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Messages - Cramulus

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RPG Ghetto / Re: Rant at the game you're playing
« on: March 27, 2014, 04:18:31 pm »


RPG Ghetto / Re: Rant at the game you're playing
« on: March 27, 2014, 04:11:47 pm »


RPG Ghetto / Re: Rant at the game you're playing
« on: March 27, 2014, 04:09:54 pm »


Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Discipline
« on: March 27, 2014, 03:23:35 pm »
Self discipline is the only form of discipline I personally am able to comply with. Any external order will be processed as a suggestion. My complicity will be depend upon my immediate strategy and goals.

the trap is that your goals are (probably) already aligned with the top of the pyramid. Is "don't get thrown in jail" part of your immediate strategy?

Foucalt talks about how discipline isn't just punishment, it's rewards too. The things you want (internet connection, new kayak, retirement fund, family, being seen as cool, etc) make you beholden to the power structure and normalize your behaviors.

A lot of the things which grant us status (money, academic degrees, expensive hobbies) are privileges granted to those that Play the Game well.

Maybe I obey. Maybe I fool the authority into thinking I've obeyed. Maybe I raise a middle finger or a fist.

I think this is the right direction. The Keep Your Fucking Mouth Shut principle. Give the appearance of compliance while doing your own thing.

Don't resist power. Create subnetworks of power - communities and communication networks. Subvert it in a way that is invisible to the pyramid's eye.

Or Kill Me / Re: Why Paganism is Crap, parts I-V
« on: March 27, 2014, 01:21:06 pm »
and if you really want to fry their pagan noodles,

in the discussion later, you can tell people you chose to center the ritual on death and rebirth because of Christ Almighty.

Or Kill Me / Re: Why Paganism is Crap, parts I-V
« on: March 27, 2014, 01:19:58 pm »
Actually, something happened a couple weeks back that i wanted to share. Like i said, there's a small group of pagans at my UU church; they often meet in a room to perform pagan sermons in one of the rooms on the church grounds(also, if you want a surreal experience, try watching someone wave around daggers and cups and pentagrams in the middle of an empty daycare room). I've been to a couple of their events, and their generally nice folks. A couple weeks back, they asked me if i wouldn't mind performing an Erisian ritual for Eostre, since the lady they usually ask to do this is kinda unreliable, and i was honestly considering  doing it, not because i've ever done a ritual, but because this just seems like too good a mindfuck to pass up. Given what i said earlier, is this more hypocritical than it is potentially hilarious?

I just want to remind you we've got a perfectly good Erisian Easter tradition - the Erister Egg Hunt. Hide a bunch of crazy crap in plastic eggs - the kind of stuff which you would not expect to find in a plastic egg (whatever that is)- and then let people discover them.

I think a good erisian ritual does the opposite of what these pagans might want. It unravels the tapestry. It intensifies the hollowness and meaninglessness of ritual.  A good discordian ritual holds up a mirror, makes people question whether they ever want to do this stuff again.

I'd be tempted to just do something silly which only technically fits the ritual form. These pagans, they've got this fairly rigid sense of what a ritual is, what it's for, and some of them probably consider themselves "experts". Your job is to show them how meaningless it is, how they are playing childish games in the lap of Death. And that's why I wouldn't just do a ha ha silly ritual.

If I were you, I'd want to really shake these people up. Establish control of their bodies using call & response and Simon Says techniques. Then lead the group out into traffic and have everybody lay down in the road (you first!). The cars will be honking and it will feel dangerous. If possible, get a friend to SPEED up to the group and then slam on the breaks, screeeech.

As everybody flinches, as the discomfort and fear rises to the point that they physically resist your 'ritual' and walk away from it, you can tell them they have come through the eye of the needle. They have died and been reborn. They have taken control back from you. The Self which was willing to lay down in traffic because an "expert" or "priest" commanded it is dead now. The robot is slain and the new self is risen.

THAT'S a fucking Easter ritual.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Discipline
« on: March 27, 2014, 01:06:23 pm »
Foucault's Discipline & Punish may be the most important book I've read in years.

In it, Foucault discusses the transition between the sovereign mode of power and what replaced it. He takes us from the public torture and execution to the modern prison. He documents in meticulous detail how the new "modality of power" manifested itself through several institutions: the prison, the military, the hospital, the asylum, and the school. Foucault documents how new methods of control quickly spread from one institution to the others, in the ultimate service of creating a "disciplined society".

The thesis of Discipline & Punish, put briefly, is something like this: We did not abandon the old ways because they were cruel. We abandoned them because they were ineffective. The new modality of power which followed the French Revolution is much more subtle and pervasive. We help operate it. Power is no longer held by a singular sovereign who can be overthrown, it's been distributed in a way to disguise its locus. Modern power does not manifest itself in a way that can be resisted. It's pervasive in that it fills every interaction we have, it expresses itself through what Foucault calls a "microphysics of power". We're the ones observing each other and applying the pressure of normalization.

Just to illustrate the above (dense) paragraph -- let's look at the Jury. It used to be that "justice" flowed from some noble, then it was handed to judges because nobles kept getting decapitated by the families of the "guilty". Then it was handed to a "jury of peers", so that people would feel like they were responsible for a lawful society. It's not that a "jury of peers" is inherently good at ruling on matters of justice - it's there so that you believe the verdict came from your peers and not the state.  You can't lynch a jury. And if you did, it wouldn't change anything.

And that is a microcosm of how power is distributed and maintained. Nobody really holds any power, but what little they have is a tool to reenforce a greater structure of power. Look at Occupy Wall st - there was a public acknowledgment that the bankers are cutthroat bastards who have been systemically screwing us. So what now? Do we lynch the bankers? It would make no difference. The bankers hold no power. They would just be replaced by more bankers who are beholden to the same power structure and would therefore pull the exact same shit. If you talk about changing the banks, the people you're talking to will tell you all the reasons we need banks and the current institutions and hierarchies need to be maintained.

The executioner's face is no longer hidden - Vader's mask came off and Luke's face is staring back at him.

One of the main concepts in Foucault's description of power is discipline. There is this idea of the "disciplined society".

Code: [Select]
noun \ˈdi-sə-plən\

: control that is gained by requiring that rules or orders be obeyed and punishing bad behavior

: a way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules or orders

: behavior that is judged by how well it follows a set of rules or orders

The goal of disciplining a soldier is to turn him into an extension of the officer's will. Just as a soldier's gun should be a part of him, something he can control as effortlessly as his own limbs, a soldier is a similar instrument to his leader. And that leader is an instrument to another leader, and so forth up the hierarchy.

The goal of a disciplined society is that the lowest tiers are in harmony with the values of the upper tiers. Prison, mental health, education -- the goals of these institutions are to produce docile subjects who are extensions of the current power structures.

At some level, that's all that "homework" is, right? A way of getting the child to internalize the values of the institution while he's not actually there? It takes discipline to do your homework. And we tell students---this is preparation for the workplace. We are turning you into parts of a machine which produces ... itself.

I'm really just scratching the surface here, there's a lot in this book worth discussing. But what's been on my mind recently is this idea of Discipline, and how we individuals should relate to it. (individuation in the context of power, btw, also worth talking about, but let's save that for another time)

On one level, being disciplined is worthwhile. There are a lot of rewards for being able to focus and get shit done, being respectful of the hierarchy, being able to internalize a set of rules, etc. I don't think you can really get anywhere in western civilization without discipline.

But on another level, being disciplined is dangerous. It means you're under control, an object of power. If you're not disciplined, you're more skeptical and critical about the Mission Statement, the War, the Hegemony.

Sometimes I'm sitting in some corporate training and I just want to excuse myself and never come back. I can't help but think about the power and personal control I give up for that paycheck and 401K. We've all gotta do it. Which makes me wonder, was I doing myself a disservice by reading all this Foucault? Is being undisciplined something I should actually strive for? Am I just confusing myself and making myself less effective at my job by brewing up all this cynicism and criticism? To what degree am I served by being an iconoclast? Isn't it better to be focused on acquiring more power?

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Re: Spagbook
« on: March 24, 2014, 07:43:41 pm »
Aw, you guys look like you're having a blast!  :)

I read Jezebel.  It's a pro-woman gossip site, with re-blogs and a healthly smear of pop culture.

What it isn't, is anything resembling academic gender studies and feminist philosophy.

It's like complaining that Us Weekly doesn't do hard-hitting journalism.

see, for a lot of people, I think sites like jezebel and thefrisky are their main touchstone to the feminist 'voice' and 'attitude'.

Jezebel is the intersection between feminism and clickbait. You're right that it's not the vanguard of the movement, it's the low branch with the accessible fruit. It's level one. Which why its important despite being essentially a gossip site.

I guess the question is - where do you strike the balance? Activism needs an accessible form, but if it goes too far towards clickbait and appealing to the masses, it also loses its teeth. Which is tough because it needs both its teeth and the masses.

Where the actual fuck does someone go to find a gif like that?

an amazing man called SCORPION DAGGER makes them from old Renaissance paintings

up for discussion:

Why Jezebel Has the Wrong Approach to Feminism, Period.


Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Colour me hoodwinked
« on: March 21, 2014, 02:09:31 pm »
I want to bring up Foucault's Discipline & Punish, where he talks about the transition between torture and public execution and our current criminal justice system.

Foucault doesn't attribute the shift to some kind of moral trend towards compassion. He does note that lots of 17th and 18th century writers were pushing for less torture, but he makes the case that the real impetus for change was that the old system of justice just wasn't effective.

Public torture and execution created a physical site where the sovereign's power manifested and therefore could be resisted. The intent of a public execution is to return stolen authority to the sovereign. Therefore an execution which goes poorly (ie: the public riots and lynches the executioners, which was happening more and more in the 18th century) does more harm to the sovereign's authority than any single lawbreaker could do.

So we reformed the justice to have judges and eventually juries not because authorities now deplored violence, but because it confused the public about whom to lynch. I mean, it's not that a "jury of peers" is inherently good at ruling on matters of justice - it's there so that you believe the verdict came from your peers and not the state.

I think a fair amount of the historical trend away from violence is really a matter of efficacy. If wars were just as easy to enact as sanctions, there would be more wars. Nations are more interdependent now than they've ever been - for many countries, acts of war are more harmful to themselves than to the people they might attack. Nobody can afford a world war. So we have peace!

Aneristic Illusions / Re: Snowdon trolls NSA via TED
« on: March 21, 2014, 01:50:41 pm »
I'm listening to the NSA response now... this guy's arguments are weak and will probably make people more sympathetic to Snowden.

First he's talking about how Snowden isn't really a whistle-blower and he's actually hurting whistleblowers by being a bad example.

He insists that there are channels to report oversteps of jurisdiction and that Snowden is an ass for not using those channels.

Ohmygod he is drawing a distinction between massive metadata collection and collecting "content". He says that focusing on metadata is "privacy enhancing". Whaaaaat. That's some amazing NewSpeak.

Or Kill Me / Re: Why Paganism is Crap, parts I-V
« on: March 20, 2014, 07:07:46 pm »
btw, any time you quote a pagan, it would be cool if you could please set it in comic sans

Blessed Be!

Or Kill Me / Re: Why Paganism is Crap, parts I-V
« on: March 20, 2014, 07:05:21 pm »
I troll pagans because paganism (like -theism in general) is absurd and its adherents usually take themselves way too seriously. Now, a lot of people fit that description (I'm looking at you, Dr Who fans) but being critical of religion is a cultural taboo, and yo, it's a taboo worth violating.

On St. Patrick's day, many of my pagan friends were talking about how St. Patrick "driving the snakes out of ireland" is a metaphor for anti-pagan violence and they feel SO OPPRESSED by these people who ... attend parades. Complaints like that show me that the person is not oppressed in any meaningful way, but nevertheless identifies as somebody who's marginalized.

Another slice of it is that a lot of the concepts which seem to be typical pagan baggage --- the "natural order", balance, energy, gender dualism -- are crap. They're not as dangerous as the Christian concept of "original sin" (which we can thank, in part, for thousands of years of misogyny) or "purity" (which we can thank for sex negativity), but I do feel they're a completely misguided way to approach the world.

Pagan Reconstructionists are the hipsters of paganism. Their insistence on a link between authenticity and antiquity just doesn't make any sense to me. If you think Zeus is real, and he exists outside of the Greco Roman times, do you think he gives a shit that you're not speaking ancient greek, or that you're wearing a robe instead of a traditional toga? Recons are like those zany Christians who believe they're one of the mere 144K people in history that are eligible for heaven. It seems like an ideology which tells its followers they're in the 0.01% of humanity that "gets it".

I've been party to so many pagan conversations where a guy is talking about how powerful he is. "So I visualized my psychic finger and poked that dude in the third eye, and BAM, he instantly got a migrane. *tokes sagely*". You get critical of that, suddenly you're "closed minded".

There seems to be a pretty strong Christian movement which is critical of Christianity - like how Stephen Colbert doesn't hesitate to call out the pope, or batshit preachers. But I haven't seen any self-critical group like that in paganism. That's what Discordians are supposed to be.

Don't get me wrong, I have some great pagan friends. Pagans don't annoy me, paganism does. The pagan movement does.

One day they'll finally get the nerve to throw us out! And with us, a lot of the useless baggage.

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