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Messages - Cramulus

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Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: December 14, 2017, 02:27:31 pm »
Interesting, how would you say Terrence McKenna is the opposite?

It's funny - I was into the occult, then I wasn't, then I'm interested in it again - but not for the Madghckique or anything like that.
I've come to the understanding that religions and occult practices are all just a bunch of symbols with relationships to each other. And that a lot of those symbols and their relationships are isomorphic to stuff going on inside of us. And through that lens, I am discovering a new appreciation for Mr. Jesus and his bible friends, etc.

And my definition of God has shifted over the last two years or so. When people say God, I think of the entire material universe at once, the whole fuckin thing, raw and uncut by judgments and perceptions. And through that lens, the question of whether or not God exists doesn't make any sense. It also doesn't make sense to pray, in the style of petitioning for things. But petition is only one form of prayer. I think that meditation is another. If you can become conscious, the universe is slightly more conscious, and it wants that. It's part of why we're here, why consciousness exists.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: December 13, 2017, 02:38:07 pm »

Last night, instead of meeting, we were invited to a special presentation at the Gurdjieff Foundation.

This was really exciting for me. Way back when I started thinking about this stuff, I was intrigued by the mystery... they were holding cards they weren't showing us. Now, 8 months later, the five of us are invited to the actual Foundation building for the first time. We didn't know what to expect. We just knew we'd be listening to some music and readings.

The Gurdjieff Foundation building used to be a firehouse. Before we went in, our host asked us to keep silent while we were inside. It's fancy in there! We hung up our coats in the basement and then sat down in a temple-looking room.

The place I was in had a certain feeling to it - an aura of contemplation and peace. Nobody really spoke while I was there. I'd say there were about 100 people in the audience. Our group of five -- most of us are in our mid 30s -- were definitely the youngest people there by some 15 years.

The ceiling of the temple was tiered, like a ziggurat. I recognized the shape from a diagram in a Gurdjieff book - the idea is a temple with four court yards, each inside the other. Each court yard is gated, you are not allowed access to it until you have been properly intiated into the mysteries. The innermost courtyard is sacred ground, only for those who have made it to the center of the work.

During this presentation, the audience was seated in the "outer courtyard" area, and the performance was in the inner courtyard area.

Here's a picture I managed to sneak after the performance:

The presentation lasted about an hour. It consisted of three readings, interspersed with about 7 songs, played by different people on a grand piano.

The connecting theme was the "sayyids". Sayyid is an arabic word meaning "Master". Muslims that can trace their bloodline back to the Prophet are considered holy people -- sayyids. Gurdjieff and the composer Thomas de Hartmann joined forces to create a body of amazing music. Several of their pieces were called the Sayyids.  (also spelled "Sed")

There is a character to this music... I almost felt like I understood what it was saying before it was "explained". A speaker did touch on their nature - the Sayyids have two 'voices' - the lower voice consists of two notes alternating over and over, like a vibration that runs through the whole piece, a lawful order of everyday life. The second voice is played independently, it floats through the higher octaves.

The readings were from Gurdjieff's book "Meetings with Remarkable Men". It described a time when he wanted to visit Kafiristan, a place inhabited by nomadic tribes. These people do not welcome outsiders, and the whole country was considered inacessible by Europeans.

Gurdjieff and his friend Doctor Skridlov decided to explore Kafiristan while disguised as holy men. Here's one of the readings:

At supper that evening, after the religious ceremony of the
christening, there sat next to me an old Turkoman nomad, a friend of the
host and owner of a large flock of caracul sheep. In the course of my
conversation with him about the life of nomads in general and about the
different tribes of Central Asia, we began talking about the various
independent tribes inhabiting the region of Kafiristan.

Continuing our conversation after supper, during which of course
Russian vodka had not been economized, the old man, by the way and
as though to himself, expressed an opinion which Professor Skridlov
and I took as advice; and in accordance with it we drew up a definite
plan for carrying out our intention.

He said that, notwithstanding the almost organic distaste of the
inhabitants of this region for having anything to do with people not
belonging to their own tribes, there was nevertheless developed in
nearly every one of them, to whatever tribe he belonged, a certain
something which naturally arouses in him a feeling of
respect and even love towards all persons, whatever their race, who
devote themselves to the service of God.

After this thought had been expressed by a nomad whom we had met
by chance, and who had spoken perhaps thanks only to Russian vodka,
all our deliberations, that night and the next day, were based on the idea
that we might get into this country, not as ordinary mortals, but by
assuming the appearance of persons who are shown special respect there
and who have the possibility of going freely everywhere without
arousing suspicion.

....we categorically decided that Professor Skridlov should
disguise himself as a venerable Persian dervish and I should pass for a
direct descendant of Mohammed, that is to say, for a Sed.

To prepare ourselves for this masquerade, a long time was necessary,
as well as a quiet, isolated spot. And that is why we decided to settle
down in the ruins of Old Merv, which met these requirements and
where, moreover, we could at times, for a rest, make some excavations.
Our preparation consisted in learning a great many sacred Persian
chants and instructive sayings of former times, as well as in letting our
hair grow long enough for us to look like the people for whom we
intended to pass; make-up in this case was quite out of the question.
After we had lived in this way for about a year and were finally
satisfied both with our appearance and our knowledge of religious
verses and psalms, one day, very early in the morning, we left the ruins
of Old Merv, which had come to be like home for us, and going on foot
as far as the station of Baram Ali on the Central Asiatic Railway, we
took a train to Chardzhou, and from there set off by boat up the river
Amu Darya.

some art on the walls:

I think you've hit something, here.

So the premise, above, is that we are getting collectively dumber because we communicate via a medium which rejects complexity. And the solution is to become individual processing units which can handle complexity. Kinda like calling for a return to the longform post.

You're right in that you're looking at the right spot, the individual, and how it functions poorly as a micro-component of a larger processing routine. Like Foucault says -- the (french/american) revolution decentralized power. Now we're in a mode of power where authority is distributed to individuals, evenly spread, and that makes society ridiculously hard to change. Because you can't just go shake up the leaders, they are merely channels for the public will. The fabric of society isn't dictated from above anymore, but from below. And a lot of those people are either stupid or evil, enough of them to be a powerful voting bloc.

However I don't think the longform post is coming back. I think the social-media medium inherently boils ideas down to haiku form, that's just a feature of information traveling through an attention economy. It's like a river gradually moving rocks. The tiny stones move, the heavy stones sink.

But the silver lining is that brevity does not mean simplicity! A complex idea can be boiled down to dense symbols. This compression is lossy, of course. As compression/density increases, you lose resolution.

The trick, in my mind, is how to communicate complexity in simple terms. How do you signal a complex argument in a soundbyte?

Like, take the term "problematic" - it's a short hand, it indicates the presence of complexity without unpacking it.

Or describing an argument as "reductive" indicates that the compression is too lossy.

I also think about Wilson's "sumbunall" / "mosbunall"- it's just a contraction of some-but-not-all / most-but-not-all - but aims to sidestep a super common argument pattern. You criticize men's behavior, a man will take it personally and go "Not all men!" and then you have to unpack that. But if you started with "Some but not all men do XYZ", then the listener is less likely to parse the criticism as a personal judgment and get all defensive about it.

So maybe there are other linguistic tools and shorthand that can help us discuss complex topics without getting pulled into the typical blue/green loops.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: December 10, 2017, 02:50:52 pm »
We now have a core group of 5 students.

Some of the exercises.... each of these was done for 1-2 weeks

  • When you touch a doorknob, pause for a second and try to be awake
  • Pick one of the following - posture, facial expression, tone of voice. Several times each day, take note of what you're doing with it. Notice how it's connected to your intentions, how it expresses something internal, but also how it influences your experiences and impressions.
  • Every day, when talking to someone, try to really connect to them. Pay attention to how they're feeling, understand why they're saying what they're saying.
  • Take 100 steps intentionally. Count each step. While counting, focus on the sensation of your foot touching the ground. Don't let your awareness drift with your thoughts, remain aware of everything happening around you.
  • Late in the day, recall all the moments of consciousness you had that day. (it's okay if you didn't have any)
  • In the morning, meditate on your body sensations. Focus on each part of your body in sequence, just bringing your awareness to it, making it more alive

Some of these have to do with self awareness, being conscious of what's going on in your three processing centers and re-connecting them

Some of them have to do with giving you "shocks", little moments during the day that unexpectedly jar you awake

Some of them have to do with split attention -- running an internal process, while running an external process... maybe you remember to observe the third camera too.

My favorite one was a variation on the 100 steps exercise. The idea is that you take 100 steps, maintaining your internal focus, maintaining your external focus... So with one foot, you're counting to 50 -- 1, 2, 3, 4... but with the other foot, you're counting down - 99, 98, 97, 96....   so as you're walking, you're counting 1, 99, 2, 98, 3, 97, 4, 96...

And while doing this, maintain awareness of your foot hitting the ground!

This was challenging - actually learned a lot from this. For one, I couldn't do it while stoned. Secondly, it took a lot of attention to do it the first time. I had to focus really hard on the numbers to get them right, and the physical world sorta vanished while that was happening. But I found counting upwards could be done more or less automatically, and then counting down took some attention. And the more practice I got, I could feel the automatic mind taking over the counting down process. Eventually, I could do all 100 steps while maintaining presence in the physical world.

and then you turn up the difficulty! Count by 2s!  :p

Kinda like Robert Anton Wilson's Quarter Experiment in Prometheus Rising, it's one thing to read about these, it's another thing to actually do it. You may have read the words, but you don't know anything until you've done it yourself. Everything has to be verified personally, you can't just take other people's words about consciousness as real.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: December 08, 2017, 03:10:10 pm »
In my Gurdjieff group, every week, they reccommend we try something different - an exercise to try to be more conscious, to remember to be in the right place.

A lot of these are "split attention" exercises - you try to remain fully present in the world, while also being conscious of what's happening inside of you.

And like, sometimes these exercises work, sometimes they don't

but I guess the point isn't so much to discover the concrete techniques that increase your consciousness --- the point is to be the person that is trying something

the technique and its efficacy are almost arbitrary

there's an internal struggle  ---
that's what Two means, the self is divided into two forces in opposition

to move into Three, you have to remember your third mind, the watcher who is outside of it

that's what our Split Attention Exercises are about, too --- being present in the world, without losing focus on what's going on inside of you

and then having a third mind which is not just being determined by one or the other. One that watches the others and makes good decisions about them.

the watcher who observes both the internal and external but is not being determined and controlled by either

Not the lizard brain, not the monkey brain, but the human brain

The flash of consciousness is 2 becoming 3, it's Personal Christmas.

because Christmas is the day the third divine force enters the cosmos, jesus descends into the material
the trinity is born

The trinity idea is also tied into what Gurdjieff calls the three universal forces
-holy affirming
-holy denying
-holy reconciling

The Hegelian Dialectic
Thesis / Antithesis / Synthesis

Synthesis, the ability to reconcile inner conflict - that's where the magic happens inside of us

And from what I can tell, it never comes fluidly, you always have to prepare yourself to receive it. That's why we try different techniques every week, it's so we are actively trying to be in a space where we can receive that consciousness and embody it. You can't figure it out and then rest on your laurels. If there was a technique which really worked, you would do it all the time, and eventually it would start to become mechanical and lose its power. So you have to keep trying different things -- it's not about what things, it's about trying.

anyway, that's my meditation for the day

I'll say this - the Gurdjieff Work is hard. It's not full of a-hah moments and epiphany -- sometimes it is -- but most of the time, it's boring and frustrating. Observing yourself. Trying to stay conscious but failing. Trying to remember yourself and failing. Becoming aware of how helpless and mechanical you are. Recognizing that 99% of your mental activity and behavior is basically autopilot. It's depressing sometimes. This is not a feel-good path, and usually you don't feel like you're making any progress at all.

But now, a year after starting to read about Gurdjieff...  I can usually distinguish between awake and asleep (in myself).

and that puts me far ahead of where I was at this time last year.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: December 08, 2017, 02:56:36 pm »
Hi everybody! I'm still doing the Gurdjieff work. I wanted to share a few of my recent thoughts.

Katha Upanishads Part 2, verse XII

"The wise, who by means of the highest meditation on the Self knows the Ancient One, difficult to perceive, seated in the innermost recess, hidden in the cave of the heart, dwelling in the depth of inner being, (he who knows that One) as God, is liberated from the fetters of joy and sorrow."

I only recently learned what Atman meant. The immortal self. Not the "soul", but your essence. That is, the part of the self that existed before you had any personality, the part of you which is not acquired from the outside world.

Gurdjieff cuts the self like this - personality is separate from essence. Personality is acquired. It's determined by context and accidents of upbringing. It's your reactions to the outside world, your tastes, your experiences, all this stuff is "given to you". The only thing thats innately yours is Essence.

When you are in a new situation, you don't know anybody, you don't have any masks to wear -- you are closer to your essence. When you experience a tragedy and start asking yourself the hard questions, the real questions about your life -- you are closer to your essence. The essence is "what your face looked like before your parents were born" (1)

Essence is old. It's a torch passed to you as an infant. It's been passed from human to human since before we were humans. It's the life force, the part of you that wants to LIVE, and FLOURISH, and OVERCOME. Where most parts of you are automatic, mechanical, responsive, essence is proactive, alive, it has agency.

Part of the Work is about becoming sensitive to this essence, about learning to recognize where personality ends and essence begins, and moving deeper into it.

And as an aside, I think many ancient religions (Hindu, Persian, and a variety of Eastern ones) were pointed at this discovery of essence. Modern religions, having iterated on that idea over and over again, have kinda lost touch with it. In some ways, modern religion is a decayed form of ancient religion. Through the continual interplay of politics and power, that part of religion has been obscured and hidden.

For example - I keep reading about Christianity in like 100 AD, and it is wildly different from modern Christianity. In the old thinking, the world is the macrocosm and the self is the microcosm, but they are connected. Jesus as the personal savior represents something happening inside of you. It's not an external figure you pray to. Its your own internal reconciliation between Thesis and Antithesis.

Here's a line that stuck with me from a Gurdjieff meeting on Tuesday---

the Work is not about self-improvement (in the ordinary sense),
it's about becoming a better vehicle
for consciousness
for Atman

the Discordians in the crowd will notice that Atman and Primal Chaos are notes in the same chord.

Two Becoming Three

There is a spiritual progression. 2,3,4,5,6

Most of the people in the world are not on the progression, they're living entirely in the material world, locked in orbit around ego and pleasure.

Critical thought takes you to 2. Two represents duality, inner conflict. One part of you asserts something, the other denies it. It's the left brain + the right brain. Thesis, antithesis.

"Two becomes three" -- this is the introduction of the third force ---- Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis.

In your day to day life, you have flashes of consciousness, brief moments where you can see yourself and make choices. Usually, we're just on autopilot, but sometimes we get to make a decision. Often, we let the autopilot make the choice, but if you're paying attention, you can hold onto that moment.

That's the third force, that's two becoming three

what I call --- Personal Christmas

becuase Christmas represents the Two (God + Holy Spirit) becoming Three (christ arriving in the world)

Three is the reconciling force,
the part of you that can recognize that you've been a dumbass
the part of you that overcome your automatic, mechanical, reactive mind
the part of you that can change consciously, intentionally

it's your only hope, your holy guardian angel, your personal savior

Religion is a set of symbols, which if understood properly, fuels consciousness and reconciliation. See, when you think about God this way, the question of whether or not God exists doesn't make any fuckin sense at all.

That's what I mean when I say that modern religion is a decayed form of something more real. If you think of God as some beardy jew in the clouds, some alpha male who is watching you like Santa Claus... you are not actually in a setting where you can receive this understanding. Modern religion distracts from spirituality, it's a sleight of hand that keeps most people anchored in the material world of status and power.

Principia Discussion / Re: I'm new, sad, angry and bring a warning.
« on: November 03, 2017, 01:02:25 pm »

The Cunt copyrighted it (hah!) and added some ads in the back

editing is fine

using Our Holy Book as a sales platform

okay, also fine

but fuck him anyway!

Principia Discussion / Re: I'm new, sad, angry and bring a warning.
« on: October 16, 2017, 06:26:44 pm »
My first version of the PD was a hypertext version - didn't have images either.

It was okay though - when you find the version with pix, you can re-read it and get a totally new sense of it.

Apple Talk / Re: Seriously, NOW where is the Youtube thread?
« on: October 05, 2017, 03:51:15 pm »

Oh my god it's SO BAD.

A parody of Gangnam Style about climate change

*swirls this vid around in a wine glass* mmmm! a fine vintage.

I'm detecting notes of "seriously trying" and "lack of talent"... would pair nicely with some sharp cheese.

have you sampled this one? it's a rare and finely fermented cringe vid.

Apple Talk / Re: people still post on forums, technically
« on: September 14, 2017, 08:42:30 pm »

Apple Talk / Re: people still post on forums, technically
« on: September 14, 2017, 01:50:03 am »

Apple Talk / Re: people still post on forums, technically
« on: September 13, 2017, 11:47:36 pm »
I actually did buy your book! But it's sitting in a stack of books I haven't read yet.

I am trying to reignite my creative thrusters. So I made this, I guess?

Apple Talk / Re: people still post on forums, technically
« on: September 13, 2017, 01:17:29 pm »
that group moves so fast, I'm pretty sure my post is buried now anyway

Apple Talk / Re: people still post on forums, technically
« on: September 12, 2017, 02:09:33 pm »
Imma make a post on the Discordian Society FB group to point people here. It will likely be ignored. But it would be nice to have some new blood, right?

So if a bunch of spags show up, be cool

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