Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Shiny Object News, Philosophy and Sufism

So last week, I was sitting in cubicle-land, when I glance over at my television set, which is tuned to Faux News. I have the volume turned all the way down, and I don't have the headphones jacked into it, so I cannot hear what they are saying, but they are clearly discussing the Oprah Winfrey "scandal". They have some subtitle along the lines of "Did Oprah apologize enough?" or some such leading question. Bleh, I think. More shiny object news. So I turn over to CNN. Surely they won't be covering such silliness. They aren't, they are talking about Abramoff (a real scandal). But WAIT! They wrap it up, and then they go to a commercial, but first with a teaser about upcoming coverage of Oprah after the commercial. Yeesh. Where are the adults supposed to get real news? This question occurs to me all the time these days. Anyway.

So I'm watching the Daily Show from Monday and they TOTALLY point out how ridiculous the Oprah coverage is. Man, I'm glad someone else is paying attention that has a voice. Go to Comedy Central's site, click on "Age of Misinformation" to check it out. Colbert, on the same night, completely skewers Bush's little town hall meetings(click on "unscripted").
The more I watch shows like the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, the more I believe the only people in the modern age that make any real money from philosophy are comedians. I've had this conversation with a co-worker years ago about Bill Hicks, and I think it still holds true.

So I'm reading about the Sufis in various texts I have read/am reading like Essential Crazy Wisdom, RAW's stuff, Poker Without Cards, etc., and it strikes me that the Colberts and Stewarts of the world just may be the mainstream's answer to mystic traditions like Sufism.

"Colberts and Stewarts of the world just may be the mainstream's answer to mystic traditions like Sufism."

I think you're on to something there...now look at Stewie Griffin's guide to life as an homage to Decline of the West...or is that crazy
Heh. I had to look up "Stewie Griffin". I even watch the show, and that ref flew right over my head.

Anyway, I haven't read either of those. Could you expound on that a bit? :)

that should help
look for this review:

Stewie Griffen: The Winter of Spengler's Discontent, August 15, 2005
Reviewer: Ben Mack (Nacirema)
By Ben Mack

Magician? I don’t know about that. Performer, vaudevillian or businessman. I like businessman. I’m mostly not a fan of being called a magician because it brings out the puritanical witch-hunt in some people. Nobody ever got arrested in The Unites States just for being a businessman. In fact, some get suspicious if you aren’t trying hard enough to make money. I’m not too concerned with labels. I’ve been called worse, than magician, by people who can really fuck with you. That’s not what I want to talk about. Not here anyway. I say fuck a lot. Look…

I’m looking for my opening act. I’m a closer. The closer brings down the house. As a 14-year-old I was a strong opening act. By 15 I was getting standing ovations. By 16 I could command a standing ovation and I glimpsed great on several occasions, but it didn’t stick. I was a closer stuck in the role of an opening act. At 17 I sucked. Some pop, some don’t. I didn’t. So it goes. My story is common. My role now is to help the next generation. To do this, I coach when I’m asked and I share what my experiences were like more often then when I am asked. What my experiences are like. I don’t limit what I share to the past, but that’s usually where the good stories are. There is a lot to life. For many people, now is not the most exciting time. I’m truly excited about right now. However, you can’t talk about now. By the time you’re talking, the now you are talking about is the recent past. I’m getting heady. I just don’t want you to think I’m one of those guys who goes around saying ‘I could have been a contender.’ I was a contender. I peaked out at 17.

Something happened. Some day in the early part of my 17th year of breathing air on this planet I suddenly wasn’t cute. That was the chasm I didn’t cross. I was stuck on cute. As a performer I couldn’t transition from being cute to being powerful… I came close. I got right to the verge and suddenly I went tumbling backwards. I got to the show, glimpsed the bright lights and spent another five years in the minor leagues trying to scratch my way back onto the stage.

Cute is easy. Cute and authentically talented is dangerous. I was a killer. When I was fourteen I was performing a magic routine based around an unstoppable bumbling magician. My act had me keep messing up. Watching a 14-year-old mess-up is painful; discovering he can magic his way out of the situation is such a relief I regularly got a standing ovation. I wasn’t commanding these ovations to stand… it was the energy in the room and the music makes it difficult for an audience to stay in their seats. My mentor engineered this. It’s not that difficult. You just have to have an opening act that will do as they’re instructed. I can make them famous. I can get them through the magic turnstile before something happens and things change.

Steve Martin was on The Tonight Show 18 times before he was well enough known to be able to attract a full house based on the power of his name. 18 times and he still could not fill a room. The 19th time of The Tonight Show? Magic.

When I was 15, I was on to the powers of the mind. More of a variety act, really. I was modeling an old school vaudevillian parlor act. I was a mentalist. I would peer into people’s eyes and tell them I was seeing their mind and some of these people freaked-out. I mean they seriously lost their shit and were ready to worship me kind of freaked-out. I could have started a cult if I hadn’t found these people pathetic. The worst was probably a married woman who wouldn’t stop repeating “You read my mind” while her husband was in tow and I was literally fending off her touching me until I realized I needed to forcefully tell her to sit down and be still. I could have told her just about anything and I imagine she would have followed my instructions. The magician is an actor who plays the part of somebody with supernatural abilities. When the audience forgets you are an actor, they stop applauding; they start praying. Sounds funny. It’s actually scary the first several times you see it. I’m not alone in this. I’ve spoken to numerous mentalists who have shared similar experiences.

What I’ve found is that the powers of the mind are more powerful than most people will comprehend. Most muggles are far more fragile and unstable than they imagine. I can create a faux illusion and have a girl eating out of the palm of my hand while her husband impotently watches. I’ll spare you the graphic details. I’ve done some sick things in my life, but nothing I’m really ashamed of. Nobody has died because I fucked with their mind. A couple have been hospitalized, a few maybe. Could be several. And if I talk about that some in your line of thinking will call me crazy. They’ll say I suffer from magical thinking. Suffer? That’s an interesting word for a healer to use. Its sort of like calling indigenous people primitive… there’s a moral judgment built into the labeling. If you see me as eternally suffering because of my magical thinking we’ll never see eye-to-eye.

What I’m getting at is that life doesn’t happen over coffee. We live in a simulacrum when we talk about relaxing over a stimulant. Orwell called it doublespeak. Our words are constantly being used to signify the opposite of their original meaning. We send ‘peace-keeping’ troops with guns, grenades and tanks and they blow the shit to hell out of anything that moves and we call that peacekeeping and nobody in the hegemony flinches.

I can’t tell if you are following me and I won’t slow down to discover if you do or not.

I guess it doesn’t really matter. I mean, hopefully what I’m saying here matters, like it materializes into something productive or whatever. What I’m saying is that perhaps simply having you here to hear me is enough of a context for me to keep my forward momentum. Maybe it doesn’t matter that you aren’t listening, or that you can’t listen.

I’m looking for my opening act. I’ve looked all over the place. I’ve put myself out there so that somebody may say, ‘Hey Ben, pick me.’ But the ones who show up aren’t serious. If they’re all talking about Fight Club it is a sure sign they can’t mean shit. There are other bastions for the intellectually weak. The biggest one is academia. They don’t know shit about magic, about persuasion, about the powers of the mind. They don’t know a Jedi Mind Trick from an old joke or a quote from a movie. How can you teach persuasion and never have studied Edward Bernays? How can you teach media studies in America and never have heard of None Dare Call It Treason? These names mean nothing to you. You are looking at me blankly. That’s ok. Never mind.

I wanted to talk to you about dating. I went 2007 without getting laid. The oddest part about this is that this fact didn’t dawn on me until January 9th, 2008. Had I known this was approaching, I would have gone out and gotten laid just to avoid the statistic. Maybe it is best that it didn’t dawn on me because how depressing would it have been to have been totally desperate to get laid and not to have gotten laid. I probably would have gone on CraigsList and invited one of those girls who will do anything for 200 roses. I said I probably would have gotten a call girl. It looked like you might not have understood me. When the girls say 200 roses it means they charge $200. There are ways around most laws. It is the fact that we keep illegal that which many, many people do everyday that allows the darkest magick and the utterly evil magicians to wield their craft.

I don’t speak grammatically correct. That’s part of how the dark magicians inflict their inferiority techniques on the young and the weak-minded, they tell them they are wrong, repeatedly, incessantly. It’s disgusting really.

So there was this girl that I was sleeping with, Lisha. She made me excited and she made me hard and she made me money and, well, what’s not to love about a girl like that? Except that Lisha didn’t keep making me excited and she didn’t keep making me hard. I found I held her in contempt because she made her millions based on a lie that got people to take vitamins. I mean since then I have laughed about this. People have gotten rich in far worse ways than getting people to take quality vitamins, but at the time I was hung up on the lie. More than that I was hung up on the fact that Lisha couldn’t see the lie. I wanted her to see more ideas, like the structure of the ideas. I didn’t know how much I was asking.

Lisha wanted me to be more like a man that this newvo passion expert was defining. Lisha thought I had trouble enjoying myself, which is true. However, I have difficulty accepting solace from a guy who makes his millions telling wealthy people they deserve their wealth regardless of what anybody else says… I mean that’s too easy money. If you are going to do that, why not just apply for a grant to explain why war is good. You’ll get the grant if you fill out the forms right.

So this girl and I were growing apart and Lisha kept asking, ‘why did you bring me up here?’ and all I kept thinking was that Lisha said that she wanted to see. `It's time for you to see the FeBeNes.’ I replied. FeBeNes are selling devices used to capture somebody’s attention and snake into their wallet where we never leave because we are going to marry you to an idea.

This was before I realized most people don’t think. They have sub-vocalizations they mistake as cognitive choice but they don’t even use words consistently, let alone literally and so the words get contorted to the mind’s path of least resistance instead of a mind being trained to explore ethereal terrain. So, I was committed to show her the FeBeNes. We talked about FeBeNes all night and I was holding to the idea that you can’t show anybody the matrix, they must see it for themselves except that, well, Lisha already knew about front-end hooks and so Lisha wasn’t seeing the FeBeNes because Lisha was thinking Lisha already knew what I was talking about. But I could see that she didn’t and she got frustrated with me that I was holding out granting her that she saw what I saw. But she couldn’t speak a simpatico language and she was expecting me to conform to her language and I wouldn’t live there. After sex that was unsatisfactory for her, I got her off but I couldn’t keep my erection while fucking her, we went to sleep.

When I woke up in bed it was the next morning and Lisha was cooking me breakfast. Lisha asked if I had dreamt my way around to showing her what was so important about my way of thinking. I felt defensive. I said that I had never said that my way of thinking was so important and that Lisha had wanted to know what I know and see what I see; Lisha had said that. This wasn’t like I FOISTED MY BOOKS on her or anything. Nor had my ideas and my philosophies not come up. Lisha had repeatedly said Lisha wanted to see what I see.

I know I had some pretty gruesome ideas about FeBeNes before I started engineering my own. Some will argue that we can’t use the techniques and tools to which we object to their use. I ask not to be included in this conversation. I object to the use of Jedi Mind Tricks because there appears to be a system in place that prohibits the teaching of Jedi Mind Tricks, the same system that prohibits teaching protection from the dark arts. This doesn’t mean I won’t use Jedi Mind Tricks myself. Of course I will. Furthermore, I will publicly take on the idiot leftists who say this is immoral. You can stuff your morality into your own head but please quit contaminating the youth of America with your vacuous rhetoric. These tools are necessary to fight the greatest war ever waged… Corporatacracy. I see I’m out here on a limb again. Suffice it to say that I am a fan of studying the dark arts so as to expose the techniques. Lisha is concerned with getting richer, staying richer and inspiring people to be richer than they imagined they could be.

I must admit that before I met this girl, I saw money-making FeBeNes as largely ugly creatures. Animals with three eyes and tentacles, survivors from Atlantis, who walked among us, invisibly protected by some form of mind shield. I thought FeBeNes did hideous work for the Illuminati. It was unnerving to contemplate. My inquiries down this direction had once lead me to be hospitalized. While I was in the hospital, most of the workers were just as blind as anybody else. One of the doctors could see what made me squirm. He would point to FeBeNes and I wasn’t allowed out until I learned to say, ‘I see nothing. Just ordinary sleepy people, heading for their busses and subways.’ ‘Very good.’ he would say and after a few days of this ritual they allowed me to move along. This is the only time I have been formally incarcerated in my life. But there is something of human bondage that is different. I wasn’t held captive by Lisha, but my thoughts were held captive. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t show her what she said she wanted to see.

I drank my coffee. That calmed me a little. So I ate down some of the toast and eggs she presented me and I fetched the New York Times from the hallway. I turned the radio to WIIFM and caught some classical music, Cialdini’s Four Seasons. I sat down, grabbed another piece of toast on which Lisha had smeared marmalade just the way I like it and I started skimming the front page.

Then I saw the FeBeNes glowing. I couldn’t imagine not seeing the neon light around the purring and prickley words, the righteous adjectives that invisibly instruct the reader how to ‘objectively’ see the event being reported. The feature story involved another of the endless squabbles between Iraq Insurgents and the U.S. and our never ending profits being risked by a lack of peacekeeping. If we pull out our bloodletting warriors how can they ever nurture peace?

The second most prominent article was about a debate in congress on getting our troops out of Costa Rica; every argument presented by Senator Bacon was followed by another FeBeNe for more spending which would benefit a contractor based in his home state that happened to have been a major contributor to his election campaign and was currently running commercials about the quantity of jobs this manufacturer of killing machines was providing the God loving local economy.

At the bottom of the page was a Times in-depth-study of the growing evidence that global warming may be real and it’s creating pollution. The pollution problem of New York may not be our problem but a symptom of Global warming. Further study is required. Nevertheless, the increasing use of gas masks among New Yorkers is evident, especially in their color picture. Gas masks are now available in 58 stores on Manhattan. Wow.

Lisha asked me what I was thinking about. My sub-vocalizations kicked in. I heard my inner voice say: ``You don’t want to know.” I’ve learned to notice what my mind tells me. I’ve also learned not to let my monkey brain run my mind.

I pushed The New York Times to Lisha. I saw her heart remain calm. Her adrenalin gland remained calm. She was calm, all-over calm. I flashed on an image of my first-grade teacher writing FEBENE on the blackboard, while a wheel with a spiral design turned and turned on his desk, turned and turned, and I heard Lisha’s voice say “Well, If I don’t see the FeBeNes they can’t eat me.” She’s so right.

She casually passed the paper back to me. I looked back at the paper and still saw the FeBeNes. This is as yet uncontrollable for me. This is one step beyond Pavlov, I realized. The first conditioned reflex I learned from my parents was to experience the panic reaction, the activation syndrome, whenever encountering a blatant FeBeNe.

My second conditioned reflex, I’ve thankfully unlearned. Most quasi-liberals will black out what is actually happening. If somebody doesn’t learn this skill they are dysfunctional. They can’t function in our modern society. These folks always feel a general low-grade emergency without knowing why. Of course many will actually attribute this anxiety to the news stories, which were bad enough in themselves anyway. But the root of their anxiety is not in the news, it is not in the elementary school that was accidentally hit when retaliating against the evil-doing-insurgents.

I couldn’t show Lisha that the essence of control is fear. This seems so self-evident to me that explaining it to somebody that doesn’t see it requires a very measured approach so that my contempt doesn’t come coursing through my veins. She doesn’t see the cows the way I have.

We both see a whole population walking around in chronic low-grade emergency, tormented by ulcers, dizzy spells, nightmares, heart palpitations and all the other symptoms of too much adrenalin. She sees that. What she doesn’t see is how this connects with FeBeNes.

All I can say is that my left-wing arrogance and contempt for my countrymen contrinues to melt. I feel a genuine pity. No wonder the poor bastards believe anything they're told, walking through pollution and overcrowding without complaining, watch their son hauled off to endless wars and butchered, never protest, never fight back, never show much happiness or eroticism or curiosity or normal human emotion. Because they have implemented the second conditioned reflex, the ability to black out what is actually happening.

They live with perpetual tunnel vision. Most people can walk past a slum without seeing either the human misery it contains or the potential threat it poses to their security. Lower income families tend to either see more FeBeNes then the comfy elite or virtually none at all because they are aligned with a tithe-extracting, devil-warning-delivery-mechanism. A church. Can we describe institutions by their function? I can. Can you hear me? Never mind. This is for my own good. The point I’m getting to is that only in consumption, endless consumption, could somebody escape the amorphous threat of the invisible FeBeNes. Church will do that. Endless TV watching will do it. Self-improvement seminars and training will do it. Lisha wasn’t about to see the FeBeNes.

When I painfull pointed out a FeBeNe to Lisha, she'd read the word before and after it. And she would again read the judgmental word modifying the adjacent word. But her their panic level would never rise. She would say how fascinating that was. She would call it ‘cool’ but, she wouldn’t see the next one on her own. The conditioning, after all, goes back to grade school. No wonder we all hate those teachers so much: we have a dim, masked memory of what they've done to us in converting us into good and faithful servants for the Illuminati.

I’m joking. The Illuminati doesn’t exist. If you can’t see the FeBeNes they can’t eat you.

The psychologist asked, “You call yourself a magician?”
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