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Topics - Cramulus

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Aneristic Illusions / Reasons to Vote for Joe Biden
« on: January 29, 2020, 08:07:33 pm »
he visited you at the convalescent home

These days, we get revolutionary new science every few months. Some of it's good, some of it's bad, some of it is so wild that we can't predict what it'll actually be used for. When you see people on facebook/etc talking about any new tech, you will always see some variation of a line from Jurassic Park:

"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should."

also substitute "here comes skynet"

Lately, this sentiment has struck me as well-meaning but clueless, sorta like the statement "Stupid people shouldn't be allowed to have kids." Like, can you imagine how awful that would be in actual reality? Issuing pregnacy licenses, and linking them to some kind of intelligence test designed by white college-grads? ANY implementation would be a mess.

CAN YOU IMAGINE if research actually stopped because "it might lead to bad unintended consequences"? What would that look like 50, 100, 1000 years later?

We would have these FORBIDDEN TOPICS that you are not allowed to research or question. Machine Learning could be put in this black box where we try to keep it from being developed (though IDK how you'd even enforce that). We can't let the economy be destablized, so we need this check against researchers and scientists. They could be fined or jailed for researching Things That Lead to Skynet. And then we can enjoy civilization as it stands now, forever! Just imagine if the Ancient Greeks had adopted this policy, we'd still be wearing togas and yelling SPARTAAA at each other, like god intended.

and then --- I say that, but...
I guess the nuclear nonproliferation treaty basically IS what I'm describing.

Apple Talk / No News Is Good News
« on: January 21, 2020, 06:16:26 pm »
The news is stressing me out these days - so I'm going to completely unplug it, and only get my news from this thread.

Please let me know if anything important happens in the world. I will believe anything you post and will not do any fact checking.



Literate Chaotic / Misc. Occult Texts
« on: January 10, 2020, 03:01:59 pm »
Somebody in the Robert Anton Wilson Fans facebook group linked to his google drive folder, which is full of lunatic-fringe texts. Most of it is occult (he's definitely a Crowley collector), but there's a variety of esoterica, including a fair amount of RAW. I found some obscure Gurdjieff-related books in there too.

Mainly putting this here so I can find it later  :fnord:

Apple Talk / The God Helmet
« on: December 30, 2019, 01:58:52 pm »

Researchers developed a helmet that stimulates parts of the brain using "complex" magnetic fields ("approximately as strong as those generated by a land line telephone handset or an ordinary hair dryer, but far weaker than that of an ordinary refrigerator magnet and approximately a million times weaker than transcranial magnetic stimulation").

This causes some people to feel a "presence".

Some people report mystical experiences. Others report dizziness. Nobody's really been able to replicate the study, but let's put that aside for the moment. Let's say it's true, and that have identified the part of the brain involved in mystical experiences, and figured out backdoor ways to stimulate it. What does this mean? What happens next?

Apple Talk / Call It Now, Be Right Later: 2020 Edition
« on: December 30, 2019, 01:47:43 pm »
Here's the thread where you make your far out predictions about 2020. Later, you can bump this thread and say "See? I called it."

Here's mine:

  • Biden is the democratic candidate despite zero support from people under 35
  • One third of your facebook news feed is now basically 1950s-era public service videos
  • The Dune movie is good
  • We collectively recognize that facebook can never be neutral in politics, but don't stop using it anyway
  • VR finally takes off as a video game medium? No fuckin way. But the next gen consoles launch with some Elder Scrolls VR experience
  • Celebrities to get MeToo'd: Jeff Goldblum, Billy Dee Williams
  • More Movie/Franchise reboots: Big (featuring but not starring Tom Hanks character as a grown up), Dracula, E.T, and we're probably overdue for another Robin Hood or Peter Pan

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Eris, the Goddess of Strife
« on: December 28, 2019, 03:01:38 pm »
What does it mean when we say we Discordians venerate Eris as a Goddess of Strife?

Look, the world's a rough place. I am not cheering for suffering. I do not want violence and disorder in of themselves -- I only want them if they are in service to a genuinely better world. But it's the better world I want, not the strife.

(they say -- in a world of whoop whoop shirtless screaming anarchy, the discordians would be writing laws and building bridges)

I want to discuss the role of strife in service to evolution. This is, I think, how we Discordians can relate to Eris in the world of trump and fake news and extreme polarization and cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria.

Dialectics - the way things evolve:

1. Something is asserted or created
2. Something else reacts to it, usually based on a flaw in that thing
3. From contact between these two forces, the original something is revised, adapted, fine-tuned, or better expressed

A few quick examples-----

1. I explain some point or position
2. Somebody points out a flaw in my reasoning
3. I revise my position, taking into account the thing I didn't understand before

1. Slavery exists
2. Sensitivity to injustice leads to abolitionist thinking, which leads to civil war
3. Slavery is, for the most part, repealed (except the parts we tolerate, like it's fine for criminals I guess?)

1. Government implements some policy
2. The people who hate it protest, revolt, etc
3. Reforms / revolution / the old way is replaced by the new way

1. I'm hungy and I suggest that we get takeout AGAIN
2. My fiance reminds me of how much I spent at the bar last night
3. We eat in

1. A hypothesis is asserted
2. It is tested, its flaws are exposed
3. The hypothesis is defeated or revised, becoming closer to truth

1. I do something shitty
2. eventually I perceive that shittiness and feel genuinely bad about it
3. I become the person that doesn't do that thing anymore

1. Thesis
2. Antithesis
3. Synthesis

I conceptualize these three steps as three "forces" present in the universe.

The third force, the reconciling force, the revised position, the inner truth, the holy part, will only appear once the first two forces are in sufficient STRIFE. They must come into contact and really war with each other.

Most of history can be understood as the interplay of dialectical forces. And I'll go out on a limb to suggest that all of your personal moments of evolution are the product of two forces coming into contact within you and something else emerging.

Consider the drunk, caterwauling through the streets at night. Someone opens a window and shouts SHUT THE FUCK UP. But the drunk does not hear it, or does not care, becuase of Jack Daniels - there is no contact. The strife has not yet reached the level to affect the original position. But down on the street level, someone confronts the drunk directly "GET OUTTA HERE OR I'LL BEAT YOUR ASS LIKE EGGS" - something gets through to him and he calms down or clams up. Or maybe he's too drunk to comprehend even that--and instead, communication must take place using the ancient language of pushing and hitting and saying "Oh a wise guy, eh?" and three-stooges style whackbonk.

You can visualize this exchange as two forces in opposition - only when they are evenly matched will the drunk recognize his own behavior. Too much sauce, and the drunk will not become self aware. Too much opposition, and we enter a cycle of provocation and violence with no introspection.

And so when we praise Eris, Goddess of Strife, perhaps what we are really saying is that we want things to Get Real.. We want the confrontation between the world that is and the world that could be. We want the flaws in What Is to be demolished by truth, evolution, understanding, introspection. We want the truth that's been tested, the self that's been in the crucible, the reasoning that's been picked apart and scraped clean, the society that's been reconciled.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Immunity to Memes
« on: December 17, 2019, 02:13:19 pm »
Quote from:
New Chaos Marxism pivots to building consciousness, and therefore immunity to memes. Memes work by subverting the rational mind ("slow" mind) in favor of the "heuristic" mind, the "monkey" mind, the mind that works on like/dislike; Chaos Marxist aims to marry the two.

But how?

  • It can't be done on an individual basis because there is no way for an isolated individual to know whether she is a noble defender of The Truth who sees things that the slack-jawed yokels can't understand; or just a crank (the two look identical from the inside).
  • But it's difficult as hell to do it in a group because most groups are brought down by their own internal bullshit: ego-centricity and meme-based thinking feed off and are fed by clique politics and abusive/authoritarian leadership.

Let's discuss how one can develop meme-immunity

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 / The Gates of Hell
« on: December 04, 2019, 02:22:12 pm »
I was just at the Musee d'Orsey in Paris... there's some really incredible art there. One image has been stuck in my head since I saw it.

Rodin, the sculptor, loved Dante's Divine Comedy. Obsessed with it. He set himself to sculpt the door which leads Dante and Virgil into hell.

In the original text, there's an inscription above the door, which usually gets truncated to its last line. Here's the full passage, because it's cool:

Quote from: The Inscription
Through me the way into the suffering city,
Through me the way to the eternal pain,
Through me the way that runs among the lost.
Justice urged on my high artificer;
My Maker was Divine authority,
The highest Wisdom, and the primal Love.
Before me nothing but eternal things
Were made, and I endure eternally.
Abandon every hope, who enter here.

But if you look above the door in Rodin's sculpture, do you see that inscription?

No... do you know what you do see?

Take a guess before you scroll down. What would you put above the door to hell?

Ready for it?

The fucking THINKER.

Why is the Thinker poised above the gate to Hell?

I have my own thoughts on this -- but in the spirit of The Soldier and the Hunchback, maybe it's better to just share that image and not "explain" any further.

Principia Discussion / Announcement 1969 by Arlen Riley Wilson
« on: September 27, 2019, 01:37:12 pm »
Announcement 1969
As a former love freak
I have an announcement to make:
I have learned to hate.
Hatred is a liberating thing,
It releases energies.
For many years I despaired
Of ever experiencing
True hate.
I always tripped
On the fallible,
The forgivable,
The understandable.
But as the film of love
Cleared from my eyes
I saw them clearly etched:
Those to whom I, my children,
My loves and my friends
Are casually expendable --
For principles, or for
Convenience, or as
A regrettable
All we have built
And hoped for and done
Are nothing to them,
To the grey men
With the artificially
Human complexions.
They are not only here
But everywhere,
An exclusive clique.
Moral appeals
Are pitiful squeaks
Of rats in a trap.
Far better
The bared teeth
And the poisoned
Small things can be rabid.
Witness a mad rat.
So tremble, grey men.
Not only I have teeth.
The Day of the Mad Rat
Is at hand,


Literate Chaotic / Omar Khayyam
« on: June 05, 2019, 02:41:43 pm »
Omar Khayyam and the Sufi Influence on Discordia

On the title page of the Principia Discordia, you will find this inscription, next to a picture of Diogenes the Cynic

This is a bastardized version of a poem - here is the longer version:

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,   
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou   
  Beside me singing in the Wilderness—   
O, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

Who wrote the stanza on the title page?

  • Was it Kerry Thornley, under the pen name Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst?
  • Was it Edward FitzGerald, English leisure-class jongleur and translator of Persian Poetry?
  • Or was it the Sufi, Omar Khayyam, "The Tentmaker", who lived in 1100?

or was it all of them?

In Kerry's introduction to the Principia, he writes:
My own favorite Holy Name -- Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst -- functions that way. It is a walking identity crisis. Anybody can say or do anything in the name of Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst. For better or worse, that never fails to confuse the authorities.

He goes on to relate a story about how he added that name to a roster when he was in Marine Basic Training, and nobody ever caught that it was a fake, and all sorts of rumors and stories began to crop up about this mysterious, fictional figure. At one point, somebody confuses a big truck driver named Buddha with Omar.

On the surface, all of this sounds like a funny little story about hacking bureaucracy using an assumed name, and for 20 years I never understood it's true depth.

There is an old Persian tradition of writing quatrains and attributing them to Omar Khayyam. This alone should tell us that Kerry Thornely was hiding something for us to find later. Kerry was aware of Sufism and Discordianism is, in some ways, an expression of it.

“I think of all the pube I got while reading the Rubaiyat” -MC Paul Barman
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is a famous collection of poems. I collect copies of it--as of this morning, I own four of them. While the poems are evidentaly written by the persian poet Omar Khayyam, they were "translated" from Persian by Edward FitzGerald in the 1850s. He published four different editions of the work, with slightly different iterations of each quatrain.

The theme of the work seems to be about living in the moment, enjoying life, understanding that life is temporary, all that we see is fleeting and impermanent -- so let's have a good time while we can.

'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

When You and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh, but the long, long while the World shall last,
Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
As the Sea’s self should heed a pebble-cast.

Wine is a recurring theme in the poetry, and the ecstacy of intoxication:

And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape,
Bearing a vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas--the Grape!

I always imagined that young Kerry Thornley enjoyed these poems because when he and Greg Hill were growing Discordia, they were teens and in their 20s - and I myself spent a lot of my teens and 20s drunk off my ass and loving life. But there's actually a lot more going on here...

What was Omar Khayyam talking about?
Omar Khayyam "the tentmaker" was a Sufi mathematician and astronomer. He also wrote poetry, but didn't consider himself a poet - he was much more famous as a mathematician. The original Rubaiyat is a Sufic work - that is, it transmits certain Sufic truths to those that are prepared to receive them.

The Sufis use coded language, hiding their truths behind symbols and shared reference points. A story may appear to outsiders as a joke, or a little moral lesson (like most of Aesop's fables). But to one with the ears to hear it, there is often another hidden meaning.

The grape, and wine (for example), is a clear sufi symbol. Decoded, it refers to divine ecstacy. Drunkenness is a metaphor for the personal transformation that takes place when one has tasted this mystical experience. So these verses about drinking wine and reading poetry with a loved one -- they are also about sharing a special connection, not just horizontally, between people, but vertically, a relationship with a higher purpose. A transformation of consciousness. A direct experience of divine love.

If you're not familiar with Sufism -- a short verison would be that it's the mystical subset of Islam. (Sort of like how Judiasm has its mystical practitioners of Kaballa). Many say that Sufism contains the "inner essence" of Islam. Some would even go so far as to say that this inner essence is the inner essence of all religions, and that Sufism has attached itself to Islam as a way of "sneaking in the back door", making the ideas palatable and acceptable within an orthodox religious society.

The original version of the Rubaiyat is full of hidden meanings (much of which was lost in translation). This is a classic sufi method - breaking the wisdom into little pieces, each shaped like the whole, and scattering it all over. These verses have actually been used by Sufi teachers to impart Sufic lessons.

Many Sufis do no think Edward FitzGerald realy picked up that "Sufic voice". His mentor, Professor Cowell, taught him Persian and introduced him to the Rubaiyat. Cowell was introduced to the work by talking with Indian scholars of the Persian language. But according to Idries Shah, in The Sufis, some think these scholars intentionally misled the professor. (which is also consistent with Sufi teaching...) Neither FitzGerald nor Cowell were fluent in Persian, and their translations are sometimes described as childish, simple. So maybe FitzGerald really thought that the poem was about how cool it is to get drunk, and was not trying to transmit a higher spiritual truth. At least, not intentionally.

But this might be too simple of an explanation, too. Some of FitzGerald's verses seem to reference other Sufic sources like the poet Hafiz - so it's likely he did do a lot of wide reading on the topic, even if he was never initiated.

Even if FitzGerald was totally ignorant of the sufic line of thinking, he may have, in his translation, captured part of it and inadvertently carried it forward. His translation became very popular. It sparked a literary fad in the 1890s, the "Khayyam Cult" was a poetic trend of writing verses in the style of the Rubaiyat, and sharing them in person, in the presence of wine, and love.

Maybe this is part of the sufi spirit
or maybe not

because it sparked some divine inspiration in Thornley, I'm inclined to believe that the inner meaning of the work was passed on via FitzGerald.

What does it mean? What does it meeeeean????
In 1960, when Kerry Thornley took on the name Lord Omar, he was tipping his hat to an ancient tradition. By including, on the title page of the Principia, his own "translation" of a verse from Fitzgerald, which is in turn a reading of Khayyam, and by adapting this old Persian tradition of attributing things to Omar Khayyam, he is telling us that Discordianism is tapping into something much older. The Principia and the Rubaiyat are in contact with the same thing.

On the surface, the work is about happiness, physical enjoyment, relaxation, humor. But beneath the surface, there's something else. The inner-essence of all religions. Divine ecstacy. Hidden truth, encoded. A truth that cannot be captured neatly by the rational mind or transmitted by words. Like the inner meaning of a poem, it has to be sought after and discovered by the seeker, it cannot be simply transmitted by a teacher. The teacher can point to the door, can provide the tools for understanding, but the student must pass through it themselves, on their own effort.

Khayyam tells us, by way of Fitzgerald, and by way of Thornley, that the vertical and the horizontal are the same thing. Divine love and love for one another are the same thing.

That's why we raise our wine glasses together,

whistling in the darkness.

Apple Talk / Along comes a master...
« on: May 30, 2019, 06:28:07 pm »
Over 50% of the new members we get basically do the exact same thing... shout into the crowd about how we're all stupid and doing Discordia wrong. Nevermind that they rarely offer up anything, or even comment on specifics. They make a single judgment and then sweep all and everything under it.

This is true of many returning users, too... people like Elvis Martini, whose entire participation in the forum basically consists of positioning himself above it. Or zarathustrabastardson who sincerely struggles, over multiple threads, to string together a single coherent sentence explaining to us that we're all "wack ass losers", and also that shitting on people is bad...?  :|

Over time, I've experienced every possible reaction to this. I've been critical of the forum. I've been welcoming and encouraging. I've joined in making cole slaw from cabbage. I've made fun of them. I've wagged my finger at people making fun of them. I've made fun of myself.

My new stance is to just have fun. ahhhh, pwnd again! To take it at face value and agree. All that matters to me is whether or not the person is fun to chat with. I really don't care if I agree with them or if they respect My Discordia. If they want to chat about Discordia or wackadoo spirituality, come get some. If they just want to shout into the crowd to feel like they're the real discordian and everybody else is fakes, I'm going to try to gloss past my kneejerk  :boring: reaction and find my own way to enjoy the thread.

you guys have any thoughts on this phenomenon? I figured it might be a good thread topic.

Apple Talk / Evangelical Atheism versus Religion, ROUND 666
« on: May 21, 2019, 03:24:34 pm »
I've seen this article bouncing around facebook... It's basically another of these evangelical atheism pieces. I wanted to share my response.

Article Summary
  • If any religion is true, it's only one of them. Therefore most people who practice religion are wrong.
  • "A belief system written by human beings that has no bearing on the factual nature of reality is mythology." They are using the word Mythology to mean "an amusing bedtime story with no bearing on reality", and also a "complete waste of time"
  • your religion contains stuff that doesn't jive with a materialistic world view, it's false
  • Believing in mythology is a 'waste of time'. You should focus on 'real things'.
  • You need to critically evaluate your own religion (okay, I agree with that, but they also assume that if you evaluate it critically, you should conclude that it's all bullshit)
  • Evangelism is bad, because if you convert a bunch of people to a belief system, it will influence laws and social norms, thereby fucking over people who don't share that belief.[/i]
Feel free to add to this, if there's something in the article I missed in that summary.

Okay, so where does this go wrong?

First, let me pose the question what the fuck is religion, anyway? A basic answer is that it's a belief system, it "explains" things about the world we live in. Gods, heaven, hell, what created the earth, etc. It explains what the stars are to people who don't haven't discovered astronomy.

But this is actually pretty reductive. Religions are also communities. Traditions. Cultural practices. A way of orienting oneself to the outside world and the bigger picture. In a lot of religions, the actual "beliefs" take a back seat - what's really "going on" is the relationships between people and community that's born from that.

as an aside - some scholars think that religious practices predated religious belief. Maybe there are ceremonies that villages do together for community or survival related reasons, and over time, a mythology develops around it.

I think it's better to ask the question "which cultural practices are bad?" rather than assuming all religious thought is "mere hokus pokus".

For example, take the Native American protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. They believe that the land is sacred, and running an oil pipeline across it will defile that sacred land. So yeah, at the root, there is a belief that the land has some invisible quality which should be protected. This is not true in a material sense. But it is true in a symbolic sense. Respect for the land is a positive human behavior which grows out of that "mythological" belief.

Could the native americans respect the land without the mysticism? Probably. I mean, there are lots of good material reasons for not hosing crude oil all over the cute forest animals. But isn't it a bit colonial/imperial to impose this on people? To say "even though they result in the same outcome, my reasons for protecting nature are true, whereas yours are false?"

And really, why does it matter what the behavior is rooted in? Maybe you watched the movie Fern Gully, Wall-E, or some other film that is supposed to help you give a shit about nature. None of the stuff in the film is materially true... but along with the story about (inexplicably white) faeries that live in the jungle, something else is transmitted--a feeling about nature. A sense of mankind's place in the universe and how we are going off-course. The article would suppose that this story is a waste of time, and that you can arrive at the same relationship with nature using reason alone. I don't necessarily agree. Different strokes for different folks.

To use a more secular example --- take the story of American Thanksgiving. I was raised with this narrative that the Pilgrims and Native Americans made friends and had dinner together, etc, etc. This turns out to be a bad distortion of the truth. Nevertheless, we celebrate Thanksgiving today with a ritualized meal and this weird historical 'mythological' explanation for why we're doing it.

But the explanation is really kinda irrelevant, yeah? The real inner-essence of thanksgiving is the material behavior-- that we get together with our families and eat and spend a moment being thankful for all of our gifts and privileges. I feel like the article would tell us that the story about native americans and pilgrims is a waste of time because it's not materially true. (And yeah, we could benefit from a more truthful understanding of the native/colonist relationship, but the real reason we tell the story is not as a documentation of history.. it's that we can benefit from participating in this story where two groups come together and share)

And why is it good to be thankful? This is essentially a spiritual question.

To back up a bit, I also disagree with the assumption that religion is basically the impoverished, uninformed version of what science can give us. I think science and religion are aimed at different targets. There are fruits growing on the spiritual vine which you can't pluck from contemporary science, and vice versa.

I strongly agree that people who take the bible literally are hung up on a lot of horse shit. But there is a way to read religion without taking it literally. Reading religious writings literally is a trap that very material-minded people fall into whether they are atheists or religious.

There is an inner-meaning to spritual practices -- in part, it's meant to develop an personal sense of compassion and empathy, a sensitivity to others (That's the essence of the "Do unto others..." rules). This empathy is a positive quality for a person, and it's also good for a community that people within it have this sensitive orientation. A community which develops the empathy of its members will work better.

Is it possible to receive that empathy from science alone? Yes, some people do -- Carl Sagan thought of the universe as conscious, and that our consciousness plays some cosmic role in the universe's desire to know itself. But that idea is not a scientific conclusion--it's an interpretation, an extrapolation.

It is no different than a pantheist's conclusion that we are all a part of god, and that the omnipresent god's will is to know itself. Or the Zen conclusion that the ego is false and that the greater forces hidden behind the ego (some of which are external to our physical being) are the real self. Sagan looked at the Big Cosmic Picture and arrived at some conclusions about how he should live, how he should relate to others, how his personal curiosity fits into the nature of intelligence and human purpose. This is, in essence, spirituality.

Principia Discussion / DISLIB - the Discordian Library
« on: May 02, 2019, 02:36:52 pm »
These cats are archiving Discordian writings

Eris bless them all (but not more than they can handle)

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