Archive for April, 2008

Anonymity

Posted in Cults, Doom and Evil, Future World, society, Stayin' Alive, Technology, Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 30, 2008 by wizardsmoke

So, if you’re wondering why I keep my identity anonymous, you might be disappointed to know it’s not for any big secretive reason. I’m not some super famous person (yet), nor am I using this condition as a big ego-trip. Frankly, I think exposing my ethnicity and background would only serve to color people’s perceptions of my musings here. I mean, sure I’ve dropped some hints (you know I’m a dude, right?) but anything more would probably alienate some people. Not that I care what other people think of me, but at least this way opinions are almost exclusively based on my writing.

For the same reason I don’t wax politically here (at least not too blatantly), I don’t like to wear my agenda on my sleeve. You could figure out who I am, but what would that prove? Too many people write with agendas or slants or self-interest in mind. Not that I don’t, but I find anonymity is a nice way of leaving it behind temporarily. It allows this blog to exist apart from me. I don’t tell my real life friends about this blog nor point them toward it. For that I have other ones I write on, which are more closely linked to what I do in my day to day life.

Anonymity is a unique gift of the internet. And it is disappearing rapidly. It exists now under only a thin veil, one which can be seen through if a person cares enough to do so. Every time I post a comment on another blog, the blog-owner can find out where I am from and who my internet provider is. Furthermore, the provider knows what network my address is on and to whom it is registered. Of course, I am drawing attention to myself by not agreeing to provide adequate identification on this blog, are I not? It may seem like a draw or catch to pull people in, but it isn’t. I am quite happy if anyone finds this work to be of value. But what I value is a potential of anonymity itself. For does anonymity not also represent that phase of infinite potential from which all definitions and identities arise?

Furthermore, the recent protests against Scientology by an internet group of nerds, punks, hackers and so forth, calling themselves only by “anonymous”, has proven the necessity of non-identification in a society where more and more people fear the consequences of open dissent against unjust institutions. Whether or not this is the renegade group’s intention, to raise the ethical question of identity in a society afraid to combat its own shadows, the case has been opened. Too much of society is falling under the control and mandate of a higher institution. The only thing that protects people from unjust law is the ability to make mass decisions as a group. Outliers and independent thinkers bring attention and calamity upon themselves. In other words, the only anonymity is in fitting in.

In older times, identification was not easy. Indeed, passports were not necessary to travel abroad until after World War I. There were not as many people in the world, and yet people were not easily identified. The only people easily identifiable by appearance would be the noblemen and aristocrats financially worthy of a portrait or photograph. Even these images were in limited circulation.

The role of identity in the modern world is a static and drab one. Modern market-driven society aggressively seeks to define us and demands us to define ourselves in relation to it — largely through the products and goals it has predetermined for us to entertain. We have been fooled into thinking our identity or uniqueness is our ability to consume products we “choose”, that our tastes have any real substance, that Myspace or Facebook are anything more than a precursor of online monitoring or electric eyes. The government does not need to ostracize and label outlying citizens as heretics, for often society will do it voluntarily. Within the younger demographics of today’s modern society, it is a lack of presence on such online social networks that is strange, and which raises questions.

The world and its power structures are always trying to define each of us, to identify and categorize us — as an investment or a threat. Fortunately, the true fabric of identity comes from the imagination and the mind. Thus an adept can change their identity as they see fit. External appearances are necessary, but manipulations of appearance are easy and only a shallower layer of illusion (although some of the most shallow things are the most broad, a haha!). Identity may be the cause of suffering, but that gives no one else the right to impose identity upon us.

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Delete Yourself (Part III)

Posted in Buddhism, Happiness, Mysticism, Philosophy, Reality Bites, Ultimate Reality, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 28, 2008 by wizardsmoke

There’s really no agreed upon point to existence. Not that existence is devoid of meaning, but there’s no complete consensus on what meaning is. Actually, it’s not like a concise point to anything could even exist; or that it would change anything if we knew what it was. For all we know, we’ve heard the real-deal meaning of existence a bajillion times in different mystical forms and it has made absolutely zero difference in our lives. But that’s an obvious point there, isn’t it?

In olden times, before technology and the human populace were so widespread and commonplace, life moved a lot slower. Communication took longer and people were not constantly multi-tasking. There was time to contemplate things, or rather, perceive things. Nowadays it seems like stuff has to be happening right in front of our eyes to seem like any progress is being made. Perhaps our thought patterns have changed with industrial lifestyles to scheme or analyze instead of praying or imagining. Who knows.

I actually consider attachment to our heavy thinking to be a result of not having enough time, that it comes from anxiety. I think the romantics and existentialists and so on didn’t necessarily think a whole lot more than anyone else, but their lives crossed a modicum of perception and awareness with a penchant for serious academic understanding crossed with new ethical progresses.

Modern technological life tends to make life physically easier on our bodies (even though intense mental work is supposed to be even more taxing on the body) and the average life span is longer. But this is also a side-effect of humanity’s tendency to hoard life. Materialism is a blatant symptom of the attempt to own and possess things, all of which are inherently devoid of a self in the ultimate sense. But whaddya gonna do? People search for answers in their own ways, and all humans across time have desired a solution or a way to ease the pain. Because… doesn’t pain get us all in the end?

One question of philosophy and religion: Is there a self or no self? A lot of people have some kind of awakening experience or read a bunch of Indian philosophy and then declare that “all is one”. But really, isn’t that still a sense of self? When we say all things are interdependent, that they’re all reflections of other actions, isn’t that more akin to the idea that all is zero? I get that impression from Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s talks and writings. He’s mentioned how people will attach themselves to the ecstatic feelings of union they encounter in meditative states. But that just results in a really huge, expansive sense of self. Not to mention, when people really dig on those experiences or talk about having them a lot, it just means they aren’t that experienced with them. Or they haven’t learned much from them. It’s like the folks who get really good at martial arts and then enjoy beating people up or asserting their power. They’re missing the point of the skill.

As one matures on the quest to destroy (or unroot) suffering, one begins to see formerly pleasurable actions as boring. It begins with the simpler things in life and progresses onto sensual cravings and so forth. One experiences the awareness that their end result is suffering. Again — these things are realized with the body, not intellectually.

But how is this insight into the suffering of activities different from the perspective of nihilism? After all, nihilism is a sense of boredom too, a sense of disenchantment. I think it really lies in the fact that a non-nihilistic person experiencing the fruits of realization will simply side-step boring or unwise activities without analyzing them very much or obsessing over activities before they happen, whereas the nihilist sits and is bored or exhausted by all things because they will not ultimately yield any permanent or satisfying results. The nihilist is enchanted by doubt and criticism, phases which we all go through from time to time.

But you know, it’s funny because when you do things without speculation upon them, they do yield lasting and permanent results in your life experience. It’s just not the visible, empirical, measurable activity portion which has that result — it’s your relationship to the activity and its effect upon your field of perception. I don’t really like science, but when I read a page about the theory of “bubble universes”, it made perfect sense within my intuitive sense of the cosmos. Of course universes appear and pop or shrink like bubbles. The cosmos is a mind stream. What a crazy dream is all is.

Which reminds me… about that non-dual “life is a dream” new-age stuff: It’s not wrong, it’s just that it doesn’t help anyone to tell us life is a dream. Not unless the philosophy is actually going to give us hints or a practice strategy as to how to get out of the dream or see it for ourselves. ‘Coz just brainwashing yourself with a mantra into thinking life is a dream is a pretty depressing way to live it out.

But then it is a dream on some level, just like everything I create flows away from me with its own existence. And from really high above, the dream looks gorgeous and beautiful. Kind of like how we look at a cityscape from high above. Up close, the city looks polluted and dirty, but from high above the grand scheme of it all can be seen. It’s not that the city does not still have problems, but it becomes a marvelous work of art.

Life is like that too, when seen from a distance. Even periods of depression or anger… they just look quaint or charming (and sometimes funny or sad) when we reflect on them later during disease or old age. Only the good times matter, right? Maybe that’s why even terrible people can delude themselves into thinking they lived as a good person. Who wants to cling onto the negative experiences or perceptions of a life?

Incredible, that even this whole universe is nothing but a single teardrop. Ultimately, “it will all be lost, like tears in rain.” That’s what is so bittersweet about this whole ordeal. When we desire some grand ultimate truth, or some profound and concrete meaning, or the secret to life, we’ve just got problems with our own ego. But you gotta do what you love, so if you love that…

The Answer

Posted in karma, Mysticism, Occult, Philosophy, Ultimate Reality, Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 25, 2008 by wizardsmoke

What is the answer to it all? The conclusion? It seems when we break everything apart, there are just fundamental dynamics and laws which compose phenomena and a bunch of temporal beings which exist in the midst of it all. Ya know: people and animals and gods coming together under the power of belief and the law of karma. But there do not appear to be real answers — no conclusive periods of final spiritual rest.

I’ve long since given up on philosophy as providing an answer or satisfying solution to any problems. Not that I find it uninteresting, and I still read some of it. But as I’ve been prone to say, philosophy seems to be intense artistic rumination on the various branches of thought that exist in dualistic reality. Unfortunately, thought itself is not a means to freedom because thought works circularly or in a rhythm. Thoughts eventually pop, or must come reeling back to the mind. And within all one-sided conclusions or analysis (a la scientific experiments) there is always a reactionary thought or some kind of conundrum. Almost all conclusions of a personal conviction and dualistic nature are only true by the strength or determination of our own efforts.

So, it seems on some level we exist purely by our own belief and following the strengths of our own convictions. Which seemingly agrees with and contradicts Nietzsche’s theory of drives. Nietzsche didn’t really believe in free will and Sartre liked to hop around an exact definition of freedom. Sartre begins to sound like “A” from Kierkegaard’s Either/Or (Sartre was also an extreme-left sympathizer/apologist, who condoned even horrible atrocities in the name of Communism). I’d like to think that the freedom that can exist within the realm of existentialism is the freedom of belief.

Freedom of belief (as I’ll temporarily define existentialist belief on my own terms) is not a conscious freedom of choice, but of a freedom to accumulate one’s own value structure and believe one’s own perceptions. That is, one is free to believe whatever one wishes, and what makes it more true than another’s beliefs is simply the conviction one carries with it. One does not have the freedom to do whatever one wishes, since there are laws in the world and the cosmos, but one is potentially free to color their mind with whatever perceptions they choose. One may perceive any event in any way they so desire.

In fact, this is inherent to the nature of occult practice, of which modern (athiestic) philosophy is acquainted. Sometimes I wonder if the deepest occult realizations are not also the heart of the intellectual mind — a realm of infinite complexity where occult and intellectual cease to exist as useful designations.

In existential terms the only good things seem to be those which are interesting or pleasurable. Thus, for those people who cannot see the karmic result of following their drives, this kind of philosophy is dangerous. But then again how can one, especially a so-called philosopher, believe in something they don’t see or create for themselves? It is a complicated thing, to intellectually assess free will, and I doubt it has any solutions.

The real problem I see with a lot of modern philosophers is that their message is not as profound as their ability to write. Instead of a consistent rhythm of insight, their writings often also consist of excess decorations of boredoms and insecurities. It’s no surprise that lots of black magick texts feature these shortcomings as well: an inability to boil down, condense and concisely transmit a meaningful statement and message. If one’s mind is disheveled, unorganized and constantly distracted, how could one hope to find the answer?

Heart of the Cult (Part II)

Posted in Cults, Doom and Evil, Occult, Reality Bites, Relationships, Religion, society, Uncategorized with tags , , on April 23, 2008 by wizardsmoke

One interesting facet of any organized group, business or cause is the way they constantly gain and lose members. There is no permanently solidified heart of the group. There may be owners or icons whom run the group, but they do not control their creation so much as direct it. They do not have complete control over their creation. Anyone who has worked in a chain restaurant or store knows that the store employees have no real connection to the chain owners. The establishment remains regardless of who works there.

In some sense I am saying that once something is created and promulgated in the world, (like a business, social cause, philosophical or political theory, new technological medium, and so forth) it is impossible to completely disassemble it or undo it. It now has roots of its own, it can continue to exist upon the fantasies and drives and power-lust of new people who wish to entertain its existence. It exists of its own blind magnetism to weaknesses in the human psyche. The Japanese film, Suicide Club actually explores this concept — the impersonal replication of the cult — in a very effective way. I found it to be a disturbing movie in that sense.

Just like a body shedding its cells, groups shed their members until the group is composed of almost entirely different individuals. And just as the human body is composed of completely different cells in seven years time and yet maintains a personal likeness (despite the physical changes that have taken place), a group’s membership is composed of completely different members after a certain period. Of course, the group has changed a bit, just as humans have changed appearances gradually with age. And like humans and all organisms, groups and cults of all sorts eventually must burn themselves out. Still, while they exist the agenda of the cult often remains the same, no matter who is in it, and consistently malicious.

The scariest aspect of cults is how they are able to destroy the individual will and identity and replace it with the will of the cult. The cult itself has no concrete goal (since ultimately none exists) except it’s own replication. Cults extend promises of rewards in this life or the next in return for extreme personal sacrifices to the cult. The individual simply becomes a vessel, a human sacrifice.

Thus, there is no real, concrete heart of the cult, gang or corporation — just as there is no concrete unchanging self, no real personified or conceptually tangible manifestation of God or Satan, no literal answer to life’s existential questions. The cult moves across the landscape of the world as a phantom, devoid of conscious self, like a plague. And here one begins to suspect that all life, all existence is rather cult-like. That, the argument for one’s personal beliefs is itself some kind of trap which causes painful attachments and a conscious search for meaning only stirs further emotional torrents in an individual. These torrents of the mind are analogous to the way cults exist in society. Most cults think their cause is divine or within grasp. But in the end, it all pops like a dream, a life wasted.

‘Course, cults are actually defined by the way they isolate individuals from their former social networks and demand total submission. They’re a bit like totalitarian governments in that respect. At least with businesses and other groups we have some modicum of decisive action we can take on our own. We’re not under their thumb and possess the freedom to entertain more personal illusions.

Social Butterfly

Posted in Doom and Evil, Reality Bites, Relationships, sex, society, Technology, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 22, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Online social networking is certainly all the rage with the kids these days. It’s nothing I partake of myself, but I’ve certainly encountered those who do, even in the creepy adult world.

But I think I’ve figured it out. It mostly exists as a way for guys to easily talk to girls. Come on, are I not correct? Somebody I respect (for different reasons) once told me he used Facebook to get in touch with people he used to talk to when he was in school. But, clearly those weren’t very relevant or important relationships since he didn’t keep them otherwise, yes? Obvious point, but we’re building up here so stay with me.

See, not only do I think this stuff is just for lazy people to hook up with one another, but I don’t buy the whole “it can be used to reunite with long lost friends” angle. ‘Coz, that takes all the juicy mystery out of the romance of not seeing someone. As we all know, mystery and fear and suspense and romance all comes from not knowing the whole picture.

If you think about it, mysteries and suspense stories or movies seem to be written in reverse. There’s the big event or conclusion, which is revealed or told piece by piece, like a trail of crumbs. When you follow the crumbs, you get to the source of the crumbs and it seems like such a hammer-smash to the psyche because you’ve been eating these little crumbs and then all of a sudden get a whole slice of bread.

Crumbs? What? Where was I? Okay, so whenever I hear of what someone I used to know is up to currently, it’s really not that interesting. And the more I hear, the less interested I am. Usually. Partially because it’s not my business and I probably am too self-involved, but also because it makes the mystery of what they’re doing and who they are start to disappear. In other words, it’s fun and mysterious to not know what people are doing.

Think about it, if someone is really cool or interesting (and I mean genuinely so, like they keep a blog under a cheesy pseudonym that’s about moderately to very interesting esoteric topics) don’t they become more so when their personal information and creative output is harder to come by? It’s just a natural reaction I would think. It’s actually how you attract people in the first place, by creating an aura of mystery around oneself. Geez, just ask girls who are trying to appear sexy about this. It’s a basic level of illusion. If you breach the illusion right away, you won’t want to pursue the person underneath.

But it’s not just social networking I guess. The internet’s multi-faceted features have isolated people to an extreme and taken the mystery out of lots of things. Music, philosophy, science, religion, martial arts… it’s all out there for you to become an expert on without any actual research going into it.

And sexual intercourse! The Futurama episode where Fry downloads and falls in love with a Lucy Liu robot really was about the world of internet porn. Instead of pursuing women or learning good social conduct in order to do so, a new fringe generation of young males often will (A) relegate their sexual urges to a withdrawn haven of pornography and like-minded slimy internet peers or (B) overindulge their sexual urges with as many partners as possible, or make a sport of it. To my knowledge, there is even a culture of “pick-up artists” which is universally accepted and championed at major American universities. Don’t ask me how I know about this stuff. Must be from too much astral projection every day, a haha!

But yeah… the pick up artists are definitely on social networks. Just remember that. If a person is even remotely a predator, they’re on these things. Because… predators don’t usually prey on mystery, right? They prey on victims… people they have all four corners on. A mysterious angle can mean a person has an unexpected risk factor. Or whatever, I might just be nuts.

*nervous smile*

So use your social networking to your heart’s delight! In fact, you might as well, since it has already poisoned the development of skills used in physical social contact. And speaking to people at random on the street in developed and urban areas makes one look like a creep or psycho these days. Ah, how ironic! Random approaches in person are creepy and random approaches through a computer terminal are normal. Fair enough, I suppose.

More on cults tomorrow.

Heart of the Cult (Part I)

Posted in Cults, Doom and Evil, Relationships, society, World of Emotions with tags , , , , on April 21, 2008 by wizardsmoke

It is of interest to question the origin of “hate groups” or malicious organizations. This includes Nazism, fundamentalist religious groups, terrorists, gangs, college fraternities, Satanic and black magick groups, cults and so forth. Under what pretext do they exist? Power in numbers and fear. Of course, the fear originates not necessarily from the things they claim to hate; it is rather a fear of the powerlessness or insignificance of the self.

Outside of society’s norms and laws, the basic tenet of existence is: might makes right. For even the laws which seem to protect the weaker individual interests, are still just the power schemata imposed overhead by a dominant group. Of course, the maintenance of power and the seizure of power are very different modes of operation. Good historical examples include the Yuan Dynasty of ancient China. The Mongols were exceptionally skilled at melee combat, but were absolutely terrible at ruling a (foreign) country.

Unfortunately, the quest for power — particularly worldly power — is a futile quest. No matter how tough one can become, one is powerless against a gun. No matter how good one is with a firearm, one is powerless against a militia. No matter how well-trained a militia, it is powerless against a better-funded and organized army. No matter how powerful an army, it is powerless against a country it depends upon for resources, trade and sustenance. Eventually, obsessive power is balanced by the intervention of nature itself.

Basically, hate groups offer a promise of protection to its members. Members often join because they themselves have been the victims of abuse, or violent or hateful crimes. Since the group enforces local violence, it seems less likely that one will be the target of violence. This has a romantic notion too — a sense of power or pride in one’s community, that one is feared for one’s associations. On the other hand, if one does not join their ranks and their “protection” one is prey to their crosshairs.

This dynamic is something of an absurd irony — out fear of being prey, one supports the very ideas which prey upon others. This seems to pervade communities the world over — if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This is a manifestation of the heart of every cult (and isn’t everything a cult ultimately?), in which the individual becomes reshaped in the image of the cult. Another way of defining this is saying the individual becomes “possessed” by the gods or ideals of the cult. It works a bit like enculturation, but even further ingrained in the individual spirit.

Incidentally, cults and hate groups draw people in at their weakest. For some people this is in their youth and adolescence. While reading through The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft last month, I was struck by how many sorcerors and witches were initiated into their practices as children, by old men or women. Preying upon a child is a serious crime because a child is so easily manipulated and reshaped. The abuse enacted upon a child becomes the earliest tools used to relate to the world at large. As mentioned before in regards to gangs, victims of abuse or initiation often continue the cycle by in turn committing the same acts upon another.

This is similar to the way cults and hate groups coerce new members while they are in periods of self-doubt or serious emotional distress. People in the wake of tragedy, new emotions, loneliness or in need of guidance often are desperate for someone to rely upon.

I would say that the openly angry youth culture of the present comes largely from an extreme fear, an extreme insecurity and defensiveness against a world that is becoming ever more competitive and yet simultaneously devoid of imagination. Anger brings a very romantic association with it and is a very persuasive quality for those unprepared to fend it off. Anger desires submission to its whims, and like all romances, is very persuasive with its agenda. If one is afraid of possessing inferior strength, intelligence, wealth or power, then hate can seem like a viable means of warding off predators. Unfortunately it also makes one blind and forgetful, much like lust or greed.

Where does hate come from? The Christian world designates evil as some kind of in-born malice, but many people today recognize that negative actions can come from negative home, school and social environments. Environment as a root factor doesn’t explain everything, but it proves a point: a person’s character cannot be the result of any one single cause.

More Wizard Quotes

Posted in Beauty, Mysticism, Poetry, Reality Bites, The Arts, Wizard Quotes with tags , , , on April 20, 2008 by wizardsmoke

**Special Music Edition!**

Emperor — “The Source of Icon E”:

The land was created, in the name of the chosen, the waves thrown for men to see. The one who made men to be, prevailed from the source of Icon E.

The waves of fury — prevailed from the source of Icon E, were mine to be. Ordered to destroy and bury… No remorse!

The destiny of the wave was not to be found. Nor was I traveling the deadly sea alone. The sun never rose, and my rose was not to be.

For what purpose I gave my return, is still standing alone. And as the raven dropped its feather on me, I was again to be the chosen one. — IX Equilibrium (1999)

Amorphis — “My Kantele”:

Truly they lie, they talk utter nonsense;
Who say of music reckon that the kantele,
Was fashioned by a god
Out of a great pike’s shoulders
From a water-dog’s hooked bones:
It was made from the grief,
Moulded from sorrow.

Its belly out of hard days,
Its soundboard from endless woes,
Its strings gathered from torments,
And its pegs from other ills.

So it will not play, will not rejoice at all.
Music will not play to please,
Give off the right sort of joy,
For it was fashioned from cares,
Moulded from sorrow. — Elegy (1997)

Leonard Cohen — “Teachers”:

I met a woman long ago
her hair the black that black can go,
Are you a teacher of the heart?
Soft she answered no.
I met a girl across the sea,
her hair the gold that gold can be,
Are you a teacher of the heart?
Yes, but not for thee.

I met a man who lost his mind
in some lost place I had to find,
follow me the wise man said,
but he walked behind.

I walked into a hospital
where none was sick and none was well,
when at night the nurses left
I could not walk at all.

Morning came and then came noon,
dinner time a scalpel blade
lay beside my silver spoon.

Some girls wander by mistake
into the mess that scalpels make.
Are you the teachers of my heart?
We teach old hearts to break.

One morning I woke up alone,
the hospital and the nurses gone.
Have I carved enough my Lord?
Child, you are a bone.

I ate and ate and ate,
no I did not miss a plate, well
How much do these suppers cost?
We’ll take it out in hate.

I spent my hatred everyplace,
on every work on every face,
someone gave me wishes
and I wished for an embrace.

Several girls embraced me, then
I was embraced by men,
Is my passion perfect?
No, do it once again.

I was handsome I was strong,
I knew the words of every song.
Did my singing please you?
No, the words you sang were wrong.

Who is it whom I address,
who takes down what I confess?
Are you the teachers of my heart?
We teach old hearts to rest.

Oh teachers are my lessons done?
I cannot do another one.
They laughed and laughed and said, Well child,
are your lessons done?
are your lessons done?
are your lessons done? — Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)