Via BB, the proper response to theocratic fascism:
Via BB, the proper response to theocratic fascism:
What do I mean when I say that the I Ching generates holograms?
That’s not as crazy as it might sound at first. We have another very low-tech hologram generator in our daily lives: mirrors. Give a piece of glass a smooth silver backing and you have a simple piece of technology that produces an almost-perfect hologram. It’s reality inverted left to right, and we never *really* see ourselves as others do, but it’s close enough (this is one reason photography, film, and video are amazing technologies, but more on that later).
Still, that inversion has been enough for philosophers to make hay for centuries. Here’s Paul (who, imo, was quite possibly a giant murdering liar) in 1 Corinthians 9:12:
(9) For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
(10) but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
(11) When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
(12) At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
I’m quoting the Vatican’s bible because I’m a cultural Catholic, but the translation of (12) given in the most popular American and British version, the KJV, is: “(12) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
“Through a glass, darkly” expresses something of a Gnostic idea: that what the mirror expresses is an imperfect version of reality. When Philip K. Dick wrote about this in A Scanner Darkly, which is a science fictionalized version of the quote, he talked about the universe being pulled through a point — would we notice if, suddenly, left was swapped for right?
Similarly, Black Mirror consciously says in its title: here is a dark reflection of you.
Anyway, in that quote Paul is talking about a future state of gnosis, metaphorically, where the dross is stripped away and we perceive truth. He compares it both to the process of maturing and the concept of seeing a reflection versus the reality.
I find this line of reasoning objectionable for a couple of reasons. It’s claiming that some future event will make Plato’s shadows on the cave wall into people. That misses the point of the observation. Not only that, but the event — the Second Coming — means that the gnostic singularity is beyond the ken of you and me and is reserved for some ineffable future time.
Also, when you look at the actual words used, Paul is very clearly describing a state of enlightenment, and I prefer the Buddhist notion — which is far more explored, nuanced, and experientially valid than Paul’s quip — that enlightenment can only happen right now, to you.
So that’s what I mean when I say the I Ching generates a hologram of the supplicant: that it reflects you, yes, with its own interpretation. But because it doesn’t purport to be an accurate representation it’s not as deceptive as the reversed doppelgänger in the mirror (which purports to be truth). By interactively generating poetry which you must interpret it gets to a much deeper level than mere surface replication — it gets to you right at the level of the one hand clapping, where your interaction with reality helps to create your own internal hologram of it.
I’ve woken up after a Halloween party, walked into the bathroom, and been surprised by the impish paint still on my face. Similarly I’ve been in difficult circumstances, queried the I Ching, and been surprised to find my own negative state of mind — my own personal demiurge — staring back at me from within the hologram of my own reality.
Here’s a wide-ranging conversation between Terence McKenna and Richard Alpert, whose first book I’m reading right now. If you don’t know who these people are, they’re religio-philosophers and psychonauts, whose worldviews were fundamentally affected by psychedelics (notably mushrooms).
Alpert became Ram Dass, a Hindu spiritual leader whereas McKenna became something of a transhumanist.
And this shall be the whole of the law:
Wednesday’s JRE is a three-hour interview with one of Joe’s business partners who just got back from an ibogaine retreat in Costa Rica. My new motivation for getting in better shape is entheogenic tourism.
Harper is to the right of Pat Robertson.
Mormons believe that all souls must be baptized on Earth in order to be accepted into Heaven. If a person dies without having been baptized (because baptism hadn’t been invented yet, because they weren’t Mormon or because they died before baptism), their soul will remain in limbo until they are baptized by proxy. After a baptism by proxy, their soul will be offered the choice of converting to Mormonism and entering Heaven. (Although I can’t imagine why they would choose to stay in purgatory once their options are clear.)
The Mormon’s famous genealogical research is for the purpose of enumerating all the dead. The official church policy is that you should only baptize dead people that you’re directly related to, but that has been broken many times in history to baptize famous dead people. Judaists have gotten upset that the Mormons have baptized famous Jews and Holocaust victims, so the Church of Latter Day Saints has tried to halt the practice.
I say there are only three logically consistent positions to take:
As an atheist, I like the third position. I hereby object to prayers for “all the people of the world” or any other set that includes me. That includes saying “namaste” at the end of yoga class if there is any metaphysical intention. I also don’t appreciate having my property blessed.
Note the use of violence against financiers. It really brings out the glasses.
There was no place on the form for “ontological monistic materialist”, so I just put “Catholic”.
I have an essay somewhere, unpublished I think, wherein I marvel at Heath Ledger’s merging with the Trickster-Godhead through his portrayal of Joker.
Via BB, here is an interview with Russell Brand in which he treats the same ideas:
Narrative is deeply spiritual. The archetypes we use to understand reality help, also, to construct it for each of us individually. The old gods have been made incarnate. Who is Brand if not Dionysus?
I don’t totally agree with Brand — celebrity isn’t necessarily glittered-up grey infosludge* — but it’s an interesting converstion nonetheless. Caveh Zahedi’s hyperreal self in The Waking Life makes the point that the celebrity system is actually deeply spiritual if you’re something like a monist physicalist pantheist because celebs transcend and link the characters they play and help to realize a photographic worship of the always-changing face of God — The Great Mandala.
We consume our artists, our celebs, our creatives, as a society. Not only are people down-rendered, or reified, into icons for easy digestion, but the drive to drink and drugs and self destruction is, I think (and so does Dr. Drew) to some extent externally motivated. Perhaps it’s the idea that Brand talks about, above — that celebs come to believe in their own reified media personas over their actual identities, and that vacuousness destroys their minds.
Gilbert’s TED on nurturing genius talks about our culture’s artist-grinding too.
But in short: celebs are our Greek gods (or, as a professor once extolled, gods were the Greek celebs). That’s why they can fight and die and fuck and love over and over again in infinite, immortal combinations. That, and the art of film.
It’s the same reason comic book structures work, and are so easy to move onto the screen.