At this point in my life theory is not of much interest. What matters is leading by example and being the avatar of what I preach.
There’s a fullness to my thoughts these days that wasn’t present before. They are like ripe fruits falling naturally off the branch. Slice them and find juice inside.
You’re allowed to have weaknesses if they make you stronger. The ideal of perfection is disabling. The image of the perfectly just well-rounded jack-of-all-trades is boring, unattractive and unlikeable.
I’m fascinated by the project of East-West discursive hermeneutics. Especially the synthesis of opposites such as Marxism and jīvanmukta. Sri Aurobindo often spoke of psychic attainments he referred to as “enhancement of an existing perception, not an altogether fresh discovery” and his efforts to “attempt to inflect the word so as to hold cross-cultural connotations”. This is relevant to our efforts to cross oceans of religion and time with boats of literal mystification without abandoning the place from which we came nor to which we are going.
Where We Came From
The problem with science as a stand-in for religion was articulated clearly by Aurobindo. Science is a system of verification and archival of facts (as in contingent [mis]steps on the way towards truth) but there is nothing in science to necessitate the transformation of the knowledge worker. In that sense it is counter to the will to power inherent to human being which is at root aspirational. We seek power not merely knowledge. Yoga, as Aurobindo relates, is exactly the working out of man’s aspirational nature through very practical psychology. Yet it is not limited to a flatland plane of mental discursion (as in Western psychology) but assimilative of metaphysics.
We may take the 5th century BCE Buddhist revolution as an example. It is a religious iteration which is incomplete without the backdrop of the Upanishads. If we were to isolate Buddhism into a vacuum we have a comprehensive argument for negating (i.e. transcending) all of phenomenal reality but further, a forbiddance on positive speech regarding the remainder. We could call it the nirvanic prohibition.
The damage Buddhism did is that the community at large are layman who can’t follow the painstakingly logical sequence point by point all the way to the end. So it was popularly derided as annihilationism. Far later after Buddha died, Shankara incorporated Buddhist ideas into his brand of Hinduism that might be called illusionism (jagat mithya) which would be widely influential.
So Buddha logically arguing against the independent reality of phenomena is ultimately distorted through Shankara into the widespread view that Everything is Maya. And that would persist for centuries to the present day.
Layman want to jump to the conclusions. They don’t really intend to find out for themselves with any practice or experimental feedback. Especially in the West which is dominated by Messiahs (e.g. Moses, Jesus, Muhammad) who each hold a sole absolute truth that demands little but obedience.
The West especially looks for an authority to tell them what to believe and what they need to do to be personally guaranteed pleasure in the after-life. Western scholars classically impose the same expectation onto Indian religions rather than appreciating it within its own frame as a feedback of practical psychology in the vein of Krishna (in the Gita), Patanjali, Gorakh or Buddha.
Where We Are Going
In general, the enlightenment tradition is one of experimental practice called mysticism. It depends upon the intercession of an outside element to impact the mind. It is a kind of invited positive trauma.
In comparison, all forms of psychotherapy are limited to intrasubjective psychic interaction and cannot extend to a fundamental transformation of substance. This is the argument, born out in the historical record, regarding the limits in reach between religious psychic experimentation and psychotherapeutic experiment. You can discover this for yourself by trying to talk therapy a person into istišhād (اِسْتِشْهَادٌ).
The enlightenment tradition then is not primarily concerned with the symptoms of the human psyche, such as its political models or popular culture. But with the causative principles behind their workings.
The enlightenment transformation to subjectivity is in each case unique, radical and rebelliously deviant to existing establishment status quos because metaphysical individuation transcends the layers of mind affected by indoctrination and unconscious conditionings. Unearthing of inner being (known as the psychic being in Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga) is the emergence of a power that derives directly from planes that are cosmologically referred to as divine.
The soul in action in the world is not bounded by desires which are but refractions of societal aims, which today means economic imperatives. The ‘desires’ of the soul do not appear in the same form as ordinary desire. They are experienced as suprarational sparks of love.
Spirituality, as a transcendence of the limitations of ordinary mind, is not a state of rational and clear-thinking. It is an intuitive no-mind of spontaneous silent clarity powered by an ecstasy of feeling. Spirit is a kind of inebriating drink that makes ordinary life look very boring.
Religion and rationalism are like oil and water. Oil can be lit on fire by mystic faculties connected to consciousness through the door of imagination whereas the water of formal logic and operational thinking extinguishes the flame. The ascendence of rationalism as the perceived peak of human attainment is the true Opium des Volkes of modernity.
There is a strong overlap between mysticism and political insurrection. A structure once established begins issuing instructions to preserve its status. The people ruling the establishment become more interested in the security of what they’ve built than on the principles with which it derives from.
Jonathan Bowden said, “Eighty percent of people have no ideas. They just conform to the political correctness of the hour.” These people provide the civil sustenance for the establishment. By contrast are the political insurrectionists who have an alternative idea and alternative desires.
Trotsky spoke of exposing the deceit of moral abstractions and the appeal to abstract norms:
The bourgeoisie, which far surpasses the proletariat in the completeness and irreconcilability of its class consciousness, is vitally interested in imposing its moral philosophy upon the exploited masses. It is exactly for this purpose that the concrete norms of the bourgeois catechism are concealed under moral abstractions patronized by religion, philosophy, or that hybrid which is called “common sense”. The appeal to abstract norms is not a disinterested philosophic mistake but a necessary element in the mechanics of class deception. The exposure of this deceit which retains the tradition of thousands of years is the first duty of a proletarian revolutionist.
The hybrid called common sense is a fixture of class deception. And understand that the exploited class has no time or energy (necessitated by the logic of capital) to seek higher union with God or a gnostic quest for Knowledge. The proletariat is given pseudo-religion in an act of class deception. The philosophy of the culture - its metaphysics and science of how the world works - also bends accordingly with class deception. The misfits and hooligans corrupting the youth of Israel (Jesus), Athens (Socrates) or Iraq (Mansoor al-Hallaj) must be silenced before their efforts at counter-deception succeed.
Nightmares of the Valkrie
Lenin spoke of new forms of struggle as the given social situation changes:
Marxism, therefore, positively does not reject any form of struggle. Under no circumstances does Marxism confine itself to the forms of struggle possible and in existence at the given moment only, recognising as it does that new forms of struggle, unknown to the participants of the given period, inevitably arise as the given social situation changes.
In this respect, Marxism learns, if we may so express it, from mass practice, and makes no claim whatever to teach the masses forms of struggle invented by ‘systematisers’…. We know – said Kautsky, for instance, when examining the forms of social revolution – that the coming crisis will introduce new forms of struggle that we are now unable to foresee.
The mystic Marxist approach is to never enforce moral abstraction as it seemingly prejudices us against new forms of struggle to arise in the future. Our common sense must be that of Lenin’s who instead foresaw social revolution as a fixture against stagnation. This implies that alternative desires must be alotted fair play on the dialectical stage and insofar as censorship is the establishment norm then anti-fragile uncensorability is the mystic Leninist ukase (указ).
Jonathan Bowden spoke about the liberal establishment in its vulnerability to monsters:
Liberals are always afraid; they’re always worried; they’re always thinking; they’re always gestating new notions of worry and anxiety; they’re deeply anal retentive, and one of the points of Right-wing politics is to terrify them, to prey upon their minds with the new monstrousness that is coming. This is Nightmare on Elm Street, you know. One, two, three, four, five. Because a lot of politics is in the mind, and you can frighten people. I enjoy frightening liberals. I enjoy tormenting them and putting pins in their bottoms and watching them leap up and down and that sort of thing. It’s extremely amusing, and one should play upon their fears, which are very grotesque and quite real.
The gnostic implication is that ascending towards union with Truth mutates you into a monstrosity. It is because “politics is in the mind” that it can be emotionally manipulated for any end. The caveat is that those who understand Lenin’s position see emotional manipulation as but another arena of social struggle to be conquered and overcome. It is a device or toolset to be used for the further dis-alienation of the proletariat, whom represent the spiritual pain of involuted divine consciousness as it cries and howls to burst forth into manifest form.
“Creating meaning” is the logic of those whom anasthetically dream themselves to sleep rather than feel the asphyxiating humiliation of capitalist sadism. As vampire capital sucks your lifeblood, and you become exhausted from the valourization of your alienating labour, the meaning of your life becomes determined by a demonic assembly line.
You won’t have enough vitality remaining after selling the productive hours of your day to actualize any arete. Whatever attempt at excellence you can manage will be constructed from amongst the social marketplace of commodified images. When your capitalist employer isn’t sucking your blood you are donating your blood to causes which merely reinforce the status quo of the situation. You may call it “creating meaning” but its merely a diffusion of revolutionary potential into sad enjoyment.
Every socially-sanctioned outlet is but a way to better condition and lubricate your exploitation by capital. What can you do? Explode with violence? Self-destruct?
The mystic Marxist alternative is to build mutual solidarity, occult initiatives.
Inner Music, Rivers of Wine
Oh, come let’s scatter rose petals and fill the cup with wine; let’s tear the ceiling of the universe and create a new one.
I wrote a poem recently about this feeling of soteriological rebellion that the Persian poet Hafez was inspired with.
Is there any wine inside you with which to pour? And with what image will you make a new world?
Are you but a radio replicating what you’re taught? Or is there a SONG pouring out of a hole in your heart?
Do you hear the INNER MUSIC in the chambers of the soul? Do you taste the RIVERS OF WINE beneath the skin of the mind?
Climbing a snowy temple. Dark summer nights.
The moon is on the fire. Stare at the sky.
With the wings on your back you can draw yourself close. The air is cool with Lunar flames below.
Smoky damp footsteps in front and beside. Fallen petals, an empty glass left behind.