Monday, August 13, 2018

I'm on Vacation

Listen to this and tell me it isn't a masterpiece


Friday, August 10, 2018

Mindset for Alternatives



In a previous post, I discussed the methodology for learning about magic.

This is an extension of the ideas first seen there.

When you start dealing with magic, you have to examine a lot of your current beliefs and attempt to reconcile the nature of what you brought to the table with what folks are telling you need to be done.

OK then.  Sounds simple, but the conflicts are enormous.  I would tend to think that the greater bulk of folks out there rejected the harshly enforced western standards from the get go. I wasn't ever fully in that crowd. It seems the magic crowd is folks who have been disaffected and alienated from the mainstream form the get-go.  I don't see this as a problem or a judgment, but the bulk of magic folks just never fit into the day to day of the society where I grew up and currently reside.

The reason that I don't mind is that the same problem is effecting me now. 

I was drawn into science because it answered a lot of the questions about the physical world.  I was able to make effects happen and understand the macro scale of a lot of phenomenon that I saw operating around me every day.  But the more that I learned, the more walls I ran into, and when I started asking the really hard questions, all that science could give me was pretty pictures from computers, a lot of not-very-satisfactory hand waving, and sullen silence.

So I am thinking hard about the way that I think.  A lot of time has went into the world view that has served me until now.  A lot of effort is out there, trying to keep folks like me channeled into their roles as well-meaning servants and grist for the mill.

John Michael speaks of magic as a way for the powerless to gain a modicum of power.  I think that it might be even more than that.  It might even be a means to remove the beams from our eyes to see clearly.  The storm is coming. 


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Limitations


"The axioms of causality are being shaken to their foundations: we know now that what we term natural laws are merely statistical truths and thus must necessarily allow for exceptions. We have not sufficiently taken into account as yet that we need the laboratory with its incisive restrictions in order to demonstrate the invariable validity of natural law. If we leave things to nature, we see a very different picture: every process is partially or totally interfered with by chance, so much so that under natural circumstances a course of events absolutely conforming to specific laws is almost an exception."
                                                                                                  Carl G Jung
                                                                                                  From the Preface to The I Ching or Book of Changes
                                                                                                  The Richard Wilhelm Translation rendered into English by Cary F. Baynes

Consider for a moment the smartest person that you know.

Most likely, that person has a couple of letters tacked discreetly at the end of their name and an impressive expertise in one or two areas.  If they are really talented, their brains can range out into two or three other areas but with a corresponding loss of "knowitalliveness".

But we have literally thousands of fields of endeavor now,  so the one or two areas where they know things is looking kinda threadbare.  Now I realize that someone reading this is going to pipe up with the "but all things are connected".

Thus begins this screed.  What level of interconnectedness is possible for a bunch of apes with opposable thumbs and an unfortunate tendency toward being curious?  Even if we use the sterility of the laboratory and the bright focus of the scientific method, just how close can we come to an understanding of an entire process?

So we come back in a circle to the smart guy.  Minds in general do process data well on an individual datum basis.  Set up an experiment and do "A" to "B" then wait for a bit and write down what happens.  Nice and easy, fully understandable.  But then that damn need for reproducibility comes in and smartperson repeats the process a couple of times (the more the better) and sees if things stay the same.  This is where the trouble starts.

Outliers crop up after a bunch of tries.  Some of them can be ascribed to mistakes made by the smartperson or his designated flunkies, but sure as sure, some of them just sit there, eliciting awkward silence and nerdy frustration.

This is where we sit right now.  The outliers are starting to crop up in serious way.  We have been running experiments like "how many cars can we sell" and "how much oil can we drill" and "how much stuff can we stuff into the blue sky"?

For a long time following WWII, we were getting solely "good" results and the model worked.  About 1972 the outliers began cropping up and a bunch of rogue statisticians from the club of Rome pointed out that the good times would not last.

So, as a former smartperson, I am now trying to change the way that I look at things.  I think that the first step it to stop looking at the data the way that I always have.  I have always looked at data as the relationship between two physical things.  May, just maybe another way to look at it is to try and untangle the web of interdependency that lies in the gaps and shadows of different physical manifestations.

Addendum
I am drawn to the idea of Odin/Wotan as a God.  Now, before you go and get all hinkey on me, I don't want the Wotan of Jung's great essay, the Wotan of whacked out NeoNazi's.  I am looking at the wanderer and searcher for knowledge.  I kinda feel comfortable yet slightly nervous about the idea.  I am going to have to listen patiently and keep an eye on him.  He doesn't appear to be the God with my best interests at heart.  He has bigger fish to fry but if I pay attention, he might offer more than he takes.

When you think about it, that might be the right way to approach a God.  

But I have no idea of how he is going to feel about the I Ching thing. I wonder if anyone would be offended if I worked it into the Seidr?









Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Back to School

 
I think that I need to learn about the world.  Not about the economy, nor how to struggle for lucre nor have a status in the human system.

I need to learn about the world around me, you know, the permanent one that will be here at the end of this tawdry little empire, the one that the people hundreds of years from now will inhabit.  The world that I thought that I was living in for the past 64 years is a smallish thing.  It is built around a decaying energy source and a population too big for the container it lives in.

Most everyone I know agrees that the way of life we have now is unsustainable.  But yet everyone that I know is engaged in a life-or-death struggle to keep exactly what they have.

I guess that I will go the other way.  I have dropped pretty fast, I need to go down even farther.  Right now the issues that need to be solved is where to live that will allow me to reduce further, and how to get around once I get there.

Addendum:


Trying to be good and change my ways.  I cast I Ching this morning and got this hexagram with a nine at the top.  The question that was asked is "Is is getting close to being time to bail".

I wrote the initial pass of this post couple of days ago, put it in the woodpile, and scheduled it for today.   I have been thinking about moving "somewhere else" to get away from the insanity that is Portlandia.  I know that things are changing.  I know things can't continue the way they are going.  

Maybe, if for some odd reason, you have stumbled across this little vanity of mine and haven't read the "Kek Wars" over at 






Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Currently Speculative




John Michael told me what I was in a recent post.

"A Speculative Mage".

Well, that doesn't appear to be doing shit for me.  I think that I am like those political science students you met in college.  You know them, the ones that take courses in East Asian Studies but don't learn any languages and don't visit the countries that they study.  

The ones that usually go into government work.

So, if I am to be allowed to see what the hell is going on and if magic is in fact afoot, I have to go and try to do something and see how it works.  In other words, I have to travel to where magic exists, and that appears to be right where I am, I just have to turn the key.

I think that since I have no particular relationship with any of the entities that appear to mediate magic, I will have to figure out what the hell that they are are try to do a little shout out.  The problem for me is, while I can tentatively accept the existence of things out there with greater power and knowledge that I can deploy, I have no idea of who/what they are or how to contact them.

I think that the best that I can do right now is to examine myself and my way of thinking.  If there are things out there, and they can have an effect on my consciousness and will, there may be traces there if I look for it.

Now, I am thinking that the hard part will be the whole belief aspect of the problem.  Most things that I read start out with the same nonsense that the Christers start with.  "first you have to believe, then the results will flow from the effect of that belief".

Hmmm.  I have always been uncomfortable with that particular proposition.  Kinda strikes me as the same path that made me leave science.  Science got into trouble because folks decided what they wanted to prove, then went out and set things up to prove them.

Strikes me that idea of having a pre-defined result in the occult is every bit as dangerous as having a pre-defined result in science.

Monday, August 6, 2018

A Mess of Gods


I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties of gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses. For whatever is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities, or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. In this philosophy particular propositions are inferred from the phenomena, and afterwards rendered general by induction.[1]

OK:  I am walking my way through the process of seeing if there is something to the idea of magic.

I am coming to the conclusion that taking magic out for a spin is going to be a lot more difficult than what I thought.  It isn't like learning to drive, nosiree.  I think that if there were a handbook of learning to drive a car written like people try to teach magic, the first couple of lines, written in straightforward prose would be:

       Step One:  Build the car
       Step Two:  Sit behind the steering wheel

One of the big issue I am having is the tacit understanding that there are God(s) out there and the magic is somehow (wave hands around here)  dependent/operant via their existence.  I have no problem with this.  My problem is that I know nothing about it/them and it/they don't appear to have motivations and/or activities that I can understand.

I kinda reject monotheism across the board.  It neither makes a lick of sense or appeals to me in any manner.  It may well be true, I have no means of ever deciding.  The idea of a polytheistic approach is similar.  Are their multiple gods having different areas of specialization?  This appears to be the consensus opinion.  John Michael described Chaos magic recently as being relatively God-free, but when you look at the idea of the Sigils used, I can't figure out the effective difference between a Sigil and a God.

John Michael got me into all this...I am blaming/thanking him, but it is a kinda thoughtful, grateful thing.  So I toss down coins for another of his books discussing polytheism (go here to buy your own).

All I gotta say at the end of this process, I am obviously on a long road.  Plowing through the book on polytheism, I am learning good things, and some ideas are starting to gel, but mostly I am reminded of a line from Terry Pratchett:

'I don’t hold with paddlin’ with the occult," said Granny firmly.  ‘Once you start paddlin’ with the occult you start believing in spirits, and when you start believing in spirits you start believing in demons, and then before you know where you are you’re believing in gods. And then you’re in trouble.
‘But all them things exist,’ said Nanny Ogg.
‘That’s no call to go around believing in them. It only encourages ‘em.'



Friday, August 3, 2018

The Corruption of Data




The biggest loss in the past 30 years is the loss of trust in the perception of the press in its role as unbiased informer.  Now, lets be honest with ourselves, they were never particularly good at the "unbiased" thing, but lately the slant and bias of the different news outlets has become extreme.  One can structure a full day of reading or viewing without ever reading something off-script of the narrative of one of the factions.

This really limits the ability to have a decent discussion.  People develop a world view and then go out and find a news source that doesn't conflict with their already developed preconceptions.

All I can do is ask questions when I talk to people.  I try to be polite, and I even try to be subtle (this is usually an epic fail), but when the folks I am talking to answer my questions honestly I can sometimes figure out where the hell they get their information and what the hell I should do about it, if anything.  I usually try to back off when questions make the folks I am talking too uncomfortable, of course then, being of churlish character, sometimes I don't.

I long ago gave up on the idea of trying to convince anybody about anything using facts or logic. Facts are a waste on stupid people.  Anything worthy of arguing over has sufficient complexity that stupid people can't follow the logic anyway.  (as an aside here, please, please don't try and tell me the sad mantra of the earth muffins that "there are not stupid people".  There are plenty of stupid people out there and they do vote.)

People who are intelligent enough to be interesting already knows their facts, and if they don't agree with you, either they have more accurate information than you do or their already set beliefs prevent them from accepting what you know to be true. Either way, doubling down on emphasizing your version of "truth" will only convince them that their beliefs are correct and their sources are true and that you are an idiot.

The news media with it's bipolarity and factions feeds into these problems in the most pernicious way.  By the ruthless simplifying and market testing of their content, they are stripping away the necessary triad of the subtle, ambiguous, and contradictory nature of the world.  Stupid people are incapable of perceiving this triad anyway, and anyone worth discussing issues with is too painfully aware of the situation.
 
No matter what, I always question myself.  A long life has shown me that more often than not, my own desires and preconceptions make me see what I think that I am seeing.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Price o' merde





One of the sucky problems facing our aging modern society is the high price of taking a crap.

Metamucil (on Sale) $25.00 
Toilet Paper (at Walmart) $6.00 for 6 rolls
Oatmeal (at Grocery outlet) $3.29 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Senescence Gloss




A gloss is a marginal notation regarding text in a document
Spent a nice morning doing laundry and reading.  Sipping tea that I picked up while I was shopping for vegetables at my favorite Russian store over in Vantucky.  This piece caught my eye and, after reading it, damned if, at first, I was not jealous of not having written something like it myself.  Then I decided, what the hell, just put up the link, and then write away.


Whenever I think that I want to extol the virtues of a piece of writing, I always read it fast then walk away (in this case, the walking away was tea and laundry).  While going over this piece a second time,  (first read= fast, second read = slow), I got a completely different take on the piece.  While well written, this is the screed written by one of the many in my sorry-ass generation who always knew we were taking the wrong path, but lined up for our paychecks anyway.   Tommy boy was a professional pearl-clutcher in the past and is staying true to form in his dotage

Now, you might think that I am implying that somehow I was above all that and have always maintained some sort of doctrinal purity and commitment to the cause of the environment, social justice, and non-intervention.  Nothing can be farther from the truth.  1992 to 2007 was "belly up the bar" days.  I did everything that I needed to do to make certain that the filthy lucre flowed (I would sit down now and make a full confession, but the truth is, I am not feeling especially Catholic today and just don't want to bother).

But, on mature reflection, what I first thought was an epiphany turned out to be  just another of those tiresome "I'm going to die, so all that I see is the world dying with me" Jeremaids that have been lately infesting the nether regions of the web.

Look, overpopulation occurs.  Population biology and Paul Ehrlich have never been wrong, except for the rookie mistake of actually setting a date that the "ugly" would begin. The carrying capacity of the planet is around 1 to 1.5 billion humans long term.  No one alive today will be alive when we hit that number.  My guess is that there will be an undershoot to around 750 million then a gradual climb back to equilibrium.

No Tommy boy, the "Human Experiment" won't be coming to an end.  What will be coming to an end is the fatuous and destructive experiments of industrial civilization and "the green revolution (trading oil for food)".

Tommy boy recognizes Donny Boy as a symptom of a deeper problem.  That part I can agree with.  It is nice to see that he recognizes a clown as the clown that he is.

Where he makes his mistake is thinking that the "empire" was a plan by evil CEO's, neocons, and Madison Avenue.  Nope, just like Donny-Boy, these are straw men too.  Donny and the lineup of usual suspects that Tommy-boy parades out are only there because of a population that wants what they consider to be a "fair share".  But the "fair share" that is wanted is beyond the capacity of the earth to produce.

No Tommy, my guess is that you have always taken more than your fair share by a considerable margin.  So have I.  I am guessing you have dined in a restaurant in your presumptive Manhattan environs, feasting on New Zealand lamb, washed down with French Wine, with a lovely arugula salad dressed with imported Greek free-range olive oil and Italian Balsamic.  I am 99% certain that you have a sizable frequent-flyer usage.  I would guess that you drive your Prius to fetch your dog from the groomer.

Yes Tommy Boy, you are right, that world is coming to an end.  The planet is on the wrong side of the halfway point for energy and resources.  Unless there is a serious Deus ex Machina in the way of cheap and clean (or even just cheap) energy in the none too distant future, the ability of industrial civilization to continue as-is will be seriously degraded.

But industrial civilization is what brought all the people and all their needs.  We can afford cheap socks made in China more than we can afford the same sock from a US maker for 50% more. All of us are the problem.

We are looking forward to a compressional collapse of population when the industrial sector starts coughing and climate change starts to get traction.  The only reason that we can have this many people is because we traded debt and oil and got overpopulation in return.  The US has given a better quality of life to other peoples, but to do so, we have traded away the chance of a better future for a lot of our own people.

You are right, industrial civilization is dying.  A whole buttload of people will die along with it.  But the non-senescent younglings will create a new civilization on top of the remains.  It might be a better civilization.  It might not.

Earth Abides, and mankind will abide with it.  There will certainly be fewer.  My sincere hope is that my descendants will not feel the need to spit on my grave for my collaboration with something that I always knew was wrong. 




Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Foxholes


I tend to look at things with a view from the bottom. I think that this has a lot to do with my former status as an 11B20 in the long ago.


Even when I was in the rarefied realm of "Boss" and "Manager", I never was able to shake this worldview.  I think that is why I tend toward avoiding responsibility and "success" as defined by American culture.  I learned the hard way that folks who rise in a hierarchical culture see their minions as disposable.

Successful middle managers in largish organizations are heirs to the tasks that the overseers of southern plantations used to accomplish.  They are there to to perform the day to day extraction of maximum effort from the field hands.  They do it for a pittance, a title and the vanishingly tiny chance of proceeding to the upper realms of income and status.

Oh sure, they will make noises about their commitment to whatever ill-defined mission, but the truth of the matter is that most of them just pay lip service to the idea that they make a difference to the mission. In fact they just create an artificial echo chamber in the ill-defined gap between the people who actually do the work and the bosses.  That way the bosses can blame the middle managers and the workers can keep working. 

Getting their paycheck is the only goal, making it bigger is the only reward for these people.  The job itself isn't that important, only your status. 

And a pathetic status it is.  I think that I will stay a worker bee rather than a drone.