Thursday, July 24, 2014

Language and the fresh

Language is something others speak, and so do you ---- otherwise it would be incomprehensible and not a means of communication between people. So words are not new-- how could they then function between people.  Normally. This is a kind of tyranny for people trying to 'wake-up', in Gurdjeffian terminology, to 'evolve faster than the rest of humanity' in the phraseology of Jan Cox. 

The tyranny of course is not really verbal. But it can be sensible to consider it  from that angle at the moment. An initial question, for a teacher is how to communicate the how and how, of a quest, if the goal is to diminish the power of the linguistic web on particular node, the individual person.

In the case of both Gurdjieff and Cox new maps describing the world were a part of their approach. Jan Cox in his teaching also demonstrated the meaning of new maps--verbal constructs pointing to shared realities-- by himself, from the stage, just remaking maps every few days, or weeks. A few maps, such as, using the term 'bridges' to convey something similar to chakra [points] may have lasted several months. Since Jan's maps were based on direct seeing, rather than the words of others, he was not just relabeling certain realities. His bridges conveyed a fresh understanding of certain realities.

My own purpose is to take a deeper look here at the specific way in which ordinary language, cliches, can be harmful to the sober seeker. 
I will take a word "consciousness," and a phrase, 'kicking your butt,' and analyze both of these to perhaps point to what is lost when words are used carelessly. 

So check back for part 2. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What is so scary about This Kind of Stuff

This phenomenon, though not stressed by Jan Cox, I don't think, is called in a history of mysticism, Latin equivalent of " a horror of vacuum." I am calling it the scary side of This Kind of Stuff.  It must exist, or something else in the category of scary things --, else why isn't everybody awake. Why isn't anyone awake?  This is an ordinary level of mentation type of question, wherein we pretend that binary thought has a usefulness beyond the external world. Why would the concrete evidence of peace and joy, available to every sincere person who can follow the clear and unambiguous instructions for neuralizing (one of many of Jan's descriptions of self-observation), not motivate a cascade of practice and reaping of reward? 

Is, within the realm where words can get loosened, there a sense of the edge of nothing, which is commonly perceived by the ordinary mind, as 'scary.' Talking about phenomenal reality here. It is an interesting question because the effects are rather the opposite according to proponents of the practice of self-observation. Might have to put on your deerstalker, for this one ---- or take it off:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Just Metaphor

A recent popular science article discusses La Grange points. These are empty areas in space where various forces balance out, leaving a physical spot with no or little gravity. Such a point must be vacant of physical bodies, but precisely located among certain  trajectories. (Just read the article, okay.) . If you think of words as bodies in space, from dust to rocks to spinning suns, the goal of the teachers of mystical technique, throughout the millenia, could perhaps be described, as getting the students to see LA GRANGE POINTS. Then comes the hard part. But--- to get the student to see these vacant spots, that is first task of a teacher.

Finally we have a just metaphor, that just barely points at what Jan Cox wanted his students to see---
And remember.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Anything can be a cliche

Jan Cox spoke about and around the difficulty of human speech relying on the verbal capacity of our species. Words function as a web unifying humanity, and to be comprehended one must use words-- one must use used words.

Jan had to use words. He had other means at his disposal, but to communicate to many, to not waste his time, Jan too used words. What else. Soon his words will be themselves cliches. That process started before his death, but now the vivifying background is gone and we can assume this is speeding up. This is simply the planet we live on.

Those who knew Jan have a special responsibility to delay this decay. They do this in their speech, in their writing, in their actions. His students by recalling his directives, especially those directives regarding invisible,  non-verbal,  action--- I refer to what some call "self-observation" -- and employing them. Will this affect the churn of flows that is each moment, in terms of Jan's effect? Who knows, but it seems like a sensible course. 

'Consciousness' is an example of a word which Jan used sparingly. In his use it referred to the psychological aspect of a balance between the seeker's responsibility to focus on both the external (the cosmological aspect of reality) as well as the internal (the psychological) realities. Failure to focus on both sides, he said in an early paper, could lead to an imbalance described as increased egoism. His early phrases changed over the years. His message did not.

Now of course the word 'consciousness' is a New Age cliche, referring to a view of man wherein all he has to do is love himself MORE, to transform his world. So the decay in useful meaning continues. More guests for Oprah. 

The emphasis Jan Cox placed from the start, on burning maps -- intellectual constructs-- functioned to mitigate against this inevitable decay, for one desirous of ascertaining reality. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

NPR interview on Is there life after death

It featured aSean Carroll in the debate and it was lots of fun. Again-- the natural scientists say outrageous things they do not understand --- that there is no more need for a life spirit, and all this stuff scientists say they understand. That was the side of debaters who were against the possibility of life after death. Too bad they are probably right.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The apple rolls far from the tree

Garrison Keillor reminds us that today is the anniversary of (July 5,
1687) when Newton published "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia
Mathematica, or "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.... the
Principia contained Newton's three laws of motion, including, ....
"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Note the binary formulation: an equal and opposite reaction. We might
wonder if there is not a third force here, what Jan Cox called, E
force, or the unexpected, the irrelevant, coming into play each
second. Which sounds smug, but I am just trying to widen that small
aperture through which we see the world.

The historical treatment of Newton though is also a great example of
binary thought, in that, the work that equally involved him, his work
on religious issues, is never investigated. So for sure at least one
third of Newton's thought is ignored. Newton the scientist and Newton
the Alchemist are two sides, the good Newton and the old-fashioned
Newton. Whereas, with a figure this brilliant, you might have thought,
perhaps the entire corpus of his work should be studied with a view
towards greater comprehensibility.

This is the kind of approach though which the rigor mortis of binary
thought makes unlikely. A large part of Newton's thought can be just
ignored, the same way human experience, being labeled subjective, can
just be ignored by scientists.

Myself, I wonder if you can really understand Newton without studying
all his work to appreciate what he was saying.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

We walk across manholes like the night

There are gaps everywhere, and our survival as intellectual creatures depends on our not seeing them.

There are gaps everywhere and any personal progress in a vertical dimension depends on our remembering them