Archive for the love Category

Self-help: peons, paradise and panache…

Posted in Daoism, Happiness, health, love, Reality Bites, Relationships, Religion, self-help, tai chi, Ultimate Reality, Wizard Quotes, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2009 by wizardsmoke

There are a lot of self-help guides and ideas floating around out there. Ways to become powerful, to become successful, confident, how to seize the day, etc. They’re mostly gibberish because they pitch no real skill. To address real problems of confidence takes practice in an area relating to the problem. How do you cease social anxiety? How do you take down violent criminals or fight off bullies? How do you talk to attractive men or women? How do you stand up to your boss? How do you find a soul-mate, a great teacher, or a great skill? How do you make a lot of money on the stock-market? How do you attain non-craving or non-attachment and ultimate supreme enlightenment?

The same way you do anything: you practice the necessary skill until it becomes normal. You do it until it is no longer an unusual thing, it becomes routine. So much crap in life, so much unnecessary mental suffering is really just people whining — people trying to avoid doing the grunt work. The grunt work is all there is! Civilization is built upon shitty jobs! When you fuck up — do it again! Do it again! Again! Again!!!!!

In fact, in life we should never expect any kind of perfection or success. Life is constant struggle, constant change — diamonds are mined from hard work, and nothing else. Any successful person, who did not have to do any hard work or hard practice to get to their position of influence or affluence, is worthless. They do not know what they are doing. They are the spoiled prince, the media heiress, the run-of-the-mill actor, the corrupt politician, the failed business tycoon; they are the true meaning of charlatan, poseur, parasite and liar. The depth of their ugliness is endless.

And so it is with everything. If you want the bigger returns, you need to put in more effort than other people.
This is why having competition amongst fellow students, friends and family can be a good thing. We are forced to practice and improve ourselves with our free time. Life’s rewards are the personal results of hard work. Too many people just sit on their asses watching mediocre television shows every night, while looking for love in the gutter (bars and clubs) on the weekends.

And not that anyone is ever satisfied by romantic love no matter how much they yearn for it. Every other person I meet who finds out I’m deep into Taiji or music, they immediately fire off some nonsense about how they really want to start learning that stuff. But almost none of them will ever start. Why? What do they want, free lessons? My approval? All a person needs to make life reasonably fulfilling is a couple of things rewarding practices to pass the time, things that you would hate yourself for not doing.

The worst thing I can imagine doing is taking some salaried job in a corporation, so that I can buy a house in a developed community and raise kids in a world I never fully comprehended in the first place. And yet, the irony is that this is the grunt work, the shitty job, of civilization. A lot of people try to fill their existential hole with sex, drugs, money, kids, status, power, religion, and a million other things. And they’re unsatisfied. They have nothing. Because there is nothing, but they only know that intellectually, not experientially. And so it goes on.

Learning multiple skills is essential to understanding the essence of metaphor. Metaphorical understanding and realization is valuable stuff, as Aristotle put it:

The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor… it is also the sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars.

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Forever real

Posted in Asceticism, Buddhism, love, Magick, martial arts, meditation, Mysticism, New Age Baloney, Occult, Religion, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2009 by wizardsmoke

What’s the best thing to do with your time? To become real. But what does that even mean?

Well, as my friend pointed out, it’s the process of making the story you tell yourself — the idealized you, a tangible reality, where there is no delay or separation between your perception of self and the objective self that interacts with the world around oneself. This is the real goal of studying and practicing magic, martial arts, or a religion. They all have different means of achieving this, stimulating different paths of awareness through the body or the mind, but they aim to get to this point. A crappy curriculum of path is one that does not actually have this in the syllabus.

But just because the aforementioned methods are ways of reaching this, they are no guarantee. Most folks practicing these things are floating around helplessly just like anyone doing anything in this world. Plus, what is the ultimate point of enlightenment, or total cessation of attachments and cravings? Well, there is no point in the tangible sense, because it is the place where points are dissolved entirely. And I think I heard Ajahn Brahm say, enlightenment is actually very boring.

When people create the causes for enlightenment, as they describe in Buddhism, by laying down good karma — a good rhythm, to attaining nirvana in this life or the next, they are effectively embedding the rhythm toward that experience or dissolution of enlightenment into the intrinsic fabric of their being and mental developments. Thus the desire becomes inherent to the self-clinging being taking birth and the enlightenment is no longer such a blatant desire. If the drive toward enlightenment is buried deeply enough and forgotten (made automatic), one begins to simply manifest it, now and forever. It will sneak up on you, create an innate moral quality, guide you from beyond your intellect.

Desire is blatant and therefore must be sublimated to the subconscious to really become effective in one’s life. If one can burn out the desire for enlightenment by going in the right direction towards that experience, they are creating good causes. They are pushing enlightenment into their mind until they manifest it fully. But it has to happen subtly — big enlightenment experiences are usually the stuff ambitious crackpots or intermediate students. You don’t go to heaven, you grow into heaven, to borrow a phrase from the old-school New-Ager, Edgar Cayce. Enlightenment comes to you throughout your whole life, like the expanding, full-on deafening roar of water crashing toward you through a tunnel. Every kind of understanding happens like this, until we’re floating in the water, which is our experience made reality.

Sex: right on the money

Posted in Happiness, love, Monasticism, Powermongers, Relationships, Religion, sex, society, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by wizardsmoke

What do people want to gain from sex itself? In no particular order:

  1. Physical intimacy
  2. Emotional fulfillment
  3. Power

The first is obvious: people want physical contact, warmth, friction — in other words, sticky mucus-membrane pleasure. The raw deal! Another human being to hold, a person to touch. Black-out orgasms, flitting eyelids, gasping for air. This is not a necessary condition of love.

The second is trickier. The problem with these factors, is that the lines blur between them, or what they achieve. Many of us have emotional needs which we hope to fulfill through sexual contact. This often has to do with psychological issues, upbringing, genetic traits, our need for stability or excitement, etc. But there are some, who, because of their emotional state, require power-trips in order to derive emotional fulfillment from sex.

At the basic level, power, for the respective sexes (heterosexual terms for the moment), is that a women wishes to have the power over a man’s desire, via attraction, whereas a man desires the power to dominate a woman via penetration. Some people are different — they want influence over others via their mate, they want to be able to manipulate others with their prowess, they want to control the desires of another to gain self-esteem.

You can call it cynical, but as far as sex goes, I think this is the basic score. The error is not that sex is bad in of itself, but that people actually seem to think sex is a defining factor or catalyst for love. Love exists outside of sex, but can be triggered by sexual intimacy for many. The problem is that this love is limited and can be unreliable if this is it’s basis. Oh well — at least sex is fun.

I think in modern western society, sex has become a game more than a necessity. It’s not really a sin, just an indication of social blatancy and the phasing of the human experience. People who primarily seek power from sex often acquire it from groups of strangers, whereas those who seek emotional fulfillment often acquire it from within their social circles (perhaps a modern stand-in for arranged marriage). Obviously there is not such a clearly defined reason for why people seek sex, but this is a rough sketch of what I have observed.

I don’t think sex is taboo from a mystical standpoint. As one ages, the sex drive naturally fades away and one can spend more time in contemplation. I think religions, with their codes of celibacy were often ways to control unkempt desires in society, especially at times when birth control was crude or non-existent. Especially if many marriages were arranged, or relied on social ties, orphaned or outcast males might have been inducted into a monastic life either temporarily or permanently to keep them from causing trouble. I have no historical facts for this basis, of course, which will horrify empiricists and evangelicals alike (all according to plan).

I don’t believe sex is the “point” of life, or the greatest pleasure, or something to be pursued eternally. Many people have seriously dysfunctional sexual habits, just like many have harmful inclinations towards violent behavior, lying or stealing. These are other reasons for religious tenets, but people cannot be helped unless they wish to change on their own.

Sexual desire is the driving force of nature, whereas the belief (or hope) in a future tranquility or contentment is the bait. Sexual desire does not beget the bait, because the bait is a natural illusion to spur our trajectory forward, and thus enact nature’s drives. Sex is the motivator to reproduce, by giving the emotional illusion of providing long-term fulfillment.

Thoughts?

Second-guessing sexpots in a hierarchy of modern needs

Posted in Beauty, Happiness, health, love, Reality Bites, Relationships, sex, sex and violence, society, Stayin' Alive, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by wizardsmoke

Many who are obsessed with sex and sexual conquest will validate their own desires by rhetorically claiming that the engagement of numerous successful sexual exploits indicates they possess deeper survival instinct mechanisms, and therefore dominant, superior genes which will be likely extended to another generation.

Ha! Subtle theory. This is a very cynical view because it’s narrow-sighted, based exclusively in boring empirical analyses which assume that humans are moist automatons absent of free will or choice outside of physical drives. In fact, the cosmic view (not the same as ethical view) of sex-obsessed, narcissistic, quickie pick-up types is not far from the party-line agenda of “healthy skeptics” — or whatever other utterly annoying, arrogant label athiests and stage-magicians tend to throw around when describing why they don’t believe in things that are not physically visible and ripe for them to manipulate. (Here’s a hint as to why: stage magicians are so obsessed with manipulating other people because they themselves are deathly afraid of being manipulated. Hence they don’t believe in anything that cannot be “proven” empirically. Nice predictable, self-centered view of the universe you have there, assholes.)

But anyway — why is sexual desire (lust) the thing that yanks us back into samsaric existence over and over again? What is so great about it that it overrides other desires as the focus of our attention? Why are romantic prospects more interesting than career prospects, when we have no control over the former?

A quick hierarchy of the fundamental survival needs could go, in order of necessary (albeit situationally unrealistic) acquisition:

  1. rest or sleep (shelter)
  2. food (sustenance)
  3. physical dominance, or an acquired role in the social order
  4. sexual desire (procreation, in the case of heterosexuals)
  5. everything else (social acceptance, education, spirituality, etc.)

The first two definitely have to be satisfied before the third. The third is sort of a toss-up and could fit somewhere after sexual desire, within social acceptance, as a sort of novelty or luxury of life. In modern post-industrial, capitalist/socialist society our social role is a little more subtly defined than in, say, a tribe of hunter-gatherers, a caste-based system, or a feudal kingdom. For instance, in modern society, most people maintain shelter and food throughout their entire lives, even if they don’t work very hard. There is an infinite spread of wealth between the financially poorest and wealthiest, and there are certainly a number of homeless people, yet most have somewhere to crash and something to chow down on. The quality of luxury varies, but it’s rare that people just suddenly lose access to these basic needs (not to mention the strange preference some women have these days for skinny, weak, whiny, white guys). As I said, one can consider social identity to be a luxury outside that of “citizen”.

Of course, imprisonment is an interesting case. Prison fucks up the entire chain of priorities, because it enforces the shelter and food from above, limiting the freedoms of inmates’ survival instincts to the role of social and physical dominance. Even sexual roles are relegated almost exclusively to status games in prisons (although you could argue that sexual roles are always status games anyway). There seem to be similarities between active military service and certain brands of imprisonment actually.

Back to sex and why it’s important to us: sex is fun because it’s the ego’s ultimate feeling of power, importance, purpose, meaning. Ha! I think Freud wrote something about this. Sex is the ultimate trick of the universe — the illusory notion of self-importance. And of course, when you analyze it, and ask what makes sex, like anything, important or purposeful, you realize there is no purpose. It’s just like when you ask a girl why she loves to dance: “It’s just fun!”

So everything in existence is just fun for it’s own pleasurable amusement. And if you think about it, in society, the ultimate goal is simply procreation. Fulfilling other desires, like wealth, fame, status — these are all secondary or complementary to procreation. A lot of us will disagree with this, but it’s possible that those who choose not to procreate have qualms with the nature of the world or existence (I have one friend who thinks they are doing a better service to the world by not having kids and by allowing the world some extra space). They are a product of modern life, a luxury of modern society, though I would wager some people who choose not to procreate now would have done so in the past.

It’s common knowledge that men and women who dress in intentionally revealing clothing often suffer from insecurities about their own self-image and self-esteem in general. It’s also mentioned that men and women who have excessive sexual relationships suffer from devalued notions of self-worth (although folks like Ikkyu or Baudelaire or Austin Spare could hardly be considered guilty of such things, so it makes me wonder if some people aren’t just unemotional and have inflated self-worth and excessive boredom).

So my fundamental question: those who have the viable option to procreate or have sex, and instead opt not to — do they have the greatest self-love of all? What do you think?

Powermonger

Posted in love, New Age Baloney, Relationships, sex and violence, society, Stayin' Alive, World of Emotions with tags , , , on August 27, 2009 by wizardsmoke

Today I took the time to muse about power! In my mind, power indicates a kind of social separation — perhaps social isolation. To attain power, one has to focus the mind one-pointedly on that goal to the exclusion of other things. I’m being deliberately vague by using the term “power” because it can refer to lots of different kinds of power: financial/political/social power, physical/sexual power, intellectual/mental power, etc.

Power indicates the ability to force other things against their will, to temporarily go against the laws of nature. Certain religious philosophies try to affect the individual by reprogramming the mind to go against the impulsive avenues the human ego uses to try and sustain itself in life — grasping for a tangible immediate control over one’s surroundings. But power does not last anyway — power fades and abandons the user in time, because power is a temporary flux of momentum.

But who loves weakness? Nobody finds that attractive, except bullies. Our artistic and cultural feedback often isolates (romantic) love instead as the experience closest to giving existence a tangible meaning, and perhaps in some way, love is complete abdication of power — beyond weakness, even. Love is the switch that bypasses the ego’s need to assert itself. Sexual desire is often conflated with love, for love is the term to indicate this experience that is so foreign to some that it only appears in their sexual proclivities.

Power has no healthy place in society — and love is the abdication of power. The more shallow the drive for power, the more blatant and anti-social it becomes.

Now/never

Posted in Happiness, love, society, World of Emotions with tags , , on April 13, 2009 by wizardsmoke

I think… one main reason there is suffering is because people don’t like what they do. When people do something they do not enjoy, they do not do a good job of what they are doing. I have never, and probably will never, take a typical office job in a bureaucratic or government position, because I would most likely do it terribly. It is not a part of my natural drive, just as I am not driven to deeply pursue cooking, mathematics, marine biology, tax law, and so forth. I have friends who are naturally driven to do cuisine or fine art academia, or management or accounting or business positions. I am not. And so I do not do such things, so I do not put mediocre work into the world.

That’s the reason there’s so much crap on the internet; the internet is full of half-baked ideas, emotional rants, and ideas that are not real natural investments. In some ways it’s a little bit too democratic, giving everyone the right to spout off about stuff as if they know what they’re talking about (What? You feel there’s something ironic about me saying this?). These people are spending too much time on the internet when they could be out doing some hobby or other thing. Of course, the internet seems especially useful to people in rural or extremely cloistered areas, who need some other form of social escape.

One could interpret the infamous Crowley saying, “Do as thou wilt” to simply mean, do as you naturally desire. Not just, do whatever you want, but do what comes to your character most painlessly. It’s almost a useless saying, really, since that’s what people will do if their desire is strong enough. Plus there’s too much mumbo-jumbo complication to cut through with Crowley. But even Plato/Socrates coined virtue as that which we love (unless I’m totally making that up), just as Kierkegaard’s thesis in one of his works was about how purity (and even *cough* purpose!) is found through a single-pointed pursuit. This is also Brad Warner’s favorite explanation of “right action” in life — just do what you naturally do best. And I tend to agree — if a person doesn’t pursue what they love in life, they will become jaded and a dysfunctional member of society. Even when you screw up on pursuing those things you love, you still did them and figured out that they’re stupid or crazy ambitions. Businessmen who don’t use or care about their own products; people who go into business for money and not out of a desire to actually improve the marketplace, are disrupting the high quality potential of life that may be possible for all human beings.

As they say, better to live without regrets about things you didn’t do. If you don’t pursue your own natural talents, you’re a dishonest person. You’re living at least one pretty good-sized lie. “The only sin is suffering!”

______

*Yes, I know there are bad things people are sometimes naturally good at — let’s just conveniently disregard those for the time being and pretend I’m talking about the good in humanity

Godspeed, Jizo-sama

Posted in Buddhism, death, love, Mysticism, Religion, Storytelling, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2009 by wizardsmoke

Sorry if my blogging rhythm is totally screwy. I have had some other projects going on. It’s also not like I haven’t been writing for this blog: I’ve got over a hundred drafts for this site, many of which are almost finished, but I just can’t get around to finishing them when I’m at home.

Anyway, is there really an Amida Buddha, Kannon, Jizo Bosatsu, or Mary? That archetype, does it really exist? Sure it does. Just watch almost any movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki and you’ll be exposed to some of the deepest love that exists. And I don’t just mean like, he puts a deep love into the direction of these films — I mean, they actually exude incredibly deep cosmic love. Very powerful stuff — sorcery perhaps, on the level of only a handful of artists and visionaries in existence at any one time.

Who else exudes such high levels of love? There are many, but here is just a small handful:

  • Jason Becker
  • Susumu Hirasawa
  • Akira Kurosawa
  • ABBA

The irony here is that guys like Miyazaki and Kurosawa supposedly either work their staff like dogs, or picked mercilessly on certain members of their crew. So what’s the deal with that? Furthermore, Miyazaki is pretty rough on his son, as far as I know. But at the same time, I sort of understand… I’ve definitely had teachers who were great to me and the other students, but were neurotic and crazy on their own, or known really good people who are awful to their own families, and vice versa. Isn’t that so strange?

One of Miyazaki’s masterpieces, My Neighbor Totoro, subtly incorporates the theme of Jizo Bosatsu into the storyline. The patron of unborn children, stillborn children, dead children and orphans — the Jizo is a protectorate of the helpless who drown in the samsaric sea before they even get a chance to swim in it. I like that idea. Miyazaki’s films are primarily aimed at young children, particularly girls, hoping to inspire them with a sense of compassion and self-worth while they are still young, providing them with positive role models. Although the protagonists are not orphans, they encounter the carefully placed Jizo shrines in the story, at pivotal plot points. It does not seem so apparent at first, but upon a second viewing I felt pretty sure that this was significant to Miyazaki’s message.

Many children are orphans, and at the very least many children do not have good role models. Even if there is no tangible, concrete protector deity floating around saving them, I like the idea quite a bit. It’s one worth drinking to. And Miyazaki’s body of work comes pretty close to embodying those ideals. It’s too bad that his recent film, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, is to be his last. But really, in this foaming sea of chaos, where we swim around looking for purpose, it’s very nice to know that someone like Miyazaki made his vision become reality.