Friday, September 23, 2016
Taking a deep breath
Wiping my eyes
Tipping my head forward to type
Thinking about streaming awareness post
Two deep breaths in a row
Wondering what just happened
Trying to get deep breath
Hands off the keyboard
Another big but failed breath
Few breaths then another great Yawn Breath
Wave upon wave of pleasure
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
I dropped out of grad school in 1974. I was in the Developmental Psychology Dept. at Teacher’s College, Columbia University when I was offered a 4 year fellowship to get an Ed.D. in the Education Dept. there. Piagetian Developmental Theory was just emerging at that time and it was perfect for helping me understand the entire range of my interests, from the Mathematics of Scientific Research to understanding Consciousness and LSD. I even got to be in the back of a room with a couple of hundred other developmentalists for a visit by Piaget to NYU in '74.
In considering projects for a doctoral dissertation, I was very much interested in two topics. The personality correlates of parental style and the issue of cognitive matching for learning theory. Apparently, still two of the most important issues in the world IMHO, that most everyone is deluded about. I realized at the time that I was clever enough to design a study that could prove anything I wanted, and that there were folks out there as clever as me, with opposite opinions and we would spend the rest of our lives doing that dance.
I pretty much ‘knew’ what was true. I was becoming much more interested in ‘why’ I believed what I believed, actually where do beliefs come from, etc. I had read Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, I had just become aware of some of Stan Grof’s work on ‘levels’ of consciousness, which combined with Piaget placed me solidly in what I started to call Developmental Epistemology.
What I was beginning to formulate, now well established by a number of thinkers, especially Ken Wilber, is that there are basically five levels of Belief Systems - Tribal, Religious, Science, Postmodernism and Integral. They function as classic Stages in that each stage solves problems that the previous cannot, and organizes information in a ‘better’ way. For instance, to offer one of Kuhn’s best examples, Lavoisier’s Elemental Theory is ‘better’ at explaining a whole bunch of chemical and physical phenomena than Phlogiston Theory.
So how is it that a plethora of ideas, equivalent to Phlogiston Theory, prevail in the marketplace of ideas today? WTF is happening with all of the falsification of evidence, as well as false accusations of falsification, that seems to dominate discourse?
We find out ‘the Sugar Industry’ paid researchers at Harvard in the early 60s to ‘cook the books’ on the medical data, lie about fundamental research to make it look like something was true that wasn’t. Millions of lives damaged. No one is really shocked. We are used to the idea that ‘Science’ has been coopted, perverted, undermined, suppressed, rejected, and fundamentally pimped. It seems that money and power have been able to buy it, that same money and power has taken over the media, military, police and we are all slaves to it.
Friday, September 09, 2016
Imagine Dr. Zorba slowly repeating those words, punctuating it. Writing on a Blackboard.
Every parent’s fervent wish is to encourage one’s children to express themselves in as pleasurable a way as possible for themselves and others as well. There are a plethora of opinions about what that means and how to do it. As children we learn many different games and develop ourselves through play. After a while these skills offer much value to the individual and others too. You get supported to do those things.
Government’s purpose is to effect a change in ‘the governed’ that is positive, not negative. Again, the plethora of interpretations of that. Perhaps, to use the Parent/Child metaphor, play and games can be created that are more fun and more productive. Through play we can all have more fun and be better at doing what we like.
I’m guessing that if Government were held to standards of ever enhancing people’s lives, then the level of discussion about how that works best could be more fun than the present political season.
What I would like is some kind of game that clearly shows the value of the game play, both to me and to others. Some kind of economy that potentiates the benefit of every thing I do.
At present we have ‘silos’, companies that have organized groups working on projects that have been called ‘moon shots’. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and Exxon/Mobil are top seven companies in the world today, all with market capitalizations above $370B, vast vast resources and highly tuned cadres of talent focussed on what the most important things are to their bottom lines.
If the things we buy are of value to us, are more fun and enhance our faculties, who wouldn’t want to participate in that economy, the very definition of positive reinforcing feedback loop.
Thursday, September 08, 2016
Without extolling my credentials, a simple identification for me is extremely Male Identified Male Enculterated converted to Radical Lesbian Separatist Feminism in 1972, long before it became fasionable for certain men to say.
The other day I was listening to Dan Bern’s song Marilyn Monroe. His thesis is that if she had been with Henry Miller instead of ARTHUR Miller, she would have been more fulfilled.
In a post-post (4th Wave?) Feminist era, where the trumpeting of victim-hood reigns supreme in a post-modern flattened philosophical framework, meaningless save for instant gratification, what is gender, desire and how do we go about relating with others?
If ‘The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You’, by Dorothy Bryant, is representative of 3rd Wave Feminist Utopian Science Fiction, what is 4th Wave?
Using tools from semiotics, assessing the biases of language, French post-structuralist feminism, including Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous and Bracha Ettinger, influenced by Lacan and Derrida, their explication of Male identification and objectification brings us to a place where it’s clear that the notion of Agency for women is the battleground. This objectification takes place in the Female body, so that a woman has two choices. To allow it and remain passive, a tool of the Male Identification, or to use the body as art, protesting the objectification.
Even today amidst the most significant Archetypal battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, representatives of a Woman of Agency and a Rapacious Sociopath, reaches an apotheosis in Republican Reince Priebus’ comment regarding the Commander in Chief interviews, that Clinton didn’t ‘smile enough’. The commentators failed to understand any part of that statement, turning it back on Democrats as a ‘distraction’ from the Mortal Sin of taking Colin Powell’s advice to use a private server, which, as it turns out, was smarter than using the official ones, which, were hacked.
So, what is Agency? Lacan’s imploring that ‘Woman Doesn’t Exist’ makes clear the lack of Agency for women. Women are defined by Men in terms of their utility, some say, women have two options, doormat or menu item.
And it isn’t Agency that portrays Women enjoying strippers, as if they would be just like Men if only they could be. This is simple projection, or the outplaying of the inner realm of fantasies that men have, due to their own emotional discontents.
Thus, Feminism and Henry Miller. We can imagine what Henry Miller would done with Marilyn Monroe, ultimate fantasy material. What we can’t imagine is what Monroe would have imagined for HERSELF. Or who she would have been, etc. By that measure SHE DOESN’T EXIST.
What we’re leading up to here is what I feel is the last word on Feminism, certainly the latest I have heard. Meeting the Great Bliss Queen by Anne C. Klein reveals the core dynamic of Male/Female at the very basis of Tibetan Buddhism. Using the concepts form and formlessness, the two forces of the Universe that blend seamlessly in Enlightenment as references for our dualistic notions of male and female, it goes like this. When the Male energy creates, sourcing itself from the Female, and at the same time, denying the existence (Agency) of the Female, we have a situation I call, ‘Pimping the Void’.
That’s where we are in the world right now.
PS Remember that 80s MTV group, Romeo Void?
PPS Thank you Erica Jong.
I conducted a series of acid trips in 1975 where I imagined trying to torture myself. I imagined all sorts of methods, eventually settling on a kind of stereotaxic apparatus that would be able to deliver stimulation to the pain and pleasure centers in my brain according to a program. The problem of torture is that one gets used to the pain, just as one gets used to the pleasure of opiod drugs, or any other kind of pleasure. Attenuation, tolerance, etc. are well understood by neuroscientists.
So I imagined a program that would s l o w l y increase the pain, let’s say, go down the number line in a regular but slow and methodical way until the nerves eventually attenuate, avoiding shock, but resulting in unconsciousness and exhaustion. The next part would be a very rapid increase in pleasure until the same is achieved on that side of the number line, until no more pleasure can be achieved.
Rinse and repeat. Ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Until I broke. Now, I guess, like the inability to tickle oneself, I found I couldn’t ‘break’ myself either. So, I got bored and went on to some other crazy thing.
Years later I was doing a ten week training where we were taught a meditation that took us into the woods and into a clearing with a lot of light and there was a schoolhouse and inside the schoolhouse was our ‘master’ who was going to tell us just exactly what we needed at that moment in our lives. A very nice exercise for releasing a projection of our higher selves. After the training, the creator visited our city and gave a weekend workshop for all the folks that had done trainings, perhaps around 200 people. We began to do the exercise, but this time instead of going into the light and the schoolhouse and the master, we went the other direction into the dark and he told us to imagine the worst horror we could imagine. I imagined some godawful Tibetan wrathful deity eating my flesh square centimeter by square centimeter for a while and then I got bored and opened my eyes to see what was going on. There had been some groaning and moaning, people were writhing a bit, for some reason the workshop leader was looking right at me with my eyes open and he was really smiling. A couple of other people had their eyes open. I waited. After a few minutes people shared.
There were all sorts of terrors.
The leader just patiently listened. I shared what I did and then added what I thought would be heretical, that I had gotten bored pretty quickly with the whole thing. Bingo, he said! Torture, pain, suffering gets boring after a while and we start to imagine things to do that are more fun.
And that’s it.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
With technologies emerging these days that are figuring out how to do everything we want, how do those of us fairly free of technophobia address real concerns about our species thriving in the middle and long terms? Take food tech. Scientists have been employed by food companies to figure out how to get us to eat more food with higher profit margins. The consequence of this is a nearly 70% obesity rate and climbing.
The ignorant and fear based folks rail against lost freedoms when a city tries to inject humanitarian reason into controls on things like sugared sodas and hidden ‘goodies’ in fast food. Strangely, these same folks seem to be the primary victims of these corporate policies, while the money paves the way toward health oblivion.
In fact, it seems that the money made by various industries, including energy, transportation, healthcare, education, et al, is plowed right back into making sure these industries keep their stranglehold on our souls. Against EVERYONE’S self and collective interest.
Without some significant change agent, the near term results make The Matrix look U-topian, not DIS-topian.
Again, I am betting that Game Based Learning that Does Work is going to come to the rescue. Of course, it will be disruptive to one and all. When kids are actually learning somewhere near their real potential, they will not have anything to do with current industries’ products. And when their gameplay produces the satisfaction of their needs, current industrial philosophy will quickly disappear.
Almost everyone believes that Advertising is evil. And, like the bad religion and bad science, which no post modern thinker regards with less than disdain, advertising has been pimped by ignorance and incompetence. Good advertising would have the highest integrity toward the consumer, would be an ‘agent’ lobbying FOR the consumer and would have laser sharp focus on the exact parameters of every product with the goal of educating the consumer on EVERYTHING they need to know to get the most value in any product to enhance their life.
Next time - HOW!?
But then the British Invasion occurred, with the Beatles Stones Yardbirds, et al. There was blues, with a blue-grass influence. There were a couple of things going on. Best example was the Beatles, where there was certainly that boy/girl love song initially but then other levels began to emerge. With Rubber Soul, Revolver and the inimitable Sgt. Pepper (in spite of the Stones’ Satanic Majesties Request). It seemed that from verse to verse, song to song, and then, album to album, there was almost every level of consciousness imaginable flowing in and around the music.
When I began to study Yoga, using the Chakra/Endocrine Gland Personality model, it became clear what those ‘levels’ were. As I began to understand Spiritual Psychology I was able to apply different therapies to different kinds of problems, much like one Yoga posture affects one endocrine gland and another posture a different one.
So, extrapolating to the larger arena of Art Media, I could see the connections between a work of Art and it’s fans.
Having practiced a number of professions, I began to think, how could I be facilitative of other people at all levels, instead of getting stuck in a one dimensional role?
Discovering Breathwork Therapy was a watershed, where I could meet clients right where they lived, so to speak, and bring them into higher more connected awareness. Now, I feel connected to musicians, neuroscientists, biologists, physicists, athletes and business folks!
Thursday, August 18, 2016
I’ve been following discussions about Artificial Intelligence (AI) for a very long time now. Marvin Minsky founder of MIT’s AI lab and Seymour Papert, its co-director until 1981, generated much of the early conceptual framework around these ideas. They have massively influenced popular culture, technological advances in computing, and movies such as Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Spielberg’s AI.
For a little while, there’s been some dystopian tones to the discussion, including Stephen Hawking and others, considering that AI or really smart aliens, anything ‘smarter’ than us, would be psychopathic toward us, considering us deficient, inefficient, et al.
Science Fiction has covered these issues splendidly, since its inception, Doctor Who and the Daleks, ‘EXTERMINATE’ being one of the great catchphrases of all time.
Recently I had an epiphany about all this. It comes from my understanding of Piagetian Developmental Psychology and my practice of consciousness disciplines leading to nondual states of awareness.
Then these two events occurred within twenty four hours. I had a discussion with a leading Neuroscientist about the cognitive developmental aspects of human v infrahuman intelligence. And Steven Pinker has spoken out about the discussion re AI.
Pinker’s point is that all of the pronouncements about scary AI are coming from men. And not just average guys, but guys at the top of the heaps of guys at the top of all the heaps. Which statistically is made up of 70% Psychopaths. Hmmmm. Reasonable to think they would think anything smarter than them would have to be commensurately meaner than them as well.
Here’s Pinker’s idea, ‘We know, by the way, that it’s possible to have high-intelligence without megalomaniacal, or homicidal, or genocidal tendencies...There’s a highly-advanced form of intelligence that tends not to have that desire.
"They’re called women.’
Great point. To start.
An even greater point is in my above mentioned epiphany. Papert studied for a number of years in the 1950s with Jean Piaget, where he learned the principles of cognitive development, leading to his invention of a computer language designed to teach programming and program computers at the same time. Many people now understand these principles, including Thomas Kuhn, Stan Grof and Ken Wilber. What’s emerged is that consciousness goes through the same stages as cognition, moral thinking, et al. Even the history of philosophy has gone through these stages.
The Zillion dollar question? What are the stages above where humans have gone? What would a being look like that is in those stages? How would they view us?
Long story short. Enlightenment is a state of consciousness, but it also represents a stage of cognitive development and we can say very well what beings in this state/stage look like and act like.
Buddha, Jesus, Meher Baba.
AI will be Enlightened, because it will follow the same principles of Developmental Psychology that humans and infrahumans have followed since we existed.
It might even be a Universal Law, at least in these parts.
If Breathing Was The Goal
After much practice (20K hours) since 1981, my practice these days, as soon as I ‘think’ of breathing, I perform a number of steps including taking a deep sigh release breath right away, noticing any pain and/or muscular tension in order of intensity. Taking more deep breaths as I relax tensions until a creative thought distracts me.
Rinse, repeat. All day, every day.
Of all the things I’ve done including drugs sex music food health business philosophy math literature art science et al...enlightenment.
All activities that have fascination and feedback for pleasure.
Breathing into each thing infuses the holy spirit if you will into one’s awareness. That is, one ‘becomes’ the holy spirit in direct experience, at least within the boundaries of one’s sensorium. Peter Fenner’s Radiant Mind has quite an elucidation of the process. What helps us dissolve into ‘it’; what thoughts/fears bring us out of it. Even more, what parts of our lives are facilitative, what parts are still ‘grist for the mill’, as Ram Dass says.
Before this recent phase, I had worked up to a solid block of about four hours of effortless streaming orgasmic nondual experience a day. It took me from four to six hours of practices a day to achieve that. And it took about 20 years of conscious breathing two hours a day, plus directing the clinical practice of about ten thousand hours of breathwork therapy with clients during this time.
In my mid sixties now, I think that took a lot of time to achieve. I look back on all the ‘work’ I did in many ways to get to this point.
Fundamentally, it makes me want to live for a very long time!
Thursday, August 11, 2016
The Hail Mary is not having to pass through it.
Barring that, we look at what we can do now, every little bit helps. So, organizing the risks to one’s life, personally, reasonably is a very hopeful goal. We look at the Top Ten causes of death among the aging. That list is pretty well known, but just to have a real world anchor here it is.
- Heart Disease...
- Cancer. ...
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) ...
- Cerebrovascular Disease (Stroke) ...
- Alzheimers. ...
- Diabetes. ...
- Pneumonia and Influenza. ...
- Nephritis (Kidney Disease)
- Septicemia - blood poisoning
Breaking it down, it seems that smoking is the easiest preventable condition, followed by all diseases related to animal products in the diet (cardiovascular and cancer), alcohol, sugar, etc.
Notably absent on this list is medical error/accidents, particularly with the elderly. Also, does a death from a specific kind of cancer, misdiagnosed, fall into the 'cancer' bin or the 'accident' bin?
Once we get a handle on most of the genetic conditions that threaten our lives, the behavioral becomes an area where gamification has to take over. P-Go alone has contributed to a wealth of data on motivating people to do things that are healthy. Imagine when a consortium of medical agencies, .gov, insurance agencies, et al decide that people could actively participate in their own health, in the most proactive ways, and get a financial reward. At the very least they can limit their exposure to morbidity and mortality significantly and with ever increasing returns.
The coda on this is that we would get a much smoother overall ROI with in-game coverage of the Top Ten, perhaps even the Top One Hundred causes of death. Yeah!
Anyone have a clue why there isn’t a Billion Dollars on the table right now with a project like this?
Imagine a world where we routinely live for very long times (even up to thousands of years). As in views of life from poverty v prosperity, the psychology of life is very different. In poverty, behavior is motivated by what will get you through the night, how you can survive, eat, be safe today, maybe tomorrow or days and weeks into the future. The prosperous act on conditions that take them two or three generations into the future. In a life of three score and ten, hitting the personal and professional milestones on time or a little ahead of one's peers have a lot of angst baked into them. In a virtually unlimited lifespan, one can do anything anytime. We take for granted the thought that we could have unlimited experiences but that time is the only thing we don't have more of.
Relatively unlimited time means we can have peace now, we don't have to delay that ephemeral goal until we 'have enough'. Life would be much more like, 'All I need is enough to tide me over until I get more.'
Today’s thoughts are going to be a kind of cultural memetic portmanteau of Two Big Ideas.
The Two Big Ideas with which I’ve been obsessed for about the last three weeks, an ironic pinnacle: Trump, heretofore referred to as drumpfest.com, or when requesting your support, drumpfest.org; and Pokemon Go, which emerged slouching rapidly towards Bethlehem on 8/6/2016.
eing Fan Ultima of the Dialectic, a binary such as this comes around only once in a lifetime. Starting with what will emerge as the 99.99%ile winner years from now, regardless of the political outcome this fall, is P-Go. P-Go is only the first, not even the first, certainly yet to be eclipsed by an uncountable horde of ‘games’ to come. Each with elements of the last, elements of the brand new and some je ne sais quoi magic we are only bubbling up now. As it ever was.
But what’s new?
What’s new is that an uncritical mass of people began doing whatever they needed to do to win/play the game how they liked. In a ‘drumpfest’ kinda town, one night at 12:30am, a neighbor slaving over a cauldron of crazy making chemicals (literally, a guy there recently went nuts, trying to buy a gun to shoot his boss, et al) ventured into the night with a work bud, to hunt P-Go. There were over 50 people hunting ~45 P-Go. Many Men of Color, assorted other geeks and three uniformed peace officers chasing P-Go right in with everybody.
P-Go 101: How to get everyone to play nice together!
Apparently, there isn’t a word from drumpfest on how to pimp P-Go.
HRC is working on it. You know, the usual criminal untrustworthy type things. Like putting P-Go at the polls, putting campaign material near P-Go. BTW, those are two different things, for those of you suddenly figuring out how to violate campaign laws virtually.
Anyhoo, suddenly bazillions of peeps (I don’t question the #s) are hopping up all over chasing P-Go. Presently, I hear folks getting guided to exercise in order to get the little P-Go,
And now I’m imagining that a vast array of IA’s (Intelligent Agents) are advancing on our pleasure. It has figured out in a very God Like (Spinoza’s God as per Einstein) fashion, how to use our bodies’ natural capacities for experiencing pleasure to program us to do all the things we should to live as long as we can with as much pleasure as we can.
The Hedonic Principle
First Thought - who’s gonna act out in self and other destructive ways in opposition to it?
Second Thought - I can’t wait to have a discussion with those folks with the greatest capacity to envision all the creative things we will do with The Hedonic Principle as our guidance. Some prefer eudaimonia, the interest in growth, meaning, authenticity, excellence, as opposed to mere pleasure. Not sure this isn’t a hedge against fear….
Third Thought - We will have some form of collective control over our ability to kill ourselves or others, even behave in a way that is too far from a current parameter without serious supervision. And that leads to the
Fourth Thought - How can I get away from it?
Now, that last thought is akin to Freud’s Thanatos, the urge for oblivion, the seeming goal of western fans of Buddhism. For me, more of a Sufi, ‘this’ is about the eternal Breath, Dance, Song!