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Messages - Cramulus

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46
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.

47
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.


48
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.



49
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

50
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

51
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

52
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


53
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.

54
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



55
Roger's poops didn't make me belive in God, but they did make me believe in the devil.

56
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

57
Apple Talk / Re: PICS VIII: 10% LARGER THAN PICS VII
« on: September 26, 2018, 10:56:51 pm »
 :lulz: reminds me of


58
Apple Talk / Witzelsucht: the Joker Syndrome
« on: September 26, 2018, 09:34:40 pm »

Quote
Witzelsucht is a set of rare neurological symptoms characterized by a tendency to make puns, or tell inappropriate jokes or pointless stories in socially inappropriate situations. It makes one unable to read sarcasm. A less common symptom is hypersexuality, the tendency to make sexual comments at inappropriate times or situations.

In our hearts,
we all already knew puns were a sign of brain damage

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witzelsucht


59
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: September 25, 2018, 01:09:28 pm »
be here now


If you're not present, the autopilot is.

Gurdjieff once said "Everything that's not automatic is the Work."


When something happens, you react.
When something happens, and you're there, you're present in that moment, you can do something more than react--you can respond.


Step in the dog shit. Feel the fuckwords and disgust percolate up through your guts and into your entire nervous system. For a moment, they take over your consciousness, you become them, they act through you, action and reaction.

If you're present, your hands are on the control panel. Somebody's home. They can choose.





If Free Will exists, it's like a muscle--a weak, underdeveloped one. It exists only in these moments where the robot reaches for the control panel and somebody is there to say "wait".



be here now

60
RPG Ghetto / Re: Official D&D 5E Announcement
« on: September 04, 2018, 05:52:40 pm »
I've never played Pathfinder, but I understand it to be rooted in D&D 3.5

What are the new bells & whistles in the new pathfinder? How does it compare to D&D 5?

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