14 November 2009

Life is so much easier when you realise you're not real

Dion Fortune came up with a line which as most of you know has been misused the hell out of by fluffy-bunny wannabe-pagans since Gerald Gardner was a cowboy; All gods are one God, and all goddesses are one Goddess, and there is only one Initiator. Now from a CM viewpoint I don't think we can agree with that. Gods and goddesses are individual memetic/cultural entities which are all subtly different from one another - even from one group of believers to another. (I doubt that the Christ worshipped by Quakers is the same as that worshipped by the snake-handling churches, for example.) Dion's statement is, I fear, almost the kind of thing that the phrase "monotheism is imperialism in religion" was made for - like when the Romans went around translating "Woden" as "Mercury", etc.

But, on the other hand, I think Chaos Marxism can safely say: All mysticism is one Transpersonal Practice. Let's face facts - if it works, it must be founded on some material principle, reproducible in practice, and therefore all those different words and concept systems must point to the same essential technology. For exactly the same reason that when Edison and Swann both invented the lightbulb, it was not possible that the two bulbs could have worked in fundamentally different ways. The laws of the Universe are the same whereever you stand, thank you Einstein.

We distinguish between, on one hand, scientific study of what actually works in practice, drawing commonalities of technology between all the different ways of "changing consciousness at will"; and religious/sectarian warfare. The latter is nothing but arguing about what words and pictures you use to describe something. It's not science, it's a territorial pissing contest, in which the piss is different pet symbol systems. A prime example of this in leftist political discourse is the people who have rendered the words "fascist" and "socialist" almost inoperative by indiscriminately apply them to Stuff We Don't Like. One of the aims of this blog's practice is to work out a kind of neutral, scientific vocabulary - but also to point out that the place where the rubber hits the road is the place where language breaks down altogether.

The Zen guys know this very well, as does Terry Pratchett (your best wishes for his continued health, please), and of course Uncle Karl. Things are what they are, not symbols for something else. Destroy all words, destroy all symbols, only direct apprehension of material reality irrespective of any abstractions leads to a sustainable practice. "What's real, what's not real, and what's the difference", to quote Esmeralda Weatherwax, is the content of enlightenment.

Oh, and by the way: you are one of those things which is not real. "You" are a series of habits, associations between things, and behavioural patterns. You're probably less real than a computer program, because at least a computer program is designed to have some internal consistency. Sorry, but once you grasp that, you can actually realise how little of "everyday reality" is actually real.


PS. Philip K Dick and similar gnostics talk about the Good Divine Principle infiltrating and subverting the material world of the Demiurge. Marx talked about the spread of rational working-class consciousness - Gramsci called it "good sense" - overthrowing the illusory reality of capitalism - Gramsci called it "common sense". Freud said "where id was, ego should be". All the same things.