Essays, latest

To Protect and Serve… The Empire

by Phillip Farruggio


Writer Eric Zuesse wrote a great new piece ” How Democracy Ended ” seen on a few fine sites. In it he shows how our U.S. so called democracy is really a scam controlled by the super rich. When all else fails to stop a political momentum, the two parties have always resorted to ‘ The Fix is in’. To this writer, the ‘ fix ‘ that Zuesse alludes to is deeply nesting in both our mainstream media and our elected and enabling two party structure.

The police have that wonderful saying ‘ To protect and serve’. In many cases, witnessed at times throughout the years by this writer, local police have done just that. Sadly, in just as many instances, they have ‘ protected and served ‘ the private property and rights of the super rich. Remembering the great labor disputes spanning perhaps since the beginnings of our republic, it was always the ‘ Cops’ who came in on the side of the corporate few. It has always been as IF the corporate domain was the castle and the striking workers the barbarians. Instead of being there to ‘ protect and serve’ both adversaries, the police always stood in front of the bosses vs. the working stiffs.

Well, we have that in spades in not only our mainstream corporate owned and operated media, but also in the three branches of this government. The mainstream media was always controlled, but since 9/11 it went on steroids! Most of us who actually study history ( from non mainstream sources ) knew that the Iraq debacle was based on hearsay and fabricated lies and half truths. The whole ‘ War on Terror ‘ was what the late great Gore Vidal named ‘ Perpetual War’. Wars keep the natives in line. Wars make lots of money for a select corporate few ( General Smedley Butler’s 1935 essay ‘ War is a Racket’), and wars help justify our obscene and bloated military spending ( duh, like over 50% our federal tax revenue). And who serves this War Economy so well? The media and of course the Congress.

Most of the members of Congress are very wealthy people, especially in the Senate. Regardless of that, they rely on the donations of the super rich, through personal and PAC money, to fund their re-elections. The late Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois once stated: ” When I go out on the campaign trail, and I come back to my hotel room, I usually have a whole bunch of messages. I go through them, and unfortunately, but honestly, if I see the name of someone who has given large donations to my campaign, I do call that person first. Sadly, that is the way it is.” Simon was actually one of the most progressive Senators at the time, and he knew the realities. Money talks. That was in the late 80s and early 90s. Now it is 100 times worse. You watch the hearings on C-Span and all you see are ‘ talking heads ‘ speaking NOT for their constituents… rather for their corporate handlers… from BOTH parties!

We are about to enter, as a nation, into an economic abyss, and hopefully not, a new hot war. All those who are there to ‘ Protect and Serve ‘ this empire will give us are more of the same: Hype, spin, lies and half truths!

Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn , NYC longshoremen. He has been a free lance columnist since 2001, with over 300 of his work posted on sites like Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Global Research ,Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op Ed News, Dissident Voice, Counterpunch, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust., whereupon he writes a great deal on the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has an internet interview show, ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid’ with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at


  1. Big B says

    Toby: it is brave of you to share such intimate details of your awakening, and I feel honoured that you can trust ii to someone you have never met (plus anyone else who might read it). Thank you.

    In my understanding (I’m not a medic) the things we have been talking about do have profoundly physical, and mind altering, consequences. Yogacara doesn’t leave much wiggle room: even the abstract and ideal: or thoughts, feelings, and emotions are materially determined – if not actually ‘material’. This kinda sidelines the ‘Cartesian Split’. I am definitely not positing that the mind or consciousness is reducible to its biophysical components: just that it is not separate from them either (an ‘alterity’ of consciousness?)

    This carries some weight from modern neuroscience: meditators brains are bio-chemically, bio-energetically and anatomically different from non-meditators. The difference is quantitative, as well as qualitative. Our brains are ‘neuroplastic’ and can be reconfigured by mediation, yoga and therapy. They can measure the level (or ‘purity’) of consciousness: such as “the world’s happiest man” Matthieu Ricard. They’ve even proposed an SI Unit for consciousness: the ‘Phi’ …now we just need SI units for love, empathy, and compassion …then capitalism can include them into the dominant culture and turn them into profit!

    Which is exactly how the crossover from Yogacara into Western pycho-therapeutics has been going do far: to enhance the esteem and wellbeing of bourgeois liberals, to help them cope with the stress of destroying the planet. Even Matthieu Ricard, and the rest of the Dalai Lama’s entourage get their ‘news’ from the BBC: yet for all their wisdom cannot discern that they are being propagandised. Ricard has also been spotted at Davos! So ‘happiness’, ‘purity’, and ‘being level’ are not enough: not without being socially engaged. Wisdom has to be applied to be liberational.

    Which has brought both of us here. Which is not a coincidence (except in the literal meaning of the word). I can remember coming back from retreats and out of isolation, and having to re-adjust …perhaps ones ‘purity’ can be too high for this world? Perhaps that is why we must temper non-Self with Self? Perhaps that is why we contemplate a better world; and not merely accommodate ourselves to the violence of this world? This has been a constant criticism of Buddhism throughout history: that it is a ‘quietism’ and tool of power (in WW2 Japan for instance). This changed with the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh (‘Thay’) (among others). Perhaps Buddhism (or secular Yogacara; this is within and beyond religion) is about to take a (much needed) more radical turn? Maybe that starts here! 🙂

    • Big B says

      It’s happened again! The Russians have hacked my reply to Toby below and put it in at the top of the page. Have they got nothing better to do in St Petersburg! 😀

    • I hope it’s ok to continue our shared-private conversation here!

      Re. the Cartesian split: sorry, I don’t mean mind-body at all, I mean subject-object; a reduced-to-its-essence version.

      Consciousness is the ground of being, not matter. Indeed, matter doesn’t exist as conceived: substantial, space-time occupying, atomic particles of mass. Information physics is the branch of physics that takes quantum-mechanical findings at face value (as it were) to reformulate the nature of reality to be information-based. Information is meaningful data, data made meaningful by consciousness. Thus, consciousness first, then later ‘brain’, where brain/body/physicality isn’t made of ‘particles’ but is patternings of data consciousness experiences. Matter is in this view an experienced quality of consciousness. More poetically and fundamentally, diversity in and as oneness as a dynamically complex whole that evolves via its (consciousness’) ability to make choices and learn cumulatively. At least, that’s how I have come to understand this set of metaphors as taught by folk such as Donald Hofmann, Tom Campbell and Bruce Grayson. Hofmann quotes some new hotshot from physics speaking at a major symposium who says, basically, that physics can no longer assert that spacetime exists. In other words, physics has lost its ground, there are no objects, what on earth is existence … time for a radical rethink. His talk was given at the end of 2016, if memory serves. A radical change is indeed afoot, but we need to change how we perceive to accommodate it, to process it, to get it. And that takes time.

      And yes, Thich Nhat Hanh and the corresponding radical change that you characterise so well in your reply is, in my view, very much part of that process. For me there is a kind of beautiful pain that comes with a committed involvement to being human that means we do not drift off to Nirvana or ‘perfect happiness’ and say our work is done. There is no ‘done’. We engage wholly in the real play of this virtual reality we call the universe and do our best forever. As we do so, we discover what we are capable of, endlessly.

      • BigB says

        Hi Toby: sorry for the (work) delay. You’ve got me on the information physics, I did try to read one of Hofmann’s papers, at your behest, but it made my brain bleed!

        Nevertheless, it is completely compatible with Yogacaran epistemics. Re: the Cartesian (mind/body); and the subject/object ‘split’ …there isn’t one, not until in the act of apperception – or in the categorisation of experience – we create one. This is the fundament of misperception: the splitting off from reality to create an insular subjective identity formation. This is codified (textualised) as THE basis of syntactical grammar (subject; verb; object – another ternary or triad). This syntax is the (metonymic) foundation of Western philosophy and political economy: the ‘langue’ (deep and hidden structure: the ‘taken-for-grantedness’) of language, thought, philosophy, and politics …which are built on …

        In Yogacara (and in canonical Buddhism): subject/object are said to be ‘co-dependently arising’: being co-original, once arisen, they are co-mutually conditioning. The subject is dependent on the object for its cause; and vice versa. Thus, cause and effect are mutually co-arising [Nhat Hanh]. This is the core teaching of the Buddha. This puts (pure) perception very much in line with information physics.

        If all phenomena are co-arising, and co-dependent (in a causal nexus; not a Newtonian causal chain) – then all phenomena are interrelated, inter-penetrating, and inter-operative. This is envisaged as Indra’s Net: where every jewel in the net is a phenomenological node that reflects and mirrors every other node. Being a causal phenomena ourselves; that means we are all interrelated …most beautifully expressed by Thay as ‘interbeing’. This would put quite a different emphasis on ‘utility’, ‘instrumental reason’, ‘class relations’, and ‘competitive advantage’ to name a few of our justified and acculturated misperceptive misconceptions?

        There is another aspect: time as a semiosis of self. If the subject/object split is a conditionality we continually re-impose from the past (karmic – the history that never was?): then we are stuck in a hermeneutic loop. We have no ‘future’; only a semiotically reproduced and re-ordered ‘past’. This is entropic: in the process of reproduction, information (sense, meaning) is lost. We are living in the (semiotic) copy of a copy of the copy. This brings us to another modern Yogacarin – Jean Baudrillard. (But I don’t suppose that it will contradict information physics either?)

        The cyclic interpretation of subject as object (and object as subject) fuses meaning. This is the basis of ‘reification’, ‘transference’, and (commodity and ideology) ‘fetishism’. The signifier becomes the signified; the denotation becomes wholly connotational; the referent becomes the idea (or the ‘copy’) of the referent. The hermeneutic loop becomes a hyperloop: and the ‘reality’ we inhabit becomes a ‘hyper-reality’ – where the reality is more real than the Real (the original objective referent) because it is self-invested. This is the simulation or simulacra that Baudrillard postulated.

        This is the epistemic geneology of ‘involution’ unwound and made current. This ‘lifeworld’ of conventional consensual ‘reality’ risks “implosion” under the weight of its own contradictions; and its implicit entropic reproducibility (the cultural and ideological re-synthesis of the synthesis). Thus, we are already postulating becoming ‘post-human’ and ‘transhuman’ …before we have become truly human. If it were not so deadly serious; and the real world conditions so violent and cruel …one might permit a wry smile at the cosmic joke we have played on ourselves?

        Of course the process of identity formation from an informational morass of senselessness and meaninglessness is no joke. Nor is the process of the unfree choosing entirely under our (or anyone elses) control. The elite sponsors and co-creators of culture (craven, graven, and made in their own self-image) are not entirely without blame. But they don’t control the basic process: we do. Perception is now a revolutionary act. Just look at the array of forces they are massing to re-impose the ‘Matrix of Misperception’. But we have (the alterity of) Time and Reality on our side …and that is not something you can live in denial of for long? When I said Yogacara was the future of humanity: it’s that, or barbarism?

        • A quote I came across while studying systems theory was “World and mind arise together”, which comes from Maturana and some other guy (Varela?). It hit me like a ton of bricks, as I had been in search of a pithy way of ending the deeply frustrating Cartesian split in my thinking. As you put it: “subject/object are said to be ‘co-dependently arising’: being co-original”. This is what I mean when I assert reality must begin with complexity. It cannot start with simple nothingness, nor with some wholly simple elementary particle or thing. Reality is thus fundamentally about complexity and relationships that are ever changing and capable of evolution – the logical prerequisites for cumulative learning. That is my starting ‘assumption set’ and is logically derived. One word/metaphor for that set of factors is consciousness.

          So when I say split, I mean notional, co-arising, co-creating, but also necessary and good. How can there be relationship/complexity without divisions of some kind. So ‘split’ is kind of quasi-fundamental. But I don’t have a problem with split, see no hierarchy in terms of falseness and rightness, more like neutral observations that revolve around healthy/pleasant and sick/unpleasant etc., and how these flavours of experience scale up into more and more complex patternings, i.e. love. And all ‘poles’ of such perceived-into-existence ‘dualities’ and ‘polarities’ are themselves complex. There is always relationship somehow, no matter how simple. Experience requires it.

          There is another aspect: time as a semiosis of self. If the subject/object split is a conditionality we continually re-impose from the past (karmic – the history that never was?): then we are stuck in a hermeneutic loop. We have no ‘future’; only a semiotically reproduced and re-ordered ‘past’. This is entropic: in the process of reproduction, information (sense, meaning) is lost. We are living in the (semiotic) copy of a copy of the copy. This brings us to another modern Yogacarin – Jean Baudrillard. (But I don’t suppose that it will contradict information physics either?)

          I’m not sure I get this entirely, but sense it fits well with the literature that has shaped my thinking. I’d express this aspect of our conversation like this: we have no future development while we evade what is required of us to grow, by which I understand a (paradoxical) growth of complexity/quality that emerges naturally as we shed our beliefs, overcome our fears and dissolve ego attachments – over lifetimes – becoming simpler, purer, less cluttered, less agitated, stronger. But the resultant elegant and evolving simplicity we are (hopefully) always becoming still learns, still evolves. There’s no final destination I can conceive.

          As for our future, I really just think it’s up to us. It’s a lame platitude in some ways, but how is it possible to allow us ‘souls’ free will and then insist on certain outcomes or behaviours? Nature takes care of outcomes for us, so to speak. We evolve at different rates from different start points through different vectors. How can it be otherwise?

          I struggle daily with the problem of getting people on board. There’s billions of different souls out there. By way of example, right now I’m staying with my wife’s aunt. She’s recently widowed, herself an adoptee but has kept this secret from her daughter, she is of a highly nervous and restless disposition, a shopaholic who is made extremely uncomfortable by any emotional intimacy or depth, far prefers the shallows, flits from bauble-topic to bauble-topic compulsively. But what right do I have to judge? None. How do she and I communicate? Patchily. If I were to run even 1% of this conversation here with you past her, she would shake it off with a shudder and change the conversation. Ecosystem health? It’s as relevant as any item of news, and as easy to change channels on. The majority of people I know are roughly like this. They just want to enjoy their lives as best they can. They argue for change but do not want to change themselves. There is simply no way I can prescribe anything whatsoever to them in terms of right living or mindfulness. The only thing I can do is be the calmest, best me I’ve got. And the last thing I am is calm. I vibrate with a desire to correct this ridiculous system. A hunger to engage deeply with everyone agitates the air around me. In other words, I am too immature to be effective. And that’s true of billions of us. I would guess the numbers of really mature people on earth numbers the low thousands, but that’s plucking a number out of my arse.

          All this concerns me deeply. How the f**k do we do the right thing? How do we communicate with each other effectively? We grow up. We do what we can. It’s the best answer I’ve got. Human to human, group to group, culture to culture. Slowly, patiently, with no guarantee of success.

          And now I must get back to my life. Sadly.

          • I feel a need to apologise. Yesterday was a very frantic day, so I knocked together my response with multiple interruptions, rushed the last two paragraphs and hit “Post Comment” without really checking what I was posting. On the other hand, it’s kind of a good example, unintended, of what I was communicating. How do we stay calm with stress all around us and mounting within us? Calmly reached decisions are more often than not better than hastily reached ones. And how do we communicate effectively with people who have very different instincts to us? For me, birthing a more humane and sustainable system comes down to these two issues, which means we each have to prepare ourselves, which is always true anyway. In other words, it’s not really about the endless detail of who did what to whom, singling out the bad guys for opprobrium and the good guys for praise, it’s about how we each mature as individuals, and use that maturity to encourage and support others on their paths.

          • BigB says

            “So when I say split, I mean notional, co-arising, co-creating, but also necessary and good. How can there be relationship/complexity without divisions of some kind. So ‘split’ is kind of quasi-fundamental.”

            The ‘split’ is fundamental: but the mis-cognition of the ‘split’ is the root of all suffering. So how do we learn to cognise the ‘split’ as merely denotational: and not the Absolute it has become?

            Our psychological evolution thus far (if that is what you can call it?) has overdeveloped, culturally exploited, and concretised (as an Absolute and essentialist subtext) one part of our beingness. Let’s call it ‘being in time’? Our dialogue can point to an, as yet, undeclared conclusion – that pure perception and pure cognition would lead to pure presence: and the collapse of the perception of time …the ineffable and indescribable Nirvana: in the ‘eternality of the moment’. Let’s call this ‘being out of time’: or the temporal/eternal split?

            ‘Being in time’ has developed the ‘Three Poisons’ (greed, hatred, delusion) into a mass (Wekito) psychoses that is decades away from destroying the biosphere …and cannibalising ‘itself’. This is the the extremised unwinding of one cognitive interpretation of the ‘split’.

            In theory, at least, we can posit that the eleventh hour solution (or amelioration?) would be the rebalancing (reversion toward psycho-cultural ‘homeostasis’) with ‘being out of time’ (the equalising, ethical, spiritual dimension)? The problem is that this dimension has been ‘written out of history’: and (except for in a minority of disparate enclaves) can be said ‘not to exist’? It is the excluded or absent ‘Other’.

            This is what I mean by a “hermeneutic loop”: the weight of the pan-historic preferential for ‘being in time’ cognition has ‘collapsed’ our understanding of ourselves and made it “one dimensional” (to borrow from Marcuse). In the ‘simulation’: there is only ‘being in time’. We have become our own dissolute ‘Absolute’. ‘Being in time’ is our only self-referential and tautological understanding of ourselves (the “hyperloop”). This has led to the neo-totalitarian splitting off from the Real and the Other. The ‘simulation’, or ‘Matrix of misperception’, is a mass karmic hallucination: a “ubiquitous conceptual construction” (parikalpa; parikalpita) is one of the exact Yogacaran terms.

            So, if we cannot (literally) see beyond and within our own conceptual constructivism and ‘conceptual proliferation’ (another borrowed term): how can we let ‘being out of time’ in? [Or ‘out’: because it remains as an immanent potentiality whether we deny it, in preferring ‘being in time’, or not?] How do we escape the ‘being in time’ continuum: the ‘simulation’ or ‘Matrix’?

            Well, being realistic: we probably don’t. Baudrillard also talks of the “Capitalistic Code”. This assimilates and re-codifies everything toward the continuance of the Code. The sociological word is ‘recuperates’: taking the radical and revolutionary and re-purposing it in the service of the dominant materialistic culture. Thus, the liberational Yogacara becomes a happy, clappy, chanty, denatured verisimilitude of itself; for the sense-pleasure deliction of bourgeois liberals (as previously mentioned). Or the Civil Rights movement (which so nearly brought down the Empire) is culturally celebrated as the precursor to the election of Obama; or the ‘Black Panther’ movie (could there be a more obvious example of the recuperative Code?). More recently, the Royal Wedding becomes a triumph of feminism and race relations. That could only happen in a denatured simulation hypothesis; one that has become “more real than real”?

            If there is any way out, excepting what I call “Ivory Tower Zen”, then it will be through system failure …or crisis: the potential for “shock therapy” leading away from the conclusion of a systemic failure. Which is a precarious ‘solution’ we risk not being able to make at all? Until then, we will keep choosing ‘being in time’ ‘solutions’ (that which created asymmetry, imbalance, and “one dimensionality”) because the closed hermeneutic loop of misperception and miscognition, is imprisoned in a ‘bad infinity’ of of a self-referential closed semiotic system (the ‘simulation’ or ‘simulacra’). This is the cumulative result of a parthenogenic ‘split’ from the Real and Other.

            The paradox is obvious: this is not even possible …except as a “ubiquitous conceptual construction” or mass ego hallucination. Our world is as Real as ever: our ‘system’ or anthropogenic projected ‘simulation’ is impermanent, and lacking of any substantiality. It is prone to crash and crisis: and all that can ever reboot it is ‘being out of time’. If I may finish with a dreadful pun: will we see this in time?

            • Let’s call it ‘being in time’? Our dialogue can point to an, as yet, undeclared conclusion – that pure perception and pure cognition would lead to pure presence: and the collapse of the perception of time …the ineffable and indescribable Nirvana: in the ‘eternality of the moment’. Let’s call this ‘being out of time’: or the temporal/eternal split?

              It’s possible my response here proceeds from a misunderstanding of what you mean by time. Hopefully, my attempt to present my sense of time and what derives from that sense is clear enough to expose any failing in my understanding…

              Yes, I feel like it’s boiling down to this aspect, but the works I have exposed myself to see time as fundamental, as change requires time to be possible. Without change, nothing can happen. If nothing happens, nothing can be experienced. Thus, change/time is a requirement for awareness/perception/experience and thus for existence, in my understanding. For me, the idea of a changeless Nirvana denotes an endpoint or a source-nothingness from which nothing can proceed or issue. That doesn’t stack up for me. I further don’t believe there’s any kind of Perfection –> Imperfection –> Perfection vector here. Reality evolves.

              How do we escape the ‘being in time’ continuum: the ‘simulation’ or ‘Matrix’?

              For me, it’s not about escape, it’s about how we mature our quality of consciousness to remain calm and love-based regardless of the tensions and strife we are exposed to from moment to moment, no matter which virtual reality or matrix we are in. More prosaically and to return to the terminology I am familiar with, we are never fully beings of love, just always becoming love – if we so choose. Love is an improving quality of consciousness that is capable of more and more, can handle more and more, is more and more powerful because of its calmness, joy, generosity, courage, strength, etc. But in order to really flesh this out, I would need many thousands of words.

              One of the things I have learned from the Kundalini events that have been delivered to me, is that I myself am not there yet. And yet I become more and more accustomed to the bliss, can handle the events better, more calmly. I feel their onset, can relax my state of consciousness, and ride them smoothly as a practiced surfer rides a wave. When the process first got going, I would be in a kind of blissful trance for weeks, swimming in ecstatic love, able to cope with everything in my life calmly and lovingly. But those episodes weren’t earned by me, they were gifts to me. Kind of like being taken by aliens to see amazing new technologies on some Utopia planet somewhere, and coming back to explain it all and realising you can’t. Or like explaining the exquisite excellence of a favourite painting to a 12-month-old child (I’m the child). The child enjoys/loves your enthusiasm, but cannot grasp the detail. So there are always stages, and each stage we reach becomes our new normal, is natural to us, earned. Nirvana is like that too. You become accustomed to it and proceed/evolve from there, too. It’s why drugs don’t work when we use them to escape what we are, where we’re at, how good we are at coping, etc. We get there when we have earned it, when the quality of our consciousness makes it as natural as breathing. After that come new challenges, new adventures. This is the evolution I refer to. It’s not about escape, it’s about natural continuation and evolution forever.

              In my case, I received lots of ‘instructions’ and assistance. As I make best efforts to mature, I notice that this interventional aspect is dropping away. The stabilisers are coming off as I take responsibility for my growth. No one can grow us up but ourselves. For whatever reasons, I received a lot of help and pointers, but at some point I have to take the wheel and make my own, increasingly ‘unassisted’ decisions (there’s always some support). It is the decisions we select from the options we can imagine in any given moment that mark where we are on our path, forever.

              All this is as true of the oneness of consciousness in the evolution of its totality from its infancy, as it is for each and every soul in existence that constitutes and was created by that totality.

              • BigB says

                Hi Toby, what with the Bank Holiday, it’s been a busy week …not much time for philosophy!

                What I mean by Time is purely the ontology of Time: not ‘scientific’ (external?) Time: but the “subjective experience and perception of Time”; the temporalisation of the subject; the conception of a substantive ‘something’, or Self – or ‘trace’ of something – that passes from a ‘past’ to a ‘future’; carrying the sense and meaning of itself ‘forward’ … phenomenologically ‘Becoming’. Cf: the ‘Unbecoming’ of Nirvana ….’Being out of Time’ (‘BooT’).

                [That is why I chose ‘Being in Time’ (‘BiT’); not ‘Being and Time’ – to distinguish from the Heideggerian position. I won’t digress, but will note that Derrida’s deconstruction of Heidegger’s Destruktion is most germane to our dialogue].

                Thus, change/time is a requirement for awareness/perception/experience and thus for existence, in my understanding.

                This is exactly the BiT aspect of our Beingness. (Karmic) desire for experience ensures the continuance of experience. It is the ‘trace’ that passes from moment to moment …cf: the ‘desirelessness’ or extinguishing of karma: denoted as Nirvana. This is not a mere negation; or ‘nothingness’.

                One of my former teachers was from the Soto Zen school: which is a school of ‘sudden’ enlightenment …so, instantaneous Satori …after thirty years of (Yoga) Practice! And then a lifetime to refine. So, totally with you on the change/time requirement!

                For me, the idea of a changeless Nirvana denotes an endpoint or a source-nothingness from which nothing can proceed or issue

                Beware going beyond the ‘negation of the negation’, What Nirvana is and isn’t – we simply cannot say. It is ‘this’ (affirmed/denied); it is not ‘that’ (denied/affirmed); it is neither ‘this’ nor ‘that’ (neither affirmed or denied). These are the ternary operants of meaning in action. The negation of the negation is the new synthesis that transcends all contradictions: particularly, the ‘meaning’/’meaningless’ or something’/’nothing’ opposition (unity of opposition: BiT/BooT unity and transcendence – the ineffable ‘third state’ alterity beyond and within Being and non-Being).

                Nothing is either affirmed or denied: everything IS (‘suchness’ tathata); there is no denoted endpoint (‘telos’) …nor ‘start’ (‘arche’) …the source-nothingness could equally be the eventuality-everythingness! Language falls apart at the margins of philosophy. If we bring Nirvana within our closed self-referential semiotic system (technically ‘ontics’; or the onticalisation {ascribing subjective facts} to Being) we risk creating an ontology (of ‘Nirvana’, or ‘love’, or ‘spirit’, or ‘soul’). If we do that, we risk starting a whole new cycle of Becoming: that starts with ‘love’ …but quickly devolves toward its binary oppositional. I’m pretty sure you can see this pattern in our psycho-spiritual developmental history. Pretty soon, we’ll need a new transcendental signifier to replace the outmoded and contradicted ‘Nirvana’?

                [This is what Heidegger did: create a source-nothingness, or source-somethingness – the pre-ontological Dasein. In refuting metaphysics, he created (affirmed) a new metaphysics, protracting the Absolute under the new guise of Being].

                How do we escape the ‘being in time’ continuum: the ‘simulation’ or ‘Matrix’?

                The point is, we can create some very rarified sublime states within Being (BiT) that are supramundane – but not yet transcendental, nor liberational (BooT). The blissful and beatific immateriality can be just as much a spiritual pitfall as the materialistic we are trying to ‘escape’ (by neither ‘denying’ nor ‘escaping’). I am sure you are aware of this pitfall: which was identified by the Buddha, pre-enlightenment. Yogacaran epistemics guide us to strip away the layers of mental constructivism to experience the actualised moksha experience we are having right now. The end is the start; the Alpha the Omega; and the Telos the Arche …a second to point out; a lifetime to realise?

                One day, we will meet on the ‘other shore’ (no, I am not there yet: but that’s my bad) and laugh about this. In the meantime, when I speak of pure perception this is ultimately what I mean:

                The Blessed One said, “What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavours, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All.  Anyone who would say, ‘Repudiating this All, I will describe another,’ if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range.”

                Sabba Sutta: The All – SN35.23

                Perhaps I should add that the intellect and ideas are those which are cognizant of pure perception: not the multiple layers of mental constructs that we think of now. If we can strip back our cognition and mentation to its barest ‘mirroring’ function: perhaps we can let the future in. Because I am pretty sure the collective anthropogenic karmic hallucination ‘Matrix’ is going to end badly. Best to have one foot in the next world when this one crashes?

                O, well, I’m off to catch up on the weeks news …life really is something that happens whilst we are busy doing other things!

                • BigB says

                  Told you my mind was elsewhere: I’ve miscategorised my own categories! Being out of Time should be categorised with the blissful, sublime states. The liberational is the Hegelian synthesis of BiT and BooT in a unity of opposition that neither confirms nor denies the values and experiences of either; the alterity of Being. See what a mess we create when we try to make a transcendental sense of language? Some things are best just experienced, and the experience left unsaid? 😉

                • As you state and so this will not be a surprise, your exposition arrives at me as the insoluble wrigglings of casuistry, the intellect attempting to communicate a fuller quality of experience than is possible within its domain, or at a blog. That said, I hear in the BiT-BooT distinction a reflection of the intellect-beingLevel distinction that marks Tom Campbell’s metaphorical language. The difference is that in Campbell’s model, what is encountered and learned in BiT is valuable precisely because it encounters ‘suffering’, so BiT is not to be escaped because of it. ‘Suffering’ is but one of a multitude of outcomes of karma that can be transcended within BiT by shedding our fears and beliefs. In BiT, we learn about / experience causality very directly. He calls our physical universe “an entropy-reduction trainer”, i.e., a fast track on the path of becoming love. It’s harder to walk this path in physicality than it is in other reality frameworks, so takes courage to commit to this game, but it is quicker and richer, and thus, over ‘time’, more beneficial to the whole and to us players. And it offers a very rich set of other possibilities in terms of our creativity.

                  But now I feel we are at the point where face-to-face chatting over beer would be better. Our exchange suffers from being words only. There are other things to be communicated here. So, I’m moving to Leeds in the next couple of weeks, so if you’re interested and a meet up would be convenient to you in any way, you can find me by clicking my name, which takes you to my (unfinished!) website, one area of which is a contact-me page. If not, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation and have learned a lot!

                  • BigB says

                    Well, exactly: without Yoga – words refer to words, infinitely. Without Yoga: the entire Western Canon of thought is a circularity of casuistry. Without Yoga: Buddhism is a recursion into Metaphysics and Ontology …two areas it has steadfastly refused to go. If we want to go beyond words: we need to start at the ground zero of semiotics …taking Derrida at his exhortation, to create a new language in order to understand him. How do we go beyond words (or any other form of semiotics) …except with words?

                    But you are right: this is not the place. I’d love to take you up on the offer of a beer …unfortunately, I’m in Sussex. Leeds is a bit of a trek! I’ll send you a copy of the manuscript I’m working on: at this rate, it’s going to be very short!

                    I’ve enjoyed this dialogue: I’ve never tried to expand my ideas beyond Yogacara before …perhaps there is no beyond? …perhaps there is no way to communicate that avoids the circularity of casuistry (the hyperloop)? …perhaps there is no way out: the Western mindset crashes and burns whilst its finest thinkers confirm the word prison of a Metaphysically diffuse Dasein (now rationalised as a “pre-reflective self-awareness”). If you want to investigate the “insoluble wrigglings of a casuistry” …what does that even mean! Because that is what the finest philosophers (lovers of sophistry?) have based their recursion on 🙁

                    • Shame about Sussex, but if I’m ever headed that way I’ll let you know.

                      I suspect there’s no beyond, but also suspect that’s as it should be / must be. Infinite regress is impossible, so reality has to be founded on an insoluble paradox of Dasein. As I see it, nothingness is impossible. Our efforts towards the foundations eventually confront a mystery, and this confrontation is like looking into a mirror. Only this mirror forces us to choose what we see reflected there.

                      I’m looking forward to reading your manuscript!

          • I suggest you just read the Bhagavad-gita, starting with the second chapter summary. There, Krishna resolves all Arjuna’s dilemmas, which are exactly yours, very pithily. Essentially he is just told to do his duty with no regard for the outcome. I use the precepts daily, and find them very liberating.

            I’m reminded of another story of two Buddhist monks on pilgrimage. One keeps asking the other existential questions. The other responds every time…keep walking. So go on a pilgrimage would be my advice. I’m planning to set out on the via Francigena to Rome quite shortly, and then later maybe a year or so in India.

            The world will take care of itself. Krishna says in the B-g…”whenever and wherever there is a rise of irreligion, I descend, millenium after miillenium, to reestablish the principles of religion and to annihilate the miscreants.” So he will take care of it. You only duty is to do your dharma, your duty, which is to uphold the religious principles as found in the texts.

            • Thank you, Charles, for your suggestion. I read your comment this morning on waking, and discussed it with my wife, who grew up in India where she read the B-g. We have discussed the second chapter often. Though I freely confess that neither she nor I is expert in the Baghavad-gita, we both tend strongly to free will as decisive. The concept of dharma is rich throughout all human thought, and one that resonates with me very deeply, for me in the form of obligation. However, it is by our choices that we grow, and that is endless. Change is the only constant. Some things change extremely slowly, some quickly, but its effects are everywhere always. So while I value the binding and spiritually guiding role of religion, I feel my first duty is to how I interpret what I experience, and then make the best decisions I can, in the interests of all life, based on that interpretation. That said, dharma is ever present too, conjointly with free will and change. Reality is not mine to control, nor is it about control. Outcomes are as they are, all is as it is. Reality is not about me as a solipsistic centre, but my unique life is about my unique choices, not about my instructed and obedient passivity.

  2. Kathy says

    I’m not actually sure that democracy has ever really served the people. It certainly has not done so in a very long time if it ever did. It has always favored the rich and the powerful. Most people not even considered worthy of a vote until recently. It has acted as a divide and rule for us while maintaining the power structure for the few. It has led to a polarization and a swinging back and fourth of the pendulum creating movement with out linear progression to a higher awareness and more equal society.Keeping us effectively in a state of traumatized child hood. It has enabled the powerful and deep state to control our lives and manipulate us. Giving false hope of change where there is none.Things always continue in favour of the elite. It is collective council and community we need. A realization that hierarchy is not innate. We do not need to get ahead at the expense of another. The way things are and have been is not the way.

    • Exactly! Couldn’t agree more. We are deliberately kept in a kind of puppy-like Stockholm Syndrome, an addicted-to-distractions childishness that is, for me, the real enemy. This is the foundational reason why democracy cannot work within hierarchical structures. Or rather, why it works to perpetuate the madness. Society emerges necessarily from us, but we are socialised by multiple institutions to stay dumb. School is one obvious part of this, designed to dumb us down, turn us into obedient factory grunts and manipulatable shoppers (see John Taylor Gatto’s work). The other is the hierarchical structure of the state which systemically requires an elite (or it isn’t hierarchical). Because it was born from farming, which is a constant battle against the encroach of ‘wild’ nature to secure a surplus to endure uncertain winters etc., the state is also about us-and-them, oppositional exploitation and taxation, primarily in the interests of its elites. These sorts of arguments are made very convincingly in e.g., The Early State, The Art of Not Being Governed, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, and Against the Grain.

      Ergo, the way beyond is growing up, which takes courage. Maturation is about exercising our free will to take those actions that grow us up, ditching our inculcated beliefs, addressing all our fears until they dissolve, and encouraging others onto their paths. As that happens, what we then do to evolve beyond the madness of the current system will be up to us.

  3. A propos the cartoon of a Star Spangled Lady with WORLD POWER going to her head:

    Царь-Колокол MOSCOW (Sputnik) –

    Ankara is likely to buy Russian Su-57 fighter jets if Washington decides to suspend the delivery of F-35 jets in response to the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-missile systems, the Yeni Safak newspaper reported Sunday.

    The more they try, the more they pee in their shoes.


  4. reinertorheit says

    Will tje American police be protecting or serving woman in the USA from serial molester and abuser Morgan Freeman?

    Freeman is accused of the same series of unwanted molestation and abuse as others in the Me Too scandal. But with two important differences:

    1) He’s black (and we know that black people are never guilty of things in the USA)
    2) He has been paid-off to film lengthy political diatribes attacking Russia.

    And in that light. the trusty Fraudian (or on Sundays. the Obsquequiencer) published this puke-making rebuttal of the charges made against dear Morgan

  5. markrussell20085017 says

    In the new world, Police, if we have them, will adopt a new motto – “to protect, serve and respect without fear or favour, the will of all men”.

    • myearlyescape says

      @Toby said “I think we can agree that nothing is the root of all evil, except, perhaps in a loose way, free will that can lead this way and that, with the slippery slopes of fear steadily tending free will towards ‘evil’ if left uncorrected in the sense of making nothing but fear-based choices over time.”


      As such, if Police are to adopt a new motto – “to protect, serve and respect without fear or favour, the will of all men”, as *MarkRussell suggests then they will be protecting, serving and respecting something that inherently “tends towards eveil if left uncorrected.”

      In my view the role of the Police is to make sure evil is not “uncorrected.” They are or should be there to enforce the correcting. It is not the Police that are to blame for doing their job although they are the ones who often get attacked from all sides. The Police are a useful distraction for the elites whp really hold the power, yaedul pinching bags for those eho are angry at the system. It is not the Police who have the real power. It is the elites who have hijacked democracy to pass self serving laws who are the problem.

      If we had a fairer more equitable society where power was truly shared amongst the people and laws that were ethical and humane and laws that reflected the good of ordinary people and not those of the elites were ubiquitous then the Police would instantly become part of the solution (as they should be) and not part of the problem. They are already sworn to protect and serve without fear or favour. But “the will of all men” as a guiding force? How could that be a good thing when men have conflicting wills, many of them ‘evil’?

      • I see the police, as currently constituted, as one part of how the state, as a monopoly on force, enforces. The state enforces in many ways, including myth making and particularly myth making around money, but without the police, we oiks would have too much freedom to think and roam. One of the primary thing the state enforces, regardless of how, is property rights. As the saying goes, property is 9/10ths of the law. A state without property would be an odd creature, barely a state at all, as there would be next to nothing to enforce and protect. That said, and if I’m reading you right, I agree that some form of policing may always be necessary. Life is a messy business, whatever social system we humans construct to self-organise.

  6. Humbaba says

    The fact that the US has become a plutocracy doesn’t mean that democracy and the market economy cannot work under different circumstances. There are examples of the social market economy and social democracy that achieve better results, even in the current global environment in which we are all forced to bend to US dictate.

    The US’s economic and political systems are determined by its imperialist ambitions. Thus, it is the Empire, ie. the greed for geostrategic control, rather than the means or methods of trade, which is the problem. We need a multilateral system of trade, which, in addition to promoting trade, also promotes social and ecological objectives. In other words, the exact opposite of what the US aims for under the current administration more aggressively than ever.

    We do need a system of “fair trade.” The fact that the US administration has misappropriated this term to signify even unfairer trade dictated by a militaristic bully shows just how we enter a world devoid of meaning.

    • Humbaba – “The fact that the US has become a plutocracy doesn’t mean that democracy and the market economy cannot work under different circumstances.” – actually the circumstances of ALL WESTERN “democracy” and “market economy” ride atop 500+ years of the colonial and neocolonial pillage and enslavement of the entire planet by Western economic interests. The CIA & Western European intelligence organized the destruction of nationalist leaders and movements among the newly liberated formerly colonized nations post-WWII, which benefited not only oligarchy but the Western middle class throughout the West, as Western economies continued to virtually steal resources from what were our former colonies. Under the guise of “fighting communism” these recently “liberated” former colonies were now simply headed by Western backed dictators who presided as our police enforcers rather than openly colonial administrators from the West. The West even allowed “democracy” as long as the elections were rigged to insure continued Western rule.

      Speaking of “democracy” when one destroys democracy whenever it threatens Western business exploitation is of course obscene, yet it has been and continues to be the order of the day. “Democracy” for example, is not possible in Venezuela because the U.S. deems any candidate but one of our own choosing to be illegitimate and therefore not “democratically elected.” Speaking of “free trade” when the West simply demonized, isolates, economically sanctions and destabilizes or invades any nations that refuse to engage in its IMF/World Bank continued economic exploitation is of course an equal adjunct obscenity. Envisioning a world in which these realities did not or do not taint the “miracle of the market” with its “invisible hand raising all boats” is of course a fantasy in much the same sense that the word “democracy” is a total fantasy in the Western nations, where we bow to own oligarchy, yet use the term “democracy” as a bludgeon against those who refuse to submit to continued ruthless Western power.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      You CANNOT have a decent, moral and humane society under capitalism, in any form. The historical record is unambiguous. ANY reforms granted, reluctantly, by the parasites, when they are weak, are ALWAYS taken back, and more, whenever the capitalist system produces one of its regular and inescapable ‘crises’. And capitalism is predicated on eternal growth, so is a form, a highly malignant form, of cancer.

    • Robbobbobin says

      ‘Social “Democracy”‘ is, indeed, a more subtle form of “Democracy”. In ‘Social “Democracy”‘ the farts wear slippers.

  7. I would say that humanity is entering that abyss, is indeed in it, but as in the manner of frogs being slowly boiled, it just becomes the New Normal by accelerating, unnoticed degrees, day by day by day.

    Dear author, your post implicitly identifies money as the root of the problem, an observation I agree with. My position is that money is THE pivotal concept we must understand anew if we are to establish radically different guiding principles for human civilisational endeavour. Part of that effort will be developing new cultural understandings of and relationships with value and thus wealth. These core entities – money, value, wealth – are defined, as if scientifically, via the backdoor of very suspect economic ‘laws’ that appear to us, the duped audience, as forces of nature that require some flavour of capitalism as their natural expression in socio-economic form. To make capitalism appear as the cancerous sickness it is, therefore requires a thorough reevaluation of the concepts that undergird it. For example:

    What is value? Can (or should) it be ‘objectively’ measured, even by ‘market forces’?
    Is health – individualsocial and environmental – real wealth?
    What should money’s role in society be?
    Can wealth-as-health concepts give rise to a new way of structuring society?

    And all this framed to take intelligent and continual account of the absurdity of Perpetual Economic Growth.

    • Big B says

      Toby: bang on the money! I would not normally make such a comment, but we seem to have established a rapport. There is a deeper, more significant layer to the establishment of power, status and wealth: facilitated by the creation, accumulation and monopolisation of money-power …and that is the perception and distinguishing of ‘difference’ that precedes the identity formation that assumes the power, status, and wealth. Thus, the seeds of money-power and capitalism are perceptual and pan-historic: having no First Cause. That would seem like gibberish if you did not know where I am coming from – Yogacaran epistemics.

      So, money-power creation and ideological capitalism could be viewed as the pan-historic, inter-generational apotheosis (or extremised conditional genesis) of basic misperception. The same ‘seeds’ (bija) that form the basis of the mental constructivism of a fixed (reified) substantive identity formation …become the same seeds that become extremised into something called ‘capitalism’ (the mechanism of the valorisation of money-power and capital {“[anti]value in motion”?}). Only, due to processes of socialisation, urbanisation, and civilisation, through time – the seeds are now trans-personal and have taken on a life of their own. Our ideology has become us, and we have become our ideology.

      But the process is a reversible dialectic that is returnable to innocence. Money is not the root of all evil: it is a praxis of misperception. It is a facilitator of either good or evil; depending on the perception and wisdom of those who employ it. Needless to say, it is the least perceptive and least wise who have monopolised its misuse. Ultimately, it is not something we need (and we certainly do not want to support the power base of the globalised superclass) …but it is something we could use to facilitate the valorisation of other, more humanist ‘capitals’ – like love, peace, and ecology. But merely transferring from one form of wealth creation to another, more progressive form of wealth creation (for instance, love capital formation and valorisation) will not necessarily end the afflictions of misperception (dukkha). The seeds of Self, money, and capital wealth creation (bhava-tanha) are within us …just as much as they are social constructivism and semiotic tenets that are fed back into us. We can learn to reject the false consciousness affirming ‘externalised’ tenets and perceive pure, untainted, new ones. From liberational seeds and conditions we can grow a new form of socialisation: one that rejects the top down imposition of money-power (what is Fiat currency – something we agree has implicit wealth and dominance power …or a bit of of rendered pig waste that is valueless and meaningless compared to something universal, and ‘real’ …like love?)

      And it all starts from perceiving what is right in front of us.

      • If I start with your closing observation, I’d say what is right in front of us is perception, but that perception, requiring a subject, can only ever be subjective and complex, not “pure” or “untainted”. As such, I wonder about the apparently pivotal role of the word “innocence” in your reply.

        I think we can agree that nothing is the root of all evil, except, perhaps in a loose way, free will that can lead this way and that, with the slippery slopes of fear steadily tending free will towards ‘evil’ if left uncorrected in the sense of making nothing but fear-based choices over time.

        Also agreed is that money is underpinned by inaccurate perception, but here things get quickly muddy, as what money is differs as we approach it from different angles. Money is incredibly hard to define. So, when I point at it as pivotal, I mean as a conceptual gateway that is great at unravelling buckets of disinformation, deceptions, etc., when critically assessed. I mean, everyone thinks money is easy to understand until they take a closer look.

        When it comes to outcomes and love as somehow valorisable wealth, my approach is, Who knows? Outcomes and prescriptions are so complicated I try to stick to simple, logical starting points, such as the impossibility of perpetual economic growth. I.e., what has to change to develop an economics that is functionally in tune with steady-state conditions? My guess is pretty much everything. Getting lots of very different people to even agree on a starting point is hard enough. Outcomes are orders of magnitude harder. I leave them to the gods…

        Dig around a little into what has to change at the roots, and we come to, imo, dialectics like love and fear, abundance and scarcity. To cut a long story short, I equate love with health and qualitative growth – which is synonymous with wealth in my lexis – and fear with sickness, impoverishment, the slow but steady rotting away of diversity with some overvalued thing growing cancerously. How to effectively invite people to think this way too is one hell of an undertaking. And, like I said, that would just be the ‘beginning’.

        So back to “innocence”, “pure” and “untainted”. You seem, in your first paragraph, to equate misperception with difference itself: “the perception and distinguishing of ‘difference’ that precedes the identity formation that assumes the power, status, and wealth.” In other words, first the erroneous(?) perception of difference, then, a long ways down the line, power, status and wealth. I agree in a very generalised way, but would suggest, as above, that perception cannot occur without difference, it’s unchecked fear (selfishness in a naive sense) that leads bad places. Someone I had a very long philosophical exchange with a while back defined information as “discernible difference”. If there is only uniform, pure, untainted oneness, there can be no perception. That there is undoubtedly perception (experience), means there is difference, something to discern, to experience. For there to be perception, then, there must also be complexity. That’s what my best logic comes up with. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood this part of your reply, it’s certainly where I humbly request more explanation, or at least some cool links.

        But yes, there’s a rapport. I get a sense of good fruit to come from continued exchanges like this. My on-ramp to all this is long and eclectic. I have smatterings of knowledge of this and that school of thought that I have worked on and worried at auto-didactically over several decades. It’s lovely to meet others as concerned with the very depths of reality as I am, who know much more than I do of particular philosophies.

        • BigB says

          Toby: coming right back at you with decades of auto-didactic “work and worry” and concern for the depths of reality: in anticipation of a fruitful cross-fertilisation and dialogue.

          Instead of ‘difference’; perhaps I should have said ‘*differance* (with an ‘a’) because we are in Derrida’s deconstruction of philosophy and politics territory. A good reference would be “Positions” or “The Margins of Philosophy”. What you seem to be saying is that there have to be “binary oppositions” (speech/writing; presence/absence; black/white) in place in order to categorise perception? That perception is linguistic (textual) and we categorise experience according to the play of ‘*differance*’: set within to a binary oppositional structural framework (structuralism; semiology; syntactic language)? In Derrida’s deconstruction, with which I concur, this codifies dominance and authoritarianism into the very act of perception. The elemental binaries become subliminal hierarchical dominance structures: less a “peaceful coexistence”; more a “violent hierarchy”. This becomes most obvious when the black/white binary opposition is examined in the light of race relations in America. Or the female/ male binary is deconstructed (never a good thing for a man to do!)

          For Derrida, the act of choosing or preferring is generative: it temporises the subject. The play of *differance* also creates a taxonomy of values. This is not reducible to the oppositional poles alone. To my ‘readerly’ (interpretative) understanding: this is completely compatible with Yogacara. In fact, the operants of perception are not binary at all: but ternary. We have three basic choices when we contextualise and categorise experience (that is apperception, not strictly perception). These are, broadly – ‘like’; ‘dislike’; or ‘neutral’: or ‘desire’; ‘aversion’; and ‘neutral’. From the three basic choices: we can create an axiological system of values (from love all the way through to hate and repulsion: the ‘neutral’ metacategory can be by varying degrees ignoring, indifferent or confusional). Very broadly speaking, this is how we confirm identity. And very broadly speaking, this is extremised (codified or textualised, as an act of trans-personal social constructivism) into identitarian and individualistic politics. It also gives rise to the likes of the *homo economicus* archetype: an uber-competetive, hyper-consuming superego ..whose only rational is the self-maximising greed and pleasure principal?

          We can see ourselves in opposition to that extremised Self: but how do we transfer that into polity, without also transferring the inherent dominance of relativism? By the absolutism inherent in the Enlightenment humanist philosophy? That created the problem: so Derrida theorized a third position, an ‘*alterity*’ or ‘undecidable’ category. I have no need to point out how this has been abused as a ‘negational’ or ‘fluid’ category. I prefer to view it as a ‘unity of opposition’: or a higher order Hegelian synthesis. We see objects, not as objects, but as signifiers of our subjectivity …as indicators of Self. In doing so we confirm into absence that which we deem non-Self. In creating subjective ‘presence’, we condemn ourselves to never be fully present.By neither confirming or denying Self, we can create an ‘*alterity*’ of human consciousness. This is why I differentiate between the act of ‘perception’ and ‘apperception’: because the ‘*alterity*’ is actualised by pre-categorisational (pre-linguistic; pre-semiological) act of ‘pure’ perception. This is the return to ‘innocence’ of which I speak:seeing the object as the “thing in itself” (phenomenologically – Husserl) – not as a subjectivised Self indicator. This is the Alpha and Omega of Yogacara too. Bet you never knew Derrida was a Yogacarin!

          • I agree almost entirely, but with a subtle difference in emphasis and approach (by “approach” I mean how I, being me, come at this from my unique history) that leads to a different flavour of (ever changing) ‘conclusion’.

            Recently, I listened to Rupert Sheldrake refer to himself as a trinitarian. As he explained what he meant, I realised it echoed my take on the nature of reality. What fascinates me is how different thinkers can use different terms to describe the same dynamic: ternary/alterity from you/Derrida, trinitarian from Sheldrake/Christianity, complexity from me/Tom Campbell. On the issue of binary opposites, Jung also heavily stressed the third Hegelian thing, the unifying or synthesising aspect/consequence of the supposed opposition, and it was Jung who rescued me from Descartes a few decades ago. When I started reading Derrida for my MA, I felt like I had found an intellectual companion. I shall read more, soon.

            So, in brief, I don’t mean binary opposites when I reference discernible difference, I conceive this difference as complexity being composed of at least 3 elements, but think of those elements not as distinct objects in and of themselves, but rather as qualities of experience, non-material, non-atomic, dynamically interdependent and blurred at whatever ‘boundary’ we can lend them, but yet, as you set out, capable of scaling up into ever more incredibly complex experiences, like love, regret, suspicion, etc. That said – and this is where the slight difference creeps in – I believe the trinitarian/ternary/complexity aspect co-exists seamlessly with a logical (not lexical or semiotic) requirement for perceiver/experienced (subject) and perceived/experienced (object). Put another way, I believe the Cartesian split is a necessity, but also that it is not remotely an irreconcilable split. Oneness requires the diversity that requires the oneness that is each other’s ground (Yin/Yang of course). I think it was Bohr who wisely observed that the opposite of trivial truths are plainly false, while the opposite of great truths are also true. In other words, irresolvable paradox is a fundamental property of existence.

            So I do cast the “object as thing in itself” as a part of the subjective self necessarily, but also as a thing in itself – which is also where free will comes in, and love, and open-minded scepticism. In the end we can’t escape the ‘trap’ of experience, the inescapability of consequences, the necessity of making choices, and the guiding, ever present trinity of like, neutrality and dislike. And we are always confronted with how to manage our evolution, mindfully, in such a way that it does not thwart, but even gently assists that of others. I agree with those who see that as the path of love. However, that path is not as fundamental as like, neutrality, and dislike, but (probably?) more important(?), more meaningful(?), richer(?), and something we troubled Selves continually co-create.

            • Big B says

              Wow: I’m humbled. Not are we on the same songsheet, or singing the same song, but we are on the same line in the chorus!

              Yogacara confronts us with two epistemic genealogies: the way of the liberational and the way of bondage; the evolute and the involute. No need to establish which one we are collectively on? These could be equated with the objective, non-Self, the unreifiable (the cessation of causal phenomena): and the subjective, Self, and reifiable world of subjective phenomenalisation; the common ‘textual’ worldview. We can now postulate a third ‘syncretic’ (transcendent of all prior belief systems): or higher order non-reducible ‘synthetic’: of both and neither Self nor not-Self: and escape the closed semiotic languistic prison which is a binary “bad infinity”?

              Perhaps we should consider another major aspect before shouting ‘Eureka’: the historic past. Because time is a semiosis of self too. The categorisation of experience is a function of memory. Our historic Self (or Selves) determine our present Self. Thus, we are stuck in a ‘hermeneutic loop’ of conditioning the present with our past. Our ‘future’ is an aspirational of our ‘past’. Needless to say, this is another aspect of denying our present, or ‘presence’, by reimposing a hermeneutic of absence (the banishing of not-Self).

              This is the function of Karma: which is badly misunderstood by the West. The traces of past actions, inactions, and indifferences, are stored in the alaya-vijnana (seed consciousness) to ‘perfume’, or pre-condition present experience. Without an awareness of this, history not only repeats: it controls.

              Which brings us to ‘Free Will’. If we are determined by past experience (including by social constructivist conditions beyond our personal boundaries) – how can our will (or any other aspect of our beingness, such as ‘agency’ or ‘sovereignty’) be said to be free?

              Don’t worry, I am not Sam Harris or Daniel Denet: we are not mere automata or socially determined marionettes (though most certainly we can be). We can learn to identify our pre-determined reaction and behavior patterns, and modify them. I’m sure you’ve heard of the ‘Libet Experiments’ (that Harris, Denet, Dawkins choose to misrepresent). We have a pre-linguistic ‘Free Won’t’ (the ‘manos-vijnana’) that can restrain and retrain our pre-conditioned reactive behaviorism. And that too is actualised by the pre-categorisational (pre-linguistic; pre-semiological) act of ‘pure’ perception. It is an act of ‘innocence’ and return to ‘responsibility’.

              So, from ‘pure’ perception, we can retrain ‘impure’ apperception, and create an ‘alterity’ of human consciousness that is both and neither Self or not-Self: what Mahayana Buddhism (based on Yogacara) calls the ‘True Self’. From the True Self the polity of equanimity and equalisation can flow …from the ‘mindstream’ or ‘lifestream’ of a true presence/absence syncretic.

              Can I shout ‘Eureka’ now! 😀

              • Yes, I believe so! Eureka! But of course with that reward made richer by the knowledge that evolution doesn’t end, at least not for a very long ‘time’ yet.

                I’m seeing ‘pure’ as what Tom Campbell calls “being level”. This is the authentic ‘centre’ we are tasked with finding our way to, with the obstacles of beliefs, ego and fear barring our way with great determination and obfuscation. My sense though is that the being level – ‘purity’ – evolves as we learn from our struggles with ego, belief and fear. So, for me, the purity is complex not complicated, rich not cluttered, perceives cleanly and non-judgementally once we operate from it. I think of this chap as Self with and for Other and thus for the healthy evolution of the whole.

                There’s something I want to add now, and that’s quality of consciousness, a metaphor of Campbell’s I find very instructive. The reason for adding this concept is that I’m going through a kundalini awakening, something I always hesitate to share because it’s both a little embarrassing to explain it to anyone who doesn’t know what it is, and when people do know, they tend to look at you in awe. But I don’t deserve having been ‘chosen'(?) to go through this, I think I needed the process badly. Anyway, it’s been happening for over four years and one of the many things I’ve learned from it is the quality of my consciousness and how to feel it, how to be mindful of it. It’s not an intellectual process, it’s not physical, emotional or even intuitive, its some other thing. It’s this other thing that I now see as the ‘purity’ to which you refer. So I think I know what you mean.

                And a big yes on free will. Most of us barely now we have one. Our decision space is so very constrained and curtailed by karmic history, social history, biological history, dietary history, etc. We have to befriend our free will via love and courage. That’s when it starts to bloom.

                Wow indeed!

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        It is the LOVE of money that is the root of all Evil, which is why the insatiably greedy, those condemned by every religion and philosophy (with a few exceptions, that we dare not mention), are the cancer metastases who created the primary tumour, capitalism, that is consuming Life on Earth, all in order to turn it into the dead stuff of money, or fake ‘wealth’.

        • Robbobbobin says

          “with a few exceptions, that we dare not mention”

          So dare.

        • That’s the correct quote, but I disagree with it. I see greed not as the inevitable expression of something true about ‘human nature’, but as a semi-rational response to scarcity-based thinking. When we all fear that there’s not enough to go around, one manifestation of that fear, both socially in institutions and law and economics etc., as in human individuals as behaviours, is greed. While fear rules, it can’t be any other way.

          That logic leads me to love as the answer, as naff as that sounds. It is compassionate concern for others (love) rather than fearful protection of self that properly heals or dissipates that fear. We choose to try to follow that path, which is where free will comes in. Without free will, reality falls apart.

          In other words, you can’t love money. You can fearfully lust for it, be entranced by desire for what it appears to promise, but not love it.

  8. George Cornell says

    Democracy could if it had the will, legislate against the flagrant gaming of it which America epitomizes. Zero tolerance for bribes, lobbying, influence peddling, conflict of interest… But for the ruling class you describe, it would be a declaration of war…on them. That’s why eventually revolutions happen. Agree with your summary Phillip.

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