Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thought Surfing

The ego, as Alan Watts observed, is effectively just the focus of conscious attention.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On the Path with Blackwood

The itinerant early 20th century British author Algernon Blackwood became famous for writing short stories about the supernatural, but his primary interest was in finding a way for humanity to reunite with nature despite the ravages of the industrial age.
His thoughts led him to certain conclusions that are familiar to me — that the path to a more complete human being may be found in the alignment of our conscious and unconscious minds.
‘I think, honestly, the deepest interest in my life is to find any knowledge, in book or practice, that may widen the field of consciousness and waken powers which, I feel convinced, lie dormant in our greater self — the subconscious so-called,” Blackwood wrote. “I still believe we have latent powers which could bring us nearer, if only a little nearer, to Reality. This is the insatiable quest in my blood and compared with it other things, money least of all, do not count.”
“I have long since reached a stage where I feel that there can be little progress until the subconscious powers become developed and accessible,” Blackwood wrote on another occasion. “Without these we can become better, but not greater.”
Drawn to Georgei Ivanovich Gurdjieff’s ideas about ways to “bring a scientific rationale to mysticism,” Blackwood remarked, “The preliminary training in yoga convinced me that it was genuine and helpful for any serious student. The methods of changing one’s type of consciousness, rather than merely extending what was already possesses, seemed to me true and practical.”
One effective method I’ve found for doing this is Jungian Active Imagination, which I also call Hypnagogic Active Imagination — a means developed by the psychologist Carl Jung for developing direct communication between the unconscious and conscious aspects of the human mind.
Source: “Algernon Blackwood: An Extraordinary Life” by Mike Ashley

Friday, April 11, 2014

"Both Sides," My Royal American Eyeball

Thanks to my friend Michael Jones for this meme
As my friend Paul Loop put it, explaining Politico (and CNN, the news networks, the Sunday shows, the punditocracy in general, all major corporate-owned news sources): "When you assert that 'both sides' are equally to blame, and they are obviously NOT equally to blame after a simple objective analysis, you are essentially covering for the side that deserves all the blame. In Politico's case, it's beyond obvious by now that putting lipstick on the conservative pig is an essential part of its mission. Charles Pierce pinpoints it."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Albert Einstein in the Reign of Witches

When Albert Einstein took a stand against Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s anticommunist witch hunt in 1953, he advised that American intellectuals should refuse to testify before McCarthy’s committee on the grounds that they were defending the free expression principles of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights.
Russell and Einstein
America’s newspapers, the beneficiaries of the First Amendment, promptly and stridently denounced him. Anti-Einstein screeds appeared on the editorial pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer and others.
Einstein had sparked the firestorm by making public a reply he had given to a Brooklyn schoolteacher who had refused to cooperate with McCarthy’s hysterical inquisition into supposed “communist influence in high schools.”
“The problem with which the intellectuals of this country are confronted is very serious,” Einstein told him. “The reactionary politicians have managed to instill suspicion of all intellectual efforts into the public by dangling before their eyes a danger from without . . . They are now proceeding to suppress the freedom of teaching and to deprive of their positions all those who do not prove submissive…
“What ought the minority of intellectuals to do against this evil? I can only see the revolutionary way of non-co-operation, in Gandhi’s sense... based on the assertion that it is shameful for a blameless citizen to submit to such an inquisition…
“If enough people are ready to take this grave step they will be successful. If not, then the intellectuals of this country deserve nothing better than the slavery which is intended for them.”
Seeing all the vitriol hurled against the venerable, kindly Einstein, the British philosopher Bertrand Russell penned a wry reply to the New York Times.
“You seem to think one should always obey the law, however bad,” the philosopher wrote. “I am compelled to suppose that you condemn George Washington and hold that your country ought to return to allegiance to Her Gracious Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. As a loyal Briton, I of course applaud this view, but I fear it may not win much support in your country.”
Source: “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson