Dec 14, 2010

From Nietzsche

Imagine the most extreme example, a person who did not possess the power of forgetting at all, who would be condemned to see everywhere a coming into being. Such a person no longer believes in his own being, no longer believes in himself, sees everything in moving points flowing out of each other, and loses himself in this stream of becoming.

As the hundreds of different languages correspond to the same typically permanent needs of people, so that someone who understood these needs could learn nothing new from all the languages, so the superhistorical thinker illuminates for himself all the histories of people and of individuals from within, guessing like a clairvoyant the original sense of the different hieroglyphics and gradually even growing tired of avoiding the constantly new streams of written signals streaming forth. For, in the endless excess of what is happening, how is he not finally to reach saturation, supersaturation, and, yes, even revulsion, so that the most daring ones are perhaps finally ready, with Giacomo Leopardi, to say to their heart

Nothing lives which would be worthy
of your striving, and the earth deserves not a sigh.
Pain and boredom is our being and the world is excrement,
--nothing else.
Calm yourself.

As long as the soul of historical writing lies in the great driving impulses which a powerful man derives from it, as long as the past must be written about as worthy of imitation, as capable of being imitated, with the possibility of a second occurrence, history is definitely in danger of becoming something altered, reinterpreted into something more beautiful, and thus coming close to free poeticizing.

If we want to transfer into the area of culture the customs of popular agreement and the popular majority and, as it were, to require the artist to stand in his own defense before the forum of the artistically inert types, then we can take an oath in advance that he will be condemned, not in spite of but just because his judges have solemnly proclaimed the canon of monumental culture...

So they are knowledgeable about culture because they generally like to get rid of culture. They behave as if they were doctors, while basically they are only concerned with mixing poisons. Thus, they develop their languages and their taste, in order to explain in their discriminating way why they so persistently disapprove of all offerings of more nourishing cultural food. For they do not want greatness to arise. Their method is to say: "See greatness is already there!"

Only the man whose breast is oppressed by a present need and who wants to cast off his load at any price has a need for critical history, that is, history which sits in judgment and passes judgment. From the thoughtless transplanting of plants stem many ills: the critical man without need, the antiquarian without reverence, and the student of greatness without the ability for greatness are the sort who are receptive to weeds estranged from their natural mother earth and therefore degenerate growths.

The scholarly habit lives on without it and orbits in an egotistical and self-satisfied manner around its own centre. Then we get a glimpse of the wretched drama of a blind mania for collecting, a restless compiling together of everything that ever existed. The man envelops himself in a mouldy smell. With the antiquarian style, he manages to corrupt a significant talent, a noble need, into an insatiable new lust, a desire for everything really old. Often he sinks so deep that he is finally satisfied with that nourishment and takes pleasure in gobbling up for himself the dust of biographical quisquilien [rubbish].

For what means does nature still have at its disposal to deal with the super-abundance forcing itself outward? Only one means, to take it as lightly as possible in order to shove it aside again quickly and dispose of it. From that arises a habit of not taking real things seriously any more. From that arises the "weak personality," as a result of which reality and existence make only an insignificant impression. Finally people become constantly more venial and more comfortable and widen the disturbing gulf between content and form until they are insensitive to the barbarism, so long as the memory is always newly stimulated, so long as constantly new things worthy of knowledge flow by, which can be neatly packaged in the compartments of memory.

While never before has there been such sonorous talk of the "free personality," we never once see personalities, to say nothing of free people, but only anxiously disguised universal people.

No one is allowed to venture on fulfilling the law of philosophy on his own. No one lives philosophically, with that simple manly truth, which acted forcefully on a man in ancient times, wherever he was, and which thus drove him to behave as Stoic if he had once promised to be true to the Stoa. All modern philosophy is political and police-like, restricted to the appearance of learning through the ruling powers, churches, academies, customs, and human cowardice. It sticks around with sighs of "If only" or with the knowledge "There was once." Philosophy is wrong to be at the heart of historical education, if it wants to be more than an inner repressed knowledge without effect.

If the personalities are, first of all, as has been described, inflated to an eternal loss of subjectivity or, as people say, to objectivity, then nothing more can work on them. Let something good and right come about, in action, poetry, or music. Immediately the person emptied out by his education looks out over the world and asks about the history of the author. If this author has already created a number of things, immediately the critic must allow himself to point out the earlier and the presumed future progress of the author's development; right away he will bring in others for comparative purposes, he will dissect and rip apart the choice of the author's material and his treatment, and will, in his wisdom, fit the work together again anew, giving him advice and setting him right about everything. Let the most astonishing thing occur; the crowd of historical neutrals is always in place ready to assess the author from a great distance. Momentarily the echo resounds, but always as "Criticism." A short time before, however, the critic did not permit himself to dream that such an event was possible.

The work never achieves an influence, but only more "Criticism," and the criticism itself, in its turn, has no influence, but leads only to further criticism. In this business people have agreed to consider a lot of critics as an influence and a few critics or none as a failure. Basically, however, everything remains as in the past, even with this "influence." True, people chat for a while about something new, and then about something else new, and in between do what they always do. The historical education of our critics no longer permits an influence on our real understanding, namely, an influence on life and action. On the blackest writing they impress immediately their blotting paper, to the most delightful drawing they apply their thick brush strokes, which are to be considered corrections. And then everything is over once again. However, their critical pens never cease flying, for they have lost power over them and are led by them rather than leading them. In this excess of their critical ejaculations, in the lack of control over themselves, in what the Romans call impotentia [impotence], the weakness of the modern personality reveals itself.

Few people serve truthfulness, because only a few have the purity of will to be just. Moreover, even of these, the fewest have the strength to be able to be just.

There are many trivial truths; there are problems that never require effort, let alone any self-sacrifice, in order for one to judge them correctly. In this field of the trivial and the safe, a person indeed succeeds in becoming a cold demon of knowledge nonetheless. When, especially in favourable times, whole cohorts of learned people and researchers are turned into such demons, it always remains unfortunately possible that the time in question suffers from a lack of strong and great righteousness, in short, of the most noble kernel of the so-called drive to the truth.

As judges you must stand higher than what is being assessed, whereas, you have only come later. The guests who come last to the table should in all fairness receive the last places. And you wish to have the first places? Then at least do something of the highest and best order. Perhaps people will then really make a place for you, even if you come at the end.

An eminently learned man and a great numskull--those go together very easily under a single hat.

Anyone who has not experienced life on a greater and higher level than everyone else will not know how to interpret the greatness and loftiness of the past. The utterance of the past is always an oracular pronouncement. You will understand it only as builders of the future and as people who know about the present. People now explain the extraordinarily deep and far-reaching effect of Delphi by the particular fact that the Delphic priests had precise knowledge about the past. It is appropriate now to understand that only the man who builds the future has a right to judge the past. In order to look ahead, set yourselves an important goal, and at the same time control that voluptuous analytical drive with which you now lay waste the present and render almost impossible all tranquility, all peaceful growth and maturing. Draw around yourself the fence of a large and extensive hope, an optimistic striving. Create in yourselves a picture to which the future is to correspond, and forget the myth that you are epigones. You have enough to plan and to invent when you imagine that future life for yourselves. But in considering history do not ask that she show you the "How?" and the "With what?" If, however, you live your life in the history of great men, then you will learn from history the highest command: to become mature and to flee away from that paralyzing and prohibiting upbringing of the age, which sees advantages for itself in not allowing you to become mature, in order to rule and exploit you, the immature. And when you ask after biographies, then do not ask for those with the refrain "Mr. Soandso and His Age" but for those whose title page must read "A Fighter Against His Age." Fill your souls with Plutarch, and dare to believe in yourselves when you have faith in his heroes. With a hundred people raised in such an unmodern way, that is, people who have become mature and familiar with the heroic, one could permanently silence the entire noisy pseudo-education of this age.

They can only cackle more than before, because they lay eggs more often. Naturally, however, the eggs have become constantly smaller (although the books have become constantly thicker). As the final natural result, things resign themselves to the commonly loved "Popularizing" of science (in addition to the "Feminization" and "Infantization"), that is, the notorious tailoring of the scientific coat to the body of the "motley public"

The time will come in which people wisely refrain from all constructions of the world process or even of human history, a time in which people in general no longer consider the masses but once again think about individuals who construct a sort of bridge over the chaotic storm of becoming. These people do not set out some sort of process, but live timelessly and contemporaneously, thanks to history which permits such a combination. They live like the republic of geniuses, about which Schopenhauer once explained that one giant shouts out to another across the barren intervals of time, and undisturbed by the wanton and noisy midgets who creep around them, the giants continue their lofty spiritual conversation. The task of history is to be a mediator between them and thus to provide an opportunity and the energies for the development of greatness. No, the goal of humanity cannot finally be anywhere but in its greatest examples.

To me, the masses seem to be worth a glance in only in three respects: first as blurred copies of great men, presented on bad paper with worn out printing plates, then as the resistance against the great men, and finally as working implements of the great. For the rest, let the devil and statistics carry them off! How might statistics demonstrate that there could be laws in history? Laws? Yes, statistics prove how coarse and disgustingly uniform the masses are. Are we to call the effects of the powerful forces of stupidity, mimicry, love, and hunger laws?

Yes, people know what a certain predominance of history is capable of; people know it only too well: to uproot the strongest instincts of youth, fire, defiance, forgetting of the self, to dampen down the heat of their sense of right and wrong, to hold back or repress the desire to mature slowly with the contrary desire to be finished quickly, to be useful and productive, to infect the honesty and boldness of the feelings with doubts. Indeed, history is itself capable of deceiving the young about their most beautiful privilege, about their power to cultivate in themselves with complete conviction a great idea and to allow an even greater idea to grow forth out of it. A certain excess of history is capable of all this. We have seen it. And this is the reason: through its incessant shifting of the horizons of significance, through the elimination of a surrounding atmosphere, it no longer allows a person to perceive and to act unhistorically. He then draws himself from the infinity of his horizon back into himself, into the smallest egotistical region and there must wither away and dry up.

The German education of the young, however, begins directly from this false and barren idea of culture. Its end goal, imagined in all purity and loftiness, is not at all the freely educated man, but the scholar, the scientific person, indeed, the scientific person who is useful as early as possible, the person who sets himself apart from life in order to recognize it clearly. The product of this education, considered in a correct empirically general way, is the historically and aesthetically educated Philistine, the precocious and freshly wise chatterer about state, church, and art, the sensorium for thousands of sensations, the inexhaustible stomach which nevertheless does not know what an honest hunger and thirst are.

That monotonous orthodoxy would sound something like this: the young person has to begin with a knowledge of culture, not at first with a knowledge of life, and even less with life and experience themselves. Moreover, this knowledge about culture as historical knowledge is poured over or stirred into the youth; that is, his head is filled up with a monstrous number of ideas derived from extremely indirect knowledge of past times and peoples, not from the immediate contemplation of living. His desire to experience something for himself and to feel growing in him a coordinated and living system of his own experiences--such a desire is narcotized and, as it were, made drunk through the opulent deceptions about matters of fact, as if it were possible in a few years to sum up in oneself the highest and most remarkable experiences of all times, especially of the greatest ages. It is precisely this insane procedure which leads our young developing artists into the halls of culture and galleries instead of into the workshop of a master and, above all, into the extraordinary workshops of the extraordinary master craftswoman Nature.

This truthfulness may also occasionally seriously harm the idea of culture esteemed at the time; it even may be able to assist a totally decorative culture to collapse.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1886)
The Use and Abuse of History for Life

Dec 3, 2010


At the beginning of the path, a student perceives mountains and rivers. As he proceeds, he realises that mountains and rivers are not mountains and rivers. At the end of the path, mountains and rivers are mountains and rivers.

Although sinking back into the world looks like returning to the first position again, it is not so. Everything has changed irrevocably. Everything one experiences is as it is: totally transformed by understanding.

Karma is the return of the first position, and the need to go through the renunciation. In the Hindu tradition is the saying, "Neti Neti". This is the negative conceptualisation of all concrete existence, reminding oneself not to grasp to finitude. Another saying is "Tat tvam asi", which again reminds oneself not to grasp to finitude, but to see all as sharing the same nature.

Communication is rife with difficulties, because speaking of the truth is always negative. The hearer is not yet even in the first position, so hears only fixed and concrete realities. They have that deep prejudice and lack of insight. It takes skill to take away from the listener in all the negating conceptual gifts. This seems like a paradox, but it is a simple process of finding words that tear away the concreteness of a grasping mind's conceptualisations and by slipping and sliding and merging ideas so as to convey less.

Unfortunately, in negating and destroying, there are many listeners who so bring their objectifying mental habits to bear, that they see only "destruction", "death", "nay-saying", and "bleakness" in the negating dialectic. It is truly difficult to break apart the concretising habits of such an attitude; it is the social animal that wants merging, power, illusion, enchantment, magic and mystery. It is possible that such a base, emotional psychology is not close enough to the realms of reason to deal with God in the dialectical, indirect way. Probably one has to give them baby food like poetry, strongly positive (i.e. nondialectical) ideals, and take the level of personality in order to draw them to first base where mountains are simply mountains and not reminders of their childhood. Truly, one is speaking to little children with these.

It is wrong to be speaking directly and positively, quite wrong, because this is existentially revoking the meaning of one's communication. But if the listener is of low scope, then it is impossible not to work on a level they can step towards more easily.

One must always remember to be, at first call, in the relationship individually and authentically, to the truth. Only to that ground is one's message meaningful and right-oriented. One cannot speak as anyone but as that relationship of self to the Infinite. One cannot speak as a human finitude related to the crowd, or to another human finitude. That misplaces the truth of the message. One must always take one's stance in the meaning, taking away at every breath any tendencies or movements to reinforce or concretise, or even the movement of negating that would profer itself as substantial.

It truly takes mindfulness and consistency in faith to communicate. As another has said, only a wise person can speak the truth.

Kelly Jones

Nov 24, 2010

Spiritual friendship

What spiritual friendship is not: a feeling of comfort, safety and warmth in companionship.

Spiritual friendship does not put a communion of minds above the individual's own private relationship to truth. By truth, I don't just mean truthfulness, but truth itself. The concept of truth is "how something is in an absolute sense", and is the standard tool for understanding Reality.

Spirituality is about understanding Reality. Therefore, spiritual friendship must be wholly focussed on the individual's own relationship to truth.

Feeling welcomed, happy, safe, loved, respected, and admired indicates loss of spirit in oneself - and also in whoever instigates those feelings in you. Why is this the case? I'll explain it briefly.

Understanding Reality reveals the true nature of oneself: that all is empty of intrinsic reality. Ultimately, Reality has no form of its own. It cannot be confined in dualistic forms, or be exclusive and finite, since all finite things share the same relative, interdependent nature (dreams are only dreams relative to waking life, and are real in their existence of being dreams).

Thus, all the forms and finite entities like selves, objects, possessions, loved or hated people, emotions, dreams, wishes and ideas, are merely wisps of existence: interactive, tangling, intercoursing strands in the ever-unfolding oneness of Reality. None of them are truly separate, nor exist independently in a solid concrete way.

So, the feelings of warmth, comfort, safety, delight, or pride that arise in relationships, automatically guarantees a lack of enlightenment. These feelings indicate the basic, underlying delusion of concrete self-existence. The need for a companion to reaffirm and concretise one's existence, one's values, one's opinions and world-view, are all branches from the one root of the delusion of self-existence.

Spiritual friendship must spring from an individual relationship to truth, and only the absolutely perfectly wise person feels no pain from spiritual friendship.

So here are some warnings:

If you trust another person, it is almost certainly a guarantee that neither of you are wise.

If you have warm feelings of respect for them, again, wisdom is lost.

If you have an associate or colleague who smiles at you, laughs, enjoys your company, likes to hold passionate conversations with you, then you ought to warn them that they've lost their soul. If they disagree with you, then keep away from them.

If you cannot find a good soul who refuses to lie to you, if you cannot find someone who tells the truth without adornment, if you cannot find someone who is plain-speaking and troubles only to deepen their roots in emptiness, if you cannot find someone who is without affectation, pride, compassion, or affection, then....

Wander alone like a rhinoceros.

— Kelly Jones

Jun 9, 2010

Training soul into the world

A sponging cat from the neighbour's has been visiting me a lot recently, after I gave it a bowl of milk and a pat. I don't keep my door closed. But like a trained robot, it instinctively wants to rub its body over my legs and make loud purring noises. These sorts of behaviours have obviously pleased humans for thousands of years, evidently for the cat's massaging techniques and "I'm a happy contented creature" sounds. So humans have allowed cats to sponge off them, in exchange for the ego-rubbing services. The cat in response cannot help itself from behaving like that, in the hope for food.

I don't allow it to rub against me, or sit on me. I don't give it food. It doesn't pur so much now, and meows a bit less. Its behaviour is simpler. It is being trained not to be an ego-masseuse. I can see humanity in this cat, millions of cat-generations of obsequiousness to sadistic humans. The cat has no conscience or soul, but I do.

— Kelly Jones

Jun 4, 2010

The Woman's World: A Praise-ful Satire

One word: Vague.

Everything is kept deliberately vague and noncommital. That's how the Woman's World functions. What do I mean by the Woman's World? I mean, the current culture that promises The New American Dream: whatever is possible, women must be permitted the reputation of already having achieved it. The sleight-of-hand required to convince everyone that this dream is good and virtuous, is the Cult of Mediocrity. Don't smile at the capitalisation: Vague is also capitalised. (It's super-vagueness.)

Let me explain. The way the masses are convinced that feminism has finally achieved its stated goal of equality for the sexes, with the triumphant successes of leading businesswomen, stateswomen, female bankers, female Nobel prize winners, female literati, etc., is through consumerism. That is, if you desire it, you may have it. This is the American Dream per se: the free-market as the essence of personal freedom. Thus, it is extremely easy to move every achievement worth noting, into the realm of dreams and desires. To dream is good. To dream is virtuous. To hope is praiseworthy. To aim and aspire is awe-inspiring and motivating.

But to do anything is tedious and boring, requiring effort and time and repetition, and bringing failure and disappointment. To actually have to slog through the long, arduous, private, long, unnoticed, dirty, painful, long, repetitive, uncertain, unfinished, long process of gradual alteration, of learning and self-correction, is totally devoid of any sense of finality and achievement. More often than not, the utter relativity of one's states of progress become very obvious, so that if one ever does seem to be achieving, even relative to one's past, it all crumbles into nothingness – because where is the ultimate standard? If one looks to what has been already achieved and standardised by men, the realisation by women is that they have come nowhere near the goal. And thus, instead of this effort, we get dreams and a rejection of standards and absolutes. We get a rejection of individuals competing against other individuals. Instead, everyone is a winner.

Consumerism teaches instant gratification, sensationalism, sensory overload, superlatives, false ultimates (The Ultimate in Sportwear), false absolutes (Absolutely the fastest car ever produced), fast-talking and cunning deceit. Everything is presented in such a way as to avoid consciousness. Television presenters are smooth with their spiels, gabbing incessantly to avoid contrasts and sharp edges. It is precisely the method used by crocodile handlers, who maintain a harmonious vocal patter while tapping the crocodile repeatedly with a long stick, to mesmerise the crocodile with musical patterns into an expectant and passive trance-state. Consumerism hypnotises, creating the same glazed-eyed passivity. Everyone is a winner. Everyone deserves what they need. Everyone is equal. No one should be lacking. No one should be any different to anyone else. Everyone should be treated equally. Everyone should be treated the same. Everyone should be smiled at in exactly the same, bland, personality-free way. No one can stand out. No one should be trusted who is different. No one is any better than anyone else. But then, no one can be special. And, oh dear, we all want to be special!

The cult of mediocrity is born. And how popular it is - of course it is. Yet, within the apparent safety and happiness of immediate gratification, there is also a deep-seated, intrinsic anxiety.

Women suffer more from anxiety and nervous tension than do men. Why? Because of their 'egalitarian', personality-less ideal. Precisely because they believe they are (read: should be) just as good as anyone else, no different in the slightest, women have no personal groundedness. They judge themselves relative to infinitum. They lack individuality, meaning: soul, centredness, an inward thinking-focussed life. To hide this personal vacuum, the Woman's World dictum is: march on, shop, stimulate your desires - enter the eternal and endless chase for MORE! ---- and you hope you will never wake up to hear the mind-numbing roar of the vacuum. Oh, keep it vague, don't worry about it. It'll pass. Stifle it.

Existentially, this Woman's World has actually vagarised the individual's existence, at the same time as making it the centre of attention. Vague: the individual must be clouded over, so that it is nothing but a blurry fog of uncertainty. Welcome to Post-modernism: the blather of nothingness enshrouded in a sophisticated verbiage of fog.

— Kelly Jones

May 14, 2010

Great Purpose

He who commits himself to the Way must be equipped with three essentials. A great root of faith, a great ball of doubt, and a great tenacity of purpose. Lacking any one of them, he is like a tripod with only two legs.

By "great root of faith" is meant the firm conviction that the practice of reason alone can carry one to the perfection of Ultimate Enlightenment. With the practice of reason great doubts about life and death will crystallize. Yet even though you become a great ball of doubt, you will be unable to break it apart unless you constantly work on it with a great burning tenacity of purpose.

The practice of the Way is like making fire by friction. The essential thing as you rub wood against stone is to apply continuous all-out effort. If you stop when you see the first trace of smoke, you will never get even a flicker of fire, even though you may rub away for a thousand years.

Don't think the commitments and pressing duties of normal life leave you no time to go about forming a ball of doubt. If a man, while pushing his way through a busy marketplace, drops some bank notes onto the ground, will he just leave them there and forget about them, just because he is in a crowded place? Of course not. He would be down there frantically pushing and shoving with tears in his eyes trying to find them. Yet what is a bit of money compared with Great Enlightenment?

The worldly man needs a great purpose to motivate him - if he wants to achieve anything much. Likewise does the spiritual man require Great Purpose to provide the force necessary to relinquish his ego.

— Kevin Solway

Apr 30, 2010


• Thinking is invisible, but the thought-rich life makes materiality invisible by contrast. The thinker experiences thought as the most solid reality.

• Simplicity strengthens the mind through stripping away external paraphernalia.

• Turning inward strengthens the soul, but one must reinforce this by abandoning and ignoring society and its bonds. Never smile, never look into another's face with desire.

• Evening and night-time are my favourite times: there is no glare and noise fades. Use a blindfold and earplugs through the day if it helps. Camp in forests regularly, lying under the stars, wakefully and thoughtfully reviewing progress and marking out areas for improvement.

• Other people are useless in regards to your own soul. Soul is one's own concern, and soulcare is purely individualistic. So ignore others. Never seek approval in others. Also, it is worthless to worry over your reputation: e.g. being marked out by others as troubled or nasty. Clearly, they aren't interested in wisdom, and they will never be remembered by eternity. Their choice to be insane and arrogant is their own responsibility, not yours. Abandon them.

• Your character is your own responsibility. Do not be reckless, impulsive, lazy, apathetic, fatalistic, and undisciplined. You get what you want.

• Do not use samadhi for worldly goals, because birth-and-death will inevitably result. If you use mental brightness and energy to fulfil materialistic plans to solidify the ego, you will be overly active, and soon become fatigued - thus, the buoyant active life will die, and the depressed, passive, cynical life will be born. Only use samadhi for Godliness, and escape rebirth.

• Command yourself and obey your commands. Do not listen to ignoble thoughts.

Apr 9, 2010

Individuality is not possible to harvest immediately what one has sown. I will remember that philosopher's method of having his disciples keep silent for three years; then I dare say it will come. Just as one does not begin a feast at sunrise but at sundown, just so in the spiritual world one must work forward for some time before the sun really shines for us and rises in all its glory; for although it is true as it says that God lets his sun shine upon the good and the evil and lets the rain fall on the just and the unjust, it is not so in the spiritual world.

So let the die be cast — I am crossing the Rubicon! No doubt this road takes me into battle, but I will not renounce it. I will not lament the past — why lament? I will work energetically and not waste time in regrets, like the person stuck in a bog and first calculating how far he has sunk without recognizing that during the time he spends on that he is sinking still deeper. I will hurry along the path I have found and shout to everyone I meet: Do not look back as Lot's wife did, but remember that we are struggling up a hill.


— Kierkegaard, 1835

Mar 29, 2010

The door-to-door evangelist

Without doubt, the motivation for the door-to-door evangelist is, paradoxically, a deep fear of men. It is this that drives the lonely evangelist to face death in one-on-one verbal battling. He (or she) is driven by the egotistical fear of death and decomposition, seeing only a collision with the encroaching outer environment. God is for them an invisible abstract power against the miscellany of real things to be found in everyday life.

For this reason, the evangelist will be unable to listen: they can only hear what can be used to repeat the mantras that help support their system of social security. They will pretend to listen only so as to manipulate their audience emotionally into befriending them (the sign of which is, repeating their views, taking their brochures, etc.)

Don't be frustrated with their irrationality and refusal to listen. They only want someone to love them; that is what God means to them. Above all, what they regard as Satanic is the view of God not loving them as they are, a God that makes everything difficult, a God that inspires conflict, a God that slays men. In other words: God is to them: their own comfort and wellbeing. Everything they say will come from this perspective.

One of the best ways to counter these frightened mice is to show them that Nature has always been about conflict and war and causality, but to do so with images of the ocean, of weather-storms, of galaxies colliding.

Kelly Jones

Mar 25, 2010

Worldly wisdom

With worldly wisdom one says, things will get better soon. One's consolation is shrinking from going out into the current — one tries to wade as long as possible. As long as this is not definitely decided, there always remains a doubt about the importance of actuality in one's whole train of thought.

So worldly wisdom is passing by on actuality: its actuality is the actuality of worldly wisdom, where no change is willed, so no change is perceived. One refuses to see how time passes one by. Thus, there is no change to see. This is the way most people live, although they fill their lives with spectacle and entertainment to hide the reality of their actual stagnancy.

But there is danger also in positioning oneself in relation to the actuality of "most people", for that too is shrinking from going out into the current, into the wholeness of "myself".

— Kelly Jones, developed from Kierkegaard (1843).

Mar 20, 2010

10 Bulls, by Kakuan

1. The Search for the Bull

The bull has been lost. What need is there to search? Only because of separation from my true nature, I fail to find him. In the confusion of the sense I lose even his tracks. Far from home, I see many crossroads, but which way is the right one I know not. Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me.

In the pasture of this world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the bull.
Following unnamed rivers, lost upon the interpenetrating paths of distant mountains,
My strength failing and my vitality exhausted, I cannot find the bull.
I only hear the locusts chirring through the forest at night.

2. Discovering the Footprints

Understanding the teaching, I see the footprints of the bull. Then I learn that, just as many utensils are made from one metal, so too are myriad entities made of the fabric of self. Unless I discriminate, how will I perceive the true from the untrue? Not yet having entered the gate, nevertheless I have discerned the path.

Along the riverbank under the trees, I discover footprints!
Even under the fragrant grasses I see his prints.
Deep in remote mountains they are found.
These traces no more can be hidden than one's nose, looking heavenward.

3. Perceiving the Bull

When one hears the voice, one can sense its source. As soon as the six senses merge, the gate is entered. Wherever one enters one sees the head of the bull! This unity is like salt in water, like colour in dyestuff. The slightest thing is not apart from self.

I hear the song of the nightingale.
The sun is warm, the wind is mild, willows are green along the shore,
Here no bull can hide!
What artist can draw that massive head, those majestic horns?

4. Catching the Bull

He dwelt in the forest a long time, but I caught him today! Infatuation for scenery interferes with his direction. Longing for sweeter grass, he wanders away. His mind still is stubborn and unbridled. If I wish him to submit, I must raise my whip.

I seize him with a terrific struggle.
His great will and power are inexhaustible.
He charges to the high plateau far above the cloud-mists,
Or in an impenetrable ravine he stands.

5. Taming the Bull

When one thought arises, another thought follows. When the first thought springs from enlightenment, all subsequent thoughts are true. Through delusion, one makes everything untrue. Delusion is not caused by objectivity; it is the result of subjectivity. Hold the nose-ring tight and do not allow even a doubt.

The whip and rope are necessary,
Else he might stray off down some dusty road.
Being well trained, he becomes naturally gentle.
Then, unfettered, he obeys his master.

6. Riding the Bull Home

This struggle is over; gain and loss are assimilated. I sing the song of the village woodsman, and play the tunes of the children. Astride the bull, I observe the clouds above. Onward I go, no matter who may wish to call me back.

Mounting the bull, slowly I return homeward.
The voice of my flute intones through the evening.
Measuring with hand-beats the pulsating harmony, I direct the endless rhythm.
Whoever hears this melody will join me.

7. The Bull Transcended

All is one law, not two. We only make the bull a temporary subject. It is as the relation of rabbit and trap, of fish and net. It is as gold and dross, or the moon emerging from a cloud. One path of clear light travels on throughout endless time.

Astride the bull, I reach home.
I am serene. The bull too can rest.
The dawn has come. In blissful repose,
Within my thatched dwelling I have abandoned the whip and rope.

8. Both Bull and Self Transcended

Mediocrity is gone. Mind is clear of limitations. I seek no state of enlightenment. Neither do I remain where no enlightenment exists. Since I linger in neither condition, eyes cannot see me. If hundreds of birds strew my path with flowers, such praise would be meaningless.

Whip, rope, person, and bull — all merge in No-thing.
This heaven is so vast no message can stain it.
How may a snowflake exist in a raging fire?
Here are the footprints of the patriarchs.

9. Reaching the Source

From the beginning, truth is clear. Poised in silence, I observe the forms of integration and disintegration. One who is not attached to 'form' need not be 'reformed'. The water is emerald, the mountain is indigo, and I see that which is creating and that which is destroying.

Too many steps have been taken returning to the root and the source.
Better to have been blind and deaf from the beginning!
Dwelling in one's true abode, unconcerned with that without —
The river flows tranquilly on and the flowers are red.

10. In the World

Inside my gate, a thousand sages do not know me. The beauty of my garden is invisible. Why should one search for the footprints of the patriarchs? I go to the market place with my wine bottle and return home with my staf. I visit the wineshop and the market, and everyone I look upon becomes enlightened.

Barefooted and naked of breast, I mingle with the people of the world.
My clothes are ragged and dust-laden and I am ever blissful.
I use no magic to extend my life;
Now, before me, the trees become alive.


Feb 6, 2010

Great Waves Onami

Great Waves

In the early days of the Meiji era there lived a well known wrestler called O-nami, Great Waves. O-nami was immensely strong and knew the art of wrestling. In his private bouts he defeated even his teacher, but in public he was so bashful that his own pupils threw him.

O-nami felt he should go to a Zen master for help. Hakuju, a wandering teacher, was stopping in a little temple nearby, so O-nami went to see him and told him of his trouble.

"Great Waves is your name," the teacher advised, "so stay in this temple tonight, Imagine that you are those billows. You are no longer a wrestler who is afraid. You are those huge waves sweeping everything before them, swallowing in all their path. Do this and you will be the greatest wrestler in the land."

The teacher retired. O-nami sat in meditation trying to imagine himself as waves. He thought of many different things. Then gradually he turned more and more to the feeling of the waves. As the night advanced the waves became larger and larger. They swept away the flowers in their vases. Even the Buddha in the shrine was inundated. Before dawn the temple was nothing but the ebb and flow of an immense sea.

In the morning the teacher found O-nami meditating, a faint smile on his face. He patted the wrestler's shoulder. "Now nothing can disturb you," he said. "You are those waves. You will sweep everything before you."

The same day O-nami entered the wrestling contests and won. After that, no one in Japan was able to defeat him.

Feb 1, 2010

To will one virtue — Results

It is said that I am a slipshod writer. Well, that is a matter of opinion. I am fully convinced that there is not a Danish writer who pays as much attention to the insignificant word as I do. I write everything in my own hand twice, some parts three and four times, and in addition, something no one knows anything about, there is my meditating as I walk; before I write I have said everything aloud to myself many times — and this they call being a slipshod writer! And why? Because they have no conception of it at all, because to them an author is someone who at most spends a certain number of hours a day sitting in a room and writing and otherwise has nothing to do with his ideas. Therefore, that kind of an author needs time when he comes home to get into the spirit again — whereas I come home with the whole thing thought through and memorized, even in its stylistic form — when people read a few pages of my writing they are almost always amazed at my style — but a big book — well, how is that possible — ergo: I must be a slipshod writer. No, when one wills only one thing, wills one thing with every sacrifice, every effort — then it is possible.

In a way I can become nauseated by life, for I, who love but one thought — which a person can really be if he wills it — I constitute an epigram upon men, because their judgment of me, the fact that they really cannot understand my consistency, is tragic proof of the categories, the mediocrity, in which they live.

— Søren Kierkegaard, 1846

Jan 30, 2010

Taming the Bull

When one thought arises, another follows. When the first thought springs from enlightenment, all subsequent thoughts are true. Through delusion, one makes everything untrue.

Hold the nose-ring tight and do not allow even a doubt.

— Kakuan

Jan 26, 2010

Masters Apprentice

There is a voice calling for me
There is a light coming down on me
There is a doubt that is clearing
There is a day that is dawning
There is a wound that is healing
There is a season waiting for me
There is a road that is turning
There is a fire still burning

A sickness in me
Constant pace towards the end
The need is stronger
This time the need is deeper

There is a peace I am searching
There is a freedom I'm depending on
There is a pain that's never ending
There is a rain falling only on me
There is a dream I am living
There is a life I'm dreaming of
There is a death I'm awaiting
There is a home I am deserting

I hold my breath in wait
Only moments remain
Movement for departed hope
Effect for absent friends

Sever the faith from my body
Leave me begging for more
Take what I have and deliver me
Into everlasting sleep

Soothing trance
Colours fade
And disappear
Ethereal light
Showing me what I can do without

In a motionless scene
There is only me
I take what I can
Controlling you to get ahead

Fading away
And leaving
Long for sleep
Closer now
Lead the way into death

Every wretched dream
I've left behind
Every waking hour
I lie in wait

Sucked inside by will
Gone into the flood
All my questions unfurled
As I was put to the test

Once I'm below there's no turning back

Plunging into the deepest void
Departed shell left drained behind

Pacing roads unknown
Searching for a new home
Desert in my eye
Barren lands inside

— Mikael Akerfeldt, "Masters Apprentice" from Deliverance. [Opeth's best track, in my opinion, along with "A Fair Judgment".]

Jan 25, 2010

Bad teachers

A counterpart to the parable about the sower and the seed.

It would deal with preachers.

The owner of a wheat farm gave each of his servants an equal share of equally good wheat seed.

But one stored the seed in a damp place where it sprouted too soon and was spoiled.

And one mixed it with ordinary seed.

And one thought: the seed now belongs to me, why should I sow it, and he sold it for money.

And one did sow it but scattered it so carelessly that it was worthless.

One sowed it but put too high a price on it.

— Søren Kierkegaard, 1845, The Book of the Judge

Jan 16, 2010

A story

What a clever story it is, the one in 1001 Nights (Geschichte der zwei neidischen Schwestern, Nacht 617-637, III) that tells of an expedition in search of the talking bird, the singing tree, and the golden water. The task was to climb a high mountain. But the resistance was invisible (as the dervish in fact says to the one prince who was not afraid of any danger: Have you considered what it means to do battle with the invisible); it was nothing more nor less than voices that shouted and made an uproar, scolded, shocked, whined, ridiculed, etc. — and if one looked around he became a stone.

— Søren Kierkegaard, 1848

Jan 1, 2010

Boundaries - Things

Consider "there are no inherent boundaries" and "there are no inherently existent things". The former is accepted by most people, for to them it means EXISTENCE is supreme. They hear "there is existence, therefore me, and since existence is supreme, therefore, I am free to act and move in any way".

They have understood themselves to be supreme, like long-lasting parasitic lice feeding on the blood of a large mammal. They (brainlessly) assume their own consciousness travels the environment like a submarine, a louse freely travelling the mammal's body, the Lord of the Blood.

So they accept with fervour "there are no inherent boundaries", but only in a very restricted sense (that is, they contradict it altogether). And that is why the latter phrase makes no sense to them.

— Kelly Jones, 2009