Saturday, 2 August 2014
Well, that took a while. As eager followers of this blog will know I've been putting together a book recently, but more importantly, as part of that, I've been trying to connect up the wires for a totally new approach to addressing amplified human suffering from the inside.
That is to say, the anxiety, the fear, the pain, the despair, the worry, the rage, the self-sustaining, emotionally driven blindness, all of that. It's all one process playing out in different ways, and that's something I've charted elsewhere.
Hidden underneath the mysticism and ornate trappings of Eastern thought lies a pretty simple, core idea. It's that this process can be, basically, disrupted at source. Now, the way in which it tries to do this is very profound - and quite united across every different strand of Eastern philosophy. The names change, the framework changes, but the underlying process is always pretty straightforward.
It has been the gold standard for interdicting human suffering for several thousand years, and a lot of my work has been on stripping out all the fancy-schmancy superstitions, and clarifying the core process so anyone can use it. I do this because I think the potential is limitless - in a civilisation where communications are as distributed as ours, the idea of a truly global revolution in human nature is by no means wacky.
The last time I released a major chunk of research was the high-watermark of my work in this area. I'd zeroed in on Hui Neng (the de facto founder of Zen) as having the clearest view of the internal workings, and I believed then, and I believe now, that I was able to open them up, stripped of reverence and dogma, and just present them pure.
But the problem, my friends, is that Zen isn't deep enough. Buddha isn't deep enough, the Bhagavad Gita isn't deep enough. The answer is real - it does work - but it necessitates a kind of retreat from life, a retreat from the interplay of people and things. This is seen as a virtue - transcending the world. But it inhibits the good this thing can do - if the best our work can do is give all the wise people a way to bail on engaging with the world, that's not a good thing. The world is in desperate need of wisdom, but active wisdom, deep engagement with things.
There's another related problem that's even more basic. It's that the whole Eastern approach, for all its talk of nonduality and peace, is inherently antagonistic. Because it can see no way to salvage the human self (which it sees as the source of suffering) the only real option it presents is the suppression of that self. That can be through meditation, paradoxes - whatever. Whether it's an attempt at ego destruction or clever circumvention, the ego, the self - you, me - is still seen as the problem. Stillness and peace, they are the solution.
It works against the basic nature of the human animal. The basic nature of what the self is. No matter how you embellish it, no matter if you call silence the 'True Self', the basic antagonism of the whole approach is hardwired from the work of Buddha onward. It's just not deep enough. It doesn't have enough insight into the nature of the self to find a way that the self can be reinvented.
That is what my new work is about. It's taken me (as always) years to put it together, to get all the pieces clear and flush, to test it over and over from inside to familiarise myself with the core workings, to experience how they play out in real life.
I've written a book about it, but that's still going through editing, and I'll be looking for a real publisher, so it probably won't be released for a while. What I've done instead is put together a series of lectures where I open up the core ideas. There are three lectures, the first two I've already done, the third will be happening in September.
The first lecture sets out a new understanding of human nature. It's pretty simple, if very strange, but it's the detail in this perspective, the new breakthroughs in understanding the basic nature and agenda of the human self, that open up the new options available for deep, powerful change.
You can see the first lecture here.
The second lecture is all about that change. It's about showcasing a new kind of answer to the problem of human suffering. Something that operates at a similar depth to the core process of Eastern thought - but takes the response to suffering in a totally new direction.
The core difference is that this isn't about transcending the self. It's about creating a new kind of fluid self that is massively more powerful and stable than anything we've had before.
You can see the second lecture here.
Apparently the sound quality in the video recording's not as good as it was in the podcast version of that one, so if you want to listen to it more clearly without the benefit of my impression of Chewbacca's dad, this is the link for that.
The third lecture is about how that change can scale. Because this is a different response to the core problem of human suffering, it has a different trajectory as it scales. There are different rules to it, different opportunities it presents. What I believe it does is allow us to tap the power that ideology has to unite people without getting sucked into the power ideology has to divide people. That it could - in principle at least - be used as the core of a new kind of revolution, one vastly deeper than anything humanity has so far considered.
Details on the third lecture can be found at this link, as soon as it's up on the web I'll put up the link.
So, look at you! You just read a massive chunk of words on the internet and didn't go looking for cat videos once. You've made me proud.
Hope you like the lectures - and I must give a shout out to the people who make all of this possible by subscribing. These are not wealthy people, they're just people who've decided that this kind of research is important enough to support. You really are the people who make this possible, it takes a huge investment of time and energy to put all this stuff together, and without the financial support of the people who subscribe, it simply would not happen.
If you would like to subscribe to support this work, (and also to get a hardline to me so you can ask me questions about implementing this new stuff, or any kind of philosophical madness) simply click this link and follow the onscreen instructions.
I hope you enjoy the new stuff, and please please please do share it with people who you think might, even potentially, have an interest. Being an indie philosopher means that I have no vast funding to push these ideas out there, they rely on people just like you being generous with them, and sharing them with others, so don't be a miser and hoard all of it, share the love.
Ok, I'm done. Go on, go look at cat videos. You've earned it.