08 January 2010

A couple of thoughts...

One by Llewellen Vaughan Lee:

What the wayfarer does not initially understand is that the real work on the path is not to have access to spiritual or mystical experiences: these are given through grace. The work is to create a container for them, so they can be alive in our daily life. Part of this container is to discriminate between a real inner experience and a spiritual illusion created by the ego. Without a container or discrimination the wayfarer easily becomes lost and wastes the energy and potential of her awakening.

To put it another way - the goal is not to get metaphysically high. That's far too easy. Certainly you can eat a few mushrooms, chant and breathe in unnatural ways or even hit your head against the wall and you'll see God, or something that is trying to look like God at least. The goal is to bring something useful back from that Other World into the Real World of Horrible Jobs. As Robert Fripp puts it, you can take the elevator up to the penthouse on special occasions, but you cannot afford to pay the rent to actually live there - except if you've been saving up for a long, long time.

Another important point from above is that you don't call the Spirits. The spirits call you. The best you can do is prepare yourself so you're at least at home and awake when the Ulterior World comes knocking. All the truly great spiritual masters have a truly astounding level of humility - coupled with a wicked sense of humour.

And an original thought: the rebirth of the polytheistic nature religions in the mid-to-late capitalist era has, I feel, far less to do with a reassertion of collective unconscious or the awakening of the Goddess, than the cultural fragmentation brought on by the consumer era. Monotheistic religion suggests a tightly organised Creation supervised by an ineffable but essentially benevolent God. Polytheistic religion suggests a confusing jumble of spiritual powers, spirits, loa etc. all feuding with one another - to tap into the world of Lawrence Miles for a moment, there's a War in Heaven and humans are going to get caught in the crossfire if they don't make powerful friends among the various Godfathers. Welcome to life in the era of mass media saturation.

But Marxism agrees with the mystical monotheisms in that it's all a unity behind the scenes. The various Brands which stalk our cultural landscape like alien gods are not real - when the Muslims say that shirk is the gravest sin, what they mean is by bowing down and giving your soul-energy to a cultural phantasm. Of course, you can create your own Brand, your own cult, your own small god, carve out a little niche in the World-As-Is where you can enjoy the illusion of your separate existence and your Special Snowflake status. But all power ultimately rests in the willingness or otherwise of the working class to allow their labour to be exploited. All those phantoms will disappear when we as a class discover the magic word. It's our destiny as a species.

ETA: speaking of Fripp, here's a good article.


  1. Chaos-Marxism-Hinduism then, to stretch the labels to breaking point?

    Well, some forms of Hinduism, I guess. Unless I'm misremembering. Which is entirely possible, given how long its been since I last slept.

  2. "Hindu! There are more than 700 million of us!"

    (Good to see you back, but seriously, get some sleep.)