elizabeth lane lawley
michael "OC" clarke
e v h e a d
sweet fancy moses
wood s lot
m. melting object
Friday, December 19, 2003
roll up for the mystery tour...
the bizarre tale of rudolf "stardust" steiner & the spiders from mars
"making love with his ego
Ziggy sucked up into his mind
like a leper messiah...
Ziggy played guitar"
david bowie / ziggy stardust
In case you can't read the print on the book cover below, it says Spiritualism, Madame Blavatsky, and Theosophy: An Eyewitness View of Occult History by Rudolf Steiner. The reason the author is important to our purposes in today's outing is that Steiner (pictured at the right) was also the founder of a little number called Anthroposophy, referred to in the right-panel (stage down-a-tad) text, which is taken from the official site of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, of which there are currently 800 internationally, with 150 in North America, and seven within a 30-mile radius of where I sit tonight typing this as a public service to an unsuspecting world. The question is (aside from an unnatural fondness for run-on sentences): Why? Well, because Rudolf Steiner -- whose notions about education, and much else, are revered and applauded here in Boulder, CO, Land of the Free -- was, in point of fact, a seriously deluded head case. Don't believe me? Read on...
There's a lot going on here, so try to keep up. First of all, the article quoted above is titled Is Waldorf Education Christian?. Gee, I wonder why anyone would wonder if Waldorf schools, founded by Rudolf Steiner, were Christian? I mean, sure, compared to Sufism, Buddhism, Taoism and Tinfoilhatism, Christianity is embarrassingly passé. But come on. Some people are so paranoid! Second, what's all this about "Theosophy"? Well, it turns out that Rudy was a Theosophist until 1913 or thereabouts, when he got cheesed off at Annie Bessant, who had taken over for The Madame after she prematurely discorporated a decade short of fin-de-siècle (and several bricks shy of a load), and had, with the help of some other dude who was very likely gay as a pagan maypole, dug up this East Indian pretty-boy whom we would later come to know (those of us who did) as Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti was supposed to be the new messiah. They raised him to believe he was, anyway, and packed his head with some of the weirdest shit you can imagine (some taste of which I'm attempting to convey here). However, possibly third, when it came time for Krishnamurti to take over as Messiah, he threw the match, telling people, basically, don't follow leaders / watch your parking meters, and more basically, that he wasn't any messiah, didn't believe in em, and more basically still, that he wasn't having any. This tasteless display of independent thought cast Theosophy into quite the little dither, as you can imagine. The cheek! Third or fourth, depending, why was it called Theosophy? Aha! Here's where my research (funded, yes, by your generous donations cough) has borne yet more interesting fruit (no reflection on the method of Krishnamurti's conscription). Could it possibly be because a certain 16th century manuscript titled The Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians was penned by one Henricus Madanathus Theosophus? Hmmm? Makes you wonder, doesn't it? In fact, that's Henricus up there on the book cover, tokin on that big ol spliff. But the point of all this -- one of them at any rate; so many conclusions beg to be drawn -- is that Rudy was, that's right, get this...
THE MISSION OF GAUTAMA BUDDHA ON MARS
"As we enter upon this study, the true and original mission of the Buddha becomes clear to us. We find by occult investigation that the beings on Mars who correspond to men on Earth -- they are of course of quite a different nature, but for the moment let us call them "Mars men" -- at a certain time in their evolution were in a similar condition of need as were the Earth men in the Fourth Post-Atlantean period when the Christ had to come to them. And as Christ became a Saviour and an Awakener to Life, as that was a mission for the Christ in regard to Earth humanity, so is it a further mission for that Bodhisattva after he became the Buddha, to be a Saviour and Redeemer of Mars men. He has to accomplish on Mars an event similar to the event that the Christ had to bring to fulfillment on Earth.And why give M. Scott Peckerwood all the credit for a "scientific method" of dealing with demonic possession? Steiner was there way before him! He alternately called Anthroposophy "spiritual science." Here's a terrific example...
The "I" in the foregoing (my emphasis, obviously), returns us to our first quote (to the right of that old bat, Blavatsky, stage up). Except in the book I'm holding in my hands right now, the one on Esoteric Christianity, everywhere it says "the I" above, in my version it says "the ego." As in:
"Something had to come that transcends the astral,
and this is the ego."
"Through this impulse, the ego is to become supreme..."
So now we can "translate" that first quote about Waldorf Education. Here's what it's really trying to say:
Anthroposophy maintains that each individual human being
has a spiritual core, or ego, and that this ego is in a
continuous process of becoming, of evolving in freedom through
spiritual activity toward ever greater narcissism.
It is my contention, demonstrated fairly well here I think, that the New Age, of which Steiner is a shining pillar, is not merely fucked in part -- say, due to some of the more weirdball practices it's so easy to make fun of -- but that it is fucked in toto (and your little dog, too!), from the ground up and the sky down. As above so below. And it is my contention, moreover, that narcissism is not merely an unfortunate error on the part of those Seekers a bit too zealous in their lofty pursuit of "self-knowledge," but that it is the very goal and grail of all this self-important self-referential self-absorbedly numinous Gnostic Nosferatu-lookalike New Age horse shit.
8:27 AM | link |
Thursday, December 18, 2003
5:56 PM | link |
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
The following is from a new book (August 2003) by the same guy I quoted in the previous post, Walter Truett Anderson. The book is titled The Next Enlightenment: Integrating East and West in a New Vision of Human Evolution. As he says below [p. 180], and in the previous pages, he's largely a fan of the New Age. However...
"On the negative side, it has been a vast fountain of trivialization, commercialization, sloppy thinking, and general smarminess.
Despite the author's fair-mindedness on the overall
subject (more than I'm inclined to muster), there will
inevitably be those who resent what he says above.
2:33 PM | link |
"so let us not talk falsely now
the hour is getting late..."
dylan / all along the watchtower
There was an ancient forest somewhere on the Northwest coast. She loved to visit this place, she said, because of how it made her feel. On entering it for the first time, she told me, a powerful thought came unbidden into her head: "Nothing false can enter here."
I was supposed to be impressed. I was impressed. It would be several years before I wondered: what would make someone think that?
Falsity is a big concern these latter days. A certain shakiness as to the putative ground of both personality and reality. A certain gushy-if-gunshy wonderment as to whether they might not, in fact indistinguishable from fiction, amount to the same thing.
You make things up, she said. You imagine things. How could I disagree? And what else is new? What else is even marginally interesting?
Postmodernism has taken all the fun out of calling someone a lying son of a (and/or) bitch. Because who is to really say what's true? Split to infinity, the truth is no longer The Truth, but rather, ohmygod, relative. Because ohmygod, relativism and all that, you know? And, by a certain cadre of those saying ohmygod the loudest, this impasse is glossed and made more palatable (to the congenitally stupid) as "My Truth" and "Your Truth." Still capitalized (so to speak), in spirit if not typographically. Let me suggest a new term for the impulse underlying this novel holding action against the already-over-and-done-with meltdown of unequivocal conceptual categories: i.e., micromodernism. A way to preserve a soupçon of certainty after Heisenberg. A way to pretend that the Enlightenment wasn't just for rich white uptight-outta-sight overeducated Northern European males, and yet fully endorse multiculturalism. No, even better: a way to remain Medieval, yet still appear hip. In a manner of speaking.
I made some awful pun the other day when Selene and I were cruising around looking for wroffle CDs, "wroffle" being a term of her own coinage, which she has asked me to propagate. It means something like ultracool. You're supposed to think ROFL when you hear it, but only the initiated get it. Thus are whole cultures constructed.
"That's not so funny," she said. Because I was laughing at my own bon mot. Too hard, she thought. She often tells me I'm not funny for this reason.
"It's funny to me," I say. "It's My Funny even if it's not Your Funny. You know, like My Truth and Your Truth."
She laughs. I've subjected her to the latter rap more than once, so she hears the caps immediately. Selene is spookily smart for a 13-year-old. For that matter, she's spookily smart for a 45-year-old. I'd much rather talk with her than with most purported adults. "My Funny" has now been added to our semi-private-language lexicon. Oh Bride of Wittgenstein, we do your bidding! Or, apropos The Real Difficulty:
But uh... to return to our main theme, we're talking here about The Real, The True, The Authentic. Because The Authentic = Nothing False. Where nothing false can enter, what has entered must, ergo, be true. Not necessarily as in "baby, baby, ooo-ooo-ooo be true..." But not necessarily not, either.
Now here is the main thing that I want to say: when I hear the word authentic, I reach for my revolver. I'm busy 24 hours a day.
Heidegger, in Being On Time (which I have, it goes without saying, never read; I'm always late), wrote a shitload about authenticity, as 11,400 google hits eloquently attest ("to affirm to be correct, true, or genuine" says The American Heritage Dictionary; "relatively speaking," we hasten to add.) Later, Heidegger was found to be a Nazi. Coincidence? You be the judge.
Now extending our premise one step further, we arrive at...
FALSE = INAUTHENTIC = UNHEALTHY
And its painfully obvious correlate...
TRUE = AUTHENTIC = HEALTHY
Thus, getting blown out of your skull on marijuana, peyote, psilocybin, ibogaine, ayahuasca/yage, etc. is not only considered healthy -- certainly more healing than smoking a cigarette (unless it's an American Spirit like the Indians all smoke) -- but it has become an intrinsic element of Transpersonal "Psychology" (about which aberration much more later). Please understand that I intend no moral indictment here of getting blown out of your skull. Go ahead, cram your bong with DMT, see if I care. Just don't hand me this "healing" bullshit. I already tried that route to mental health. Made me what I am today.
What I'm lumbering toward here is that "healthy" is today one of those many suspect words, whose semantics have been twisted approximately 180 degrees in the Newspeak of New Age Narcissism. My current favorites are "healthy selfishness" (popularized by "The Founder of the Self-Esteem Movement" and onetime Ayn Rand sex-toy Nathaniel Branden (see also Nathaniel Daniel's Annual Spaniel Manual), "healthy narcissism" (popularized by Self Psychology founder Heinz "Fifty-Seven Varieties" Kohut ), and "healthy spirituality" (from, among others, the Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology; see also The Association for the Promotion of Barking at the Moon).
Here's an informal snapshot of some similar phrases and their google hit counts, with my favorites linked to the actual searches. Keep in mind that google doesn't really respect the quotes, so there are an indeterminate number (i.e., I didn't determine it) of false positives. Also note that my google porn filter may be a bit more forgiving than yours. Honni soit qui mal y pense.
I want to end this with a quote of a quote from The Upstart Spring: Esalen and the American Awakening by Walter Truett Anderson, which is out of print -- either fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view (I mean, it's an excellent book, but I'm writing one myself on some roughly overlapping themes, and I'm not half so convinced as Truett Anderson that any awakening occurred). Yes, well anyway. It requires some setup. So in December 1973, Esalen put on a conference called "Spiritual and Therapeutic Tyranny: The Willingness to Submit." The reason for this particular theme was that Esalen and its various influences and offshoots were getting a bad rep in some quarters (like among the sane) for a sort of none too groovy, none too Aquarian let's say, crypto-mystical fascism. However, if the point was to assuage such fears, the pow-wow seriously backfired. Here's the quote-within a quote...
"The most influential piece of media coverage that resulted from it was Peter Marin's 'The New Narcissism' in Harper's. Marin was not positive about the conference itself ('beneath the ruffled but still reasonable surface of the crowd lay a hysteria that would in other settings take on any one of several forms, none of them pretty'); he was deadly on est; and he did not see that est's shortcomings were noticeably different from those of the human potential movement in general. Indeed, he found est to be 'in many ways the logical extension of the whole human potential movement of the past decade. The refusal to consider moral complexities, the denial of history and a larger community, the disappearance of the Other, the exaggerations of the will...' He found in the movement only a sterile rejection of society, a preoccupation with the needs of the self, self-love, narcissism."So to close with our opening theme, remember:
5:48 AM | link |
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Dean & Cluetrain Turn Tide
This is from "The Marketing of the President 2004," which appeared on the "Basline Project Management Center" website a couple weeks ago. The quote is not on the first page, so if you want more context, click on the "printer-friendly" (gag me with a spoon) version.
Many of the campaign's principles have been developed in books such as David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined, which explores the role of individuals connected by the Internet; The Cluetrain Manifesto, by Weinberger, Doc Searls and Christopher Locke, which describes how to think of the way markets work in the online world; and Smart Mobs, by Howard Rheingold.
NOTA BENE *
3:52 PM | link |
"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
28 October 2004
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at a major industry conference,
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