Archive for fear

Shyboy

Posted in Doom and Evil, Fighting, Happiness, love, Reality Bites, Relationships, sex and violence, society, Stayin' Alive, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2009 by wizardsmoke

The times in my adult life that I’ve actually cried were not from periods of grief, calamity, extended depression or “sadness”. No, I’ve often found that tears come in times of last-minute catharsis. Sure, you could say an excess of joy weeps, but I think it’s more like, reassurance in the face of impending despair. That is, the happy or joyous things that make me cry do so because I realize suddenly that they almost didn’t happen. Considering how much of life is rough around the edges, cold, lonely, prickly, and so forth — when something really nice happens it’s such a spiked contrast. Really horrible things, they simply rob a person of emotional output — they’re catatonic experiences.

Watching a film like Barefoot Gen makes me want to cry. Ah, I’m no stranger to sad or depressing movies; but Barefoot Gen is like if you combined the two Ghibli films, Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro — both totally heart-rending films — into one horrific account of the Hiroshima bomb blast.

Anyway, truly nice things and people are pretty rare. It takes a lot of strength to do things selflessly, being able to do good things without freezing up or letting oneself become drained or emotional. I admire people who can do that, even if I have trouble expressing it. But I wonder where this all contrasts with the necessities of the world today. Israel/Palestine, Russia/Georgia, US/Iraq, African genocides, indigenous peoples, etc. How nice can you be when you’re forced to choose loyalties between military powers or states or religious conflicts? People talk all big about principles and ethics and morals, but I think everyone fundamentally chooses their family and friends before ideologies.

I guess really nice people have no loyalties to anyone in particular, just a particular set of moral qualities. But that is directly threatening or at odds with nation-state laws. And that’s why some things are so tear-jerking — because they’re so rare. After all, to reign people in, to keep order and live in organized societies, we need brutal laws which punish people inappropriately to their actions.

Soul Brother

Posted in Cults, Fighting, martial arts, Monasticism, Mysticism, Occult, Religion, Stayin' Alive, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2008 by wizardsmoke

“We’ll tear your soul apart.” —Hellraiser

The scariest kind of horror fiction is that stuff that talks about the torment of the soul, of a negative post-human transmigration. In fiction, those elements were always the scariest parts of Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Arthur Machen, E.T.A. Hoffmann, etc. After all, that’s how religions and cults brainwash people — they imbue them with terrifying stories under the guise that they are real.

Oh, not that they’re wrong — hell is real, but everything looks and seems different when observed from far away. We might be in hell right now (we probably are) and just don’t realize it because we don’t have the eyes to see it, or because our perceptions are made up of hellish perceptions. And besides, to someone with an agenda (enlightenment, heaven, freedom, power) anything that obstructs that agenda is bad, dangerous, a hellish manifestation.

Lots of horror stories function under the premise of someone encountering deep underworld elements (occult or social) which they are not prepared to comprehend. This is how our “souls” can be damaged — by attaching to negative influences or encountering tantric forces we do not understand. When fear is too powerful, a person attaches to it and becomes ensnared by horrible things, ideas, whatever.

It’s the same when confronting or fighting somebody: even if your structure and technique is fantastic, if a person’s spirit is far stronger, you become paralyzed and frozen in fear. Nothing works and you succumb to their energy. This is why eliminating fear is such an important step in religious/martial training. As Glenn Morris likes to chant in his charming and entertaining occult/martial arts books, “the stronger spirit wins”.

We’re often told of the conundrum that the final peace or whatever arises of its own accord. You can’t force it, blah blah blah. It’s true, but it also arises as the only alternative to disenchantment with all of these painful things. There is a point where the hells just become boring.

Give or Take

Posted in Buddhism, Doom and Evil, Fighting, martial arts, Stayin' Alive, World of Emotions with tags on June 22, 2008 by wizardsmoke

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Nothing really tows the line. What kind of punishment is appropriate for a crime? Any punishment is too strict or too lenient. This is always the predicament. What punishment is appropriate? Sure someone may reap the metaphysical or mental results of what they sow, but society’s laws aim to keep order within society and distribute justice, or deserving punishment.

Of course, things do not come close to one-hundred percent successfully functioning in this way. The flow of the universe is too chaotic or perhaps, too relaxed, for humanity attain the rigidly pure goals of its imagination, at least in any tangible physical reality. Society generally awards lenient punishments to those with desirable resources (usually money) and harsher punishments to those without lucrative gifts. Money tends to usurp the place of talent or wisdom as the apple of society’s short-term eye. Some may speak otherwise, but what good is a talent or wisdom in the short term? When one needs food now or in crisis, potential and artistic integrity are not very relevant. Martial arts however, are always relevant, no matter how advanced our society becomes.

I wonder a lot whether continually learning martial arts isn’t totally crazy, whether it isn’t like some hell-bent black magick quest that destroys a person’s humanity. ‘Coz like, if we’re so afraid of being harmed by the world, isn’t learning to horribly maim others just another way of being manipulated by the world and joining its ranks of perpetrators? I guess I’ll let everyone know how it turns out! *wink*

Ah, but I have no regrets. I’m much better off now than I ever was. I said before, I wanted to learn martial arts because I hate violence. But you probably noticed: unless one is a completely trashy, unsophisticated being who lucked out on a vacant spot in a human womb, or a total nutjob psycho, he/she doesn’t like seeing or experiencing violence. No, like a lot of people, not only did I hate violence, but I used to really fear violence. To the point where it made me depressed and socially anxious.

I started out by getting into Buddhism and meditation and all that stuff and it didn’t help me with that fear. Because I was really trying to walk away from it. Not that those approaches won’t work (and they did to some degree), but it’s more a matter of how your teacher can affect you. Even today, I absolutely hate and fear hurting other people, even when I actually have to do it. But I’ve learned how to let it melt away when it’s necessary. Hurting others, watching others be hurt, or hurt themselves — it’s so humiliating and horrifying. There’s no pleasure or virtue to be found there. I think I hate it all so much it makes me pursue the things I’m deathly afraid of. That’s why I play this game. Or so I tell myself.

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Courage: it’s all the rage

Posted in Film, Reality Bites, Religion, The Arts, Wizard Quotes, World of Emotions with tags , , , , on June 12, 2008 by wizardsmoke

“Talent is absolutely luck,” he said one day while talking about his early fear of performing. “And no question that the most important thing in the world is courage. People worship talent and it’s so ridiculous. Talent is something you’re born with, like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is born tall. That’s why so many talented people are shitheels. But courage is everything because life is harsh and cruel. I believe it completely. The two things that I wish I had are courage, which I don’t feel I have, and that I was born with religious faith. Those two things would be great. I’d probably need less courage if I was born with religious faith. But if I was born with those two things, I’d be very far along in the game.

“You can’t mistake courage for show-business courage. That’s like being a comedy genius. There’s a difference between being a comedy genius and a genius. There’s the kind of genius where people on talk shows extol genius and courage. Genius for them is, you know, a guy who’s got six sitcoms going at the same time, and courage is always ‘He went on with just two days’ rehearsal.’ The stakes are embarrassment in those cases.

“Artistic courage is no big deal because life and death and bodily injury at not at stake. Courage is where you work for the underground in the war. Going onstage is not really courage, that’s sort of childish courage. The proper response to my fears is: ‘What are you making such a fuss for, jerk? Go out onstage and do it or stop complaining and go home and get another job.’

“My fear that I wouldn’t have courage under the right circumstances always humiliates me when I’m alone with myself,” he continued. “I cannot think of an act that I’ve done that required courage of any significance. Anytime that I’ve thought I might have a serious illness I was always reduced to sniveling, petrified anxiety. And I hope I never have to show courage. I hope I’m never passing a situation where two guys with knives are threatening a little old lady and my choice is to intervene or not, because I would be paralyzed.”

Whatever courage it took, [his managers] agree that Woody’s decision to give performing an additional six months was the turning point in his career. “There was a very strange thing going on during this period,” Joffe says. “He was really as bad a performer as you could know. The world had never seen such a scared person. But through it, the jokes were so brilliant that he was successful.”

–Eric Lax. Woody Allen: A Biography, (163-164)

Woody Allen never stopped being a neurotic basket-case, but he did eventually become somewhat comfortable with doing his stand-up routines.

So can courage be trained into someone? Is anybody courageous without a plethora of experience under their belt? Woody grew up with neurotic bickering parents, so no doubt he had little desire for attention when all the attention he received at home was worrisome and critical. And without practice from a young age, doing stage performances is pretty hard. And besides, for the more “cowardly” among us, don’t the little acts take as much courage as the amount those big acts take for our heroes? As some philosopher (whom I can’t remember off-hand) said: even the worst works of art and literature entail as much toil and suffering as the best ones. So… yeah.

Courage, like everything else, seems hard to define. It has a million different manifestations and people can argue over its definition endlessly because they see it from their little corner or aren’t satisfied with the limited definitions of another. So I’ll just stick to my guns and keep the definition I have to myself for now. Regardless, a lot of people probably envy talent the way Woody envies courage.

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.