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Messages - Cramulus

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RPG Ghetto / Re: Unified Vidya Games thread
« on: January 08, 2018, 02:47:04 pm »
I'm also replaying skyrim with a "kill as few people as possible" style. No weapons, focusing on illusion. I've only swung a sword once in the whole game, and it was to kill Ulfric Stormcloak.

Getting through a dungeon using Fear spells is fun -- you disperse the enemies, then in like 2 minutes they come back with friends. You send them all running. Eventually you have pushed all the enemies into the final room of the dungeon with the boss, and just frenzy them all.

Illusion is such an underrated school. I think one of the most unsettling things in Skyrim is when a guy is about to rip your head off, you Pacify him, and he's aware of what's happening. Says something like "Oh don't do that", like he's aware that he is a sitting duck that his Fight-or-Flight response is jammed.

I'm basically replaying it 'cause the PS4 special edition was on sale. It sucks that there aren't a lot of good mods for ps4! I was so excited to take on Randy "Macho Man" World Eater, but nooooooo, not available. I've played so much of this game, the only juice left is stuff I haven't discovered yet, and there isn't a lot of that left.

Principia Discussion / Re: Anti-antiism
« on: January 03, 2018, 04:58:05 pm »
Isn't that also known as "Steelmanning" (as opposed to "strawman")?

In that, you take an opponent's argument, and you improve upon it, to make it the best argument it can be, and then you make your best argument against it.

I hadn't heard that term before! It's not necessarily for oppositional purposes, but another way of critically examining something. Yeah, when exploring an idea, sometimes the best posture isn't to argue against it, but to extend it.

There's also a chapter in The Art of Memetics which talks about the "hapkido of ideas" -- how in hapkido (akido? IDK), you never meet force with force. You wait for your opponent to punch, then you dodge, grab their arm, and pull in almost same direction as the punch, using their own effort to throw them off balance.

As far as the topic is concerned,

A mix of college and Internet forum culture instilled me with this oppositional bite - when engaging an idea, I approach it critically, that is, scanning for weakness. There was a time when I took a multi-year break from this forum because it was enflaming that tendency in me - my friends commented that they felt like when they explained something to me, I was too hung up on scanning for the weakness, finding the axis of disagreement, focusing on why things are wrong. In retrospect, it made me annoying to be around.

Part of my cure for this was to practice "the believing game".

When you encounter a new idea, before you've really thought about it, there is something that happens in your intuition. You make an emotional decision about the idea - you decide to either explore it or defeat it, and then your rational mind starts building up support structures for that decision.

When I was stuck on the Doubting Game, I was doing more defeating than exploring, more challenging than embracing. I was convinced that I was just being super rational - until that "rationality" started to feel like the walls of a black iron prison cell.

Principia Discussion / Re: Anti-antiism
« on: January 03, 2018, 03:25:20 pm »

There is a critical process sometimes called 'The doubting game', which is what most people think of when they think of critical thinking. It has to do with hearing a position and trying to discover the weakness, or the opposite position which falsifies it. Academia trains us to do this almost automatically.

There is another process called 'The believing game' - which is to accept the assertion the other person is making, and then following and extending its logic. You assume that the best possible version of that idea will manifest in the world and then explore where that leads.

and maybe we need more of the Believing game in this world.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: January 03, 2018, 02:59:00 pm »
Another Gurdjiffian notion I find to be (mostly) bullshit is the necessity of making "super efforts" to effect change. It's true, there are circumstances that arise where you do need to amp up things as high as they can go, to really force the juice along. Yet in my life what's been way more important is consistent on-going effort. The "pay attention and stay awake" game requires a deeply relaxed  yet focused attention.  Instead of using a sledge hammer to vanish a rock "Hulk go Smash!"  I favor the wind & water way. Steady relaxed focused attention. Wind & water over time will smooth down that stone  into nothing. You have to be patient and not expect immediate results. But steady relaxed effort bears fruit.  Super-efforts mostly create tension which can cramp attention. Yet there are times to amp it way up. Nothing is written in stone.

I've really only read one or two chapters that talk about super efforts, so I'm not real savvy. And I'm grounded in wu-wei, so I get what you mean. Go with the flow, and yo often get there without wasting your breath.

Here's how I read it though -- there are a lot of things that you cannot accomplish through ordinary efforts. I think about some of the major life changes I've made, some of the moments when I really stopped and took an assessment of who I was and what I wanted to be and corrected my course --- in those moments, I was really awake. And none of those moments happened under ordinary circumstances, they happened because I was facing an enormous pressure and needed an enormous response.

The Wu-Wei thinking from Taoism is that you should be able to approach these "super-efforts" head on. Ideally, you should make life changes as effortlessly as you order a pizza. In the Chao Te Ching, we said "Universe isn't sweaty, why should you be?" Sometimes, you do have to go into the crucible. You just want to walk out okay, not all wounded and burned, self sabotagued by doubt and insecurity.

I think about how the work groups which Gurdjieff led would engage in fasting, or the Stop exercise, or demand other hardships from their members. On some level it's a literal exercise--you face a hardship on purpose in order to develop "muscles". If you have no practice using your will, fasting is hard. Your body keeps throwing "go get some food" instructions into the processor. Without will, you just follow those instructions mechanically.

Mastering the self, controlling your impulses, escaping your prison cell... you get better at it with practice. And you get more practice by climbing a difficult mountain than from a lifetime of climbing easy hills.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: January 03, 2018, 02:39:57 pm »
Like you, I entered a work group through attending a public reading. It was a chapter from a short Ouspensky book.  Afterwards the speaker said that the most important idea to him was though "We have none presently, we do have the possibility  of creating a soul which can be immortal within the confines of the Solar System" I threw up in my mouth hearing that.  At that point in my still young life, my years of lucid-dreaming had turned into full-blown out-of-body experiences. And if a moron like me was directly experiencing his non-physical body, then EVERYONE had to have one. In other words, it's an innate thing for every single person. Not something that needs to be created. Nothing unique. Nothing mystical. It just is. Folks might not be consciously experiencing it, but it is there as a core part of every single human being. ( 'fore I go on. I am nobody special. I am a statistic. A strange statistic yeah, but still an idiot. Like you)  I have since found out, that at least in the S.F. Gurdjieff Foundation, that fucked-up idea that you need to "form a soul", a non-physical body, is dogma. Well cupcake, if you believe you can't consciously leave your physical body and explore non-physical reality, you will never do it consciously. Because if you don't think it's possible, you will never pay attention to it. You are already doing it every fucking night anyway. Unconsciously. You just need to remember that you are actually doing it. In the present moment that you are actually doing it. It's not that hard to become aware of. Takes some practice. And you do need to be able to pay attention. But still. C'mon! You're not a little baby anymore! Am I right? You can do it! ( I'm ranting 'cuz I'm pissed) Fuck you Gurdjieff fuck-heads for saying it's only advanced holy beings that have immortal vehicles. I'm living proof of that. If I'm an example of an advanced being, then honey we are all fucked. Granted, your soul might be at  the level of a petulant 5 year old, but you are still an immortal being that will never truly die. You might need to grow the fuck up, but fellow immortal, I salute you!

Thanks for the reply, a great discussion point.

My Gurdjieff work group always emphasizes that you shouldn't blindly believe stuff that you haven't verified yourself. I'll frequently bring up some far-out star-eyed claim in some book, and they'll be like "Okay, that stuff is really hard to talk about." Several times, I've brought up something like the vagueness of the word Energy, the unfalsifiability of claims relating to immortality, stuff like that --- and frankly, most of my objections are about their claims about objectivity, objective consciousness, objective meaning. I've spent decades of my life in a postmodern absurdist reality tunnel, and this work predates those ideas, so some of them just don't have a house in my existant mental landscape. Generally, the Gurdjieff people will tell me:

"Don't sweat it too hard. Those of us that have been talking about this stuff for decades, we rarely talk about the "big cosmic stuff", it's a little harder to relate to. Most of us are drawn to certain parts of the work because they resonate with us. Gurdjieff wrote a lot of stuff, not all of it is going to be right for you. When he had a big idea, he tried to build a lot of different roads to it."

And I'm down with that, to a degree -- I'm not here for immortality, I'm here to wake up, to escape the mediocrity of my life. In the 1900s, there was a lot of talk about seances and the "other side", and Gurdjieff kind of needed to put a paw down into that topical world--but it's really not the focus of his work, nor my goal personally.

So -- all that is saying, I haven't gotten tooooo deep into that part of the pool.

On the topic of the immortal soul, I'll say this ---

1. The Gurdjieff work regards a part of us as immortal already. This is atman, in the Upanishads. It's Emerson's Over-Soul. It is fundamentally distinct from ego and personality.

2. I dig the part in in search of the miraculous where someone asks about immortality and Gurdjieff tells them, look, you change every frickin day. There is nothing constant about you other than your environment. If something big happened in your life, you'd become a different person. If something as big as death happened, whatever part of you remains is also going to be dramatically changed by it. If You (Today) met You (Dead), you might not even recognize each other.

3. If you're talking about immortality in the sense of your ego, your personality surviving death ... that's probably not gonna work out.

4. When Gurdjieff writes about immortality, I think it's best read it non-literally. Every passage I've read about immortality can scan as talking about something pretty ordinary and terrestrial. He basically says that if you were a really strong presence in the world, you might continue to affect it even after you're gone. In my reading of the text, I think he's talking about how, today, we are still influenced by Ghandi and Elvis and Gurdjieff even though they have been dead for a long time. When they were alive, they affected the world so much that parts of them remain and essentially continue to function. That kind of immortality, for sure, is earned--not everybody gets one. And there's nothing mystical about it.

And I'll be honest, I'm skeptical of astral projection. I don't doubt that you've had experiences, I just am not clear on what they are or what they tell us about the world. Do you think the astral body you project is the same thing as Gurdjieff refers to as the immortal (kesdjan) body? Does astral projection give you knowledge of those that have already died physical deaths, an understanding of that world? How do you know that you're not just in a trance of heightened imagination? How confident are you that your astral-body is will still be around after physical death? and not just yours, but everybody's? In what sense are they still part of the world, given that it doesn't seem like they do anything that we can notice?

thank you for the thoughtful post!

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: January 02, 2018, 02:28:09 pm »
I read your thread Mr. C.  Welcome to kindergarten.  I love G's harmonium improvisations & some of the private Paris talks.  Jean deSalzmann has a post-humoursly published book called "the Reality of Being" that I like.  Some of what Gurdjieff wrote is utter bullshit. Sometimes I think it was intentional.  Maybe he wanted you to make effort and find out for yourself what is shit and what is not.

I agree that a bunch of his writings were BS - but I have a hard time figuring out how much of it is a put-on (like how Robert Anton Wilson leaves a few traps in his books for readers that drink too deeply and uncritically of his kool-aid), and how much of it is stretched allegory.

Like, during his life, Gurdjieff got a lot of shit for his claim that when we die, our souls travel up through some kind of astral umbilical cord and arrive at the moon, where they serve as food. It's a pretty bizarre claim.

But it's likely he wasn't talking literally--the moon is a very hard-to-untangle symbol in his work.

At first, when I was reading through this stuff, I was doing this mental sorting exercise--putting some of his claims in "yes, that checks out" and others in "nah that sounds like turn of the century fuzz". On my second reading of In Search of the Miraculous a lot of the ideas in the second pile had to be moved to the first pile, and some to a third -- "I actually don't understand what he's talking about yet".

Like, there's a whole chapter about the alchemical processes going on inside of us, how consciousness requires a certain kind of food, and this food is created by processing other types of food, such as impressions. And I don't think any of it is true in a material sense. First time I read it, I tossed it. He claims that self-remembering builds up a definite kind of energy inside of you, and this energy fuels certain processes that are otherwise frozen. He explains it all in extremely material terms. And I thought - yeah, all of this could be easily disproven. But you know... talking about presence and awareness as something like a muscle that you develop... Talking about how you need new impressions to have new thoughts, how your being can be hungry, how impressions become behaviors through this quasi-metabolic process... there's some meat there, if understood abstractly.

It comes back to something I've been saying recently - that religions are maybe not best understood as a literal explanation for how the universe works... They should be approached as a network of symbols which correlate to how things in the world (the external and the internal) are arranged. By understanding that there's a relationship between the big macro universe and the personal microcosm, the next step is to embark on a quest (like the quest to find the holy grail) to find patterns which exist in both.

Am curious to hear what parts of the 4th way stuff you think are whack! I'm trying to collect criticisms of the Gurdjieff work too... of which there are many!

Bring and Brag / Re: WEIRDOVERSE
« on: December 20, 2017, 02:53:54 pm »
No, THAT'S Beautiful!!!

Apple Talk / Re: Chao Te Markov
« on: December 19, 2017, 04:39:58 pm »
ah found it out! It's my friend Jay Ackley, a Discordian in NYC. I met him when Placid Dingo was in town a few years back.

He explained that he used this to make it:

Apple Talk / Re: Chao Te Markov
« on: December 18, 2017, 10:38:16 pm »
"A slowly growing tree will be given a Barstool in 1970." -

The Universe outside your hate, you will call you kids today. -

Both are in more than by Cramulus. And Confusion produced and flows with our jobs, the other is the wise spags called "Tweaking -

The wise spag who hear about how we choose which is like a fool, you are, you will be a part by rattling their own rules.  -

Apple Talk / Chao Te Markov
« on: December 18, 2017, 10:06:46 pm »
A friend just let me know that the Chao Te Ching is out there having all the fun on its own -- it looks like some spag wrote a markov bot that spits out new Chao Te Ching lines

Apple Talk / Re: It's me! Ask Me Anything!
« on: December 18, 2017, 07:41:24 pm »
Hi guy! I'm not sure I believe you are who you say you are, but Hi nonetheless.

say something that only RWHN would know. Like what job were you working when you first discovered Eris? I know the answer to that one...

Propaganda Depository / Re: Open Source Zine Project
« on: December 15, 2017, 08:50:51 pm »
I like the goal of making something small and easy to produce--I think that's a good idea.

Propaganda Depository / Re: Open Source Zine Project
« on: December 15, 2017, 04:01:53 pm »
we used to have a very similar idea called Intermittens! A DIY, anybody-can-edit-an-issue magazine.

But I like your idea, seems focused. I will think on it.

The bit on Grids - which I've discovered likely came from Alan Watts. Alan Watts had a radio show at Berkely in the late 50s, and teen Mal and Omar probably listened to it. Here's a section from his book  On The Tabboo Against Knowing Who You Are - - looks a lot like the Reality Grids section, right?

"Some say he was a holy man, others say he was a shit head." - this one brings me down to earth when I need it

"Oh well, then stop"

And so it is that we, as men, do not exist until we do; and then it is that we play with our world of existent things, and order and disorder them, and so it shall be that Non-existence shall take us back from Existence, and that nameless Spirituality shall return to Void, like a tired child home from a very wild circus.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: December 15, 2017, 02:23:48 pm »
Gurdjieff doesn't lean away from using certain substances to explore consciousness. He personally drank a lot of alchohol and coffee. He mentioned Hemp, Hops, Poppy, and Coffee as plants that can teach us things. He never used the word psychedelic, but suggested that these substance-related experiences can act kind of like a meditation shortcut. If drugs help you awaken, then you'll feel what being awake is like. And it'll be easier for you to find it again.

From the point of view of the Gurdjieff work, a sin is anything that makes you less conscious. Use of drugs in a way that numbs you, turns you off to the world, could be "sinful". It suggests that if you use drugs, you should approach them as a way of waking yourself up, rather than keeping yourself asleep and comfortable. And if they do help you wake up, think of it as a roadmap - you should explore that state and figure out how to get there without their aid.

I share a Blavatsky/Crowley perception of religion, that if there's truth in any of them then it can be found in parts of all of them but that not any single belief system can be entirely trusted, so then that connects back to RAW, Leary and reality tunnels  :wink:

It's interesting, Gurdjieff uses the word "objective" in a specialized way. Objective knowledge, in his system, is knowledge of the nature of consciousness and its role in the universe. The universe is a big interconnected organism, and our individual consciousness is part of its efforts to wake up. Gurdjieff thinks this truth is one of the real roots of ancient religion. And the real goal of most religions is to use symbols to plant this understanding in our being. Each religion is just one "hand on the elephant", of this truth. No one religion will capture the truth perfectly, the objective truth is somewhere in between them.

The Universe that can be described is not the real Universe;
The name that can be given is not an accurate name.
Nameless, it is the source of Order and Disorder;
Named... Well, we pretty much covered that, yeah?

And as a tangent

While the truth is distributed, it's not evenly distributed.
In the Gurdjieff system, religions or spiritual systems which don't originate from this "esoteric center", that is, the fundamental unity of the universe, are false.

They can be 'useful' in ordinary ways, but they are disconnected from what's really going on and are likely little more than energy traps. A "real religion" can impart the understanding that your essence is the same stuff as God, the same stuff as everything -- Thou Art That.

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