28 December 2010

The power of love is a curious thing

I have experience of fantasy & its power, on the inside & outside. A very small part of it is real, which gives the rest of the illusion/delusion its strength. The Orthodox might call this a strategy of The Great Deceiver, The Tempter, the Prince of Lies, and see fantasy being used as a device to hold us to this earth, and prevent us realising our destiny.
- Robert Fripp (source), emphasis added

Further to the discussion below: the religious might say that there ain't nothing that's completely foul and worthless through and through, because it wouldn't exist. All evil has a kernel of good, that's what gives it its power. And all cults have some real truth and goodness amidst all the bullshit and lies, else no-one would get involved in the first place. Fatso Hubbard was absolutely right that most people hold themselves down with subconscious commands, and Neo is absolutely right that most people live in a prison of their own imagination. But - physician, heal thyself. "Thou art that." The critic gives themselves away in their criticism - which might give you some insight into this Doloras, if you'll note that what she hates more than anything else is hypocrisy, people who say one thing and do another.

To whoever wrote this... thanks.

Robert Fripp suggests that music comes into the world despite, not because of, the personality of the musician. Reading back on the posts of this blog over the last two years, I am struck by how full of "dancing, nascent insight" (as one commenter put it) many of them are, how many of them accurately depict universal truths which go beyond psychology, mysticism and dialectical-material cultural analysis, and are actually funny and fun to read. And I'm shocked and appalled, because whoever wrote those posts certainly wasn't this Doloras. You see, this Doloras tends to be grouchy, negative and pessimistic. But the voice speaking through these posts is - while justifiably pissed off about a number of these things - also brave, wise, loving and generous. So it's certainly not my ordinary everyday personality.

Which is why I have to re-read this blog, because there's so much good advice here that I don't actually follow in my daily life. This Doloras is the person who gave up active political activity because she is incredibly thin-skinned and terrified of other people's reactions - when faced with an uncomfortable situation, she tends to either run away or get mean and aggressive. If she was half as brave as whoever it was who wrote the good bits of Chaos Marxism, why, she would have done much more good in the world than she already has. (Not that she hasn't done some good. But she hasn't nearly done as much as the writer of the good bits on this blog would be expected to have done.)

Well, at least this Doloras had enough brains to set up Chaos Marxism so something wiser, kinder and braver than her could speak through her. I hope it's helped someone out there. The adventure is ongoing, but I really would like more company, more feedback, more people who would confirm that the message of CM is as "real" as it seems to me. I have no wish to be a cult leader nor to wallow in a fantasy world of my own design. I aspire to live somewhere real, with kind and clean friends who share some basic assumptions but differ enough so we can have productive debates and discussions. But if no-one agrees... well, what the voice of this blog says is useful to this Doloras, at least. I could at least get used to the company of my own inner voice.

27 December 2010

And who are you? Are you all slaves?

Soundtrack for this post: "Slave Trade", Sigue Sigue Sputnik

We mentioned before that being negative and mean is a way of getting some kind of "juice" into your life if you can't get the good stuff. Similarly, narcissism works well. Let's face it, what better way to pack your life full of lulz and drama than to go around acting like you are the Chosen One and all others exist to serve your whims, or are enemies that need wiping out? Sure you'll be ridiculed and hated, and virtually nothing will actually concretely go right in your life, but at least you'll have a nice narrative frame to package that in. Your life, while unpleasant and pointless, will make sense.

Even better, some gormless losers will believe you. And why will they do that? Why do people end up in cults? The easiest answer is - that narcisstic delusions are more fun than stupid reality. I don't have a reference, but at least one person who followed L. Ron Hubbard around on his nautical adventures in the 60s - looking for gold he buried in the Mediterranean in a previous life, I shit you not - said precisely that. That it didn't matter whether it was actually factually true or not, but living in Ron's private reality was far lulzier than anything else they could think to do with their lives. Dude could always spin a yarn.

Problem is that cults are necessarily self-destructive, because narcissism is an addictive drug, and the sufferer requires more and more narcissistic supply. O'Brien in Nineteen Eighty-Four pointed out that the Party had to torture people, because how else could you be sure that you were really imposing your will on them? For this reason, cult leaders have to increasingly ramp up the levels of control and abjection of their followers. If they're doing your will, then you have to make your will more mean and intensive to test how much they really love you. Eventually you get to purple Flavor-Aid with cyanide in it (Jim Jones) - or declaring the entire executive staff of your organisation to be traitors and locking them up (Joe Stalin and David Miscavige).

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This post is by way of being a bit of a purge and a confessional. I have a "cult leader's personality" - that is, I have suffered from a narcissist streak a mile wide. So I can tell you in plain fact that the belief that YOU ARE THE ONE, THE SON OF MAN, THE KING OF KINGS, THE SHEIKH OF ARABY etc., that you have a destiny and everyone else has to either serve you or get the hell out of your way is a good way to substitute for not actually having a life. I'm trying to get over that, though. To some degree, that disavowed belief sullied the early contributions to this blog. I really thought I was breaking through into a better reality and everything would be better if everyone would just listen to me. *sigh* For that reason, it's good for me to study people who got completely lost in that kind of no-ego ego-trip to remind myself of where that road leads.

But google "codex veritas neo" for an example of the syndrome in full flight (yes, I've mentioned this fellow before, but last time he came and whined at me so I'm not directly linking). For a similar cult based on fiction, check these guys (although I must admit that, unlike these guys, Neo has some very good insights in among the self-aggrandisation and paranoia... but then, the same could be said of Scientology). There's also a lady who goes by the name of Doctress Neutopia who you might be interested in.

Part of having a narcissistic tendency is being fascinated - and just about ready to fall for - other people who do as well. Because don't their private universes look exciting and fun? But examine the cult leaders well. Because none of them are happy. None of them are actually achieving their stated goals. Indeed, the unhappier they are the more delicious, creamy attention they get from their followers. We call this "the downward spiral".

06 December 2010

You're afraid of us. You're afraid of change.

(reposted from elsewhere)

I was recently privileged to read Iain Banks' Walking on Glass. One of the major characters is a paranoid schizophrenic fellow, who believes himself to be a superior being who fell captive in some metagalactic conflict and has been exiled on Earth as a punishment. You find out later that he might actually be right, but that's not the point here - the point is that his beliefs, while they give some structure to his reality, actually totally get in the way of being able to function properly on planet Earth. Basically, since he interprets everyone he comes across as either perpetrators of a giant conspiracy to keep him trapped on Earth, or witless dupes of that conspiracy, he can't have any friends or any honest communication, and his life is in a downward spiral (which of course proves that he's a superior being victimised by a conspiracy).

Which brings me to a criticism of that otherwise impeccable Gnostic-revolutionary film, The Matrix. The one thing that always "got" me about that movie was that the people who'd been awakened from the Matrix were licensed to kill as many normal humans as they saw fit (because they might turn into Hugo Weaving at any moment, and really death would be better than their illusory reality while living as batteries). It is said that the nafs (the self-perpetuating ego which has evolved as a defence mechanism to keep you alive and safe in this world but will try to ensure you don't change or grow) will tell you any lie in order to keep you trapped, and "YOU HAVE BEEN ENLIGHTENED, THEREFORE YOU HAVE MORE RIGHTS THAN THE BLINKERED SHEEPLE, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO UNLEASH VIOLENCE ON THOSE WHO GET IN YOUR WAY" is a pretty effective trap.

In contrast, the legitimately enlightened are known for their kindness, forbearance and wicked sense of humour, although occasionally their kindness manifests in being extremely rude to people to wake them up - giving them what they need rather than what they want, in other words.