16 May 2012
Reflections on "the juice"
Every "current", to use the Thelemite term - i.e. a sustainably self-replicating meme for action and living - is defined by what Robert Fripp calls "the juice", which is nothing other than life. This is to be distinguished from rules (although a current may have rules), in the sense that it is the spirit rather than the letter of the practice.
One way of telling if a current still has "the juice" is to see whether it generates Masters - that is, those who are not able to tell the letter from the spirit of the Law, but are perfectly capable of breaking the letter to preserve the spirit (thus causing the current to be reborn under a new name), and bear the terrible personal costs of doing so. So, an organisation or tradition where people simply reproduce and replicate the insights of a Master (orthodox Trotskyism or corporate Scientology) is dead, dead, dead, and only produces symptoms of brain-death and soul-death in its adherents.
A Master is able to renovate the tradition, and in some ways this may mean being able to abolish the Law in its current form. Robert Fripp closed down Guitar Craft; Brad Warner closed down Dogen Sangha International; but initates of both those orders continue to do the work, under new names. Compare this to the screams of "liquidationism!" hurled at those who suggests that revolutionaries may have other options to organise themselves than toy-town Bolshevism or Seattle-cool-person anarchism. Javad Nurbaksh renovated rather than closed down the Ni'matullahi Order, but he caused massive outrage when he declared that the Order was no longer Shi'ite, or Sunni for that matter.
But yeah, a real Current involves within it the possibility of not only producing a Master but of thereby giving birth to a new Current. The "juice" in Gurdjieff's tradition would be proved by the fact that J. G. Bennett learned from G, and then started his own branch of the work; just as Robert Fripp did for JGB; and how these guys have done for Fripp.
Oh, and while I'm on it:
1. The structure of the ego can be described as a Bottom Line (self-description) and Rules of Behaviour which follow from and reinforce that Bottom Line.
2. The goal of the ego can be said to be avoiding an encounter with the painbody - i.e. the "shadow" part of the ego which is repudiated and repressed.
3. What the ego hates the very most is others who do things which are most strongly against its Rules of Behaviour, and therefore most strongly repressed into the painbody. This is trivially obvious, and even a joke when it comes to homophobia and other anti-sex Rules of Behaviour, but I don't think I realised its deeper applicability until now.