Mar 21 2018

Gurdjieff: essence and personality; Jean Vaysse, inheriting essence vs. acquiring personality; personality murdering essence, the walking dead; Gurdjieff’s examples in ‘In Search of the Miraculous’; raspberry jam; experiment left unrepeated; question as to essence and reincarnation; where Strieber got the modified notion of essence; the oral tradition; essence and the ‘solar’ level

The evolution of doctrines in founders and disciples; Gurdjieff’s attitude toward surviving death; confusion surrounding essence vs. personality, the astral body, higher centers in Gurdjieffan practice; the end of Ouspensky’s life; Ouspensky as reader of Nietzsche; eternal recurrence of the same; thought experiment in service of Nietzschean affirmation; how one copes with the death of God, the infinite on all sides; Ouspensky declaring the Gurdjieff Work a failure; the tendency of doctrines to drift; the game of telephone; the efforts of followers to appropriate and invigorate doctrine; the incoherence of all doctrines over time; Gurdjieffan essence as practical psychology vs. mystical concept; factionalism, sectarianism in Gurdjieff work, all groups; jockeying for authority, declaring lines of succession; factionalism in psychoanalysis: Freud, the first generation, Anna Freud; inevitability of fragmentation in doctrinal groups

‘Miraculous’ as snapshot of a period; changing relationship between theory and practice; the possible success of Buddhism; complexity vs. intelligibility in transmitted ideas; the problem of language; freedom to reinvent the wheel; wanting to be the Master; the appeal of mastery as driving force for joining spiritual groups; doctrine as opaque externality applied over time to one’s own experience; a doctrine’s greatest power at the epicenter of personalities; recreating the founding gesture

Politics and in-fighting in ‘spiritual groups’, character defects; the path of spiritual aspiration becoming foreign; distinct spiritual aspiration vs. inchoate desire; spiritual groups becoming a group mind; fault and responsibility for failure; Quora website; Indians worshipping the father in all caps; what people want and why they want; presuming the value of a spiritual path; recurring patterns in desire; Lacanian psychoanalysis; the Lacanian approach: frustrating fantasy formation, doctrinal identification; the nature of desire as hallucination; the unconscious

Life reappraisal, changing perspectives; drinking and emotional development; always being more than one is; a change in perspective reflecting the present moment as much as past ‘facts’; the Self as always a partial view; replacing one partial view with another; the double vision of truth and accident; being trapped by one’s inferences; Goldman’s ‘no one knows anything’; extraterrestrials having their own partial view; the impossibility of comparing one life with another, with comparing one’s life to the might have been; life as experiment that can’t be repeated; the empty fruits of self-knowledge; expressing feelings in terms of facts

Recorded March 21 2018

Aug 29 2012

Putting systems into disequilibrium; Facebook and drunkenness; therapeutic vs. productive; anonymity, shame; Afghan beheadings; Iraqi emo genocide; dance police, Rick James; the silent Judge; beheadings as therapeutic, murderers filling in the gap left by God; Islam, Islamic men as stand-ins and proxies for Allah

Human history as outlined by Book of Genesis, aspiring to the place of God; acting as God vs. surrender to God; God as a website; God as a starting gesture, then imitated; imitation as basis for culture; Religion as sub-culture, as closed universe of discourse; closed systems of discourse vs. God as the All; rules and structure as precondition for freedom; boundaries providing basis for ambivalence, for multiple meanings, variety of experience

Jung and alchemy; moral systems as alchemical catalysts; structure as inevitable; The Key: the tragedy of creation taking place in space and time, meaning structure; totality, as concept, product of boundary-thinking; alchemy as blurring of boundaries; science vs. alchemy; science as magic; scientific capture

The Key: there is no supernatural, yet menagerie of supernatural entities fill its pages; the category of the ‘physical’; materialism; physical vs. spatio-temporal; religious explanations; energy as non-physical, science’s comfort with it; historical era of materialism closing; reductive materialism as assumption or ideology, not developed doctrine; knowledge as virtuality; materialism’s basic inability to explain knowledge, consciousness; knowledge relational, foundationless; math and language both as formalisms; formalisms always representational, partial, rooted in context

Platonic tradition still alive today; inability of the knowledge tradition to state essence; spectre of extra-temporal essence; doctrines of essence fail: rationalism and empiricism end in the incompleteness theorem, uncertainty principle; The Key and fact vs. question; orienting ‘question’ in personal experience; nominalism and essence, boundary logic

Essence as taste; Buddhism on essence as root of all illusion, all suffering; self vs. environment mistake produces error of intrinsic boundaries, intrinsic essence; ignorance, greed, hatred responsible; essence vs. existence; illusion vs. falsehood; problem of ‘illusion’ as translated term; illusion in mystical Hinduism; Western mind conflating Eastern concepts; popularizers of Eastern thought also to blame

Buddhism and non-essence; thing as relational nexus; illusion vs. hologram; ‘illusion’ carrying sense of deception, Creation devalued; ‘illusion’ as term as obstacle to full encounter with Buddhism; still in early stages of Western/Eastern dialogue; key terms still translated differently; dependent origination, interdependence, relativity; interdependence and emptiness two terms referring to same fact; emptiness as ‘beyond’ of interrelationality; the problem of boundaries with Creation as such, emptiness as ‘beyond’ of Creation; emptiness as lack of foundation and basis; emptiness as absence of specific property; emptiness is not Nothing; emptiness is the discovery of lack of essence; the non-implicative negative; relation vs. property; empty vs. virtually empty; analogues in the physical world; application of ‘emptiness’ to physical world, literalism; sub-atomic particles as mathematical functions; matter as mostly empty space; holograms and dependent origination (causes and conditions, parts, and thought)

Reconciling essence in Buddhism with essence as taste in The Key; The Key and moral/ethical systems: amorality of the natural world; radical contingency (souls being destroyed); punishment vs. consequence; spiritual engagement with the world; Nietzschean critique of morality; the meaning of surrender in The Key; interiorizing a moral sense through practice; ethical systems as pragmatic aids

Recorded Aug 29 2012