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CaptainACAB wrote

How do you feel about spirituality?

I consider spirituality a concept that can be separated from religion (I presume other anarchists with an affinity for it would agree). I have some respect for it, but personally feel like I don't have much use for it. I used to hold some reverence for the concept of chaos. Some of that is leftover in that I don't believe that anything has to "make sense".


rot wrote

I've tried meditating on and off but to me it's more of a mental practice than a spiritual one.


cdubose wrote (edited )

I used to be Catholic; I'd be curious what Catholic anarchists have to say. Left Catholic Twitter in general is an odd but endearing bunch


cdubose wrote

I've been looking into Norse Paganism; an author named Ryan Smith recently came out with a book about Norse Paganism from an explicitly antifascist perspective, which is refreshing since a lot of Norse Paganism is associated with nazi fascist shit. The book is called The Way of Fire and Ice if people are curious.

Anyways, I haven't committed to to anything; being Norse pagan still feels a little weird because as a non-white person it feels hard to be comfortable in that cultural milieu, but I'm still seeing if it speaks to me spiritually. The nine values that Smith's book talks about really seems to work well with anarchy: autonomy, right action, weregild, honor, wisdom, boldness, hospitality, generosity, and solidarity.


sand wrote

/f/zenarchism has some useful stuff posted, and more is always welcome

i meditate and do some animistic practices i made up. helps me fight/not get caught up in depressive and harmful thought patterns that were established in my past, and has made it a little easier to converse with myself (selves?). no tradition or group. i'm not good about getting my body out where other people are.

i'm recently interested in spells and rituals for entering relation with and possibly requesting aid from relevant gods, but i have a distaste (and entire lack of funds) for practices that require me to spend money for materials. so i haven't found much of use. probably just gonna wing it if i get around to it.

i hope this thread takes off some more. interesting to see what other folks here get into


Majrelende wrote

I meditate, but otherwise, I had been thinking recently about how consciousness and rationality relate. There is not too much beyond that, at least that comes to mind.


enforcedcompliance wrote (edited )

I don't even know where to begin. But I really resonate around the ideas of ignosticism/theological noncognitivism. Throw in 13 years of practicing Zazen and and equal amount of time in occultism/chaos magick and here I am.


celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

As the translation of biblical Latin spiritus (Greek πνεῦμα) "spirit, breath" the Germanic word acquires a Christian meaning from an early time, notably in reference to the Holy Spirit

Literally the definition.

At any rate, white "spirituality" is petit bourgeois nonsense, i'll say that much. Colonizers finna grasp to whatever emotional straws they can.

Linkity Linky Link

I will disavow the pronuclear and progmo implicit ideology in the thread above, but a lot of what is said besides that is very illuminating and I encourage you to think about it.


You can also consider some of the points raised by a self professed spiritual person who practices hypnotherapy, who points out how spiritual communities they are part of have ideological and rhetorical tropes which facilitate harmful norm and toxic behavior. This is a link I found on Raddle as well:


An_Old_Big_Tree wrote

It'd take a lot for me to answer this. I'll think on it a bit and see what I can do sometime.


kore wrote

Same camp. Thinking about reading the Sermon on the Mount as well as Tolstoy and see where that takes me.

In particular the idea of not swearing oaths has intrigued me.


kore wrote

To me spirituality is asking questions such as "what comes before mediated experience?" "what does it mean to see things as they are without prejudice?" It has nothing to do with crystals or alternative medicine or science denial.

There's an excellent book called "cutting through spiritual materialism" by Chögyam Trungpa, one of the most illuminating Buddhist teachers of modern times. It addresses your criticisms of "spirituality," calling them distortions by the ego, or "spiritual materialism"

Here is a quote from the book:

Walking the spiritual path properly is a very subtle process; it is not something to jump into naively. There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centered version of spirituality ; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are de- veloping spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. This fundamental distortion may be referred to as spiritual materialism.

I have had serious problems interacting with New Age types. It is extremely frustrating when people treat spirituality as a "good vibes only" endeavor. To me it is very much not that.


kore wrote

Wow, 13 years of zazen and chaos magick, that is quite unique.

How do the two interact for you? I know a significant amount about zen technique and literature, but nothing about chaos magick.


celebratedrecluse wrote

As an egoist and a materialist, I don't know where to begin with attacking this artifice, so let's just start with the person you quoted.

An incident that became a cause célèbre among some poets and artists was the Halloween party at Snowmass Colorado Seminary in 1975, held during a 3-month period of intensive meditation and study of the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism. The poet W. S. Merwin had arrived at the Naropa Institute that summer and been told by Allen Ginsberg that he ought to attend the seminary. Although he had not gone through the several years' worth of study and preparatory mind training required, Merwin insisted on attending and Trungpa eventually granted his request – along with Merwin's girlfriend. At seminary the couple kept to themselves. At the Halloween party, after many, including Trungpa himself, had taken off their clothes, Merwin was asked to join the event but refused. On Trungpa's orders, his Vajra Guard forced entry into the poet's locked and barricaded room; brought him and his girlfriend, Dana Naone, against their will, to the party; and eventually stripped them of all their clothes, with onlookers ignoring Naone's pleas for help and for someone to call the police.[86] The next day Trungpa asked Merwin and Naone to remain at the Seminary as either students or guests. They agreed to stay for several more weeks to hear the Vajrayana teachings, with Trungpa's promise that "there would be no more incidents" and Merwin's that there would be "no guarantees of obedience, trust, or personal devotion to him."[87] They left immediately after the last talk. In a 1977 letter to members of a Naropa class investigating the incident, Merwin concluded:

My feelings about Trungpa have been mixed from the start. Admiration, throughout, for his remarkable gifts; and reservations, which developed into profound misgivings, concerning some of his uses of them. I imagine, at least, that I've learned some things from him (though maybe not all of them were the things I was "supposed" to learn) and some through him, and I'm grateful to him for those. I wouldn't encourage anyone to become a student of his. I wish him well.[88]

The incident became known to a wider public when Tom Clark published "The Great Naropa Poetry Wars". The Naropa Institute later asked Ed Sanders and his class to conduct an internal investigation, resulting in a lengthy report.[89][90][91][92][93]

Eliot Weinberger commented on the incident in a critique aimed at Trungpa and Allen Ginsberg published in The Nation on April 19, 1980. He complained that the fascination of some of the best minds of his generation with Trungpa's presentation of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan theocracy created a dangerous exclusivity and elitism.[94]

Author Jeffery Paine commented on this incident that "[s]eeing Merwin out of step with the rest, Trungpa could have asked him to leave, but decided it was kinder to shock him out of his aloofness."[95] Paine also noted the outrage felt in particular by poets such as Robert Bly and Kenneth Rexroth, who began calling Trungpa a fascist.[96]

Trungpa's choice of Westerner Ösel Tendzin as his dharma heir was controversial, as Tendzin was the first Western Tibetan Buddhist lineage holder and Vajra Regent. This was exacerbated by Tendzin's own behavior as lineage holder. While knowingly HIV-positive, Tendzin was sexually involved with students, one of whom became infected and died.[97]

The Steinbecks wrote The Other Side of Eden, a sharply critical memoir of their lives with Trungpa in which they claim that, in addition to alcohol, he spent $40,000 a year on cocaine, and used Seconal to come down from the cocaine. The Steinbecks said the cocaine use was kept secret from the wider Vajradhatu community.[83].

I don't know what to think, it's a wikipedia article, but what the fuck you know?


celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

other people doing their other things. I'm a materialist, that's how I see the world, other people aren't. No magic in my life so far, I'll believe it when it seems like the most reasonable explanation for something I have primary sources for.

But what I'm more concerned with, with regards to this conversation about spirituality, is the apologia for hierarchy, including theocratic governance and patriarchal sexuality, that seems to associate with actually-existing forms of spirituality. The other poster's comment about this buddhist teacher was a jumping off point. I find this rhetoric and citational ideo-genealogy very opposed to the values of anarchism, particularly when situated in the social context of being exported to european dominated societies. I think to not be critical of this phenomenon is to either ignore or embrace this type of orientalism.


kore wrote

Damn, that sucks about Trungpa. Perhaps it was a bad idea to give a specific author, as that always makes it easy for ad hominem attacks to substitute for meaningful discussion about the ideas presented. I would encourage you not to develop an opinion of Buddhist philosophy based upon his character. The idea of no fixed self is one of the central ideas of Buddhist philosophy.

If you mean egoist after Stirner, I think that what Stirner called der Einzige, literally "the Unique", fatefully translated to English as "The Ego", is actually compatible with many Eastern philosophies.

Some buddhist who doesn't really understand Stirner at all and just hears about "egoism" would say that the idea of ego is the "spook of all spooks" and that the ego is just another construction and Stirner is an idiot for not seeing this, but based on my reading of Stirner's Critics this is not at all what Stirner meant by der Einzige and he actually was getting at something that I definitely agree with.

Take for example, the sentence

Stirner names the unique and says at the same time that “Names don’t name it.” He utters a name when he names the unique, and adds that the unique is only a name.

Compare with e.g. Daodejing verse 1

The Way as “way” bespeaks no common lasting Way, The name as “name” no common lasting name.

Also this quote from Stirner's Critics

The unique, however, has no content; it is indeterminacy in itself; only through you does it acquire content and determination. There is no conceptual development of the unique, one cannot build a philosophical system with it as a “principle,” the way one can with being, with thought, with the I. Rather it puts an end to all conceptual development.

I now take the liberty of replacing "The unique" with "The ego" in the first sentence and you are left with

The ego has no content

Which could have come straight from the mouth of Siddartha Gautama a.k.a. Buddha

The rest of that quote from Stirner, the idea of the unique only acquiring meaning "through you" i.e. through some form of mediation and the idea of putting an end to conceptual development is exactly what I brought up in my first comment, what does it mean to have an experience without mediation, and see things as they really are?

So it seems I may be somewhat of an egoist after all ;)


kore wrote (edited )

I apologize for not doing my due diligence when it came to evaluating the character of the person I quoted. Perhaps it was wrong for me to ascribe a quality to him and not just describe him as a teacher. For what it's worth, that teacher, as well as others of perhaps less objectionable behavior (such as Shinryu Suzuki) came to the West with the express purpose of telling Westerners what the fuck Buddhism and Zen were really about as they understood it to combat this orientalist tendency that you mention.

Re: theocratic governance, ideo-genealogy, etc. One teaching of Buddhism is that paying attention to what any authority says is missing the point. This is not to say that so-called "Buddhism" will never become a cult of personality. But in essence were very much anti-ideology, anti-authority. I'll just leave you with a quote from Lin-Chi. (The Three Vehicles and twelve divisions are specific dogma from Buddhism, and the patriarchs are the traditional name for the teachers)

things like the Three Vehicles and the twelve divisions of the scriptural teachings — they’re all so much old toilet paper to wipe away filth. The Buddha is a phantom body, the patriarchs are nothing but old monks... If you seek the Buddha, you’ll be seized by the Buddha devil. If you seek the patriarchs, you’ll be fettered by the patriarch devil. As long as you seek something it can only lead to suffering. Better to do nothing.


celebratedrecluse wrote

There's a lot to be gained from studying various philosophies and religions, but my point is not to dispute the usefulness of such a tradition to an individual, but rather to critique the power relationships created by spirituality as a set of actually existing social phenomena.


enforcedcompliance wrote (edited )

How do the two interact for you?

I find the state of mind that I find myself in during Zazen to be perfect for achieving Gnosis which is very important for my practice of sigilcraft. It's a state of latent understanding where I'm able to think clearly and not get too caught up in whether my practice is working or not. It's the moment when you're not thinking about your intention that things begin to fall in place.

This is a cool link you might enjoy.

Hun-tun, that is Chaos, is not to be confused with the chaos as typically seen in the western world as in "chaotic." It is the supreme ideal of Taoism. Chaos is wholeness, oneness and Nature. Chaos represents the natural state of the world. Digging holes on the head of Chaos means destroying the natural state of the cosmos. Therefore, to the ancient Chinese chaos not only has the meaning of disorder but also presents a respectable aesthetic state. Any outcome is based on the Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions. Since any given outcome cannot be predetermined with any amount of accuracy without knowing the full string of preceding events it is oft times viewed as Chaos even though it is the natural order of things. This idea of chaos may be very different from its western counterpart.

There is a lot I could say but I don't know where to begin. I've been itching to flesh it all out in a book, possibly. It might be fun to try and explain my practice -- especially to myself.

Oh, this is a fun read too

In more general terms Chaos Magick uses the deconstructionist theories of Jacques Derrida, the interest in random phenomena of John Cage and Minimalism, and the humor of Dada to create ritual spaces for magickal acts. To view Chaos Magick solely as a reformulation of traditional magick, however, would be inaccurate. Chaos Magick is something new, an attempt to deconstruct consensual belief structures, free the energy trapped by these beliefs, and radically alter the movement of the quantum flux. Chaos Magick is an assault on normative belief patterns, an attack on the mind’s status quo, guerrilla war on the careful considerations of consciousness.

Chaos Magick focuses on the mechanism of belief, and suggests that the process of belief rather than the object of belief is the critical element in magick. Chaos Magicians will cheerfully adopt or refute positions of belief as needed for the successful resolution of magickal acts. This orientation, which stresses adaptability as a prime asset and greets change as an accurate reflection of the true nature of reality, can be unnerving for individuals whose sense of personal identity requires that the universe be perceived as an ordered and meaningful place. Chaos Magick specifically refutes the possibility of eternal rest, or eternal order. It views the universe as a phenomena of complexity at an order of magnitude too great for normal human psychology to understand. In fact, Chaos Magicians would argue that the universe is in such a state of flux and apparently random movement that only devious techniques such as those of Chaos Magick, which deliberately subvert the conscious, rational mind have any chance of creating change in conformity with the will of the magician.

Chaos Magick is self-annihilating, bearing commonality with the crazy wisdom of the fringe elements of the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism, with the mad monks of Zen Buddhism, and with the theoretical structures of Nagarjuna and the Madhyamaka schools of Buddhism. One of the two central Sutras (Buddhist teachings) of Madhyamaka is the Prajna Paramita, a Sutra whose title is loosely translated as

“ Beyond thebeyond, there lies awakening”.

The structure of this sutra, in which form and emptiness (Order and Chaos) are identified with one another and both found to be empty of real content, that is empty of a seperate self, resembles that of contemporary chaos ritual. The founder of the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism was the sorcerer-buddha Padmasambhava, and some of the rituals, such as the graveyard Chod practice, are hardly distinguishable from the Chaos magician’s use of the Eldar Gods of the Necronomicon. The koans of Zen Buddhism are designed to short circuit the discursive mind and bring about a state of mind similar to that sought by the Chaos Magician.

Chaos Magick can be considered to be a psychological approach to magickal ritual. Bearing many similarities to the Stanislavsky system of Method Acting,the ritual systems of Chaos Magick aim at blocking the conscious mind and generating a state of consciousness known as “gnosis”, a state of mind in which the defenses of the discursive mind are overthrown and the magickal intention of the magician can be driven deep into the Absolute, that is to say into the quantum flux of the universe. Like Method Actors, Chaos Magicians seek to forget their identity in order to achieve their will, the change in the universe that is the goal of the magickal act. To do this Chaos Magicians use gesture, ritual, sound, visualization, the cues of their senses, meditation,and generated emotional states such as anger, fear, disgust, boredom or despair. Any method that can create the momentary state of gnosis is considered acceptable. Favorite techniques frequently involve sex, pain, and confusion. Chaos Magicians use sigils (magickal intentions that have been transformed into symbolic structures), rituals from any source and the artefacts of esoteric or popular culture to form a magickal space that might bring about gnosis.. Chaos Magick is non-discriminatory and refutes dualism. Rooted in the realization of the quantum flux and recognizing that ideas are not reality (although they may influence the perception of reality) Chaos Magick does not discriminate between White, Grey and Black Magick, between evil and good, between right and wrong. Consequently Chaos Magick is probably not for those who have not internalized a personal moral or ethical code. In fact, most Chaos Magicians would probably define themselves, if pressed, as Black Magicians but may, in this self-definition, be referring to Magick that has to do with that which is hidden, or in darkness, and so is black. Chaos Magick is not for the squeamish, nor for those who wish to argue points of ethics, nor for those obsessed with establishing varieties of social order. Ceremonial Magick and Wicca provide ample opportunities for those who wish to do the latter. Chaos Magick is concerned with developing magick that works, rituals that have specific effects, that create change in conformity with the will of the chaos magician, that are testable and can be replicated, that affect the Chaos Magician’s deep self in sometimes catastrophic ways, that are non-judgmental, non-hierarchical and devious.

Then consider this, which is one of my favorite writings EVER

This is what all the great teachers show: Zen is the practice of anarchy (an-arche) in the strictest and most super-orthodox sense. It rejects all “arches” or principles — supposedly transcendent sources of truth and reality, which are really no more than fixed ideas, mental habits and prejudices that help create the illusion of dominating reality. These “principles” are not mere innocuous ideas. They are Imperialistic Principalities that intrude their sovereign power into our very minds and spirits. As anti-statist as we may try to be, our efforts will come to little if our state of mind is a mind of state. Zen helps us dispose of the clutter of authoritarian ideological garbage that automatically collects in our normal, well-adjusted mind, so that we become free to experience and appreciate the world, nature, and the “Ten Thousand Things,” the myriad beings around us, rather than just using them as fuel for our ill-fated egoistic cravings.

Zen is also the strictest and most super-orthodox form of Buddhism — and at the same time the most iconoclastic, revolutionary and anarchistic one. The roots of Zen go back to the beginnings of the Buddhist tradition — not to any founding sacred documents or to any succession of infallible authorities, but to the experience that started the tradition: the anarchic mind! Forget the “ism” of Buddhism. It’s not ultimately about doctrines and beliefs. The “Buddha” that it’s named after means simply the awakened mind or somebody, anyolebody, who happens to “have” that kind of mind. And Zen (or Ch’an, in Chinese) means simply meditation, which is just allowing the mind to be free, wild, awake, and aware. It’s not about the occasional or even regular practice of certain standardized forms of activity (sitting and walking meditation, koan practice, being inscrutable, trying to look enlightened, etc.). Equating meditation with silent sitting is something that Zen simply will not stand for! Zen is also intimately linked to the absurd, but it can’t be reduced to doing and saying absurd things, as in the popular caricature of Zen. Zen is not nihilism, but is (like all Buddhism) the Middle Way between hopeless nihilism and rigid dogmatism (does a dogmatist have a Buddha-nature?).


kore wrote

Interesting. I've read Cafard's piece several times at this point. I think it definitely serves as an introduction to Zen for anarchists.

As far as Chaos Magick goes, those practices are always something I have been extremely skeptical of. Perhaps I am just missing the point and reading claims of creating semi-sentient beings and magical weapons too literally. When I read of, for example, Evocation in the book Liber Null, I am reminded of the term Makyo or "ghost cave" which in Zen refers to perceptual distortions during meditation that can be mistaken for seeing true nature. Robert Aiken calls "speaking in tongues," a practice seemingly analogous to something like sigilcraft, "elaborate makyo"

In general the practice of Chaos Magick seems extremely conceptual and often dualistic, which is what Zen seeks to avoid. Again, I know very little about it and it's possible that I'm just projecting my experience with magic in fantasy books and video games. But what do you think about this?


nijntje wrote

what do you mean by the not swearing oaths idea?

I've read some of tolstoy's the kingdom of god is within you and it's great. really worth reading.


kore wrote

Matthew 5:33-37

And again, you’ve heard what was said to the people of long ago, “You shall not perjure yourself, instead keep the oaths you make to the Lord.” But I tell you, don’t swear at all, not by heaven, because it’s the throne of God, not by the earth, because it’s God’s footstool, not by Jerusalem, because it’s the city of the great King. Don’t even swear by your head, because you’re not able to make one hair white or black. Simply say yes, or no — any more than this comes from the evil one.

The most radical interpretation for me manifests as not doing things like taking out loans or entering any contract. In the former for example, it could be seen as swearing on your ability to make money in the future. But I haven't read a lot of commentary.


kinshavo wrote

I wonder if there are still any Chaotes, Thelemites or even Pagans here..