I’ve been out of the Internet-Satanism community for several months now. I lost interest in the drama and nonsense, the amount of talk and the lack of action. I have no expectations that those who participate in forums on-line should do anything; they are Satanists and are entitled as individuals to do whatever they like. I just felt that I was wasting my time, that I have better things to do than debate, troll, and entertain others.
I do peak in now-and-again, just to see what is going on. During that time, I have seen yet another Satanist group/club/institution emerge. And, that is exactly how I thought about it, yet another redundant and pedantic banner for people with no internal sense of direction to seek it externally and think that they found the answer to… whatever. For whatever reason, the group is doing very well, attracting the disenfranchised and disappointed who have fallen away from other such efforts.
Which is probably why, recently, I took a look to see what was going on there.
Frankly, most of what I have seen so far is simply more of the same. There is, however, a glimmer of potential which sparked a thought in my mind, so I am not writing this new effort off just yet. The thought that was sparked, as I looked and evaluated what I saw in this new group, was what would the next successful, lasting institution in Satanism look like? With so many models of redundancy and failure to point to, what would success look like?
First, let us consider the one truly successful model we have in modern history: The Church of Satan. A part of its success has purely to do with its being founded in California in the 1960s. The time and environment was perfect for such an enterprise. California was on the edge of cultural-exploration. New ideas about spirituality and philosophy were being embraced and explored, so a church dedicated to Satan was no more or less radical than many of the radical ideas being presented at the time. The 60s also saw what I consider our society’s shift from spiritual childhood to spiritual adolescence. Until that time, questions of religion were limited to the accepted norms of our society; children followed the religious edicts of their parents. In the 60s, people began to truly question the necessity of religion as a whole and the institutions that made-up their spiritual options. Our predominately Christian society was beginning to consider the whole kit-and-kaboodle of God, Jesus, and Satan as silly, but still had enough respect for the myths to be awed by Satan as a concept.
Today, like the rest of the Christian mythology, using Satan symbolically is akin to adorning yourself in Dungeons-and-Dragons make-believe, and believing in Satan is similar to believing in Santa Claus. Neither suggest the function of a mature mind. The Church of Satan, which saw some moderate success in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, would not be nearly as successful in today’s environment. It would be considered as backward and antiquated as the fundamentalist snake-handlers of Christianity.
The Church of Satan, and the brand of Satanism it espoused, was successful in its time because it questioned that very need for blind-faith, and dared suggest that it was better to have a philosophy based on what could be observed about human-nature versus a suggested spiritual ideal and a set of consequences for failing to meet that mark. The Church of Satan established a very clear and concise explanation of its “new” philosophy, and offered itself (initially) as a central hub for those that agreed with this philosophy to come together, share ideas, collaborate, explore taboos and new concepts, and enjoy the company of one-another.
This was also its flaw; the people it attracted who truly embraced the philosophy quickly realized that a central agency was not necessary, and those who remained lacked the spiritual and intellectual grit to be without a banner to flock to. Anton LaVey ended the grotto system because the grottos that were models of Satanism were potential rivals for his church, and the grottos founded by sycophants were a poor reflection on his church. The regular get-togethers at the Black House came to and end because the people who felt a need to go were ever-less about invigorating the proceedings and ever-more about simply being a part of something “special” or just being entertained while having nothing really to offer.
The Church of Satan is not the only model of success in history for us to look to, but it did build on many of the models from the past. There are several lessons to be learned from both its success and its waning. The problem is that most who look to learn from those lessons only look at the lessons of success and assume that they will do it better. They rarely consider why the Church of Satan is failing and take steps to correct for those problems. The next lasting Institution in Satanism will have several ear-marks that will contribute to its success.
It will be initiated by a small, core group who live in close proximity to one another. This group will already meet regularly and participating in events together. They will have a common interest in the mutual success of their individual endeavors. They will be involved in the personal lives of the others, and they will be supportive of one-another in a familial manner without actually being a family. The members of this group will live in separate residences and have mutually exclusive forms on employment, bringing a varying degree of expertise and different perspectives to their efforts. Their interactions will be predominantly face-to-face, with interaction through the Internet serving only to coordinate their face-to-face meetings.
It will be founded upon a goal that is mutually beneficial and necessitates a group-effort. This goal will be more than simply existing, more than being another Satanist group. It will be an effort which will enrich those who are participant, in-line with the philosophy of Satanism, and better achieved through a combined effort. The founding of a group will be a consequence of the effort to achieve the goal, and not the reverse.
It will have a precise foundation, a delineated operating procedure, and a clear structure. The goal(s) of the group will be clearly expressed and understood by all involved, as well as the means of achieving those goals. Responsibilities will be delineated. The means of measuring success will be established. This will be a naturally organic process, with changes being made as the group grows and evolves.
It will be an enterprise with a clear financial motivation. To be realistic, almost any endeavor will require a financial motivation, if only to support the cost of achieving the goal. Earning a profit is an additional motivator. Furthermore, simply having an institution purely for the betterment of your fellow Satanists is in opposition to the philosophy of Satanism. The institution will unabashedly pursue profit, and ignore any fool who cries foul about their efforts to earn a buck.
It will not be an overtly Satanist Institution. The goals of a successful Satanist Institution will be appealing to society in a broad sense, as it is founded in a philosophy rooted in the understanding of mankind as it is, not as it deludes itself to be. To limit your efforts to just the infinitesimally small segment of the population that openly declares itself as “Satanic” would be like shooting yourself in the foot before running a race. More people agree with the values of Satanism but are put-off by the pomp and posturing than people who consider themselves Satanist. You also quickly become bogged down in the “what-is-Satanism” debate, endlessly going around with keyboard-heroes who insist that Satanism is ultimately defined by the individual but chastise anyone who doesn’t share their particular view on Satanism. It is far wiser to champion the values of Satanism, however the group may define them, than to declare yourselves as a “Satanist Group”.
Its founders will be fully invested in the success of the enterprise. Each member engaged in its initial phases will have placed their own success fully in the success of the institution. The formation of an institution will not be seen as a means of propping themselves up, but rather that the investment initially made will see a far greater return. The success of the institution, for the founders, is the means by which all other goals are met.
It will have multiple venues and consist of several different tiers. The validity of your goals and values must not be allowed to be lost over issues about their source. Therefore, a viable Satanist Institution will operate through several different fronts, each focusing on a different aspect of the over-all agenda. Each front will operate as a venue through which the values and agenda of the group can be introduced to different people in ways that cater to their interests and tastes. Advancement leads eventually to the introduction of deeper tiers and knowledge of how the various operations are interdependent.
It will have a social and political agenda. Satanism is a philosophy, and those who embrace that philosophy prosper when society’s edicts are more in-line with that philosophy. A Satanist Institution, regardless of how that philosophy is defined, has a vested interest in steering the greater society in a direction that is more aligned with that philosophy. Even if the institution espouses an apolitcal stance, there is a need to be aware of and take steps against obstacles that would seek to force submission to a particular political edict, especially if those edicts oppose the institutions values defined by their Satanist Philosophy.
It will be exclusive. The next successful Satanist Institution will not attempt to embrace and unify all Satanists under one banner. Indeed, it may very well encourage further division. It will also not engage in trying to convert others to its philosophy. Instead, a successful institution will survive based on its values and principles alone, pursuing its agenda and letting those values and the success of the group to speak to those who share in its ideals. It will be exclusive to those that share its values, agree with its methods, and are themselves willing to invest and take action as a participant. Success will not be measured by the membership roles, but rather by what goals have been achieved.
It will cater to the success of its members and encourage individual development. The group’s efforts will facilitate the efforts of the individual. Part of the next successful Satanist Institutions philosophy will be that its success will be built on the success of its members. The Church of Satan approached this idea by recruiting and promoting only those people who were successful in society, but had little actual impact on that person’s success. The next successful institution will offer information, encourage the development of specific skill sets, create opportunities for networking, herald the initiation of new projects, and promote the efforts of its members.
It will have a clear path for advancement within its own structure. Once goals are declared and an agenda is set, the function of officers within the group become almost purely administrative. Honorariums aside, the next successful Satanist Institution will have little place for meaningless or self-important titles. Advancement would be based on the needs of the group, who wants to fulfill those needs, and who is best suited from those candidates.
It will be designed to become viable in its own right, without the need of its creators in order to function and prosper. This is of utmost importance to the viability of any institution. If it exists purely based on the energies and efforts of its founders, then it will not out-last them. It will be a cult of personality, one where no direction or structure was firmly established, thus those wishing to carry on have no idea what they should or should not be doing. Early on, the founders of the next successful Satanist Institution will themselves take on a subordinate role to the institution itself, establishing a pattern by example to be emulated for future success.
Given that such a group would be covert in its Satanist leanings, how would one find, let alone participate in such a group? The only way to become a member of such a group would be to demonstrate through your individual efforts the values embraced by such an institution. Through your own dealings, you would eventually wander into the awareness of such an organization, perhaps even participating unknowingly in such a group. If and when it was necessary for such a group to make you aware of their existence and offer you a position within it, such an invitation would be made. Such an institution will be the next phase in Satanism.
Such institutions are probably already in operation.
A cornerstone of the Darkhorse philosophy, at least as I understand it, is Influence. We recognize that we are either influencing events around us, or being influenced. We are either active, or passive. In this, we are also one or the other to a particular degree. The word “superficial” means “being at, or near, the surface”, and while it is commonly used as an insult, it simply suggests having a focus on the external or most immediate events, impressions, or influences in our lives. The superficial is where most of us place our focus, it is where we have been trained to exist, where our society directs our attention, and where it appears that most activity occurs in our culture. All seems to be artifice.
And for most, this is true.
The Darkhorse recognizes this, and uses this to his advantage. In order to do so, however, he must first recognize it and be on guard against it within himself. He must recognize the difference between external and internal influences, understand how those agents operate, and cultivate a strong sense of his true relationship with those agents. This requires observation and intentional effort.
The model describing these relationships is surprisingly simple, often overstated, and easy to misunderstand. We each have a physical body, and we have been trained to consider this physical form as “I”. Your internal dialogue does not issue from the totality of your body, however. You do not hear your voice in your toes. Instead, your internal dialogue emanates from a place between your ears and behind your eyes, often slightly to the right or left depending on how your brain has developed. Your body is a vehicle and tool for your mind, a means for the mental you to interact with the environment. If you loose a finger or toe, the vehicle is diminished, but the mind remains intact.
The mind, however, is not “I”, just as the body is not “I”. You “hear” your internal dialogue in the space I described because that is where the speech-centers and audio-centers of the brain are located. Your brain is simply mimicking the function of your audio sense sans actual input from the environment. That should give one pause. We take this for granted, but this is an example of the mind creating its own reality. The argument of whether or not reality is a consistent and external event or an almost exclusive product of the mind creating it will have to rage on for the moment, but suffice it to say that the mind is as capable of creating a reality as it is of observing and reacting to a reality. In fact, there are numerous instances where the mind cannot distinguish between the two, because ultimately both are interpretations of influence, either external or internal. The medium of interpretation is the same, regardless of the source.
Like the body, the brain and the mind are themselves a vehicle for something else. If damaged, the function of the brain may be diminished, but there remains something consistent in the person which can be observed by others. The being continues to be, continues to have distinct and observable characteristics. It is this other, this seemingly ambiguous self, neither mind nor body, which a Darkhorse recognizes as the True-Self, the core being.
In most, this self is woefully underdeveloped. The mind is like a computer-system (a fair analogy, since computers are designed to mimic the function of the mind). Imagine building a computer to supplement your own functions. Your computer, or mind, has some base-routines to maintain your autonomous systems; breathing, digestion, circulation, etc. It has information gathering nodes, input-output ports, and programs for organizing and interpreting data. As your computer/mind becomes more developed and complex, you begin adding subroutines for handling and interpreting the data with predetermined responses. You don’t need to actively involve yourself in responding to the dangers of a hot cooking element, for example. Experience has lead you to create a program which avoids contact with such a danger with no real thought or attention applied.
These pre-programmed responses are learned from those you observe or your own experiences, and your begin making your computer/mind more sophisticated at an early age. By five or six years old, you have a very good mechanism for observing, sampling, and mimicking the behaviors of others. Coincidentally, this is also about the time our society drops you into the meat-grinder to receive new and socially approved programming for alignment with all the other computer/minds. More and more functions are added, subroutines are written, programs for managing programs, until the mind becomes so complex that the operator need not participate in the activity. Our institutions are designed to create this kind of mind, one that operates within parameters defined not by the self, but by the needs of the society which has honed it. Self-development and self-interest are not a part of the equation.
The Darkhorse recognizes this, and understands that everything emanates from their own center. The reality may be that reality and everything in it is itself consistent and distinct from the observer, but the observer lacks the faculty to make that distinction in any meaningful way. For most people, the idea of self is abstract. The Darkhorse strives to make that idea, at least in his own mind, concrete. Self-preservation and development hinges on the ability to influence, rather than being influenced. This process begins with recognizing that the most immediate tool, the mind, is not your own. Its design has been co-opted and subverted by external influences. It must be studied, carefully deconstructed and re-constructed for the benefit of the self. Some of the programs and subroutines will be deleted outright, while others will be re-written or just re-directed to serve the self, rather than define the self.
The mind is far more sophisticated than the average computer, and re-writing the superfluous programming that has been built up over the many years we have been alive is not as simple as “copy, paste, and delete”. It requires an effort to remember as consistently as possible that there is an operator behind even your “own” thoughts who must evaluate whether or not these thoughts, feelings, and responses are originated internally or the reactions of a predefined and externally applied program. When we recognize a programmed response, we can then make an effort to resist it. Re-writing such programs requires continuous resistance and alternative behaviors, leading eventually to our own self-determined sub-routines. The mind that has been sufficiently evaluated and re-written internally brings us closer to an Awakened state.
While time and effort are required to achieve lasting results, the benefits from under-going this self-initiated process come more quickly. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. We are all walking in a predetermined line. Most simply shuffle along their preset course, oblivious to all else. What power does a person have who can step out of line at will, who can reverse course, who can even take steps to influence the course of others, simply because he is aware of the line while others are not? This is the power of the Darkhorse, the ability to see the system and be distinct from it, and from this position take action which creates change. We are all set to receive transmissions, to obey instructions. The person who has defined the self becomes a transmitter, exuding influence, to which those trained to receive and obey are susceptible.
To some, the suggestion of using a relatively greater level of awareness to influence and control others may seem immoral. The effort to influence made by the Self-Aware is anything but immoral… in fact it is an absolute necessity. In an Awakened Being, the observation of self and the environment are continuous. As we influence in our own self-interest, we observe and come to a particular conclusion based on observation. It is a conclusion which has been taught to us since ancient times, one which the system has tried to either deny or to corrupt in order to keep us dormant. Influence can only happen if you are connected in some manner to the thing you would manipulate. The mind is a vehicle for the self, the body a vehicle for the mind… and reality a vehicle for the body. If you live in your head and call your mind “I”, and your mind in your body is “I”, then your environment, even your reality, and everything in it, is “I”. Regardless of whether or not the source of an emanation you encounter is external and distinct, you interpret it internally. It is therefore more you than anything outside of you.
This would suggest that every emanation, opinion, perspective, quirk, person, is ourselves. Like the programming of our minds which had to be resolved, each iteration of reality is simply a part of the overall program which we must either accept or resolve. We encounter other minds, but rarely do we have exchanges with other Beings. Every mind we encounter is simply our interpretation of a part of the over-all program. Another Being, however, is able to express its own distinctiveness and assert its own definition in the mind of any it encounters. When we manipulate the minds of others and influence reality, we are making changes in our own Being. When we encounter other Beings, we will find that since they are distinct from us, they cannot be manipulated.
Furthermore, the State of Being is like an infectious virus. When a mind encounters a Being, or the work of a Being, the internal and often dormant spark of self within begins to stir. With sufficient and repeated encounters, the Being within begins to try to assert itself. That person becomes infected with the idea of Self. It begins to question, just as we question, and to struggle to discover the truth. Encountering a Being is like seeing the slight split in the curtain and catching a glimpse of the man beyond manipulating the levers and pulleys. Once we see it, the illusion will never hold us in thrall as it once had. Thus, it is necessary for us to engage and manipulate those who are less aware. Our example will begin to stir others. As more Beings stir, the artificial system will begin to diminish, its power weakened by each Being who is able to resist the program through self-definition. Those who succumb to the program and deny themselves are lost. Those of us who choose to resist, to define ourselves and through that definition the reality around us… they have a chance.
So, ask yourself; where do you live? Do you live within the artifice and external influences of the system, or do you live inside your head, a psychonautic Darkhorse exploring and defining reality?
After 12 hours: How trivial it all seems to be.
This morning on my way to pick up my daughter, I watched a woman hurrying, on foot in the rain. I wondered where she thought she had to go so badly that required her to take this drowning stroll down the street. What reality had she become enraptured and engrossed in that she felt obligated to make that journey and so early on a Sunday morning? Was it church? Was it her children? Was it the desire to fulfill her requirements with an employer in order for her to be able to “provide” for herself? Is there an emergency? Could it just be the rain pushing her along, but if so, why is she there to begin with?
I watched the colors of the lights. Red light. I’m programmed to have an internal alarm go off at the sight of…
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“Really I am.”
“Nothing is wrong.”
“I have a good excuse.”
“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“It’s good enough.”
“It doesn’t bother me.”
“I can’t do anything about it.”
“I deserve it.”
“It is the best I can do.”
“It is your fault.”
“You don’t understand.”
“It wasn’t me.”
“It isn’t fair.”
To the would-be Masters of the Universe, how are we to begin to control anything if we have no control of ourselves? How can we control ourselves if we have next-to-no idea who we are? How can we know who we are if we allow ourselves to be constantly changed by the winds of influence?
“Not me”, you say? Think your in control? I won’t argue with you, or even try to prove you wrong. Your fine just as you are. Better you remain the master of dreams.
To the rest that have the awareness of Socrates, who know that we do not know, how do we change?
We are living a lie, generally speaking. We are animals that have evolved to a point were we have relative mastery of our environment. The natural environment no longer defines us. Instead, we define it. We have been raised in an artificial environment, an artifice that goes beyond merely lights in the deepest night and cool breezes on the hottest summer day. Our mental idea of our environment, our world, our society and culture, is based not on observation and experience, but on what we have been told it should be. As animals, it is only natural that we have adapted to that environment, and the result is that we are artificial people.
As artificial people, we are not “Human” as I recognize the term, but something else. Perhaps we are like machines wearing human masks. What does a machine do? A machine follows a predetermined pattern. A machine follows an established program. A machine performs a preset function when it is activated externally, or when conditions merits action. The action of a machine is neither right nor wrong. The action of a machine is either appropriate to the situation or it is not. Happenstance, or luck, is the only difference between action that fits the situation and action that is inappropriate.
One of the most important functions of these machines, a function that is key to their programing, is the ability to lie. The lies they tell that matter are to themselves, lies about what they “know”, or what is right or wrong. More over, the lies we as machines tell ourselves are cumulative. The more we tell them, the more we believe them. The more lies told, the more convincing the body of lies we create. Our lies support the lies of others, ensuring the safe and proper function of the system. To stop lying, and to stop tolerating the lies of others, is anathema to that system. The machines respond harshly to having their masks revealed. The artifice of self is a reflection of the artifice of the system. To have the lie revealed is to take responsibility for what is wrong with both the self and the world we are in.
Most have been programed not to want that kind of responsibility.
Based on my observation of these kinds of machines, I think for most the mask of lies does not fit. The few I have met who’s mask fit well I have felt a momentary sympathy for. They are truly trapped, cogs in the system that will probably grind them down to dust. Most masks do not fit, and when we sense it, we begin to wonder what is wrong with us, what is wrong with our world. Usually, we are distracted by something… our function as machines is activated by external forces, or someone comes along and helps adjust our mask and briefly relieves the feeling of discomfort our slipping mask causes. For some, the sensation of the mask slipping is enough to make us aware of it. We feel that something is wrong, and we become focused on that sensation. Our discomfort becomes enough that we can resist the distractions and the urges to conform from our peers.
We risk ostracism, but chance gaining real power and maybe even freedom.
The first step in avoiding a trap is knowing of its existence. The lie of the system is a trap. It is a mire that sucks the actual Self deeper and deeper into darkness, leaving only the machine in our place. In order to begin to deny the artifice of the system, we must start with denying the lies we tell ourselves. In esoteric circles, this process is often referred to as “the third-eye turned inward” or “the perspective of Baphomet”. It is nothing more than a sincere, objective, and deliberate observation and study of the self. While this may sound simple, truly achieving an objective and honest perspective of the self takes immense effort. The lie is initially far more comfortable than the truth. We all want to believe that we are better than we really are. The system encourages this kind of lie. We are fully invested in our masks, preferring to believe that the artifice is who we really are; we are our social status, our Facebook account, our job, rather than being something unique, independent, and consistent. Excising the lies about ourselves requires an intentional destruction of our false sense of self that we are invested in.
If we have a hope of even beginning this struggle, then we begin with a marginal sense of who or what we may be. Our goal is to know, not to guess, assume, or pretend that we have qualities we do not. We must stop dreaming of being Human, and begin to wake to being. Our program has internal fail-safes against the thoughts that suggest real independence, real observation, and real self-assessment. External processes also exist to encourage us to accept the lie, to doubt the truth, and to respond violently to those who try to reach too far too quickly. It is a dangerous process.
In observing the lies we live, one of the first things that will become apparent is how much of our time is engaged in activities that we find distasteful. Where is our zest for life? Where is the passion for those things we pursue? For so many of us, our lives are simply one compromise after another, one accommodation after another, settling for what is easily within reach rather than striving to fulfill our desires (if and when we know enough about ourselves to know our own desires and not chase what we have been told is worthy of our pursuit!). We do things we hate, and in turn learn to hate ourselves. A self loathing person is easier to control. If you are never good enough, never complete, never content, and you never know what any of those things mean, then any commercial that promised ambiguous fulfillment generates from you a mechanical response.
If this is true on the most superficial level, how much more deeply are we influenced? How much longer will we allow ourselves to be told that the missing piece to our lives is in our next purchase, cause, or political effort, instead of seeking to find it in ourselves?
We must stop being machines, easily manipulated through our programming by other machines. We must stop dreaming that we are Human. The lies we tell ourselves must end. Once we are each secure in our own truth, we find ourselves in a fortress that cannot be shaken. Mastery of the self is Mastery of the Universe.
Darrick Dishaw is a fellow student of G.I. Gurdjieff’s Work and is also knows as Venger Satanis, leader of the Cult of Cthulhu. On Friday April 28th, he posted a blog entitled The Asshole Quandary and he invited me to give it a read via private message on Facebook. I am re-posting his article and my response to provide an example of two distinct interpretations and expressions of the Work, which may serve to clear up some misconceptions about the pursuit of self.
The Asshole Quandary by Venger Satanis
Assuming you’re not an asshole, I’d like you to tell me why you’re not an asshole. Why? It’s probably not a question you usually ask yourself.
Some may think that it doesn’t make a difference. I disagree. I believe it makes all the difference in the world – and at its root such things can tell us if we’re right(eous)… if we’re well suited to the Work. Esotericism needs favorable circumstances, that’s true; however, it also requires us to start with good material. A student of the Work is deemed good material if he has both a positive attitude and aim.
Attitudes and aims come in all shapes and sizes. Negative ones discount the possibility of ascending the current Octave. Those with a negative attitude feel that life is what it is, achieving smaller goals of limited scope is perfectly acceptable to them… especially if they don’t have to put in a lot of effort. That’s fine. Such individuals have little time for Octaves, Higher Forces, or transcendence and, as such, don’t have a lasting interest in esoteric pursuits.
Those who have a negative aim want to achieve whatever it is they want to achieve because they are emotionally damaged in some way. Such folk would rather harm their enemies, for instance, than focus upon their own shortcomings and how to overcome them. In other words, they are not good material. People who say, “The end justifies the means.” have a negative aim. It’s difficult to imagine a lot of external consideration coming from such individuals.
All this goes back to the asshole quandary. Asshole: briefly defined as A) a stupid, mean, or contemptible person. B) the worst part of a place or thing. C) a worthless or annoying person.
A blatant asshole, like the expression of a negative emotion, is a red flag – easily recognized and thrown out. A non-asshole can go one of two ways. He can either not be an asshole because he’s trying to survive, perhaps even flourish, in this prison we call a world. Such a person is just as much programmed to not be an asshole as he is operating from learned behavior. “When I’m an asshole to others, sometimes others are assholes back to me.”
The other kind of non-asshole is the aforementioned good material which the Work is seeking, those who can find the Way and travel it. This third type makes effort towards not being an asshole because it’s the right thing to do, it’s in his nature. Instead of trying not to attract suffering, he tries to be good, to alleviate suffering. Now, a lot of us are sucked into bad situations populated by worthless people (worthless from an esoteric standpoint). Even if not being an asshole is in our nature, there are times when one has little choice in the matter. Under those circumstances, do the best you can… and find better circumstances ASAP!
For those curious about this, go ahead and try it. Imagine the difference. Start with negative emotions. Instead of destroying the negative – create positive. That doesn’t mean one has to be naive. It’s ok to be cynical, jaded, and skeptical. Yet, and this is important, one must strive to see(k) the good… no matter how much bad there is around us.
Positivity is defined here as… A) characterized by or displaying certainty, acceptance, or affirmation. B) Measured or moving forward or in a direction of increase or progress. C) Composed of or characterized by the presence of particular qualities or attributes; real.
Positivity is active whereas tearing away at the negative is reactive. Start with the latter, at first, if you find it easier, but always keep an eye on the former. Being positive is just as cleansing as becoming the void, and it makes those exterior parts of the self, such as false personality, transparent. That’s what we want. Too much filter robs us of illumination. Who can do careful, precise work – especially if we’re unsure of exactly how to perform it – in very poor light? Get rid of the filter so there is nothing obstructing or obscuring the view of our essence or soul – the part which needs our attention.
Lastly, I’m not going to sit here typing away and tell you that I’ve never been an asshole. I have been, I can be. It happens to everyone. That’s not the issue. The issue is that some of us occasionally make efforts not to be an asshole… and for the right reasons. Without allowing yourself to be taken advantage of, ask yourself if you’re truly being a positive force in the world. Would you rather be a decent human being because it benefits you or because it will benefit someone else?
Venger As’Nas Satanis
Cult of Cthulhu
Jason Sorrell’s Response
Thanks for the link. I think your post is an excellent introduction to the ideas of right-thinking, right-action, and the struggle to be self-aware. Some of the points presented might be a bit over-simplified, but I am assuming you are trying to speak to an audience unfamiliar with the pursuit of self via the Work.
For example, a “negative attitude” is any attitude which denies the potential of self, usually based on external influences which are incorrectly incorporated into the self-identity. “I’m not good enough, so I won’t try.” Being responsive predominantly to external influences with no consistent self leads to reactionary behavior; vengeance vs. justice and “the end justifies the means”. When your identity is the composite of external influences, your rationales will also be based in external precepts.
Suggesting that a “negative” attitude or aim is the result of emotional damage might lead some of your readers astray. It isn’t a matter of emotional damage per say, but rather it is the common state of any machine that lacks real emotions. The emotions are not damaged, rather they are unrealized or under-developed. Again, being externally influenced and responsive almost exclusively to those influences, their focus is also off. They are only really damaged relative to the possibility that they might operate more efficiently, or more correctly, but in their current configuration lack the tools or even the awareness that other possibilities exist.
Being an asshole may mean to many of your readers that someone has an acute self-interest. Usually it is a condemnation we make of others rather than an assessment of our own behaviors, especially when someone acts on their own behalf and in the process denies what we think we needed from that person. That kind of self-interest is sometimes necessary, as is the sometimes pointed expression that results in that opinion of our efforts.
Your blog may lead your readers to attempt to access and grade the behavior of others (“he’s an asshole”) more than making an assessment of themselves (“did I need to be an asshole?”). Your analogy of good vs. bad material may lead to some thinking that if they determine another to be an asshole then the asshole should simply be “recognized and thrown out”. Since the only mind we can know is our own, such assumptions are incorrect. As you point out, being an asshole is not a constant state. The most we can say is that their behavior is not favorable to our needs at the moment, or that they are not in a place that is conducive to where we are at. That may change in time. The most we might do is be aware and on-guard against such outbursts and attitudes in ourselves.
Still, a very good primer. I am certain you will have plenty of opportunity to clarify these points to your students as they arise in the future.
I feel that these two examples present a nonobjective and and objective perspective on the work. Darrick presents what might be seen as a kind of agenda, he wants people to treat one another better as well as not letting those people who might treat you poorly get you down. While that is a noble intention, the Work requires a kind of obsessive self-interest. Gurdjieff warns against being overly concerned about the opinions and attitudes of others, and especially against trying to assume or ascertain another person’s relative personal development. The only person you can know, and truly serve, is yourself. You may act on the behalf of others along the way, but always with your own goals at heart.
That level of self-interest means you sometimes will be perceived as an asshole, even a self-righteous asshole. This is just the way of things. The trap is in becoming wrapped-up in another person’s trip, which is often harder to avoid than one might think.
There is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.
What are we trying to accomplish here? What is our purpose in presenting the Darkhorse Ideology and our thoughts about life, the social order, and what it is to be human? People have read this blog and asked if we are forming a new organization. Are we trying to form and lead a movement, a new school, or even an army? Do we think that we have the answers that other people need, or the truth that others seek?
To these questions, I would respond “no”. It is not our intent to lead a mass of people, to cultivate a following, or anything so altruistic or trivial. In my previous dealings with other organizations, I argued against the betterment of man for man’s sake. I opposed the idea of offering our example as a charity or kindness to those around us. “Leave the dead to the dead”, I said, “and let sleeping lions lie.” Trying to lead for the sake of leadership, for the power-trip of being a leader, teacher, master, or whatever other nonsense one might choose to indulge in, is ultimately self defeating. I have no interest in giving anyone anything, or being the lead dog on someone’s personal sled.
Everything we do here, I believe, is purely to serve ourselves. I am not an altruist. I am a pragmatist.
The only leader worth following is one who leads by example, and then it must be an example you yourself would wish to set. Leaders do what they do, not to be leaders, but because it is in their nature to act. A leader would take the same action even if no one else were there to follow the example. A leader does not concern himself with titles or the recognition for his efforts. A leader focuses on the goal.
My goals are simple. I am a Darkhorse. I wish to cultivate and develop my powers and slip unseen from the reigns of this world. I seek the truth of myself, and the freedom I am convinced will result. I am unequivocally selfish in this pursuit. I don’t care if anyone else gets there, I am only concerned for myself. If you are in my way, I will remove you. If you run with me but are a risk to my goals, I will trip you and let whatever might be chasing us have you.
We cannot be concerned about the well being of others. Time is too short.
I do, however, recognize fellow Darkhorses. I recognize my peers who are strong in mind and spirit, clear in vision, and absolutely committed to their own pursuit. We all share them same wolfish grin and hungry glint in the eye. I watch for them, because what one might do in a year, two might do in eight months. Five might do the same in four months. Time is short.
I watch for you, because I know that as I succeed, I will come under the scrutiny and attack of others. There are those who prefer to sleep, and those who would prefer that we remain asleep, and both are fearful of the noise that I make and the nightmares my example no doubt causes in the placid minds of the dead. My example exclaims that they fail at life. My example points to their hypocrisy. As such, my example is one that they cannot tolerate.
Fear the power of sleeping people in mass!
One Darkhorse can be overwhelmed by five, maybe ten sleepers. Two will hold there own against 20. A dozen can handle hundreds with ease. There is strength in numbers, but only when one is aware that each becomes as weak as the weakest among them. The wise, therefore, seek only their equal as companions and compatriots. Loyal, yes. Supportive, absolutely. But also ever vigilant for weakness, sloth, decent, and treachery, as any who recognizes that they began alone and will end alone must be.
You are ultimately responsible for yourself. Live your life for yourself and no other, and expect no other to live their life for your sake.
Part One: The Self is Distinct From Body and Mind
Everyday, I am becoming more convinced that the only pursuit worth the effort is to know myself, and that all other efforts, aims, and goals are derivative of this one pursuit. You might say that the purpose of Individual and Aware life, at least in my mind, is to know yourself. This is distinct from the purpose of life in general, which is the continuance of that life via the delivery of its genetic qualities to future generations. The parallel development and purpose between the self and the biomass that houses it is at the core of my theory.
When considering the self, this concept of being that we all seem to grasp yet continues to elude our understanding, we might ask where the self resides? What is “the self”? The most simplistic answer might be that the self resides in the body, or that the body is the self. I believe that this is incorrect, that the body is a vehicle for the self, the machine that the self uses to engage and interact with its environment. The body does not seem to be infused with this idea of self. When I clip a hangnail from my fingers, I do not sense that my self is diminished, and I imagine that even if I were to lose a limb my “self” would remain intact. My vehicle might be extremely hampered, but I would be no less me. Our language indicates this line of thinking; there is a distinction between what we mean by “me” and “my body”, though sometimes we mistakenly extend our sense of self to our body and even beyond. People in a car accident often exclaim “He hit ME!” when in fact they mean “He hit my car.” If extending self to a person’s possessions, like a car, is incorrect, then I think it is also incorrect to consider the body the self.
Unfortunately, part of our social indoctrination includes considering possessions as an extension of our being. If you are not born with it and cannot take it with you after your life has ended, it cannot be you. We bury the husks left behind by the departed. There are cases where the body and autonomous systems continue to function even when consciousness has ceased, resulting in what is referred to as “brain death”. In those situations, the medical opinion is clear that the self, whatever it is, has vacated the premises. Since the body did not leave with them, then can the body be the self?
The next most likely answer is that the self resides in the mind, or that it is the mind. What I think is meant by “mind” in those instances is the mental processes the physical organ of the brain produces. The idea of “mind” extends also to those processes, experiences, and perceptions. I believe that the assumption that the mind is the self it also incorrect. The mind, like the body, is a machine… a tool used by the self. It is the controls the self uses to manipulate the body and the processor through which information about our environment and experiences is translated in a meaningful manner. The physical aspect of the self, the brain, is merely another organ of the body. If the brain is damaged, does the self diminish, or just the capacity to function? Again, there are medical examples of trauma to the brain resulting in amnesia so severe that a new personality, sometimes even with different skills, emerges to replace the identity that was lost. If the self where the mind, would this be possible?
One might argue that the processes supported by the brain, the mind, is the self, and therefore the self is simply an elaborate function of the mind and not distinct from it. As complex as our minds are, we have managed to duplicate its processes artificially. Computers have been built that, when we discuss processing power and functions, far exceed the capabilities of our minds. Yet, the awareness which this argument suggests is an extension of those processes is not present in those machines. Awareness, I believe, is integral to the self. While the processes of the mind (and in the future a computer) may support this awareness, this self, there appears to be a distinction between them.
The brain, the mind, and its processes are a vehicle which can support and house consciousness, or the self, but the presence of the vehicle does not necessarily mean the presence of a driver. Lower animals have brains which in some cases rival our own in regard to development, yet our consciousness, our sense of self, appears to far out-strip any other example in our biosphere. This self, or consciousness, may be a phenomenon occurring as a natural evolutionary trait… simply an elaborate survival mechanism. If that is the case, why is it not present in other animals given its obvious success? Why aren’t there examples of other primates creating civilizations, or cetaceans striving to communicate with us? I suggest that it is because when discussing consciousness as a survival mechanism, specialized senses, thick coats of fur, and sharp teeth are far more advantageous than an overly developed frontal lobe. Consciousness is distinct from, and not imperative to, the survival of a single organism or a species. I believe it might serve another purpose.
Part Two: Parallel Development of a Material and Non-Material Universe
If the self is not the mind and not the body, then what is it? What is its purpose? From where does it originate? I have been a proponent of the idea that immortality is a function of species, that the clear biological function of any organism is to pass on its genetic material to future generations. This idea suggests that all species are in fact one super-organism, and possibly that all life on a sphere is a massive hyper-organism. Immortality is not present in its individual components, and while the experiences of one component may be of use to the process of improving the viability of the species, ultimately it is only the biological imperative which is of any lasting importance. Life lives, with little concern for anything else. With this in mind, the only kind of immortality that an individual personality can hope to achieve is through their actions and their impact on the culture of their species. I have said that we should build monuments in time to our greatness to influence the future.
While I still support this idea, I am now uncertain if that is the real limit.
I find myself considering the possibility of a parallel development which is supported by the biological and material development of our universe. All matter comes from one source, as far as we have been able to discern. Our bodies, in different proportions and combinations, are made of the same stuff as stars. When I considered in the past the phenomenon of self, of Awareness and Consciousness, when looking at the diverse fauna of our planet, my initial conclusion was that this Awareness and Consciousness served no real purpose other than being a relatively unique evolutionary tool for seeing to the future viability of the species. We are the smartest monkeys, and all our development and enlightenment makes certain that our sperm and eggs continue to dominate our biosphere.
When I consider, though, the hyper-organism, all life on our planet, the purpose of Awareness and Consciousness, of self, becomes readily apparent. As richly diverse as life is on out planet, it cannot survive because it is locked to this one sphere. As Stephen Hawkings has pointed-out, the destruction of this world, given enough time, is a mathematical certainty. The only way in which life survives is if it thrives and expands to new environments, to leave this biosphere and inhabit or create a new one, life must have an organism which is Aware enough to recognize the imperative and Conscious enough to create the means to deal with the problem. A clear marker of the presence of Awareness is the understanding that the death of the body is inevitable and Consciousness is denoted by behaviors which indicate the organism acts in accordance to this awareness.
Look around at your fellow smart-monkeys and ask yourself how many of them act as if their inevitable demise is a reality, let alone the potential demise of their species. Life requires the evolution of Awareness and Consciousness in order to become truly viable on a universal scale.
I would propose that the human species has evolved to support and house the Awareness and Consciousness of the biology of our world. Just as the brain houses the Awareness and Consciousness that drives the body, the Aware and Conscious members of humanity might be the housing for the Awareness and Consciousness of our biosphere. Our interactions, properly organized, are leading to a Global Awareness, and eventually a Global Consciousness. Not a hive-mind, but rather a biosphere Awakening, with the survival of the life originating on this sphere being its priority. This imperative originates with the life on our planet itself, which is rooted in the formation of the planet, itself spawned by the formation of our local star and its system, to the organizing of matter an energy of our galaxy, to the on-going reorganization of the universe. Everything in our universe is simply a different energy-matter matrix, a particular expression of potentiality.
Stars exists for millions of years. They proceed from instability in molecular clouds which cause the material to coalesce into one body. The gravity of the mass eventually results in hydrogen fusion. Fusion continues through the elements until iron results, and the star begins to collapse and die. The whole process takes billions of years, and in the entire time of the star’s development its fate is already known. It is, as far as the development of new and ongoing energy/matter matrices, a dead-end. A super-nova may agitate the molecular structure of other clouds which begins the process anew, but this is not a matter of choice and the result is the same in future stars. Evolution does not occur.
Without the presence of life and the possibility of Awareness, energy and matter would continue the process of expansion, re-organization, and collapse infinitely and with no change or purpose. This is the state of a purely material universe, and if this were the totality of the universe then Awareness and Consciousness, or self, would be superficial or even counter-productive. If, however, there is a parallel process involved, then self becomes of tantamount importance. The explosion of the “Big Bang” leads to the expansion and re-organization of energy/matter matrices. Some conditions produce stars, and in turn some conditions produce planets which might sustain life, and then life develops under the proper conditions and in some of those biospheres it develops to the point of being able to support Awareness. This Awareness, in some cases, supports Consciousness. In Consciousness, we find a matrix that is the most rare of all the expression in the universe. It is a matrix that can be self-determining. Just as the imperative of biological life is to survive and thrive, it is possible that the imperative of Awareness and Consciousness is to break from of the material cycle of our universe, to create something which may be able to endure the “Big Crunch” and beyond.
If all material for our universe and every energy/matter matrix within it has a common source, then I would propose that it is the same for Awareness. This is not to suggest a “god” or creator deity, but simply a hidden universal Awareness that co-exists with the obvious universal body. Just as humanity is the Awareness and potential Consciousness of our biosphere, so might all Conscious biospheres be the Awareness and potential Consciousness of this universal self. Just as each organism is a component of the total material of the universe, then each Consciousness is a component of the universal totality. “God” would be an over-simplification. In our own biosphere, we see patterns and processes repeat; cellular function is akin to the function of the organism is akin to the function of the species is akin to the function of the biosphere. As below, so above.
Part Three: Cumulative Awareness Leads to the Rise of Consciousness of Greater Magnitudes
While a universal Awareness may be under development, it is far from Conscious. Lower animals display indications of awareness of a rudimentary sort, but not Consciousness anywhere near our degree of development. Again, I believe that the eventual universal consciousness will not be a hive-mind, but a collaborative interaction between all conscious beings with a singular priority.
When a material body dies, it is reintegrated into the mass to eventually be re-organized and expressed in another matrix. Using what has been established here as our model, it seems a rational possibility to me that our Awareness, distinct from our matter (neither body nor mind), would also re-integrate into the mass-Awareness. Undeveloped, that Awareness would simply disperse and be re-organized into a new form. Matter returns to the local communal pool of total matter that makes up the planet, just as the planet will eventually return to the total communal pool of material that makes up our star-system, and so on. Awareness might also spring from a communal pool which our species has become developed enough to house and express.
What that communal Awareness lacks is a communal Consciousness which allows for self-determination. It is the Conscious Self which has a lasting quality. This is apparent in our own history; those members of our species who demonstrated what seems to be a great Aware and Conscious Self have also often left a lasting mark on our society. Their works continue to inspire (move the spirit) others, which suggests that something of themselves lives in the material world. That something lacks consciousness, and yet also inspires greater Awareness and Consciousness in others. The immaterial is having an influence on the material.
If consciousness can be likened to a kind of energy, even in some instances measured by its absence at the point of death (a measurable drop in electrical charge, biochemical interaction, and even the weight of the body), and energy does cannot be destroyed, then we can establish that there is something permanent and lasting derivative of the human experience. Undeveloped, this “carrier wave” might simply disperse, but what might be the result if the Consciousness is trained, disciplined, and well developed? Might that Consciousness take on a quality that differs from its origin? Might those qualities lead to changes in the communal pool of Awareness and increase the likelihood of cumulative species, biosphere, galactic, and universal level of consciousness?
What communal Awareness lacks is a communal Consciousness which allows for self-determination. Our species is not yet developed enough to allow for a significant portion of the population to arise as Conscious and able to integrate our disparate parts into a unified whole, even if briefly. I do not believe that this potential even requires the Awakening of all, or even a majority of the species. Indeed, such an event might be disastrous. Our own brains are divided into different functions, with only a portion of its neurons dedicated to conscious thought. Our species may require that some of its member-cells remain Asleep, handling other tasks while its conscious cells deal with critical judgment.
The same potential model for survival via Consciousness would be necessary on a universal scale to escape the cycle of material integration/de-integration/re-integration. Again, I believe that this would be the imperative of a collection of Conscious beings, and that said Consciousness would have to be so successful in their development and viability that escaping that cycle would be the last barrier to cross before breaking into a truly new manner of existence.
The necessity of such beings in this model leads me to postulate that Consciousness via Awareness can be sustained and self-determined, avoiding dispersal upon re-integration with the communal Awareness, and in fact changing the nature of that Awareness to make the possibility of other Consciousnesses enduring re-integration possible. The proposed “soul” as an immortal aspect of the self is therefore not a fore-drawn conclusion, but rather a possibility. Within each of us resides a mote of a soul, the potential for a dynamic Awareness which may become a true Consciousness and achieve self-determination. Immortality may be possible, but it requires recognizing and developing that within the concept of self which is lasting; not body, mind, or even personality. I can not point to it directly, but like the evidence of black holes being their effect on the surrounding space, I am beginning to think that there is evidence present that suggests the mechanisms I am describing at work.
The Ideology of the Darkhorse is first and foremost be on the route to self-actualization and self-determination, the discovery of the self and the mastery of the self. Whenever an artificial system of law or rule has been established, it has resulted in corruption which eventually leads to collapse… what we are witnessing in our societies today. The concept of maturity is being in a position where no man need tell you what you can or cannot do. You are responsible for yourself, earning your own rewards or suffering the consequences which are natural results of your choices and actions. Our society is in a perpetual state of adolescence, playing at life instead of living.
The Darkhorse is the engine that is unseen or unexpected. The Darkhorse is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the rip-current in calm waters, the mass of the iceberg not apparent based on its slight presence on the surface of the water. The actions of the Darkhorse are subtle, intentionally hidden, meticulously planned, and executed with precision. The Darkhorse is the unseen opponent of the system which stands in plain sight. The Darkhorse is the sucker-punch, the hidden knife, and the cosmic joy-buzzer. The Darkhorse seeks mastery over his enemies through the mastery of self. He who knows the self can never be slave to another.
A Darkhorse uses experience to determine certain truths by which they live. A Darkhorse fully expects, based on experience, that the sun will rise in the morning somewhere in the East, and will set in the evening somewhere in the West. A Darkhorse knows, however, that while experience is an excellent teacher, it is also subject to change. The sun may rise and fall tomorrow as it has done for eons, but a Darkhorse knows that only a fool would consider any event a certainty. Observation in the moment is the only way the world can truly be experienced, not through the results of the past or the expectations of the future. For the Darkhorse, the now always is the priority.
Put simply, the reason that artificial codes of law fail is because shit happens. The Darkhorse knows this, and is not surprised or daunted by it.
Thus, as a Darkhorse, it is not our intent to offer to anyone a code-of-conduct, laws, rules, or any other edicts artificially foisted upon others. Instead, what we offer are standards which we have embraced ourselves, standards with which we test the reality around us. We follow the examples of others, and will no doubt see our examples followed, but we strive to remain always ourselves in the moment. These are the standards of our tribe, our Klan, what each self-actualized Individual, who we consider a brother or sister, chooses to use as a base for their own behavior. We do not ask people to change themselves and conform to these standards, but rather suggest that those who already apply these standards to themselves may have a place amongst us. Ours is a living, evolving process, and as we test and discover what assists in meeting our goals (and what does not) these standards will evolve.
We are unabashedly elitist. We have no interest in converting or even recruiting from the mundane herd. We are different, and those who sense within themselves the same kind of difference are welcome to participate in our Klan. To stand amongst us, one must first realize that you stand apart from all others. Self Actualization is the full Awareness of Self as whole distinct from all that is around us. Those who stand with us must sense this potential within themselves, act in a manner which this sense dictates, and in an effort to further this Actualization.
An example of our effort to be distinct from the sleeping world is in our use of language. We strive for our use of to be more precise. When we say “human”, we mean something far more definite than the up-right walking hairless primate you might see blankly staring into the distance on their daily commute to their assigned slave-pen. Language in its common use is slip-shod, allowing for ambiguity in meaning and complacency in thought. The precision in language is just one example where we make the effort to define ourselves for ourselves, insisting that our words are precisely what we mean, and not what one might think is inferred.
Though there are many who might appreciate what we have developed here, and even be in agreement with the majority of it, if they do not share in our methodology and goals with the same commitment, then they are not a part of us. The methodology is simple, seek the truth of the self and the world around you in each moment, strive to be only that which you are, and work to better yourself. The commitment to this must be nothing short of total.
We are unabashedly at war with a system that we recognize is making slaves of all of us. Our war is a guerrilla-war, a war of attrition, a war of ideas and physical acts. We are opposed to the mundane concepts of State, Government, and Institution. We seek to replace the society with one consisting of small self-governing communities in which each member of a community is a participant as a matter of choice and not happenstance. We seek a social order not based on a moral code of conduct, but rather a personal sense of honor and rationality. Instead of forcing a person to conform to the ideology of the State, we strive for a society where one has the freedom to seek out a community that is best suited for themselves or to form their own community if none can be found. While in time such communities will come to manifest hidden in the plain sight of our enemies, we for now begin with a diaspora (Greek: scattered) community of Awakened and pre-Awakened individuals.
Our community, and the way its Individual members conduct themselves, is based on the following basic standards. These standards continue to remain consistently valid, but are not dogma. Evolution should be expected:
This idea, living an honorable life, is what defines us. It determines our Individual behavior and by choosing to live in this manner we are faced with certain undeniable consequences of that choice. Striving to live an Honorable Life binds us as a cohesive community and distinguishes us from those who live without honor.
Living an Honorable Life, for us, is the only life worth living. If we cannot live as self-determining Individuals, if we cannot be more than the slaves of a faceless and soulless system, then we would prefer not to live. Our Honor is why we resist, why we fight, and why we strive to forge for ourselves a new way to live. We each recognize that it is better to die fighting for the right to live Honorably than to live without Honor… indeed, life without Honor is no life at all!
Honor means that we cherish those who are of our own kind, the brother and sisters of our Klan, above all others. We cherish them as we cherish ourselves or more so. We are prepared to come their aid and defense, even at the hazard of our own lives, fully aware that they share the same urges regarding us based on our common and shared Honor. Those who are as we are seek to live, in a real, active sense of life. Life cannot be sustained in isolation, but thrives as Individuals work toward mutual benefit. Furthermore, only the living can tend to the the living. The dead tend to no one.
Those who are not of us, who do not share in the same sense of Honor, are of little consequence. The only real danger they present is in their numbers. They do not deserve our respect or trust, and should be dealt with cautiously. Those who lack Honor may often prove useful in some circumstances, but we should always remember that they are children dreaming arrogantly of being adults, and deserve our contempt because they lack the courage, strength of will, or vision to be as we are. They are the plants of a poorly tended garden. In this garden we must tread carefully to avoid the thorns and brambles. We must be watchful of those flowers which will bare the sweetest fruit, and transplant them to our garden when we can. We must be prepared to pull a few weeds if necessary, knowing though that in the end it is best to allow this garden to choke on its own excess and random growth.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, means to be fully prepared and willing to defend ourselves; physically, philosophically, and spiritually, by any means necessary. We must be ready to die for our Honor, and fully prepared to use lethal force in our Honor’s defense. We must be mindful that our war is ongoing and our enemy is relentless. We will let them marvel at our victories while wondering at our methodologies. Hasten not your end in brash flashes of valor, but strive to grown strong while the enemy grows weak. The broken and the dead have little or no defense.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to be loyal to our brothers and sisters, those who share in our Honor. We must defend them as we would defend ourselves, at the risk of our own lives if necessary. We must respect them as we respect ourselves. No one Individual has the right to tell another how to live, but in that we have chosen to live with Honor, those who share this ideology are as much a part of ourselves as is our own arms. To each of those within our Klan, we swear a personal oath of loyalty, respect, and kinsman-ship. We would rather die before violating this oath. If we are defined as distinct from all others by any means, it is by this standard alone.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to seek justice and comeuppance for any misdeed against ourselves or the members of our Klan. We will avenge any act of dishonor towards ourselves or our brothers and sisters. This is not meant to be a compulsive obsession with vengeance, but rather a simple balancing of the books. Remember that when you call someone your enemy, you are calling them your equal, worthy of your admiration and energy. Do not waste such high praise on fools. The wise know when they have been wronged, and when they have been merely distracted momentarily.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to be prepared to die before submitting to the tyrannical system of the mundane world. Every act should be an act of defiance. The system by it’s very nature seeks to strip us of our Honor. Death in defense of that Honor is a Warrior’s Death, and we are each prepared to die as Warriors before allowing ourselves to be dishonored and humiliated by that system. Submission to that system is in fact a kind of death, a slow and painful purifying of the self, the ultimate lie in denial of the truth. Every breath in opposition to the system and in pursuit of the self is a breath of life. Every breath in submission to that system is a breath toward inevitable suffocation.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to recognize and understand that no oath, pledge, or promise offered by one who lacks honor can be trusted. Thus, no one who is not of us can ever be trusted to keep their word. No plans should be made which rely upon one who is not of us to fulfill their obligations. Those who are not of us should be dealt with cautiously, if dealt with at all. How can one who does not know themselves promise anything to another? The person who makes that promise without a sense of self will cease to exist, replaced by another who will not feel obligated to what was promised, who might not even remember what oaths where given, and who will probably resent be held accountable for the words of their former self!
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to recognize and understand that our word, pledge, or promise is our bond. This, we do not give lightly. We fulfill our obligations. To fail to do so is to be without Honor, to be labeled a coward, and to be considered unworthy. Our word given, even to one without Honor, is an obligation that we must strive to keep. Our words must be truths. Therefore, think before speaking, know what you are saying, and remember that the words of an Awakened Man may as well be written in his own blood.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to recognize the value and strength of an Oath. It would be unwise to give one’s Oath to one without Honor. Once and Oath is given, the Individually giving the Oath is Honor-bound to fulfill it. The Oath can only be released if it is fulfilled, the person to whom it was given releases the person who gave his Oath from his obligation, or the person to whom the Oath was given dies. An Oath is recognized among our kinsman as one which is preceded or proceeded by words “By my Honor…”.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to settle our serious disputes amongst ourselves. When a dispute cannot be settled, we should seek the arbitration of a mutually trusted and neutral kinsman. If that fails (the kinsman cannot come to a decision), and if neither side is willing to concede, then a trial by combat or duel will settle the dispute. Anyone who impugns our honor or that of our kinsman will be challenged to combat. It is therefore wise to always let that which truly does not matter slide.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to accept the consequences of our decisions. Thus, if we have a dispute with a kinsman, and we seek arbitration, then we must accept and abide by their decision. Once decided, we must consider the matter closed and behind us. Keep in mind that we are all going to die. There will never be another like ourselves or the man with which we have a dispute again. Pity the fool who wastes time engaged in the trivial pursuit of imagined slights and inconsequential games of one-up-man ship!
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to treat our kinsman not only as we would wish to be treated, but as we would wish to treat ourselves. When dealing with members of our Klan, we should strive to be kind, generous, fair, and courteous.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to recognize that one cannot meet the needs of others until one has done all that can be done to meet your own needs. Thus, it is the responsibility of each member of the Klan to see to their own needs and the needs of their households to the limits of their abilities.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to recognize that the need of one kinsman is the need of all. Thus, no kinsman should feel shame in asking his Klan for aid when aid is needed. While each kinsman should take pride in their ability to help another in need, no kinsman should expect a return on that which is given, or to place an obligation on the one requiring aid. That which is given should only be given freely. If one cannot give freely, then he should not give at all.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to always strive to act with wisdom. Be patient and contemplative. Seek the greatest benefit for the minimal risk. Be prepared to act when opportunity presents itself. Do nothing to dishonor yourself or your Klan. While being prepared to die, it is better to be alive to fight on. Suffer consequence only when consequence serves a purpose.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to recognize that all your choices and your actions are fully your responsibility. We are at war, and in war comes risk. If you risk too much, act to rashly, or without proper preparation, then you must accept the consequences of your choice. To accept those consequences as your own is an act of Honor. To draw blame to others, especially your Klan, is an act of a coward. No Individual will be ever be given orders. Every Individual must make their own choices.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to recognize and understand that every Individual has a right to choose. If a kinsman has no Oaths to fulfill and wishes to leave the Klan, then he should do so with no ill-will. If a kinsman leaves the Klan to avoid fulfilling an Oath, or is forced to leave because he dishonors himself or the Klan, he should be labeled a coward and harried whenever opportunity presents itself. If one such as this continues to dishonor the Klan, he should be neutralized. Suffer not fools.
To live with Honor, to be self-responsible, is to ensure that we share our ideals with our mates, and to pass these ideals on to our children, allowing for them when they come of age to make the choice to either live as we do or live among those without Honor.
Those who can live by these standards may be able to call themselves a Darkhorse. We recognize our own, and act accordingly. To be one of us, seek one of us.
The following are the proposed standards for a potential community of Darkhorse Klan members residing in the same geographical area, ideally within a neighborhood, suburb, town, or city where the majority of citizens are members of the Darkhorse Klan. Modifications to these directives for our current state of diaspora are written in italics. If no modification is present, the existing directive is considered applicable to our current state.
Each member of the community must demonstrate the ability and inclination to provide for themselves. This will be best demonstrated by having gainful employment and if employed by another party also having some manner of self-employment that they are actively engaged in. While scattered, any means of acquiring one’s needs is valid, but self-sufficiency is ideal.
Each member of the community must understand and agree that the community’s success is based entirely on our Individual ability and dedication to the support of his or her fellow members in the community. Each member of the community is expected to be able to see to their own needs, turning to the community for support only in dire circumstances. The community will regularly gather, share, and distribute resources contributed by each member’s surplus that they voluntarily donate to the cause to help ease the burden of being self-sustaining, but no one member of the community can become reliant on that aid save for those who situation is extra-ordinary such as significant illness or extreme old age. In diaspora, each cell will have to determine how and to what extent this should be executed. It is wise for each member to try to generate a small surplus, and for each member to share with others what is needed and what is available.
Each member of the community must recognize that the success of the whole is tied to the success of the Individual, thus it is in each member’s best interest to support by whatever means are available the efforts of each Individual member. Such support need not be financial. It can be word-of-mouth promotion, participation, or assisting with tasks in another member’s projects. This also has the benefit of creating varying opportunities and experiences for all members of the community, increasing each member’s skill-set.
Each member of the community must have the ability to defend themselves from outside attack. Owning and maintaining weapons, especially firearms, is expected and encouraged. The study and practice of a martial-art is also useful.
Each member of the community must recognize and respect the sanctity of a fellow member’s house and household. The community will have common property and common meeting areas, but one’s home remains one’s castle. The community will come together to assist with the maintenance and improvement of each member’s residence, but only at the behest and within the wishes of the member who resides there.
Each member will swear an Oath of Loyalty to one another, recognizing each member of the community as their brother and sister. This will mean respecting the sanctity of the romantic relationships of other members, the life-style choices those members may make, their rights to property and well-being, and their opinions and perspectives. Each member will be expected to come to the aid of another member of the community whenever called, to provide support whenever needed, to share hearth and home whenever required. Those who turn to their fellow community members in time of need will understand that while whatever given to them is given freely, they have an obligation as a matter of honor to do all they can to support the community and their benefactors by any means available to them and to as quickly as possible become self-sustaining once more.
Every member of the community 17 years of age has a voice in guiding that community. Once each month, the community will gather, break bread together, discuss their concerns as Individuals and as a community, and make decisions for the benefit of the community as a whole. If an emergency arises requiring the immediate attention of and a decision made by the community, three members may initiate a gathering and vote (when practical).
Every member of the community recognizes and understands that the community exists distinct from the surrounding society, but also as a part of that society. Its survival in that tenuous state requires that outsiders perceive the community as no different from the surrounding society. Therefore, every effort must be made by each Individual within the community to handle any issues or conflicts within the confines of the community. What is done within the community stays within the community. Outsiders should only be called in under extreme circumstances. We are able to live differently only as long as we are perceived by outsiders as not being any different than they are.
If a conflict arises within between members of the community, the community encourages that the members in conflict work together to come to a resolution. If the members cannot resolve the conflict on their own, they may call upon a mutually agreed upon arbiter from the community to come to a resolution for them, agreeing to abide by whatever decision is made. If the arbiter is not able to come to a resolution, the community as a whole may be asked to vote on the issue, again with the members in conflict agreeing to abide by whatever resolution is reached. If members of the community in conflict are unable to abide by the decision reached either amongst themselves, with an arbiter, or within the community, they will be excommunicated.
The expression of Awareness is exceedingly rare in our species, at least developed to the degree that is of any real importance. The nature of the universe, and everything within it, is perfect. All things in their current state are perfect, it is only our perception of these things which can be imperfect. We are in the habit of not seeing things as they are, but rather as we would wish them to be or how we are told they are. We are programmed to be enamored with the illusion of imperfection; either the misinterpretation of the truth or the purposeful denial of the truth, so much so that most of us will not have the chance to be more than what we are. We will go on believing we are aware, living lives deceiving ourselves and doing things we disdain, only to end no differently, or perhaps worse, than when we began. This is as it should be. Most will not seek to develop themselves in order to become something more. We are what we are, whether we remain the same or choose to be more. Perfection exists in either state, whether we are aware of it or not. Our delusion is also perfect.
Consider pain. Pain is often a negative experience, in that we tend to prefer to avoid it. However, pain is necessary in order to keep us aware of that which harms us and to allow us to act in a manner to help prevent irreparable harm. Pain teaches us how to interact with our environment, and by contrast allows us to truly appreciate that which is pleasurable. Yet, there are schools which teach that pain is “evil”, or the result of imperfection in the world. Pain is an aspect of life, one of the many aspects that let you know you are alive. It may be preferable to avoid pain when possible, but it is no less perfect than any other aspect of our existence.
It is the nature of this perfect universe for potential to be discovered and expressed. Fire burns until its fuel is extinguished. Water seeks its level. The body grows and changes within the parameters set by its genetics. We contain within ourselves the ability to inhibit the expression of our potential. Like pain, this ability is not imperfect or evil, it is merely an aspect of ourselves which is necessary and can benefit us if properly understood. Awareness cannot be achieved without the effort to find it, thus the ability to be closed to our potential, to even deny our potential, serves as a counterpoint which teaches us about our potential. The perfect engine of change in our universe is adversity. Potential only fully manifests when expressed through the birth canal of conflict. Our species must earn Awareness in order for it to manifest. Only those tested by the false nature of our perceived existence will appreciate the fruits of greater Awareness.
We have all encountered men and women who inspire us by their example or have qualities that we see as desirable within ourselves. They may have great beauty, physical prowess, impressive intelligence, emotional depth, or other traits which suggest something special, if not superior about them. Some people we encounter have a quality which suggests a greater sense of being, of human potential being expressed in a manner that is uncommon. Just as encountering superior expressions of various qualities may inspire us to develop these qualities in ourselves, it is contact with such uncommon expressions of potential that is often the impetus of our own exploration of self. The difference is that while greater beauty, strength, or intelligence are common expressions we may readily observe, the potential for greater Awareness is hidden from the majority because its expression is so rare.
Unless a person is fortunate enough to encounter an expression of greater Awareness via art, literature, music, or direct contact, the person is unlikely to seek greater Awareness for themselves. This leads to an interesting tangent; if Awareness cannot be explored in ourselves without first encountering its example, then how did the first person come to seek greater Awareness? Keep this question in mind, as I will discuss it in a future writing.
If we are fortunate enough to come into contact with something that suggests greater Awareness, there will only be a few of us that seek it within ourselves. Only a few of us have that inner fire which hungers for growth and senses the lie being perpetuated by the system we experience each day. Many who encounter that example will have already been broken by that system. They will make excuses as to why that potential which is within all of us is denied to them. They will see the development of greater Awareness as unimportant when compared to the demands of the world, when in fact just the opposite is true. They will see the effort as too difficult, or themselves as too limited to ever accomplish what has been demonstrated by others. They will see the example of greater Awareness and be stung by it, and turn away. Only a rare few of us will see it as an inspiration and personal example for our own lives.
Of those that try, only a rare few will find a path that leads them to greater Awareness. There are many paths to greater Awareness, but far more paths that lead to dead-ends. They are dead-ends because the death of the self is where they lead. Some will make the mistake by misunderstanding what greater Awareness is, and will seek to better themselves by some means tied to this world. This world, for all its pleasures and distractions, is finite. How can one achieve something lasting by means rooted in this finite world? The pursuit of money will bring wealth, comfort, and a plethora of hedonistic pleasures, but there has yet to be born a man who’s wealth served him once his life was ended. Others will be lead astray by false teachers, some who think they know the way but are misguided by ego or the incorrect teachings of another. Others will be false intentionally, preying on those who lack the ability to see the truth. The majority will simply not know where to begin, and end their search before it even starts.
Of those who find a proper path, many will fail because the way is arduous and fraught with peril. The pursuit of a true path boarders on obsession. Such single-mindedness will alienate the seeker from those around him. Friends and family will raise doubts within him about his efforts and will question his motivations. He will be ridiculed by his fellows who do not share in his pursuit. The indulgences of the world will call to him like a siren’s song, urging him to put down his burden, to cease his toil, and to do what is easy. Many who start down the path will turn away before the goal is reached. Their hearts will lack the strength to achieve it.
Of those who find what they seek, many will turn away because what they discover troubles them. They will discover the truth, and truth is undeniable and unchangeable. It can be nothing other than truth, regardless of what we wish it to be. It is what it is. Of those that find it, they will not accept it. Their conceptions of self will be destroyed. The world that they thought they knew will be gone, an alien landscape hostile to their existence. In the face of truth, most whither away, seeking the world again and willfully going no further. They will be forever haunted and bitter about that which they experienced but could not accept.
Those, however, who can see the potential of their own beings, who find a proper path, who pursue that path to its end, who discover truth for themselves, and who can face that truth and embrace it, they will be transformed. To them will be revealed the real wonder of the world and themselves. They will see in fullness the perfection of all and within themselves. Those that know and embrace truth can no longer be imprisoned by the false reality of the world around us. Their minds will be like gardens where only they can decide what is planted there. For those rare few, freedom will be a achieved. Tested, challenged, and tempered in the forge of adversity, they will emerge with something lasting within themselves.
Awareness is a potential born within us all, but rare are those whom are favored with the circumstances within which such potential may be explored, who come into contact with the possibility of greater Awareness early enough in life, and who have the will to pursue its development in fullness. This is also a perfect aspect of our world. If greater Awareness was not rare and difficult to attain, it would lose any meaningful purpose, leading to stagnation. The universe is not trite, it is dynamic. If we are to fulfill our potential, we must seek to develop an Awareness which is equally dynamic. The journey may be hard, but the effort provides many rewards.
The following was posted in a forum that I occasionally frequent. The focus of this forum is the development and support of an ideological and philosophical perspective that is related to both Gurdjieff’s Work and at least the symbolism often associated with the “Left-Hand Path”. While what was written was meant to express frustration with this organization’s leadership and activity (or, more pointedly, the lack thereof), it is a commonality of many Internet-based expressions of religion.
I have scrubbed the text of anything related to or that might identify the organization being addressed /with my own text being inserted in-between slash-marks/. This statement has a much wider application than just one organization.
Dearest (Would-be Philosophical/Theological Leaders, Teachers, and “Masters”),
This is precisely what I’ve been wondering about, or worrying about, etc. I’m afraid that exhortation rubbed me the wrong way, and brought to the surface a number of issues lurking in my psyche. To some it may seem like a reminder of little significance, but to me it was one example of a larger trend, indicating an over-arching failure of approach. /The writer was responding to an email request for more participation in the organization’s on-line forum/.
People are looking for the experience of religion. A web forum is not a religion. We don’t have the personal touch. My vision of 4th Way initiation is quite similar to the life coaching thing which you offer as a paid service, separate from the religion. Sorry to spurn a potential source of income, but you seem to be doing okay (considering how everyone else is doing). Maybe you should consider making it part of your ministry as /a/ leader. To take a hands-off approach to initiating someone into Awakening is to not initiate them.
You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink…but then again, the personal touch of actually walking to the water alongside the horse is a lot more evocative than just telling it that there’s water over there some ways.
This would be the core of my issue, the rest merely being an unfolding therefrom:
Malcolm Gladwell (speaking politically) said that social media can create big flashes of protest, but what creates a sustained movement are in-person groups and relationships which meet on a regular basis (or in some rare cases live together). An online group can succeed, but only if it is centered around a network of in-person clusters. At the very least, one-on-one attention by phone can be a weak but somewhat effective substitute for in-person interaction.
If I were you, I would forgo most of your attention to the Internet and divert focus to building up an in-person group in your area. Lead by example. The problem is, if anyone succeeds in establishing a grotto or /other real-world group/, our local folk will see us as more authoritative than you, because we’re actually getting our hands dirty making an in-person group happen. People will ask, oh, so you have this faraway leader. Does he have a grotto, how big is it? And we’ll have to say…eh, there isn’t one. And they will see it as a joke, and I will wonder if they are wrong.
Joiners will look at the situation like this: given that the religion is a webforum and not a network of in-person clusters, their unofficial-but-in-practice religion is actually not the webforum which you oversee. The actual religion which they consider themselves part of is their own grotto, and will regard its leader as their actual leader, having very little to do with you or your sites.
If you have thousands of registered members, but only a dozen people posting, maybe that should make you consider what a member really is, or what your expectations and focus should be. Sure, the socialist group I’m in will get thousands of people to put their name on something. But we only count the people who show up, pay dues, and take part in the work of our routines as members. We only focus our efforts to further integrate people on members and people who aren’t yet members but are participating in some of the way that members do.
This method has worked brilliantly in creating a lasting, growing organization, where we know who our members are, rather than merely hoping that everyone who jots a name down actually means something. Consider it a political form of building a magnetic center, as opposed to concerning ourselves with every passing, impulsive “I.”
In the absence of in-person proximity, phone calls are good. They eliminate the impersonality of text and create a one-on-one focus, rather than the blanket of mass communication which, in attempting to focus on everyone, focuses on no one. Hitler was right on one point — spoken communication for the win. There may be text-only visionaries, but no text-only messiahs. But not just spoken word — *targeted, personal* spoken word.
I myself am going to seek to apply the ideas offline more, I’m going to have to post less in order to live it. It’s just an issue of limited free time. Perhaps there are other people like me out there, non-posters who are living the path very well. But you have no way of knowing it without some regular system of staying in touch, and analyzing and encouraging each others’ Awakening.
Not only do *you* not know what the real shape of the /organization/ is, but */the members/* know even less than you, making a lull in forum activity appear to be a collapse of the religion! (And would such a perception even be wrong?) In the absence of a real organized, mutually-assisted initiation, spinning my wheels writing more essays seems futile. We have all the mental material we need; we need to give it a corporeal body.
You mentioned that Occupy Wall Street is going on. True, but why would people want to discuss that on the /organization/ forums? In their eyes we have virtually nothing to do with that world, we have no effect on it at all. Without any kind of structure, it is impossible for the (organization) to be relevant to major events, or to even fulfill its core religious purposes.
Overall, though, if you claim to be the consciousness of the /organization/ machine/organism, the core it needs to avoid running aground, the person you should be asking about the lack of activity is not us, but yourself. Scolding the membership is not leadership, it is helpless flailing, and a projection of your own lack of a practical plan onto your followers. It’s not taking orders that I object to, it’s this futile wheel-spinning of thinking that the Internet is going to solve the problem of building a group. It won’t.
I like some of the philosophies, and had hope in the beginning that these organizational problems would be taken care of with time. I have seen zero progress on that front, but from what I can tell, there has been no progress on that front in eight years besides /a prominent member’s/ grotto. I pushed for the council-centered chain of initiation. For a while I was maintaining it on my own end, but there was no point of continuing with it if the (organization) leader himself was not maintaining or even remembering it, since the group won’t stick with it if you don’t.
Until you make the sacrifices necessary to establish an in-person following, you lack the moral authority to ask such from anyone else. The way I see it, you either have to commit to that goal and succeed reasonably soon, or hand off supreme leadership to someone else for the good of the /organization/ so that it ceases to stagnate. That is not a joke. You may say, “That makes no sense, I came up with this, I lead it.” It’s an interesting consideration — would you rather see the philosophy you invented remain tiny under yourself, or expand under someone else?
Wistful and well-wishing,
a recently-restored-to-the-Dark-Side /member/
The two points I take away from this statement are simple.
1) The Internet, for all its power and wonder, is ultimately a tool used for gathering and sharing information. For the growth of the self, nothing beats human-to-human interaction. A religious movement’s Internet presence should be a means to support and highlight its real-world efforts, not the primary focus of the organization.
2) You cannot wait on a leader to come take you by the hand. Ultimately, if you want to see something happen, you have to at least start by doing it yourself. You will become the leader you seek if others see your example and emulate it, or you will be better prepared when you discover a leader worth emulating, and will hold that leader to a higher standard.
Dad gave me this. Fifth birthday. He said, “Childhood’s over the moment you know you’re gonna die.” ~ Michael Wincott as “Top Dollar” from The Crow
We have been considering and concerning ourselves with awareness. The concept of awareness is simple; we each have a choice. We can either choose to be aware and active in our experiences, or we can be unaware and ruled by happenstance. Much of the oppression we feel is directly proportional to the amount of effort we make to be active in our experiences, to be more aware. Freedom, or being more free relative to as we are now, is the desired end-result of cultivating greater awareness.
Our pursuit of awareness, of choosing to not allow ourselves to be dictated by happenstance, has lead us in numerous directions, all very important and required. We have explored practical matters; the laws and values of society, our roles in the workforce and the economy, how we acquire those things which are substantive needs… We have explored matters of importance to and from the perspectives of the esoteric and exoteric; our relationship with others, our responsibility to ourselves, our society, our species, frivolity… We have pursued issues of a spiritual, or mystical nature; the meanings of words like “awareness” and “freedom”, personal evolution, weighing our relative connectivity and distinctiveness from all that surrounds us…
In this pursuit of awareness, I am wondering if perhaps all these divergent potential directions are rooted in one commonality: Time. I wonder if an exploration of the concept of Time may be an exploration of the foundation of all other efforts.
We are born, and from the day of our birth, the clock is ticking. If an individual lives out to the fullness of their lifespan, they have roughly 70 years of time. All spiritual arguments aside, based on what we can observe it is safe to assume that those years will be all that one ever has. When we consider what the mind of the individual is capable of, what wonders it has the potential to explore and questions it can conceive, 70 years seems like a paltry amount of time, like a cosmic joke on the sentient being. Your biological function; to reproduce and make your genetic mark of future generations requires neither sentience (as made evident by the thousands of people who reproduce in droves) nor the fullness of the potential lifespan. With this reality before us, our sentience seeks a purpose beyond our biological function to our species.
We’re not here because we’re free. We’re here because we’re not free. There is no escaping reason; no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist. It is purpose that created us. Purpose that connects us. Purpose that pulls us. That guides us. That drives us. It is purpose that defines. Purpose that binds us. ~ Hugo Weaving as “Agent Smith” from The Matrix Reloaded
The issue of purpose is a question of whether or not purpose is predetermined by happenstance or “fate”, or if self-determination is possible. Three kinds of people seem to emerge in relation to this question. There are those for whom the question has no meaning. They are completely ruled by happenstance, guided solely by internal impulses and external influences. Awareness as we understand it is not present within them. Others have awareness, but have concluded that the thread of their life has already been measured, that they are fated, to one degree or another, to whatever end or whatever events may come their way.
Then, there are those of us who rebel against that idea, who seek to be free of happenstance and to be self-determined. “Fate” for us may exist, and it is something we can succumb to, but we have concluded that it can be resisted, or that “fate” is for those who lack the will to escape the gravity of happenstance. Awareness is our lever, the manner by which we seek to determine our “fate” for ourselves.
The issue facing us in this pursuit is time. We only have so much time to achieve our ultimate goals. In the short amount of time that we have, we must first develop to a point of physical and mental maturity where we can recognize the discrepancy between our potential awareness and our actual active awareness. The first mark of maturity of awareness is the comprehension of the fact that eventually we will die. This is, in my opinion, the end of our mental childhood and the beginning of our mental adolescence. Awareness that we have only a limited amount of time is often within us only cursory; we know it, but we do not understand it and therefore do not act accordingly. If we were aware of our limited amount of time and understood it, much of the frivolity and wasted effort that dominates our lives would cease.
We would have no time to waste.
Full mental maturity comes when we not only are aware that our time is limited, but also when we embrace that fact and begin living our lives accordingly. Those who believe that their lives are predetermined to a greater degree than what is self-determined embrace their limited amount of time with a marked serenity, a peaceful acceptance that I can only equate to sheep being herded for slaughter. Their arguments for this perspective may be sound, even convincing, but they are arguments that I cannot abide. When I look at history, when I look to the greatest examples of our potential as humans being expressed (those individuals who’s efforts and ideas shaped the course for our species), repeatedly I see examples of self-determination, people who did not go gently into the night but raged against the dwindling light of their short lives.
Time is neither our enemy nor our friend. If we are aware of it, the limited quantity of time we have, and that ultimately we do not know when our limit will be reached, then it is simply a motivator. Time is the reason to take action, to be decisive, to cultivate awareness and to seek self-determination. We cannot be certain of anything other than that our time is limited. Even those who conclude that there is the potential for some other manner of existence beyond this life cannot deny that this life is limited, and that our time in it must be of some importance, if only to ourselves. All time is now. Each moment is a precious stone which we can either use in building our monuments to ourselves in history, or which will be pulverized into dust.
Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time I do what I have to. ~Tommy Flanagan as “Cicero” from Gladiator
Time is the commodity which we all have that we trade for the things we want. Do you want a new car? You have to trade time for the money to pay for it (or time used to steal it, something I would not recommend but include for the sake of being thorough). Want to have sex with someone else? You need to take time to convince a partner (or to engage in an even more criminal activity than car-theft). All pursuits, all acquisitions, all goals require time. Our lives equal a quickly shrinking means of exchange for experiences, pleasures, and material goods. We all may have time, but due to its limited quantity and extreme importance for each of us, it is the most precious commodity we will ever have.
Time, like other commodities, has a variety of different values. We all talk about “quality time” and define that kind of time in different manners based on our drives and interests. I would suggest a scale that includes a transition through five distinct types of time.
Dross is waste metal, impurities purged during the smelting process. Dross Time is time that is wasted. A person may waste time in an ever increasing number of ways, but this particular kind of waste is due to a person not having the means to act on the time that they have. Their inability to use their time is due to pressures which are either internal or external in origin. The internal pressure which creates Dross Time are those feelings of helplessness, when it seems we have nothing but time but no means with which to use it. We may recognize a need, yet we cannot fulfill it. Internal pressures are usually due to a limited perspective, an artificial set of parameters we believe dictate our options. “We have no money, therefore there is nothing we can do” is an example of the kind of thinking which contributes to the internal creation of Dross Time.
The external pressures resulting in Dross Time often are due to having the means to use the time, but being kept in some fashion from doing so. A literal incarceration is the best example that comes to my mind of this kind of Dross Time; you could do anything, but you are limited to your particular cell. This literal interpretation is frequently and figuratively experienced by nearly everyone in our society. The limitations and walls placed around us that guide and define our behaviors encourage a feeling of oppression. We end up in a prison of the mind where apathy and complacency are encouraged. Our time is wasted as we are encourage to conclude that nothing we could do would matter.
The only value of Dross Time is to serve as a reason to cultivate better qualities of time.
Copper Time is better than Dross Time because it is time that is ours to spend, but it has little inherent value because it is spent frivolously with no particular direction. Copper Time is the kind of time we have been convinced in our society is “quality time”, time when we feel we have no demands or obligations, time spent doing nothing of value for ourselves or others. We are a society where mediocrity is the highest pursuit for the majority; where we want nothing more than to sit on our couches eating fast food and watching American Idol, as if time was limitless. The demands upon us, external and internal, and the obligations we have are not suspended, but during this time we struggle to pretend that they are. Still, we are encouraged by social conventions to resist having a direction or use for our time. The “norm” is to spend our time pursuing meaningless frivolities. Copper Time is unfortunately often “purchased” with a higher-quality time, Iron Time. The majority of us tend to trade that which has value for something that has less or no value at all.
Iron Time is time spent acquiring the things we need. “Need” here is being used in the “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need” sense of foundational needs: sustenance, shelter, and so on. The way we acquire these things that we need are either external, by performing a function for another, or internal, by producing something of ourselves that is of value to others. Without regard to other nuances in method, the internal Iron Time is of a better grade than the external. Those who produce Iron Time through service to others tend to take on the mentality of slaves, “buying” with their Iron Time the Copper Time with which they temporarily and artificially part from their masters and try to enjoy a moments respite as “free men”. Those who produce their Iron Time internally tend to invest it in time that is of a higher quality, seeking to improve themselves and reduce their reliance on Iron Time to secure their needs.
Silver Time is a grade of time spent in intentional action, not simply sustaining the self, but improving the self in order to reduce the amount of time required acquiring those things which sustain us. Silver Time is “bought” with Iron Time, time spent laboring, either for the self or for others. Silver Time is time spent increasing our skills, developing better processes, or shifting from Iron Time as labor for another to Iron Time producing things valued by others from our own resources. The more Silver Time we tend to produce, the less Iron Time is necessary. Silver Time is the beginning of self-determination.
Gold Time is time spent improving ourselves, like Silver Time, and is often purchased with Silver Time. The difference is that Gold Time is completely self-determined and is time spent improving ourselves as a being, not improving our functions as a gatherer of sustenance. Gold Time is the time invested in developing what Gurdjieff refers to as “the soul”, or what I would suggest is the monument we will leave in history in the minds of others about our deeds and our life. Both are concepts which carry the idea of self forward in time beyond our lifespans. Gold Time has aspects of all the other times except dross. Like Copper, it is time spent without external demands; like Iron it involves labor; like Silver, the time is spent improving ourselves. The results of Gold Time have the potential to evolve us and also evolve our species based upon the innovations we develop and our example. Whereas Silver Time improves that which exists already, Gold Time develops innovations and new functions of the self.
Every man dies, not every man really lives. ~ Mel Gibson as “William Wallace” from Braveheart
Time, from this perspective, is something which can be cultivated and bartered, not just for those things we need, but to actually improve ourselves and the quality of time we have. Being aware of our time and how we are investing it, each moment, we begin to “buy” our freedom and become more self-determined. To do so requires a commitment to ourselves to struggle to be more aware. Awareness of time can lead to few other conclusions than that its nature is precious, and that it should not be squandered lightly.
Life is for the living. Responsibility to the responsible. These are two concepts drawn from Satanism which address awareness and, in particular, the use of time. Life is for living, for the experience, because it is brutally short. Its brevity is what should inspire each of us to live it heroically and defiantly, seeking to become immortal through our actions despite the mortality inherent in our existence. Freedom is a life lived without fear of death, but with full awareness of its inevitability. Responsibility for our lives is ours to take or to ignore. We suffer either at our own peril. With freedom comes risks. Do we face life by taking command of our time and living it intentionally, or do we succumb to happenstance and squander the moments we have?
Choice. The problem is choice. ~ Keanu Reeves as “Neo” from The Matrix Reloaded
The following is borrowed from Beginning to Understand, a blog by Apsara Kamalli.
Our lives are constantly in motion. This energy creates the constant changes that make up our existence. Every day, I hear questions thrown out at random like “Why is this happening to me,” and “What did I do to deserve this?” As much as some people may not want to take responsibility for their actions, the answer to both questions is “Because of the choices you’ve made.” While the questions are thrown out at random, the constant energy creating the results we deal with is not random. It is not haphazard or cast down upon you. You have created it, and it is a product of your creation.
Every choice made in every given moment creates the reality around you.
Our lives are constantly in motion. In the duration of a split nanosecond, our lives can change immensely. The energy of constant change moves more rapidly than we can consciously understand. Most of the choices we make on a daily basis are done so in a state of reaction, instantaneous and without much thought. Each of these quick, small responses carries the capability of suddenly impacting the world around us. Sometimes these transitions are invisible to the untrained eye. Sometimes, these transitions impact not only you, but all within your sphere of influence. Either way, at your core, at your soul, and with awareness, you can feel your vibration transforming. Now is the time to take control over this possibility. Now is the time to recognize the power of the vibrational shift and play a deliberate role in directing the energetic motion of our daily lives.
Every choice, every action, every formulation, or lack thereof, of intention will shift your vibrational existence.
Our lives are constantly in motion. Every moment in time is filled with infinite opportunities to manifest your will, whether you are consciously aware of it or not. Every moment comes with the choice of awareness. Choosing to not be aware of this key element is choosing to feel lost, out of control, helpless, or maybe even falsely that you are guided by a higher being. Your awareness of the consequences of your thoughts and actions provide you with the power to define your liberation. The choices you make represent your own personal power. How often you choose to be aware of your personal power will determine the amount of instances you find yourself asking, “Why is this happening to me?”
G.I. Gurdjieff used a number of profound analogies when describing both the common experience of man and a man’s potential, often drawn from Sufism and Taoism he learned during his travels. His focus was on personal evolution; what a person could do to potentially improve his living experience and be relatively more “free” (a concept that he also points out is not really understood and must be explored). One of the analogies he used compared the common experience of most people to being in a prison. The prison limits our possibilities and defines our behaviors. Though it is a system that protects us and shelters us, it does so through limitations and restrictions at the cost of our individuality, and in my opinion our very humanity. The system is useful until its restrictions on behavior and our modes of thought become so great that self-determination is lost in exchange for security. This prison is the system which I often refer to in other forums and struggle against. It is the system of laws, regulations, traditions, values, and social pressures that artificially define our lives.
Like a prison, if you make an overt or direct effort to escape, this system will respond quickly, decisively, and often painfully to put you back in your pre-defined place. We are each a product of that prison/system, and as such our behaviors in a normal state are pre-defined. We are taught what is expected of us, to value “acceptance” and “normality”. Even our methods of rebellion and resistance are predictable, and manageable when based upon that system. If we realize we are in a prison, and we see an “open door”, the system recognizes and even expects that we will try to use that door. This system will have either safeguards in place to keep us from using the “door” or will have already defined what is beyond that “door”, leaving it open for a certain percentage of the population to use for the benefit of the system. Direct effort against the prison, direct opposition, has the greatest amount of risk with potentially the lowest likelihood of success, because it is what is expected and what the system has been most strongly designed to prevent.
Another analogy used by Gurdjieff is the Sly Man. The Sly Man analogy refers to the man who studies the three primary philosophical/metaphysical processes; that of the intellectual (the guru), that of the physical (the fakir), and that of the emotional (the monk), and uses only what is necessary from each of those processes to achieve his goal. It is considered “sly” because while the process may still take a great deal of time, it combines the essential an effective parts of the other three systems while ignoring the unessential, making the process potentially more effective. A Sly Man develops the talent to see what is necessary and to either de-prioritize or disregard that which is unnecessary.
This analogy of a person who studies a system to find what is essential to achieving his goals, being the Sly Man, is one that I would extend to any system, including our “prison”. The Sly Man recognizes that rushing the walls will more often fail and potentially result in being in a worse predicament than we find ourselves already in. This is a concept expressed in Discordianism; with Order and Chaos being opposing forces, when one force acts against the other, the other force responds with an opposite reaction at least equal to, and often greater than, the original action (causing an escalation of force against force). Understanding this, the Sly Man seeks a way to use the system against itself in order to “slip” free of it, or to oppose the system in a manner that directs the response of the system in a manner beneficial to the Sly Man. Going back to our prison analogy, this would mean knowing the routines of the guards, which work details offer the most opportunity for escape, where the tools are kept and when they would be missed, where the walls are weakest, etc. To escape the system, one must have a certain level of expertise on using that system. This requires a great deal of study.
Just because happenstance resulted in our being born into this system does not mean that as adults we have to accept it. I believe that an indication of maturity as a human being is recognition of this fact and making the move toward self-determination vs. accepting pre-determination.
Gurdjieff’s prison analogy goes further, stating that the likelihood of escape increases when you work with co-conspirators, people working toward the same end and from often different directions. However, this coordination of effort cannot and will not include everyone in the prison… the mass exodus of everyone from the system would be the kind of overt action that results in a drastic response by the system. No, in order to escape, you have to be aware that you are not free, you have to prefer the risk of existing without the prison/system compared to the security afforded by it, you have to be willing to make the effort to escape (even if on your own), and you have to be willing to take the time required to make your escape possible.
Those who do not meet those requirements will only inhibit your own efforts. Most people are content with their positions, or if they are discontent lack the ambition to take action. Indeed, many people are so engaged on that system, so dependent upon it, that they will act on the system’s behalf to erode or oppose your efforts. The system is primarily a prison for the mind, using a person identity to re-enforce its mental bars. When you or I challenge that system, we are challenging the “sense of self” that many have come to depend upon. Those who choose to remain asleep, or remain oblivious to what is happening around them, will pursue and meet their end. There is nothing that can be done for them until they begin to do for themselves.
I half-heartedly proposed the idea of abandoning the system as a form of mass protest in response to a video calling for coordinated effort with no real direction (suggesting as an alternative to demonstrating our numbers and asking for recognition in the system it would be better to abandon that system). One comment I received latched onto this idea of “making a break for it”, but the person who made the comment also indicated that they would join me when I made the push. It is my feeling that none of us can afford to wait on another to lead the charge. Rather, if we have any hope of “escape”, we must already be engaged in our own efforts. My proposal in my video-response suggested a coordination date of 12/21/2012 because this was the date selected for mass protest by the person I was responding to. It is my feeling that you should not wait on a special day to begin making your effort to escape. If you haven’t started already, you should start now. I know this sounds alarmist, but by the time it becomes obvious that you should do something, it will probably be to late.
I am implementing my own Exit Strategy. This post is a description of the first stage of my strategy, already being implemented. This is not a call-to-action. This is not a direction of leadership. If you need either of those things to act, then there is little I think that can be done for you (or, rather, everything will need to be done for you by someone else which is anathema to this ideology). My Exit Strategy involves a carefully orchestrated disengagement from the system, slowly but methodically cutting the ties that bind. This is what I am doing because I have reached the intellectual conclusion and the intuitive feeling that this is the correct direction for me. If you implement your own Exit Strategy, it will not doubt be different than mine.
A major focus in this first stage deals with economics and finances. The system in my culture expresses itself as a quasi-capitalist manifestation, encouraging those within it to chase after the dollar and material possessions for a sense of security and identity. I feel that this energy is something I need to re-direct based on values that I define, seeking not recognition for what I have but instead greater freedom for the need for finances in the traditional manner. The goal here is not wealth in the traditional sense, as wealth by the terms of the system simply means a successful existence within a gilded-cage. Instead, I mean wealth as defined by a fulfilling and pleasurable life of personal growth and satisfaction. Messiah Bey, a fellow writer and philosopher, suggests a goal of true financial independence. Not becoming successfully enslaved by the need for money, but rather freedom from that need through self-sufficiency.
My first step is to begin to limit the impact of the financial demands of that system upon my own resources. Our system requires the fulfillment of our minimum needs within a particular set of parameters in order to be considered acceptable. For example, shelter is a “real” need. The system defines acceptable shelter as housing meeting certain structural codes. I have children, and I want my choices to impact my children as little as possible while also providing them a positive example and keeping the State from taking my children from me. To that end, my shelter is a minimal as possible while meeting those demands. The maintenance of that home; electrical use, water, garbage disposal, all involve steps to minimize the impact on my resources. This has required a shift in my values from convenience and the sense of affluence to independence and efficiency. Other system-required expenditures; food, gas, insurance, etc, are all reduced or (if practical) eliminated.
I pay as little as possible to keep the state out of my affairs by maintaining the minimal standards required. I render unto Caesar only what is Caesar’s, and nothing more.
I am incrementally divesting myself of the majority of my material possessions. The system encourages us to amass “stuff”, baubles and brick-a-brack as symbols to represent some artificial identity. “The things you own end up owning you” (Tyler Durden). I am reducing the possessions I have down to the essentials I need to tattoo, create art, and care for my family. I am using auction sites like eBay to sell these items and collectibles to the highest bidder, often getting a profit on my original investment. Liquidating these things used to prop-up my system-supported sense of self increases the amount of resources I have to direct as a lever to further disengage myself from the system. I am shedding the things I have been taught should be important to me to define my own sense of importance.
My expenditures are either for things I need, for things to act as a buffer between myself and dependence on the system, and for experiences. My needs, as defined above, are tattooing, creating art, and caring for my family (both essentials like food and clothing and non-essentials). When fulfilling those needs, I ignore the systems pressure to expend my resources on brand names, the latest versions, or new items whenever possible. I shop for used or discounted items. I also recycle (in the literal sense) as much of the materials I do use as I can.
All of this results in increased financial clout, whether generating an income, reducing my expenditures, or simply not spending money when I and where I would have in the past. The intent, again, is not to increase my system-defined “wealth”, but rather to reduce my dependence on system-based finances altogether. These changes in my habits and values creates a buffer between myself and the financial pressures of the system; either padding my resources with unspent funds or reducing the impact on my lifestyle due to the failure of that system to continue to provide for my “needs”. The resources previously used to feed the system and its hold on me through my personal identity are re-directed as a lever to create separation between the system and myself.
What expenditures I do make are less for things and more for experiences. Life is for living, and is woefully short. I prefer to indulge in it, to do and see things that normally would not be afforded to me. I make as much use of the system’s means of expediting these expenditures, or I seek out experiences that are outside that systems purview. The point is to live more freely and fully. I seek those experiences that satisfy this desire, and support those endeavors that remind me that I am a free, self-determining being. I strive to give my children less things, and more memories.
I am also engaged in a variety of income streams; tattooing, selling my artwork and merchandise, writing and selling books, etc. While this may seem opposed to the idea of separation from the system (as I am engaging the established economic system), I am establishing means of acquiring resources, with the common transitional medium being the near-valueless green-back. I am converting things that I can do that others cannot do into things I need and cannot produce myself. If I were working for another, I would begin thinking about ways to augment my income through my own efforts while diverting as much of those slave-wages toward the acquisition of things I need (vs. things I want). I would try to shift my perspective from working for another to simply survive toward working for myself with the intent of being free of the need of as salary.
In seeking additional income streams, I would recommend considering all alternatives, even those that include some social stigmas. In the pursuit of our goals, we cannot cater to the value-structures that the system has established within us. I had a friend, John, who was at one time destitute. He had lost his job, had no savings, and possessed nothing of value. He was struggling to find work, and at the time did not qualify for unemployment. While he searched for work, he found other ways to support himself. He sold blood-plasma at a local plasma center. He volunteered for paid medical-studies, He modeled for art classes at the local college (unfortunately, in some of the classes I was taking). He collected and recycled aluminum cans. Through these many efforts, he was able to sustain himself. He wasn’t proud of these activities, but that kind of pride is a value engendered by the system.
If our focus is survival and freedom, our thinking must be “by any means necessary”.
The next aspect of my Exit Strategy involves developing additional skill-sets that could prove advantageous should I find myself in a situation where the system is not available to be relied upon. Primary in my mind are skills dealing with the environment and survival; how to hunt and gather food, what in the wild is edible, how to create shelters and fortifications, etc. I also am learning or refreshing my knowledge in skill-sets that were common to my grandfathers and great-grandfathers; engine repair, farming, brewing beer, making butter, making bread, sewing, carpentry, basic plumbing, basic electrical work, etc.
These skill-sets not only help prepare me for a system-less existence, but also can be applied now to make myself less dependent on the system. The less reliant I am on the system for my needs, the less, control the system has over me and the more resources I have to allocate as I see fit rather than based on system-initiated pressures. This means spending time studying, testing, and implementing many of the things I am learning. This also means spending less time engaged in the frivolity that the system offers as “entertainment” to placate the masses. Boredom is a tool used by the system to drive us toward the meaningless distractions it offers as a means of validation. I don’t want to simply have something to do. I want to do something.
Key among those skill sets is self-defense. This means a little more than practicing a martial art… as a former soldier, in my opinion it means cultivating a martial attitude. I am learning and practicing a martial art; this has a two-fold benefit. Obviously, this aids in my self-defense, making more capable of preventing harm to myself and my family. This also improves my over-all health and fitness, making me less prone to injury and disease and less likely to need the system’s health care.
I am learning and practicing unconventional defense strategies. I am re-learning to set traps, create devices for my defense, use concealment and camouflage, and other techniques taught to me while in the military. These strategies and techniques apply to both the real world and methods that apply to the digital realm.
I am also acquiring, learning to use, and learning to maintain, a variety of weapons. Most of these weapons are duel-purpose; self-defense and for hunting. This allows me to develop a sufficient stock for my needs while avoiding having to register those weapons with the system.
Practice is key in all of these processes. It is not enough to simply know or have on hand these self-defense elements. They have to be ready to use.
One of my concerns is greater restrictions implemented by the system due either to civil unrest (an economic collapse that places the 51% of the US population which is dependent upon the system directly without the social welfare to pacify them) or a natural disaster (with the potential effects of a major solar-storm on our electronic and digital systems resulting in civil unrest). My fears are of my neighbors when the chains of civility are no longer present and the system when they step in to establish order. A more likely scenario is the slow, inevitable collapse of Western Civilization, with ever greater limits on individual liberty. While much more insidious, this third scenario at least offers some time to prepare.
To that end, I am working to prepare for what could be a very long “camping-trip”. I am in the market for a late-model conversion van, something along the lines of a 1970’s VW autobus-camper. I am investing on hunting and fishing gear, camping equipment, and food for long-term storage. I am studying how to store water and food, and what is edible right outside my door. I am reviewing SAS Survival Guides. I am getting into the habit of practicing what I am learning, and looking forward to frequently “getting away from it all” with the family. We are building up a sizable store of food and water for long-term storage.
I am re-evaluating my values. I have mentioned a couple of examples above; becoming less invested in material possessions, becoming more self-sufficient, creating and expanding a buffer between myself and the system, etc. I am looking at all of my value-structures, determining which of these values are for my benefit, and which support my dependence on the system. Something as basic as the food I eat is defined by my society and culture; defining what is an acceptable option and what is not. These limitations shackle us to the system’s authorized sources for the food-items that are considered acceptable. Many of our values, such as the concepts of family and community, have either been perverted to make us feel more isolated or to make us feel that we have responsibilities that we did not choose to have. A re-evaluation of these particular value structures is a key component to the second stage of my strategy. For this stage, my focus is primarily on how I perceive these values and recognizing how they may be artificially inducing some of my behaviors and choices.
Finally, I am engaging in political discourse, but in a manner that requires minimal participation in the systems established channels for that discourse. What I am seeing is movement toward failure in our system. Even though this movement is in a negative direction, it is momentum that can be re-directed and used. My political efforts serve three purposes, often in combination. They strive to change our social values into a form more aligned with my own interests. For me, this means increased personal liberties and responsibilities; legalize marijuana, legalizing prostitution, and stricter controls on welfare allotment are my top three points of focus. Whether I succeed or fail with these aims, the discussion generates awareness of the skewed values and oppressive nature of the system.
That is the second purpose, to call attention to the system’s corruption and to get people to discuss and implement alternatives. Self-responsibility involves the recognition that even the most thorough preparations and efforts by an individual will not withstand a numerically superior force and is always threatened by failure. By calling attention to the system’s eminent collapse and the need to make changes now, I hope to increase the pool of people to engage with in trade and mutual support.
The final purpose is the erosion of the system. By implementing value-shifts, encouraging non-participation, and shedding light on system corruption, the hold that the system has upon us is weakened, and may be eventually broken. The primary means for this is discourse, sharing information, discussing what I am doing, and learning from others as they implement their own exit strategies.
-I recognize that the system is bound to fail, either due to a sudden and adverse internal shift or outside force, or due to its own bloated growth and corruption.
-I recognize that I have a choice; either to be invested and beholden to that system or to disengage from it.
-I recognize that the process must be through subtle but consistent and willful effort.
-I am disengaging myself of economic entanglements; retaining and stock-piling my resources, divesting myself of frivolous material possessions, and seeking means for creating my own resource streams instead of indulging in servitude.
-I am developing additional skill sets which include practical knowledge of basic mechanical systems, survival skills, and self-defense strategies.
-I am preparing for an emergency situation and long-term self-sufficiency.
-I am re-evaluating my value-structure, seeking greater self-determination.
-I am engaged in political discourse and the exchange of ideas with individuals who share a common interest.
I discussed recently with a friend who questioned whether all this preparation is rational. Her argument hinged on the idea that the system collapse I think is coming may not come, and that all the energy and effort I am investing may be wasted. One of the things I am doing is storing water. While my preparations are with the idea that the worst is going to happen, possibly sooner than I would like, these preparations also make me better prepared for short-term issues. Recently, there was a water-main break in my neighborhood, and we spent the bulk of the day without running water from our taps. Having the water in storage meant that I would still be able to flush my toilets, boil water for food, clean myself and even my dishes, etc. Texas, the state I reside in, is in the grip of a major drought, one that may last for years. Each summer, cities in my area have established ever stricter water conservation ordinances. Whether it is a minor inconvenience or a major system failure, I would prefer to be prepared.
These are my “Stage One” efforts. I am interesting in learning from others about their own practices and techniques… what they see happening and the steps they are taking to deal with it. I would like to discuss with others their own plans. I have been intentionally vague on many points simply due to a sense of self-preservation and this being a public forum. Further disucussion will illicit more concrete ideas. This discussion will, I hope, be mutually beneficial, and lay the groundwork for the next stage of my Exit Strategy.
Our hypothesis is that the general discontent that has lead each of us to seek alternative modes of thought is spurred by our mandatory involvement in consensus reality; the laws, social rules, and patterns of behavior that we are obliged to abide as members of our society. By managing or eliminating our obligatory participation in the general consensus reality and becoming more active in the development of our personal reality we can become more content. This hypothesis is inspired by the Fourth Way philosophy and forms the root of Evolutionary Satanism, Post Modern Satanism, and the efforts of numerous social and philosophical movements. These three lines of thinking are separate and distinct from one another, yet all have recognized the same problem and developed a similar approach to resolving the issue. This suggests both the pervasiveness of the problem and that the Satanist Movement is at the forefront on this issue.
Much of the discussion regarding this issue deals with its philosophical and metaphysical components, when the majority of the issue is in the management of its mundane aspects. How can an individual be expected to determine and control their personal reality when so much of their time is eaten away by predetermined mundane obligations? Exploring the potential metaphysical ramifications of a large percentage of our society awakening to their own self-defined paradigms means little if you find yourself stuck performing menial tasks in a 9-5 job in which you are miserable. In order to achieve the potential promised in the metaphysical and philosophical theories the individual must first achieve a greater control of their mundane obligations.
The model to use when approaching this issue is as follows: the reality experienced by every individual can be divided into three inter-related categories; Physical Reality (the apparent natural rules that govern objects and energy in space-time), Personal Reality (the individual perspectives and urges of the self), and General Consensus Reality (the reality defined by social and cultural standards). For our purposes at this time it would be counter-productive to discuss the theoretical reversals of the laws governing Physical Reality; we should accept that up is up and gravity is consistent in our existence as unless we are physicists paid to explore such issues it has little impact on our immediate sense of contentment. Also, we recognize that when to Personal Realities interact a temporary Consensus Reality is created. Our focus is on the longer lasting General Consensus Reality.
In this model, we will establish Physical Reality (R) as the foundation for both Personal Reality (Pr) and General Consensus Reality (GCr). A correlation can be established between the average person’s sense of contentment and the ratio of Pr and GCr that governs their behavior. For most people, the more they live by their Pr, the more content they tend to be. The problem is that establishing your Pr in the presence of the GCr, especially if in opposition, requires continuous and often monumental effort on the part of the individual. It is easier to live as dictated by the GCr, but less fulfilling.
The GCr also has the advantage of being in existence for so long that it is self-perpetuating. It no longer requires an individual or body of individuals outside of it to enforce it; we all have a role in its enforcement. Even those individuals who are viewed as at the society’s upper echelons are obliged to abide by the GCr with their positions often being dependent on its continued stability. In general, an individual in our society will spend the first 20 years of their life being reared and prepared for their role in society under the GCr, a role which is expected to last at least 40 years before they are phased out. During that time, the GCr permeates every aspect of the individual’s life unless they choose to engage in there own Pr, but most are not even aware of this as a possible option. Thus, most people live with a minimal Pr and are grossly participant in the GCr.
The inverse; living primarily in your own Pr while minimizing your participation in the GCr is considered a kind of insanity. Linguistically, this makes perfect sense. “Sanity” refers to the state of alignment with the “Sangre”, or royal will (as well as the will of the blood…again referring to the royal line). The word hails back to a time when GCr was defined by the King or ruler of the people (“reality” is a word that also shares in the connection to royal or regal decree). Madness tends to only hamper the efforts of those who are interacting with others abiding by GCr, which is all of us at least occasionally, thus we each tend to develop a form of functional insanity. The fact that everyone is insane should be a fore-drawn conclusion (“sanity” being actually the term defining the tolerable levels of functional insanity in an individual).
The only way to effectively live at 100% Pr/ 0% GCr would be to abandon society all together and avoid interacting with any other individuals for the rest of your life. Even when a group of individuals chooses to sequester themselves off from the mainstream GCr, a new GCr (gcr) is formed for that group. While most of us are discontent, few of us are willing to abandon our ties to society completely. In fact, many of us should find that effective establishment of one’s Pr will be enhanced by proper management of one’s interaction with the GCr. We should not go to war with the GCr, but instead seek ways to use the GCr to our advantage as individuals, smooth our interactions with it, and use the GCr to bolster our own Pr.
The GCr is addictive because it is easy. It cultivates apathy, and disillusionment is its primary tool for creating obedience. As children, we are told we can do whatever we wish, we could each be President of the US, or astronauts, or rock stars. We are not told in advance the odds against us achieving those goals, thus we believe that if we obey we will be rewarded with greatness. It is not until obedience is ingrained into our behavior that the illusion is ended, but then our disappointment is used to turn us toward lesser goals more befitting the GCr. You might not be President because you were born in to the wrong economic circumstances, but you might own your own business. You might not own your own business because you lack the creativity/funds/charisma to enter the market, but you might become an executive of a powerful company. You might not be an executive of a powerful company, but you might become a manager of a subsidiary branch of a chain business. You might not be a manager, but you will be an important part of the team. You might not be an important part of the team, but you will earn enough to live comfortably. You might not earn enough to live comfortably, but you will have enough to scrape by. You might not have enough to scrape by, but that is what the government is here for… and haven’t we always taken care of you?
At that point, most individual’s do not care. Their ambition is gone, their dreams abandoned, and their interests is only in their next meal/bed/fix/television show.
Reality (R) does have actual, mandatory requirements that are common to the human experience. We each need to eat and to sleep. We each, on frequent occasion, require shelter. One of our evolutionary enhancements over animals is our need to have purpose and our need to feel like we matter. Not the most noble traits in an animal but they have served our species well. It helps to have a “high altitude” perspective when considering the questions such as these. From a high enough altitude, for example, the purpose of humanity becomes obvious; to continue the existence of humanity as it is with any other life-form (and life itself). GCr provides a means for each individual to meet the mandatory requirements of being a human in R, and it is insinuated (though never flatly stated) that these means are not only mandatory, but the only means available. Indeed, while the means to fulfill these needs do exist in Pr, GCr has made many of these means either illegal or so difficult as to be comparatively impossible.
Let’s say, for instance, you would like to eat while refusing to negotiate with the GCr. First of all, your options are going to be comparatively slim. You’ll need to be a fan of nuts and roots, and don’t expect the nuts and roots you find in the wild to be as tantalizing as those in the grocery. Oh, and then there is that “in the wild” part… as in the deep woods, in the elements, competing with animals who are better at finding nuts and roots than you. It will be a full-time enterprise just to find enough food to survive. Maybe those animals sound tasty? You can’t go at it with a gun and bullets because they cost money no matter how you go about arming yourself. The best you can manage in the woods is a primitive bow and arrow, not the aerodynamically engineered and precision weighted machines at the store. There’s a reason that in many drawings primitive peoples were thin. You could manage on your own, no doubt, but how long before you were arrested for trespassing, vagrancy, or even poaching? GCr is not going to make it easy on you.
So, we have established one condition when seeking the best ratio between our Pr and the GCr; rationality. Turning your back on the GCr exposes too greatly your insanity and results in backlash from those engaged in the GCr. Our society will only tolerate so much independence from its members before it deems the individual behavior as criminal. Establishing your Pr will require careful negotiation with the GCr, but the guide of rationality works both ways. It may be irrational to stalk your food in the wilds far from civilization on a daily basis, but it is also irrational to eat at McDonald’s daily (if at all). These are two extremes on the spectrum with the appropriate balance laying somewhere around growing some of your own food, preparing the majority of your own meals, and managing your own diet based on your personal preferences and means. What that balance is for the individual is determined by their own needs and sense of satisfaction.
In order to effectively use rationality to guide our choices, the first step is to establish what is, in fact, rational. Since we are trying to create a state of being in which the Pr is more relevant than the GCr, then it follows that we should create our own definition of “rational”. Personally, my definition follows risk assessment and cost analysis models and includes making use of “what works”. In other words, rational for me is the least risk for the most gain, the least cost for the greatest value, and I go with that which I have experienced as effective. This leaves a great deal of room for my behavior to appear “irrational” to those who’s standards are defined by the GCr. For example, there is more personal benefit in my experience in personal interaction with a self-defined “divinity” than in catering to a pre-defined, mass-consumer deity. At the same time, my experience suggests that it is more rational to cater to the idea of divinity versus being an atheist… at least it seems to work best for me. This rationality obviously leaves room for the irrational idea that “truth” is often a fluid concept and a matter of perspective.
During this discussion I have mentioned several personal labels; “Satanist”, “insane”, “individual”. This brings up another aspect of the GCr’s means of control: identity. Those who live by a Pr have to create their identity, while those who abide the GCr have an identity assigned to them. Your identity is based on how you spend the majority of your time, thus in GCr your identity is typically your means of employment. Consider this: there are 168 hours in the average week as most people reckon time. On average, most people in the US spend 40 hours of that time at work, often for someone other than themselves. If a person sleeps 8 hours a day, another 56 hours of their week is accounted for. Let’s say we spend just two hours preparing for our employment, including commuting to and from the work-place, each day. That’s another 10 hours. Throw in just 1 hour a day for your main meal… another 7 hours a week is gone. This would suggest that the this individual would have 55 hours for their own self-definition, just shy of 8 hours a day. This does not include time spent engaged in housework, grocery shopping, paying bills, or any of the other tasks “required” to lead an efficient life by GCr standards. How many people honestly spend the spare 55 hours a week totally devoted to the cause of self-definition? Sleeping, to the uninformed observer, would be a non-activity and thus not a means of definition. For most of us, our activities during the 55 hours are often less than stellar. Our most “productive” hours are those 40 during which we are employed, thus definition comes from our employment. You may be an artist, sing opera, or write novels in your “spare-time” (that phrase always makes me shudder as on average each of us only has about 80 years of life and such a finite amount of time does not allow anything to spare), but when society takes its measure of you it is most often as what you do to earn money. In GCr, cash is the lubricant of will, another aspect of the GCr which is not readily shared with its participants. This is why you will often find it difficult to discern what many public Satanists do to earn a living. Their Pr cannot cope with the nature of the GCr selves.
This idea, that you are defined by your employment, can be a little depressing, especially for those first trying to develop their Pr while deeply engaged in the GCr. This leads many to creating “false” public identities, idealized selves that would never lower themselves to employment for another at some menial task or in being apathetic about their identity (they manage a gas station during the day but it is what they do at night that matters, right?). The problem is the misconception that developing your Pr means abandoning the GCr. You can develop your Pr in a manner that is in line with GCr. The difference is the conscious choice involved in doing so. In regards to the situation of being employed, GCr says you work for Employer X. Pr says that, regardless of what you do, you work for yourself, and contract out your services to Employer X at an agreed upon rate. The difference is a matter of perspective, but in one version the individual is a victim of circumstance, in the other they are a decisive director of their life. Their is also a heightened sense of responsibility with the latter perspective that may lead the individual to make more “rational” choices about their employment. Being guided by the whims of fate might lead a person to live paycheck-to-paycheck while someone who is “self-employed” is more likely to pay themselves from their paycheck first and build their wealth while working for another. They are also building toward their own goals while their GCr counterpart often chooses to simply (begrudgingly) accept their lot.
This demonstrates how important a shift in perspective can be. We are more creatures of our own mental landscapes than we often realize, with those of us who are active in shaping those lands enjoying more freedom and a greater sense of contentment. This shift in perspective is not merely being positive, but being self-defined. By recognizing and initiating or personal responsibility for our reality we become more powerful beings, awakened amongst the sleeping masses free to do as we choose instead of merely what we are told. It is simply a matter of choice and then the discipline to see our choices through.
I was on my way through town this morning, heading south out from Austin’s core as others headed north toward what I assume was their jobs. Traffic going my way was markedly thinner than the stop-and-go crush of the northwardly flow. I found myself thinking “I wonder if that is what it looked like in Egypt as the people left the slave-district to build Pharaoh’s pyramid.” The whole ‘going-to-work’ thing took on a sharp focus for me at that moment. People, I believe, go to work for one reason: the Pharaoh says that they have to.
Anyone who has talked to me lately knows that I have really been hung-up on the imposed systems of our society. Probably the last two decades of my life has been an on-going exploration of and resistance to those systems that exist and define our lives. Whether lately I have been getting “better” or “worse” about these issues is a matter of relative opinion; I am becoming more frustrated and more prone to act. Thus, a new blog and a “new” idea.
Obviously, I use the idea of “Pharaoh” symbolically. This Pharaoh is the systems of order that are imposed on each of us almost as soon as we are born. Boy/girl, rich/poor, good/bad, quick/slow, motivated/lackadaisical, producer/consumer, content/disillusioned…we are given pre-defined sets of options leading each of us to be better slaves for the Pharaoh. Ideally (for the Pharoh), we buy his bullshit about satisfaction with our lot, accept what he passes off as entertainment to keep us pacified, envy our immediate “superiors” in the system just enough to strive for the baubles that they have, and never…ever look up from our set tasks to wonder if we might be better off without the Pharaoh. What keeps us from just taking our own measure of goods and walking off into the desert?
Wisely, the system keeps each of us thinking that we are individuals, and that as individuals we are powerless against the unified might of the Pharaoh and his resources. As a matter of fact, ideally we ARE a part of his resources he would use against any individual that would decry him and his methods. “Keep your head down.” “Don’t rock the boat.” “Quit complaining.” “Just do what you are told.” Some people are so dependent on the system that they will fight and die to defend it. The possibilities frighten them. There are beasts in the desert, waiting to devour them. Without the protection of the Pharaoh, they are lost.
The power of the Pharaoh, of the system, is in its ability to demonstrate how, through the unification of its resources (you and me), it is able to make its will reality. Our will as individuals, we are told, is not worthy of manifestation. Obey the system, the police-man is your friend, A is A just because.
I watched the cars drive north as I went south, and wondered what would happen if they all just turned around and went home. The Pharaoh says they have to go to work. They have to work not to have the things they want, but to earn the things they need. The wants are delusional, established by the system, to make us easier to motivate. Maslow suggests a hierarchy of needs that I won’t detail here. Suffice it to say that the Pharaoh, the system, has established laws that make it illegal or extremely difficult to achieve the most basic of those needs without assuming a position within the system. Food, one of the most basic needs, grows everywhere. You can pick it from the trees, pluck it from the fields, and hunt it in the forests. That is, unless the Pharaoh manages the trees, controls the fields, and makes hunting game nearly illegal. We have allowed an artificial gambling house to arise in our reality and encompass us; all the tables are rigged, all the decks marked, and the house wins… always. The means to satisfying your basic needs are regulated by the government, therefore you are under their control.
What would happen if they all just turned around? The flow of cash powered by the consumer/worker-drone is the life-blood of the system. If the slaves cease to work, the system ceases to function. He that can destroy a thing controls that thing.
Obviously, the consequences of such an act would be dire…but what if it were not a permanent cessation of the normal paradigm? What if, for one day, when the bees were supposed to go about their tasks for the queen, they all instead just did what they wanted? What if, as an act of defiance of the system, everyone just took one day, together, and did not go to work? We would have a true National Blow-Off Day. For 24 hours, business would have no choice but to either close their doors or else the owners would need to work the registers themselves. The point of the demonstration would be to convince ourselves that the individuals are truly empowered, that our lives are in fact our own. I am not talking about a holiday, a pre-scheduled and system-ordained break from work. I mean a true, “everyone calls in sick” day.
The conditions of the experiment would be simple. Everyone would agree to do this on the same day; let’s say Monday, October 31st. Nobody likes Mondays anyway, and we could all use a three day weekend. Everyone just calls in sick. You don’t take a vacation day. You don’t give your manager/boss/supervisor/division coordinator/corporate masters any warning. Even if they know it is coming, the point is that the system should not have time to prepare to cope with the stoppage.
Everyone would also agree not to patronize anything that would require that one of their fellow wage-slaves be at work to service them. Hopefully, everything is closed by 11am anyway, but just in case someone doesn’t get the memo NO MONEY FLOWS ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 31ST! Some could see this as anti-capitalist. That is untrue. I suggest that everyone prepare for the 24 hours when the system stops; gas up your cars, buy plenty of food, make certain to have your games/rent your movies/have your sex lotions all in your favorite flavors…whatever. Preparation for the National Blow-Off Day might actually stimulate the economy, but the slight increase prior will not be as impressive as the 24 hour lull. The point is that you turn your back on the system for 24 hours.
Be prepared for anything. If everyone does stop working the power could go out (how did we manage before electricity?), the police and emergency services might be inactive (what will we do if mom and dad isn’t around to protect us?), and hospitals might not be staffed (what about our boo-boos?). Take care of yourself and your family. Go camping. Take your family out to the woods and enjoy one another’s company. Call in sick from deep in the forest and then shut off your cell-phone. Invite some friends over and light a bon-fire…whatever. It is one day of irresponsibility.
And, let us dare imagine that this idea actually catches on. When the system compensates and we see the smiling face of Obama-hotep or whoever wears the Pharaoh’s mask at that time announcing that the government has adapted the National Blow-Off Day to it official holiday calendar, be prepared for an underground call for a new National Stay Home Day on a different date. Revolution is a part of our heritage; we became a society by giving the king the middle-finger. It is time to start stretching that digit again.
“slave screams he thinks he knows what he wants
slave screams thinks he has something to say
slave screams he hears but doesn’t want to listen
slave screams he’s being beat into submission
“don’t open your eyes you won’t like what you see
the devils of truth steal the souls of the free
don’t open your eyes take it from me
I have found
you can find
happiness in slavery
“slave screams he spends his life learning conformity
slave screams he claims he has his own identity
slave screams he’s going to cause the system to fall
slave screams but he’s glad to be chained to that wall
“don’t open your eyes you won’t like what you see
the blind have been blessed with security
don’t open your eyes take it from me
I have found
you can find
happiness in slavery
“I don’t know what I am I don’t know where I’ve been
human junk just words and so much skin
stick my hands through the cage of this endless routine
just some flesh caught in this big broken machine.”
~”Happiness in Slavery” Nine Inch Nails
In another post, I discussed how “freedom” is subjective… it is a relative state of mind. There is no such thing as “freedom”, no absolute that you can describe, nothing you can point to as freedom, nothing you can hold in your hand. “Freedom” means something different to everyone, and generally we tend to focus not on the relative “freedom” we have, instead we focus on the freedom we lack.
GI Gurdjieff, a Russian mystic and philosopher, suggests that we all exist in a kind of prison. As the character Morpheus describes this prison, it is a “prison for your mind”. We sense the restrictions placed upon us, we experience the limitations both within ourselves and externally built around us. But, since it is a prison for your mind… since it is a prison largely dependent on your own feeling of being limited, is it a place you need to be?
“Need” is yet another subjective term, though less subjective than “freedom”. Abraham Maslow was a psychologist made famous for his theory regarding need; the Hierarchy of Need. Maslow’s Hierarchy breaks the human condition into several basic categories of need which man strives to fulfill. He also suggests that these needs must be prioritized and met moving from one successive tier to the next. With the fulfillment of one tier, other tiers become easier to fulfill.
The lowest rung on Maslow’s Hierarchy is Physiological; the basic things our bodies require to remain functional: food, water, air, sex (the physical act of), sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. This is common-sense… if you are unable to fulfill many of these basic needs, you die. If you are dead, then the pursuit of all other needs is moot. In regard to “freedom”, these basic needs represent fundamental limitations that are a part of our condition… we cannot be free of them and remain “human” in the manner we are most familiar with.
These basic needs are, under what I would consider normal conditions, relatively easy to fulfill and free to all. While the limitations discussed above represent “real” restrictions, there are another set of restrictions related to this tier. Artificial restrictions are those restrictions we either place upon ourselves, or are placed upon us by society (which we have a hand in to one extent or another). Food, for example, is used as a means of social control. First, a value system is established limiting what qualifies as food to a very narrow part of the over-all edible possibilities. Then, the means of producing or acquiring the “acceptable” food sources are regulated and limited, requiring us to engage in the system in order to eat.
People often forget that “freedom” includes not only the pursuit of one’s bliss, but also the possibility of starvation.
The next tier on Maslow’s Hierarchy is Safety; security of the body, security of resources (often through employment), the security of laws and rules, of health and welfare, of the family, and of personal property. “Freedom” in this regard is a two-way street. If you are restricted by government, it means that certain obligations must be met in order to be considered under that governments protection; you must obey the rules and meet minimum requirements. While restrictive, it also means (generally) that you are less apt to have someone of sounder mind or body take from you any of the things on this tier for fear of repercussions from the authority to which you are beholden.
“Freedom” from government means freedom to have whatever you consider yours taken from you by force from whoever has the means and desire to do so. There is nothing civil about civilization. Despite our assumed higher-culture, without the threat of repercussions from a superior force, the only thing between yourself and someone who wants what you have would be your wits and physical prowess.
And, there is always someone bigger and smarter than you ready to take what you cannot defend.
When that tier is fulfilled, Maslow suggests that we can then work toward fulfilling a Sense of Belonging; family, friends, romantic relationships, etc. This tier is more defined by cultural value structures than the previous two. Certain social standards exist which define a “family” and how a family is supposed to interact. The same is true in regards to friends and relationships. These value structures are semi-fluid, changing with time becoming either more or less inclusive. 50 years ago, a “family” was one man, one woman, and a 2.3 children. 30 years prior to that, the number of children in an average family was significantly higher, largely owing to the expectation that children were a method to fulfilling the first two tiers. Today, a family unit can consist of any number of parents regardless of gender combinations. Non-traditional families are not yet fully embraced by the culture, but the shift is in place. The definition of acceptable friends and relationships are also in transition.
Due to their transitional nature, the value structures applicable to this tier are used as a lever to guide the masses into the parameters set by the society for greater control. When the traditional values were the norm, living outside of that value structure openly made you a social pariah, subject to the derision and disdain of your peers and potentially the loss of rights because of your “perverted lifestyle”. Today, failure to recognize and embrace the changes in our value structure achieves relatively the same result, suggesting that you are biased, antiquated in your thinking, negating your opinion and voice in the public forum.
In either case, you only have the freedom to live as you see fit within the established acceptable parameters. Choosing to live outside those parameters means accepting the pariah-status and the consequences involved; predominantly continuous pressure to conform. A relatively greater freedom would be not only to live in the manner and by the values that you see fit, but the inherent ability to allow others to do the same, even if you disagree with the values they live by. The social enforcement of a value structure is the primary method for artificial restrictions of freedom, allowing for the restrictions placed in the lower, or more basic, tiers.
Esteem is the next tier; including self-esteem, confidence, a sense of achievement or the ability to achieve and progress, the respect and admiration of others, and the ability to respect and admire others. Like “freedom”, these are largely relative and internal concepts, but are artificially influenced by external pressures. You are encouraged to be proud of yourself and your accomplishments, but only within a narrow-band of acceptable achievements. What is worthy of pride should be self-determined, instead it is determined by others. The paradox in this is that while you may experience a sense of accomplishment and self-worth in any endeavor, we are taught that when others do not share in our assessments, the value of our achievements is diminished. Thus, we learn to chase external validation and shackle ourselves by the chain of public admiration.
This does not mean, however, that social acceptance is not rewarding. Indeed, social acceptability can be very fulfilling, but it must be understood for what it is; fleeting and secondary to your own personal sense of accomplishment. Again, this requires a shift in our personal value structures. Externally, we are encouraged to chase the validation of others, the proverbial carrot tied to the end of a stick.
The risk of not chasing the carrot is getting nothing but stick.
The final tier in Maslow’s Hierarchy is Self-Actualization. Here is where we develop our morality, our ability to accept the facts of our condition, where we develop the expression of our creativity, and so-on. These higher aspirations are almost entirely internal, and thus have been perverted into either something artificially external (such as morality), or largely dissuaded by external pressures (creativity and acknowledgements of facts). The limitation we experience relative to this tier is in its de-prioritization. Morality is either an absolute externally enforced or is to be ignored completely; a naturally evolved morality is shunned or considered naive. Creativity and an acceptance of facts are devalued, with those energies directed toward frivolity.
Indeed, this tier is largely ignored altogether, leading to a failure to complete Maslow’s progression and what he would views as stunted development in most people. Our external and artificial value system has lead to the priority being given in our society to the Esteem tier; we chase after validation to the near exclusion of all else; family, friends, relationships… even personal health and welfare.
When we are internally directionless, we are given direction by others.
“Freedom”, being relative, is a matter of personal value structure, either self-determined or determined by others. This represents a scale; your value structure is either more self-determined or more determined by others. “Freedom” is the internal sense that your value structure is self-determined, even if by way of self-determination you choose the same values as would have been given to you if determined by external pressures… it is purely a matter of personal perspective. “Freedom” is also the inherent ease by which a value structure can be pursued; a self-determined value structure that is outside the acceptable parameters established by the herd meets with friction… what we call “oppression”. Just like “freedom”, “oppression” is simply a matter of perspective; we either experience it based on our value structures or we do not.
The system either works for you, or you work for it.
At least, this seems to be the way of the world. We seem, however, to be discovering a third option; the route of the Slyman. The Slyman recognizes precisely what we have been discussing here; “freedom” is relative, based on your own perceptions and your value structures. These things are self-determined, unless you lack personal direction, in which case they are then determined for you. Most people are not aware of there even being an option for self-determination, so the vast majority feel “oppression” in a very general way, and tend to favor their “minimal oppression” to the greater risk of “freedom”. The system which governs these people is itself restricted by a particular set of parameters and works through a particular set of processes which are in slow but continuous transition. The greater your opposition to that system, the greater the external pressure to conform.
If those parameters and processes are understood, and the transitions predicted, the system can be used by the Slyman to make his existence outside those parameters easier, reducing the “oppression” he experiences in his pursuits and increasing his relative sense of “freedom”. Through comprehension and awareness of the system, that system can be manipulated for our own benefit… even changed.
Happiness can be found in slavery. The Slyman understands this, which is why he prefers to let those who’s eyes are closed remain closed. He lives by a self-determined value structure… his eyes are open. His task now is comprehension. Can he continue his self-determination while understanding the nuances of the system that seeks to consume him? Can he safely navigate the thin line between pariah and slave, not only in open view of the forces that demand conformity but also within his own mind? Does he have the awareness to recognize that the parameters set about him are in his mind, are his to manipulate, and can either act as a cage keeping him in, or a barrier to keep others out?
If we are aware… if our eyes are open, our first step is rightly defined by Mr. TC Downey. To resist the pressures and currents that ebb and flow about us, we must develop a self-determined direction; what he describes as a “Calling“. We must live deliberately. In that deliberate effort, we must recognize that if we are oppressed, it is because we choose in our minds to be oppressed. If we are to be free, we must convince ourselves of our freedom.
So many of us are seeking answers. We turn to science, religion, philosophy, and our own experiences for some kind of understanding or comfort. We seek an explanation, a foundation to build our world-view upon, a paradigm or system with which to navigate reality. Answers are what we are after, and answers are what are offered in abundance by both the well-meaning and well-informed as well as the clueless or hucksters of the world.