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Just a quick post: This is an excerpt from Beyond the Frontier of the Mind, by the Indian mystic Osho. Great read, and captures a lot of what I am saying here.

Source: http://www.naturalistsalmanac.com/

One of my desires is to realize a cyclic existence. For reasons of both upbringing and inherent appeal, the seasons of the year are one of the largest influences on this realization.

While seasons vary widely depending on where you live in the world, but their key influence, the Sun, goes through cycles no matter where you are (okay, fine – not the equator, but in those cases cultures that realize cycles have appealed to other celestial bodies, or weather patterns).

In American and European traditions, these cycles focused around the food cycle and survival. Particularly in temperate lands that experience winter, the season of the harvest, autumn, meant not only time of plenty, but a time of preparation for survival through the winter.

It is no coincidence, then, that we identify the cycle of the Sun with our own cycle of life and death. October the 31st is the day when the Sun begins its darkest period in the Northern Hemisphere (the darkest day being at the middle of the period – hence Midwinter), and so the holiday of Samhain or Halloween came to be as a ritual metaphor for the death of the Sun, and allows us a time to reflect and examine death.

Modern times have pressed upon us a linear existence, and it is this linear view has caused us to fear death as an ending, rather than as a change. But death is change, and if we fear death we also fear change, for the same reason that the ego will defensively strive towards permanent truth. This equation of death to change is not an attempt to avoid death as an ending. It is to say that if you consider death an ending, then you also consider change an ending, and if you fear one, you will fear the other.

Nor am I saying that you should “accept” change, or death, begrudgingly, as if it is something that we have to deal with but would rather not. I am stating that we should not merely accept it, but should embrace it. We do not celebrate the dark of the year merely to steel ourselves from the darkness, hoping only for the return of the light. We celebrate it to embrace death and change. For without them, existence would not be and we would truly be dead.

Happy Halloween.


Moderation and Desire

Written by jayson. No comments Posted in: Ethics, Philosophy

I was speaking with a good friend the other day about a personal crisis they were having. Without going into too much detail, it was about a certain emptiness that they felt, on occassion, that boiled over sometimes while doing the simplest of things.

I talked with my friend about this, and tried to put it in perspective (as is the case with reason), and we illustrated a few things that were lacking in their life. It was the routine of things that was both helping them and yet tormenting them. The boiling over happened when my friend realized that they didn’t know what they wanted. Eventually the question was asked, what should people want and how can you know what you want?

For the most part, as we’ve discussed, there is no “should”… to a point. If the satisfaction of desires is itself desireable, the best actions to take are those that will maximize your ability to go through the process. Finding those actions – the ones that satisfy immediate desires while still maintaining the ability to go through the process in the future – is the task of those walking the infinite spiral.

There can be too much of a good thing. While Aristotle lived 2400 years ago, and was heavily influenced by his culture when it came to metaphysics and ethics, he did illustrate something that just “seemed right” when it came to how people should conduct their lives. He called this the Golden Mean.

Aristotle focuses his use of the golden mean on what it means to be virtuous. It is no coincidence that it also happens to be very useful when looking to take actions that will satisfy desires while continuing to allow you to do so.

It is also no coincidence that people who have driven themselves into a “downward spiral” are not that happy. The mean applies to many things, including work, play, routine, lack of routine… eventually you are no longer engaging the process and must shift gears.

This “top of the bell curve” in the satisfaction of desire applies not only to our personal desires, but also to what it means to be “sustainable”.

That said, there is one thing that our old Greek friend missed out on – while we should try to ride the middle-ground, you should also ride the middle ground when it comes to riding the middle ground. The doctrine of the mean is largely based on the ego, which can cause a further loss of perspective on the will to power.

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Sometimes we desire excess. Sometimes you must release as much energy as possible in as short a time as possible to express your desires. Sometimes reality demands reckless abandon. The candle that burns twice as bright may burn half as long, but puts out the same energy. As long as it creates the world in a way that can continue the Process in itself, we should not shy from these things, either.


There is an argument form that is useful in deconstructing abstractions one has held previously. It involves the fact that, if two things are equivalent, then they are equivalent and there is no use talking about the difference; in a sense, a third way of thinking is born.

For example: If I claim that every action is selfish, then the only implication comes from any distaste you have for the word selfish – to say that every action is selfish really means that there is no such thing as selfishness OR selflessness. The terms themselves lose their meaning without differentiation and must be thought of in a new way.

As I have said before, you become what you do, and since you are a reflection of a reference point in existence, reality becomes what you do. In this way, you are changed by your environment, and your environment (and reality) is changed by you. But the most important thing about this is that it does not matter which happens, the result is the same. Let me say that again – the result is the same. There is no differentiation and therefore no meaning behind what path is taken.

This idea is useful when engaging the satisfaction of desires. We can continue to try to accomplish a particular goal, or we can reevaluate our goals. Reality doesn’t care either way – it will change nonetheless. It is true that we may find one method more appealing than another, for the same reasons that bring about our values, and that is and should be factored into our choice of rituals. But this is true only insofar as it helps us engage the Process.

There is a mystical phrase, “as above, so below”, which means that changes in a microcosm will be reflected in changes to the macrocosm – changes in the self will bring about changes in reality, and vice versa. This is the essence of what we are speaking of here. Depending on the paradigm, rituals can be seen as useful from either side – either altering reality in a way that alters the self (and therefore satisfies desires), or alters the self in a way that alters reality. But again, the result is the same, and illustrative of one of the main components of pragmatic truth:

If it works, then it is true.

The key is to recognize when trying to change the world to satisfy your desires is no longer possible (and thus change your goals), or conversely, when giving up will only bring you further away from your desires.

We don’t want to make it sound like you can simply give up on your goals and everything will continue to engage the process just fine – as we’ll get into there are some goals that move us towards greater satisfaction of desires than others. But recognizing when you need to let go in order to continue to engage the process is important to anyone looking to adopt pragmatic truth.


Reason as a ritual

Written by jayson. No comments Posted in: Philosophy, Rituals

What is a ritual?

Rituals are actions or a series of actions that we take for the purpose of satisfying desire and engaging the Process. They involve either realizing or deconstructing abstractions – but usually doing so purposefully, even if we aren’t aware of the purpose*. They are the tools we use to believe in our realizations and to construct the world as we would like to live in it.

Rituals can take many different forms. For example, marriage is a ritual we use to realize a stronger bond between ourselves and another person. Not only the ceremony itself, but also all of the societal customs and expectations built around it. Marriage is a big example, but rituals can even be simple habits like knocking on wood or listening to a certain song when you are in a particular mood.

The faculty of reason is perhaps the most basic of all rituals. It touches nearly everything we do. It is, at its heart, the act of questioning – a kind of sacred “why?”.

It may seem strange to think of something so innate, and also something we are told is the foundation of the modern human, as “merely” a ritual. But as I’ve said before, rituals, like abstractions, are both necessary and non-arbitrary. It is a ritual, like any other, but it is a powerful one.

We use reason to immediately put our abstractions into deconstruction mode and set them up to be reevaluated, removed, or altered. It is impossible to use reason – to ask why – without one of these three things occurring.

This makes reason as dangerous as it is powerful.

The “age of reason”, which has brought us to the “age of information”, sought to replace faith with reason – to use reason to destroy faith as unnecessary and “merely” an abstraction. The only way it has failed is that, in doing so, it reified reason – causing it to suffer the same problems as any faith.

But reason is a ritual. It is a tool to help us realize the will to power and go through the satisfaction of desires. Like any tool, it is only useful when it fits. It makes no sense to use a hammer on a screw, or a screwdriver on a nail. Likewise, it is not useful to use reason in many cases that we try to today.

The purpose, or usefulness, of reason is to deconstruct, change, or destroy abstractions about reality.

Previously I spoke of sources of values, and sources of information. Asking why – thinking critically – about our values and their sources is very useful and is so potent a tool that we should all have it at our disposal. However – as many people of faith know, but cannot put into words – reason cannot be used as a source of values.

Reason will never give you, or your life, meaning. What it can and will do is break down your abstractions, and if you use it long enough, will break them down until there is nothing left – a kind of ego death from endlessly asking why.

When you reach this moment you are left in a causal limbo. When faced with this abject meaninglessness, this impossibility of finding truth in the world through reason, you are left stunned, dumbfounded, afraid. But is there anything we can do when faced with this?

If we don’t want to be nihilists, the only way to proceed is to take a leap of faith, an arational leap of faith that is beyond justification.

It is when the sacred “why” becomes the sacred “yes”. Yes, this is what I want. Yes, this is what I will create. Yes, this is what is true.

This sacred “yes”, coming from one who has gone through this ritual of destruction-by-reason, one who has shed themselves of all sources of values other than those that are beyond reason, is one of many things I seek to realize through my discussions with you.

*I reference purpose here as a feeling, not a state. Trying to “figure out” purpose is itself a ritual – an act of ex-post-facto justification that abstracts the apparent actions of others into something our ego would view as purposeful.


Just as abstractions are necessary and non-arbitrary, so are values and the process of evaluation.

While we are justified in applying our own values to the values of others, it is important to understand, and thus be able to communicate and receive, the sources that “cause” people to value what they do.

There are many sources of values. Some are built into us when we are born, some are inculcated in us by our environment and those with whom we learn as we become. Some are immediate, such as emotions. Others still are those that appeal to us in ways we cannot rationalize; the things we have faith in.

All of these things – biology, environment, emotion, faith, reason – are all sources of information, and they are all equally valid as long as the information is useful to us in the satisfaction of desires. Values, their sources, and this information are only invalid when they do not help us go through this process. There is no way for us to know what is valid or invalid for another person, since we do not know (completely) their desires or their values.

But we are predisposed to think that certain sources of information are invalid. We prejudge others based on our own values, knowing full well that they are the same as we are – but we are so strongly ready to dehumanize them in order to protect our own values and our own egos. It’s deep, and it’s instinct. It is a valid source of information just like any other, but one that needs to be put strongly in context as it is an attempt to reify our own values into a construct that can be applied to others.

We have also been taught that if the source of values is not “rational” then it is invalid:

The list is innumerable. But it is imporant to note a common theme; to treat the sources as worthless – as “merely” constructed… as if there were anything that was not constucted.

This is a cruel lesson, as the majority of our sources are not rational at all, particularly faith and emotions.

Alternatively, sometimes we reify the sources of values themselves, appealing to their authority or tradition alone as a case for their absolute, permanent validity. But remember, truth does not imply permanence. Once the values are no longer conducive to satisfying the desire process, they will be and should be deconstructed.

The primary purpose of reason is to break down values that are no longer useful. It is not meant to be used in breaking down others’ values when we only have a minuscule amount of information about those values, because we are not the other person. But we do this all the time, and most of the time it is only to reinforce our own ego and our own values – a dangerous practice, as it can reify them to the point where they will not be broken down when they need to be.

This does not mean we cannot give advice, or communicate to others what we value in the context of what we see them doing, to see if there is some insight that can be gained. All this means is that we must understand that when doing so we are speaking entirely from our own context, and do not – cannot – have all of the information that they have. In the end, only the actualizer experiences its desires, and will make its choices based on the values and sources of those values that it has come to know.


Values, judgment, and hate

Written by jayson. 1 comment Posted in: Ethics, Philosophy

Let’s recap for a moment:

  1. Reality is the expression of the Process of becoming, or actualization.
  2. Actualizers are realized reference points of actualization.
  3. Actualizers experience the Process through desires.
  4. Since every actualizer is a unique reference point, their desires are entirely subjective. The only consistency between them, and the only way to move between the subjective and the objective, is that they all desire to go through the process of satisfying desires
  5. Actualizers express their subjective desires by taking actions that communicate values.

This allows us to segue into a discussion of values. So what are they?

Values are the language by which actualizers express their desires. They communicate those values through actions. Actions are the mechanism by which values are communicated because an actualizer must demonstrate those values in order for them to be realized, and by demonstrating them they indicate that they would rather perform those actions instead of others. The actions have a “cost” to the actualizer, and hence, some are more valuable than others.

Values are entirely subjective, but (like abstractions) are not arbitrary. They come from the complete, sum total of all information and abstractions realized by you. This includes differences in knowledge, biology, the entirety of past experience and the expectations of the future.

There is no way for anyone else to know all of the information that makes you value what you do – otherwise, they would be you. It could be argued that you don’t “know” it either, but since actualizers are reference points of relational information, you know it through irrational completeness.

People are those actualizers that can communicate their values and understand or internalize the values of other actualizers. Personhood is realized when at least two actualizers communicate and internalize each others’ desires. When this is not possible, personhood does not exist.

A person’s values themselves are neither good or bad, right or wrong. There are no prescriptive statements that can be said about values – it is senseless to say that someone should or should not value something. However, this does not mean that we must become nihilists – it does not mean we cannot make value judgments about others’ actions. If another’s actions are contrary to our values, it is useful (and therefore justifiable) to consider those actions in the context of our own values – without this there would be no anger or distaste, which are very real sources of information.

What is not useful (and therefore not justifiable) is to dismiss the values of another actualizer – to knowingly and willfully refuse to understand the values of another potential person. To do this willfully is to hate. Disliking the actions of another is one thing – but to willfully ignore that they have their own reasons for the actions they are taking is to dehumanize (hate) them.

This dilemma is the crux of the issue that most of philosophy, and society, has with relativism. More on that later.

This lesson ties into the existence and utility of trade, the meaning of sustainability, and the spirituality of respecting actualizers that are non-human. All subjects of further discussion.


Actions speak louder

Written by jayson. No comments Posted in: Ethics, Philosophy

I talked before about how expression of truth are expressions of value. While the basic idea is sound, it is important to note what exactly an expression of value is.

It can be said that speaking words is an action, but merely speaking what you believe is true does not make it so. As an actualizer, you are what you do, and by extension, your reality becomes what you do. The satisfaction of desires occurs best when your thoughts, words, and actions are in line with the abstractions that you create. The conversation you have with reality in its becoming is communicated by your actions – it only listens to what you do, not what you say you want.

Your actions speak your values, determine the abstractions you create, and determine what your reality becomes.

You can decide you want to change, but it will do no good unless you act in a manner that will cause that change. Ritual can align your actions with your values.

It is for this reason that you must pay attention to the abstractions that you choose to create, because they will shape what you do, and thus who you are. In complement, your actions will determine what abstractions will be created, and what your reality will be like. It is through this duality that the power process is fulfilled.

The concept of the soul is an abstraction that is in use by almost every single spiritual paradigm that humans have realized over the course of their history. As I have said before, abstractions are necessary and non-arbitrary, so the ubiquitousness of this particular abstraction should not be taken lightly.

Perhaps the most immediately apparent use of the soul abstraction is to allay the ego’s fear of death. The desire for permanence drives us to realize a paradigm in which the things that make you, you, continue to exist after death. It is a useful abstraction if the goal is to get past the fear of death in order to live comfortably.

But I realize that it may go deeper than simple fear of death. The belief in the soul, as in the belief in an otherworld or spirit world, also stems from a desire for completeness. It is a way of resolving the missing pieces left over from attempts to rationalize existence (see my post Actions are not rational).

It is for this reason that I use the abstraction of the “soul”. The “soul” is a way to acknowledge, realize, and access the completeness of a reference point in reality, particularly persons. The soul represents the complete set of information, across all of reality, in relation to a particular actualizer. When referencing my soul, you reference everything that I am. That includes my own perception of myself, your perception of me, and the relation of all of existence in reference to me. It is a way that we can abstract and access the infinitude of one of reality’s reference points.

The soul is everything you are, everything you were, and everything you will be, coalesced into a single reference point.

The soul is not separate from you. It is not inside you, or “beneath” you, or “above” you. The soul is you.

It is a reference to the entire perspective of reality in relation to the actualization that is “happening” and has been abstracted as “you”.

The soul abstraction can be realized through the ritual of naming – which is basically a linguistic means to provide an ostensive definition of other people. To reference the name of a person is to reference the complete definition of them, even though you could never point out each individual abstraction and relation in reference to them. It is one of the most useful ways to realize, and act upon, another person. It is important to note, however, that such a reference also includes the relation of yourself to the person – a subtle example that to have power over or knowledge of something, you must give it power over or knowledge of you.


Truth and intention

Written by jayson. No comments Posted in: Ethics, Philosophy

Every statement of truth by a person (that is, the abstractions they make) is an expression of Desire. Put more practically, when people say “this is true” they are saying “that is how I want the world to be”. It is an assertion of authority (again in the literal sense – the ability to author or create), an assertion of the person’s intentions. Even I’m doing it, right now.

This effect is inescapable. All it means is that statements of truth are more like conversations on what an actualizer values. The mistake comes when we treat our own truths as more valuable than others’ truths – we attempt to reify them as objective truth, rather than accepting them as contextual, subjective, and impermanent abstractions.

The temptation to do this, however, is probably one of the most powerful we have. The ego’s drive for survival, for permanence – to escape death – constantly seeks to universalize its truths. It does this not only out of a need for the abstraction of control; it is also the way the Ego seeks to escape entropy – the need to constantly do work in order to become.

The irony to this drive is that to achieve universal truth would mean an end to the power process, and the death of the Ego. It is, sadly and not quite clearly, a path to destruction. I would not be so bold as to say this has always been a drive of the Ego, either – it may have become a deep part of our basic human abstractions a long time ago. But it certainly not required for the Ego to exist (like many other abstractions), and it can be extremely useful to be rid of that drive. Achieving Ego death through ritual can give us perspective on our own statements of truth and quiet or even tame this drive.

Being aware of this, I have found, is somewhat incredible to behold. Your perspective on people’s thoughts and opinions of themselves and the world change instantly – and also the drive to prejudice. Once it is realized that it is something we all do, it changes the way you can interact with others in a way that, I have found, is much more loving. The conflict of argument, the back and forth attempt to make your truth “win”, melts away.

The new question becomes: “what values are this person expressing?”

This question is the basis for true personhood.