrumental actions can be either goal-directed or habitual; whereas the former are rapidly acquire and regulated by their outcome, the latter are reflexive, elicited by antecedent stimuli rather than their consequences. Model-based reinforcement learning (RL) provides an elegant description of goal-directed action. Through exposure to states, actions and rewards, the agent rapidly constructs a model of the world and can choose an appropriate action based on quite abstract changes in environmental and evaluative demands. This model is powerful but has a problem explaining the development of habitual actions. To account for habits, theorists have argued that another action controller is required, called model-free RL, that does not form a model of the world but rather caches action values within states allowing a state to select an action based on its reward history rather than its consequences. Nevertheless, there are persistent problems with important predictions from the model; most notably the failure of model-free RL correctly to predict the insensitivity of habitual actions to changes in the action-reward contingency. Here, we suggest that introducing model-free RL in instrumental conditioning is unnecessary and demonstrate that reconceptualizing habits as action sequences allows model-based RL to be applied to both goal-directed and habitual actions in a manner consistent with what real animals do. This approach has significant implications for the way habits are currently investigated and generates new experimental predictions.

So basically (summarizing the above to see if I 'get it')....

They slice behaviors into two buckets: goal-directed or habitual.

We select goal-directed behaviors on the basis of their potential outcome
We select habitual behaviors on the basis of their "reward history". (this kinda reminds me of a markov chain? where every node has a dynamic value, and the output has to do with weighing nodes against each other to find the highest value for a given input)

I wasn't able to follow the bit about reconceptualizing habits as "action sequences", but it sounds like they're saying that if you understand them that way, it allows you to predict whether someone will use a goal-directed vs habitual behavior? sorry, I might need more unpacking before I can wrap my head around it

Or Kill Me / Re: You're not conscious
« on: April 24, 2017, 09:36:23 pm »
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.

This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.

The exercise I'm doing this week is to be mindful every time I open a door.

I haven't succeeded even once so far lol

the comparison between lucid dreaming "reality checks" and developing a habit of consciousness is apt

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: April 21, 2017, 05:56:21 pm »
It was alright. It was mostly a "getting to know you" session with ~10 people. We talked about why we were here, what we were looking to get out of it. It was kinda short.

I talked a little bit about how Discordianism is this soup of networked ideas, and I kept bumping into Gurdjieff through Wilson and other writers. But they didn't want to hear my reading list, they wanted to hear WHY these ideas interest me.

So I talked about my personal mind-fuck ego-death experience that I had ~6 years ago, how it profoundly shifted my understanding of myself and humans in general.

I was able to feel this vital life force animating the meat machine - and it's an ancient force.. It's been growing and exploring and reaching towards the sun since the first organisms.

And when I was outside of the ego, I was able to recognize the ancient vital force as ME. That's the real me, not the ego, not the everyday identity. I was able to see that my ego/identity is basically just an interference pattern generated from the interaction between two fields (accidents of birth and culture) and had very little "realness" to it.

And I think that when Gurdjieff talks about self-remembering - how a real moment of self-remembering transcends the ego - he's talking about the same thing I experienced. It profoundly changed me, and I want to get back there. If Gurdjieff has tools that will help me understand and explore that experience, then I'll take a ticket please.

They're setting up a "work group" - that's a small group of people that meet regularly and talk about their inner work. We'll read one chapter of "In Search of the Miraculous" every week, and then discuss. It'll last about 10 weeks. It's kind of a pain in the ass for me to get to it, but I think I want to do it.

Or Kill Me / Re: You're not conscious
« on: April 21, 2017, 04:13:05 pm »
I thinks it may be helpful not to assign a strict hierarchy that elevates self-reflection over the mundane routines of everyday habit. Some have argued that it is actually in the transparency of everyday activity that we are most ourselves. 

I don't think I agree. Do you really the You which is in the middle of some automatic process (making coffee.. driving to the bank.. checking your FB feed) is more real, is better equipped, than the You who reflects and makes decisions? If you are dealing with something difficult, which space would you rather make decisions from?

Gurdjieff calls us "three brained beings" - he says our three brains are the intellect, the emotions, and the body. Most of the time, one of these brains is driving the meat machine and excludes the others.

Like when you're hungry, your body wants dinner, and it puts pressure into the system. You get cranky... often you will vent shit at the people around you. This seems to happen automatically. If you are AWARE that you are being a dickhead because you're hungry, you can take steps to not act that way.

The idea here is that you're able to work better - in life - when your "three brains" are balanced, when you're not ignoring one of them. To this end, you can develop a "watcher" in your own mind which observes your thoughts and emotions and impulses. If you can observe this stuff happening without identifying with it, you can make better choices about how to act.

To draw another example from personal experience...

I went through a big romantic breakup recently. I'm still trying to get my feet on the ground. Self-observation has helped me recognize the fears and insecurities in my emotional center and how they creep into my actions.

I started dating again before I was ready. Through reflection, I came to understand why - because I was afraid of being alone with myself. When I was able to recognize that fear was fueling my behavior, I could see that I was making bad decisions.


I made that one

This butthole never replied to me :(

Literate Chaotic / Our Discordia
« on: April 19, 2017, 04:08:37 pm »
In many ways, Religion is kinda stupid, right?

but instead of leaning away from it

letís dive in

head first

Letís exercise our right to be wrong

Letís juice the religious experience for everything itís got.

Because IF beliefs are sacred, even the stupid ones,

BOOM, a bunch of really stupid shit is now sacred.

A lot of atheists come into Discordianism because itís this great joke on religion.

And then

when you feel where this headspace is,

you can see thereís something else


and you donít need to go to church for it,

you donít even need to really believe in a god to tap into it,

 itís this chaos inside

which can become anything

and listenĖif there are things in this universe

that are irrational

then our rational minds deceive us

into thinking that whole Enlightenment routine

can bust down any wall

but hey, you try reasoning with the clouds

Iím sure theyíll come around.


some stuff in this world is sacred

and I donít know what sacred means except

    a connection between

     heaven and earth,

       the conceptual and the material,

          the body and the spirit

and some stupid shit is sacred now


finally the bibles are molding on the shelves

finally the traditions have worn out

finally the parade is over

finally god is off the pedestal

finally we are in the driverís seat

finally a roach will save me

finally, flying baby shit

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: April 19, 2017, 03:19:23 pm »
I've got the Invite. On Thursday, I'm going to a more intimate meeting with a smaller number of people.

On May 21st, I have tickets to see a live presentation of the Sacred Movements. That's really exciting; they haven't been presented in NYC since like 1962, and before that, 1923.

I found another Bill Murray video where he obliquely references the Fourth Way:

He talks about the secrets he was taught, about living, and how it transformed his life. Being relaxed, having fun doing whatever you're doing, living in the moment...

I like how Bill reminds himself... "This is it," he tells himself, "This your life, you only get one, this isn't a dress rehearsal."

I was on the subway the other day, just waiting for 20 minutes while we approached grand central. Bill's words rung in my ears - this isn't just a transition between point A and point B, THIS IS IT, this is living, make the most of it! 1 face smiles.

Every moment is the holy moment.

Or Kill Me / Re: You're not conscious
« on: April 19, 2017, 03:10:18 pm »
Oh yeah definitely! You can't escape that, and shouldn't. You can't just go about your entire life with awareness cranked all the way up. You self-remember, then you get distracted by something, and you're back into the habitual mind. And do you really want to be fully conscious while doing boring repetitive work?

I <3 Huckabees: The Ball Thing

But on the other side, there are entire weeks that go by where I'm just running mental routines--awareness is just a flickering pilot light. While you're in the habitual, you never ask yourself "Why am I doing this?"

It seems like we only ask ourselves the BIG QUESTIONS after a tragedy. Why is that?

in part, it's because the everyday has been BREACHED


[Maybe a bit of a tangent...]

I think the right psychic-kung-fu stance is to try to understand their position, the way they see it, then feel it out for weak points.

If you want to feel what it's like in the pro-life space, visualize this:

Imagine that you live in a world where it's legal to kill a child at any point before their first word. They're not really considered independent people until they can talk.

This is obviously murder, right? But nobody else seems to think so. If you try to explain that a 6-month old baby is a person, people are like "It can't even fuckin' talk! You hate women."

The way forward is in bringing their attention to the fact that if you want to actually decrease abortion, rather than just whinging about it forever while it goes on all the same whether legal or illegal, then put your investment in effective sex education, ubiquitously available birth control for everyone, and set serious penalties for rape - both social and criminal.

yeah I think this is the right jujutsu

isn't it funny how these same spags always go "Gun regulations don't actually stop criminals, so why do we need regulations?" - but abortion laws, totally different animal, right?

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« on: April 14, 2017, 03:20:22 pm »

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: April 13, 2017, 09:48:52 pm »
There is no Faith in the fourth way. The Gurdjieff Work places a high emphasis on verifying things yourself.

There is a gnostic vibe to it; you can get info from teachers, but your knowledge must come from direct experience--anything else is a castle built on sand.

I will say that I'm in the process of verification. Still exploring. I don't have enough info to believe or disbelieve.

A few parts of it are rock solid to me though. There are a lot of Gurdjieff topics that resonate strongly with my own experiences. I've had my own gnostic-mystical-holy shit-experiences where some things came into focus. The less said about this, the better. But when you've been there, you can recognize when other people are talking about the same thing.

When Gurdjieff talks about as the self as something larger than the ego, when he talks about the universe as an organism and the correspondence between macro and micro - that stuff is exactly what I spent years exploring in my Fractal Cult project. His talk about us having "Many Selves" with their own agendas matches perfectly with the model of self presented in the Art of Memetics, which I do buy into. So a lot of the Gurdjieff work is like different language for stuff I already had inside of me.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: The #AltWoke Manifesto
« on: April 13, 2017, 09:03:11 pm »

Just scanning this doc for Nick Land...

They seem like they agree with parts of him and hate parts of him.

We agree with Nick Landís diagnosis of late capitalism. It is an entropic AI, a systemic feedback loop wholly incompatible with the welfare of human beings.

Our Ďamoralityí isnít a bankruptcy of ethics so much as an emotional discipline in response to global existential threats. A learned stoicism and pragmatism is crucial to #AltWoke. We acknowledge the reality of planetary scale ecological and sociopolitical catastrophe. We accept this reality as well, insofar that itís a causal plausibility given the geopolitical circumstances. If we do nothing, Apocalypse will be the next epoch after the Anthropocene.

The nihilism exhibited by Nick Land and his NRx acolytes looks anemic from where weíre standing. NRx/Right Accelerationism is nihilism for cowards. Passively observing the phenomenon of capitalismís gross consumption of the Earthís resources, watching the development of technology that exacerbates this phenomenon, and synthesising this with a eugenic, Eurocentric fundamentalism shouldnít even count as an ideology.

they mention Nick Land six times in the doc, usually both a nod that there's he got some stuff right and also to dismiss and deride his fanboys.

Dude on FB says: "Acceleration is the is. Left-Acceleration is the ought."

I will state for the record I have read zero Nick Land, and I can only make it like 40 words deep into any neoreaction writing before my eyeball starts to twitch and all of the sudden I'm doing something else

Aneristic Illusions / Re: The #AltWoke Manifesto
« on: April 13, 2017, 08:52:49 pm »
 :lulz: I find an "alt-woke" FB group and look at the first fucking post:

accompanying text:

Did you ever hear the tragedy of Nick Land the Wise? I thought not. Itís not a story that academic philosophers would tell you. Itís a Continental legend. Nick Land was a Deleuzian of Warwick, so powerful and so wise he could use creative destruction to influence the intensive thresholds of terrestrial history to createÖthe Outside. He had such a knowledge of the dark side of Capital that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying. The deterritorializing flows of Capital are a pathway to many abilities some consider to be of a highly schizophrenic character. He became so deterritorializedÖthe only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which eventually, of course, he did. Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice, Ray Brassier, everything he knew, then his apprentice killed him in his sleep. Ironic. He could save others from death, but not himself.

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