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.