This article on The Mind Unleashed contains a lot of truth, truly paradigm exploding stuff. My latest thinking is that we are in chaotic,  confusing times. Obvious, sure. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the soul sickening news of war, plagues (Ebola), environmental destruction, ad nauseum (new band name!). That’s what the “news” focuses on since promoting the horrors pushes people’s buttons, bringing in viewers and, guess what, REVENUE! But there are just about as many positive things happening, probably more in fact. All it takes is for us as individuals to do a variation on what the venerable Dr. Leary suggested. Tune in (to the more positive channels) turn on (not necessarily to a substance, though some of those discussed in this article can be beneficial, *wink wink nudge nudge*); and DROP OUT. Dropping out doesn’t necessarily mean going off grid or becoming a traveler, though some may choose to do that. It can mean taking the time you are granted away from work and chores to reconnect with nature, leave your phone at home (you can do it! It’s liberating!), get to know your neighbors, do something/anything other than keeping your brain connected to one of the many screens that are so pervasive these days. Often a slight deviation (love that word), such as just, for once, leaving that phone at home while you go for a walk, can result in a slight course change, which can in turn open up new vistas. We all have choices, all the time, though we often hypnotize ourselves, or allow ourselves to be hypnotized, into believing that we don’t.
It’s all up to you my friend. We are all responsible for our own spiritual development. Not Jesus. Not Buddha. Not Ctulthu or Satan or Krishna. Different things can be helpful guides at times, but in truth what we need is right here with us and constantly surrounding us all the time. The trick is to open our eyes more, increase our awareness, become more connected with our surroundings.

this is a response I posted on Facebook to this article. Context: the “History News Network” is affiliated with George Mason University, one of the bastions of right wing libertarianism.

Here’s the main problem I have with this. I have no idea whether, before the 20th century, there were references in travelers’ accounts, or whatever, to a region called Palestine. I suspect there were, even if there was never an established political entity with the name of Palestine. I do know that during and after WWI, the European imperialist powers went into the Middle East, imposed arbitrary boundaries on the land based entirely on their political motivations, with very little consideration given to what the people who actually lived there wanted. This mapmaking, commonly known as the Sykes-Picot agreement, created the boundaries of the Middle East as we know it today and in large part led to a lot of the problems in the region to this day, 100 years later. No consideration, or very little, was given to tribal or ethnic sensibilities or desires. It was ALL based on what the white folks in power at that time wanted. Then, WWII happened, and the Holocaust. Once again, the white folks (mostly the British this time)      decided what was best for the region and chose to establish the state of Israel there, a decision which was at least in part imposed by force.
I believe there is an ethnic group of people who should be considered Palestinian. Partly through their own infighting and disorganization, partly through the machinations of the established states in the region (most of whom still bowed to the wishes of the new colonialist powers, primarily the US these days, because money), they haven’t been able to unify enough to develop a common voice. This is partly due to their not having territory of their own on which they could establish a power base. Not only have they been violently opposed by Israel, they have also been sold out and abused by some of their fellow Arabs (Jordan in particular).
So finally, in the 90s I guess, they got some territory. Land. Land which is pretty much completely controlled by Israel, especially as far as access goes. Even the largest chunk of territory over which they ostensibly have control, the West Bank, is riddled, apartheid style, with Jewish “settlements”. They have control over Gaza too, but access to Gaza is completely controlled by the Israelis, not that there is a lot of viable land in Gaza anyway. Gaza is basically a huge Palestinian ghetto, if you want to get right down to it. Due to a plethora of factors, the Palestinians have not been able to establish a viable territory, which would lead to more economic stability and power, which would in turn lead to political power. The odds are against them, the deck is certainly not stacked in their favor, and their own infighting has not helped, of course. They are partly, I have no idea what the “percentage” might be, responsible for their own situation. But it is basically them against the world, a world with an incredible advantage in economic, military and political power. Palestine is just a word, but words truly have power.

Another incident where a number of people, this time including children, are killed by someone with a gun. Things like this may not truly happen daily, but it sure seems like it. It also seems like the incidence is increasing.  Something about this particular one seems emblematic, though. A white man, in Texas, in a quiet suburb on a cul de sac named Leaflet Lane (they probably don’t call it a cul de sac though, since that’s French). Overly green grass. American flags waving. What appears to have been some sort of domestic incident goes sideways. Four children and two adults end up dead, possibly having something to do with an angry white man who has access to gun(s) didn’t have things work out the way he thought they should. Just another incident. The discussion on the link is instructive too, with the arguments over whether this should be labeled a mass killing or not. Only six, four kids, after all. I think the unstated rule is that it has to be double digits before it is considered “mass”. Like it matters what word we use. It certainly doesn’t matter to those kids who are dead.

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Consult different sources, think for yourself, trust your gut and discard dogma in all its forms. Realize that whatever the source, whether it’s a person, an organization or even a book, even “holy” books; it comes with its own inherent bias. If it is in accord with your own biases, acknowledged or not, you are more likely to believe it is “the truth”. All so-called truth is relative, just as our perceptions are.

(a review of Cosmic Trigger 1 I posted on Goodreads)

Would give this five but for the outdated predictions. Life extension, increased space travel, a lot of the things haven’t happened yet. But, when I look at what has happened over the past thirty years, it isn’t that surprising. There has been a TREMENDOUS increase in the use and availability of personal technology. People like Elon Musk and Richard Branson are doing good things with regards to space flight. However, a whole lot of the money and research has gone into personal computers -> laptops-> smartphones -> tablets -> smartwatches, Glass, etc. Yes, the internet is a wonderful place and can allow people to connect (to a degree) but to my mind the connections aren’t genuine. Rather than move toward things which could unify us as a world people and possibly realize our common interests, we have managed to come up with more ways to make us more self-involved and things to addict ourselves to. I have had the idea for a while for a scifi story. Basic premise is that the machines are, in fact, taking us over. But they are doing it covertly and by preying on our human weaknesses. They managed to insinuate themselves even more strongly into our lives with the advent of the personal computer (think about the famous Apple 1984 ad – maybe prescient in a different way than intended). In the process of this intrusion into our lives, they manage to interface with us and get into our brains to make us THINK they are more vital to us than they actually are. And make us “need” them more, to do more things. And subsequently convince us that we need to constantly get the latest, greatest, smallest new gizmo out there. This initial entree was so successful that they upped their game and put themselves in our pockets, and upped the ante in terms of how “valuable” and “necessary” they are to us. Their latest strategy is to put themselves directly in front of our eyes at all times, and on our wrists. Of course, this is all leading to the next goal which is to get into our actual bodies. Which they have managed to accomplish to a small degree. The more interaction we have with them, for more hours of our day, the more of our consciousness they take over as they manage to convince us they are so important to us that we should allow them even more free reign. They manage to manipulate and persuade us to allow them even more control over our lives, and that the avenues for connection are more important than genuine connection. We don’t need things like consciousness expanding substances or techniques which might encourage us to have genuine connection with other humans, the beings on this earth and the earh and universe itself. No, we just need them to attain the simulacrum of happiness they offer. It’s all virtual anyway, right?

Bill James’s post on revolutionary changes needed to our economic system certainly has some interesting ideas, ideas with which I am pretty much in complete agreement. We live in an obscene system where so many people do without even the basic necessities of life, while others inordinately profit from the labor of those who are even ABLE to find a job. A system which loses its justifications every day, whether it’s the good old “bootstrap” theory, or any of the other theories people find to explain away what is just plain and simple greed.
Marx was right in more ways than he was wrong. Marxism, however, or the perversion of it called Marxism-Leninism, has its problems. What Marx did was take a look around, in the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, analyze what he saw, and predict what its future effects might be. True, he did have what could be called a political plan of action too, but what he proposed is far, far from what became of his ideas under the autocratic Soviet system. His analysis of what happens to surplus labor value, though, was at the time, and remains, spot on. Surplus labor value is what is allowing the dictators of industry to accumulate their ridiculous fortunes, fortunes which keep growing. It’s a systemic change which is needed, and what James proposes is a good start. We ARE the 99%, and if enough of us rise up and start to demand change, they will have to answer eventually.

I think that’s a quote from Dune, or maybe Heinlein, not sure. Regardless, this article resonates with me. I really think the stress we induce by worrying so much does more harm than the things themselves. Are we needlessly living our lives in fear? (from Wilderness Innovation)

A few months ago, I had the idea that in sleep, in dreams, we connect with other dimensions. My belief, as far as other dimensions, is that there are infinite dimensions, infinite universes, in which infinite permutations of events can happen. We are actually connected the whole time we are asleep, but dreams only occur during specific periods of the cycle. We remember them only when our minds are at a point or state of being sensitive enough to apprehend and remember the occurrence. In short, when we sleep we are connected with infinite mind.
So today, reading Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger, another insight came to me. I was going to say, “I had another insight”, but that isn’t my understanding of how these things transpire. It isn’t a thought that BELONGS to me somehow, just one that is “out there” and my own state of being at the time is such that I am ready to receive it. At times in the past I have had similar insights, but was dismissive of them. Either because it seemed too crazy, or usually having more to do with the old bugaboo “But what will OTHER people think if I tell them this?” The two are connected, of course. Now, I believe that I just wasn’t, at the time, at a point in the journey of discovery, partially described in my previous post, where I was really “ready” for it.
So on to the insight (I ramble, I digress, similar to the way my spiritual journey has transpired, but I am just not judgmental of myself for it any more, usually). In sleep, we are in contact with the multiverse, and a process of growth occurs. A growth important for us as individuals, and also for our little piece of the multiverse, if we pay attention. It isn’t a matter where rational thought, such as dream analysis, holds very much sway. It’s more intuitive knowledge, for lack of a better word, which seeps into our psyches like water does into the ground to nourish plants. It is the universe’s, or more accurately multiverse’s, way of imparting to us the information which allows and encourages us to psychically advance as a species and become more responsible citizens of the wonder we inhabit.
I am on my third (or maybe fourth) read-through of Cosmic Trigger. In my previous post, in listing the various schools of thought I have studied at varying levels, I neglected to say much about the Sufis. I did spend some time investigating Sufi wisdom, the dervishes, the Mullah Nasruddin stories, the hashishin connection. As with many other things, I moved on, mostly because of the monotheistic nature of Islam, a way of thinking that just doesn’t resonate with my experience. The Sufis, however, are different; more like an entirely separate religion than orthodox Islam. That is, if mysticism in general has any connection with established religion, which I don’t believe it does. A variety of mysticism seems to be common to just about all the schools of thought I have spent any time considering or studying. It “comes out differently” from all of them simply due to the perceptive, conditioned apparatus of the individual receiving the insights and the cultural milieu he or she has been steeped in. Far more similarities than differences, in other words. In Cosmic Trigger, on page 89 of the Falcon Books edition I am reading, “Many people have had the experience of not knowing who they are or where they are; it usually occurs in the first moments after awakening in the morning. The Sufis say that you are closer to Illumination in that instant of micro-amnesia than at any other time.”
For what it’s worth, the insight which came to me about the nature of sleep came to me a few minutes before I re-encountered this passage in Cosmic Trigger. As a (possibly) tangential bit of information, I was reading, as I always do, as I relaxed before I took a nap for a little while this morning. On this read-through of Cosmic Trigger, I have become more aware of the mind-bombs implanted in me at my first encounter with this book. Just a series of words arranged in a certain way, but seemingly a lot more than that, at least in my experience.

Just finished reading Illuminatus! for the second time. I realized that this is one of the few books which have genuinely changed my life. I had no idea how MUCH of an influence it had had until this reread after probably eighteen years, coming across phrases and ways of thinking which had operated as “mind bombs” (I have no idea from whom I stole that phrase). One of RAW’s favorite phrases is Korzybski’s (sp?) “the map is not the territory”, and I became aware that I had been focusing far too much on the “map” of my peregrinations, not really seeing the “territory” I had covered. My personal path has been winding, from Southern Baptist (which I left behind long ago), through a very brief not even quarter-hearted flirtation with Catholicism inspired by Thomas Merton, to varieties of Buddhism (Zen and Tibetan primarily), and back again to Taoism a couple of, or a few, times. There were also diversions into paganism and Celtic spirituality along the way, as well as the Sufis. The Sufis creeped me out a bit, but I’m not sure why. What happened is that I sent off for some information to one of the organizations affiliated with Idries Shah in the late 90s. At the time, I was living in Nevada. I subsequently moved from there to Florida, a couple of different addresses, and the Sufimail followed me for a number of years (it has since stopped). My conspiratorial mystical mind went to work and got a little freaked that they KNEW where I was somehow. The more plausible explanation is that they received change of address notifications from the PO and updated their information. Still, though, I’m not completely sure.
(the journey is its own point).Taoism is the one which resonates most strongly with me, but after reading Illuminatus! again I realized that if I am anything, and I’m not really, I’m a Discordian. I have acquired my own, personal web of knowledge about different ways to look at the world (thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird, as Wallace Stevens might say). I am more comfortable today with the fact that my journey will likely continue as it has, that I will continue learning and hopefully growing. One of my favorite quotes is from one of those Zen guys, Shunryu Suzuki. “The beginner’s mind is open to endless possibilities; the expert’s mind is open to few.” Probably slightly misquoted, but you get the idea. My goal is really simple – to always have beginner’s mind, a flexibility that allows me to encounter new points of view, assimilate what resonates to me, and move on after a time.                                                                                                                                

(book being quoted here is Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler. This is from historiadiscordia.com)

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On page 309, RAW drops some vital Discordian knowledge, which stands as probably the most succinct and to the point summary of Eris worship ever writ (maybe):

“Much of the Pagan Movement started out as jokes, and gradually, as people found out they were getting something out of it, they became serious. Discordianism has a built-in check against getting too serious. The sacred scriptures are so absurd—as soon as you consult the scriptures again, you start laughing. Discordian theology is similar to Crowleyanity. You take any of these ideas far enough and they reveal the absurdity of all ideas. They show that ideas are only tools and that no idea should be sacrosanct. Thus, Discordianism is a necessary balance. It’s a fail-safe system. It remains a joke and provides perspective. It’s a satire on human intelligence and is based on the idea that whatever your map of reality, it’s ninety percent your own creation. People should accept this and be proud of their own artistry. Discordianism can’t get dogmatic. The whole language would have to change for people to lose track that it was all a joke to begin with. It would take a thousand years.”