Freedom has always been a right-wing issue but it confuses because right-wing freedom is not genuine freedom. Right-wing freedom is concerned with the demands for no restriction on the ego. Genuine freedom knows that the ego has to be disciplined INTERNALLY – not politically or governmentally, but these right-wing egotists are so addicted to their egos they do not see what is happening and are usually not interested in self-discipline – just blaming others for their ego being restricted.

Everything about me says there should be free speech, it is up to the individual to discern their own truths. As a principle this is great, in practice it produces the deplorables. And amongst the deplorables are people who would commit crimes against others based on racism, sexism, homophobia etc. As Liv (SVU) would say there are hate crimes.

Unfortunately PC-authoritarians have had some power recently -contributing to the creation of a backlash. Previously there was an unofficial code of conduct between left and right in which “decent” right people restricted the deplorables – as well as authoritarian liberals restricting them. But Trump and Brexit have undermined this code of conduct, and deplorables are coming out of their cesspits. Across the board there needs to be agreed limits to free speech to restrict hate crimes. Ideas should not be restricted but speech that leads to crime needs to be. For example I think Jordan Peterson is dangerous and PC-authoritarians would like to silence him. The success of people like JBP is an indictment of our education system – especially as our education system employs him. But he does not directly call for hate crimes and as such he has the right to talk, sadly the state of awareness of people at the moment means that he has a large audience.

General awareness of the 1% has increased so the genuine left-wing analysis of the 1% and its manipulations is now more common currency. In other words some of the analysis of these right-wing intellectuals started on the genuine left.

One scenario might be that when these intellectuals actually started listening they were ashamed and embarrassed at having been deluded. To overcome that delusion and to retain their arrogant egos they claimed the understanding of deep state and 1% as their own. But some of these types of intellectuals are not overly-educated, not overly-discerning. They don’t have the questioning and understanding of the manipulations of the 1%. Their egos demand of them that they have developed a new philosophy. This new philosophy assigns blame in the wrong areas because they are being manipulated. On the genuine left there is a clear analysis. It is not identity politics, it is not we are right others are wrong. It is just class. The 1% are exploiting people, our class, we must unite. No excuses, no blaming blacks, women, LBGQT, it is the 1% – be clear. Rabid individualism demands freedom for their egos, freedom from repression, freedom from regulation, freedom from government, and this freedom has no direction, no compassion, no humanity, just freedom for the ego. Because the ego has blocked off their compassion, it is just freedom to be headless chickens.

As an example of the less educated headless chickens I recall a year discussing politics on-and-off with a neighbour. He agreed with some things but showed racism towards Aborigines and Muslims; he also showed anger towards PC-authoritarianism. It was clear some of his views were right-wing and I tried to warn him about media he was listening to. Then he turned out to be a Trump supporter. I was horrified and we now don’t talk – down to me. How did I miss it? I feel his racism and anger at the PC-brigade made him Trump – I often have to listen to white people being racist in a limited way and in the past that racism had never been manipulated into such right-wing extremism as Trump. His evaluation of the sources of the problems as being 1% were in agreement with mine. How can he not see that Trump is a 1%-puppet? I still don’t know. But after I stopped talking with him, I went back one time and asked about Trump. He told me Trump was still learning and give him a chance, but he blamed the Democrats for the failure of Trump’s health care. This is the power of the media he watches. He evaluated the state of the world in the same way as I did – he feared it was getting worse and saw foreign interference as a problem. How did he then accept Trump? This is the power of the media he watches.

For him Crooked Hillary is far worse. I dislike Hillary because she is part of neoliberalism, and I am never going to know whether the name “crooked” has any legitimacy. For me democrats are still backing her, and that shows me how neoliberal the machine is; crooked or not politically she should be dropped. However much she has been smeared, there is no compassion or decency, but as neither value matters she might still be running. Of course neoliberals choose Trump over Bernie, they cannot have Bernie – and maybe there is no-one else.

Unity is a key flagstone as a left-wing platform as compared with the freedom of the individual on the right. I call for compassion to be another to counter the ego but it surprised me that JBP actually comes out against compassion. Compassion for me means freedom from suffering for all. Whilst we have a 1%-system that restricts global resources because of their personal accumulation (1%), what nature would provide for 100% has been greatly reduced by this accumulation and so created confrontation (people fighting for the limited cake). Such confrontation leads to individualism as each fights for the cake. These individuals believe they gain more by their own greed than any disciplining towards compassion or acceptance of collective agreement.

There is an international dark web and Jordan Peterson is listed on a website – features prominently. These people are not uneducated, in fact the opposite they are overly-miseducated and driven in part by their academically successful egos. They are sufficiently coalesced that they merit discussion at the New York Times. Here is a clip from Films for Action, I didn’t like the clip but it is suggesting that this IDWeb is a collection of people whose commonality is they don’t like Marxism.

Being intellectual and knocking Marxism has always been there, it is this ego and right-wing freedom. When I was an activist I always accepted as representative to do things in terms of my role and not because I believed them, comrades like me referred to this as discipline. In the spiritual world we need control of our egos and this is referred to as discipline. If there is no discipline the intellectual goes off all over the place, and that appears to be the IDWeb. Marxism is about the class, and the class does not put intellectualism first. The class for me is about compassion, and this means freedom from suffering for all. Hence the conflict for the IDWeb. It is quite understandable to consider that these intellectuals would appropriate some left-wing ideas such as deep state without having the consistent base that is class analysis. This is an intellectual approach.

It is worth talking here of “collective anarchism”, a term I came up with in The Arico Chronicles. It amuses me that I came up with it in fiction but the notion that collectivism and individuality needs to have a yin-yang relationship is reasonable. The political theory anarcho-syndicalism has a similar ring. Individual rights have to be protected, are not being protected under PC-authoritarianism which is little more than censorship, but in the end freedom from suffering-for-all has to be the objective – NOT freedom for the individual especially the individual ego.

There is the Dark Money Network and the IDWeb, the connection is that the 1% does not want Marxism and collectivism. How the money flows where, I don’t know but it does – it has to these people are there. If there is an anti-class confusion then the money has done its work. It is all very frightening:-

We are people we are class we share compassion. Activists, be compassionate first

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Not Make Enemies

Posted: 15/05/2018 by zandtao in Struggle
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In the last blog I discussed a 2001 interview with Eckhart Tolle as part of someone’s effort to promote conscious activism; the interviewer seemed very sound – sadly now dead. Much of the interview was in line with my pathtivism approach discussed in Ch 24:-

Conscious awareness is the priority, activism is often too full of ego thus preventing conscious activism. I noted that activism can make people aware of suffering and therefore improve conscious awareness.

One aspect raised is that activism should “not make enemies”. I would postulate that for many Eckhart is already an enemy because of his approach to egotism and compassion. I would describe Jordan Peterson as a right-wing intellectual, here is a quote from his wiki in which he attacks “PC-authoritarianism” as characterised by a “group known as “social justice warriors” who “weaponize compassion”.” I question whether such a position would include Eckhart as an SJW because of his promotion of compassion.

I had a very distasteful meeting recently. I heard of someone promoting permaculture, and invited myself over. For me permaculture is the agriculture of Gaia, Ch25, so I had hoped to find a kindred soul. We had made contact through facebook messenger, his a business facebook page, mine the personal. So with genuine intentions I arrived at a meeting with someone who was trolling me – trying to bait me. I didn’t get angry, was often confused by his position, and left the discussion shattered; I doubt I will see him again. It is only in retrospect I understood what went on, I have become too reclusive.

I had met an egotist with a closed mind who had no interest in what I had to say but was only interested in baiting me. It was he who mentioned Jordan Peterson, and I further note that a significant premise of Jordan’s discussion (if his wiki page is representative) is that communism was responsible for the deaths of 100 million people. Even when I was in the NCP there was only begrudging support for the Soviet Union simply because it was supposedly communist. They resisted Gorbachev because they saw perestroika and glasnost as destroying the union. They were right but if such human awareness is going to destroy something it deserved destruction even though what has replaced it is far worse. Communism was not responsible for the deaths in the Stalinist era, Stalinism was, as was the capitalist blockade. Without imperialist reaction to the Bolshevik revolution there might not have been all the deaths. Communism could be compassonate as at its core is the promotion of the interests of all the people. But Bolshevism has to accept responsibility for an oppressed people who were not ready for the revolution. Bolsheviks, putting ideals before people. But communism killing millions is not a fair assessment.

Whilst it is always good to have your views genuinely questioned, such hostility is uncomfortable – especially if there is no intention to engage in dialogue. There is no integrity in trolling. I should note as I have said previously PC-authoritarianism is unacceptable eg this. But what kind of situation are we in where people asking for compassion and social justice are decried. We do not want confrontation per se, attacking people who disagree is totally negative. Having the moral high ground is not enough we have to care for people.

Unfortunately blame rears its head. Under the prevailing system people are losing their limited wealth, their standard of living. At the same time investment through the Dark Money Network is trying to move that blame away from its source, even the egotist I mentioned above accepted the 1% as the source of the problem. Attacks on social justice are not based on humanity but based on there not being sufficient cake to go round because the 1% have taken it all. Social justice ought to be in all our interests but it is manipulated in order to turn the blame against the 1%. Of course this blame is not helped by Antifa violence and PC-intolerance, where ideals are put before people.

In the polarised climate of 2018 “not making enemies” is not as easy as it was in 2001 at the time of the interview. I suggest that conscious activism is however more urgent. The increased polarisation in western politics can only cause more suffering, and therefore conscious activists promoting compassion before ideals are far more of a requirement than they were in 2001 – or when I was active in the late 80s.

Rational arguments can now not be won because the 1% have determined that sufficient investment (as with the Koch brothers and climate change) can deny science – or any previously-accepted rational understanding. Conscious activism has to recognise this and determine alternative strategies. Mindful consuming is one eg BDS. Confrontational approaches based on greed cannot now work as mass movement has limited power. And people are scared of losing what they have, they are not voting with reason, they are voting for fear. Fanning that fear with Antifa violence cannot help.

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2B an activist?

Posted: 22/04/2018 by zandtao in Insight, Struggle
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Activism is a phenomenally-important issue. Compassion means ending suffering, so as compassionate beings we have a duty to decide how we are helping end suffering.

As a Buddhist this issue came to me as what am I doing in retirement and the related question of putting on robes. Just before I retired I resolved it as “if I was learning in retirement then no need for robes”. In retirement I gradually became a writer, and that is activism – despite a very limited audience.

When I was debating this decision (with myself), an abbot said to me that his monastery provided a refuge from daily life, and that was worth doing. I didn’t disagree with that but we can’t all be abbots. Buddhadasa was a great teacher, we cannot all be Buddhadasa.

And that brings me to this article. Eckhart Tolle is a great teacher but not all people who follow the path can be great teachers. Not all Buddhists can be monks, and so we arrive at the question of activism because there is a duty in compassion to contribute. In the interview all the required discussion is there.

I start with this “Conscious awareness, conscious living, is the ultimate activism.”, this is undoubtedly true. But I now want to refer to 24 in which I discussed the path and activism. Addressing activists and the failure of activism currently I put forward the following:-

If you note who I am addressing (activists) this fits completely within the sense of the interview. On an individual level we have to work towards conscious awareness – follow the path. But in terms of activism there needs a change in approach as discussed in 24. My short but important spell in political activism made me completely aware of the problem of egotism. The left stupidly divided itself (and that is before the right tactic of lumping PC liberalism in with the left), the argument between commies and Trots highlights this. In my own political activist development I recognised the importance of unity, and I knew already how divisive the Trots were. Initially they were trying to work with me, use me, but when my need for education turned me into a commie they ostracised me and the more understanding I got through good Marxist education the more I eschewed them.

Now although my path brought me to activism to enable more people to follow the spiritual path I still fell into this trap. After the education I left the commies and joined the “George Cooper” party. Sadly he wasn’t far from death, I think I read online somewhere that he died in 94 (my activism was 1987-1992). George was a mass movement activist, he did not hold to theories (I am sure he probably had during his life) he just organised – he told me once that the nearest description would be anarcho-syndicalist. In general I would say that communists just see themselves as organisers but because of the prevailing divisions being a communist was divisive on the left. At the time there were three communist parties in the UK. I have forgotten the letters. One was trying to get elected, one was supporting the Morning Star, and one was holding to the need for revolution (NCP). I was in the NCP and there were great activists there but membership was maybe 600. In total the membership was definitely less than 5000, and there were three parties. Commies, look at that isn’t it ludicrous that commies have three parties and yet they regularly spoke of Trots causing splits?

Now all Trots and Commies. Please look at the state of the movement. Funding has produced a division of the class that has allowed Trump and Brexit to happen. Where has all your organising gone – my organising gone?

At the time I was politically active I was not too spiritually active ( 21) so I got too sucked in. If I had been active longer – after joining the George Cooper alliance, I might well have moved towards the kind of path activism ( 24) I am now promoting:-

But there is one important point about activism – genuine left-wing activism. Whilst these activists hold to Marxist theories they put people first – at least their theories do. They are compassionate and want to end suffering. Unfortunately the way our conditioning goes ( 22), the set of ideals (sankhara) we picked up in miseducation becomes replaced with a set of ideals of Marxism, and that compassion can be hidden by the addiction to sankhara – egotism.

But these activist-egotists have already touched their compassion – presence (to be fair there are some trade unionists who are only in it for their ego and greed). These are important people to work with in efforts to promote the path – conscious awareness.

And at the same time they are trying to hold back the ravages of the 1%-system. Are monks who are just trying to meditate actually holding back these ravages which are causing suffering? If we study Eckhart at home and go to work for our money, are we holding back these ravages? In my life (born 1952) the suffering has got far worse, in the 20 years since “Power of Now” was published the suffering has got worse. In the last 7 years alone (since Occupy of 2011), it has now become publicly acceptable to be racist and sexist, and cause violence to each other in protests (Antifa) (I note it was always acceptable for supremacists to be violent); and with all the public turbulence Syrian air strikes are carried out with barely a whimper.

In joining the commies I did something else – I learned. Through their education I began to understand the suffering that was caused, and how it was caused. Prior to this, in my life that was just compassion-as-teacher I was not aware of the suffering. In Brixton because of the alienation that the SWP-Trots caused in me in my first job it took me a while to begin to understand the suffering. I started as a non-political anti-racist, and then started to become politically aware. Then I became more aware as an activist. All of this is discussed by Eckhart in the interview, but I want to emphasise the understanding of suffering that comes from activism. We live in a society that hides the suffering it causes, activism clears the veil. But without conscious awareness, being an activist will usually make you part of the problem.

Awareness of our own suffering brings us closer to following the path – conscious awareness. Doesn’t awareness of the suffering in the world also bring us closer to the path. Whilst conscious awareness has to be concerned with our addiction to self – egotism, exposing that addiction to the suffering that exists in the world has to increase awareness. Shutting ourselves away from the suffering does not end suffering. There is a balance between our need to develop on the path – develop conscious awareness, and our duty to help end suffering. Being active in helping end suffering through activism might help develop conscious awareness, I might also make us part of the problem. It is a dilemma od the path that we need to live with.

I have a propensity for activism, this I recognise as a bias. The path is first, we need conscious awareness. Our compassionate duty is to end suffering, it is important for us to come to terms with how we deal with ending suffering.

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Treatise Milestone

Posted: 20/04/2018 by zandtao in Writing
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I have just completed the book “A Treatise on Zandtao”:-

The Treatise can be found on my Zandtao website, click on or there.

This blog has become too unwieldly. Although I have made efforts to tag as I go along, I sometimes have difficulty finding what I have previously written. From now on I will just refer to the Treatise (gif), there is more in the blog but at least the Treatise has some sense of order. If you have previously looked at the Treatise, the links have been tidied up but not all the references are there. If a publisher wants to publish I’ll do it

As a Treatise taster the purpose is :-

and a summary methodology:-

It feels good to finish this but there will be new blogs – can’t stop.

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Osho and Bhagwan

Posted: 10/04/2018 by zandtao in Freedom, Insight, Struggle
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I am not a fan of Osho. I examined his work several years ago (1 and 2), and I have no reason to change. There are great teachers around for whom there isn’t doubt such as the Buddha, Eckhart Tolle, why take the risk of teachers who present questions about ego.

When I criticised Osho I was not using his history as Bhagwan because I was unable to be certain enough of what I was reading. There was a recent Netflix documentary series, “Wild Wild Country” (6 hours plus of fascination), that gave me sufficient certainty, and there is much that documentary brings into question.

I am not a fan of “following gurus”. In the Kalama sutta the Buddha spoke of not believing him, learn for yourself. I believe the Guru tradition asks followers to trust the Guru completely, I don’t have objections to many Guru’s teachings but I try to learn for myself. I also understand that a Guru has a responsibility for all those s/he teaches. When I look at this documentary series I am always asking when did the Bhagwan take responsibility?

I have the feeling that the series is well researched and accurate, but it is the media so I can never be sure. My first question is why did the community go to Oregon, why did they leave Poona, India, in the first place? The documentary suggests there were doubts about the Bhagwan when he left Poona the first time. But why the inimical community of Oregon?

Was it respectful to establish such a spiritual community in a US backwoods traditional Christian community as Antelope, Oregon? As the US worships the power of the buck, by their terms it was legitimate but I don’t think so. Where should they establish a commune? Don’t know, a very different question.

My interpretation of the series was that there were no doubts that the Oregonians escalated the issues, and then the US legal apparatus continued the escalation. Firstly the Oregonians attacked the community on the land use issue, the response of taking over Antelope was based on this. And then there was the bombing of the hotel that led to arming the Rajneesh community. I have no doubts who were the aggressors. But then the responses – no excuses, especially from a Guru.

The whole documentary was absolutely fascinating. I was alive during all of that and yet I knew none of it.

What struck me so strongly is the love these Sannyasins had, but wisdom – I don’t know, wisdom seemed not to be valued. I rarely meet spiritual people where I live, but those I do are ex-Bhagwans. They have some sense of being lost, perhaps because they never broke the chord of Guru following, I don’t see them as “complete” – one was clearly disturbed. If I had gone East to the Bhagwan just after my upheaval – just starting on the path (never crossed my mind then), I could imagine I would have been completely enraptured as well. A frightening thought, and a warning about such a powerful Guru. I will not pick up an Osho book, I would not know where he would be sucking me the wrong way.

During the documentary there was a movie shown the Christian Oregonians, the sexual practices frightened them. This movie, Ashram in Poona, can be found here 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

I found this movie frightening, throughout I was thinking they were playing with stuff that should come out naturally over time. It is the same feeling I have about LSD and, I think, ayahuasca; it jumps the gun. But this approach was definitely directed spiritually – so risky. Sure there is energy, sure there are emotional blocks, this is part of life and we must find ways of releasing them. But we …. If it is a technique, if it is laying-on of hands (transmission?) then maybe we aren’t ready, aren’t equipped. How many of those Sannyasins were sorted, were able to cope with life? Was the rest of their life just dependent on the Bhagwan experience and that they were always harking back to it rather than moving forward?

In the documentary there was an old white Oregonian saying that the Rajneeshis were just looking for God. Well it’s the same thing. But is the way the restrictive Christian right have found God in America any better? At least the Bhagwan wasn’t funding global war or attacking women.

I have to point at something which is so important in teaching – sila – moral integrity, the backbone of any teaching must be sila. Especially when people are coming from western societies this sila is so important, as the West doesn’t necessarily provide any. Immediately the Oregonians would say the Rajneeshis have no sila because of sexual misconduct (one of the 5 precepts) – their view of the promiscuity. I am unwilling to comment on this because although it appears there was sexual misconduct it does not appear that their sexual conduct was hurting them. But I don’t know. The ex-Bhagwans I know are open to question concerning sexual desire – many expats are in Thailand in the game of mutual exploitation of younger women. The Rajneeshis in Oregon seemed genuinely happy amongst themselves, this does not indicate misconduct. But I wasn’t there, I don’t know.

But definitely spirituality requires a moral backbone – sila, and from what I have seen Osho offered none. That is sufficient for me not to go near Osho’s teachings given so many other alternatives. Energy without sila is dangerous.

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Data mining is the latest tool used by the system to condition us. It is what you might call “bespoke advertising”. OK it’s harder now but years ago I learnt “do not listen to adverts”. What were adverts trying to do? Get me to spend money on items I didn’t necessarily want.

Let’s be clear, I do buy items that are advertised but I don’t buy because of the way they are advertised. I buy a car. From the occasional adverts I do see, is there any information in those adverts that could help me make a better decision? Am I really going to find the woman of my dreams if I buy a Lamborghini?

The political point about advertising is mindful consuming. Mindfully choose. Facebook ads – don’t click. Why am I getting all this spam? Because people click. Mindful people don’t click.

To my mind all of this furore concerning data mining can be strategically overcome by mindful consuming. What does our class control? Consuming. They want us to spend money in a certain way so don’t. If data mining puts an ad on your facebook page, never click. It is simple.

But mindful consuming as a class is far more powerful. Why does the Israeli government spend so much effort fighting the BDS movement? Because boycotting the other apartheid in South Africa contributed significantly to the changes there.

Mindfulness as mindful consuming is an attribute of the path that is beyond conditioning.

Why does this affect liberals? Because they are such avid “liberal” consumers. They want to be free to consume. Where is their sustainability when their “struggle” means being free to consume? Click-bait only works for ill-disciplined minds, be mindful of what you are doing, of how you are consuming.

The above is not contained in this excellent BAR article LINK on Cambridge Analytica. The article is good because it shows that the 1% are into data mining. It shows that what is going on with the Trump strategists is no different to Obama’s strategists, no different to Blair’s strategists, and only a development from Thatcher’s Saatchi and Saatchi.

Confront people, make them mindful, make mindful consuming a political startegy. Data mining only works with the conditioned. If we are a class in struggle then we don’t wimp out with feeble-minded click-baiting. Let facebook waste its money giving me a BAR advert ….

Or skin-lightening cream??

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Desire, self and ego

Posted: 27/03/2018 by zandtao in Freedom
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There is much that is confusing about Eastern religions, this is not surprising as they can help people find the path that is beyond conditioning

Most significant on this path is desire, the more we desire the more potential there is for control. We want drugs, we need to buy them, we get addicted. We want alcohol, we need to buy drink, we get addicted. We want a house, the more money we need the more work we need to do, we get addicted. However deep the addiction the more we become conditioned, the less control we have.

The key to all of this is desire. Buddhism is distinct from most religious practice in that its primary purpose is to end suffering. To achieve this its two most significant dogmas are the 4 Noble Truths and paticcasamuppada, both of which are concerned with desire. It depends on which branch of Buddhism how much emphasis is placed on these dogmas.

The 4NT put simply say that there is suffering, suffering is caused by desire that leads to clinging. To end suffering we need to end clinging and there is an 8-fold path to achieve this. Paticcasamuppada looks at the situation differently by considering self and conditioning. It says self starts in ignorance. Desire attaches to an event that develops into clinging which becomes part of the conditioned self. Removing ignorance and not attaching to desire ends conditioning, ends self.

Russell’s next talk is with Frankie Boyle. The conversation is personal and professional as they are both comedians, if you like that sort of thing listen. Throughout many of his talks I hear from Russell a continued desire for addiction but a strength that says I will abstain. This abstinence is commendable but is not the solution. The solution is when there is no desire, no desire, no addiction. I don’t know whether the 12 steps contains any consideration of this.

Desire is a biggie.

However it is written down, in dogma whatever, ending desire is just so hard. But abstinence is not an end, it is an end to substance abuse but it still leaves the desire and therefore leads to some form of conditioning.

The phrase that many use is “letting go”. When the desire comes let go of it. Unfortunately the desire comes back so with substance abuse you need an additional abstinence approach. But that still leaves desire. But when desire comes back let it go again; over time the desire reduces.

Now there is additional knowledge that can help. In Russell’s case with substance abuse he has seen what it produces so that is a deterrent. Russell has seen addiction causes suffering, knowing that suffering can return is the deterrent. But desire is also part of addiction (coming before clinging), there is greater peace without desire. And it can begin to happen if when desire comes you let go.

Ayahuasca interests Russell. Buddhism has a precept that says to avoid substances that affects the mind. Russell is interested in ayahuasca because it has apparently helped people on consciousness. I suppose because of my own substance addiction, I don’t want such substances. But I trust in the path and aspects of Buddhism that help. I trust that the path will guide me so I don’t want consciousness-altering substances.

At the same time I have a feeling that such mind alteration has possible repercussions. I do feel that too much acid adversely affected some 60s people.

But I trust enough in the path and its discipline meditation.

I have desires, I am still addicted to self. But I know addiction means conditioning, and I want freedom, control so when desires come I try to let them go. It doesn’t always work but it gets better.

The second issue that distinguishes Buddhism from Hinduism has been touched on already – anatta – no self. Hinduism has a belief in reincarnation, in Buddhism reincarnation has a mixed reception. The teacher I follow, Buddhadasa, does not believe in anything, and because he cannot experience reincarnation he does not believe in it. He explains the Buddha’s teachings as existing in a milieu. The Buddha was teaching Hindus and trying to revise Hindu teaching. As such he used the same words but the concepts at times were different. Samsara can be seen as birth and death of self (paticcasamuppada) without considering reincarnation and transmigration of souls. The Buddha never tried to “explain karma”, the workings of kamma are beyond the understanding of humans. Hinduism sees reincarnation as coming back with a better lot as a reward for a previously exemplary life. This better lot is often associated with wealth and the perceived ease of life for the wealthy, and equally the difficult life of the untouchables. I am not sure of the theory but is the heinous caste system connected to reincarnation? With Buddhadasa only trusting experience and for him there being no reincarnation, kamma becomes something that can be managed. Past life trauma need not weigh us down through this if we look at kamma as something that can be detached from.

Self in Buddhism is distinct from self/Self in Hinduism. Buddhist self is a broader concept than ego but is still temporary, ego is an issue Russell knows he has to deal with, perhaps he could extend ego to self if he considered attachment to khandhas and anatta. But it is very difficult for him because of his career. Even though I like his books Revolution and Recovery, I don’t like his stage persona. My main reason for calling him a dickhead earlier was the Andrew Sachs thing, and whilst he didn’t explain in this podcast apparently it was a misunderstanding. But I still don’t find his stage persona funny. It is narcissism – ego. But that is a stage act, it is his professional career – income.

Teachers have ego leading to “better than me”. Teachers are known for “teaching” in their personal lives – it is their ego. Once I stopped teaching that ego can also disappear – although not completely as I have just alluded to. How much does Russell cling to his ego because it is his professional persona? And here is the big question, does he need the money? Does he need to cling to the ego? Could he become the Russell Brand of Revolution and Recovery? Could Under The Skin podcasts not contain all his ego-rantings, be more considered …. and perhaps Naomi would not have to pause so often? Apologies if there is judgementalism. These are not issues for me to judge, but only for me to ask questions?

But here is the rub. The ego of teaching held me back, of course wage-slavery – the world of work and its impositions – held me back far more. Being freed from that slavery gave me a chance to become who I am as I had sufficient money to survive. It must be hard for Russell to decide on this – with all that goes with it. I wonder whether there would ever be answers for him with this baggage he carries around?

But this ego is not self, self builds up from khandhas. Russell has a self that is beyond his ego that he has attached to through his conditioning. But his ego is so huge because of all the baggage that he carries with his ego, wouldn’t it be too difficult to see self? And then difficult to detach from self? It is worth considering what the khandhas are to see how we can become addicted to self. My worst is sankhara. I have always tended to overthink so was loved in academia. I was attracted back to academia to write an M Ed in my 40s, and now I wake up with a blog in mind that I must write. Yet the natural state of mind is peace, stillness and calmness. There is a place for khandhas, we cannot live without them, but as Buddhadasa promotes “remove the I and mine from the 5 khandhas” – no attachment. Am I paying too much attention to the khandhas:-

Rupa -body
vedana – feelings
sanna – memory and perceptions
sankhara – mental processes and proliferations
vinnana – consciousness (attaching to be I or not attaching to be free to follow the path?)

Do you recognise the possibility of being addicted to self? Addicted to khandhas?

When I retired early I accepted less money because I was so far from the path when working. But Russell has to be attached to far more and the decision is far more difficult. But Russell, the path is always better.

Perhaps I should be selfish, would all the good guests he attracts for Under the Skin be there if it was not the public persona of Russell Brand?

Just a final note on Frankie, my knowledge of whom is far more limited than my limited knowledge of Russell. I remember comedian Bernard Manning whose career might be described as built on racism and sexism. He was unapologetic because he was funny – most people found him funny. Frankie draws back the barriers of comedy by being shocking. I get the feeling that he would say anything if he thought it was funny – though he is correct about racism, sexism and LBGQT. Should that be enough? Especially when teaching I have found myself saying things that I shouldn’t have said because I was trying to be funny. I still do that a bit. Humour is an amazing gift, laughing is an amazing experience, should the boundaries be considered? Personally – although it doesn’t matter – I like most of Frankie’s humour but sometimes it was too much. That is of course a personal view and matters not one iota.

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[Warning – the theme of this blog u-turns.]

We are a long way from most people following the path. As a political strategy I have proposed “following the path”. All those that follow the path will not be subject to conditioning, and such freedom will be increasingly recognised as the natural human freedom.

But that will take time, and meanwhile the need for a narrative is glaring. The dilemma of automation is upon us. How can we live in a consumer society in which the 1% accumulate based on consumerism when people don’t have money. Robots have no desires, they have no self, no conditioning, they do not consume, and therefore the powerful cannot continue to accumulate.

Therefore we cannot continue with profit alone. But we cannot just make demands when we have no power. The power we have is in consuming, and that is because the powerful allow us to work, earn money and become consumers. We agree to that conditioning, and that is the normal narrative:-

If we are not working because the robot is doing our job, there is no consumerism.

1%, people know this, they are not stupid. They might knee-jerk, make stupid decisions like Trump and blaming immigrants because it is easier, but they know if the 1% don’t change and the 1% continue with the profit motive there will be no jobs no consumerism and society will implode.

If there is no consumerism then there is no wealth, where will your power be? You will continue using your wealth as society slowly withers. You will continue to pay your security, the robots will make your products, the military will fight off the 99%, and then your wealth ends you cannot pay for military, you cannot pay for robots, you wither and die.

1%, if you don’t join in the new narrative you will wither and die. Davos there is no future for you in isolation. Davos, you have to know you need consumerism. Davos you have to know you must involve people not sycophants. You want consumerism, you want profit and you want automation. It just doesn’t work.

End your addiction before it is too late for us all.

Serious disappointment. In meditation there came a neo-narrative that works.

For a narrative to work there needs to be consuming, expansion and accumulation. In the current narrative expansion and accumulation are enabled through fiat mechanisms – unsustainable currency, it is the imaginary economy that is creating new accumulation. It has been a long time since money was connected to available resources even the gold standard was not sustainable, and even that minimal protection has long since gone. Money as exchange has long been surpassed, and now money is printed that just disappears into the accumulation – as apparent wealth. We now have crypto-currencies which are completely unsustainable, and even have no pretence at sustainability; they exist purely on the basis of confidence. But then much of our economic system is an act of faith – ask Yanis.

There is a traditional illusion in our current narrative that money is connected to productivity but there is no reason for faith in that illusion to continue. With robot automation there is no need for productivity only the skills for maintenance and creativity for development. Most people would be allocated “entitlement” probably chip-based (RFID). This entitlement would have two properties – survival and choice. The survival entitlement would provide a certain amount of stability, money flowing into government paying rent etc. Then there would be choice to enable crime (enterprise?).

Entitled people would live in ghettoes (projects council estates) that would be intentionally divided to create tension and division – probably based around race but these ghettoes would include white people; deplorables LINK know they are heading there. Crime would be a way out of these ghettoes for a few. Miseducation (conditioning) would ensure the continuation of these ghettoes (in much the same way that wage-slavery is continued now), but there would be a way out for the creative; that would be the secondary purpose of this miseducation – to find the creative and enable their escape.

They would escape to the middle-classes – Liberals. These would be the people who would enable production through the maintenance of automation. They would be rewarded with greater entitlement and greater choice over their money – probably still RFID-based. These middle-classes would provide the enterprise and expansion and therefore increased consuming that would enable the continued accumulation.

There will of course be wars. These wars would be resource-based such as with the Congo and Middle East now. And with the increased ghettoisation will be targeted on “other” ghettoes. Whilst there would be continuous Liberal outcry at these wars, this will just be rhetoric as the Liberals will continue in their separate middle-class enterprise habitats.

The accumulators will have their enclaves protected by private security.

This neo-narrative can be conditioned and is not significantly different from our current narrative.

There will always be the path, and there will be far-off places – communes where people on the path can take refuge. Many on the path would of course work to improve humanity (as they do now) but to what avail? As now.

The call is still:-

Accumulators, end your addiction before it is too late for us all. But sadly that call has no immediacy as I had hoped for when I first started this examination of a new narrative based on the robot imperative.

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I have previously described the path as going beyond conditioning, I have also described it as the path of compassion, insight and creativity. It is not narratives we need to understand, follow the path.

So far I have looked at narratives and have seen that the manipulators of the 1% can condition based on any narrative. A narrative is a set of ideas describing a situation. Finding a new narrative is not a revolutionary act because it is simply a set of ideas – khandhas. What matters is the power. For conditioning of the narrative to happen there needs to be power, and that power provides an object of desire. People desire that object, maybe money from a job, they become addicted to that desire – because of what the money can buy, and we have the conditioning that can be recognised in any description of paticcasamuppada or the 4 Noble Truths. Addiction – desire and craving – is at the basis of this Buddhist dogma, I am simply describing how this conditioning is developed in daily life. But it is the same dogma, the same description, the same process; addiction .

In this addiction blog, I have gone into detail with addiction and how it can be understood in terms of the two Buddhist dogmas paticcasamuppada and 4 Noble Truths. Overcoming addiction is not easy but it can be done, but the first step is to recognise there is a problem. In this same blog I discussed addiction to self, few would see this as a problem, but that is the nature of addiction and the first step is recognising we are addicted to self.

To reiterate here is a short description of the process of being addicted to self. I start with what I call the Buddhadasa meme:-

Now body and psyche refer to the khandas. Body – rupa, and psyche – feelings (vedana), perceptions (sanna) and mental constructs (sankhara); with consciousness (vinnana – also a khandha) these are the basis of human ontology. Events can fit into these categories. Conditioning is a natural process. An event happens and consciousness attaches to it. Babies like (desire) suckling and enjoying mother’s milk. Adults like (desire) having money to buy a house. Conditioning is not a process that is inherently evil, it is natural.

But when we are considering narratives, there is a process that is human – how the powerful give their power to the narrative. This is a function of the desire of the powerful. This power is nature’s power but it has accumulated through wealth to a few, and they decide when to give power to the narrative.

It is relatively easy to understand addiction because we know of and have seen many examples of addiction to substances. But we do not understand addiction to self. In part this is because we do not understand the formation of self. And this comes back to the khandhas again. As we like different events, that like becomes part of who we are. As a baby we like suckling, we desire suckling, we cling to the mother’s breast. At that time suckling mother’s milk has become who we are – as a baby we selfishly want mother’s milk. Then the power, mother, says enough is enough, and no more self. We don’t question this analysis of self, but we don’t recognise that this process of desire-clinging-becoming self is the natural process that applies to all events. And more importantly we don’t realise that we can be weaned off this addiction to self. Babies don’t choose to dump the breast, power decides for her/him.

When we consider the human self of the adult, where is the power that decides? Consciousness. Consciousness can decide to form self or break away from self. But that consciousness is not “on its own”. Always sunnata is with us, always the path is with us, but if our consciousness is always stuck in the body and psyche then we just continue to create self – we are addicted to self. The word for consciousness not being stuck in body and psyche is awareness. Somehow consciousness recognises that it does not have to stay attached to the body and psyche, attached to self, and it starts to follow the path. We could visualise that awareness is when consciousness becomes attached to sunnata but that visualisation is confusing if we take it literally as that sort of attachment can never exist.

It is much better to talk of this as following the path, the path of compassion, insight and creativity, and as it is a path that is not addicted to self it is a path that is beyond conditioning.

Let us consider the new narrative again. Naomi describes the situation at the moment as having a potent vacuum, as an indigenous activist I accept her judgement – with my age and where I live I cannot judge. The essential word here is potent meaning power, and power governs ideas.

I surmise that the need for a new narrative is being driven by the realisation that automation will drastically reduce employment thus ending the essential of consumerism – the consumer. The zombie idealism of the current consumerism will continue to lurch for as long as it can because the accumulators will not relinquish power. What will replace it will be some compromise that will enable their continued accumulation – they have more invested in there not being an apocalypse than most people.

Hopeful people, Naomi, want a new narrative but with narratives having no power in themselves such narratives will simply be the “same old same old” conditioning as they have been since tribal times. The powerful want a narrative that allows them to continue accumulation. They will then give power to this narrative, conditioning will follow, and “same old same old”. If a new narrative can give them the same accumulation their desire would be happy, and they would give power to the narrative. Is there such a narrative?

But remember narrative is a khandha – sankhara. We attach to a set of ideals, it becomes part of self and we become addicted to it. As an activist, of course you must engage with the process of changing the narrative in the hopes of participation enabling a better narrative. But narrative is part of the addiction, narratives create the conditions, the process is conditioned, and the conclusion will be conditioned. Because of addiction that is how we all, including the powerful fit, into the narrative.

For people the real hope lies in going beyond conditioning, following the path. Following the path does not mean the end of making better changes of the narrative, but it gives greater power, it gives resolve, it gives strength and conviction, and it avoids the attachment and disappointment of windmills.

It is pleasing to see Naomi as an indigenous activist talking of oneness, similarly with Russell, but the best thing for progression in all human movement is the path that includes recognition of oneness. Naomi you have grasped this because you describe indigenous movements as being driven by love – indigenous love of the land. This love of oneness is being sunnata, it is Gaia, and indigenous culture is much closer than the miseducated “European” culture. But love is not restricted to indigenous movements, love is the path.

Despite the potential “hippy” labelling the best way forward in terms of the narrative is not to promote a new narrative but to promote following the path. This is not some loose airy-fairy impractical naval introspection because it is the path that goes beyond conditioning. However the narrative is resolved, following the path will enable people to deal with the conditioning that results from any new narrative.

There is talk of revolution. In Marxist terms revolution means change of ruling class from bourgeoisie to proletariat, in non-Marxist terms revolution can just mean a change of government created by violence. Violence is not the answer. We live in a world that is controlled by violence. The powerful have not only accumulated money, their power also means control of violence through the military, even more so with the privatisation of security. To seek revolution through violence is now self-defeating and akin to suicide of ordinary people by the oppressive violence (cf suicide by cop). Do not seek suicide by the powerful, there is no future for anyone there. The revolutionary path is to go beyond conditioning. If you don’t accept the conditions they offer, what can they do. If they take away your house you go somewhere else you still have your path. When your path gives you strength in adversity people will see, and then they will see that the path s what they must follow. The path itself is revolution, and is not violent.

A political maxim:- detach from desire and follow the path.

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Conditioning the narrative

Posted: 20/03/2018 by zandtao in Freedom, Insight, Struggle
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Look at this video.

I am not interested in shaming anyone. The people on this video appear perfectly happy with what they have done. I would love to hear that they have become ashamed of this, and will be happy to take it down.

The point of this blog is conditioning. 4 years ago these people would not have made this video. The video and actions have been enabled by a change of conditions – simplistically a move to the right. People who understand conditioning, the manipulating branch of the 1%, would know that such actions would happen with the changing conditions that are happening now in the US; they might not be able to predict who but such events are so eminently predictable. That is conditioning.

Are these people any less conditioned?

When manipulators want a narrative the conditioning happens. And the point about conditioning is that most people are unaware of it. Political activists call it indoctrination but they are unaware of the extent of conditioning especially of themselves. I have a friend who recognises there is brainwashing. He is satisfied with this recognition and is unaware of his own conditioning in accepting this; apathy is an integral part of political conditioning.

Political conditioning always produces people who reject conditioning, but that rejection is part of the conditioning – a more aware part but still a part. To reject the narrative is part of the narrative. This is best understood through Marxism. Marx for his time produced an excellent analysis of the economic system but it was primarily concerned with what was economically wrong. It was a rejection within the narrative. This was pointed out by Russell Means (his talk and a blog), an indigenous activist. For all of his sound analysis Marx was part of the conditioning. Within the narrative it is always important to recognise that the way forward is through class unity, but it is also important to recognise that this is part of the conditioning.

And here is the point about conditioning, we somehow have to learn to go beyond it. Follow the path. And this is where the political response within the narrative is limiting. The narrative is primarily economic and many responses are equally economic. Economics is a religion (Yanis) whose human value is greed, somewhere within any economic adherence whether 1% or socialist (communist) the narrative is concerned with people getting more money. As 1% or socialist we are accepting a “greed” narrative, and we are conditioned to do this. Following the path goes beyond this.

The conditioning process happens with narratives. At the moment many people are looking for a new narrative. Naomi talks of a potent vacuum that now sadly is starting to be filled by the right. In my description of the old narrative it is not only progressives who are concerned with narrative, the 1% are concerned. With increasing automation there is less “reason” to pay someone and that is the end of consumerism, and that is the end of the existing 1%-system. Their accumulation demands automation yet automation means the end of consumerism – the basis of the normal narrative:-

Who is driving the narrative process? Progressives see an opportunity to respond to the normal narrative with a progressive narrative. But whatever narrative replaces the normal the 1% will not relinquish their power. Any new narrative that will be formed has to be for the benefit of the powerful, and once they can see a way of resolving their consumer dilemma they will start a new conditioning process that they can so easily manipulate. A narrative is a description, a set of ideas, it has no power – only intellectual appeal; a narrative becomes the narrative only when power is attached to it. Once that power has been attached then conditioning is applied because the power has attached the carrot giving the people something they desire.

Detach from that desire and follow the path.

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