The Basics of Magick

This is part of my Start Here series of posts aimed at teaching beginners the basics of the human hardware.

This is a post I just wrote for our awesome forum. I have tidied it up here for the blog as I thought it would go well in the Start Here section.

The most basic things to understand about magick are as follows:

1. You are already going towards the situations you either most want or are most conditioned towards.

So, the situations you intend via magick are basically already decided on some other level. In order to avoid situations you don’t want (but are highly conditioned towards), rather than focusing on that situation and trying to avoid it, instead simply think about alternative situations which you DO want. When you start going towards those, eventually the non-preferred situations will just fall away by themselves. The universe is just a giant habit in that sense, and habits can be cultivated or abandoned.

2. When visualizing the desired situation/outcome, the material elements of the visualization are largely irrelevant. Instead, it is the strength of the FEELING you are able to generate that determines whether or not it will materialize.

For example, do not think about money itself – instead picture vividly the FEELING you would get if you won or received money. Again, the material aspects of money are basically irrelevant. Picturing gold piling up in a vault (Aleister Crowley’s method for replenishing funds) is pointless unless you can also generate a strong feeling of wonder, novelty, bliss or excitement in direct connection to that image.

As a human, the primary substrate of your universe is EMOTION, and it is always this you must tune into strongly as your primary magickal method. Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote describing this method:

When I was winning thousands on the online slots, the one thing in common which made it happen every time – so, the difference between it working and it not – was the FEELING I generated while visualizing the win.

Luckily online slots usually play a “big win” sequence (coins flying out the screen, specific music playing, etc.) when you win beyond a certain threshold. I had the one from Bier Haus fairly well burned into my brain from previous wins, so while absorbed on the image of the reels I could then induce a mental replay of the “big win” sequence. The dopamine injection was tangible (meaning it literally felt like drugs squirting in my brain) and the “big win” sequence would play all by itself from start to finish with the music and everything. The kundalini stream would explode vertically up my spine during the “dopamine squirt” moment and would manifest as upward moving energy in my visual field – a literal visual stream – which would then morph into coins, gems, and fireworks. So, these were literal hallucinations, quite with an existence of their own. When I opened my eyes after this I would have afterimages of coins shooting out the screen, still playing in my visual field, along with other explosions of colour (typical “Arising & Passing Away” stuff) – and even, a couple of times, hand tracers following my hands if I moved them in front of my eyes, just like LSD. These were my most powerful magickal moments and demonstrate quite how strong my concentration was at this time.

My point here, other than reliving a fond memory, is that the stronger you make the FEELING, the more magick will work – and this is how magick actually happens IME. And you NEED to put the dopamine triggers into the visualization too (in the online slot case, the visuals and sounds coming from the computer plus the kind of deeper feeling of just being given loads of money, and the kind of “sick” inner delight that magick itself brings, the total wanton ecstatic masturbatory glee of creation).

3. The most powerful “precursor” emotions are: CURIOSITY and HUMOUR.

By “precursor”, I mean that they come BEFORE the application of serious magickal intent.

CURIOSITY is easy to understand in the sense that you go strongly toward situations you don’t have much experience of but which intrigue you. Curiosity is like a seed that gets planted and grows into a full experience further down the road. However it can often take months or years for the seed to sprout into the repetitive thoughts required to prompt serious magickal intent.

HUMOUR is a weird one in that it appears to slip an intention in through the back door, often accidentally. For example, I met up with Aldous several months ago and he asked me what I intended to do over winter. I interpreted it as a question about meditation practice (since thoughts about practice basically consume me all the time) and joked that I was going to hibernate down for the winter and find the Pure Land via jhana and hang out there. The next week, without consciously or formally intending it, each morning when I woke up and did my morning jhana while lying in bed, I began to pass right through the dream barrier and enter a lucid dream. This happened every morning for five days. The nimitta would be interpreted as a blazing sun and my mind would generate dreams of tropical islands or snow-covered arctic scenes, populated with new exotic species of animal, and filled with total bliss everywhere simultaneously (with bliss generated in its purest form in the dream state, free of the limitation of the body). These were possibly the most hedonic experiences I have had in my life and I began humorously referring to my bed as the “jhana machine”.

Humour is probably the most powerful magickal force I have encountered so far. It can be difficult to control for intentional use because humour is mostly spontaneous. In fact, it is the spontaneity which shows that humour is revealing the content of your unconscious. You should make mental notes of things you spontaneously start joking about, and notice that they then become highly likely to manifest. Make additional mental notes when they do manifest, as this reinforces your belief in the magickal process – and belief is a powerful (but not essential) magickal factor.

Finally, you can control humour’s magickal potential consciously by intentionally joking with friends about events you would like to see materialized. Your friends’ spontaneity and input will help the event materialize. This is best done with good-natured friends so they don’t inject venom into your visualization. This method works most powerfully if you joke around with other meditators or other highly conscious people.

So, bearing all this in mind, what would you like to experience?

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87 Responses

  1. James says:

    Curiosity killed the cat.

  2. Aldous says:

    Wonderful piece this. I’m in the fortunate position of making my full time living as a stand up comedian who gets to work all over the world, my audience being mainly English and American. I’ve mainly derived humour from talking about past disasters which equals big laughs but I’ve also realised leads to those disasters repeating. So this year I’ve gone ‘fuck that – do you practice Magick or don’t you?’
    I’m now throwing in material about what I want to happen into my shows, if I can during the peaks of laughter/emotion with the audience and it’s like rocket fuel to intentions. Hence my writing this (literally, ask Illuminatus) in an Internet cafe on a beach in Hawaii (I’ve been doing a bit about winter in England and just throwing the line ‘I can’t wait until I’m in Hawaii’ into the room at the peak of the laugh/good vibe).
    I appreciate we can’t all do this with 200 people but Illuminatus advice about throwing what you want into fun banter with your mates is spot on and sound magickal advice indeed.

  3. James says:

    very cool Aldous.

  4. Morgan says:

    I remember you writing that with magick there is usually a materialist explanation for anything that happens. It could be a coincidence, or a hallucination for example, and whether you believe it or not is a question of your worldview. So someone like sleazy disregards magickal experiences as “hallucinations” whereas someone less dogmatically materialist might not.

    But have you ever had anything that happened that literally could NOT have a materialist explanation? That magick or the universe being some kind of simulation is the only actual possibility? I just wonder how someone like Sleazy or another extremist rationalist might interpret a situation that literally had no possible materialist explanation

    • Arpan says:

      You are not getting how belief-systems work. They can verily be memetic infections of the mind.
      There is ample evidence, testimonial and otherwise, that supports re-incarnation for example. Does mainstream science acknowledge it ? No. Same goes for various demonstrations in India, and even in West(Swami Rama displayed many abilities in laboratory conditions).

      1. Your brain tends to ignore phenomenon not in sync with its dominant belief system while that phenomenon still statistically insignificant in the number of times you and those you know and share your beliefs, encounter it. You will literally forget it in all probablity.
      2. There can almost always be some explanation given, however vague it seems. It might just rather be an attack on veracity of the source. Eg. If you just apparated in front of a crowd of rationalists, they may say: it’s mass hypnotism. Or, their drink was spiked etc.

      You CANNOT convince someone who does not want to be convinced.

      There is a positive side to this too:
      In a way no reality tunnel is objectively false. Eg. Distance Telepathy maybe described in Material terms as “a phenomenon science does not fully understand right now. Maybe at Quantum Level(heard of Quantum Entanglement ?) everything is indeed connected. Matter and mind are not really different things, just grosser and subtler aspects of same reality.”
      Read this comment:

      Indeed Quantum physics opens up science to a lot of possibility as well as hogwash.

    • Illuminatus says:

      >But have you ever had anything that happened that literally could NOT have a materialist explanation? That magick or the universe being some kind of simulation is the only actual possibility?

      Well, the “reality is a simulation” hogwash that is currently doing the rounds is, really, the materialist’s own way of rationalizing his way out of weirdness/ the unexplained. It is also one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard for the following reasons:

      1) It explains nothing, due to the infinite regression: “Well, if we’re in a simulation, who made it, and are they in a simulation too? And if so, who made THAT simulation?” and so on.

      2) The rationale seems to be that: because humans are getting close to developing ultra-realistic computer simulations (virtual reality etc.), then a) Some other entities would also have developed that and b) Those entities have used it to build our universe.

      So, because we can do something, someone has already done it to us. It’s paranoia. It reminds me of Stephen Hawking’s quote about aliens, in which he said we should be wary about trying to contact aliens because they could be “rapacious marauders roaming the cosmos in search of resources to plunder, and planets to conquer and colonize”. The idea being that, because humans are shit, aliens are as well (their just being a more technologically advanced version of European colonists, I assume).

      In the same article he also says, referring to Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Paris Accord: “Trump’s action could push the earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 480F, and raining sulfuric acid.”

      The guy is running on ancient fear hardware and hallucinations. Yet we are supposed to take his vision seriously for how the universe works? I’ve always thought he was a hack, and he never fails to prove me wrong.

      Anyway, I digress.

      >But have you ever had anything that happened that literally could NOT have a materialist explanation?

      Well, as Arpan says, materialists can always fall back on the idea that any sufficiently mind-blowing event is “a phenomenon science does not fully understand right now.” So you could demonstrate a teleportation siddhi and they would assume you have some gadget doing it that they can’t see. In that respect, like Arpan says, the potential for denial or explaining away is unlimited.

      However, I’ll tell you a few events off the top of my head that have blown my mind. The first involved a dream I had back in September 2016. I hadn’t touched opioid drugs for a very long time but I had this dream where I was walking home from work and found a codeine pill on the floor. I ate it and fell into a blissful stupor which persisted after I had woken up, for the rest of the day (dream drugs are better than any physical drug). Four days later I was walking home from work in real life and had to move aside for a car that was passing me in a narrow street. I looked for a spot to stand in in someone’s drive and saw the blister pack on the floor. I already knew what it was. My hands were trembling as I picked it up and turned it around to read the label: “Codeine phosphate, 30mg” I took it home and knocked it down with a beer and, well, had a pretty enjoyable evening.

      The way that that event unfolded put a wrecking ball through any remaining doubts I had that I exist in a primarily subjective universe.

      On another occasion I was lying in bed one morning and had this weird kind of hypnagogic imagery of a guy from university I hadn’t seen in around 15 years. As soon as I said his name in my mind, my phone buzzed and I had a text saying, “Hi, I have a new phone and I’m just texting old numbers to find out who they are.” It was, of course, the guy from uni, in another mind-blowing event.

      I think I would be more insane if I believe the materialist explanation that I think about many people in a day and sometimes one of them will text me while I’m thinking about them. I mean, does that sound even RATIONAL given the odds of what just happened? And then they would say, “Well, the odds of winning the lottery are 50 million to one, but people still win it.” It’s a good example of how they’ll just throw more materialism at you to fill in the gaps of what is evidently a more interesting universe than they dare to imagine (the little fuckers).

      I am however trying to put together now some experiments that should provide the evidence most people need that magick is real (but I won’t say any more about what those are, so don’t ask). However, as Arpan said, even with ample evidence people could still end up denying it’s even happening.

      • Illuminatus says:

        I just noticed on the re-read that the “our universe is a computer simulation” meme follows the same pattern as the “everything is statistics/probabilities” meme:

        Left brain creates computers -> “everything is a computer” (e.g. the universe is a simulation; the brain is “just a computer”…)
        Left brain creates statistics -> “everything is probabilities/ a lottery” (seems to be the current idea behind quantum mechanics… EDIT: And theory of evolution, with random mutations driving large changes “because, statistically, it will happen sooner or later — time sorts it out!)

        The “human brain is just a computer” is one that particularly winds me up, since in all the important ways it’s nothing like one.

        • Arpan says:

          I think Quantum Mechanixs is an important Gateway for left brained science to dabble into right brajned “spirituality”. Its seems to be a baby step in the right direction. It demolishes the “Causality as Supreme God” belief of science. Ayway of everything is subject to material causality, freewill is negated and Einsteinian intellect becomes just a cog in Universal Causal machinery. Thus if Einstein is intelligent, why not the Causal Machinery of which he was a product ? Again we circle back to “God” in some form.

          Here I am not even beginning with: What caused Big Bang ?

          The real issue lies less in philosophy/logic and more in habitual assumptions that have developed on them and their further crystallization into political ideologies which have been irrigated with sweat and blood of believers.
          What would happen to the Marxian thought if Subjective Reality(and hence primacy of Spirituality and hence re-assertion of religions ) is accepted ?

          What happens to lifestyles of committed individualist materialist hedonists with no inclination and/or aptitude for spiritual practice ?

          Greatest dent would be inflicted on Abrahamisms. This One-ideadness of Abrahamisms is what finds new garbs like Communism and Atheism etc. Pagan traditions of Europe which are real cousins of Eastern religions like Hinduism and Shintoism and could not survive the spread of memeplex from West Asia would be most comfortable with this new truth.(You can check, they are already raising their heads:
          That would ofcourse cut out the root of “communist egalitarianism” and has the danger of letting Darwinian merit based forces loose, leading to stratification like Castes of hindu society(with those versed in spiritual wisdom at the top).
          Most people do not wanna admit a world/universal order where the quality of their minds determines their life. It’s too much responsibility.

          The point of above rambling is: When you argue with a person conditioned in a dramatically different line of existence, you are not just fighting a gamut of assumptions/reasons but an entire habit-machinery. A load too onerous for a single individual, and certainly not your responsibility. Even such trendrils of thought are needed for many.other lines of action in society. Only problem being, they have become masters, while they should be servants.

  5. Axel says:

    I have something to comment reated to both, the impossible explanation scenario, and humour as a backdoor.

    One night (I was living in a mountain side, with a pretty wide clear field as a view from the balcony, and pretty clear night sky) I was just lazying around with a friend and he kept asking me for stuff, while I just wanted to be silent and look at the sky. I answered several of his request like: “Oh Space Brothers, if you want me to do X send a signal”. Something along those lines. After a few repetitions, we saw an UFO. My friend was wide-eyed and impacted, he couldn’t talk, I even asked him if he was being telepathically beamed something. He said no, he was just shocked.

    My reaction was like: “NO, it can’t be, impossible”. I have logically accepted it, because I consciously “believe” in aliens making UFOs appear and other antics. But my brain reaction just negates the whole thing. It doesn’t even need any explanation or justification, it’s pure negation.

    So I think whatever you manifest, you must be at least open to it and it will probably happen in a way you can accept.
    If really confronted, you will just fight that with your whole being, even if you consciously, logically accept it.

    • Illuminatus says:

      I don’t suppose you two were smoking a bit of the ol’ marijuana, were ya? 😉

      • Axel says:

        Hahaha. That would be funny and fit right into that scene 😛 But neither of us do drugs (at that specific time I probably was even having an amazingly clean diet, prescribed by a doctor, that didn’t have the slightest effect though).

        Now I’m not saying we saw any sort of alien spacecraft. My friend was impacted, but the whole thing happened too fast for me.

        As far as I know, what we saw (just an orange ball (my definition of alien spaceship is an orange ball though) moving diagonally up and right very fast for an instant, then it was gone) could have been some kid’s toy.

        I must confess after writing this I was falling asleep sometime later and I thought about it and it jolted me awake and terrified 😛

        • Illuminatus says:

          It may have been a Chinese lantern:

          I had a false alarm on the old PPM forum when I saw one whilst drunk.

          Not negating your story in any way; the invocation to be sent a signal from space followed immediately by a UFO is still a sign of the interdependence of the universe.

          • Anon Regular says:

            “the invocation to be sent a signal from space followed immediately by a UFO is still a sign of the interdependence of the universe”

            Obvious point, I guess, but the causality may be the inverse of what we imagine – ie the UFO is coming and this causes a reach-back in time to give us a pre-monition.

    • James says:

      I posted a whole experience had of a supernatural expereince on the old forum:

      Its the third post down.

      • Illuminatus says:

        Cool, my first description of finding the first jhana is in the first post on that thread. 🙂
        I didn’t know what it was and was calling it “white light”. Awwww 🙂

        • James says:

          oh, I also use to build 3d levels for jedi knight, dark forces II… that game was amazing.

          • Illuminatus says:

            Were you ever in an online clan? I ran one called KMF.

            After Jedi Knight died we moved to Rogue Spear. We were pretty good at that, too.

            • James says:

              Nah, not so much. I was in some clan for a DBZ mod they had for the game. I got into modding/hacking side of things more so than the competitive aspect.

              Jedi outcast I was pretty good at the lightssaber 1v1 duels

        • Anon Regular says:

          I ‘ve also had a white light experience a few times over the past 6 months or so – and lesser states (piti and access concentration I guess) many many times over the past 2 years (from Christian prayer, mostly).

          It manifested as a kind of flash of white light coming “down” from my parietal and exploding into my head. I seemed to get a lot smarter every time it happened. (Or maybe “wiser” is the correct word, but these days I just see everything as “higher-order patterns” and there is no real difference).

          Are you saying that the white light is an indicator of jhana?

          • Illuminatus says:

            Based on your description this is a standard crown chakra nimitta (crown seems to be at the juncture of parietal and frontal lobe).

            So, the white light is a very common nimitta (“sign”) of impending jhana. You should just continue to do whatever caused the appearance of the white light. Eventually it will grow and suck you into jhana.

            It is possible to experience jhanas without overt lights/nimittas but I usually have a light present.

            Another common nimitta for me is a cross between a high-pitched whistle and a whine. This will often co-occur with the light and both will grow in intensity till the threshold is crossed into jhana.

  6. T says:

    Fantastic read, really appreciate the work you put into this.

  7. Campton says:

    Solid post!

    About #2… Very apt bolding of “FEELING”. My method of Magick, recently, plays in to a fledgling of a concept I have called the Universe Circuit. (Name tentative). Whereby you recall a feeling of something coming to fruition, be it a phrase you said accompanied by a specific state of mind, or any circumstance, and try to do it again by intending to repeat it. Effectively, whatever mechanism (in this case, the universe circuit) functioned to end in your desired result, is then strengthened. You become “good” at manifesting that specific thing. The idea is to remember natural circumstances that “felt good” that you would later want to manifest. You mentally note them as “universe circuit” or whatever term you wish, and eventually you will naturally call it up, and manifest it more easily, and more confidently. This is building a whole lot of systems, regardless of where they are, to streamline the process and pump up the “user satisfaction” numbers lol.

    Anyway, just a seed of a seed of an idea.

    • Illuminatus says:

      It sounds like you are talking about an emotion I refer to sometimes as “certainty” or “foregone conclusion”. It is the most powerful way to do magick but involves sitting with the outcome in mind until the certainty feeling arises. At this point it’s manifestation becomes a foregone conclusion and the outcome will arise soon enough. The more out of alignment with the current reality, the longer the sit will tend to be. Several hours is not uncommon for particularly difficult or specific intentions.

      This is one of those feelings most humans don’t realize they possess, or that it makes up a foundation of their reality. I intend to write a post about these “hidden emotions” soon.

      • Arpan says:

        It’d an interview of Mark Divine, a former US Navy Seal. He now trains people wanting to make it into the Navy Seals. He has introduced mindfulness meditation and pranayamic breathing style called: Box Breathing amongst Navy Seals.

        In thid interview he recalls how he used to meditate on his future as a Navy Seal before he finally made it. Like your “Foregone Conclusion” he describes it as: “My belief became a knowing”.

        • Anon Regular says:

          It’s interesting how the Navy SEALs can house different personalities.

          Jocko Willink (another famous exemplar of SEALness) is some kind of clever-tactician-meets-sociopathic-killer archetype.

          Mark Divine strikes me as much more of a hippie, almost a bit “yin” in his attitude toward morale and other things.

          There are likely more “SEAL sub-archetypes” to be found in the wild.

          Obviously they are both very robust phenotypes with very powerful male-pattern hunter-gatherer instincts, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it this far.

          In RAW terms, there is a very distinct “SEAL” Circuit 2 imprint, that they all share, but then there are also very distinct varieties among them.

          I dunno, maybe I am just seeing patterns in the clouds….

          • Arpan says:

            As far as I have read/elwatched stuff about the Seal(and some other special forces) , they are today encouraged to cultivate “psychological dissociation”(which has its dark side as seen in zen-indoctrination of Japanese forces about “illusiory nature of physical self” during WW2 which helped them in being quite brutal). That’s the closest they have come to properly integrating something close to meditation in their training. Afterall, war without blind tribal/nationalist/mating emotion goes against our biological instincts( to run away from danger) and thus huge modern armies which naturally cannot comprise of only individuals passionate for One thing, need other approaches to deal with biological-stress.

            Though with Mindfulness Based Mental Fitness(M-Fit) program coming up in US military and certain ancient systems of yogic training being introduced on a pilot basis in Indian paramilitary and special forces, this inclinement towards the yin is bound to increase. Thesr guys are too stressed out and need a balancing dose of yin which does not detract from their martial prowess, rather aids it.

            Only a handful of people are born soldiers. Rest are there fighting in self defence.
            As Sadhguru states: these young men are trembling in fear, which they suppress with dogmatic anger, committing foolish/monstrous acts in turn. I want to give them a system of training where they calmly walk into the battlefield, shoot who needs to be shot and come back. Perhaps lisyen to a guide-app on their way back.

            I don’t think too highly of guys like Willink as far as personal development goes. They gave your usual no-brainer vbrute force approach which frankly glosses over complexities and diversities in human temperament. Though the feminization and resultant irresponsibility creeping into modern civilization is something which needs a dose of them. I mean, come on, in most modern criminal justice systems we have an exemption for a homicide committed oyr of. “sudden provocation”.

            Mark Divine did not seem to be a hippie to me, he looks and sounds like an extremely hardworking, clear and disciplined person with a strong view of right and wrong.

            ” very powerful male-pattern hunter-gatherer instincts, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it this far.”
            I agree with your reading of them, but not with the latter part. Yes, that instinct is a huge help for an average person in attaining such goals, but not an “absolute” necessity.

            • Anon Regular says:

              It’s interesting to see how compartmentalized Jocko is – on one hand he can read something like Musashi’s “Five Rings” and kind-of grasp at non-duality, on the other hand, when Tim Ferriss talks about Vipassana retreats, Jocko says “I wouldn’t want to do that – it wouldn’t be a happy place for me” (or something to that effect).

              I think the concept of yin and yang are basically “patterns”, it’s the left-brain trying to make out something when looking at the gestalts of the right-brain. But, yeah, integrating yin and yang is bound to create something good (cf Hans Eysenck, the genius researcher, who said that genius = “to be an intellectual stuck in an artist’s personality”).

              Yes, it is true what you say, that people use anger to unleash aggressive patterns of behavior.

              I’m not sure I like the idea of Zen assassins as you describe (unless they really have their dharma-trip down :))

              I disagree Jocko, he *is* a nuanced thinker (just not nuanced enough).

              Sorry, “hippie” was the first word that came to mind. I said it with positive intent, FWIW 🙂

              So you figure someone could complete SEAL training without that imprint? Yes, possibly – cf Dan Bilzerian who did it twice (but got kicked out for having an incompatible personality / “admin reasons”).

              • Anon Regular says:

                Clarification of Bilzerian: (I think) he is male-pattern “solo hunter”, whereas the SEALs need a bit more “group hunting” (including “alpha male leader” for the officers).

              • Anon Regular says:

                Actually, I *could* see someone being completely “off-pattern” and making it through training. They would make it through by manipulating the team-mates, covering up their alienness by playing roles as the situation demanded.

                Maybe there is a certain sub-caste of “alien sociopaths” in the SEAL ranks 🙂

                • Arpan says:

                  It’s not that complicated. You are assuming that our action needs aid of subconscious habits, especially when it comes to physically gritty work and violence, or the difficulty and the feeling of repugnance would get the better of us.
                  No, if we are conscious enough, we can simply choose to act however we please, letting our habitual thoughts and emotions dance their dance ineffectually.
                  Though I agree that’s not a pragmatic way to train an entire army in a short term, and it’s best to play up natural habits that aid in such tasks at the expense of habits which hinder.
                  As a norse saying goes: the wolf who wins is the wolf you feed.

                  • Anon Regular says:

                    The evolutionary sub-programs are set at a certain “IQ” by default, but they can definitely be brought up with integration. The brain can reorganize, cf “Fight IQ” in martial arts.

      • Anon Regular says:

        These “foregone conclusions” are (usually) quite easy to generate, depending on IQ (I suppose).

        There is a tricky gray zone where you need to keep certain rule-systems in place (say, the laws of physics).

        So, the trick there is to find a work-around or “glitch” somehow.

        Ditching the laws of physics is not something one wants to do lightly :p

        • Arpan says:

          One thing I found very effective in turning factors of Disbelief into the very strength of intention is: Intending-retrospectively i.e. “Oh wow, I did it despite xyz misgivings!
          Silly me, I was making a mountain out of a mole-hill”

          Is the abovested approach something on lines of the “workaround” you are talking about ?

    • Anon Regular says:

      At the higher end of productivity, you realize that reality is a kind of “VR headset”, and that you are constantly being programmed by your environment – ie your right brain learns the “cosmology” from your particular imprinting-environment (aka culture, people, etc).

      So why not program yourself, then? Belief is just right-brain speak for how it does things. The left brain is like a raster, the right brain operates in fluid shapes – if you realize this, you can play around with both, and arrive at superior results.

      What I wrote above is a left-brain understanding of how the right-brain operates, but it’s a functional raster because I can then speak of primitives like “belief”, “certainty”, “manifesting”, etc, thus locking in some of those fluid shapes into “Lego blocks” that I can stack through linguistics (left-brain programming). How the right-brain *actually* does things is something we can only approach in our understanding (because “understanding” is a left-brain way of understanding things :))

      Ie is the Universe a psycho-active substance or does your right-brain just filter out 1000x more information than your left brain takes in?

      We can’t know, but magick is essentially a very functional way of using the right brain to achieve left-brain goals.

      Realizing that the true bottleneck in your “productivity” is just your ability to visualize things and access kinesthetics in your body… is a mind-opener to say the least 😉

      Sorry for rambling format – still working on nailing down my “style”.

      • Anon Regular says:

        This is also the point where I realize that Illuminatus could / should / would / might write a book about Magick.

        Leary, Wilson and Alli need a successor 🙂

      • Illuminatus says:

        I need to write a post knocking down the “brain is just a computer” model, because beyond a certain point it is worthless.

        “Belief is just right-brain speak for how it does things.”

        It doesn’t “do” anything; it’s a passive “perceiver”. You just projected left-brain modes onto the right brain and said the whole thing was a computer in several different ways.

        You can help me with my post, though (and perhaps help your own understanding, too): can you come up with three ways that the brain is NOTHING like a computer? 🙂 Thanks.

        • Anon Regular says:

          Like I said “the brain is a computer” is the left brain talking about something in a way it can understand. That in itself is also left-brain. The only “solution” is full Enlightenment, I suppose.

          • Illuminatus says:

            No need to leap to such a conclusion.

            Right-brain understanding is all about direct experience. Temporarily relinquish your need for verbal descriptions. Sit and do meditation. Go on a presence walk. Take LSD. Tune into nonduality. The silent hemisphere “speaks” through silence.

        • Anon Regular says:

          Sure the brain can be modelled as other-than-a-computer, but that in itself is putting it in terms of computability – the “is-a” language is itself pointing toward computers, because it indicates bivalence / aristotelian-logic. So, I would have to “tell” you in terms of music or something like that 🙂

          • Illuminatus says:

            It’s not that complicated. Just come up with some ways in which the brain isn’t like a computer.

            • Anon Regular says:


              The brain is like an antenna and the universe is the ether

              The brain is like an organ, like a smarter version of the liver

              The brain is a jelly that stores electromagnetic imprints for future reference (like a much more evolved jelly-fish)

              The brain is a hologram generator / receiver

              The brain is vat of chemicals being mixed around, leading body-parts to do stuff

              Is that what you mean?

              • Anon Regular says:

                All this is very brain-centric though. Not to mention human-centric.

                Microbes are using human bodies to propagate themselves. There is a central command organ that makes this being do what the microbes want (basically – the organism has some autonomy).

              • Anon Regular says:

                All this is very brain-centric though. Not to mention human-centric.

                Microbes are using human bodies to propagate themselves. There is a central command organ that makes this being do what the microbes want (basically – the organism has some autonomy).

              • Illuminatus says:

                Well, no, you’re just saying other things the brain might be “like”.

                I was looking for negations of the “brain is a computer” idea.

                So, here are some ways the brain is NOT like a computer:

                – The brain is alive

                – Brain does not have static memory; so, everyone remembers something different from the same event, and remembering memories changes them

                – Brain cannot reliably be “programmed”; sure there are general programmes of brainwashing but they do not work on everyone. Also, “brain programmers” have not figured out something which should be simple to do if the brain was a computer, which is get people to give up smoking. If someone does not want to give up smoking, they won’t. If they really want to give up, then any technique will work. So, there is no “common programming language” which works on everyone (transferability, like computer programs) and which has the same effects on everybody. So, now you can just say, “Okay, well that means there are just many types of computer.” But the whole point of the computer analogy is that it simplifies the brain to one model or schema. If there are “infinite computers” then the analogy is worthless.

                Anyway, I think the “brain is just a computer” analogy is bullshit and should be abandoned as early as possible.

                • Anon Regular says:

                  That makes sense, yeah.

                • Arpan says:

                  “So, now you can just say, “Okay, well that means there are just many types of computer.” But the whole point of the computer analogy is that it simplifies the brain to one model or schema. If there are “infinite computers” then the analogy is worthless.”

                  By “computer” I guess they mean “a mechanical system with data processing ability”. In that broad definition, if brain is regarded as purely physical in its function, biologists csn always say that it indeed is a computer. Because it certainly is all that.
                  The real argument of a meditator is: Brain can do much more than what any computer can do. Which again is something unprovable by material means.
                  Sciientists can show that computers too can produce music, fashion styles.

                  As far as programmes go: this is really subjective. They can say we have not understood the mechanism if this biological computer, so definitely can’t programme it as or now.

                  For static memory, they can say: brain records and handles far more complex data than a normal computer: Tastes and smells for example. And maybe it has accurate static memory, just that recall function is influenced my too many factors.

                  As for brain being alive: it goes back to the classic question: what is life ?

                  One cannot convince a materialist in this debate by any means, especially not before brain-science has matured. They would have just too many escape points in this “nascent science”.

                  • Illuminatus says:

                    Good points.

                    In any case, I tend to notice themes and their consequences. If someone says, “The X is just a Y”, I know that they’ve done something which has necessarily limited their own understanding of X by presenting it in familiar terms, Y.

                    What they need, to understand X, is more DIRECT EXPERIENCE of X. That means sitting, shutting up, and being with X. Not trying to convince the world that it’s just another form of Y.

                    I am reminded of physicist Michio Kaku saying, “the internet is a planetary telephone system”. Can you think of a more redundant and limiting analogy for the internet? Okay: “The internet is a series of tubes” (Senator Ted Stevens). But he is not considered one of our world’s premier minds.

                    They can all fuck off as far as I’m concerned.

                    • Anon Regular says:

                      That’s a good way to describe the limiting effects of metaphor. “The Internet” is not like something else, it’s its own thing. I guess we need some kind of construct that does the same thing as a metaphor but actually opens the mind to silence – like a koan, but more “Western”. A way of speaking that switches the right brain on more.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      Well, you get films like The Matrix which are filled with that kind of vague speech, like “There is no spoon.”

                      But these are just modern versions of koans.

                      And we have meditation which does this exact thing without needing words at all.

                    • Arpan says:

                      Lol. I think we ought to be more tolerant with likes of him. These guys are definitely poking holes in the smug satisfaction of material science. These are baby steps to dilution of hard nosed materialism . They are to an Enlightened view, what shamans are to Buddha for example.

                      There is a reason why yogis didn’t bother about arguing or proving stuff, except on hard scientific topics(eg Varahmihir). Nor did they seek to teach except to those who begged for it.

                      Shinzen Young too thinks that one day a complete map of Central Nervous System may help in using mechanical means to enlighten people:

        • Arpan says:

          Brain certainly has functionalities of a computer, which you hv oft stated as the “left brain”. Thus it’s firstly important tobe clear what a computer is actually abd whether it accurately maps onto the left brain.
          Thks left vs right divide itself seems very left brained.
          Eg. Some ace chess players egMagnus Carlson are reknowned to rely mainly upon intuitive fe of spatial positioning of the pieces. This has a weak point for chess computers. But with increase in brute computing power, just a computational analysis is enough to help modern computers( even the one in your phone) to beat a grandmaster.
          Now this weakness of computers could not be compensated for by even modern computational capability when it comes to the game of Go/Baduk(larger board and more spatially oriented than chess). However Deep Mind with neural network learning abilities has managed to defeat world rank 2(dunno the latest news). It plays billions of games per minute with itself, literally assuming playing styles it has encountered with humans and then countering them, thus becoming better and better.

          That said, I still believe that human intuition has shades which are qualitatively alien to the logical process as understood via the low level of mundane perception. However, to prove that it is so would need accomplishment of feats which no computer seems to show hypothetical potential of. Perhaps at some level, this divide does not truly exist.

          • Anon Regular says:

            The left brain has some elements to it (time, causality, wanting to map things into categories – which turns into binary thinking in aspies, wanting to tell stories, etc) that at the higher ends of its capacity can start to look like a computer program (I would call it more “thinking mathematically”, though).

            There are of course other left-brain modes than “smartness” / “mathematics”. We just call it something else – “gifted” (music) or “wise” (sages), for instance. I think the exact modus arises as a function of how much “work” is done by either hemisphere – extreme left-brainedness leads to a state of complete dissociation and being in one’s head, while music improvising is obviously a more mixed mode. (Just my speculation).

            Left brain as “generator/mapper” and right brain as “observer” is a good model, I think.

            • Anon Regular says:

              For improv music, the left brain is doing all of the work of creating the stream of notes. But it is much more tuned into the right brain and what feels good intuitively. So there is a feeling of being less rigid, that the systems of scales, etc, are not so rigid anymore, and that this sweet spot between structure and feeling is following “reality / what-feels-good” closely.

              Cf mathematics, where such flow is possible, but much harder to attain. Most math guys are kind of stuck in their heads, I think…

              • Illuminatus says:

                Music is well known to be a massively right-brained phenomenon.

                I have a feeling you are speculating on modes you have no experience of, hence your confusion and simplification to irrelevant analogies.

                • Anon Regular says:

                  Yeah, that is probably scientifically inaccurate, what I said above. I guess I over-extended your model of right brain being silent and doing nothing.

                  My personal experience of music is that there is someone “doing”, but that someone is not exactly me anymore, and that “I” am just watching someone match left-brain stuff (scales) to what feels good in the moment.

            • Arpan says:

              “Left brain as “generator/mapper” and right brain as “observer” is a good model, I think.”
              Yes, but I would desist from pitting them in a versus situation. From my own meditation experience this “observer” is the underlying strata of which the “mapper” is just an outshoot.
              This circles back the the classic “Hard problem of Consciousness” i .e. who is the oberver ?
              If we trust siddhis and yogic experience, this entity far exceeds the physical brain. Indeed, yoga treats the brain as just a channel for the mind.
              I think any attempt to disprove the brain is a computer would edge upon disproving a plethora of assumptions of materal science. And that attempt is perfectly useless because so far that brain is a physical system, it would certainly have mechanical correlates for every action of Consciousness, and the biologiat would pount out:
              There! You see it is still a machine like any computer is. Maybe very different from our modern computers, maybe far more complex, bit machine nonetheless.”

              Only good way to go about it is to show how brain is not an isolated entity in the body and how “intelligence” and “memory” is distributed throughout the body abd works in harmony with the brain. Thus if brain is to be considered a computer, that brain is the entire body.

              • Illuminatus says:

                >Only good way to go about it is to show how brain is not an isolated entity in the body and how “intelligence” and “memory” is distributed throughout the body abd works in harmony with the brain. Thus if brain is to be considered a computer, that brain is the entire body.

                Good one! I figured out a long time ago that this automatically precludes the idea (well known as being said by Ross from Friends) that, someday, we will be able to copy the mind and store it on a computer. Of course, this is based on the idea that the brain is just a computer and the mind is “data” which can be copied.

                However, like you said, the body is an inextricable part of this. The body grounds the mind in “embodied, worldly experience”. In fact, if you take an anaesthetic like ketamine which removes the body from the equation, the resulting consciousness is NOTHING resembling the human experience. So, if you could get a “disembodied” mind stored on a computer, the experience that mind would have would similarly be NOT HUMAN.

                Further to this, the only thing that can provide the inputs required to create the perception of a body is… a body.

                • Anon Regular says:

                  I guess a counter-argument is that you could just scan the whole body brain, same as with the “uploading” thing but a bit more thorough.

                  The reason why I don’t think it’s possible (or rather, meaningful) is because a computer chip won’t have the same subjective awareness as us, so even if we managed to map out the whole “body-brain” as ones and zeroes, it wouldn’t be doing anything productive, just running a carbon-copy of a nervous-system. Which is useful if you want slaves, but not for extending lifespan (since the “I Am” awareness is not there anymore).

                • Arpan says:

                  What do you think about the attempts at head-transplantation ?

                  An interesting article related to experiencrd of consciousness being stored in various organs:

                  • Illuminatus says:


                    Because I have no direct experience of it I also have no thoughts on it!

                    • Arpan says:

                      I meant: Since you posit that brain does not exist in isolation, a brain/head transplant shoupd bring in many complications. Eg where will the original persona be ? Etc
                      Though would probably be in head. Certain victims of French guillitone expressed emotions via a severed head.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      It would “tune in” a hybrid personality consisting of the memories of the head but with the new input from the body.

                      Both prior “personae” would cease to exist. It would be a new persona.

                      But I don’t believe in persistent, consistent personae anyway. I don’t believe in a soul that gets passed between bodies. The only “soul” is the universe itself.

                      The universe is infinite possibility and the body “tunes in” a specific experience from that infinity.

                      But head transplants won’t be possible until nanotechnology anyway. Too many nerves to hook up. I don’t understand how the myofascia joins between transplanted or reattached limbs either. I foresee many problems with movement.

                      Truth be told, I don’t ever see it happening.

                    • Arpan says:

                      “But I don’t believe in persistent, consistent personae anyway.”
                      Yeah, that’s. I guess a universally accepred position amongst all meditators.

                      “The universe is infinite possibility and the body “tunes in” a specific experience from that infinity.”
                      Every “Soul” being the Infinite in itself is what I too have oft repeated. But does that mean:

                      you don’t believe that impressions of 1 lifetime have anything to do with a being born in future ? As in, every birth in the world stands by itself, with no relation to any “stream of events in past” , and dissolves into infinity at death with its impressions being of no consequence ? In that case, Nirvana would make sense only as an experience of life.
                      Also, individual-liberated-being like experienced by Tony Daniels will be a chimera.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      So there is a “sea” of awareness that is the universe.

                      Bodies form a kind of “receiver” for that awareness. The shape of the receiver determines the signal (experience) tuned in.

                      The receiver shape is mainly to do with neurological layout. I believe things like kundalini awakening are indeed huge changes in neurological configuration. We can model this as being like a larval form (regular human) who undergoes a metamorphosis to a mature form (awakened being). Paths of insight could be seen as stages of metamorphosis.

                      The human transforms into something new. The receiver changes shape and tunes in an entirely new experience. The body, not just the head, determines this “shape”; the neurological layout of the body and head are part of the same overall shape.

                      A head transplant would completely fuck that up. I don’t really see anyone living as an integrated being after a head transplant. I also don’t think they will ever happen.

                      “you don’t believe that impressions of 1 lifetime have anything to do with a being born in future ? As in, every birth in the world stands by itself, with no relation to any “stream of events in past” , and dissolves into infinity at death with its impressions being of no consequence ? In that case, Nirvana would make sense only as an experience of life.”

                      At this point I am inclined to believe that the quality or “integratedness” of an experience during a life provides cues as to what will spawn next as part of the universe’s continued experience of itself (we know this as “evolution”).

                      I believe the universe prefers “coherent” structures through which to experience itself. Jhanas and eventual awakening are movements towards higher coherence.

                      A head transplant is a ghoulish incoherence and the universe would reject it as a vehicle, dying immediately or soon after.

                      There is a “death response”, it seems, where the universe deems an experience too intolerable or an abomination. You can see married couples die days apart (even when the other is mostly healthy) due to the breakdown of coherence established through the bonded experience.

                      The human experience is typically incoherent. The left and right brains seems to have much conflict which renders the experience very disjointed and chaotic. I have had a suspicion for a while (but I do not pay much heed to it) that an outside force intervened and cut the corpus callosum, which is why humans are so crazy. Meditation can be seen as forging links to replace ones that should already be there. That is obviously just a wild conjecture, probably in response to my sadness at how insane humans are and the evidence pointing to left-brain dominance as the cause of much of that. Humans are stuck in a “doing” mode and it is very, very destructive.

                    • Anon Regular says:

                      “The human experience is typically incoherent. The left and right brains seems to have much conflict which renders the experience very disjointed and chaotic. I have had a suspicion for a while (but I do not pay much heed to it) that an outside force intervened and cut the corpus callosum, which is why humans are so crazy. Meditation can be seen as forging links to replace ones that should already be there. That is obviously just a wild conjecture, probably in response to my sadness at how insane humans are and the evidence pointing to left-brain dominance as the cause of much of that. Humans are stuck in a “doing” mode and it is very, very destructive.”

                      Do you think some humans are better connected by nature?

                      My whole life (except early childhood) I felt as if something was wrong and that I was kind of dissociated. But I always felt that it was something that shouldn’t be like that, ie I never accepted it as normal.

                      With meditation, I feel like things are much more alright, and sometimes I see a glimpse of direct experience, just like in childhood.

                      Other people seem crazy these days, but’s also easy to just speak truth to them and get them to go along with you. My experience anyway 🙂

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ Edd: what you say is on the lines of Hindu Non Dualism as commonly interpretted today. It’s propounder(a yogin and commentator on original texts) had been responsible for out-arguing buddhist out of India(leading to a vuitual disappearance of Buddhism in India), but had been criticized as a “crypto buddhist”. Cz Buddhist Nirvana got replaced by Universal Brahman(your “sea of awareness”) while the Individual was considered an Illusion(as he is intereptetted in modern times).

                      Short of stating the original text(which is translated and explained in excellent English but extremely detailed) I can say this is the original view:
                      There is a vast Vision of One in All(Individual selves), One as All(Cosmic/univesal Brahman, hindus call Being)) and All in One( Transcendent Brahman i.e. tbat which exceeds all Existence, this is the aspect which Buddhists call Nirvana, hindus call Non Being).
                      Thus each “soul” is the entire Universe experiencing itself as an Individual(as you state). It assumes many personalities, carries karmic impressions etc.
                      It is the Experiencer/subject itself, not a concept ir object which runs through varioys lifestimes. As it awakens more and more, it becomes capable of “integrating” more and more of ots being, thus later on the mind and vital do not get completely disintegrated at death, and yiu say great men being born with astonishing maturity and sense of purpose.
                      This is one of the poetic expressions of Brahman:

                    • Arpan says:

                      Lift your eyes towards the Sun; He is there in that wonderful heart of life & light and splendour. Watch at night the innumerable constellations glittering like so many solemn watchfires of the Eternal in the limitless silence which is no void but throbs with the presence of a single calm and tremendous existence; see there Orion with his sword and belt shining as he shone to the Aryan fathers ten thousand years ago at the beginning of the Aryan era, Sirius in his splendour, Lyra sailing billions of miles away in the ocean of space. Remember that these innumerable worlds, most of them mightier than our own, are whirling with indescribable speed at the beck of that
                      Ancient of Days whither none but He knoweth, and yet that they are a million times more ancient than your Himalaya, more steady than the roots of your hills and shall so remain until He at his will shakes them off like withered leaves from the eternal tree of the Universe.

                      Imagine the endlessness of Time, realise the boundlessness of Space; and then remember that when these worlds were not, He was, the Same as now, and when these are not, He shall be, still the Same; perceive that beyond Lyra He is and far away in Space where the stars of the Southern Cross cannot be seen, still He is there. And then come back to the Earth & realise who this He is. He is quite near to you. See yonder old man who passes near you crouching & bent, with his stick. Do you realise that it is God who is passing? There a child runs laughing in the sunlight. Can you hear Him in that laughter? Nay, He is nearer still to you. He is in you, He is you. It is yourself that burns yonder millions of miles away in the infinite reaches of Space, that walks with confident steps on the tumbling billows of the ethereal sea; it is you who have set the stars in their places and woven the necklace of the suns not with hands but by that Yoga, that silent actionless impersonal Will which has set you here today listening to yourself in me. Look up, Ochild of the ancient Yoga, and be no longer a trembler and a doubter; fear not, doubt not, grieve not; for in your apparent body is One who can create & destroy worlds with a breath.

              • Anon Regular says:

                “This circles back the the classic “Hard problem of Consciousness” i .e. who is the oberver ?”

                I think it’s the entire universe. “You’re” just identified with being a human, in a specific “time”.

                In other words, the whole universe is watching itself, and then there are pockets of identification.

                But obviously that’s just a poetic way of talking about something that cannot be talked-about!

                “Brain is like a computer” is a story that can map to some aspects of “reality” – ie we can compare neural nets running on silicon hardware and say that the brain maps to that. But we can also say that the (man-made) computer is mimicking some part of human cognition.

                • Illuminatus says:

                  In my model of reality, the universe started out by splitting itself into “vantage points” (VPs) in order to explore relationships. These started with simple “towards/away”, “up/down” etc. relationships which we perceive today as the fundamental particles.

                  So, in my model, even fundamental particles have an awareness. Furthermore, I do not consider “objects” to be prime. So, those particles do not “exist” as objects. Rather, “relationships” are prime. Consider two points:

                  A ————- B

                  In “object space” (our usual way of conceiving things), A and B exist separately and the relationship arises between them.

                  In my model, “relationship space”, we just start out with the line ( the relationship):


                  And we can infer “separate objects” — the end points of the line — from the nature of the interaction.

                  So, from a sexual relationship, the universe can infer that it is experiencing that relationship via two “end points”, Alice and Bob.

                  The universe is therefore always whole and infers separate senses of self from the relationships going on at the time.

                  This is totally the opposite way 99.99999999% of people come at the universe from. And my way seems to explain a lot more on a “gut level” (though I would need to think through specific ways it is better than the current model).

                  Anyway, under this model, EVERYTHING has “basic awareness”. But whether are a computer would be “alive” or not depends on the RELATIONSHIPS that arose from the computer. So, if a computer resembled enough a woman for a man to have a romantic relationship, perhaps the universe would infer “life” in the computer as one of the end points of that relationship.

                  The model needs more fleshing out, probably. But in my bones it’s the right one.

                  • Anon Regular says:

                    Very interesting. That would mean that “love” makes sense on a cosmic level, as well.

                  • Anon Regular says:

                    Ah, I get it.

                    The relationship is primary, “the hot AI assistant” is just a manifestation of that, and the universe will spawn a timeline that makes sense from the relationship. We get the causality mixed-up from our human perspective.

                    Something like that?

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      Yeah. I haven’t thought about it that much so these kinds of other perspectives are welcome.

                      I got the idea from a vision, a very vivid “knowing” vision, following insight meditation (a lively session involving multiple cessations).

                      “Direct experience” just kind of passes into knowledge without needing to “study” in the traditional way, that’s why it’s so difficult for left-brainers to grasp (or even believe in).

                    • Anon Regular says:

                      I hear ya, Illuminatus. I am moving into that territory also. Direct truth, without any intermediation.

                      The prankster / Tim Ferriss in me wants to know, of course, if this model can be used for fun purposes 🙂

                  • Illuminatus says:

                    Arpan, any thoughts on my “relationship space” model? Anything from scripture matching up with it?

                    • Arpan says:

                      I am not sure I have understood it perfectly.
                      What I have understood is: You seem to say that Ultimate Reality(I mean That which becomes the Existemce/Universe) splits into a polarity(a relationship) and the 2 ends of that polarity are what we give different names, perceiving them as objects ?
                      If yes, then that closely matches both most hindu and taoist(and tibetan buddhist) systems. For sake of simplicity, I would overlook their hairsplitting differences. What Taoidm calls Tao is Brahman for Hinduism. What Taoism calls Yin and Yang is called Prakriti and Purusha(and various other names on deity couples of various sects eg Shakti and Shiva, Tara and Buddha etc). So, they say that Brahman is the sexual union/marriage of Shakti and Shiva or it has 2 faces: Prakriti and Purush(I will use Shakti and Shiva for sake of brevity).

                      Shakti is your Nature-part that is the Dynamism/Doer is you, the energy in you. It keeps changing from moment to moment. Shiva is the Stillness/consciousness /observer/knower in you. In a deluded being Shiva is enthralled by the dance of Shakti and is troubled by her whims like a lovelorn guy suffering from Oneitis. When shiva in you takes the Red Pill of Enlightenment, he realizes his own sovereignity, and Shakti rests on his lap(in Kundalini terms, Kundalini Shakti rises to meet Shiva at the Crown Chakra).
                      This game starts when Shiva and Shakti choose to play hide and seek( Cosmic Consciousness decides to play the game of Manifestation/Multiplicity).
                      Shiva the All-Knower decides to obscure his omniscience and Shakti her Omnipotence.
                      Shakti hides in different guises, from the grossest to the sublimest and Shiva seeks her out in that guise. As Shiva recovers some of his Knowing, Shakti escapes to form a higher/sublimer plane of existence, and Shiva persues. Eg. On physical plane she becomes the Material Nature, and Shiva the dull awareness in matter(on a more local level, if your body is the Shakti, the mechanical physical/cellular-mind is Shiva). On vital level, Shakti is the passionate life energy that creates impusion in plants to grow, in animals to enjoy food, sex and compeition and desires and emotions, while Shiva is the vigorous yet somewhat unintellectual vital-mind(warrior-archetype is largely ruled by the vital-mind). On Mental plane, shakti becomes your thoughts while shiva becomes the observing mental-purusha(the static part of mind). This is Mind-proper, as it shines in intellectuals.
                      So on the Shiva and Shakti keep ascending, creating different planes of mutual play(I have talked about 7 levels of existence a number of times). On the Plane of Ideation, shakti is the Cosmic Ideas which manifest on lower planes in due time, while Shiva becomes the Ideal Purush, or the perfect-Knower.
                      On Bliss Plane, they are United in Ecstatic Blissful Union , of which we get watered down glimpses when we eat good food, experienxe an orgasm etc.
                      Pain of Existence is this Omniscience and Omnipotence that “we” miss.(and my grudge with modern non dualist hindus and buddhists is that they seek to rectify Nature only as far as the Knowing is perfected, leaving the lower manifestations of Nature untransformed, thus missing out on Power, of a transformed body, mind and vital).

                      You say, everything has basic awareness. That obviously fits the system I describe, because everuthing does not merely Have Awareness, but everything is a manifestation of Consciousness/Brahman.
                      We need not get into “what’s alive ?” though. That’s subjective, depending on what level of awareness and organizational complexity we define as “life”. Eastern systems are very animistic here, thus they call upon gods reigning over everything in Nature. For them, everything is Alive.

                    • Anon Regular says:

                      I think what Illuminatus is getting-at is that the idea of “perspective itself” implies some kind of underlying duality to the universe, and that this then throws-off “beings” like persons, happenings, incarnations, etc, which then gets interpreted in our causal terms (A caused B, etc), when it was really the “fact of duality” itself which threw-off these manifestations and any causality is actually the underlying “thing” reaching through time.

                      So there is fundamentally something looking at itself, and this is seen at many different levels. And causality is an illusion, arising from our 1st person perspective and being in-time.

                      Apologies if I got it wrong!

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      @Arpan: The tale of Shakti and Shiva is beautiful and elegant. Thanks for sharing! It stirred me. I find it hard to believe this philosophy has started to be lost in India in favour of monotheistic systems like Christianity.

                      @Anon Regular: That’s basically it, especially this last paragraph:

                      “So there is fundamentally something looking at itself, and this is seen at many different levels. And causality is an illusion, arising from our 1st person perspective and being in-time.”

                      So it came to me many years before the “vision” I spoke of that a perspective (“vantage point”, “VP”) only experiences time because he believes he is a “doer”.

                      The crude analogy I came upon was that of someone kicking a football. The person assumes he is the doer: he kicks the football. He is the cause. The ball then travels in time and space and creates the appearance of a line of causality tracing back to the doer who kicked the ball.

                      But then I thought, “What is it about the ball’s nature that makes it so eminently kickable?” From the ball’s perspective, it draws the kicker towards it via its essential roundness and kickability. And then I wondered why we don’t think the ball has a perspective. It seems able to attract kickers.

                      Following the “vision”, I thought about this more as a relationship of “kickability” from which the universe infers both a kicker and a ball, whereas one cannot exist without the other.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      P.S. The corollary of this example is that anything which defines you as a “person” is derived from a relationship with some other thing.

                      Eventually I just made the relationships the “prime” here, not the objects. The objects are inferred from the relationship.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ Edd: Monotheistic systems are not an existential threat here till now. India is probably the only colonised nation that has maintained native religion as the overwhelmingly major religion(over 80% population) while veing subjected to both earlier Islam and later Christianity. Both these have largely got a following in poorer sections. Native philosophies are not being vigorously upheld as most people have bread and butter concerns right now.
                      Anyway, Eastern systems are like water, and their undefined amorphous adaptable nature makes them hard to target. I guess, as awareness and education increases in society, humans would naturally turn to more direct abd efficient means of inner transformation. These techs and means are the cherished core of East and these can’t be lost forever like Law of Gravitation can’t. They would keep reappearing in different guises even if their old ones are destroyed.

                      As for your analogy: I know you took “objects” as secondary, these are what I mapped onto the changing forms the polarity of Shiva and Shakti takes. While I mapped your “relationship” onto the “polarity” of shiva and shakti itself, as polarity is the only constant(like your “relationship”) in the entire story.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      Following the “vision” I had around three days of my fullest and most profound “enlightenment” experiences I have ever had. Sadly though they were temporary!

                      The experiences consisted of the following, however. I could look at an object and tune into the relationship with the object exclusively, meaning the object was no longer perceived but the relationship was. So, if I looked at a ball, I would experience “roundness” but not perceive an actual ball.

                      Occasionally this “mode” would stick, meaning I was tuned into “relationship space” for prolonged periods. Here are some characteristics of what this state was like:

                      – No verbal thoughts.
                      – No perception of “facts” or “information” about things.
                      – No perception of objects, only relationships.
                      – No perception of a self or experiencer; just the experience/relationship.
                      – “Flow”, meaning everything would appear to be an ocean with no discernible centre of that ocean.
                      – Light, meaning there was extra light in all things.
                      – No suffering.
                      – No judgment as to whether something was “good” or “bad”.

                      For around three days I could tune into this “relationship space” at just a thought or will.

                      However, after that, I remember I began to look at objects and say “relationship” in my mind to summon the switch, which would work sometimes, but eventually I found myself just looking at an object saying “relationship” over and over again with nothing happening.

                      It was in fact a jhanaic “dream vision” of my father (who passed away nearly two years ago) which somehow preceded the sudden, tangible knowledge that the whole universe is about relationships and exists for no other purpose than to experience relationships.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ Edd: Swami Vivekanand used to say: Yoga develops great power of abstraction where it is deficient, and is greatly aided by that power where it is wholesome.
                      Your tallies with this.

  8. Morgan says:

    Have you seen this?

    Mysterious African guy uses black magick to put a Dubai bank official under a spell and convince him to send him hundreds of millions of dollars. He then travels to America and seduces a woman who works at Citibank and convinces her to help him launder the money into his American account.

    I initially thought this guy was just a normal confidence trickster but the stuff he was able to pull off goes far beyond anything I’ve ever heard of. Looks like a case of actual magickal mind control

  9. Axel says:

    I thought he was a trickster too until the end of the story where he answers the journalist: “Madame, if a person had that kind of power…”. That sounds suspicious as hell.

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