12 August 2013
A materialist enlightenment...
... is nothing more than reflexivity, the vision beholding itself, the "one I clapping". In other words: the psyche divides itself into ego, id and super-ego. The ego's job is to live in the World-That-Is, the Matrix, the "Real" World of Horrible Jobs. The ego gives you good reasons to do the things that the id wants to do but the super-ego finds shameful - and the id takes the blame. We could say that, in the older Judaic conceptions such as those found in the Book of Job, Satan is YHWH's id - as an angel he doesn't have free will, he's just a reflection/refraction of YHWH's attributes, but he's propped up for the rubes to blame as the guy who does the "dirty work" of the heavenly host.
"There is nothing more disillusioning as enlightenment", as Orton Nenslo put it. Brad Warner's description of an enlightenment experience in Hardcore Zen - a brief, beatific vision of identification with the Universe, as simply one of a countless number of moving viewpoints via which the totality explores itself through 4 dimensions - is materialistically identical with Jill Bolte Taylor's description of her cerebral infarct in My Stroke of Insight or Hazrat-e-Pir Javad Nurbakhsh's poetic formulation: "Say it plain, that God by God I see." It is the reflection on the individual level of Lukács' description of the proletariat recognising itself as the subject-object of history.
Adopting an ego means excluding the non-self, which means creating a "blind spot" or "censor barrier" through which the positionality of the ego can simply not be seen. The ego assumes a God's eye view and thus is God, in every meaningful way - as the hadith qudsi puts it, "He who knows himself knows his Lord". This is why Marxist praxis (theory mutually reinforcing practice) is necessary but not sufficient. The ego which evolved under capitalism will sabotage everything in order to keep up the barriers between "I" and "it" - it loves its own alienation because that gives it an excuse. It's so much easier to not be responsible. Watch how revolutionary groups and movements are destroyed by the reassertion of the leader-led dialectic of class society when things get tough - some people want an excuse to be Boss and order people around, and others want a Boss to take their responsibility away. Marty Rathbun is recently pointing out that too many of the "true believers" who have quit the increasingly insane $cientology cult have ended up starting their own cult, complete with all the "thought police" nonsense they were victimised by. It's all right for us to have a security-goon apparatus to protect ourselves, we're the good guys! Right? (For those not in the know, part of Hubbard technology is supposed to be making you able to confront everything - so exactly why do Scienos have to break off ties with friends who criticise the cult and aren't allowed to read teh intarwebz without a ent-nanny?) Marxists might recognize this as the "some of the biggest Stalinists are Trotskyists" syndrome, or noting that every split from Gerry Healey's cultish ICFI has kept all the cultist apparatus.
Jill Bolte Taylor saw her ego collapse - then put it back together, amazingly leaving out the bits she wasn't happy with - when a fuse blew in her left-brain hardware. This meant months in hospital and years of physical rehabilitation, of course, so I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. The more traditional way to go about it is a course of meditative practice, in which the mind is left "turning over in neutral" until the observing consciousness finds itself capable of confronting everything that it throws up, accepting but not reacting. That is the point of the (temporary) elimination of divisions between ego, id and super-ego; when restored, they can be edited, and recognized from personal experience as arbitrary. Caution: what you find out will disgust and disturb you, necessarily. It's coming to terms with everything that you hate, everything against which you found your very existence, and realising that THOU ART THAT. EGO ID SUM.
Double caution: Aleister Crowley calls this "crossing the abyss", and points out that getting all the way up to the dissolution of the ego and not going through with it turns you into a Black Brother, i.e. some monstrous thing. Brad Warner speculates that that's what happened to, for example, Aum Shinrikyo's leader (and I'd add Ron Hubbard to that) - you get to a certain level of insight, you get the realisation that YOU ARE IT, and the ego twists that into a self-preservation that becomes madness: "I [ego] am God and identical with the universe, which means I can do what I like! MWAHAHAHA!" Dr Nurbakhsh similarly likened the spiritual path to a game of snakes and ladders, where there's a great big snake going from square 99 all the way back to square 1.
(For those who've developed an unhealthy fan-boy attachment to the owner of this blog, a bit of personal information to solve that: my brief "enlightenment" experiences have pointed out to me that I deliberately make my life painful and difficult because I get a high from panic; that I toy with fantasies of cruelty to others; and that, despite everything I've written here, what I really want to do is switch off and go play video games all day long. I'm obsessed with making myself look good to others: the main real reason I write this blog is to make people think I'm cool, and the reason I write pseudonymously is just in case anyone doesn't like it. So, anything good you read here is despite me, not because of me.)
But anyway, YOU do not exist. You are in potential everyone and everything. You constructed yourself through a "blind watchmaker" process of blind selection. You will never transcend the circumstances of your arising until you "undo" youself altogether then put yourself together again; which presupposes the gradual building of a "will" capable of acting contrary to the super-ego's commands, the ego's plans and the id's drives.
A materialist enlightenment...
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