Monday, October 06, 2008

Animism Vs Mysticism

Continued thoughts: this from the thread I started at Rigorous Intuition

One of my problems from the start with “synchromysticism” was the irrefutable fact that neither the word nor the practice actually adds anything to Jung’s initial concept of synchronicity. In fact, Jung’s concept entailed reading the events of one’s life (not just pop culture) as part of a design that intersected in precise but mysterious ways with our own psyches. So my main query about Jake’s work and the whole synchromystic “movement” remains—why mess around with movies when the whole world is a kind of movie screen onto which our psyches are collectively projecting? My guess is that it’s at least partly a case of guys who don’t get out enough, succumbing to the dangerously seductive quality of movies and pop media. Maybe synchromysticism is even a case of fledgling sorcerers being hoodwinked into paying attention to stuff they would be better off putting behind them? Instead of getting out there and doing something? After all, movies, not religion, are now the opium of the masses. So what better to keep sorcerers plugged in than a religion based around movies?

(I say this in all humility, as a still reforming movie addict.)

My other main contention with SM—and I think it’s connected—is the use of the word mysticism itself. It’s not a word I care for, or rather, a perspective that I value very highly, the reason being that, as essentially an Eastern mode of thinking, mysticism is the very antithesis of the way we are genetically hardwired to connect to the Source as Westerners. Mysticism, like movie-going, is essentially passive—it’s the very opposite of sorcery, which is interactive, and which creates patterns rather than simply contemplates them—and not just by observation but by action. A shaman doesn’t simply read the signs around him, he or she is in constant communication with the natural world—it’s a dialogue. And how much dialogue can you have with a movie?

Regarding the difference between mysticism and shamanism, two days ago I was “coincidentally” reading a chapter in Wilhelm Reich’s Ether, God and Devil (thanks SZ). I came across this:

“The primitive view of emotional life was not mystical, as is our view today; neither was it spiritualistic or metaphysical. It was animistic. . . . ‘Mysticism’ means, in the literal sense, a change of sensory impressions and organ sensations into something unreal and beyond this world. Anthropology teaches us that the devil with the tail and pitchfork, or the angel with wings, is a late product of human imagination, not patterned on reality but originating from a distorted concept of reality.”

“The process of animating the surrounding world is the same with the animistic primitive as it is with the mystic. Both animate nature by projecting their body sensations. The difference between animism and mysticism is that the former projects natural, undistorted organ sensations, while the latter projects unnatural, perverted ones. . . Mysticism is rooted in a blocking of direct organ sensations and the reappearance of these sensations in the pathological perception of ‘supernatural power.’”

“Functional natural science must defend primitive animism against perverse mysticism and take from it all elements of experience corresponding to natural sensory perceptions. . . . The widespread and acknowledged view of the harmony of nature is basically an animistic view which, in the mystic, is degraded to a personified cosmic spirit or a divine universal being. The mystic is trapped in the absolute. The absolute is incomprehensible. The animist remains flexible, his views can be shifted. He has the advantage that his view of nature, contrary to the mystical view, contains a practicable core of truth.” (pg 87-94)

Bringing it back to Jake again (sorry Jake, you aren’t the whipping boy here, just a necessary case study!): in my opinion Kotze is a shaman who has been temporarily lured into mysticism—passivity, and an excessive love of movies—through a natural desire to avoid the nuts and bolts of the left-hand path. In-the-field, fully interactive sorcery entails not just psychedelics and sex (things I expect Jake is fully at home with), but real, dirt-under-the-nails, honest-to-Lucifer work—above all healing work, dealing primarily with human misery and woe.

Shamans are the garbage collectors of the Universe. To be fair to Jake, he is doing this with his movie stuff—gathering nuggets in the trash can of pop culture—but it’s at a fairly infantile level. Nothing wrong with that, shamans have to start somewhere. But it becomes questionable—and open to rigorous scrutiny—when such activity begins to flower into a whole movement—and especially when what is at best shaman playschool gets touted as the full graduation experience.

All for now. I hope Jake will forgive me this trespass and totally uninvited amateur psychoanalysis.


Anonymous said...

Hi aeolus. I have often thought that in their modern form, movies serve to bleed off energy that in former times would have lead to action in the real world. Take Mel Gibson's "Patriot" or "V for Vendetta" for instance. I can't help but wonder if by living their desire for rebellion vicariously through a movie character, the energy that would lead to a REAL rebellion is bled away, leaving people feeling less alive and more despairing than before. Thanks for your great work.

Jasun said...

yeah, the hidden - and unhealing - side of catharsis - when positive emotions are simulated and siphoned off through melodrama. It's called kitsch.

Anonymous said...

Hi aeolus. A question: since our who up-bringing seems to be geared toward passivity, in other words toward mysticism, many people might simply not know what an animistic world FEELS like. What does it feel like when the very trees and fields are alive and interacting with one? How does one tell when one has made "contact". How does one know one isn't simply crazy? Or is there even a difference? If one has been passive one's whole life, how does one go about becoming active? How does one grow the "feelers" one needs to know when one is being spoken to? Or are these questions symptomatic of the very passivity you are talking about? Are you saying that sorcerers IMPOSE a pattern on the world by an exercise of will? Sometimes my cat's skin will get to twitching, and then he will tear around the house like demons are after him. Is that what Reich means by animating the natural world by projecting bodily sensations? Is it all just an exercise of the imagination...imaagining that sensations that are inside are really outside in nature...and how is that a better state of conciousness than the one we have now, because it seems like it would be a kind of regression. At least when people started to know they were thinking their own thoughts instead of being spoken to by the gods it meant they were taking responsibility for themselves. How would "re-animating" the world with "gods" and thereby (seemingly) giving up responsiblity for our own thoughts help us out of the mess we are in now? Oh! By making the world alive again, we would cease to see it as dead and therefore RESPONSIBLE TO IT?? If that is so, it would be a true leap forward and one that is truely needed! I am sorry for all the questions and being long-winded and am not trying to vex you.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Can't beat that ^^ guy's post for sheer entertainment value! LOL

But here's the thing- if Jake is an embryonic shaman who has been ensnared and enthralled by a "mystical" albeit limited phenomenon, he can't be the only one, and so what are our neophyte shamans to do?

And to answer my own question, didn't Paulo Coelho chart this territory in his book, The Alchemist?:

While on the search for buried treasure, the boy Santiago learns to read the Language of the World, saves the oasis tribe from marauders, gains social position, assured wealth and even the Sheik's beautiful daughter but gives it all up to continue his journey.

Is the danger then? That Jake (and his brethren shamans)will settle for the goodies his abilities will garner him and abandon his quest prematurely?

Jasun said...

to anonymous 2: A question?? I counted 12 in total, and all excellent queries. I'd be happy to answer them, but not with a keyboard! How about you come on Stormy Weather?

Vicki - i think you are correct in your diagnosis. The fact that the assumption of the "shaman" cloak in western culture accrues instant status in certain circles - and pretty wide ones these days - means that it's all-too tempting for such "magikal children" to be lured by the temptations of worldly power. They forget - or perhaps never realize -that in fact "being a shaman" is a job no one in their right mind would ever volunteer for. Shamans are chosen, they don't choose, and central to this "calling" is that a shaman no longer lives for himself. This is painfully manifest in the many cases of healers who are unable to heal their loved ones - because personal interest nullifies their "gift."

So the only way to enjoy the perks of being a shaman is, in fact, to avoid actually becoming one, and to simply assume the superficial airs and jargon. To talk the talk without walking the walk. This isn't necessarily conscious on the part of the would-be shaman, however - and many if not most of the ones who fall for this, who abandon the quest as you put it, do so without realizing they have done so - until much later.

Anonymous said...

Hi aeolus. "anonynous" here. Thankyou so much for the invitation: I am really quite astounded by it! One problem though is that I am very shy and so would be very nervous and don't know if I'd make a good guest. May I email you or something to discuss this more?

Jasun said...

email away
i have just observed that it is possible to send audio files to me at the podcast site, so this is an alt. for all you out there, ask your questions on mp3, and i can splice them into the show and respond

Jasun said...

here's how you do it: On the podcast page, down below theprofile and fans is a little block of contact info:
• podMail:
• Join my mailing list
• Record a comment

all you need is a mic.

Louis said...

Hi Aeolus,

I enjoyed episode 7 and the “animism versus mysticism” debate. You made some very good points. Although I admit to being a movie buff myself, and the kind of person who enjoys the great indoors a little too much (joke), I find – like you – “synchrocmysticism” to be superficial and very limiting. Many of my friends – and I admit to doing this a little myself – turn to pop culture (novels, movies, TV shows, music, etc.) as a way of fulfilling a spiritual hunger.

I know many nerdy guys, for instance, who, unable to go beyond the mechanistic, scientific world view – and therefore unable to embark on some kind of “spiritual path” – attempt to satisfy their spiritual appetite by reading sci-fi/fantasy books and watching sci-fi TV shows and movies. Most of us accept this “false energy” (for want of a better term) as a substitute for the real thing. Like any drug, however, it only perpetuates the sleep, rather than leading us to a higher state of awareness. (I realise you made some very similar points in episode 7.)

In discussing these matters, I am reminded of Gurdjieff’s idea of a “food of impressions.” From Charles T Tart’s book Mind Science (2001):

“He [Gurdjieff] taught that, quite aside from the specific information particular sensory stimuli give us, they also act as a kind of food, a kind of nourishment for our nervous system, and our nervous system needs that nourishment…One of these deficiency diseases resulting from a lack of balanced and quality sensory impressions manifests itself as some (un- or semi-conscious) part of us knowing that we’re not really alive, that we’re not really healthy, so as a consequence we’re desperately looking for more stimulation, anything to try to fill the lack. So we get addicted to gross, crass, emotionally intense stimulation. The television is one 18 hours a day showing us violence and disaster…”

Interesting “food for thought,” if nothing else.

Jasun said...

I think the point i was trying to make to Jake K was that these media are an intrinsic part of the ways in which a collective parasite-entity/organism (paranoids call it Illuminati, i prefer the term Nosferatu) keeps us under its spell and leeches off our vital essence (orgone), THROUGH OUR ATTENTION. I don't think any analysis of pop culture is sufficient without taking this idea into account, because, no matter how much you may transform/redeem the content of a given pop artifact through imagination, you are still opening up to the influence BEHIND it, an influence that perhaps can't be counteracted without first being recognized.

Remember Valdemar Valerian (John Grace, intel. agent, so beware disinfo) and Leading Edge? This is what he wrote back in 1995:

"1995 will be the year where massive doses of electronic mind control programming, thought intrusion and brain/biogenetic manipulations will commence scale. These projects are no longer experimental. They are fully operational—field-testing is over! The whole arsenal of frequencies will be unloaded on the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico as part of Stage 1 of the First Protocol, (to include) Woodpecker, Buzzsaw, Videodrome, Subliminals, Sonic Pulses. Holograms, Visions and Voices and strange Psychokinetic phenomena. Beware of TVs, computers, movies, radios and phones. Also books, magazines, newspapers, printed advertisements and posters will contain the encrypted hidden subliminal holograms. . . . And . . . beware of American shopping malls! [These holograms] affect the brain’s neural networks and functions through select frequencies and their harmonics to diminish the Will, Individuality and Creativity in the Individual. . . . Also, erratic thoughts of Anger, Fear, Depression, and wanton Sexuality are included. This causes utter confusion in individuals who don’t know where these strange thoughts are coming from. Now you do. They have told you it is coming. Ladies and gentlemen, the Gestalt of the movie They Live is here."

Taking all that with a large grain of salt (and bearing in mind that, as in Videodrome, the technological infiltration may well be the necessary primer for a biological mutation process), it should nonetheless give Jake and the SMs pause to consider what they are doing: If these are the tools being used to control and devitalize us - to program us - then the toll taken by the submersion in pop culture which synchromysticsm advocates may be disproportionately high, when compared to the gains.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, aeolus, and very well said!

Anonymous said...

I see SM as a gateway discipline, limited in and of itself, but useful for young people to begin to engage magickally with Reality.

How many opportunities are there for them to connect with a genuine mystery and begin a meaningful exploration of the world? Besides DMT or 'shroom tripping?

SM is intriguing and accessible enough for young people to discern very quickly that there is something going on that defies everything that they have been conditioned to believe. It points to a tip of an iceberg that is peeking out of a previously unsuspected ocean.

This whole debate reminds me of an ongoing disagreement I have with a friend of mine. She wont read books because she feels that they emphasize the intellect at the expense of the body and interfere with ones ability to connect directly with Nature. She says Traditional Natives don't read books, so that's proof she's right.

I say books have their uses. I can allow that SM does too.

Jasun said...

Hi Lucinda

“gateway” is the key, and followers of SM (which includes the ostensible “leaders” also) would be wise to keep in mind, as they travel through the labyrinth of wonderful connections, that they are looking for the way OUT, and not simply exploring the endless rooms and passageways for the sheer fun of it.

I trust the irony of using artifacts like movies (or books) to engage in “Reality” is not lost on you? Leaving aside the question of whether books are strictly comparable to modern media (I don’t think so, in terms of scrambling our bio-fields, etc), the crux seems to be whether we are using any given media as a means to develop our imaginative capacities or not. Reading for example strengthens our tendency to think in terms of language rather than images, can cause overdevelopment of the intellect—and leads to the absurd notion that there is special authority in the written word, i.e., a slavish dependence on language. Movies and pop culture are even more addictive because they are that much more passive—i.e. require less imaginative input—than reading. So the question remains: are these pursuits becoming ends in themselves rather than the means to something else? Are they compulsions or habits, i.e., means by which we define (and hence limit) ourselves?

I agree with you that SM is wholly valid as a means to something ELSE; perhaps that’s even my argument: that it is merely a starting point. Problem as I see it is that movements tend to encourage—even depend on—fanaticism, and to attract the kind of followers who need something to believe in and define themselves by, hence, “I’m a synchromystic.” They become attached to the paradigm and so strive to keep it from evolving, keep it fixed. This is as likely to happen to the leaders of a movement as to the followers, since they become equally dependent on the system (and the followers) to define them.

It’s a poor apprentice who doesn’t surpass his master, they say. The same applies to “movements,” or to any system of initiation. As soon as it becomes established, it’s time to move on to the next thing. As this evolution continues, the energy-consciousness that is evolving leaves behind it a series of shells—these are the religious movements, social structures, and established belief systems we have in the world: shells of a life form that has long-since moved on to greener pastures.

Peggy Carter said...

I wanted to post on the Rigouous INtuition - but somehow never received my acceptence onto the board?

I wrote some down but it got erased.

I think the smearing of Jake by "Goro" is ridiculous. I think Jake's very talented, gifted, with whatever it is that gives one the ability to pick out snycs without going insane, overboard, on it.

Perhaps he has to avoid the actual meanings - beside the most transcendental one, because he needs to keep his health. That is totally understandable. Just putting words in his mouth - excuses , but I hadn't read the really hateful stuff against him until yesterday. And absolutely didn't want to pile on with the Jake haters. What Jake does seems totally different than what "Goro" does. And one reason I never subscribed or looked at Goro's site was because I didn't want to be accused of "ripping off" his ideas, if I happened to see the same thing or things Goro saw.

Movie issue: the observaton that movies can influence one's bio-energies is very noteworthy. Thank you for that Aeolus.

However, I feel the "adept" can read *anything. My friend, Laurence Lyons, is awesome in reading the English language. (author of the "Language Chrystal" ) He's in the "synchro-animist" or "synchro-spiritualist" camp, though it was never labled such nor did he know that. I met a man years ago, the son of a famous Israel sculptor, who was *UNBELIEVABLE in reading geometries, number, and the letters of the Hebrew in the "5 Books of Moses." That-one flirted with illness. The intensites can be so strong that your mind can just be ripped - I assume. Hence the proscription against studying "Kabballah" before one turns 40 (and has presumably lived a good enough life and can therefore face the danger inherant in it.)

"Goro" strikes me as the typical "No Planes" 9/11 researcher - though that is not his field - bad temper. Hey, he's doing a good job! I'm not going to criticize *him either.

I will be glad when the "synchromysticism" message board goes back up. The small group on there has been hacked twice. The last one with a Turkish banner sig. (Is "Goro" Turkish, by chance?) There seems to be a greatness in the group that does not appear from one individual alone. :)

As far as the "insertion" of the syncs into the cinima forms. I'm presently in the camp, if my understanding is correct, with Jake K., who believe that the syncs are *definitley not deliberate nor placed there by super-beings or adepts. There are other things going on in the creation of the film "art" but the snys and a particular persons relationship with them, is, IMO, is an "unintended consequence" They are expressions of the "group mind", "action at a distance," the superintelligent and powerful "shakti." IMO

I left the "cult" I was in

and never anticipated ... what I would eventually "get" from the "synchromystic" study. So far, it's not *owned.

best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peggy

Jeff approves all registration requests at RI and as he is busy preparing getting to his book ready for publication it may take a while to get approved.

Would you mind sharing with us what you see as the pitfalls of following an eastern guru? Isn't Muktananda considered to be one of the more legitimate gurus?


Anonymous said...

this world needs active shaman warriors not passive sm writers