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Messages - Cramulus

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Aneristic Illusions / Re: The New Chaos Marxism
« on: December 13, 2019, 09:38:53 pm »
I keep thinking about -- it was this forum-community many years ago. Hosted a ton of essays around this broad network of topics. Much like PD, it was a very engaged, creative community in its time.

The website looks like it's from 1995. That's on purpose. It's meant to deter people who are going to judge it based on its aesthetics.

I kinda recall the Barbelith forums were like that too -- purposefully antiquated, favored long-form posts.

so there's hope...

I also think that the ultra short-attention span engagement is a function of UX -- it's baked into any site with a bottomless newsfeed. But maybe it won't be like this forever.

different structures lead to different communities...


I've had this daydream for a while now -- indulge me in this train of thought

imagine Discordian cabals meeting up in person to write holy texts

and then each cabal mails its holy texts via snail mail to other people in the network -- just like the Discordians of old did -- call it a POEE 2.0

And the only rule is that the texts are not allowed to be posted on the Internet, they have to only exist in meatspace. When you read them, it's a physical experience which is isolated from newsfeed psychology. And the ideal setting to read these materials is in the physical presence of your cabal. And by yourself is OK too, after all, it can be a 1-member cabal. But just don't ingest that stuff in the same way you ingest "normal content".

Think of this communication style - which was once practiced by Discordians of old - as its own medium

And part of that medium's message is to unite theory and practice. To move the body in Discordian circles.


look, it's not meant for everybody

who wants to talk to everybody? russian bots, that's who.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: The New Chaos Marxism
« on: December 13, 2019, 05:33:22 pm »
Okay, that was top notch and you should ask her for permission for us to post it on the front page.

She is bang on the money.

Against the advice of others, I'm on Book 3 of the Dune series. Yeah, the prose is terrible and the dialogue reads like a mashup of the bible and a philosophy lecture.

But it does stimulate my imagination like few books have -- every 100 pages or so, I have to put the book down, stare at the ceiling, and go WHAT. WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST READ. WHAT???

and that's kind of amazing -- very few books I've read in the last 5 years have that kind of WTF factor.

Though worth nothing -- Philip K Dick books like Ubik have that effect on me every 25 pages or so

Apple Talk / Re: Human Malfunctions #1: Arrogance
« on: December 13, 2019, 02:30:00 pm »
You're allowed to be arrogant only if you're competent, and one of the most important markers of competence is ability to recognize your mistakes, admit them, and correct them.  Unsurprisingly, this makes arrogance and competence a rare combination.

When was the last time you saw someone screw up spectacularly, own their mistake with grace and confidence, and keep on going?  It probably wasn't in politics.

My thinking is that "being right now" is far more important than "never being wrong".  So, if your idea is better than mine, I will demonstrate my superiority by stealing it, and then loudly giving you credit for it.

Paul Crik once said:

Arrogance + Charisma = Charm
Arrogance Without Charisma = Vulgar

(though he's talking more about vanity than the "stupified by their own intelligence" brand of arrogance Roger describes above)

Aneristic Illusions / The New Chaos Marxism
« on: December 13, 2019, 02:10:30 pm »
Our old friend Dolores LaPichio has a new post at her Chaos Marxism blog:

I think there's a lot of interesting stuff here. Dolores is thinking about the future, and about how the left can reconfigure its strategy at the level of we shitbird individuals posting on social media.

I mean, a lot of us have scratched our heads at this one -- how the vanishing of the forums resulted in all the active RAW and Discordian discussion groups being hosted on facebook -- where they gradually overflow with right wing assholes who crowd out any of the good shit. This week, it's all memes of Greta Thunberg with hitler staches shopped on.

So that's the state of the union -- "boomer memes crowd out dank memes" -- now what?

Dolores suggests we need to think of the online community in different terms. The community affects the consciousness of those who participate in it. When this forum was hopping, it changed a lot of our lives. That's a good example of a praxis group - an online community which bridges the gap between theory and action.

And in order for a group to not get gradually transformed into a jerk circle of assholes, the group should ask something from the participants - that they make an attempt to smell their own bullshit. Easier said than done!

anyway, give the post a read, tell me how it strikes you

Apple Talk / Re: Human Malfunctions #1: Arrogance
« on: December 12, 2019, 07:32:00 pm »
In a few places, Wilson writes about the Cosmic Shmuck principle - that you can avoid a lot of bullshit by thinking of yourself as this cosmic dumbass who is basically the straight-man in some divine comedy sketch. By recognizing the ways you are a cosmic shmuck, you can eventually stop jerking off to your own intelligence, and make a lot fewer head-in-the-clouds, not-receptive-to-what-you-should-probably-receive style errors.

Chao Te Ching, Chapter 51
If you want to be serious,
don't take yourself seriously.

Be open to change,
and bold enough to be the butt of the joke.

When you walk with total certainty,
your head high
like a cosmic schmuck,
you are vulnerable to the old banana peel shtick.

When a schmuck slips,
their face becomes red with embarrassment.

Eris showed them what they did not perceive.

be honest,

it was funny.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: December 12, 2019, 01:54:42 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.

Revisiting this thought from a few years back, since it's been the Aim of my inner work.

Most of the "work" we do in the Gurdjieff Work is self observation. By observing the self continually over a long period of time, you can begin to distinguish different types of being, different ways that you are. Normally, we pass from state to state unconsciously - self observation's goal is to shine a light on this.

And with that knowledge of self, I can recognize that there is a hierarchy of consciousness; consciousness operates with different kinds and qualities of data. In normal life, consciousness in any given moment seems to be dominated by one of three "streams"--the body, the emotions, and the intellect. But when consciousness expands to include all three ("Thinking what you feel, feeling what you think..."), life has a different quality.

And in this state of inner unity, where the streams are not combatting each other, there is a different quality to the experience of making a decision.

This quality can also be present in moments of great inner conflict. Gurdjieff says that the soul is developed by generating an enormous tension "between No and Yes". But only if one uses this conflict as a reminder to be present, to not just get swept along with whatever impulse is strongest, but to weigh all the impulses and make an "impartial" decision.

If you'd told me, 5 years ago, that this kind of Free Will is possible, I'd have said that you're just describing metacognition - the ability to think about one's own thoughts, the capacity to self-evaluate. And I've always thought that metacognition is the key to increasing intelligence, but I would have pointed out that this process is still subject to the Melioration Principle and so it's not really an escape from determinism.

But that was before I'd personally felt the difference between mere metacognition and inner freedom. I guess I'd only thought with my intellect before - but remember, consciousness isn't centered in the mind. The emotions and the body also think - in their own ways. Only when they are all thinking, together, is inner freedom possible.

And it's not always possible. You can't necessarily force it to happen. In my experience, it usually appears, like a gift.

I'm in mid conversation, and someone has said something that caused a chain of associations. I am formulating what I'm about to say next, mentally arranging the beats of this anecdote - and while I do that, I have stopped listening to my partner. And before I launch into my own spring-loaded monologue, something in me recognizes that I'm acting on autopilot - this something looks into the future and realizes that the anecdote I'm about to regurgitate doesn't actually add anything to the conversation--I'm only mentally rehearsing it because it'll be pleasurable to talk about.

So, that something chooses not to speak. I deny my own pleasure to better serve the world.
And there is no intrinsic reward for this, no selfish motive or anxious aversion to putting my foot in my mouth. There's no dopamine hit.

There it is.

The tragedy is that we have so little of it... can we get more? can we exercise this muscle and make it stronger?

Can we really develop a Watcher that's outside of the ongoing process?

Is that Watcher the human soul?

Principia Discussion / Re: Illuminatus! being adapted for teevee
« on: December 12, 2019, 01:14:15 pm »
I'm excited.

Yeah, if you were going to set it in the present and not do a 70s-period piece, you'd have to unite Pizzagate and Flat Earth ("In your heart, you know it's flat") and antivaxx, etc etc -- show that there is actually a singular force behind them, and that they are a means of social control.

And if they keep it as a 70s period piece, you can't get sucked too deep into the hippie idealism.

Video is actually a really good medium for the book's Joycean "5th person perspective", which zips from character to character in a chaotic, free-associative way. I could imagine doing scene transitions in mid-conversation so that you get a verbal cut-up between two sentences.

Difficult trick to pull off--but Discordianism needs a shock right now. I was just thinking about how there are no Wilsons out there right now, acting as "front man" for Her. Grant Morrison is the last high-profile "recruiter" I can recall, and that was the 90s.

I've been thinking about re-reading the series -- every so often I pick it up and thumb through it, and there really are some amazing passages in there. The Discordian initiation, for example, was incredible. And all the inner battles with The Robot -- you can probably tell those bits really left a mark on me.

Apple Talk / Re: The Gates of Hell
« on: December 10, 2019, 05:26:54 pm »
Some people have suggested The Thinker is Rodin himself.

on that note, here's a self portrait I drew

The curious allure of hell for some thinkers may itself be the first step on the road to it. Having some kind of enarmount and fascination with evil, which inevitably ends up glorifying it no matter how you try to portray it and that goes for Dante as well as Rodin. He cannot critique Dante without being himself guilty of his same sins.

it's true - Dante was terrified of hell, but also saw it as a place of divine wisdom, a site for justice

as he takes potshots at his enemies in italy, he seeks to participate in divine justice

It also has the literal biblical metaphor, the Original Sin was to eat from the tree of knowledge and get the ability to choose.

That's a good observation - its knowledge of good and evil that allows sin to happen. That knowledge is also what makes Adam and Eve ashamed of their nudity - so it's interesting that the Thinker is naked.

I also wonder about the three figures above the thinker - the shades

It resonates with Dante's vision, which envisioned Lucifer as a three-headed monster - which is also symmetrical to the holy trinity.

But "shades" are how Dante describes the dead you see in the afterlife - so who are these three?

Apple Talk / Re: The Gates of Hell
« on: December 10, 2019, 04:43:18 pm »
Okay, so here's what it brings to mind for me...

Reason is something we have to be a little skeptical of. Because reason and intellect is not an end, it's a means. Reason is usually in the service to the emotions. It's like Wilson says - the thinker is slow.

It's very rare to use reason to actually decide something - usually, we make a decision based on emotional factors, and then build a chain of reason as a scaffold underneath it.

And because of this--the fact that most reason is slave to the emotions--you can justify anything. All the horrors of the 20th century had strong, well argued philosophical underpinnings. The thinker, sitting atop the gate to hell, is a warning - that by merely listening to "reason", you can justify hellish and terrible things.

Rodin originally called the figure "The Poet", not the Thinker. So you could imagine that it's Dante contemplating hell. But the musclebound and naked Thinker doesn't match how Dante describes himself in the poem (he's slim and ... fully clothed). I also like to think that the Thinker poised above the gates to hell might be someone lost in indecision, contemplating the suffering he could create through his plans. This positions hell as an internal state, something that's inside of us, emergent from our human sins.

Dante's vision of the afterlife is a place of justice, a place where people get what they sowed in life. Maybe the thinker is guilty, and what we see depicted on the gate is his internal experience of it, his intense experience of his own sins.

there are a few other ways to cut it, but those are some of the things that struck me about that curious image

Now knowing that Aeon Flux is an exploration of gnostic myth, I felt like I should revisit it -- watched a handful of episodes a few years ago and just cringed the whole time. It didn't land for me. Are you saying some parts are better than others? I watched a few of the short non-talky ones, and then the one with the Demiurge... didn't really sift anything from it.

Apple Talk / Re: New version of QGP site up!
« on: December 09, 2019, 10:41:14 pm »
I'm afraid QGP's website will be most operational by the time your friends arrive

(that's emperor palpatine--right? sure)

Literate Chaotic / Re: This Guy
« on: December 09, 2019, 07:30:14 pm »
I like this bit:

We learned two things on that Black Tuesday. First, robots can sexually harass each other in some kind of infinite recursive loop until they boil their coolant from overwork and explode. Second, the Dow Jones industrial average really likes it when they do that. The government tried to have economists look into it, but by that point they themselves had been replaced by robots and nothing much came of it other than a very confusing letter to Penthouse.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: MCLUHAN SAID
« on: December 09, 2019, 01:44:39 pm »
Another 12 years out from this quote from DeBord...

When I read McLuhan (and I don't know that I'm reading the same stuff Deboard did), it doesn't come off as a defense or embrace of the spectacle. McLuhan is descriptive, not prescriptive - at one point in that famous Playboy interview, MCLUHAN SAID

I’m not advocating anything; I’m merely probing and predicting trends. Even if I opposed them or thought them disastrous, I couldn’t stop them, so why waste my time lamenting? As Carlyle said of author Margaret Fuller after she remarked, “I accept the Universe”: “She’d better.” I see no possibility of
a worldwide Luddite rebellion that will smash all machinery to bits, so we might as well sit back and see what is happening and what will happen to us in a cybernetic world. Resenting a new technology will not halt its progress.

Whereas in contrast, Debord wishes we could rewind to a time when we weren't consumed by conversations about "how much your umbrella cost and where did you get it?" He advocates living one's life in a way that's radically arbitrary, a fly in the ointment of consensus. I imagine that if he lived in 2019, Deboard would not own a smartphone. And he might even be better off for it! But this is why the situationists could only exist for a moment.. they were never able to resist the tide -- except individually.

Passages like this still seem to hit 2019-2020 right on the head. (italics mine)

Interviewer: Are you claiming, now, that there will be no taboos in the world tribal society you envision?

McLuhan: No, I’m not saying that, and I’m not claiming that freedom will be absolute—merely that it will be less restricted than your question implies. The world tribe will be essentially conservative, it’s true, like all iconic and inclusive societies; a mythic environment lives beyond time and space and thus generates little radical social change. All technology becomes part of a shared ritual that the tribe desperately strives to keep stabilized and permanent; by its very nature, an oral-tribal society—such as Pharaonic Egypt—is far more stable and enduring than any fragmented visual society. The oral and auditory tribal society is patterned by acoustic space, a total and simultaneous field of relations alien to the visual world, in which points of view and goals make social change an inevitable and constant by product. An electrically imploded tribal society discards the linear forward-motion of “progress.” We can see in our own time how, as we begin to react in depth to the challenges of the global village, we all become reactionaries.

a lot of people read McLuhan's tone as one of reverence and awe for the bright future to come.

But McLuhan admits that he's from a previous generation (linear-literary culture), and is himself alienated by this "electric tribal culture" that was forming at the time. The hippies read this vanishing of taboos as a liberation from uptight 50s conservatism. I think McLuhan saw that in the long arc, it also represents the decay of discourse, the return of the animalistic...

Reminds me of when Nietzsche says "God is dead, we have killed him--you and I", it's in a tone of horror. Even though Nietzsche is an atheist, he is terrified by the "lack of up and down" that he imagined we were approaching.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Reality Safari: Gurdjieff
« on: December 09, 2019, 01:14:39 pm »
Just want to share an exercise we're trying this week.

To Give Up Suffering

Suffering is an emotional reaction. This means that, to some extent, it just happens within us.

But a lot of suffering is what we'd call the "wrong work of centers" -- that is, the emotional part of you is trying to "do the work" for another part of you, and it can't, so we become occupied by an emotion that doesn't serve a purpose.

For example - imagine you're walking somewhere, and you need to get there--maybe you're late--so you're hurrying.  And while you're hurrying, you're stressing out, concentrating on the lateness and the urgency and the need to get there. Suffering. Maybe you can let go of that.

The emotional suffering doesn't get you there any faster. It's extraneous. It wastes energy.
The body can help you out by walking faster. The emotions want to help, but they can't.

So, in a moment of suffering, maybe you can realize -- there's no point to this feeling, I'm going to stop feeding it.

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