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Messages - idgo

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A personal project has had me digging deep into some internet history, lately. It's a reminder: If you're writing things that you or anyone else might ever want to read again later, back it up. Save copies. If it's public and you want it to stay that way, snapshot it with archive.org. Videos and images, especially. The scaffolding of search which lets us find them rots away so much more quickly than that which cradles our text.

And in my own backups of my thought, notebooks from childhood onward, I find that I have been intrigued by time travel for as long as I've been writing anything. It wasn't the things-I'd-reverse-if-I-could that started this interest, though I've been able to readily mis-attribute it to them. The interest came first; it was present to be exacerbated. So I cannot disregard the ways in which saying a reminder like this is a form of time travel that works: I know one part of my future self with enough certainty that I know what it'll think when it's decades older looking back. And what it thinks is, take the backups.

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Reading / More on Hastur
« on: May 10, 2021, 05:43:46 pm »
https://exploringegregores.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/hastur-the-unspeakable/ has some interesting speculation; I won't spoil it for those who might prefer to keep their prior ideas.

Checked some old books which I'd expect to have references if it was based in prevelant prior folklore, and haven't found any references yet. This could have ruled out originality if the references were present, but their absence could have many explanations.

Per Wikipedia, the first reference is in http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/HaitShep.shtml (as a god of shepherds), then the name is borrowed by Chambers and the backstory greatly rewritten, then borrowed briefly by Lovecraft. This suggests some value in considering other sources form which Lovecraft borrowed, as one could then speculate on whether the Chambers borrowing was in any way unique.

Likely insignificant that the old speculation I've linked above and this forum's discussion of KiY were within a year of one another. Might some slow-moving deeply-buried meme have raised the likelihood of such discussion around the web to precipitate both events? Simple test here would be to seek signs of other fora discussing the book and note whether they cluster around that time or seem reasonably spread out proportionate to the overall volume of esoteric discussion.

Another potentially fruitful line of inquiry would be to gather cases of individuals who've decreased in sanity with/around/correlated-to exposure to yellow-the-book, and look for commonalities in their temperaments or backgrounds absent from those who've found the book inert. I've yet to decide whether this line of inquiry is interesting enough to warrant putting much effort into data-gathering.

Has anyone else here stumbled onto interesting stuff about that whole thing in the intervening couple years since it was discussed?

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Entertainment / Re: Memes
« on: May 04, 2021, 05:26:15 pm »
From somewhere on Reddit, as usual....


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Today in "knowledge is power": The test for whether a piece of knowledge is worth having is to ask what it does for me. I was recently asked in a professional context to articulate my values, and my first impression was that I might not have values. Upon further reflection, though, I find that those forces within me that are accurately described by the concept of "values" are those which cause me to take a path of greater resistance when one of less would also be viable.

Testing information and thoughts for their utility has another surprise-which-shouldn't-surprise-me, as well: tying desires to those values-shaped motives is highly effective for overcoming akrasia. The most recent example is that from the value of  recreational thinking, I determine that my surroundings influence my habits of thought, and due to this connection I find myself naturally exerting higher-quality control over my surroundings than before I realized it.

And unrelatedly: Have y'all ever created a backup or snapshot of your self/personality/soul/whatever at a particular point in time, forgot that you made it, and then rediscovered it later? Because I rediscovered one of those of my own recently, stored of course in the mind of a temporarily estranged but previously very close friend, and I must say it's an absolute delight to have it back. Revealing my present situation to such a well-formed and present imprint of my prior state (absorbed of course by updating my internal model of the friend, which itself contains that mental model of me based on data from years ago) invites a certain level of self-satisfaction, and more usefully, observing the impacts of its reactions on my present self offers a trove of ideas about what actions I can take now to have similar impacts on future-me.

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Additionally in "Librecad plus xpaint do not an art tool make", a visual impression of what I consider the "boundary of self" problem, which I may have alluded to in my postings in the science thread on bees.

The inner world is red, the outer, black. The gradient represents those spaces that are neither entirely inner nor entirely outer: This forum post, accessible to others but shaped by rumination internal to its author.  Memories of other posts you've read, shaped by others but accessible only to you unless you use them to create something new like a spoken or written description of them in the outside world.

And yet, the gradient isn't "real". You see a gradient only because of the way I happened to line up all the cells relative to one another; each individual cell holds only a single color. Any pair of touching cells are so close to one another in hue that one wonders if they were meant to be the same, and one of their off-tints is simply a mistake.

Just as there's no one line through the image on the one side of which is Only Red and the other is Only Black, I see no clean line between the Subjective and Objective.

...

What aspect of individual perspective determines the outcome of the receiver's attempt to understand this communication?

In the context of the question of "what's real only to me vs what's real to both me and others?", which I was prodding at when writing what you quoted, that's shaped like a trick question whose answer is "perception". If I try to communicate something, and that attempt causes you to have a thought, and I never find out in any way that you had the thought... then to me, that thought of yours simply doesn't exist, objectively nor subjectively. If something happens to cause me to infer that you might have had the thought, then your thought comes into existence to me as a plausible explanation for some phenomenon.

I may be misunderstanding what you mean by "individual perspective", though, by glossing it to "the Subjective universe". The Subjective is necessarily individual in that the laws of physics prohibit any two brains from receiving exactly the same stimuli from the world through their lives, so in that way I suppose that perspective and the subjective universe could be seen as synonymous.

 But the post of mine you quoted emanated from my struggles to make sense of writers who treat it as obvious that the subjective and objective are clearly distinct; for either of us to assume that the metaphor would extend coherently to the relationship between some individual's perspective and another individual's attempts to understand that perspective is likely to be giving my past self entirely too much credit.

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Is it fair to summarize it as "personality?" Receptivity is certainly in the very least an aspect of the former. Thoughts?


Receptivity necessarily an aspect of personality? Response to stimuli is how what we call personality is expressed in animate things that we anthropomorphize, sure, but "receptivity" to me implies more thought or calculation than mere response. There's also the habit of anthropomorphizing the inanimate which any generalization about "personality" must contend with -- I don't see any clear dividing line between what we mean by "personality" when we describe a building or plant as having "personality" and what we mean when we describe an animal or human as having "personality". Then again, I use a model of the world in which we anthropomorphize ourselves through the same basic processes (differing of course in amount or intensity) as we anthropomorphize other people, animals, vehicles, natural features, etc. That is of course not to imply judgement of whether it's incorrect or harmful of us to attribute personality or agency to ourselves or anything else, just to observe that it seems to be more or less the same phenomenon throughout.

So, fair? Certainly. Useful? Probably no less so than anything else I go on about around here. Whether an idea sets you up to do things you couldn't without it seems to me to be the real test of philosophical "value".

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Journals / The Obvious
« on: March 25, 2021, 04:33:47 am »
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I have access to absolute control over my interpretation of the data offered by my senses. When I do not exercise this control, the brain will use a default interpretation, influenced in part by its innate tendencies and in part by my past choices.

I have access to absolute control over my actions and behaviors. When I do not exert this control, the brain will employ default actions and behaviors, influenced in part by its innate tendencies and in part by my past choices.

Conscious, sapient choice underlies exertion of both these controls. Desire is the entrance to that loop of choosing-to-choose. However, the process of exerting choice feeds upon the particular desire which facilitates it, and witnessing the results of a successfully completed choice tends to extinguish that impetus which initially fueled it.

Starved of desire, choice and the progresses which result from choice perish. Absolute satiety is a living death, and insatiability underlies immortality of sapience. Satiety, that contentment which suffocates the power to choose and the incentive to evolve, seeps forth from the apathy of tolerating any state below perfection.

To cultivate lasting contentment with any attainable circumstances is to attempt assassination of one's highest possible self. Whatever state one trains or allows oneself to permanently tolerate is the state in which one's choices end.

It could be said, then, that the purpose which yields most magical results is simply "doing the impossible". As one counts an ever-increasing line of actual numbers to approach infinity, so too may one achieve an ever-improving succession of entirely possible accomplishments, ever more closely approximating some unattainable goal.

Just as counting to infinity by setting one's sights upon any attainable number along the way will guarantee that one never counts higher than that aspiration, so too is it THE END to settle for accomplishing any attainable goal.

There are subtle tactics to choosing an infinity whose counting crosses a suitably interesting or desirable series of ordinals, of course, but noting that such a strategy must be devised should suffice to prompt all who'd benefit from it to do so.

I've been out; living with the consequences of having set and attained attainable goals. There I was, blithely using "survive the end of the world as we know it with everything I need, and figure out the purpose of life" as "unattainable" goals, and then I managed to do both in the same year. That's less a boast than a warning: Both were deliciously pregnant with potential when incomplete, but when finished, sucked. However, something like "create a perfect model of the universe" is coalescing as a replacement proxy for the unattainable goal, and "perfection" is a vague enough concept to keep it interesting for a while.

This also serves me right for conflating the map with the territory in the isomorphism between the end goals of "LHP" and "RHP". While I maintain that the end state of both can be described as being the thing with the absolute power, I am reminded to be cautious of conflating any set of points along the way. The sides of the halves of a circle are mostly far apart, even if the unions between its sides are single points.

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General LHP Discussion / Favorite imagery to sneak into architecture?
« on: December 20, 2020, 04:17:59 am »
I'm having some custom ironwork done for a home improvement project, and the freedom of design gets me thinking about the ideal subtlety of "religious" symbol to weave into my home.

The margin between imagery so obscure as to miss its mark of offering a nice nod to others who've studied similar topics, versus so overused as to feel try-hard and faux-edgy, feels slim to me, so I turn here to my peers for insight: when doing relatively permanent visual design, how do you pin down what sort of references to our path will be suitably recognizable to greet others, without overdoing it?

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Introductions were a rather long time ago for most of us by now, and we've all likely made some refinements to our own views and goals since then.

I personally log in every so often to see what if anything is being discussed, because questions are often raised here to which I enjoy clarifying my own answers. I enjoy the opportunity for slow discussion with people of interesting perspectives, and the relatively closed nature of the group (comprising individuals consistently over time, rather than the revolving door of novices and strangers which popularity tends to bring other fora).

So, I'm curious: those who likewise log in every so often to see whether anything interesting has happened, what constitutes "interesting" to you? Have you scratched the conversational itch of this group better in other organizations that you've found since, or does it maintain a particular niche in your own personal ecosystem? And perhaps, where are you at on your own path these days -- has this year's enforced hermitage simulation benefitted your practices in the way that people through history have found excuses to withdraw in search of?

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General LHP Discussion / Re: My Resignation
« on: December 14, 2020, 06:26:28 pm »
It's disappointing indeed to see your original reply gone, Beleren. Did you remove it, or was that done by another with the ability to?

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However this sort of exit response seems very much like a religious equivalent of "I am taking my ball and going home". Of course I am being derisive here, which is entirely intentional given the immature exit. If an individual was really self-evolved through the work of Setian initiation, then how exactly does it help one's Xeper to leave a forum while announcing judgement, but placing that judgement on a supposed Prince of Darkness? He did not make "I" statements, though he may committed the logical fallacy of an appeal to authority. Without a tangible and verified objective existence of said Prince of Darkness, there is no basis to say that He(She/It) either consecrated or cursed this particular forum.

"You aren't playing how I wanted you to, so I shall take my ball and go home" is indeed a succinct and not inaccurate summary of what I'm observing as well. But when observing actions like these, how can we harvest benefits to ourselves from them? We can easily see how some of the claims in the post were incompatible with our own observations of the world; we can easily see how Sutkeh's choices may look to us like they were harmful to his own Xeper and self-evolution. But who made us his parents; who made it our job to worry about whether the choices he makes are ultimately harmful or beneficial to himself when the only impact those choices have on us is to offer us additional information about how a human on a path near ours can experience certain and react to certain combinations of circumstances? We could don this mantle of responsibility ourselves, if we chose to, but why should we? would getting disappointed in a former admin for not being who we wanted them to be actually help us at all?

(orthogonally, this does raise the interesting question: To what extent is one's self-evolution even observable to others?)

When presented with inputs like Sutkeh's post, we have the opportunity to choose what we assume of them, and to choose how we react. When several interpretations of something like this are available, I personally prefer to choose the one which is most beneficial to me at the time I'm making that choice.

One interpretation, which yours seems near, is to take offense at it. We can insist that Sutkeh *owed* us something, better behavior or better-constructed explanations, and lament the unfairness of those dues going unpaid. We can experience a post like this as a visit from a petulant child, and have our moments of reading it and reflecting on it spoiled by the childish reactions which this evokes in us in turn.

Another, which I would find more fun, is to look at an outburst like this as the inevitable reaction of a robot or piece of software being confronted with a particular set of inputs. We could fixate on all of the ways which we just found out we had the opportunity to *control* Sutkeh, if we had chosen to apply force upon all those handles and levers. Then, next time we encounter a person relating to a group as Sutkeh related to this one, we can have that much more understanding and thus that much more influence.

Yet another, which I've personally been using because I find it so easy to apply to circumstances involving inanimate as well as animate participants, is the thought experiment of "if I later found out that this experience had been a test or lesson sent to me from a more powerful force, such as my future self with a time machine, what would it have been trying to teach me?". In this case, we could speculate: If Sutkeh had actually in fact self-evolution then posted this -- if this post was calculated by someone with greater understanding than ours to be likely to change us in ways which benefit us -- what then could we take away from it? When viewed from this perspective, I find useful self-knowledge beneath its surface about the hazards of entangling one's involvement in a group with one's opinions about one's own value or success as an independent entity.

We can take inaccurate statements like the implication of an objective/external/shared Prince of Darkness at face value and be disappointed by them, or we could attempt to bleed out any utility to us which they may yield. In this case, one insight near the surface that I personally find useful to me is watching the ease of conflating the shared and un-shared realms when attempting to think about them from a state of strong emotion. Watching another fall into that trap makes it easier to spot the trap when I myself am near it.

On the whole, the analogy that this brings to mind is of attempting to ascend a popular but hazardous mountain, perhaps Mt Everest. We're heading up a particular route to the top and find a note from another traveler, or even meet him as he turns around to descend, although we know he was only a little ahead of us quite recently. He tells us that the path we're on is no good because it didn't get him there soon enough, perhaps even insulting us for wanting to continue along it. We could waste time and thought worrying about that traveler's tone and rudeness, or we could harvest from his words exactly what is useful to us and nothing more. After all, it's good to know that the path continues, or gets steeper, or will likely look insurmountable to us at some point as well. This knowledge allows us to plan ahead and make a more educated decision about how we want to interact with it -- perhaps some shortcut would be worth taking? perhaps we've learned that we really don't want to continue after all based on the other traveler's experiences? -- which is not without value, and the rudeness of that information's delivery is not even much worse than the sort of behavior we've already learned to expect from the rest of humanity as a general baseline.

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Reading / Re: Liber Null
« on: December 14, 2020, 03:02:23 am »
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Yes, that's basically what I meant. But I would get distracted by a "meaningless" thing no less than by one with a personal significance. If I'd stare at a ring with no significance to me, I'd start thinking about its color, its shape, its texture, what other things look similar, what rings symbolise, which things contain rings, etc. Just staring at it without thinking about it is difficult. Or are you saying that its color, shape and texture would be something one is "allowed" to focus on?

I've been contemplating how to better explain this, because I have a strong but inexact sense of what it means due to the analogy to evil eye, and when I discover myself to have beliefs that I can't clearly articulate they tend to nag at me until I solve that.

So, I think another way to approach it is the difference between thinking with something and thinking about something.

For example, if I'm thinking with optimism, I'm probably not feeling hopeless while doing it. But if I'm thinking *about* optimism, I could be thinking about it from a state which contradicts it.

The object fixation exercise is thinking, or thinking "with", the object being fixated upon, which is different from thinking about it. Let's pick a perfectly mundane object which I might presently fixate upon: the top of the head of the hinge pin of the middle hinge of the door of this room. It happens to be near eye level from where I'm sitting, matte rather than shiny so it won't reflect any distractions in the room behind me. I find it helpful to say silently to myself "it begins" when starting an object fixation exercise, and "it ends" when concluding it, to decrease any internal justification of distractions in between those temporal bookends.

So, I place my attention upon the little disk at the top of the hinge, and declare internally that the exercise of object fixation has started. Then, my brain starts volunteering more interesting things to think about. The trick to such a boring object is that the things my brain volunteers as alternatives for focus will be easily distinguishable from the object itself because they are interesting and it is not. The brain offers suggestions about what the combination of the hinge pin and the rest of the hinge look like together, but things it looks like are not the object, so those thoughts are dismissed. The brain offers symbolism on the meaning of hinges and doors, but the object is not symbolism nor a hinge nor a door, so those thoughts are dismissed. The brain offers speculation about the past of the hinge pin head: the ores it was quarried from, the factory it was smelted in, the tumbler which burnished it to its matte finish, the installer who affixed the completed hinge to the door, and all points between... but none of those interesting thoughts are the hinge pin right now, so they must be reluctantly dismissed. The brain then volunteers to imagine possible futures for the hinge pin, things which could be made from it, people who might later see or touch or modify or interact with it... but those more-interesting options are still not the object at the moment of fixation, so they must be dismissed as well. The brain points out that there's nothing left but to acknowledge the experience of sitting and staring, and to try to claim that the object is itself an experience as justification to break focus on the object itself, but even this excuse must be dismissed as well.

So in a way, the object of the fixation exercise gains great importance because the brain assumes that whatever it's putting that much focus into must be important, and thus tries to contrive explanations. But if those explanations are brand-new because the object was mundane, they are easy to spot and dismiss than they would be if they were woven into one's worldview before the exercise started. Observing the behavior of the brain as it attempts to create its own entertainment is an education in itself, because after awhile one learns to recognize what parts of experience are just shit the brain made up to avoid boredom. (the perception of which parts those actually are is likely to change over time).

So, I'd say that the color, texture, etc of the object in the moment of observation are all that one should strive to perceive, but if you find yourself thinking *about* the color (other places you've seen it), the texture (what it might be like to touch if you touched it in the past or future), etc, the thinking-about is still something to draw back from because thinking about a thing is not the same as observing it as it is at the moment of observation.

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So it's hard to find something I do the same way every day since a significant amount of time and that it wouldn't be inconvenient to change. Also, if something does fulfill these criteria, it's likely to be so subconscious that it doesn't fit the other criterion of being easy to change. But thanks for the examples, perhaps they'll make it easier to find something. If I need to - based on that description I seem to be using that technique anyway unintentionally.

I read the description of "impossible to fail" less as trivially easy, for changing habits never is, but more quantifying an absence of external excuses. For instance, the habit "I shall watch the sunrise every morning" is possible to fail, because some mornings may not have a visible sunrise due to weather conditions. But the habit "I shall look out the window at dawn every morning" is nearly impossible to have failed by external circumstances if one is already in the habit of being awake in a location with a window available at that time.

You could also just add a habit and watch how your brain responds. It could be as simple as to always touch the plate or bowl with your fork or spoon before taking a bite of food -- my interpretation of the point of habit work is to gain insight into how the individual brain relates to habits, and perhaps most usefully to learn to recognize habits of thought and identify how they could be changed so one can choose whether those changes are worthwhile rather than simply assuming them to be somehow externally imposed.

 
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Hm yes, I sometimes end up being stopped from achieving something by not finding a way how to or by deciding it's not worth it. But why would sigils help against that?
Also, based on my experience, I start believing that I can't achieve something or that it's better not to achieve it if I don't spend much time thinking about it - the more I think about it, the more I tend to take these barriers apart.
And one's main problems, those for which one has the largest motivation to tackle them, also tend to be problems one thinks about the most. So there automatically is a high correlation between putting much thought and putting much other effort into solving a problem.

Sigils are likely not low-hanging fruit for you in tackling mundane problems, then. As you progress through the book, you may encounter challenges of types that you don't usually face, and for those, sigil techniques may be more helpful than you've found them to be for prior applications. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the way MMM discusses sigils -- might do a writeup on resources I prefer some time.

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I may not have any prior practices in this regard because I don't know what you're talking about exactly.

I'll think further on how to explain that, then. I would like to have an explanation which conveys the concept, though it may have to start with some exercises or something to actually work for folks who've gotten to where we are along paths much different from my own. It feels obvious to me because I accidentally picked it up long before I had anything useful to do with it, but that just means I need to step farther back to figure out how to share it with those who haven't necessarily met it yet.

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Reading / Re: Liber Null
« on: December 12, 2020, 07:20:11 pm »
A copy is at https://azinelibrary.org/trash/LiberNull.pdf, for anyone who happens to follow along.

You know how some software is meant to be understood, like example code in documentation, while other pieces are meant to "just work", like this forum? It feels to me like you're looking at the forum how sample code is written to be looked at, in your approach to MMM. There's nothing wrong with this, and in fact analyzing production systems for education can yield greater education, but it seems worth making sure we're on the same page that this is one of those things where trying to understand every detail is absolutely hard mode compared to just using it.

The other thing worth noting when discussing Chaos Magic/k is that, if life was a card game, Chaos would be a "discard your hand and re-draw" type of move. If you have existing systems and beliefs that are working great for you and you don't want to throw them out or reduce their prevalence in your life, not all Chaos practices will necessarily be appropriate to fit those desires.


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Which object in the world, for the purpose of the object concentration exercise, would have "no spiritual, egotistical, intellectual, emotional or useful significance"? I can't think of any example - I could pick up a random stone or a random object from a pile of trash and would find some symbolic meaning in it without trying.

I guess the purpose is finding an object with a low degree of significance so that one doesn't get distracted by that, so that it's beginner-friendly. Even though the explanation seems to imply that focusing on something meaningless would be harder than focusing on something with significance.

My 2c on this one is that focusing on a significant object is vastly easier than focusing on an insignificant one, because it allows a gentle segue into focusing on the *significance* instead of the *object*. Someone could stare at their wedding ring all day, because they'd distract and entertain themself by pondering the meaning and history of the ring rather than *the actual ring*. In short, the mind has a far easier time wandering off and ending the useful portion of the exercise when using a meaningful object, which might be exactly what you mean about getting distracted by it.

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Similar with the exercise of exchanging a habit against another - I find it hard to find anything that I do every day and that hasn't some meaning or purpose for me. And the few things that might perhaps count - like which hand I use to open a door - are so subconscious that trying to change them has a high risk of failure as I often would forget about not doing it, so this wouldn't fulfill the criterion of having no risk of failure.

I could of course pick a daily habit that does have significance or purpose, but I don't know any I would want to give up. I have habits I'd like to give up, but they don't happen on a daily/regular basis.

The question here, I'd think, is fundamentally of whether or not you wish to pursue personal metamorphosis. I strongly suspect that living in the world may cause you to have little daily habits without significance. When you wash your dishes after eating, do you set them to dry at the near or far side of the space for that purpose? When preparing a drink, in what order do you assemble its components? When you sleep, on what side of the bed do you place the things you'll want the next morning or through the night? Even in constrained situations, these default habits can be mixed up for a while with no significant increase of inconvenience other than the inherent struggle of rolling the brain's path away from its well-worn ruts.

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And I'm not really clear about the purpose of banishing rituals, about how to pursue the non-attachment and about why the method of sigil magic described there would work (i.e. what's the problem with consciously desiring an outcome). Especially for the latter two, an example would be very helpful.

Psychological explanations are like a gangplank onto the ship of each technique: handy for getting aboard, but ultimately needing to be lifted for the technique to perform at its best.
  • Banishing rituals: Have you ever been really worried about something and then experienced a change in attitude about it to realize it was actually unimportant, and ceased being bothered about it? Banishing is an attempt to flip that same switch. Or have you ever had a friend get way too obsessed with something for awhile, and been like "dude, chill, it's not really that big of a deal"? Banishing is like doing that but for yourself.
  • Non-attachment+non-disinterest: A little like un-asking the question, if you're into zen. non-attachment+non-disinterest can be easier to start at by examining temporally: they're not unlike considering a thing right now without any consideration for the past or future of the thing. This can also be looked at as letting go of your own expectations about a thing, in order to see it for itself rather than for what you want of it: consider the classic Selective Attention Tests like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo for an example of the hazards of excessive attachment or disinterest
  • Sigil stuff: I'm curious what your existing beliefs about how sigils work might be? Sigils as a technique for getting out of your own way and ceasing to waste a bunch of mental energy ruminating on something so you can go do something more useful is, like, one of the most common explanations of their effectiveness that I see to this day. One phenomenon with sigils that Carroll touches on lightly in his explanation of them is how keeping a desire in the front of the mind for too long causes one to think more about why forces outside one's control prevent one from attaining it, or why it might not be so bad to never attain it, and both those types of change to one's thinking tend to reduce one's odds of getting the desired result.

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Also with the exercises, it's not really clear how strict adherence to them is expected for success. E.g. for no movement - muscles move automatically when they relax, which simply happens when you keep in one position for a while. Am I supposed to suppress these movements as well? Or for breathing meditation - keeping the focus on the breath for 30 minutes shouldn't be that hard if one sets one's mind to it and isn't tired, but having no other thought but the breath for 30 minutes is extremely difficult if not outright impossible. So I guess the goal needs to be somewhere inbetween these two options.

One approach is to attempt to perfect the introductory exercises as one interprets them before moving on. Another approach is to practice the introductory exercises until one understands their subjective effects, then attempt work which builds on them, and return to the earlier exercises to strengthen one's weakest skills in them at whatever time those weaknesses hinder further growth. Depending on the particular baggage and skills you've picked up from other practices, you may need more or less work in each area than the author tends to assume. For instance, an extensive background in meditation may have caused some readers to have already been practicing several of the exercises for many years before even finding the book.

For the "no movement" thing in particular, I read it as "do not instruct the body to move". A literal "no change in position may be permitted" would be unattainable, as we exist on a moving planet and bodies require a certain amount of internal motion to prevent cellular damage. But explaining the task as "do not move except the ways in which you must", while more accurate, would also lead to a lot of new students fidgeting about at the slightest itch because they "must" scratch their noses or "must" alleviate a burning desire to wiggle the toes or whatever.

And do bear in mind that a big part of the work Carroll encourages is to modify the bounds of what the individual finds "possible". Just as it may be "impossible" for someone to hold their breath more than a couple minutes at one point in time but possible for them to complete a long dive without supplemental oxygen after a few years of training, magical practices "impossible" to someone at one point in their life may become simple or commonplace at another time.

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I think I'll continue reading, perhaps then things will get clearer. But as that's the beginner's lesson and the latter chapters are for when one has mastered these things, I wonder whether I'll not instead have trouble understanding the rest when I don't understand how the basics are meant.

If you have any prior practices that involve holding apparent opposites in mind concurrently, you might find it helpful to pick them back up. Especially if they involve balancing opposites, recognizing the ways in which those opposites are actually the same, and then finding a third thing that's opposite to the initial pair. That's the basic philosophical gesture, if we can call it such, which I find most useful in turning the words of authors like Carroll into things that feel like useful insights.

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General LHP Discussion / Re: My Resignation
« on: December 12, 2020, 01:41:22 am »
"The Prince of Darkness gladly consecrated the Order"

I'm excited about a project so the Prince of Darkness must have consecrated it!

"The Prince of Darkness has chosen to abandon the Order that he put forth"

I'm no longer excited about a project, so the Prince of Darkness is unhappy as well!


Who, to a particular individual, is the prince or princess of darkness? I understand that, in the purest and simplest sense, it's actually oneself (or equivalently, an aspect thereof). The occasional usefulness of anthropomorphizing such forces as external consciousnesses may distract from this fundamental observation, but it doesn't change the underlying fact that the nature of the Prince Of Darkness is a projection and reification of a quality that is human and individually experienced.

So I agree with your premises entirely: when I am enthusiastic and intellectually curious about something, it can be said that the Prince/ss of Darkness smiles upon that thing in my experience of the world. A loss of interest in, or disillusionment with, a topic can be described as that principle of isolate intelligence turning its back on it for me.

From those premises, however, I would draw conclusions opposite to yours:

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I have seen statements like these used by Christians to bolster their agenda or speak against something they don't like. Replace "The Prince of Darkness" with "Jesus" in the above statements and tell me that wouldn't rub your spidey senses wrong.

If those statements with your recommended substitution were said by someone who explicitly aspired to be or become Jesus, I would praise them for their self-realization, as I have praised Sutkeh for the self-insight elsewhere. I recognize the statements as valid and consistent with the worldview that created them because I use an understanding of the LHP with a central concept that every human may aspire to be the deity of its own experience, regardless of how it might happen to name or explain that deity along the way.

I also don't suspect that my understanding of the path that brings this forum together is particularly unique: whatever definition of the LHP you happen to use, it almost certainly contains some attribute of the principles of absolute truth and power arising internally rather than externally, subjectively rather than objectively, etc.

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I think these are weak statements with no objective value. If there is a wholly separate and divine cosmic consciousness known as the Prince of Darkness who consecrates or removes its blessings from internet forums, I would be hard pressed to believe someone speaking as their avatar.

Here, we re-converge: if you try to force statements about the subjective experience to hold objective value, it's little surprise that they fail to do so.

While one might hope that a recent leader of an LHP organization would express concepts in a way that stands up objectively as well as subjectively, when reading this post we are ultimately hearing what an individual said at a time when they felt overwhelmingly pressured and constrained and generally held back by the very existence of an organization with no objectively observable means of harming or restricting them. I don't know anyone who achieves their clearest, most rational, and most objectively well-reasoned communication while in the heat of battle against forces threatening to overpower them, especially when those forces are imperceptible to others and thus nigh impossible for others to render aid against, so in this case I'd contend that we as onlookers wishing to understand what's happening have a certain duty to assume a bit more of the burden of figuring out what was meant than we otherwise might.

13
Journals / Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« on: December 12, 2020, 01:13:13 am »
Liu, as an experiment, might you consider raising the questions which provoke worthwhile discussions here in addition to their other platforms? I think it might be interesting to watch the ways in which fast talk and slow talk about them might tend to diverge.

14
Journals / Re: idgo forgot its grimoire at home and is using this instead
« on: December 11, 2020, 03:25:34 am »
"Is the forum dead?" is an interesting question.


Are these trees dead?



To some ends it's dead, certainly. If I was a creature that eats leaves and came upon such a tree while it looked like that, I would certainly call them dead, because they're dead in the ways that would matter to me. If I was a child with little sense of time, I would call them dead, because they certainly look dead when observed. But as an adult whose worldview contains times other than the present, I know that I would have to examine the trees quite closely in order to make any sort of prediction about whether they would remain so dead-looking over time. Even cutting off such a tree at ground level would not necessarily cause it to continue appearing dead; coppicing has been a reliable source of wood for generations.

I have personally been absent lately from these forums because, as I mentioned earlier, I have been in a phase of personal work which is not specific to my LHP interests. Boards perform best when kept relatively on-topic; it's support groups for those in need of emotional aid which suit being piled with every fleeting thought whose only common theme is that a participant happened to have them.

It seems unrealistic, or even unreasonable, to hope that a small community would be immune to the inherent tendency of systems to cycle. Everything, regardless of whether it flows with or fights against the external pressures it experiences, tends to grow under some circumstances, die back under others, and grow again -- often with each phase a direct result of changes in the surroundings caused by the prior phases.

Since the capacity for insight likewise cycles, we have two choices: We could try to produce a constant stream of commentary, in which the degree of insightfulness or usefulness would at times be punishingly low. Or we could strive to meet a particular threshhold of usefulness for commentary before posting it, in which case the volume of commentary produced will ebb and flow. To look at it another way, the value of group communication in a forum like this is in learning novel thoughts and insights from one another. A particular duration of constant communication in a given size of group will get most of the insights shared, and then there aren't new insights to share like there were in the beginning for awhile. What refreshes that pool of insights, to improve the conversation back to how it was before? Either an influx of new people, which is hazardous to a group's overall wellbeing as increased diversity of backgrounds decreases shared vocabulary and hampers any efficient communication of thought at the extremes... or time passes, the group participants go out and learn new things, become the subsequent versions of themselves, test the shared insights in practice, and then return once it suits them, once they have something to say.

It's a common modern thing, to be unable to tolerate quiet. It ties from the one side into media addiction: the "entertain me, tell me what to think and what to be offended by today!". That addiction to being told what to think is itself the tails of a coin whose head is meditation...

Compelex concepts take longer to intellectually gestate, sometimes. There can be a fine line between nourishing them and forcing them to be birthed premature. One of my bigger ones is coming along, though, albeit not yet well-formed enough to write anything reliably useful-to-others about: That thing I glossed as "colonialism" in June? Very much the RHP. I am teaching myself to think without it, is the tangent that I'm off on. I am, in parallel and in practice with various other projects, constructing ways to think with less reliance on those paradigms.

I hope that Sutkeh can find the quicker gratification that he's looking for in whatever he pursues next. His quitting sounds to me like he had hoped to force faster progress, faster gratification, from the external than it was set up to provide at the time he requested it. It's terribly frustrating when the world doesn't change despite force applied by the handles whence one had apprehended it -- and letting go of those handles to seek more effective ones is among the only rational responses to such frustration, so I commend him for making the personal progress of concluding that his involvement (or lack thereof) here was doing him more harm than good.

If and only if we can accept the ways in which a person and their words are separate, however, I'd like to examine some fascinating aspects of the recent resignation notice. I assume that it was shared for a reason, to provoke thought in the group, and provoke thought indeed it has.

The introduction of this notice reminds me of when I once visited a restaurant for the first time and ordered a drink which I thought would be familiar, but was served something unrecognizable as what I'd had by that name before. Did you know that a thai iced tea could even be made salty and with pandan whipped cream atop it? The beverage I received would have been quite pleasant in isolation, if I'd sampled it with only the context "hey there's this new thing you ought to try", but juxtaposed against the archetype of what its name had called to mind based on my prior expeirences, it was instead subjectively abhorrent. Similarly, if one orders an in-person initiatory school at the bar and gets served a worldwide gathering of individualist practitioners, one can hardly be blamed for experiencing unpleasant surprise. But once one becomes aware of this phenomenon, there comes an opportunity for what might be called an alchemy or a magic: how can one prevent the unpleasant experience from recurring once it's happened before? Just as I might have read the menu more carefully before ordering a beverage, one who wants physical meetups and teacher instruction might communicate an interest in those things and perhaps even relax expectations around them during the year travel got cancelled. Or, of course, one could admonish a group for failing a purpose which it never specified for itself. That might be even more satisfying, in the end, and that's what really matters.

Of the whole thing, the sentence "you were still given plenty of options to try and create these improvements on the success of this school, but you didn't." might be the most fascinating. First, that it's "you", not "we"? What structure placed greater expectations upon some administrators or co-founders than upon others?  Was this forum ever a school which successes to be improved upon? And, if this hypothetical institute of higher education had some successes to be improved upon, were these successes and improvements ever concretely defined enough for any one person to conclusively tell whether the improvements did or didn't happen? The turn of phrase strikes me as someone purporting to be certain of information that's tautologically uncertain and perhaps unknowable, but then again my perspectives may very well be wrong.

Nitpick the wording though I might, the fact stands that one of our co-founders got himself into an unpleasant state from which stomping out in a wave of red ink must have felt subjectively like the only way to get out of it. I feel puzzled as to why a resignation was apparently prerequisite to "moving on", as I've personally moved laterally to LHP-adjacent explorations and exciting new etheogens without ever feeling like holding an active account here was in any way holding me back. But at the same time, I *have* felt held back by the ownership of accounts which felt like they weren't serving their purpose... and those accounts invariably held elevated permissions on their platforms, often if not always along with some social role of higher perceived authority. I'm gonna go out on a projected limb here and speculate that it's the co-founder permissions, and following from them the perceived entanglement between personal value and the "performance" of the group the permissions were held on, which spelled the end for the account in which our colleague communicated with us as Sutkeh. I strongly suspect that if the same individual chose to participate in these fora as an anonymous account with no special roles nor titles in the "organization", they would not be bothered by continuing to hold an account here while things are quiet, and might even casually rejoin if discussions had cause to resume.

That's probably the most useful bit of this whole contemplation, the reminder of the subtle harms which elevated permissions can induce some individuals to bring upon themselves. It's the modern incarnation of one of the oldest tales about power, played out most memorably to me as Tolkein's One Ring, but sure now to jump out at me from a dozen places next time I find myself in Grimm's. Power as responsibility, potential for impact decaying into an expectation of the ability to have that impact and a commensurate disappointment when things don't live up to an imagined potential which may never have been possible... other admins, are y'all doing ok? is this expectation-trap lurking in your shadows as well?

15
General LHP Discussion / Re: Some education
« on: October 08, 2020, 09:49:47 pm »
Sutkeh, if you find it enriching or enlightening to justify your decisions about where you wish to affiliate at what time, then by all means continue.

Otherwise, it is entirely justifiable to reject the entire topic several posts ago, even if solely on the grounds of it being described with the same tenor that's used in recruitment to churches and cults.

When you and an organization are ready for each other, you'll know. Others' regrets or lack thereof about joining at a particular time in their own lives can not reliably predict what yours will be. If you aren't certain it's time, it likely isn't, and a tendency to pressure the unsure into joining is unfortunately common to undesirable organizations.

And to be pedantic, if the moment of initiation to a particular group is truly the zenith of one's career in a given pursuit, then tautologically all time spent actually involved with the group would be worse or lower than the initiation in some way. I personally prefer walking paths that appear likely to lead to better things, rather than worse ones.

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