>I don't see "Bastille Day" as anything more than a song about an event of the French Revolution.
For studying double-entendres, there's a better term than "The French Revolution". The right description for this song is "The Enlightenment", because that is a clever and profound pun on the term 'enlightenment'. 'Enlightenment' has two senses in philosophy: the French Enlightenment which bought us the free, individual, self-ruling ego, at the expense of kings who were thought to be puppets of the divine. In Zen enlightenment, the ego and its autonomous power are seen to be largely illusory. "Bastille Day" is a warning of what's going to happen in "Necromancer" and "No One at the Bridge" -- the encounter with the omnipotence of the ground of being (or underlying level of the world that projects forth the ego and its power), which wins the mystic power battle, against the trumped power of the ego, which no longer has command over its own will. The Randian Enlightenment brings us ego (in a sense); the Zen enlightenment takes it away (in a sense).
In _The Closing of the American Mind_, conservative scholar Allan Bloom puts down Rand and says that the same ideas are expressed much better by the classic enlightenment writers. But he never says which specific writers and books.
Can you recommend some good philosophy books that promote the individual, reason, and capitalism, and reject radical idealism and collectivism? I want to know what books Bloom had in mind.
>In regards to your question concerning interesting texts, the fact that you insert the term "capitalism" sort of skews the field a bit in favor of Political Science texts.
For ideas on the Western Enlightenment, freedom, and intellectual freedom, I'll refer to Aristotle's _Politics_, Locke, Rousseau, and Jefferson, as well as Hume and also Nietsche.
There is a standard egoic mental model of the ego-entity and the world, and a standard transcendent mental model. Delusion and transcendent knowledge are both collective: first there is a uniform interegoic control field, deluded about control agency; then the rational, cybernetics-based explanation of ego death is discovered and communicated. Transformation from the egoic to the transcendent mental model requires a synchronized shift of the meaning of entire groups of concepts. The egoic conceptual system thrives for a limited time, awaiting the right technologies to end its illusion of sovereignty. The full development of reason in the service of amplifying the ego's control-power necessarily leads to ego-transcendent knowledge. The rational systematization of ego death, as in this paper, permits fast propagation of both ego-transcendent knowledge and the experience of ego death.
The application of reason and cognitive dissociation to the problem of gaining self-control power leads to the discovery of the rational and specific theory of ego-transcendent knowledge. The terminus of ego-power is reached through rational mental model construction, together with observation of cognition and will during cognitive dissociation. The full experience of ego death requires rational modelling of the mind, spacetime, and self-control. When these ideas are grasped vividly, they fit together coherently to dramatically transform one's mental model of personal control-agency, disrupting the feeling and logic of being an autonomous, controlling entity who wields power while moving through time. [1-time collective/global acknowledgment of the falsity of sovereign moral agency]
Ego death is a cancellation of the patterns of self-control. Dissociative insights can be thoroughly explained and conveyed This Theory eliminates the need for having dissociative experiences to understand mystic ego death.
Even at this early stage, many people will find my presentation of the cybernetic theory of ego transcendence to be well worth reading -- particularly for serious thinkers using strong doses of lysergic acid.
>Certainly, serious thinkers do no serious thinking while under the influence of lysergic acid. Hence, you must believe it to be necessary that a serious thinker be tripping for him to find your system of philosophy and its current presentation worthwhile
A researcher was recently awarded the Nobel prize for his work on DNA. He announced that lysergic acid helped him visualize DNA. There are probably many serious thinkers who do serious thinking during an lysergic acid session.
Cognitive dissociation is also triggered by temporal-lobe epilepsy, schizophrenia, and many other causes. Many important people received a flash of inspiration in some sort of altered state. But lysergic acid puts this state on tap, while the other approaches are haphazard or highly inconvenient.
It is not necessary for a serious thinker to be in the dissociative state to find it worthwhile to read my material about the cybernetic theory of ego transcendence. It would be very helpful if the serious thinker has some experience with the dissociative state, even if that experience was several years ago. The more dissociative experience one has, the more rapidly one will be able to relate to the subject matter of this Theory.
However, one of my goals for my presentation of the theory is to explain the dissociative experience so clearly, specifically, and vividly that one can fully understand dissociative cognition, its signature phenomena, and the shifted mental model that it inherently promotes, without needing first-hand experience with the dissociative state.
It is possible to clearly and simply communicate a model of rational enlightenment, while people claim that mystic experiencing is ineffable, beyond words, and impossibly complex. The effective approach is to say, "From a practical, American, engineering approach, enlightenment is no big deal; it's not even remarkable." This enables de-mystifying mysticism, though many people want to take refuge and seek meaning in a mysticism that is forever mysterious and enchanted, a mysticism that excludes the rational mind and is off-limits to reason.
Not many people have experienced mystic insight or ego death; many have not heard of ego death. Those who have experienced it say it's the most profound and interesting experience a person can have. But most people are not interested in mystic psychological phenomenon (such as an alternative experience of oneself), and are impervious to such enthusiasm. So for these people, busy with their normal lives, we can't make any great promises of relevance. The experience of ego death and ego transcendence become downplayed, as they become clearly and simply explained. When it is explained, it is not really important, not really breathtaking -- though it is, at least, a remarkable psychological potential that people should simply be aware of.
That is all that can be achieved: to make people aware that there is a nexus of experiencing that is a potential of the mind, and that there is a simple, clear model of this experience. No utopian promises are called for -- one can just say that this experience is interesting, and can be rationally explained, using the practical, Western, engineering style of thinking.
Truth will be found as soon as our minds adjust and integrate their own concepts into a unified and highly organized system of thinking. Enlightenment is not disorderly and does not ramble. It can be summarized and is always strikingly recognized by the mind that is sufficiently organized to internally match the supreme orderliness of the world. Recognition of the truth resounds with the purest ringing of a bell and brings the sense of full intellectual as well as asthetic satisfaction.
>This view presumes that thinking of some kind can be "the way".... and is not the barrier. In many systems thinking itself, the dual-mind, if you will, is itself the only obstacle to a clear view.
>If the dual-mind is the barrier, accepting a "rational and organized" description of "the truth" would be akin to allowing the veritable trojan horse into your midst.
This is the essential point on which I disagree with the great majority of mystic systems. But our thinking can be reconciled.
The rational mind, or thinking, is potentially broader than the mere dual-mind. The mind does not need to be stuck in the dualistic mode of conceptualization. The rational mind is more flexible than that. The term 'the mind' should not be defined as identical with 'dualistic thinking'.
Truth is known through 'vision-logic', which is a lofty integration of the highest potentials of rationality with the most flexible and powerful imagination. Vision-logic = radically increased rational power + radically increased power of imagination and feeling. These are not mutually exclusive terms, though most mystic systems make the grave error of assuming that they are. The rational mind is only a barrier to enlightenment as long as that mind is half-mature. Truly mature rationality is not a barrier to enlightenment, but rather, is a necessary vehicle to reach enlightenment. But I agree that imagination, by whatever name, is also a necessary vehicle.
Neither mind alone nor imagination alone is sufficient to attain full enlightenment. But both are necessary. Without a very highly developed rational mind, it is impossible to reach full enlightenment. Ultimately, the mind is not a barrier, but a path. In the impure lands of dualistic thinking, the mind is partly a barrier. But you must not back away from mind, but rather, commit even more to it and develop it through its problems. You cannot overcome the weaknesses of faulty thinking by eliminating thinking, but only by improving thinking. Not all thinking is dualistic thinking. The dualistic mind is a passageway. The mature rational mind -- NONDUAL RATIONALITY -- is a main part of the way to enlightenment, though imagination is also part of the way to enlightenment.
"The New Age tries to reach the highest chakra by bypassing that obstruction known as the brain."
-- Ken Wilber (approx.)
My view is fully supported by Wilber, except that I go farther in my assessment of the intelligibility of truth than he has dared to so far. I suspect he is leaning closer to my view than before. There is no justification for the assertion that "ultimate reality is paradoxical". The assertion that truth is beyond the rational mind and beyond intelligibility has become a dogma lacking arguments to support it. Where did this dogma come from? On what authority and experience is it based? It is a rumor created by those who live in their own darkness and seek an excuse for their failure to grasp the subtleties of the mind. The Buddha did not say that the mind is a barrier to knowing truth. The deluded mind is partly a barrier, but also a waystation in the path to THE ENLIGHTENED MIND.
Despite the uncertainty of 3rd-eye observations, they do definitely access certain fascinating cognitive potentials, such as the potential we all have to suspend our sense of freedom and experience ourselves as helpless puppets completely controlled in every thought and action under the heavy hand of Fate. Whether we really are such puppets remains unproven -- but the fact remains that we carry this potential to experience ourselves and the world in this mystic way. As much as our sense of freedom is an unassailable datum of experience in the ordinary cognitive state, so also is our sense of unfreedom an unassailable datum of experience in the mystic cognitive state.
One of the main religious experiences in all religious or mystic systems is the experience of having your power of control taken away from you, so that your actions are a product of something other than you. Your actions are felt to be initiated by demons, the Great Tao that flows everywhere, God, gods, the Ground of Being, Self, Fate, UFOs, evil scientists, the CIA, or any other conceivable controller external to you. In any case, you end up playing the role of a doll or puppet, as described in the song "The Twilight Zone", by Rush, or "Little Dolls", by Ozzy Osbournse, or "Ride the Lightning", by Metallica. Western mystic contemplatives talk of their power being taken over and 'raptured' (compare 'raped') by the power of God. The ego is overruled by some king of kings, the underlying controller of the controllers.
Such an experience of feeling helpless is supported when our own control-logic across time is taken to its full logical development. Then, our own logic becomes a trap that powerfully, effectively, and tangibly cancels out our own power. This is the greatly feared risk of losing control over the powers that the magician invokes. Like the Bomb, the power and control that we access and wield turns out to be itself inherently beyond control. This logical, rational conclusion leads people to rationally conclude that their only possible escape from their own unleashed and uncontrolled power is prayer to some merciful controller outside the system.
This mystic-state prayer to a higher-level controller, described in the song "No One at the Bridge" by Rush, is a type of submission, an acknowledgement of some sort of cancellation of one's own power and total dependence on some compassionate controller who is prior to your homunculus in the chain of control. This is the ultimate logic of self-control cybernetics, which you have not heard of before because I am the first thinker and mental explorer who is dedicated enough to rationality to clearly articulate mystic insight. You will never hear me state that mystic knowledge exceeds the rational mind, except that you could say, uselessly, that all knowledge "exceeds" rationality.
Many people have in fact had this type of experience and have been through this chain of reasoning. But it is a hard chain to hang on to as the mind shifts gears from the mystic state back into normal thinking and the normal mode of experiencing.
It is possible to accept mystic knowledge or mystic experiencing while rejecting belief in a personal God in heaven. It is possible to conceive of mystic knowledge as fully rational knowledge that is subject to the same essential methods and limitations of certainty as scientific knowledge.
Our natural, animal-like programming involves inconsistent concepts about the power of autonomous agency. When you relentlessly chase these inconsistencies through their maze and capture them using vision-logic, which is intensified reason combined with radically free imagination, you graduate from essentially animal consciousness and attain transcendent knowledge, which is the fully mature state of self-understanding and specifically transcends the ego -- that is, the egoic mode of cognition, or the egoic conceptual system relating self, control, time, perception, freedom, agency, and the world.
Art wrote: >Science Without Bounds: A Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Mysticism >This book is online at: >http://www.voicenet.com/~dadamo/swb.html
'Mysticism' is substantial and amenable to reason, while 'spirituality' is chronically vague and biased against the mind. Mystics respect traditional science critically; spiritualists only accept science when it is reconceived as a self-cancelling endeavor. Mystics are like alchemists; spiritualists are strictly nature-mystics. Mystics respect Newton and Einstein. Spiritualists conflate all of science with Copenhagenism before they can accept it. Bohm is a crucial bridge between the mystic and spiritualist conceptions of 20th century physics.
Book: The Self-Aware Universe. Rational explainability of mysticism. Scientific anti-rationalism.
>How would we discern someone who actually had expanded their awareness and even had gained a certain facility at functioning in a higher realm of human awareness? Einstein and Bohr functioned at extreme heights of "usual" human mental achievement. But they had a mathematical language into which they could translate what they were perceiving. That language is understandable, however, only to a relative few. Is it not possible that a person can work in consciousness to attain higher awareness without having a language with which to communicate that experience? And if there was such a person, how would we know or recognize him/her? How would we perceive ( and receive) what they had to say? To the average person, Einstein' and Bohr's writings are "gibberish." Planetary
Both Einsteinian relativity and mystic phenomena can and should be described by a more skillful use of language and communication techniques. Both of them have to do with re-picturing and re-conceiving the world. There are mystics who have some insight into the higher nature of the self, the self-concept, and the greater world, but currently, almost no mystics believe that language has the potential to convey mystic insight. But knowledge is increasing and now the West is grappling with explaining mystic phenomena such as the experience of ego death. The West -- specifically, America -- has often done the "impossible," our of our sheer bull-headed can-do technological optimism. In the future, any educated mystic will be able to rationally explain enlightenment -- that is how we will be able to receive and recognize the bodhisattva.
I skimmed the _Self-Aware Universe_. I don't think I bought it. Not bad. Typical. It's amenable to the currently developing understanding of what transcendent knowledge is about. I mean, it has its usual grain of truth. No one speaks pure gibberish. Even the _Celestine Prophecy_ (aka the Philistine Prophecy) is not pure gibberish.
Relativity is not difficult to understand. It can be well explained and portrayed in multimedia-style comic book format. Anyone who wants can read Einstein's book, written for the general public. It's a myth that only a handful of geniuses have ever been able to understand it.
Everyone should be taught relativity in high school. That would be a huge boost in confidence so that they could dare to tackle other subtle puzzles such as the nature of self-control and its contradictions or "paradoxes."
Thank goodness Einstein and Bohm didn't throw up their arms like the Copenhagenists, joyfully proclaiming the inability of thought to grasp the mysteries of spacetime. They preferred the relief of comprehension to the relief of absolving themselves from the duty of understanding -- not "It's a wonderous mystery!" but "It's a beautiful order!"
'Spirituality' prides itself on its vagueness, claiming that truth is mysterious. 'Enlightenment' is too metaphorical, and has become ill with the same malady of vagueness. The various approaches toward 'enlightenment' have become ineffectual at achieving their stated goals, and have justified this failure by claiming that enlightenment is exceedingly rare and difficult -- which is probably not what Guatama the Buddha taught.
Enlightenment has become effectively impossible to attain through the approaches that claim to be paths to it. The purveyors of these paths resort to double-talk to justify or weasel out of their failure to enlighten people. The result of these approaches to higher knowledge is a giant cult of ever-increasing "mystery" and ever-lengthening "paths" that attempt to talk seekers into giving up on any hope of arriving at any sort of full or complete enlightenment. Enlightenment has become degraded into mere "spiritual wisdom" -- collections of quips and aphorisms, promoted by cults of personality. When a commodity is thought to be so rare and all but impossible to attain, strange and elaborate systems of attaining that commodity arise.
The terms 'mysticism', 'spirituality', and 'enlightenment' have become firmly associated with impenetrable vagueness, bitter anti-rationality, incomprehensible mystery, and ultimate unattainability.
But truth is clear, specific, rational, comprehensible, and attainable. It is knowledge, gained through observation with the 3rd eye and compared and interpreted among a community of observers and theorists. This comprehensible truth studied with the 3rd eye is knowable to us as Transcendent Knowledge.
There is a difference between esoteric religion and exoteric religion. Esoteric religion revolves around personal mystic experience. Exoteric religion revolves around social, public rituals. It is possible to accept one and reject the other.
Everyone repeats the view, as dogma, that mystic experiencing and mystic knowledge defy rationality. They are all wrong, especially if you have a robust, non-positivist view of what rationality actually entails. I claim that mystic knowledge is perfectly rational, but has merely exceeded our explanatory power so far. Even those who would not follow me to this relatively extreme and unique view claim that the scientific method (as actually practiced in science, and as defined in the textbooks) is as applicable to the observation of mystic experiences as it is to the material world. Ken Wilber in _Eye to Eye_ argues that observations made with the 3rd eye are as valid as those made with the ordinary eyes -- though 3rd-eye observations are subject to illusions, as are all observations. The community of observers can then compare their descriptions and observations, to reach a concensus conclusion that is as scientific as the conclusions reached by consensus interpretation of the physical events that are observed with the ordinary eyes.
>I've been looking over the quibbling over whether or not Leary, Satre, et al, are valuable role models, and I've noticed the general trend amongst Gen X to go out on "search and destroy" missions in regards to role models and ideologies, exposing fraud and searching for truth. These resistances of nonsense are done mainly through exposing percieved fraud, ignorance, or patronizing/condescending overtones. While this is important, to strengthen oneself so that one is never mislead, "exposing the truth" should not be synonymous with blatant hostility, as evidenced in the bitter wars that are often raging on newsgroups over a matter of little or no consequence. This also explains the differences in musical styles and preferences you've mentioned. The Leary thread is not a true example of this, because it hasn't (so far) degenerated to bitter emotional attacks, but we all have seen this happen.
>Each generation can be identified by an overriding, generalized Myers-Briggs Type. The Boomers are INFJ, collectively, and the Xer's are INTJ. This explains the misunderstandings between the two groups, and the reasons for the behaviors within these groups.
>The Boomers are the Jungian archetypical activists/writer types with the empathy and drive, The GenXers are the logical, analytical system builders. I'm speaking psycho-sociologically, here, not on an individual, psychological basis.
>Since for the past 30 years there has been a moratorium on the condemnation of nonsense, there's a lot of debris to be cleared away. One of the things about "60's culture" which continues to this day is an astounding tolerance for nonsense of all kinds, whether in the form of drug gurus, Woodstock (the greatest event in all human history or course), New Age mysticism, nutritional fads, political naivete (expressed in the form of nonsense like nuclear disarmament), and self-esteem devoid of genuine virtue. Excuse me if I dare to be critical of what "everyone else was doing" in the 1960's. I guess that makes me a "square".
>The Xers came of age during a period of time when the consequences of stupid ideas like casual marriage, rampant drug use, sloppy thinking, economic and political infantilism, academic degeneration, and so on while the boomers came of age as stuffy mores were overridden, racial bigotry was being put down, and a frightening war was being fought in Vietnam.
>Even if you buy Jung's absurd psychological theories of archetypes, I don't think they would apply to generations just like they supposedly do to individuals.
>I am strongly oriented toward philosophical system building, but I don't find that this tendency is more typical of my generation than of any other. Perhaps more of us are willing to point out errors when they are present rather than just pretending that errors have no consequences, but it is far from universal, and caring about the consequences of your actions instead of pretending that irresponsibility has no consequences is a far cry from embodying Jungian archetypes.
INTJ theories are not absolute in the sense of holding in each and every individual case. Generalizations are powerful tools when handled skillfully. Assessing character is legitimate and not arbitrary. Generational character is real and can be studied.
It's good to know that there's someone else out there who refuses to cave into all the nonsense going around. I've felt like the only sane person on the planet. It seems that no one believes in Truth any more. We have reached the state of Weimar Culture, as discussed in Leonard Piekoff's chilling book _The Ominous Parallels_ (between the pre-Nazi radical relativism and contemporary America).
There is a split between the Boomers (and their predecessors, the Silent generation) and the Xers. The Silent and Boomer generations feel it's their political duty to be radically against rationality, because rationality is the oppressive establishment. Of course, radical relativism can lead to great oppression too. Xer's may not be very well read, but they are certainly skeptical, especially about New Age Boomers. Xers are disgusted at all the strenuous mindlessness and vapidity trying to pass as profundity.
>The Christian religion died many hundred years ago due to scientific progress . Educated people these days look for newer ones that seams to have more trustworthiness. I wonder what the next one is going to be?
>There aren't any newer ones. Rejecting the former religions for things like New Age and Postmodernism is espousing the same old mysticism with a new set of fantasies.
>The two basic opposing forces upon which man bases his general beliefs about reality are science and mysticism .
>Speaking as generally as possible here. In modern philosophy the support for mysticism is espoused by idealism while the scientific view is supported by empiricism.
>Which side does anyone here take and why?
>I support empiricism (reasons not given) and reject all philosophies which fall under the idealistic heading. This includes theology, spiritualism, and any number of personal beliefs not verified by fact and logic. I believe in that for which there is evidence.
>I'll get into detailed discussion after hearing from others.
I'm concerned with usages and mental associations, with regards to the main concepts you list:
'beliefs verified by fact, logic, and evidence'
The above statements are an accurate formulation of standard attitudes and concepts as they have been used previously. But as of recently, 'science' and 'mysticism' are changing and developing. People are finding the hypothetical nature of science, and the actuality of 'anything goes' rather than some simplistic 'scientific method'. In mysticism theory, I am holding my breath as Ken Wilber, father of Transpersonal Psychology, seems to be letting go of the "paradox" dogma and "truth surpasses rationality" dogma, as he is finding more and more the power and capacity of rationality to make mystic insights and cosmologies rationally comprehensible.
Thanks to critical studies, science is loosening and becoming more flexible, and mysticism is becoming more systematic.
There is a small but growing scepticism that mystic experience is "ineffable" and "impossible to grasp with the rational intellect".
I assert firmly, against 10,000 mystics over 2500 years, that the rational intellect is capable of fully comprehending mystic insight, as surely as the perihelion of Mercury can be explained by a complex but graspable shift in mental concepts and assumptions -- Einsteinian relativity. I may well be the first person to clearly and fully make this assertion. You will never hear me say "mystic experiencing reveals a truth, about humans and the world, that is ineffable". But the greatest theorists of mystic experiencing are still repeating that dogma... though lately they have expressed some critical scepticism. There has been a lot of great work on mystic phenomena in the past 50 years. Remember, Eastern religion is a brand new import that has only recently arrrived.
The best article arguing that mystic phenomena are open to the same methods of community verification by properly equipped observers, is the first chapter in _Eye to Eye_, by Ken Wilber. However, he still sticks to the old line that the "highest level of knowledge is paradoxical and ungraspable to the rational intellect". William Stace in _Mysticism and Philosophy_ is beginning to question that dogma. And there are clues in Ken Wilber's latest book -- _Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality_ -- that he is finding good reason to minimize his former emphasis on ineffability, and maximize his emphasis on rational intelligibility of mystic experiencing.
The real bridge between science and mysticism is the self-control cybernetics aspect of Zen, expressed by Alan Watts in _Way of Zen_ and _This Is It_, in the chapter "Zen and the Problem of Control." It's too bad that Watts is not around to respond to Wilber's emphasis on the rational comprehensibility of, at least most, mystic phenomena. I wonder if the two of them would reach my conclusion: that the highest knowledge is only "ineffable" in the same way that anything is "ineffable". Transcendent knowledge is rational knowledge and is "fully comprehensible by the rational intellect" every bit as much as any domain of knowledge is "fully comprehensible by the rational intellect".
The above proposed debate is cast in static, stodgy, outmoded terms. It's a correct assessment of the concensus framing of the issues during the early 20th century, but you need to take into account the trajectories that are changing the conceptions of the nature of science and the nature of mysticism. Read the latest philosophy of mysticism and the latest philosophy of science, and you'll find that they are markedly different, and much more commensurable, than previously.
The mature mystic experience involves an intuitive yet rational shift of world-models and conception of will and self-control. This mode of cognition required for this change is well-named by Wilber as "vision-logic". Not just intuition, not just reason, but a powerful combination that fulfills your demand for logic and evidence and rational plausibility, while taking as its subject matter, key aspects of human nature and the relationship of our actions and self-conception, to the greater world.
Specifically, the ultimate subject-matter of vision-logic is the relationship of will, self-control, cognitive representation, and time. The output of this vision-logic is a model of the self and world that is every bit as reasonable and critically established as aspects of science such as causality. Science rests on reasonable assumptions and interpretations that are subject to testing and revision to gradually increase the degree of "confidence," if not "certainty." The same is true of mystic experiencing, according to the latest thinking about mysticism. Science and mysticism will be reconciled. This is not to say that all errors in the traditional standoff of the two will be corrected -- there may always be scientism and reactionary Romantic anti-scientistic spiritualism.
Rationality and mystic experiencing, a rational and specific theory of ego transcendence based on self-control cybernetics, defining 'transcendent knowledge' and making it more specific than 'enlightenment', attainable transcendent knowledge, discovering ego as a secondary controller
This is a rationaltheory of ego transcendence, using an engineering approach of mystic insight as self-control cybernetics. There is a type of knowledge that transcends our mundane modern worldview; this is reasonable, to simply acknowledge that some of our assumptions about the nature of the world are distorted. This Transcendent Knowledge corrects in specific ways the mental distortions involved in the ego concept.
I am the only philosopher in the world who maintains that there is a fully rational enlightenment. There is a way to transcend ego, but it's thoroughly rational and specific. It does help to loosen up the mental structures by using psychedelics, in order to build more rational mental structures to correct the distorted concepts about the ego. Mystic insight should not be thought of as irrational in any way, though every one except me claims it to be irrational (or "anti-rational", "non-rational", or "beyond rationality").
The point of developing a systematic theory of transcendent knowledge and ego-as-controller is:
· To create a model that successfully revises and thereby reconciles conceptions of time, freedom, control, the power of will, the relationship between self and world, and agency.
· To enable everyone to fully experience and understand the most astonishing and fascinating potential experience in the human repertoire: the experience of ego death and ego transcendence.
Alan Watts would say that no one is me, and I am no one. Who lives in side this head? The path there is, but no one who travels it.
All this is a manner of speaking, and a corresponding manner of thinking. I am not nothing. Even a software agent exists in some sense. It is a 'he' in several different ways. Enlightenment largely consists of refining the understanding and the experiencing of personal existence.
There must be a more helpful term than 'enlightenment'. I prefer 'transcendent knowledge', abbreviated 'TK', though I have always thought that term too vague to use publically. For me, however, it is most meaningful.
Transcendent knowledge transcends not only the ego, but the entire worldview involving the standard delusions and distortions of the egoic way of thinking. The world is reconceived and experienced differently, every bit as much as the ego is adjusted. To complete the system of re-thinking, the understanding of the relationship of self and world is built anew. This knowledge packs a punch because abstraction about action affects action. Knowledge and experience are distinct yet interdependent. A change of knowledge about the ego, the world, and their relationship, causes a change in the way the oneself and the world are experienced. Conversely, to consciously experience the ego and the egoic way of relating to the world is to forcefully alter your thinking about self and world.
While lysergic acid has cultural associations with anti-rationality, it is a simplification to say that acid trashes rationality. Louis Sass in _Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought_, shows that even schizophrenia is characterized more by hyper-cogitation than by a deficiency of it. Some hippies and new agers have become extremists, demonizing rationality. Intriguingly, Ken Wilber pointed out that his theory of transpersonal psychology which he has defined since the late 70s predicts that rationality will be the next thing to be demonized at this stage of our collective psychological development. At every stage of development, the structure characterizing the previous stage tends to be demonized as the mind struggles to break away from its immersion in that structure.
So, indeed, some hippies and new agers do link acid with anti-rationality. During the Vietnam draft, and the birth of the social movements of the 60s, rationality was associated with the inhuman corporate war machine and the faceless bureaucracy such as characterized UC Berkeley, the giant, impersonal degree machine. Acid was rebellion against all this embodiment of supposed rationality - against the evils of what had been done in the name of rationality. Theodore Roszak has written about how this attitude came about in _The Making of a Counterculture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and its Youthful Opposition_.
Exploring the breakdown and limits of logic is far more sophisticated and powerful than the flat-out rejection of rationality that most new agers thrive on. Witness the mushroom with the hooka-smoking, mystic caterpillar in _Alice and Wonderland_. No one would portray _Alice_ as a book for loser druggies. You literally don't know who you are putting down when you condemn all acid users.
Some things about acid are scuzzy and wild, maniacal, freaky and free-form. It also exaggerates the logical to the breaking point. Not all acid users are anti-rationality. Take a look at the inconsistency of Rush fans' ideas about Rush. It is a common myth that mysticism is against rationality.
According to the common myth, this is a self-contradictory stance. But I should hope that Rush fans would not be gullible to common myths about such things. Rush adheres to both interests, because mysticism does not in fact contradict rationality. What do Rush fans know about mysticism? I get the impression that it's not much. And philosophy? Books in general? They are too busy worshipping at the altar and collecting Rush trivia, to spend adequate time studying the peaks of understanding and experiencing themselves. Too much vicarious wisdom, and too little personal wisdom. That is how I clearly see the situation in this newsgroup. But I point out the things that Rush is interested in, beyond music and trivia, rather than just burning down the group in flames.
Perhaps half of all philosophy books are not skimmable. Not because their ideas are so subtle and complex, but for lack of trying. They "talk about" or "discuss" a topic but it is hard to pinpoint the main gist of what is being said, because they do not present a quickly accessible summary or overview.
The truth is obscured but can be revealed, summarized, and clearly explained by advanced rationality combined with free imagination. The truth, clearly expressed, is easily recognizable, but not available clearly enough in church or in Guideposts, which are both too confused, not sufficiently rational, and not sufficiently imaginative. The days of muddled ideas about enlightenment are numbered. Any approach to truth that claims truth is unknowable to reason is a false approach that limits itself and gives up the hunt far too easily. Rambling wisdom-sayings will never attain to the truth, which is the paradigm of coherence. Truth will be found as soon as our minds adjust and integrate their own concepts into a unified and highly organized system of thinking. Enlightenment is not disorderly and does not ramble. It can be summarized and is always strikingly recognized by the mind that is sufficiently organized to internally match the supreme orderliness of the world. Recognition of the truth resounds with the purest ringing of a bell and brings the sense of full intellectual as well as asthetic satisfaction.
Obstruction of egoic control-patterns and habits of thought is an effective technique for causing a global state-shift of one's mental model. But this deliberate frustrating of the mind's habits has become corrupted into a condemnation of comprehensibility altogether.
The Japanese mind entirely rejects abstraction and celebrates concrete nature as the Tao itself. This sort of mind strives to unite with nature as Tao and sees understanding and the mind purely as obstructions. This is a grave error, the error of materialism. The flat rejection of mind is a form of regression and cannot lead to full enlightenment, which is substantially built up through the intellect.
Zen has become degraded into nihilist existential
gratuitous acts. What is your attitude toward Zen? What do you think of the Zen
monk who shoved a banana into the Tibetan monk's face when asked for his
presentation of Zen ideas? This "meeting" of religions went nowhere
and hardly constitutes a meeting. That "truth is unspeakable" has
become a vicious dogma, and has turned into active, exclusionary hatred
of comprehensibility itself. The mind is finally demonized and repressed, and
Zen becomes a sheer disgrace. Darkness spreads over the land, obscuring the
light and exhalting mystery and occlusion for their own sakes, taking perverse
joy in obstructing
the light of understanding.
What do you think of the Zen monk who shoved a banana into the Tibetan monk's face when asked for his presentation of Zen ideas?
>Sounds to me like a typical example of the behavior I have seen in Zen priests when asked a question that has no meaning or they get asked to explain what makes no sense when explained in words.
>In this example, the priest's response did not appear at all apt to help explain zen to those unfamiliar with it. However, this example by itself proves nothing. Do you really think that events like this outnumber the events in which zen methods do expand thinking, and break loose habitual thought patterns?
All the writers waffle. They say language cannot express Zen truth, and go on to write a 250 page book. I suppose half the Zen methods are anti-thought, and half of them expand thinking.
>This has not seemed the case in my experience of zen. Zen does not lend itself to easy explaination.
Yes, but too easily, even gleefully, people conclude that Zen is impossible to explain. They give up too easily; they revel in incomprehensibility. They want truth to elude thought.
>To someone stuck in Blake's "single vision" (about 90% of all domesticated primates by my estimates), Zen appears incomprehensible.
If people would sincerely commit to attempting to explain it, instead of rushing to denounce the power of the analytical mind, they would find that Zen yields to the effort to comprehend.
>I have tried explaining Zen using words to some of my friends. The ones who have no previous experience of it, invariable, get confused. Only those how have had mind-expanding experiences understand me. They have the frame of reference needed to relate to the zen experience.
Full experience requires full comprehension; full comprehension requires full experience. Both aspects are worth devoted effort. Full comprehension is a prerequisite for explaining Zen rationally. A rational explanation can convey Zen well and describe the feeling of Zen, just as other feelings can be conveyed by literature. Additionally, psychedelics provide an easy way to produce the underlying cognitive state that supports Zen insight. A clear, rational explanation by someone who fully understands the knowledge that transcends the egoic worldview and mental mode, combined with psychedelics, enables Zen to be effectively communicated to most people in a matter of a week.
Previous approaches to enlightenment have basically failed; rational enlightenment is a success.
Full ego death is rationally explicable, requires reason, and happens through understanding, not through disparaging or rejecting, ego.
Ego death has not yet been effectively approached. Ten million gurus have failed to bring significant enlightenment. Buddha failed in his attempt to pass on and propagate his enlightenment sufficiently, which is why some forms of Buddhism claim that the light has been steadily fading over the ages, approaching complete darkness in these late times. The sea of gurus carries little cargo of enlightenment, but we can most perfectly engineer ego-death locally, in our own land of cognitive science and control systems. I am not a guru; I am a theorist of self-control cybernetics, a field for which LSD is the perfect experimentation tool.
There are no rational systems of explanation of mystic experiences, except for mine. I am the first theorist to even claim that ego death and enlightenment are completely intelligible to the rational mind. The consensus among gurus is that reason impedes the most interesting form of self-understanding. They would do as well to claim that half-cooked dough impedes the realization of bread and should therefore be cast onto the garbage heap. Reason is not merely the vehicle to enlightenment; enlightenment is the enlightenment of reason, and produces an improved, revised, and superior mental model of self, world, and control. This new mental model is more infused with reason; it is more rational than the egoic mental model. Nowhere does irrationality come into the picture.
Rationality is 'transcended' in a couple of specific, limited ways, but never is rationality cast aside as incapable of understanding enlightenment. Forces distinct from rationality are certainly involved, such as the electrified imagination, but even imagination is most powerful when it is able to combine forces with reason. Vision-logic completely succeeds at making sense of mystic phenomena.
The result is a revised, more well-formed, and more explicit mental model of essential concepts such as self, world, time, and will. This mental model affects the way you handle your will, but it does not exactly enable greater control over the will. In a sense, you are left with no control whatsoever; yet of course you have your usual type of control, same as it ever was. You gain a certain type of harmony, a cybernetic relaxation; but this may leave all the usual stresses intact. Enlightenment is not Prozac to make you feel nice, nor cartoon spinach to empower you.
Most people disparage the ego. Having emancipated
the oppressive force of intellectual consistency, these ego combatants
easily alternate between denying that ego exists and condemning the ego as the source of all evil and discord. But the only way to transcend ego is to understand exactly what ego is. To understand ego is to transcend ego. Finally the superior attitude toward ego is to uphold it, support it, cooperate with it, accept it, and essentially, love it. You can never transcend ego by hating, resisting, and condemning ego. The only way to prevent ego from sneaking in through the back door is to welcome this virtual agent as a permanant resident -- no, even more: you must marry, bed, and mate with your ego, as did David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust:
Making love with his ego
Ziggy sucked up into his mind
Like some leper messiah
The ego is the liar and the enemy;
Love your enemy.
You can only transcend ego when you will ego and thereby blow it up.
If the devil is ego, then Jesus showed perfect ego transcendence by willing and loving his enemy, Satan. Metaphysical freedom is delusion and a lie; Jesus granted the created beings their "free lives" by willing delusion, by willing ego. If you succeed at enthusiastically killing the ego, then you sorrowfully discover that you must also kill the sense of freedom. You can have enlightenment, at the price of your core power of autonomy. This is the most extreme and vivid experience possible, the experience of being caught in a giant trap of time, space, and manifest logic, completely at the mercy of some hidden director.
Your practical skill and understanding of self-control cybernetics builds up to the point of no return, to the singularity threshold, at which its deluded conception of itself as its own ultimate source of control-power collapses. You are left with an awareness that ours always has been an impotent type of power and an enslaved form of freedom. Grappling with this, clutching in amazement at your own hand, is the only way to kill ego and transcend ego. Ego transcendence has nothing to do with disparaging ego and striving to have less of it. Ego transcendence is all about understanding and disproving the logical fallacies implicit in the ego along with the entire egoic mental model of the world. Jesus understands and disproves the core logic that is Satan, rather than loving or hating a personal Satan-ego . The enlightened mind does not resist, hate, or disparage ego. Ego is a wondrous construction, precious and hallowed, a divine gift, because it is the magic vessel that brings us our freedom that cannot quite be.
If you are a highly rational, logical programmer, a person who is basically dedicated to reason, you will find that LSD increases your power of reason to a dangerous degree, enabling you to construct a cognitive structure, a mental model of self-control, that has the interesting property of shaking itself to pieces in an alarming and glorious self-deconstruction of your artificially amplified power of will. If you give up on the power of rationality to fully comprehend mystic phenomena, you will not be able to have the highest and fullest mystic experiencing.
Those who do not believe that mystic phenomena and insights can be fully rationally explained are limited to a weak and impoverished apprehension of their own nature as self-steering agents. Programmers have the advantage over New Agers -- wielding their greater pride of the power of reason and will, programmers and engineers have a more complete encounter with the doom of fatedness. This is a catastrophic breakdown and breakthrough "of" rationality: the logical catastrophe involves rationality, is discovered through rationality (in conjunction with extreme visionary facility), and forces a thorough shift of rationality -- but all along, the engine of reason is preserved and leads the way (hand-in-hand with freed, creative imagination). Rationality is not disproven; rather, a half-rational mental model is corrected, producing a fully rational mental model. After this, the mind is mature and is no longer a naive animal mind.
Complete ego death and ego transcendence require the fullest manifestation of both the reasoning force of Apollo and the visionary quickening of Dionysus. Without Apollo, you have only a fleeting feeling of the transparency of ego. With Apollo, this feeling and intuition is amplified and solidified; the Dionysian reaches an intensity greater than would be possible on its own. Reason is absolutely essential, to fully grapple with the power of ego, to formulate a new, rationally coherent mental model of ego, and to bring this mental model back from the frontier, intact. I know that you can do it because I have already done it and now point the way by clearly identifying the destination, which is not ineffable, paradoxical, unfathomable, or inexplicable. Ego is real, though not in every apparent way. Ego is as real as my control of my hands upon the keys. I Am -- differently. Dead, reborn, reconceived, re-indexed; I(1) does not exist, but I(2) does exist. The combination of amplified logic and amplified vision explains and demonstrates the nullity of ego's control-power in full, astonishing detail, in fuller and more destabilizing detail than intuition alone has ever been able to.
Avoid thinking about the nature of self-control while on large doses of LSD combined with bong hits.
Buddha didn't need to be subservient to a master, and didn't need magical transmission to obtain knowledge; nor does anyone
>Monk comes from the Greek word _monachos_ -one who lives alone. In English it is defined, originally, as "a man who retired from the world and lived in solitary self-denial for religious reasons." (Webster's NWD).
monk - A member of a religious brotherhoood living in a monastery and devoted to a discipline prescribed by his order. [Greek - single < monos] - American Heritage dictionary.
Buddha meditated alone and with others. Some monks have been solitary but in Western history monks are clearly associated with monasteries. The question, "Was Buddha a monk?" warrants more consideration on the question of authority, origin of spiritual knowledge, and transmission of spiritual knowledge.
Mystics are more scholarly and rational than spiritualists. I am a mystic, not a spiritualist. New Agers are spiritualists. 'Mystery' means 'hidden knowledge', not 'impossible to fathom'. I pursue "mystic knowledge". "Spiritual knowledge" is somewhat of an oxymoron, given the de facto common usage of "spiritual". A more standard phrase would be "spiritual wisdom" or "spiritual insight".
Zen is uncertain about its relationship to authority. Rebellion has been institutionalized: Zen says burn the scriptures, the truth sleeps inside your own head, you can awaken it all by yourself. After all, that's what Buddha did.
If spiritual knowledge is transmitted from master to disciple, then who was Buddha's master? Buddha followed no master and became enlightened. So may anyone else. Parallel idea: the Greeks were great and didn't study history. Neither do we need to study history to become great. (Nietzsche)
We should not submit to Buddha or the supposed chain of transmission. Neither should we submit to the worship of historical study.
Greatness lies within; no master holds the key to realization, to understanding the real nature of self.
No one depends on transmission from the historical person of Buddha, because everyone has the Buddha nature inside their own cognitive gearbox. The state of advanced, intense meditation reveals a kind of "transmission from Buddha" that lies within the fully developed rational, autonomous individual. The way to comprehend the truth about ego is to be rational and autonomous to the extreme, at which point your own logic teaches a thing or two about the nature of self-control cybernetics. This is what it means to be egodeath.com.
One of the most notable characteristics of whatever might be called 'New Age' is the abandonment of striving for consistency. For example, "self-esteem" is good. But "ego" is bad. But "ego" isn't bad, because "ego is an illusion." (Is "self-esteem" an illusion?)
There definitely is such an animal, the "New Age". There are a few, but only a few, books that truly critique the New Age.
An easy approach to defining the New Age is to list out "New Age ideas", lifestyle characteristics, slogans, and cliches.
You create your own reality
The spiritual path
If you think there is no New Age, then visit the north San Francisco bay region. Just because there is multiplicity doesn't mean there is no pattern or commonality. For starters, the abandonment of standards of rationality, and the demonization of ego. These attitudes have roots in the era of the civil rights movement and Vietnam.
There is a good chapter in _The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog_. James W. Sire
_The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher_. Martin Gardner
_Revelation: The Birth of a New Age_. David Spangler
_This New Age Business: The Story of the Ancient and Continuing Quest to Bring Down Heaven on Earth_. Peter Lemesurier
_The Cosmic Self: A Penetrating Look at Today's New Age Movements_. Ted Peters.
_The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time_. Marilyn Ferguson
_Where the Wasteland Ends: Politics and Transcendence in Postindustrial Society_. Theodore Roszak
Ideas can and should be presented such that the main points can be picked up at a glance, only requiring closer study for those who would like to pick up the details as well as the main concepts.
Half of all philosophy books are not skimmable. Not because their ideas are so subtle and complex, but for lack of trying. They "talk about" or "discuss" a topic but it is hard to pinpoint the main gist of what is being said, because they do not present a quickly accessible summary or overview.
How can we know when a philosopher is saying something significant, as opposed to just exhibiting the abnormal psychological condition of hypergraphia? Prior to the onset of temporal lobe epilepsy, a person may have the typical level of interest in philosophy and theology: none. Then after the first seizure, in which the mind locks up in divine inspiration, these uncultivated and unlettered psychological cases take up the Pen and fill up entire shopping bags with their compulsive ideational outpourings! But who is to say what brilliant insights lurk in those shopping bags? No one will ever know, because the material is undigested, unpresentable, and therefore incomprehensible. These wild mental outpourings languish like a pointless, impenetrable web site full of turgid prose, with a welcome page that includes a clever CGI script to display the total accesses: 0.
You yourself might be one of these psychological cases.
Is this not the problem of the entire established mode of doing philosophy? Zen solved this problem of an absurd excess of inspired commentary, and the problem of heating the austere monastery, in one blow.
All spiritual commentary in the future must take place within a 20-page comic book, with a captioned diagram at the beginning and another at the end, to clearly map out the form of the exposition. With the Web, this future full of penetrating philosophical focus is already waiting.
>Is Gen X somehow related to postmodernism?
>Yes. They were both invented by the French. Well, actually, Gen X was invented by a CANADIAN, but that's close enough to being FRENCH in my book that I can go ahead and make the blanket statement anyway, since that's how I choose to interpret the data, which is what postmodern thought is all about.
>Both Generation X and postmodernism were made popular by Malcolm McLaren, noted British cultural activist. Later, Generation X's chief vocalist, Billy Idol, would invent cyberpunk.
Billy Idol was an imposter cashing in on a fad he joined late. They interviewed him - he said everyone should read Gibson -- when questioned, it became clear that he hadn't. POSEUR/FAKE. Hardly the inventor of cyberpunk.