Archive for propaganda

Open heart forgery

Posted in Fighting, martial arts, meditation, Mysticism, Philosophy, Powermongers, propaganda, Reality Bites, self-help, The Arts, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by wizardsmoke

I am a fan of Hatsumi’s books. He is a good writer — an artist; he is able to make you think existence has a purpose. Cool stuff, I admire his work.

I remember I showed his books to a friend and then took him to a Bujinkan class, to which he responded like a real wise-ass: the Bujinkan that can be spoken is not the true Bujinkan. Hatsumi writes beautifully and shares his dream narrative with you; he can make himself desirable to others; he is an artist. But the budo he teaches does not bestowe the same skills as his ability to appeal to you, or yours to accept him.

In social status, and especially in business, much of what makes a person successful is their self-presentation. The rock star’s charisma is what makes them a success, not the music. The music is the background canvas that works once people are receptive to the personal spectacle. In society, talent alone does not create status or ensure survival. What is more useful is ambition, energy, the ability to make people comfortable and laugh, and to speak to their heart.

The bodily arts are interesting, for they take root in the heart immediately. They quickly effect our social presentation.
Martial arts is a discipline which, like dance, is kinesthetic. And the kinesthetic learner is the genius of the arts. And martial arts have mostly become arts, rather than trades, in danger of dying out for lack of necessity.

And so I have seen tons of great artists (martial and otherwise) without the clever endearing qualities in which they can sell themselves to the masses. How strange, that the ability to successful endear oneself to others is an artistic quality, and has no bearing on one’s actual talent or skill in the field being extrapolated. But people without a desire to sell themselves are less likely to seek financial gain from your interaction.

The entertainer does not merely entertain, but rather creates an illusory personality for the world to desire. And like in the world of business, where a compromised upbeat persona is created to angle profitable transactions, the conjured entertainer becomes a necessary function of the art, and soon one loses track of where their own identity lies.

But, whateva.

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Pop maestro

Posted in Cults, Doom and Evil, propaganda, Reality Bites, society, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by wizardsmoke

As a skilled (some generous folks might even say professional) musician, I do not take other people’s musical opinions too seriously. I generally just don’t care that much. Does a financier or banker or Fortune 500 director or CEO care what the average person has to say about finance? I would wager he/she does not.

Having admitted to this, I got a call the other night to go see U2 for free. Ahahaha! I declined. “But,” my friend protested, “you’re a music guy. This is your thing.” As I told him, that while U2 does amuse me in a painful manner, the band does not bring me listening pleasure in any capacity (also, I am not sure that I trust that Bono guy. He hides behind sunglasses a lot. Really, what’s with that? No eye-contact? Eye-contact is the most direct form of non-verbal communication, pal, and your music sure doesn’t have any communicable message…).

One fun way to test your mental concentration, is to listen to some music, and whilst listening to it, mentally recall and listen to some other piece of music in your head, singing along to it. It gets harder to do the more accessible and catchy you find the music that is actually coming through your speakers. It can strengthen the kind of concentration you need in performance, magic or martial arts, or any other discipline in which you need to convince the ego’s insecurities or fears to temporarily conform with the will. I.e. you create a strong center of concentration which is unperturbed by direct sensory influences.

This kind of concentration is similar to what practiced musicians are doing all the time during ensemble performances, especially between more complex and seasoned folks (surely you can imagine this exercise is what I do when some kind of trinkety U2-sounding pop music schmaltz is invading my surroundings.). Skilled musicians, like people skilled at anything else group-oriented (military, sports, business, dance, monasticism, relationships, etc.), are responsible for covering their own asses throughout the performance, not listen to or watch the whole band at once the way the audience can. That’s the only way the whole thing stays together.

Ah, but what is pop music anyway? Just the self-willed capitalist propaganda of the masses. Oh yeah I sound cynical, but capitalist culture is just the dictatorship without the dictator. And pop music is the really boring, blatant, thoughtless music product made entirely to consume. There is no high art in pop music — it’s catchy in order to get stuck in your brain and further duplicate itself in sales. It is just like film in that sense (everyone knows a film is an advertisement for itself, I mean c’maaaannnn).

The sole purpose of a pop song is to get stuck in your head. There is no other point, no greater pleasure to be derived from it. It is meant to occupy your mind when you are not listening to it.

Huh, but no matter, ‘coz I’m sure you don’t care what I think of music either.

Magical Musical Miasma

Posted in Mysticism, Occult, Philosophy, Poetry, Tantra, The Arts, Ultimate Reality, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by wizardsmoke

As a serious initiate on the musical path, I use music to illustrate a lot of mystical/creative/magickal ideas analogously. You know, stuff they don’t teach you in music theory.

In a great Leonard Bernstein concert series back in the day, one he held for children in New York City (Radio City?) in the 1960s, the conductor demonstrated how the pop hooks of the Beatles song “Help!” were actually the same simplified chord progressions behind a small segment of an orchestral piece by Brahms. Not that I remember the name of the video or the Brahms piece, oh no! But Bernstein got his one moment of applause from the young audience when he transitioned into “Help!” on the piano.

But Bernstein was pointing out that what pop songs do (as opposed to orchestral pieces or other kinds of music) is drill a simple pop hook or melody into your head until it is jammed in there. A good pop song gets stuck in a person’s head, like a commercial slogan. Pop music is like good propaganda and is often utilized as such by businesses (and very poorly by political campaigns, har har).

Okay, that’s nice and obvious. What interests me, though, is how the energy or inspiration behind the original compositional idea is communicated when one repeats the melodic idea or “hook” in one’s own conscious mind. That is to say, the spirit of the song-writer can be moderately transmitted to the listener, particularly as one repeats the work or continuously surrounds oneself with the music. Angry music will transmit an angry flavor, sad music a melancholy sentiment, etc. It also comes down to the integrity and ability of the composer and performer, but the spirit of the original moment is captured in the music — like in any other thing they produce (writing, film, art, whatever). In fact, if I had one criticism of classical music, it is that sometimes the energy of the composer is hidden by the fact that they are not often performing the music!

So, the reason a pop hook is more “malicious” (or functions like brainwashing sorcery) is ‘coz when a person consciously retraces the steps of another individual’s spiritual or creative output, the listener/viewer begins to recreate that energy within their own mind. This is why religious mantras are useful — they function as ways of influencing the mind to take on a certain disposition. The more one repeats something, until it is second nature, it seeps into one’s psyche.

This seems to be how spells and magic work with verse and such things. By creating a poem that both appeals to the subconscious with veiled intentions and yet is simultaneously is “catchy” at face value, sticking in the mind for its clever phrasing, alliteration, or whatever. I feel like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Doors and a bunch of other hippies were trying to play with this stuff (musically, visually, lyrically) when they were young (and overrated — ahahaha!) but I don’t think this method can really do much for you unless you’re a real big deal in the underworld.

Furthermore, I think most people seem to not consciously be aware of why they like or dislike things, why they are attracted to some flavors of experience or energy, why some music is good or bad (there are 5 factors that make up musical potential in my system of reasoning), and so forth. But even if you can find the most profound, blissful music in all the cosmos, people still like the same things for different reasons. And have I not repeatedly said that all people have the same emotions and poetic sensibilities, but with different capacities? Weaker music can still evoke deep emotions from someone with a lower capacity for musical depth.

That’s enough for now. I was going to discuss hand seals, mudras and so forth but more pressing business awaits! Stay tuned.

Dogma: a dead tradition

Posted in Buddhism, Cults, martial arts, Mysticism, Qi, Reality Bites, Religion, society, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 29, 2008 by wizardsmoke

What’s the deal with rigid fundamentalism in “spiritual” lineages? You know, hard-line dogma sort of stuff; keeping people’s nose to the grindstone without ever letting up or letting their opinions of the doctrine sway. I think there are two ways of interpreting it. One is literal, in which the professeur actually believes the words of their own agenda or party line. The other is that it is strictly an educational policy, albeit a hard-line one (almost propagandistic), where the person projecting the agenda is doing so merely to keep the students’ minds in line or on task.

For instance, in the Yi Quan lineage and with some newer Chinese martial art teachers they might say not to pay attention to qi. I think it is because that’ll distract you from the practices that actually develop qi. But they would not hear of such an explanation and probably would say it doesn’t exist at all. Not that I know these people personally, I’m just speculating. And getting rid of qi in this martial context is probably more of a progressive thing given the mystical Chinese religious implications of the subject.

In much Zen Buddhism they might say not to pay attention to rebirth, or that it doesn’t exist. I figure that’s because it’ll just distract your zen practice, and it really isn’t that important when it comes to practicing. But guys like Brad Warner and his teacher don’t believe in rebirth at all. I realize that’s a tiny faction of just Soto Zen, but my point is they don’t believe in it, they don’t teach it or talk about it. Not that it literally exists like reincarnation, but they could point that out. But they don’t.

In Tibetan Buddhism (and occasionally in Theravada during talks to laypeople) we see examples of teachers warning students of how they had better pay attention to their practice, because if they don’t they’ll be reborn in one of the lower realms or the hells. This sounds especially dogmatic and reeks of Catholicism or some such western practice. So are the fundamentalist guys, like Namdrol over at E-Sangha, just dishing this stuff out to push us to practice until we can be self-sufficient, or do they really believe it?

The conclusion I always am afraid is a two-fold one. (A) these guys really believe their fundamentalism or at the very least will never let it go in public and (B) the masses are not entitled or “healthy enough” to understand or comprehend the totality of being because it would leave them nihilistic. In the beginning I thought that a lot of religious folks just emphasized the fundamentalism to keep the student’s minds on track. Now I don’t think it matters what the teacher believes considering what they teach people.

I suppose, if the teacher reveals everything at the beginning, a lot of people might not stick it out. That’s like a basic business strategy, isn’t it? The tempting existence of mystery and “secrets” in a lineage of martial arts or religious teachings is what probably attracts a lot of people in the first place. Today we expect way too much right up front, way too much information. But even if you desire information, having it all too early can be overwhelming. If you see through everything without the acquired determinism to keep going, or the renewable energy to have continuous faith in yourself, everything becomes empty and without purpose.

This is why I’ve never been much of an academic. I only want experience, I don’t care about facts and information. Academia is only worthwhile to me if I’m going to implement it into some kind of active practice. A lot of academia, like dogma, is dead. Being static and unchanging, it has no place among the living. It belongs in a museum. Sometimes I feel that way about fundamentalism. Don’t you have to change your methods to fit with the times? But how do you avoid changing your tradition to suit modern needs? And if a tradition is no longer applicable in modern times, doesn’t that belong in a museum?