Friday, January 11, 2013

Doom and the Spiritual Path

 A reader contacted me last week, with this to say,

"By the way, You're awfully full of doom and gloom and woe-is-me and isn't-my-life-hard of late. It's not very becoming and I don't get how creating this narrative serves you--or the goddess for that matter. You are so not a victim in this life. So knock this shit off. And stop creating corners that you can then back yourself into. Infinite possibility, compassion, love, cosmic mystery--that's where your power is.

It's a new year, a new era, and (for me, at least) a brandly [sic] new decade. This year, I'm choosing surrender as my theme. Not raise the white flag surrender. More like jump in the river and let it take you surrender. We'll see where that takes me."

I was like, wha? Letting go of this house and dancing around the world, farm to farm, in an orange afro wig isn't surrender enough for you? LOL. As for not being very becoming, it's January in Minnesota, I don't have a job, and I've been spending most of my time on-line or on the computer, at least since I started at big bank in late August 2012, and anyone who knows me knows I have a high tolerance for chaos in my immediate surroundings; so no, not very becoming at all. lol :) But yes, goodness, kindness, compassion, love, cosmic mystery; and yes, the possibilities are indeed infinite, maybe - I'm not sure about that exact specific just yet ;)

She replied, "What was that again, about Cosmic Mystery?"


On the Doomstead Diner, there's a Nobody in the forum who wrote about being at the cusp of leaving this plane, this dimension, Dec 21, 2012. But she stayed, and speaking of Doom and Gloom she has two teenage sons, who can't imagine there is anything at all really wrong with the culture, blase' even to the point that Mom being followed in a wooded park by a disturbing stranger, is merely reason that she's just crazy basically, to want to go for a walk on a trail in the woods. She is like a lot of people who think about DOOM, or the meme basically that Industrial Civilization is coming apart around us, on it's way to almost total dissolution, who feel trapped in current circumstances, whose families are mostly about BAU, and/or they "own" city real estate/debt they can't discharge.

She seemed to resonate when I said this, in the Doomstead Diner Forum:

It is funny how easily the response to Ashvin* has overwhelmed any other discussion. It is I think, in a way, a dearth of answers about how to perceive the changing landscape. It is changing very fast; no wonder really Ashvin has lashed onto something he has perceives [sic] as fixed. I perceive instead, I think, that chaos is the new reality, and that is about opening up to an irrational, right-brain way of perceiving, learning to flow with the inherent flow of nature, which is like what is said about the Tao, which makes the whole concept of Doom something spiritual, a kind of search for balance between left/right ways of perceiving. IMHO LOL.

So I encourage Diners to speak in a spiritual way about how they perceive Doom. And I hope Ashvin is over having to use us to flagellate himself."

*  Ashvin is a curious case, a former contributor to the website The Automatic Earth, whose work on economics and the abuse of power I have highlighted in this blog, who has abandoned the Doom meme entirely in favor of Christian Theology, to the point that if you do not accept the inherent logical and reasoned foundation of Christian exegesis, then you are according to Ashvin by definition incapable of reason or logic. He has been known to use the words reason and logic like incantations, like a bludgeon. He has also been accused (by me) as an exceptional, or at least profligate, name caller; Ashvin just as ready to claim he never said whatever, even at times contrary to evidence. I'm also convinced he is going to stand one day at the head of one of those televangelical mega-churches, assuming there are such things 10-15 years from now. The Doomstead Diner has been like a crucible on his path to Glory, I think. Unless he repents of course and grows himself a sense of humor. ;)LOL

I'm of the opinion, like I say, that he has lashed onto Christianity because he sees it as a thing fixed, as in, a firm foundation, lasting. Which is an understandable response, facing the dissolution of Industrial Civilization. No doubt Christianity appears a very sturdy dock. But any mariner will tell you, lashing to the dock, in rising, turbulent waters, you better hope the tethers hold; whereas it would be better generally to head for open water, seeing esp. as most of those docks extant, were not built for the reality of rising seas that is in progress.

Doom, is a spiritual exercise insofar as it is a coming to terms with the fact that almost everything we have been told about this existence, is false in some fundamental way. Doom is facing the reality that many of those stories that have held society together are shattering, in the face of sheer fundamental terrestrial realities, of 7+ billion people and climbing exponentially, about half of whom are wanting to and have been at least until lately, living like profligate consumers. It is the reality that neither Science nor Religion nor Government nor Banks nor Corporations are protecting us from disaster, they perpetuate it everywhere. Because they are sustained by ideas of control, which is about power. Seeking not to understand nature, or even the furthest implications of Science, but to control nature and people generally.

Which process began about the time we started growing food agriculturally, about 10,000 years ago. Which has come to it's logical conclusion, which is a nearly complete surveillance state, at the cusp of radically shifting climate extremes, systemic toxicity, global financial on and so forth.

Which, when I consider the effect all this has had on my body, after nearly 40 years immersed in American consumer culture, I recognize that the left hemisphere of my brain quite literally has been over-developed, which has resulted in the right side of my body, full of pain, tightness, restriction, to the point that it has been warped out of alignment; while the left side of my body is comparatively free of such restriction. Such misalignment is probably inevitable, to the degree I have been immersed in and accepting of Western culture, to the degree I was unaware of the effect and not striving for alignment, physically and mentally. By alignment, I don't mean any kind of Pythagrean or Platonic ambidextrousness as ideal, but more just being aware that there are two hemispheres to your brain, which are connected to opposite (and complimentary) sides of your body, and they have different specialities, and to be radically over-reliant on either is to be out of alignment. Alignment meaning, it seems to me, as natural and easy a flow as is possible, of energy, through both sides of the brain and body? Which is to say, loosely, equal facility with order and chaos, logic and intuition, conscious and unconscious, culture and wilderness, etc.

And then add in things like quantum physics, that the ether, or empty space, is in fact denser energetically than matter by an order of magnitude running to infinity (vacuum catastrophe), making dense matter something more like an impossibly ethereal dream, compared to the energy permeating EVERYTHING; and then you begin to perceive that this universe and reality is mysterious by orders of magnitude greater than any of the various control freaks would have it; and most of the ideas extant are about keeping people ignorant, dependent and pliant, to keep them in line. Because control is about power, and power is very lucrative.

Which, for me, alignment in my mind and body is more important than power over people. Power over people akin to power over nature. Which I am more about how to let nature flow through me more freely. Which for me, is more about being friendly, kind, compassionate and loving to people and the earth generally. Which if Industrial Civilization is indeed coming apart around us, we might do well to facilitate both that collapse, and the friendly, kind, compassionate and loving inside ourselves, as opposed to cultivating various ideas about control, as example, or cultivating nothing much but fear and acquisitiveness, to be eventually overwhelmed by circumstances. Which it seems to me, the universe has a very real sense of humor, which I sense whenever I cease to take things too seriously, which is akin to the "acting with out acting", the wei wu wei, of the Taoists. Which if the "ether" is in fact denser energetically than matter by an infinity, what in fact are humans capable of? Which question I leave mostly to your imagination, your consciousness, and what you are able to pull out of it to show us, in the very real world we inhabit, in a world that is very much in need of fresh ideas.

Which, it seems to me, those most honest about Doom, are at a kind of evolutionary advantage, compared to those who are assuming someone somewhere is assuring that some techno utopia is right around the proverbial corner, as example. Or that God will intervene as some Messiah. Or the many not thinking, and many not capable of thinking, the herd and media manipulated reactionary consumer, "driving" the economy devouring the earth. 

Which, I guess all I'm really saying is, there are many ways to imagine a culture. Strong characters required. ;)



Jeff Z said...

"Doom, is a spiritual exercise insofar as it is a coming to terms with the fact that almost everything we have been told about this existence, is false in some fundamental way. Doom is facing the reality that many of those stories that have held society together are shattering, in the face of sheer fundamental terrestrial realities"

Well said, and spot-on about Ashvin as well.

John D. Wheeler said...

"Doom, is a spiritual exercise insofar as it is a coming to terms with the fact that almost everything we have been told about this existence, is false in some fundamental way. Doom is facing the reality that many of those stories that have held society together are shattering...."

I prefer to use its other names, the Apocalypse, the Revelation, the Awakening, or my favorite, the Lifting of the Veil. I use the singular because all the other lies come from one original lie. Once you see through that, everything changes.

William Hunter Duncan said...


Thanks. Cheers to you and the kids!


What one original lie? Are you talking the one about Eve? Ever hear the theory that a water bearer will supplant the fisher-of-men one day - about the same time Industrialism finally winds down, incidentally?

Luciddreams said...

I've been thinking lately that my dreams are possibly more real than my life. When I recall them, they have a realistic authority about them that is not achieved in my waking life. Especially when I am lucid. What do we really know about reality? All that we know has to be translated by us, the observer, before it can be spoken of in any rational way for others to understand.

I think it's easy to dismiss the transient nature of reality in exchange for the BAU, technoprogress myth of the dominant anti-culture. What is "real" is what is agreed upon by the larger society.

What I do know is that this BAU/technoprogress myth that we are living requires money from me, and so I have to concern myself with a means of acquiring it. Maybe I just prefer my dreams to reality because in them I'm never concerned with making money.

Great blog btw. Thanks for writing it.

William Hunter Duncan said...


I laugh every time I hear an Authority wax authoritarian about the "unreality" of the unconscious, about what is real and what is not. My own dreams of late, suggest something like a hyper-reality, which my dream-self shows a facility navigating, that is sort of...indescribable? Not to mention that sometimes the result of my actions in waking time point to a kind of organization that transcends the ego self, that can not be described logically. When the synchronicitys start piling up, and action starts to feel like rhythm, I mean. Woke up today thinking I would stop puffing and drinking until spring, with a focus on dreaming and rhythm in action, in the mundane. Cannabis, while opening up the channels of the unconscious when awake, sleeping it closes the unconscious, for me.

Thanks for the comments.

Luciddreams said...

I agree about the herb stopping dreams, or at least dream recall. I quit smoking last November for some strange reason. I think mostly I had a feeling I would need clean pee (which as it turns out I haven't...yet). I've had several opportunities and declined all while not understanding why. Free to smoke, and yet choosing not to? It was a mystery to me. However, when I do smoke, after a couple of months all I notice are my limitations while stoned. I don't read well while stoned, and since that's what I do with 80% of my free time it became rather limiting.

I enjoy dreaming more than any drug. It seems to me that drugs are just something we do while conscious to try to regain what we have while dreaming. Especially when you talk about lucid dreaming. To me, dreams are my spirituality, my connection to God. I believe my dreams, and I don't think they are just my brain dumping useless information. I think it is my mind receiving information from God/dess. I think dreams are more real, at least in some ways, than reality.

Jason Heppenstall said...

Hunt - you've hit the nail again. It occurred to me today, running along the beach in minus 20c windchill - that industrial civilization has made us materially rich, but has shriveled our souls. As they say, the soul is the only thing that grows by subtraction. Furthermore, in turbulent times, people appreciate life a lot more.

It's tempting to find an anchor to steady yourself to in turbulent times. Perhaps that's my Marxism seems to be making a comeback over here in Europeland. Me, I prefer to tether myself to the untetherable. After all, when all is said and done, we're just worm food.

@lucid. I've never mentioned it on my own blog but I had a series of recurring dreams a couple of years ago in which I found myself on another planet. As odd as it sounds, it seemed so real and familiar that I spent months thinking about it. Even when I think about it now it gives me a queasy sensation in my stomach - it was areal, er, lucid dream.

Jason Heppenstall said...

To add to this conversation ... smoking spliffs brings out my paranoid alter ego, so I haven't done it for some years (despite the widespread availability of it here) - although I do consumer rather too much beer and red wine.

That said, I haven't touched a drop all year (yeah, all 12 days) and aim to make it through to the end of April in this seriously sober state. Some associates seems to regard this as an affront ... but whose life is this anyway?

The result? Waay more energy, powerful dreams, less depression, more imagination and a host of other benefits.

I'm not one to make the case for teetotalism, but giving it a rest every now and again seems to work wonders.

William Hunter Duncan said...


One of the core points of alchemy is in fact to become as awake in dreams as you are here. The hardest thing there is, actually. As for drugs, I think of plants and fungi with certain gifts in and of themselves. Drugs are things derived by the manipulation of base matter and the living. All to be approached soberly, lest we find ourselves manipulated.


Thanks! So you spent time in the unconscious on some other planet, but you think we're in the end just worm food? I mean, yeah, we're that! (Don't poison the worms! LOL) But...Blake said, it's just like walking into another room. What if it's like walking into your dreams?

12 days! Damn. I'll get started...tomorrow!

Luciddreams said...

I think death is going to be like walking into your dreams. The trick is to be lucid when it happens. That's what the Tibetan Book of the Dead is about. Being lucid so that you can recognize your chances to attain instant enlightenment before you are swept away in the rushing waters of Samsara and find yourself being born again.

I've been thinking about drying out myself lately. I drink too much, and we really don't have the money to support it. Just a habit. I know I'll never quit drinking entirely because I enjoy beer and wine much too much to give up. I have no desire to forgo those pleasures. However, maybe a few months? The longest I've been without alcohol in the last 12 years is one month, and that was probably four years ago.

William Hunter Duncan said...


I don't think I was drunk once, from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2010. It occurs to me now though, I've been on a bender more or less since, punctuated by 1-5 day breaks.

And, as serendipity would have it, last night two old drinking buddies from back in the day when I REALLY hit it hard, called me and asked if I wanted to watch football with them. Having not heard from either in a long time, and they being basically good guys, I did, and by the end of the night, felt shittier than I had in a long time. So yeah, time to DRY OUT> LOL :( Like you though, no intention to give it up forever and always. :)

Jason Heppenstall said...

Whoa, I hope I'm not being responsible for a surge in teetotalitarianism here!

Actually, since falling into a financial hellhole in 2008, I had been hitting the bottle harder than is healthy to do so. I just realised recently that I don't need to do that any more, so I thought a few months off the sauce would do me good. So far it feels good.

Regarding the worm comment - I was speaking from a biological POV, although I didn't make that clear. My take on things is that there is some kind of energy in the universe which manifests itself as 'soul' or 'conscience' and that we, lucky things, get to experience it for a short while before it transmutes back to the whole.

I'd be very happy to find out that we have individual souls and can carry on recognizably as ourselves in some kind of afterlife, but somehow I doubt that is how it is.

I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise - in fact I was listening to JMG on the Druidcast podcsat the other night and he was saying that he believed there were distinct and recognisable gods which manifested themselves to people. Given that I believe he has some experience with summoning apparitions, I'd be keen to hear more from him on this subject. Anyone know anything about this?

William Hunter Duncan said...


Teetotalling? Hardly. Like LD I like Beer. Just takin a break, as all the smoking and the drinking has made my singing and my dancing less vigorous of late, and my dreaming in sleep. Mostly, to see what happens to my energy. But I'm going to miss it :(

As for gods manifesting, I think I'll listen that podcast. The last link in this blog post, is a link to JMG's online novel Star's Reach. His character Plummer is very encouraging to me, and most of JMG's characters I would like to hang out with. LOL

As for dreams, there was a woman in a dream last night. She had an architectural-like diagram, on a wood block, or something like it. It was not a particularly lucid, vivid dream, but it was...strange. She was unmistakable, but shy, and she only showed the diagram to me briefly. I want to say now, it was a boat, but I don't know. Which is part of the reason why I intend to stay sober for awhile - to see if it facilitates bringing something back ;)

nobody said...


I was going to post something on dd but then I didn't. Like when you open your mouth but then just close it again..

Just wanted to let you know in case I stay away awhile. It happens.

All you guys here are feeling something.. real. Follow every single one of those hunches or instincts or dreams or revelations. You are right.

John D. Wheeler said...

Okay, maybe it's time to come out and say it (spoiler alert -- if you really get this, it can turn your world upside down).

Yes, the story of Eve and the forbidden fruit is a valiant attempt to capture the original Lie. The difficulty is it is embeded into "you" and "I". You can call it consciousness, self-awareness, or the development of the ego. The lie is the idea of seperation. All boundaries are arbitrary.

There is some kind of Soul which manifests itself as the universe.

We are part of that and share the same creative power.

This is the sandbox where we play together. Because we have partially cut ourselves off, we don't know how to use that power properly. In our dreams is where we practice on our own. They show us what we could do unfettered. But dreams can turn into nightmares. Leaving them behind when we wake is a safety mechanism. Sharing this reality helps keep us from going too far astray.

William Hunter Duncan said...

"""Yes, the story of Eve and the forbidden fruit is a valiant attempt to capture the original Lie.""""


Valiant is not how I would describe it necessarily.

"""The lie is the idea of seperation. All boundaries are arbitrary."""

Yes, sort of. But it is very difficult to grasp what seems an abstraction, when kicking a rock like Dr. Johnson did, suggests to anyone who does, that there is nothing arbitrary about boundaries in the physical world we inhabit. That rock is not going to pass through my body without doing some damage, yes? Even so, the materialists of the world act as if those boundaries imply everything is separate, and so anything that is done to one's surroundings - ie pollution, mt top removal, tar sands dredging, is of no consequence to living things, except to make a few living humans rich perhaps.

It seems to me, I guess, that the one on the furthest end of belief in physical boundaries, is as insanely delusional as the one who is at the furthest ends of no-separation - and most everyone in this world tends toward either extreme. Something like that.

John D. Wheeler said...

You'll get no argument as to sanity, this is like the alien ambassador in the episode "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" in the original Star Trek, where one glimpse turns people insane.

But there is a distinction I think you missed, between "arbitrary" and "real". Let's look at that rock you just kicked. Let's say you did it with your bare foot, and a couple skin cells flaked off on to the rock as you kicked it. Are they part of you? Not anymore. Are they part of the rock? Not really. What about the instant they are in contact with both you and the rock? Where do you draw the boundary?

William Hunter Duncan said...

"""But there is a distinction I think you missed, between "arbitrary" and "real". Let's look at that rock you just kicked. Let's say you did it with your bare foot, and a couple skin cells flaked off on to the rock as you kicked it. Are they part of you? Not anymore. Are they part of the rock? Not really. What about the instant they are in contact with both you and the rock? Where do you draw the boundary?"""


We are all part of this earth, rocks and people. And all things flow.

Anonymous said...

Though you might enjoy this.