Friday, 20 October 2017

Rabble Rousers

"The crowd likes best what sells in the market-place
And loud-mouthed force alone wins a slave's respect.
In gods and godhead only he can
Truly believe who himself is godlike."

- Hölderlin

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Esoteric Wisdom with Mark Passio (3): The Chakras and the Planets

Passio (website:, as part of his bringing occult concepts into the open, ties the planets visible to the naked eye (therefore no further than Saturn) to the chakras, i.e. energy centres, of the human body. In the Hermetic tradition this is known as the principle of correspondence which can be summarised by the slogan 'as above, so below'. 

The All (or Whole) is reflected and contained in all its parts and each individual part reflects and contains the All (the Whole) (as Passio's introduction to his website states, 'Welcome, One and All'). In his very first podcast Passio understands this principle as meaning that
"our reality is self-similar across scales. It is fractal in nature. It is holographic."
This is the insight that guides the Delphic 'know thyself' injunction: all essential knowledge is self-knowledge (i.e. knowing who you are) and there is no grasping the mysteries of the universe without first grasping one's 'inner house'. The inscription at Delphi reads:
"Heed these words, you who wish to probe the depths of nature. If you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither will you find it outside of yourself. If you ignore the wonders of your own house, how do you expect to find other wonders. In you is hidden the treasure of treasures. Know thyself and you will know the universe and the gods." (my italics)
The following considerations on the planets and chakras, by their nature reflecting the principle of correspondence, may therefore be helpful in the quest for self-understanding. 

Saturn = the root chakra. The root chakra was known by the Ancients as the Disciplinarian. Indeed, Saturn's orbit is the largest and encircles the orbits of all the other planets. Passio claims that those in the legal profession wear and don Saturnalian garb in terms of their uniforms and professional symbols - without consciously realising it of course (for blog posts related to this see Graduates & Cops as well as Esotericism in the Film Cube). 

Saturn (χρόνος in Greek which means 'time') is the father of all the other gods/planets and represents basic survival, things like motor skills and the fight or flight mechanism. While survival is the basic instinct on which all the others rest, it is not for all that the highest instinct (consider the homonymy between basic and base). 

Jupiter = the sacrum chakra which loosely corresponds to the genital area. Broadly speaking, this chakra represents desire, not only of a sexual kind but also of an intellectual, wanting-to-know type (what French philosopher Michel Foucault who, ironically, was very involved in alternative sexual practices, called 'la volonté de savoir'). At any rate, a core desire for wisdom (philosophy from the greek φιλοσοφία is traditionally translated as 'love of wisdom', see Thinking v Opining) is required to ascend in consciousness. This sort of fits in with Jupiter (desire) being the leader and king of the gods after his victory against Saturn and the Titans (survival). 

Mars = the solar plexus which loosely corresponds to the 'guts' area. This chakra represents courage and will-power (see Courage). Mars was the Roman god of war and of conquest. Courage or 'guts' is essential for the taking of action in the world but needs to be guided by the higher energy centres de-scribed below for it to be of a rightful rather than wrongful nature. 

The Earth-Moon complex (Greek Γαῖα or Roman Terra) = the heart chakra. It is not until I opened my heart chakra that I truly started to recover from my depressive illness (see Importance of the Heart). The heart chakra is at the middle point between the lower and the higher energy centres. It represents the love-care principle. Passio claims that this chakra's traditional colour is green, in correspondence with the colour of territorial nature and the midpoint on the spectrum of visible light (see Real Eyes - Real Lies). 

The heart chakra needs be activated for the higher chakras to come properly into force in their ethical aspect because without love or care, knowledge and intellectuality will be used only to control and dominate, as they largely are today (which is no doubt the meaning of the 'cremation of care' ritual at Bohemian Grove). The way we desecrate and exploit the earth in the Modern World as well as the high incidence of heart disease not to mention the low status and (monetary) value accorded to caregiving roles in the West seem to be indicative of the fact that our cultures have yet to fully unlock their hearts and put the principle of care at the centre of their priorities.

Venus = the throat chakra which encapsulates the vocal chords. As Passio repeatedly states in his podcast series, 'the universe is spoken into existence' (although fans of Derrida will find this statement to be logocentric). At any rate what we think and feel usually comes to manifestation in the word, written or spoken. 

In the mythology of the Greeks and the Romans, Venus (feminine principle) and Mars (masculine principle) made love which can be seen as meaning that our words (Venus) need to be reflected in our actions (Mars) and vice-versa. 

Generally, what we care about and how we think is reflected in what we say (or don't say), itself reflecting our level of consciousness (cf. the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt according to which 'great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.' Of course, most people do a bit of all three). 

Mercury = the third eye chakra or pineal gland. Mercury was the messenger of the gods and is the planet closest to the sun. A mercurial temperament is said of someone who is used to engaging in higher, thought-based modalities of consciousness. The third eye represents true knowledge and true perception and was considered by philosopher René Descartes to be the seat of the soul. As a side-note, the Greek word αἴσθησις, which is the etymological root of our word 'aesthetics', signified intellectual perception, i.e. perception rooted in the third eye

The Sun = the crown chakra (Ἥλιος/Sol - Apollo). This is traditionally seen as the last chakra to open, in the long ascent to higher consciousness or enlightenment (see Ascending the Mountain of Enlightenment). 
"A sign is needed, Nothing else, plain and simple, so that sun and moon may be borne in mind, inseparable." - Hölderlin
Passio states that once your crown chakra is open, you can no longer be the object of control and manipulation or, as Heidegger phrases it in his Contributions to Philosophy (in the section entitled 'the future ones' or, in the earlier translation, 'the ones to come'), '[cannot] be subjected to calculation and compulsion' due to standing in 'sovereign', i.e. 'genuine' knowledge.

This state of mind is called 'Christ' or 'Cosmic' consciousness by Passio, the only consciousness in a position to start healing the planet, for
"as long as we abide in partial darkness, we shall continue to be conquered."
In other words, only a true, human-wide evolution toward cosmic consciousness would be able to deliver us from the clutches of dominators  and start the process of healing the planet and alleviating human plight. Short of that, we will continue to be condemned to 'the veil of tears' that has characterised the human condition as a whole for millennia. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Thinkers' Names in Sein und Zeit

It has always struck me that in the German edition of Martin Heidegger's Being and Time, Sein und Zeit, the names of philosophers/thinkers are italicised, e.g. Hegel, Aristotle, Plato and so forth. 

In his Nietzsche lectures, Heidegger stated that in the context of these, the name 'Nietzsche' stood for the matter to be thought with regards that thinker. 

However there is another element in the name of thinkers, especially as italicised within the biblical prose of Sein und Zeit, is that they have been preserved in their renown (κλέος) like the names of Homeric Heroes, e.g. Achilles, Odysseus, Hector etc. 

Are the famous thinkers - Socrates, Kant, Heidegger himself - heroes? Is the reward of thinking greatly to have one's name stand for something out of the ordinary and preserved through time? 
"To head toward a star - this only."
Perhaps Martin Heidegger's philosophy is a philosophy aimed primarily at other thinkers or would-be thinkers, which would explain how he came to influence so many intellectuals of the twentieth century and has somewhat become a  'philosopher's philosopher'. 

What We Hate in Others

I remember seeing a Fox News presenter complaining about what he called 'snowflake' culture. It occurred to me that he was being demonstrably snowflake-ish, i.e. easily 'triggered', by his very need to rant about 'snowflake' culture. This reminded me of a quote I found on twitter
"What you hate in others, dear reader, is often your own nature reflected in them."
The question is: your higher or your lower nature?  Do you hate someone, in your heart of hearts, because they're vile or because they're noble, because they are bad or because they are good, because they're immoral or because they're moral - in short, because they trouble your good or your bad conscience?

Philosophical Deconstruction as Self-Deconstruction

"The three most powerful words in the English language are: I was wrong." - Mark Passio
 "Upside down world. - One criticises a thinker more severely when he advances a proposition we find unpleasing; and yet it would be more reasonable to do so when the proposition pleases us." - Nietzsche
In a YouTube video on French philosopher Jacques Derrida, the point was made that deconstruction in its original sense, which that philosopher popularised as a (methodological) concept among educated circles but owed to German thinker Martin Heidegger, is not so much about demolishing or showing the inadequacy of a view or phenomenon we don't like by, say, bringing its contradictions or even its immorality to light, but taking a look at the inadequacies and hypocrisies present in one's own preferred worldview, habits and drives.

That is to say genuine deconstruction is really self-deconstruction, not in the sense of talking oneself down or feeling inadequate, but evaluating one's own thinking, what psychologists call 'meta-thinking' (μετά meaning 'with'), and what I have sometimes referred to as conscience, the perception of your perception (see Lathoron, A Philosophical Dialogue, A Brief Anatomy of Perception, Definitions of Consciousness). 

In other words, whether or not this is what Derrida intended, it is a necessary philosophical step on the journey to wisdom to consider and admit to one's errors, injustices, blind spots and acknowledge the ways in which we've been led astray and the ways in which even our most hated and bitter opponents might actually have a 'point' or be responding or reacting (on the difference between response and reaction see Video Games as Reactive - Responding and Reacting - Responsibility) in a way they deem proportional (see Both Parties Right in Disagreement). Sadly this often means their resorting to and falling into verbal and physical abuse (see Consequences of Worldview) because there are no depths some will not sink to when seeing red or having their worldview and identity threatened. 

[As a side-note, the expression 'having a point' is interesting because it suggests something to do with the concept of point of view and that our point of view as expressed in our opinion is acknowledged by another as not being without merit (see Thinking v Opining).]

The 'Thoughts' section of ScruffyOwlet's Tree is no stranger to self-deconstruction even though it might appear as though I have strong views on things. For example, in my post The Warfare of Standpoints - Truth as Necessary Error - Differently Formed Views, I highlighted how anti-establishment discourses had somewhat skewed my judgement for a number of years and my engagement with them was not entirely to do with a disinterested desire for truth. In another post, The More You Know the Less You Think You Know, I went as far at to define knowledge as continual life learning (and therefore also unlearning).

Self-deconstruction requires a magnanimous, secure sense of self that does not overly identify with one's point of view (see Political Views and Identity) but is open to amendment and falsification in keeping with the insight that a point of view is only a point of view, a dot on a circle as it were, and therefore can never amount to the 'whole' truth and often may be a dot that doesn't touch the circle of life at all. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

All My Muse Covers

All my Muse piano covers in the order they were recorded.

  1. The 2nd Law - Isolated System
  2. Knights of Cydonia
  3. Uprising

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Morality & Social Acceptability - The Morality of Morality

My previous writing, Ideology and Cruelty, inadvertently brought to mind a matter related to ideology which is the link between (im)morality and social acceptability, which in turn raises the question of whether morality is a purely social construct, has its roots in binding metaphysical laws (as Natural Law theorists would argue) or is a mere individual choice (or a bit of all three).

Views on and ways to evaluate and judge different kinds of action vary - from polity to polity and even from individual to individual. There are indeed different and competing bases for moral evaluation, some based in philosophical liberalism, according to which intentionally bringing harm to others is a wrong, and others in more religious and indeed superstitious mechanisms of approval and disapproval.

For example, female circumcision is (rightly) viewed as barbaric and immoral by most Westerners (largely because it causes bodily harm to the girls in question and, to most Westerners, is an abhorrent form of enforced female subjugation) but the practice is nonetheless for its part also founded on ideas of right and wrong by those involved, only in terms of a different model of morality which is based, less on the presence and absence of physically inflicted harm, but on considerations of religious 'purity' and the 'harm' that would result in displeasing 'god' by having women experience too much sexual pleasure.

Indeed, in Plato's Euthyphro, morality is defined by the eponymous character as 'what is pleasing to the gods', not in modern secular terms of harm and victim and in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche claims that every 'people' has its own language of good and evil, which language enables it to survive and cohere as a community.

It would appear, therefore, that the what and why of morality are related, at least for Nietzsche. Put differently, the content of a community's moral instructions is related and possibly even determined by extra-moral considerations, whether consciously or unconsciously, such as the need to be able to survive in a competitive world or defend oneself from enemies at the gates.

Yet, even though functionalist, teleological models for understanding moral principles have their use and explanatory power, it is also the case that moral concepts are often exploited and perverted (and even inverted) for 'immoral', i.e. selfish, reasons, such as, classically, to gain a power and wealth advantage over others (see, for instance, Economy and MoralityLimitations of the Work Ethic as Moral Paradigm and Evil as Test).

Thus we may need to consider the morality of morality in order to critically consider questions such as
  1. whether or not competing and often incompatible standards of moral evaluation (such as positive or negative models of moral duty which decide whether one has to do good or merely refrain from doing bad or simply whether or not philosophical-secular models of morality are more moral than, say, religiously determined ones) are of equal or unequal worth/validity and in whose favour.
  2. whether the position of so-called moral relativists - who believe that, given morality is determined by what is socially acceptable or unacceptable, and that this varies in both time and space, good and bad are not 'objectively' different, only 'relatively' - is itself moral, amoral or immoral.
  3. whether or not one's own moral views are politically motivated or emotionally determined, overlooking ways in which those views may in fact be hiding immoral or at least amoral drives and potentially result in harm as well as be blind to what I call 'one's own brand of injustice' (see Ideology and Cruelty).
  4. whether the stated and practiced morality of one's community - e.g. the employment ethic - is in fact moral and to what extent (see, for instance, Economy v Morality and Limitations of the Work Ethic as Moral Paradigm).
Of course the difficulty is finding an adequate basis for making pronouncements on the morality of morality, which basis may have little to do with purely moral concerns as opposed to being governed by one's personal preferences and sensibility (see Knowledge and Sensibility), wrongly believing that 'what is good for me is good as such'.

For example, many in power and at a ground level subscribe to the view that 'greed is good' - a clear departure from theological orthodoxy - (cf. Individual v Societal Maladjustment) because they believe that it leads to positive 'economic' (and therefore social?) outcomes (although see Economy v Morality) but the question remains: for whom? Everyone or simply those who hold that view (and even them)?

While the realm of what is socially acceptable in a polity and therefore what is not deemed immoral is historically variable, - witness the anti-sodomy laws in the recent past of England - the mere fact that (public) morality is not fixed and unanimous does not equate to it being based on the pure caprice of an entirely solipsistic and self-serving nature nor that it is entirely manipulated by a psychopathic ruling class.

It remains that for non moral relativists, i.e. moral absolutists, just because something is socially acceptable does not mean it is moral and just because something is socially unacceptable does not mean it is immoral. Mark Passio, for example, is a moral absolutist and deems socially acceptable institutions like the police and the military to be highly immoral, calling 'order-following' the cult of ultimate evil.

However, it can be a good exercise to sometimes refrain from immediately making moral evaluations/condemnations and try to consider the amoral dynamics at work in apparently immoral (understood as harmful) phenomena such as, say, institutional and financial corruption (an approach used to a certain extent in the sociological book How Corrupt is Britain? despite the moral overtones of the word 'corrupt' and in Nietzsche's psychological genealogies of moral concepts). 

To provisionally conclude the above considerations, we can ask ourselves the extent to which moral considerations are necessary and even desirable, whether adopting a moral lens or paradigm according to which we evaluate and condemn the actions of others is always (morally) required and whether amoral angles on apparently moral, which is to say also immoral, phenomena can help us in our self-understanding and therefore level of fair-mindedness - so that we become, paradoxically, more moral, at least when it comes to (my) chosen standards of philosophical honesty and magnanimity (concerning magnanimity and thinking see Five Sentences from the Thinker as Poet - for a take on amorality see Amorality of Nature - Knowledge of Good and Evil - for my view of Nietzsche's view of morality see Nietzsche's Position on Morality in Five Paragraphs). 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Ideology and Cruelty

"There is a streak of sadism in most human beings." - Manly P. Hall
"Cruelty belongs to the most ancient festive joys of mankind." - Nietzsche
YouTube educator Philosophy Tube enlightened me as to a definition of ideology not based on the word form - the (axiomatic) logic of an idea (taken up in my Ideology and Mathematics)  - but on its human expression. 

According to the definition shared by Philosophy Tube, ideology manifests in the facts one chooses to look at and, crucially, in the groups or individuals one looks down on as less deserving and whose rights can therefore be deemed violate-able or deniable (such as, in England, refugees and immigrants generally).

The fact some human beings have a more cruel, superior and power-driven instinct than others will reflect in ideologies, such as white supremacy and national socialism, that make no qualms about committing violence against whole groups or nations that are seen as inferior, usually on the false, pseudo self-defence pretext that these latter constitute a genuine threat (see in this regard Consequences of Worldview and Immorality of Rome and Empires). 

However, despite the obvious and barely concealed cruelty in most if not all ideological positions - even apparently less cruel, more politically correct ideologies will not take kindly to groups like criminal pedophiles or indeed active fascists themselves - few are those who admit to being cruel and the bad guy.

It is I believe a healthy, humble and salutary thing to do, however moral and ethical one otherwise considers oneself to be, to consider all the ways in which one is still possessed of that primal power (and often frustrated and resentful) instinct that takes some delight in inflicting cruelty and suffering on others, including other species of living being, or simply neglects to defend or uphold the rights of those against whom systemic cruelty is being exercised, such as the homeless and asylum seekers.

"I have suffered therefore I shall make others suffer"
is a modus operandi for many embittered people in positions of petty power (see Culture of Fear in the Workplace.]

In my opinion, instinctive (which is to say unintentional) cruelty can be argued to lurk behind something even as mundane as laughing at someone falling over or getting into the habit of readily belittling or undermining a stranger (witness the behaviour of The Jeremy Kyle Show live audience members not to mention the entertained and delighted viewing audience at home) colleague, friend or relative of whom we have a low opinion, for whatever reason (in fact all the kind of human interactions that come under the umbrella term of 'micro-aggression').

That is to say we are all somewhat guilty, some far more than others no doubt, of a degree of cruelty in our relations with other sentient beings, even if it merely manifests in one's ideological worldview - indeed many in the so-called 'truth' movement who love to pinpoint the psychopathy of governmental elites will look down on my being an 'economic parasite' as someone who lives off welfare as well as the feminist, social justice views of my 'Jewish' girlfriend because she's clearly an Israel-loving zionist and 'zionists are evil'.  

My blog post A Fresh Look at Genealogy of Morality inadvertently highlighted some of these aspects of not only human cruelty, but human cruelty as expressed and manifested in ideological positioning. 

Therefore, as Mark Passio states in his Natural Law presentation, if you wish to change the world for the better, look in the mirror and see how you can first change and better yourself. This means looking at your own brand of personal injustice and, at the very least, admitting to it, to yourself and to others. 

Addendum - Of course there are plenty who are aware of their own and humanity's general lack of authentic altruism because they realise that motives for seemingly altruistic actions are rarely if ever 'pure' but perhaps they neglect to see that it is deeds that count, not motives
"In the beginning was the deed." - Goethe
In addition it is all too easy and all too seductive to give up on morality and right and wrong altogether because one has taken stock of the cruelty present in the human soul and uses that as an excuse for acting immorally, claiming that it's somehow 'in our nature' to act badly (which is the nonsense put forward by the stupid document The Protocols of the Elders of Zion). 

Some, like Nietzsche himself or indeed Hitler, take issue with morality itself for its supposed 'unnaturalness' and, as in the case of Hitler, seek to do away with Jewish-inspired 'conscience' altogether (see Amorality of Nature - Knowledge of Good and Evil) but in the vast majority of cases, 'evil' rarely presents itself as such because it is not (at least not yet) an acceptable moral position to openly declare (a point I learnt writing Evil as Test and reiterated in Morality and the Big & Powerful) although many, even today, seem unbothered by it and perhaps even deny the concept of moral wrongdoing unless emanating from an individual or group they already despise. 

Usually, however, evil loves to disguise itself in the cloak of goodness and moral rhetoric but the day may yet come when evil, openly declared and visible to all, will be deemed acceptable by the vast majority, no matter the amount of suffering to be caused. Perhaps such has already been the case with the coming to power of National Socialism and its being approved by millions of Germans at the time. 

The Warfare of Standpoints - Truth as Necessary Error - Differently Formed Views

"Truth is not necessarily the opposite of error but, in the basic cases, only the relation of different errors to each other." - Nietzsche
(1) The Warfare of Standpoints 

Perhaps more than at any other period of modern history, online commentary, particularly of a political nature, showcases daily a huge cacophony of competing - although possibly also complementary and mutually dependent - viewpoints which prompted a couple of blog posts on my part (Bellum Omnes Contra Omnium and Conflict & Progress). 

One could adopt a somewhat sociological lens and regard this cacophony as symptomatic of power relations that, even in a time of relative peace, give credence to Michel Foucault's view that 
"politics is the continuation of war by other means." 
Of course a great deal hinges on how one understands the word 'politics' and it is obvious that war in this quote means strife, particularly, in the online context, of a verbal kind (see Twitter as Word Warfare), rather than outright armed forces physically at each other's throats.

While I have consumed anti-establishment discourses for a number of years, particularly of an anarchist and conspiratorial nature, two of my main sources being at one time James Corbett's the and still now Mark Passio's (see Mark Passio and James Corbett), I've had my focus and understanding somewhat shaken by YouTuber potholer54, a science journalist, who forced me to reconsider not only my largely un (and perhaps mis)-informed views on climate change but also my very taking on board and being influenced by the aforementioned anti-establishment discourses.

In showcasing the inadequate arguments made by creationists against the scientific theory of evolution and general mis-steps made by 'conspiracy theorists' when they discuss scientific concepts, potholer54 made the observation that 'truth' is a 'religious concept' and has nothing to to with the scientific method, which does not take arguments from authority as evidence in support of a scientific position, the latter requiring a great deal of footwork and proof, as well as amendment and stringent testing, to be accepted in respected scientific journals. This again raises a possibly fraught power relation between non experts who lay claim to expertise and gain a layman following and established experts recognised by other established experts within the established sociological avenues - the very ones anti-elite 'conspiracy theorists' like to debunk at length. 

(2) Truth as Necessary Error

Coming back to potholder54's statement about truth, which is a little superficial - for after all the statement that 'truth is a religious concept' presents itself as a truth, not as an error, and therefore presupposes the supposedly 'religious' concept of 'truth' - it occurred to me that my consumption of non and even anti-establishment discourses, however right they were in some areas, was helping me fulfil various emotional needs, including that of gaining in intellectual self-defence from (perceived?) systems of control (especially money), filling the gap left by my avoiding most if not all mainstream sources of information, making me feel empowered and energised by narratives and concepts that I found validating and a sense of community, however virtual and not based in physical reality. 

In a sense I was applying Nietzsche's advice of saying 'yes' to what gives strength and justifies the feeling of 'strength' (alternative discourses) and 'no' to what exhausts and makes 'weak' (mainstream discourses) (see Energy as Self-therapy) but perhaps being misled all the while, and not even with those informing me being at all malicious or intentionally misleading, quite the contrary in fact (Worldview Poisonings). 

While I have warned before about the Dangers of Too Much Truth Seeking (which is tautological because too much of anything is, well, too much and therefore harmful) and expressed disillusionment with so-called 'truth discourses' (Emotional Discomfort & Truth) it dawned on me not only then but all the more clearly now that the narratives various discourses provide fulfil needs that do not pertain merely to the concern of having a relatively accurate and purportedly 'objective' point of view. 

Moreover, the complete accuracy of a point of view is impossible because it can only be a point of view, therefore one of many points of view that taken all together form our collective consciousness, quite aside from the fact that we cannot and do not perceive all of reality at once and as it is (see Definitions of Consciousness, Art Born of Perception, A Brief Anatomy of Perception). 

Rather it is as Nietzsche stated over a century ago - despite the impossibility of stating this without also being in error - that truth is in a sense an 'error', a function necessary for human beings to live, a kind of more or less arbitrary imposing of (psychological and linguistic) order on the world that we require to function, survive and thrive (see Half-Truths). 
"Truth is the kind of error without which a certain species of life could not live." 
As he said, 'the value for life ultimately decides' and truth defined as that which makes meaning possible certainly has 'value' for life (see Lathoron, A Philosophical Dialogue, Truth: Six Aphorisms by Nietzsche, Truthfulness and Money, Two Contemporary Definitions of Truth, Emotional Discomfort and Truth).

(3) Differently Formed Views

It follows that different human beings, with different sensibilities (sensibility being the inner aspect of personality - see Knowledge and Sensibility) stemming from different needs, life circumstances, social and familial backgrounds, positions on the social ladder, means of monetary income, faiths and so forth will impose (theoretical and practical) orders on the world (i.e. their view of 'truth') that vary hugely and, specifically when it comes to political relations, i.e. power, lead to strife if not outright conflict - see Conflict in Politics.

[Witness the fragment by the Greek thinker Heraclitus according to which strife/war/struggle rules everyone and determines who is what where, god, man or slave - see Factual Truth].  

As Passio eloquently puts it, we are all that we take into ourselves, in the wide sense of what quite literally in-forms us (including but not just food as well as the people we engage with - see In-Formation and People as Information), so that if we take in and accept poor quality in-formation or even mis-in-formation we will be formed in a less good way and even possibly mis-formed, resulting in poor quality consciousness and action in the world, thoughts and emotions formed by in-formation determining the nature and morality of our actions (which Passio would argue is how mind control methodologies work - see also the posts Consequences of Worldview and Thinking v Opining).

The last paragraph to say, there being so many different kinds of information in the world, people are bound to be formed in different ways and therefore reach different views and generally act differently. Moreover, different types of individuals may be and are drawn to different informations, some of which in conflict, especially when it comes to politics, and otherwise exposed to different realities (still information) which possibly prompted Karl Marx's statement 
"it is not the consciousness of men that determines their social existence but their social existence that determines their consciousness."
Yet it could be, contra Marx, that both are true, that our sensibility, however acquired, genetically or environmentally, comes to determine our place or role in the social system as well as our place or role in the social system influencing the way we think, feel and act, which is to say our consciousness. 

For indeed people with comparable 'social existences' might form very different views, e.g. not all English as Foreign Language teachers who've immigrated to Japan will have taken it on themselves to deconstruct and critique global elites and establishments à la James Corbett nor all those born to US Christian households become priests in the Church of Satan and then anarchist podcaster-activists à la Mark Passio.

However, it is likely that once one has found one's place, calling and means of survival, things tend to get more set and settled, as part of general life habituation (see the old post How to Become Master of the World for more on 'habituation'). 

Therefore someone schooled and working in the field of established science will of necessity have a different consciousness than an anti-conformist conspiracy theorist or Christian fundamentalist, raising the spectre of the truthfulness of sensibility (for a definition of truthfulness see Truthfulness and Money - for a definition of sensibility see Knowledge and Sensibility - for the truthfulness of sensibility see Interpreting Information, Angle and TruthTruth is Objective but No One is Omniscient and Both Parties Right in Disagreement).

Addendum - Someone in reply to this post mentioned Karl Popper's concept of scientific falsifiability whereby scientific discourse is open to amendment and being overturned if new evidence that disproves or qualifies the scientific thesis requires it. 

In that sense, it is argued, scientific discourse is not a 'truth' fulfilling an emotional need because it by definition requires being open to opposing evidence and will need to change if this evidence falsifies the discourse in any way. 

I replied, however, that the 'scientific method' can itself become a truth-value of an emotional nature (for a definition of truth-value see Truthfulness and Money) used to rubbish non scientific discourses (such as when Richard Dawkins took it upon himself to debunk crude, supernatural theism in his book The God Delusion) and thereby enter the realm of warring 'truth' standpoints which is to say, politics. 

Esoteric Wisdom with Mark Passio (2): Three Modes of Reflection

Mark Passio provides useful green language (word play) interpretations of three modes of reflection:
  1. Concentration. 
  2. Meditation.
  3. Contemplation.
These may be called modes of re-flection in the sense that they are reflexive, bending back on themselves, but in different ways (reflex- in Latin meaning 'bent back', from the verb reflectere). 

I've discussed concentration before in Influence & Concentration but to reiterate the obvious, con-centration suggests bringing into a common centre, which can be read as a form of mental focusing (con in Latin meaning 'together' or 'with'). 

Passio is of the opinion that concentration is typically a 'left brain' mode of thinking in the sense of task-based, linear and logical.

Medi-tation, in contrast to con-centration, tries to take thought away from pure linear cogitation/cognition - philosopher Hannah Arendt defining cognition as means and ends-based thinking in her Life of the Mind - towards the 'right brain', holistic hemisphere through mindful relaxation. Thus, it seeks to bring thought back into the middle (medi).

This brings us to the last one, contemplation, which Passio argues is the middle ground between left-brain concentration and right-brain meditation. This, he claims, is evidenced by the word con-templ-ation itself because it suggests bringing together the 'temples', i.e. sides, of the brow or forehead, which is to say both hemispheres of the brain.

Interestingly, Passio considers the somewhat socially marginalised art of daydreaming as a form of contemplation.

I have forgotten to mention Passio's interpretation of the ending at-i-on in all three or, indeed, four terms (including reflection), which he also considers relevant in the sense that your 'I', where it is 'at', is activated (turned 'on') like an 'ion', an electrically charged particle in physics.

Here is a picture from Passio's website that summarises these elements:

Addendum To these three categories of reflection it is interesting to add esoteric philosopher Manly P. Hall's three so-called 'disciplines of salvation' as described in his book Lectures on Ancient Philosophy which consist of observation (seeing and taking in), discrimination (deciding what to focus on) and concentration (applying oneself in thought), although as regards 'concentration', Hall seems to intend more than the mere 'task-based, linear' thinking that one finds, for example, in workaday living. 

From thoughtful observation, discrimination and concentration one would expect a better ability to judge (i.e. in a way that is less unfair and inaccurate), which is to say take a stand or hold an opinion (in English law, an 'Opinion' is in fact a judgement) but one may presumably refrain from doing so. 

Conversely, many, all too many judge without due diligence or proper consideration - prejudice in other words. Judgement of course includes the category of value judgement, which decides whether something or someone is good or bad, moral or immoral, superior or inferior and so forth.

[In his posthumous work The Will to Power: A Reevaluation of All Values, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche asserted that what he called 'nihilism' - which I think he understood to mean the devaluation of the highest values (such as God) leading to generalised meaninglessness - would be complete when 
"The values that pass judgement are the only values left"
, a philosophical position that would seem to support refraining from making value judgements, possibly in favour of an ethos of understanding.  The aforementioned Hall himself wrote that 'to understand is to forgive' and there is no doubt that judgements - which can never be in possession of all the facts since no one is God (apart maybe from the surveillance state and the corporate information-industrial complex - see God as Leviathan - the State as False God) - are unfair practically by definition. However, it could be retorted that some judgements are necessary, even though partially and necessarily unfair. 

With regards to understanding, I once wrote that under-standing a person or author can be seen as precisely entailing the placing (standing) of oneself under that person's perception, but in an empathetic rather than submissive sense.]

Esoteric Wisdom with Mark Passio (1) : Christianity

As part of a new series of blog posts entitled Esoteric Wisdom with Mark Passio, I am going to write summaries of points made by Mark Passio in his podcast series available at, points that I personally find the most interesting, useful and worthwhile. 

This undertaking may prove of use to those who do not have the time to listen or watch that researcher's lengthy podcasts and videos. This series will also help me memorise certain key concepts and serve to keep a text-based record of Mark's occult and philosophical disclosures for the convenience of those who prefer reading over listening, and quick assimilation over drawn-out exposition. 

In this first entry I will discuss an esoteric understanding of Christianity as an essentially astro-theological solar cult. Astro-theo-logy etymologically means 'the word of God in the stars' and was a form of belief that attributed divine properties to the Greater (Sun & Moon) and Lesser Lights (Stars and Planets). 

In fact the three main religions extant today each represent a different form of astro-theological worship.
  • Christianity: cult of the sun or solar cult
  • Islam: cult of the moon or lunar cult
  • Judaism: cult of the stars and planets or stellar cult

Interestingly and perhaps far from coincidentally, Christianity's day of worship is Sun-day whereas Judaism's is Satur-day (i.e. Saturn day, Saturn being a planet). Islam's is Friday, Fria's Day or Venus Day (vendredi in French) but that might have more to do with historical reasons than conceptual ones. Judaism's logo, so to speak, is the seal of solomon or Star of David, whereas the symbol of Islam is the crescent moon, which also features on the flag of many muslim countries. 

I will focus on Christianity for the purposes of this blog post. I did in fact quickly allude to Christianity's esoteric content in my previous posts Christianity as Mystery Tradition and Occultism in the Christmas Calendar for those who are interested.

At its crudest and simplest, according to Mark Passio's research (and others), Christianity tells the story of the journey of the sun through the Zodiacal year. Zo-diac in fact contains the Greek word ζῷον, living being, animal and diac looks a lot like our English word dial as well as the Greek διά, through (i.e through the animals, that is, the zodiacal signs). The sun's journey through the zodiac can be represented as follows:

Notice how the circular dial of the zodiac is divided into four sections by a quadrant or cross, itself dividing the zodiacal signs into groups of threes. 

The very simple argument is that the exoteric (cover) story of Christianity reflects the esoteric (hidden, to be dis-cover-ed) story of the sun's position in the sky, itself a cover story for realities that have to do with inner consciousness and wisdom. 

Thus, as a solar cult, Christianity tells the story of the sun's journey through the houses of the zodiac, being put on the cross (crux in Latin) around the time of Virgo in the region of September (Autumn equinox) when the sun is receding more significantly in the sky, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact Crux, which as we saw means cross in Latin, is a constellation that is near/under that of Virgo. 

In exoteric terms this translates as the son of God, Jesus, being put on the cross by the police of his day, the Romans. From there on out, the sun is in recession, with diminishing light and warmth in the sky until the so-called shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, where the sun, as it were, dies, i.e. is at its most subdued in the calendar year. Notice that from being put on the cross to its death, three signs of the zodiac have been passed through, a number which neatly corresponds to the three hours it took Jesus to die once he was crucified. 

As a side note, and this is not something Passio himself points out, Christ on the crucifix is a ubiquitous symbol of Christianity (particularly in Catholicism) as well as household item in 'Christian' households which is a little odd, given that, esoterically understood, this is the sun (i.e. consciousness) at its weakest and lowest point. 

And indeed it is the case that while there are many fine, i.e. ethical, Christian believers, many others are unfortunately very ignorant and close-minded. This is no doubt why Passio views exoteric, mainstream Christianity more as a leash, i.e. an instrument of mind control, than as means of illumination, a function religion can also serve. See in this respect my blog post on The Double Etymology of Religion

What follows should be obvious. After the winter solstice, which is to say the death on the cross, the sun starts to ascend in the sky again and three houses of the zodiac later, i.e. three days after the crucifixion, enters into the spring equinox which co-incides with Easter and the story of Christ's resurrection. Blossom and warmth 'spring' back into the world after the long winter months and the sun becomes 'bullish' again as symbolised by the zodiac sign of Taurus in May which itself leads to the summer solstice found in between Gemini and Cancer where the solar orb is at its apex. 

The painting by Leonardo Da Vinci at the top of this post, The Last Supper, suggests that that thinker too had insight into this astro-theological aspect of Christianity, not least because the apostles on the painting are neatly painted into groups of three, just as the aforementioned quadrant divides the 12 signs of the zodiac by four solstices (and 12 divided by 4 is 3). 

Moreover, the left wall of the painting, on Christ's right-hand side, is dark as compared to the right side of the painting, Christ's left-hand side, which is brighter, which can be a pointer to the fact that during half the year the sun is in recession (less light, more obscurity) and for the other half in ascension (more light, less obscurity). Passio also observes that only Christ, the sun, appears tranquil and at peace as compared to the other diners who appear divided and quarrelsome, which is the case of humanity at large.

So much for the crucifixion and the resurrection. Unlike what German philosopher and polemicist Friedrich Nietzsche seemed to think in his Genealogy of Morality, the myth of the dying god is not specific or new to Christianity and found expression in many Ancient traditions and cultures, whether it be Odin or Dionysus, Attis or Adonis, to name only a few.  

For the purposes of the blog post I will look at two other Christian concepts: the Holy Trinity and the Virgin Birth or Immaculate Conception. 

The Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost is essentially a deflection from an internal aspect of consciousness which is the interplay between our thoughts (the Father), our emotions (the Holy Ghost) and our actions (the Son or Divine Child, actions being the net resultant of our thoughts and emotions combined). 

Because Christianity is largely a patriarchal religion, the Holy Ghost was used as a substitute for the Holy Mother or Mother Goddess, Isis in the Egyptian tradition. Isis or Mary really symbolises the night that gives birth every day to the Sun when it rises at dawn (Horus in the Egyptian tradition). See this picture of Mary wearing a dark shroud covered in stars looking upon the Holy Child (the Sun, i.e. Higher Consciousness):

Most interesting to me, due to my past experiences of nervous tension and mental neurosis, is the concept of the Virgin Birth or Immaculate Conception. In Freemasonry this concept is understood under the name of Widow's son. Again, these are concepts that covertly point to internal aspects of consciousness. 

The Virgin Birth can be seen as representing the point when the R complex of the brain, the reptilian fight or flight brain stem responsible for basic survival and motor skills (at least in terms of Passio's philosophical understanding of the brain since even he admits that neuroscience is far more complicated than that), stops dominating and influencing the emotional centre of the brain known as the limbic system or mammal brain - the mammal brain is thereby 'widowed' or made 'virgin'. 

In other words the emotional centre of the brain, the Virgin Mother so to speak, is delivered from stress and survival-based modalities of consciousness emanating from the R complex (which Passio likens to the authoritarian, domineering Old Testament God but my informed Jewish girlfriend contests this stereotypical view of Yahweh), giving free rein of expression to the human (i.e. neither reptilian nor mammalian) brain or neocortex which is to say, for our purposes of esoteric explanation, the Holy Child. 

Thus the Virgin Birth symbolises consciousness that is freed from base modalities of survival consciousness enabling the appearance of higher cognitive functions and modalities of thought that traditionally express themselves in logic, creativity, ethics, science, mathematics, philosophy, art, music, invention and so forth.

Politically, a claim could be made that elites seek to keep people in survival, stress-based fight or flight mode through social engineering and the use of artificially induced scarcity (see my post Scarcity and the Politics of Lack) - not to mention a whole host of other methods of mind control that Passio in particular attributes to system dominators - so as to keep us from tapping into our higher brains and consciousness (and therefore able to adequately resist) but political considerations are not the object of this post. 

Nota Bene - It should be noted at this point that these esoteric explanations are probably looked down on in the world of academic research and it may be the case that, given the opportunity, academic experts on ancient religion and myth - not to mention professional neuroscientists - would dismantle the substance of the preceding points for a variety of reasons. 

In terms of my personal being, I have found the aforementioned esoteric wisdom and Passio's work generally most helpful and illuminating, and perhaps controversies on these topics boil down to conflicts between prosaic and poetic understandings. 

For, as I argued in Prosaic v Poetic, the language of (occult) symbolism requires a quantum of poetic sensibility because symbols mean things that stand for other things (from the Greek συμβάλλω, to bring together) and are not narratives that are always straightforward or pleasing to everyone. 

I still think it important, given the spiritual plight of our time, to communicate these esoteric narratives so that they may be more widely available for people's consideration.