On the Nature of Living in Specific Places

I thought that, since I have the time I would look through one of the posts that I have in preparation and get it out. I’m a very lazy blogger and don’t have the energy I had so many years ago when I started blogging on the Aspie Diaries. This may be because I want my posts to be important and meaningful, and it takes me awhile to come up with things that are interesting. Maybe I should stop worrying as these are usually put out at a very short period.

Anyways, today I wanted to talk about living arrangements. More mine then anybody elses, because at the moment I am very board. On my previous blog, I wrote a list called “My Ideal Apartment“, which is more or less about the kind of place I’d like to live. This has been a sort of echo in the back of my life that comes out at various times. The basic idea is I want to have my own place, but I’m not sure I want to do this on “straight” levels. Essentially, I want to be a member of the counter-culture when the counter-culture may not be that viable anymore. On another level, I’m kind of against the idea of a counter-culture, as it is such a silly concept. The counter-culture is part of the culture, in that it allows change to a sterile culture. There is also the issue that now the counter-culture may be coming into the hands of those right-wing tea-party clowns down in Yankeeland. I do not like these people’s belief system, and if they knew me then they would definitely not like me. At the moment the only truly sane thing I can do is to learn how to garden, move out somewhere were the Revolution won’t get at me and grow vegetables for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m the kind of person to live of the grid, at least not yet. It is a nice fantasy though.

So far, my only real choice is to live withing society, and my main goal is to come to some level of independence. At the moment, I am living mostly on my parent’s money. They are sending me to University, paying for my food and board, tossing me money for books and cookies and not complaining that much because I am their offspring and they love me. In the meantime, I need a job. Getting meaningful employment has not been something I’ve done a lot of. My younger sister has had more work experience then I have. I’ve also not had that much luck getting places of work in my hometown, which now that University is over, is were I currently am. I may be looking in the wrong places however, and need to look into things. There was a retail place that just opened that sells items for the magic-practicer, but it holds little interest for me. It is more inclined to Neo-pagans and the music isn’t that good. I also checked out the books and from my sources the publisher isn’t that good, and I should probably pick up a copy of Aleister Crowley’s “Magick in Theory and Practice” and “777”. Either way, if I can get to Kitchener at some point I plan on picking up a copy of “Liber Null & Psychonaut.” I’m getting a very interested in the Chaos Magic system, though I’m not sure that the philosophy behind it is something I like, but that is something for another post.

I’m reading an article on the Hotel Chelsea, and to be honest this is the kind of place I’d like to live. For those who don’t know, the Hotel Chelsea was basically a place that several famous artist types lived. The list is quite amazing. Practically all the major Beats lived here for a time, Andy Warhol lived here, Mark Twain lived here, Leonard Cohen lived here, Bob Dylan lived here, Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Stanley Kubricks. I think it’s calmed down now, but I wish that there was a place like this I could live in. I’ll keep my eyes open and see if anything appears. Anyways, I’m typing this from a computer so I should publish this soon and get off before the computer closes down on me. Bye for now.

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Why I Believe in an Abrahamic God?

Someone named Emily asked me why I believe in an Abrahamic God. Since I need to post more and this is a pretty good question. I am therefore going to try and answer that.

The easiest question is that I was raised in a Christian family, and that my idea of what God is comes from a Christian concept. That is however, not really what I believe. To be honest, I’m not very comfortable calling myself a Christian. It’s not that I have an overall negative experience of Christianity, I’d call my relationship to my birth-religion very good. The problem is that I cannot reconcile my soul to the idea of Christ as Savior. I can say I believe in God, to an extent I even believe in Christian concepts of sin, but I can’t get my mind around the idea that Jesus Christ died for my sins. I am on my way to working all this out in my head, but there is still the details were I am not a normal Christian.

My concept of God is probably one of these, although with the rise of feminism I might not be that off. To put it simply, I think it’s insulting to the idea of God to just refer to God in the masculine. That is why I believe that God has both masculine and feminine aspects in the highest form we can perceive God as without God turning into Cosmic Nothingness. This is a theory I picked up from Hinduism, that believes the highest form of God is androgynous. However, this is not entirely outside the area of the Abrahamic Religions. Kaballah supposes that God has both male and female aspects, though admittedly the early Kabbalists had a negative view of that feminine side.

I also believe that when you get right down to it, the One God is alot more complex then most people give It credit for. There is kind of an unfortunate sterotype that God is an old bearded man who sits on a cloud fashioning plans for wombats. This strikes me as a rather limited view of a being that created the Universe. To explain this I am taking a rather neoplatonic view of divinity. According to Neoplatonism, all life emenates from God, which at it’s highest point is beyond our understanding. This thing we call the Monad, or the One, or the Ayin(the Kabbalists call it that, it’s Hebrew for Nothingness). The Monad emanates down into lower forms, which make up lesser divine beings and eventually the material world. Kaballah is handy for this, because it gives a system to how this works, which probably has it’s own inaccuracies given the subject matter, but humans like maps, so there.

The ultimate problem in believing in the Abrahamic God is the level of Hugeness that the Abrahamic God encompasses. You are basically dealing with a being that is beyond our comprehension. To call this God a being seems to be limiting it. This is something I have in common with Islam, which is probably one of the most monotheistic religions in the world. They don’t even allow pictorial art because it might lead to idolatry. I’m fine with icons however, and believe that there is a bit of Godstuff in all of us, but I understand the point. If we think to much on an image, we begin to be stuck by it and put to much thought into it. That said, since the God that exists out there is so beyond our comprehension, then it is comfortable to have an intercessor of some kind, a bit of God that is not the Ayin. In Genesis, this is solved by having a God that can get down in the dirt (Genesis 2). In Christianity, we have an even more forward step were God becomes human.

Anyways, these are the thoughts I had on this. More thoughts on God will follow.

Exegesis of “A Maze of Death”

I’m going to make this quick statement, I am in love with Philip K. Dick right now. There is something about a science fiction writer into big religious questions that fascinates me. I am on a more or less steady diet of Philip K. Dick right now and I figured that I should work this into the blog. As such, I am going to work this into my new blog, mostly because it gives me something to talk about. What we have here is a continuing feature, which I will be calling an Exegesis in honor of Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis, written to explain the visions he experienced during the early 70s. THERE WILL  BE SPOILERS.

If I where to sum up “A Maze of Death” in one sentence then I’d say “It’s Lost in space and on really bad crack.” Yeah, not a good way of describing it, but it gets better. Basically, all these people who are sent to the mysterious planet of Delmak-O, with no explanation why they are all sent there and not really any hint. Since they all have different careers (marine biologist, linguist, theologian, etc) they have no idea what it is they are supposed to do. When they finally get to play the tape (Yes, it’s a tape. It was published in 1970), it has been busted and won’t work. So basically nobody knows what the hell they are supposed to be doing on this planet.

And then people start being killed.

Which is where the Lost thing comes in, more specifically, theories concerning Lost. It is stated that everyone on this research colony is in some way a jerk. Pretty much everything from general jerkery to bestiality is covered for in this group. This relates to the Lost theory that the characters are all in purgatory, which will relate to the book. In this case, the reaserch colony believes that they are part of a really sketchy government experiment, at least initially though because this is a Philip K. Dick novel. Lost my track of thought there. Anyways, the vast majority of “A Maze of Death”s cast is made up of jerks, addicts, madmen and various combinations. A couple are all right, but I didn;t really find the characters that interesting compared to the issue of the whole ontological mystery of the situation.

Another interesting feature would be the Religion that everyone in the book follows. It was basically developed by Philip K. Dick with his friend William Sarrill (whoever that is) with various inspirations from Dick’s conversations with Bishop James Pike. Basically, the religion of this book has an existent God that is seperated into three aspects. The Mentefactor, who is never given much detail but I think is supposed to be God the Father, The Intercessor, who is sort of like Jesus, and The Walker-on-Earth, who is basically this random do-gooder who wanders the earth doing good deads much like Kane from Kung Fu. These gods can appear to you at various times and do whatever it is they do. You can even pray to them via electronics. That’s basically how the book starts, one of the characters wants a change of job since his current one isn’t challenging. So he prays for a new job and gets one that leads into our story. There’s also a holy text that has some sort of inane self-help title that I think was How I Came Back From the Dead and So Can You. That is probably meant as a joke. Oh, and there is a fourth being, an evil figure called the Form Destroyer, which is basically the forces of entropy that will consume everyone and was created when the Mentefactor made the Universe as a side affect. Hope that covers everything.

Anyways, people trapped on a mysterious planet, everyone’s a jerk ass, people are dieing. I’m not going to go and explain all the weird stuff that happens, but a lot of weird stuff happens. There’s a weird prison thing that may anticipate the Black Iron Prison of the Exegesis and VALIS. There is also a Tench, which is a sort of jell thing that works kind of like the I Ching. The vast majority of these things are left unexplained because of the twist ending. The twist ending, which is important for this is that the events of the novel aren’t really happening. All the characters are in fact going through a computer generated simulation to relieve stress because they are stuck on a space ship with no hope of rescue. Everyone was being killed of by everyone else because they are so sick of each other that they can’t stand to look at each other. It’s supposed to be cathartic.

So, we know come to what it is that Philip K. Dick is trying to get at. A lot of this is about Dick’s beliefs on human sympathy. Simply, everyone should just be nice to each other. The characters in “A Maze of Death” are unable to do this in any meaningful way. They are basically unfit human beings by Dick’s standards. What is more, they are trapped on a star-ship with no hope of rescue and placing themselves in what pretty much amounts to maya, the Hindu concept of the vale that we perceive as reality, though in this case the reality they have to face is worse then the illusions they have to live in.

Or is it? At the end of the novel, one of the characters, overcome with depression concerning his situation is greated by the Intercessor. This is a surprise to him and the reader as the Intercessor has already been stated to have been a product of the simulation, something that the cast made up for the simulation. The Intercessor takes the character away to be reincarnated as a cactus, but the rest of the characters are sent to live out the simulation once again.

FINAL ANSWER: Dick’s ultimate philosophical goal is to show humanity at it’s worse, but also to offer hope in finding salvation through religion. There is also an open ended question regarding the existence of God. “Did we make up God and does that mean salvation is not possible?” Dick does not really address this question in full in “A Maze of Death,” and I have yet to find any works that really look at this. This is a pretty hard question though, largely because this isn’t really asked and it is not also very logical. Salvation can only be found through God, therefore if God doesn’t exist Salvation is not possible. However, in Dick’s story, God does in fact exist, but has appeared in the guise of a form that is created. By this, Dick is implying that God exists and appears to mankind via images created by man for God. This makes sense if looked at with the idea that God is not a being that is comprehended by human senses. The creation of various masks can help in the communication with humanity.

Alright, this is as far as I can go. I’ll be trying my hand at VALIS next, wish me luck.

Alan Moore: Art is Magic (my responce)

This video, which had damn well better be up, is from the documentary The Mindscapes of Alan Moore. Somebody put up a lot of cool stuff from that very nifty documentary, and it has been something I return to for contemplation.

Alan Moore has been my first real stepping stone for me to seriously look into the world of the occult. This is largely due to Alan Moore making it look fairly non-occult and scary. In his series of comic books, Promethea, he makes it look pretty cool. It was very colorful and non-threatening, and while scary at some points, it didn’t really seem to be something that would damn my soul to eternity. While I’m still wondering if Christianity and whatever it is Alan Moore is supposed to be are compatible, I am fascinated by his beliefs regarding magic and art.

So is Alan Moore right? Are the goals of Art and Magic so easily together? I don’t believe that they are that tied together, there is a lot of art that I would say does not fit the qualification of magic. The question that should really be asked is does Art affect the outside world, or does the outside world affect Art?

Art is definitely something that lives in both worlds, by which I mean the Macrocosm, the world we share with everyone else, and the Microcosm, the world of our perception. It can exist in a physical plane, were we can see it or read it or hear it, but we also see it when we look at it. This causes us to interpret it, which gives it existence in the microcosm. This can cause the audience to think about things if the artist decides to do thus. So yes, I believe that Art can affect the world around us.

The problem is this is not being used in a beneficial way, as Alan Moore is saying, but that most of the modern-day equivalents are working in advertising or mediocre Hollywood films. They have the most power over the various Microcosms of individuals, as film is the most prevalent form of artistic communication. The problem is a lot of this isn’t that good and is seen largely as entertainment, as compared to something that could benefit humanity as a whole. There is also the issue that if we were to somehow overthrow the advertisement/Hollywood control over symbols, we (and I mean Alan Moore and myself and whoever else wants to give this a go) would just become propaganda. Not that this is something that is going to happen in the near future, because I’m not the kind of person to become a propaganda minister, because I have talent. Also, I’m smart enough not to get involved in any revolutions.

So anyways, what I really wanted to talk about was that I believe Alan Moore has a point here and that if I am going to be a writer, and I am going to be a writer, I should be prepared for my ideas to take hold on the world. This is a bit of a problem, because I’m not sure what my goals are in my writing. Here’s a list of recurring themes that exist in the things I plan on writing.

  1. We should probably not be to excited about Richard Dawkins and his gang of Athiest sharpshooters
  2. The State is the House of Satan and any follower of God and Truth should not hold any magistrasial position. This holds to anyone seeking a political revolution. Anyone who claims that God put him or her in any form of position of power, is lieing, a heretic and possibly the Antichrist. (I am open to voting however)
  3. Art is a magical force that can affect the world around us, but it’s being misused by the mainstream media, advertising and Hollywood’s poor examples of film. (AVE HERZOG!)
  4. Probably something involving God, inspired by my Christian Anabaptist routes and things like that, but with syncrenetsic elements that combine aspects of the Western Mysteries, Sufism and Eastern Religions.

I have been working on this for to long, and like the thing on Jodorowsky’s Tarot, I will return to it soon. Probably more sooner then the Tarot thing.

The Way of the Tarot, by Alejandro Jodorowsky; The Anatomy of the Tarot Prt 1

Part of the overall theme for this blog was an intent to write about my ongoing spiritual journey. So far this has led me to look into various paths, most notably Sufism, Gnosticism and Hermeticism. At the moment I am unprepared to make any claims towards one religion, but I believe that it is safe to say I am leaning towards a Christianity leaning towards socially aware Anabaptism. That said, I’m being very syncretic about my religious path and am looking into practically everything.

Which leads me to the subject of one of many recurring posts concerning Alejandro Jodorowsky’s book, The Way of the Tarot. Alejandro Jodorowsky, for those of you who aren’t art school hipsters like myself, is a Chilean-born surrealist known mostly for his heavily symbolic films, such as El Topo and The Holy Mountain. He got his start in puppeteering and mine (he worked closely with Marcel Marceau). He also does rather odd space opera comics with very odd and awkward dialouge; I think it’s due to a combination of translation and Jodorowsky being a mime. I’m going to go out and admit that I’m reading this partially because I think his movies are cool, but he is also a leading expert on the Tarot and worked on the recreation of the oldest known Tarot deck.

Before we go much further I have to say that there has always had some suspicion about Jodorowsky. Of all my obscure little interests, Jodorowsky always seems to be the most obscure. He’s also obscure in the best possible way, because he would make a very interesting name dropper (He’s worked with Marcel Marceau, John Lennon was a big fan, Marilyn Manson will be in his next movie, etc). There is the problem that Jodorowsky is fundamentally outside the English cannon. I have the suspicion that he is much, much bigger in Latin America and France, or at least more well-known. For most of my high school years, I was basically the only person who had ever heard of Jodorowsky. There are all kinds of stories I could tell you about how I tried to find other Jodorowsky fans, or how I’d try to foist his work on others.

There is also the Jodorowsky that will be most of use in this, the Jodorowsky who is an expert on the Tarot and a psychotherapist. While I find some of his ideas to make some kind of sense such as that we are affected by the lives of the people who came before us, there is always some bit of doubt in my mind. Is this guy on the level? Is he just in it for the money? I think at the end of the day Jodorowsky is an honest man, which is to say he believes in what he’s doing. He’s a bit crazy, but in a way that makes him endearing to me.

Which brings us back to the book I was able to pick up on it. Since it’s buy one of my favorite film makers, and I do fine the intricasies to be found in the Tarot’s symbolism interesting, I bought this book and have been reading through it. So far I have learned the following things about the Tarot.

First, the Tarot should be looked at as a complete entity. This is nothing new, I knew that Jodoroswky believes that the Tarot is a whole entity, but it is worth stating. Jodorowsky’s view on the Tarot is basically that of scripture. It is a living entity that exists in the pictures and characters of the deck. That Jodorowsky says the Tarot is alive isn’t very surprising, scripture in all it’s forms is treated as an important entity in all religions. Jodorowsky goes deeper into this by stating that the Tarot can be made into a mandala, which is a Buddhist idea that involves a picture of the entire spiritual and/or physical universe.

After this, Jodorowsky goes into what he sees as proofs for the symbolic nature of the Tarot. I won’t go to much into detail about that, as it’s very late for me and I want to get this over with pretty soon. I did not really find most of his arguments entirely convincing. There was a lot of time when reading this when I thought, okay this could just be a coincidence. While I can believe that the Tarot represents the human soul, I have a difficult time believing that it was the original intention. The arguments I have heard for this have made sense to me, but I believe that this is because we are applying already existing symbols to aspects and characteristics of the human soul. This is a concept that I will explore in later posts.

Anyways, it’s late and I’m getting tired. As I’m writing this it’s 12:30 at night, and this is not yet ready for publication as for some reason the tags and categories aren’t working. I will have this posted tomorrow were I can edit it up a bit more. I will go more into my beliefs on belief, and Jodorowsky’s belief in the Tarot’s Anatomy in a later post.