Our continued unfolding into the noosphere means that each and every day, new tools and new information for liberating ourselves themselves become liberated. mobiused1 wrote his last book using LibreOffice, an open source office suite that is freely available and at least as good, in mobiused1′s humble experience, as that offering from Microsoft. So it should come as no surprise but with plenty of gratitude to learn that an incredibly useful book by mobiused1′s collaborator, friend and teacher Gary Weber is now freely available online. “Happiness Beyond Thought” is one of those books you want to have around to dip into, and now you can even read it for free on your phone. True to its subtitle, HBT is a “Practical Guide for Awakening” offering concrete tactics for withering self referential thoughts and awakening to the incroyable immensity of our minds beyond the “I thought” of everyday life. mobiused1 knows of no better guide for those of us on the journey to the infinite realms beyond thought. Download it now, and I’ll see you in the noosphere beyond thought!
Friends, mobius has the effing incredible opportunity to offer a workshop in mystic practice at the Rhetoric Society of Amerika’s annual meeting in the sacred town of Lawrence, KS, old stomping grounds of the great William S. Burroughs. The description is below, and there a few slots left. The workshop promises to be effing radiant: teaching peeps how to dwindle their narrative mind always is!
You can click here to register for the workshop.
The Ends of Words: Mystic Practice and Rhetorical Limit Experience
Richard Doyle, Penn State University
“The old writer couldn’t write anymore because he had reached the end of words, the end of what can be done with words. And then?” William S. Burroughs, The Western Lands
Writer Alan Watts once described himself as being in the business of “Effing the ineffable” – putting the unspeakable into words. This workshop will explore the tensions endemic to effing the ineffable. Mystic rhetorical practices are collectively defined by this paradoxical attempt to describe the indescribable, and in so doing they explore the rhetorical limits of any given historical moment or domain. And mystic texts, while often well out of the mainstream in their content and style, are hardly marginal in the usual sense; perhaps precisely because mystic writers must explore the very limits of discourse, mystic texts are at the core of many rhetorical traditions, where they explore the limit experience (Bataille) of language in the space of all possible rhetorical practices. And this “end” of words can at times also be their very telos, as in the eighth century Sanskrit chant “Nirvana Shatakam” or the fourteenth century English mediation manual the “Cloud of Unknowing”. Exploring an itinerary from these early texts to twentieth century science fiction writer Philip K. Dick’s The Exegesis, the workshop will collaboratively map some rhetorical domains of what is possible, and not possible, to “eff.”
Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing ( short selections)
De Certeau, Michel. Mysticism
Dick, Philip K. The Exegesis (short selections)
Leonard, Ron. The Transcendental Philosophy of Franklin Merrell-Wolff ( pp. 107-155)
Merrell-Wolff, Franklin. Transformations in Consciousness (short selections) Adi Sankara, “Nirvana Shatkam
What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Herbert Simon
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21
The accelerating state of technological change has led many commentators to declare an incipient “singularity” wherein technological intelligence supersedes the capacities of human thought and humans are left behind in the double time march of Lamarckian techno-evolution. While these commentators have focused their analysis primarily on the material world of technological innovation, they have paid less attention to the subjective experience of this rapid technological evolution. Recent research in neuroscience supports the testimony of mystics over the millenia who have testified that our subjective experience offers an ecstatic fourth state of consciousness beyond waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep activated by the disciplined focus of subjective attention: Turiya. This talk argues that the near term singularity on the horizon is the collective and highly distrbuted re-discovery of the capacities of human attention currently strained beyond its evolved capacities by the ongoing radical infoquake. This time, the Hero’s Hourney is evolutionary: In the crosshairs of ever proliferating information and finite attention, the mind, in attentional crisis, finds that it can no longer rely on the ego and its avatar, the “I”, and gropes toward the long neglected subjective experience of human beings, a very real but seldom explored domain “beyond thought” to which the Hero’s journey has always implicitly pointed. Here practices and technologies of the singularity within that leverage neuroplasticity and the exploration of the vast space of subjective awareness become both necessary and sufficient to heroic survival on an informatic planet in ecosystemic distress. Techniques for provoking a runaway process toward the singularity within will be discussed.
Thus far mobiused has offered cosmic breadcrumbs from other wayfarers such that you might feast as mobiused has feasted. We learned of the cephscope’s capacity for spelunking around our galactic sized noggins with Philip K. Dick, gazed upon some crystals of lucidity from Franklin Merrell-Wolff, and learned to shut up long enough to mutate from Ramana Maharshi and William Burroughs. mobiused offers these breadcrumbs in the spirit of sharing at a spiritual potluck: Oooh, try some of this! if something doesn’t suit your taste, try the next one! The “truth is a pathless land”, so one dude’s delicacy is another girl’s poison. Just don’t let that dissuade you from the feast!
And so mobiused moves down the Smörgåsbord of the sacred and points to Thaddeus Golas. Thaddeus was a self described “Lazy Man” who, by his own admission, wrote his 1972 book to save himself the trouble of talking about it. Now mobiused’s father always says that “A lazy man invented the wheel”, and this good for nothing American sage seems to have invented an even more sublime conveyance – one that can lead to insight and beyond. One of his most useful principles – besides his “lazy” attempt to approach “doing” absolutely nothing – in the context of any quest for self knowledge is the principle of equality. When we have some blissful “verification” that our quest for knowledge is paying off with better health, happiness, less conflict, increased instances of synchronicity or unfathomable experiences of prescience, it is helpful to be reminded that a core message of the Perennial Philosophy is that ALL beings have equal access to the Divine Ground. Spiritual pride, as Milton, ahem, noted, can be quite a hangup, keeping us from making any further progress. His Lazyness writes:
Once you begin to behave in the knowledge that no being is greater or lesser than you, then you are free to change, because you will feel stable no matter what level you are on. You will feel calm and sure of yourself with or without a body, with or without a job, a brain, a book to read, or a book to write.
So too can it sometimes be tempting to doubt the veracity of any progress in the apparently inner world of consciousness, when the apparently outer world of matter grinds on in its bleak way, with scandals, wars, climate change, and people who censor the word vagina. His Lazyness managed to put together some helpful sentences for us to remember when we start to believe that the “real” world is the world of suffering, foolishness, and despair:
Withdrawing awareness from the expansions of others, and keeping attention on the contractions of others, fastens us to the world of matter. It is reassuring to know that this process, which got us incarnated in bodies in the first place, is also happening in our daily lives, and can be reversed very easily, starting now.
And Golas writes perhaps the most compressed and supremely simple way of Nada for those of us who find ourselves getting in our own way when we face an obstacle, physical or otherwise.
It is a nice truth that the way that will relieve your woes on the physical plane will also take you to the highest spiritual realizations. And the way is simple: No resistance.
Surrender to The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment. It’s good for nothing!
Silence is ever speaking; it is the perennial flow of “language.” It is interrupted by speaking; for words obstruct this mute language. Silence is permanent and benefits the whole of humanity. . . . By silence, eloquence is meant. It is the best language. There is a state when words cease and silence prevails. Ramana Maharshi
Friends, this now broken long summer silence announces and enacts the best of all possible gifts that I could ever have hoped to share in our noospheric spiritual friendship. As the noosphere – the collective, cumulative and emergent effects of attention gradients on the biosphere – proliferates and grows, it seeks tinier and tinier intervals in which to capture our attention. But what is between these momentary captures of attention? A phone chirps, a text arrives, a channel changes. What happens between? Could these intervals disappear, become extinct?
In order to really ask after this question, we need to turn our attention back onto itself and observe the space between thoughts, if there is any. And probably, when we do so, we experience thoughts. These might include “Why am I focusing my attention on my attention?” Whatever the thoughts are, they are not a focus of our attention onto itself. They are not the perception of the mind with the mind, but a story about the mind we tell ourselves while pretending to investigate our mind for the sake of a blog post. To whom do these thoughts come? If our thoughts are, like this blog post, displayed upon a screen, what does the screen itself look like? I am going to shut up soon and say nothing further, and that is the most direct and most loving gift that I can offer.
Give yourself the gift of the silent treatment. Follow each thought as it occurs and watch it disappear into silence. Behold the screen upon which thoughts dance. Behold that silence. Forget about doing Something. Nothing’s better. Much, much better.
After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — “I refute it thus.” Boswell, The Life of Dr. Johnson
Friends, this blog sometimes takes on a downright Copernican tone in its declarations about Consciousness-Without-an-object. If once upon a time the Official Story declared that the sun whirled about the earth, it was mighty exciting and unsettling to learn that, presto changeo, ’twas the other way around. So too were many of us ( or our ancestors) in for a shock when we learned that despite appearances, the world empirical is downright spherical. And so most of us travel about like geocentric flat earthers when we act as though it is the world of “matter” that is the real deal, when in fact, consciousness-without-an-object Is.
Now as a matter of fact, I know that some of the readers of this humble blog are actually or virtually in the Show-Me state. When the spam filter does not negate their comments, they say: “Show Me, mobius, show me that matter – which seems awfully actual when it, for example, smacks me upside the head in a bike crash – show me that this matter is unreal.” I will show you no such thing.In fact, I intend to show you absolutely nothing.
Now “real” and “unreal” – not to mention “matter” – are of course words.. So if “I” ( another word) suggest that it is a worthy practice to treat your consciousness as real, I am suggesting that with tiny tweaks of our symbolic framework – what the great Robert Anton Wilson called our “reality tunnels” – we can inhabit astonishingly different worlds. And most of us go about negating the import and impact of whatever is “in our heads” as if it were without actuality, when in fact, if you are willing to get still, you will see, and I will indirectly show you, that it alone is.
Dr. Johnson famously “refuted” Bishop George Berkeley’s affirmation of the relative reality of Mind by kicking a stone and “refuting it thus”, but this “refutation” ( which by the way took place entirely in consciousness) was perhaps the most convincing non sequitur in history. For when the good Doctor ( or rather, the ensemble of cells labeled “Dr. Johnson”) seemingly kicked, he experienced not the rock, of course, but the sensory impressions mediated through consciousness. In fact “he” does not exist at all, but is merely the transient effect of consciousness which acts well before we intend it. ( See Libet) While we are of course and indeed gloriously ( and not “merely’) physical creatures, we are also (and not “merely”) creatures of consciousness, and this is paradoxically where we spend absolutely all of our time, even when we are refuting the very existence of consciousness. But we don’t notice this because always and everywhere, we behold something, as if this “thing” were somehow the key to what we are and who we are. Now to show you that this not the case, I direct your attention to Nothing, that yawning enormity continuously hidden by your incessant quest for Something. Behold nothing, and you will gently but unmistakeably tune into the actuality of what is, until it once again gets spammed by Something. Together, beholding nothing, we refute Dr. Johnson thus!
Only you can prevent materialist myopia! Behold Nothing today!