View Full Version : The Great Deception (Rant 173)

Lets Go Bowling
August 2nd, 2006, 08:14 PM
Rant 173
The Great Deception

"To believe that our selves are fixated and either will be snuffed out into nothing at death or will be eternally able to survive is the great deception leading us away from maturity and into noble sounding ideals which are nothing more than self subjugation."
-Paraphrase from the teaching of a mentor

"If you don't know exactly who you are all the time, you're not sick, you're in luck, because you're more realistic, more free, and more awake! You're being too intelligent to be stuck inside one frozen mask of personality! You've opened up your wisdom, and you've realized that 'knowing who you are' is the trap - an impossible self-objectification. None of us knows who we really are. Facing that and becoming all we can be - astonishing, surprising, amazing - always fresh and new, always free to be more, brave enough to become a work in progress, choosing happiness, open-mindedness, and love over certitude, rigidity, and fear - this is realizing selflessness!"
-Robert Thurman (from "Infinite Life: Breaking Free of the Terminal Lifestyle")

Many of you out there think of the Buddha's statement that existence is suffering as being pessimistic. But that view is all wrong. First off, what he said was 'there is dissatisfaction in conditioned existence.' No one can argue with this as we all experience this directly. Secondly, that isn't all he said. He continued with saying "dissatisfaction comes from our clinging to desire" and that he discovered a way out of dissatisfaction that has nothing to do with clinging to desire. It is possible to use the capacities we each have now to find an end to this dissatisfaction and find the unconditional happiness and unbound freedom that is our birthright as human beings. He called such a thing Nirvana, but it is actually an experience to be lived not a thing to get a hold of. For this he was called "Buddha," awake, or as an alternate translation goes "fully blossomed," as in fully opened, mature, fulfilled, and developing.

When this person now known as the Buddha first starting demonstrating his discovery, it wasn't considered to be some metaphysical abstraction or some mystical state of salvation from this world. It was something that could be discovered by any individual who wished to test for themselves whether the Buddha's discovery was in fact real. It seems that in the times of the Buddha, thousands did find for themselves what the Buddha said was possible; there is an unconditional happiness and freedom from letting go of the bonds of clinging to desire; that what we think of as the "self" was really nothing other than our mental conceptions; that it is possible to directly experience this and to fully awaken. Since that time, despite the hyper religiosity of many institutions that call themselves Buddhist, and despite the cultural attempts at co-opting the discovery of freedom into something that can be controlled or contained, hundreds of thousands, even millions, have experimented and found this freedom for themselves and have demonstrated it to many more countless human beings. The movement sparked off by the Buddha has become a sort of "engine" of enlightenment that skillfully uses religion, culture, philosophy and what today we would call psychology to subvert these aspirations into fuel for awakening.

What does this mean in terms of Discordianism and of those who love Eris? I can't speak for any of the rest of you, but only from my own experiences with Discordian philosophies and other such things of knowledge. For me, the Discordian project is similar in that it gets us to step outside our own "boxes" and see how our perceptions in fact do create conditions in our reality. Buddhism and Discordianism are quite different in expression and intellectual tone, but I think the goal is the same: Unbound freedom. Or as the Army of the USA says in its ad "Be all that you can be," but in the context of not merely acquiring the objects of our fantastic desires, but in delving down to the crux of the matter. Seeing "what the hell is really going on" and then acting with that knowledge at hand. Wisdom is much like love. It belongs to no one and is really an experience more than something that someone "has." That we see it is not personal simply means that our own schemes are only the fictions we have masterfully created.

Like Buddhism, Discordianism is about the maturation of the individual towards freedom and not towards merely being a cog in the machines of society, culture, religion, race, or economics. Both Buddhism and Discordianism share the insistence that human life is devalued when it is willfully sacrificed to all those things we are taught have more value than our lives. There is a saying among Buddhist teachers that the 'religion' of Buddhism is not for those people who like being told what to do or what to think. I find the same spirit in Discordianism. They are both self-empowering even though they paradoxically share the agnostic attitude towards all fixated notions of what the "self" is. Like I said, that is my view and the rest of you Discordians or others may see it differently based on your own backgrounds and opinions.

Now that you know of the possibilities of freedom and that you can actually see for yourself if they are something you can directly experience, I will talk about the Great Deception which hides this possibility of unbound, unconditioned freedom from us.

We are being hoodwinked by our cultures and societies, my friends. Sure, there are many good things in both of them. But think about all the continuous propaganda and learning that we are swallowing which get us to think we need to do this that or the other to be fully accepted. Or about how we need to buy or acquire this that or the other to feel fulfilled. Our spirits are not only broiled in the burning glare of this bullshit, but they are also battered or coerced or pressured or cajoled by Self, Government, Society, and Religion. None of which tell you that any of these are human creations that should serve humans. Nope. They tell you that you should serve Them. Have our so-called modern societies really evolved all that much since the mythical human-sacrifice practicing societies? There is still human sacrifice going on, it's just for ideas, nations, and comforts now. I say this because anyone or any group which says that your life only becomes more valuable when you submit it to the cause or to the brand-name or to the belief-system or to the god...any thing that says this is practicing human sacrifice. They may not be ripping your heart out on the steps of a temple, but they are defacing your mind and denying the possibility of individual spiritual evolution from you.

Even Buddhist ideas, much like Discordian ideas, are twisted around and used for these self-surrendering purposes. What Buddhism tries to do to subvert this twisting tendency is to simply state that the "self" is not. This leads to the relaxation of all of those pressures and attached strings that come with the "self" and the whole baggage imputed into it by Society, Religion, and Government. Buddhism starts with the self idea because this "self" (or Self) is what all three use to maintain control over you. This "self" is the matrix of their power over you. In order to be a true "self," they say, you need to do or acquire this that or the other (the things vary depending on the marketing schemes of the respective memes). So Buddhism says "go forth from this," or "let go of these." Discordianism says "all beliefs are creations" or "you are free." Society, Religion, and its step-child Government will tell you that if you let go of these things, you will disappear into nothingness or oblivion. Discordianism says "There is no such thing. It's all chaos." Buddhism says "oblivion is simply an idea that by its very nature of existing in our minds proves that it has no ultimate reality."

In the past several months I have been wavering from here to there along a personal continuum which includes aspects of Buddhism, Discordianism, and Paganism. But there is always a central path of emptiness that marks this journey and for me, what Discordianism hints at, Buddhism already has practices to get me to learn for my life what this Unbound freedom (Nirvana) is. I find myself again and again returning or balancing myself on the seas of the chaotic interdependent and endless flux of existence as a spontaneous creation. This mostly comes from Buddhist teachings and practices, to be honest. And further, to be honest, this 'central path of emptiness' of 'clinging to nothing' is what I am moving on or in. Thus, while I can identify myself as Discordian or as Wiccan, since I have 'belonged' at one time or other wholeheartedly to these systems, only Buddhism propels me further and though I can say I "belong," it is the one system that uses 'belonging' to subvert that very sense of 'possessiveness' into such that it must be let go of.

The Great Deception of our societies and cultures is that we must fear this 'letting go.' We must fear this 'chaos.' We must fear death, by covering it up with either side of the fantasy of death: ultimate oblivion or eternal life. The Great Deception is that we are not enough, that we must follow this that or the other. It tells us that we cannot figure it out on our own and that we need certain pre-selected or pre-fabricated doctrines to add to our bulwarks against the very real knowledge that all of what we do is simply making sandcastles that are impermanent. We build up impressive systems of knowledge and material conditions in an effort to stave off the inner disquiet that something may not be right with this. We know deep down inside we are being deceived, but to admit it to that is to deflate our hubris. We think that somehow we will disappear or become unloved if we reject the great deception that everyone else seems to be following. So instead of stepping out and seeing things as they are, we fall in line so we can at least have some company of acceptance. We learn to obey so we can fit in.

But like those destructive cults that use re-socialization to enforce or persuade members' continued adherence to their worldview and teachings, the acceptance of a company of others can lead us to the danger of sacrificing our lives for someone or something else's goals. Remember it is the individual human being that can become a fully awakened Buddha, and not the Society, Religion or Government; all those things that lead you to forget your disquiet with Them and fall in line so that you can make up a good sense of "self" that will be accepted. This is 'how to be happy' They will tell you, and have told you. Since the individual is what can become fully evolved into a Buddha (or whatever your vision of freedom is; whatever you call it), these other things that you are told are your "self" will not help you because they are a deception. What will you do when your life is over and you have found that this "self" is dissolved as readily as dust in the wind? Chaoists laugh to banish the illusion. Buddhists simply see it as spontaneity and whether they laugh or cry at this, know that there is nothing to really hold on to - illusion or not.

So paradoxically, Buddhism tells you to investigate for yourself what this nature of life really is, to look beyond all these things that you have been told are your "self." It is a seeming paradox because when you start from the "no-self" idea you learn to de-condition all of these pushes and pulls, all of these demands placed on you that lead you away from a true agnostic investigation of reality. Buddhism starts with the "self" idea because without that idea, none of the other things like Religion, Society, Government, or Ideology can get a hold on you. The human who clings to nothing whatsoever can handle anything that comes their way. They can throw off the mental shackles that are already in place, and refuse to let any more such shackles into their mind. Their heart becomes a potent force of creativity and change, since it no longer has to follow the coercion of those inculcated desires which are used to manipulate us into becoming the images of whoever (group, religion, relatives, friends, others) sees us.

Once you see through the Great Deception that starts with the "self," you actually start to learn what the self is and what it is really not. Then you become less willing to march off to the wars your leaders wish you to fight. You become less willing to fly any flag (whether of the establishment or of the anti-establishment - which are really the same thing). You start to see that obedience is a mental illness. You become less willing to forego your precious search for awakening and open-minded freedom. You learn to understand your desires and can then actually place them in the appropriate place for you in your own life, without the knee-jerk jumpy reactions you are supposed to have that lead you to spin around on the chase of finding things so that you can become a "self." It's an apparent paradox that when you let go of this "self" you actually learn the value of your life in its true context. When this pseudo-self is finally let go of, you may actually find that there is no such thing. It doesn't mean you disappear or cease to exist. It just means that you can now live independent of the various individual, personal, and social pressures. And if it is your goal, you can learn how to wake up into being a Buddha. You don't stop being who you are. You don't disappear from the world into some blissful state. You just become open about it. You realize that this personality you have now is an artistry you have engaged with others in creating. You start to remember all the times in your life you have felt unconditionally happy (and we all have experienced this many times) and seek out ways to cultivate more of these moments.

Instead of life being seen as a figment that lasts from Birth to Death. You can see life as infinite and complex and chaotic. It is not limited by our childish notions of Birth, Death, or Lifespan. Only we limit ourselves to this because we are afraid and dutifully taught that this deception is reality. If all we have ever searched for and are is this "self" we are inculcated into believing in, then of course we can get terrified of death, since that is the radical end of this personality we have grown to love and have become attached to (regardless of whether it makes us happy or sad, it has become all we know). Some religions will escape this by the promise of individual personal survival in some form after death, but think about it for a moment. How do you go from being the type of being that is undergoing change all the time in this life -changes that you can now directly perceive-into some sort of eternally fixed "soul" that is now above and aloof from the changes?

The tantras say that we are threads of continuity. In fact those two ideas are what "tantra" literally mean: thread; continuity; in much the same way as our common sense ways of thinking of a thread of conversation or thought - a continuum. The idea here is that life is metaphorically like a loom, and our consciousness is the weave, and the weaving. And the practice of the tantric system is the awakening of ourselves so that we can learn what threads we wish to use and how to go about weaving them. Buddhist Tantra can be likened to weaving into this continuity the aspirations toward the freedom of enlightenment. But this is only a metaphor since what is really happening is that one is stripping away the facets of the Great Deception. The ego is peeled away like an onion and ultimately it is directly seen that there is not eternal fixed essence or indivisible atoms making up this thing we have been collectively hallucinating as a "self." So it's not personal. Or as Buddhists say "nothing is self."

It's a nice trick, huh? To subvert our quest to aggrandize ourselves into being 'enlightened' into de-conditioning us from the notions of "self" to get us to learn that which is 'enlightened' was already there, hidden from us. When there is no reality imputed to this "self," we become free from nihilism and essentialism. In this radical opening of the person, or as some would say, the radical realization that the personal core is only relative and empty of inherent existence, we become free to taste infinite life. We all experience this from time to time in our lives, whether or not we call it "mysticism" or "peak experiences" or something else. The Tantras are about taking everything and transforming all of it into that experience of freedom. Like the nuclear furnace of the sun, all of what matters is fuel for awakening.

There is no ultimate beginning or end to this, since life is held to be infinite...not in a personal sort of way (much like the continuum of our DNA or physical evolution is not really personal). But with this growing awareness of how 'consciousness' works, one can learn greater freedom and choice. Life becomes meaningful because it is our art. This continuity, if you will, is changing all the time whether or not we want to admit it, so according to tantric systems, it may be best you learn how to contribute so you have a greater freedom of choice. This leads to the seeming paradox of emptiness, or no-self, being the highest most fulfilled potential for individual awakening.

A lot of tantric meditators will be encouraged to search out this thing we call "self" and the game eventually leads to dizziness, or a sense of falling, or a buzzing, much as if one was like a dog chasing one's tail for a while. This is the demonstration that the Great Deception is nothing more than a mirage. Believe me, it is both unpleasant and strangely exhilarating when this happens. Unpleasant because the "core" of the "self" is found to be the source of only more leads and conditions to investigate. None of them will be discovered to exist independently of other conditions. Exhilarating because freedom starts becoming directly experienced, not just as a mental freedom, not just as a social freedom, but a radical, from the roots of one's life and consciousness, freedom. Our deeply held notions and emotions are seen for what they are: impermanent and conditional. Our "heart" is directly experienced in its true nature of relativity and constant flux, as opposed to our normal modes of feeling it as something fixated.

Thus our names, our religions, our beliefs, our cultural attitudes, our prides, our humilities, our accomplishments, our relationships, our nations, our societies, our thoughts, our feelings, our failures, our gods, our limits, our senses, etc...are learned to be not fixed, impermanent, and always relative to other causes and conditions. There is no escape. No exit. You can not magically start with something other than what you are. These forces or "things" must still be engaged with, but you can learn to let go of them. You can learn to see through the Great Deception of thinking that such things are all you are or ever will be. You can learn to set yourself free. It doesn't mean you have to give up, it just means you have to let go. (And I hope you know the difference between letting go and giving up.)

The Great Deception of Religion, Society, Self, and Government makes you fear emptiness or "chaos," as Discordians will call it. But emptiness is the source of all potential. It is spontaneity itself. (In Sanskrit it was called 'shunyata' and represented by a zero - the source of all numbers.) The Great Deception tells you that emptiness is oblivion, but oblivion can not be proven to exist. Non-existence is part of the lie, since if you are willing to directly look into the idea for yourself, you can't find such a thing. There is no such thing as "nothing" that exists anywhere outside of some mental abstract or philosophical posturing. It is a mere pretense that They use as a fnord to keep you locked into fear of the unknown. Which is why believing in oblivion after death is as much of a pipe dream as unproven assertions of some sort of eternal life after death. "Don't go into the unknown," you are told, "otherwise you will become nothing." Or They will tell you that if life gets to be too much than you can destroy yourself and become "nothing" to escape the pain. (Or you can die and go to "heaven," for those who still wish to hang on to something.) But this is only part of the Deception. A phenomenon, such as your life, cannot become nothing. It didn't magically arise from "nothing" and cannot become nothing. What happens is that the circumstances and conditions change.

It doesn't matter what concepts or beliefs you hold. What matters is how you realize your life now, in the present moment, when you can experience it. No amount of future or past ideation or fantasies can help here. The future and the past are not directly experienced but only imagined in a second hand sort of way (whether as memory or as vision, regardless of the accuracy of such imagination). And the "past" and "future" are used as the twin shackles of the Great Deception to keep you from finding this out for yourselves. You will be told that as long as you are uncertain of your self then you are in danger of becoming a "nothing" or a "nobody." But if you have started to look clearly for yourselves, you will not fall for such bullshit any longer. And you can learn to become skillful with the bullshit to make the flowers in your garden grow better (as the metaphor goes).

When the "self" becomes certain, when it becomes dedicated to the project of ego-reification, when you become solely identified with whatever current project you are supporting (whether religious, national, cultural, social, lifestyle, or ideological) then your possibilities become limited to the extent that you are certain. Whether you think of yourself as wonderful or as bad or a failure, these are simply limitations. Think about how absurd it is to go on quests to "find yourself" when you are right here now. Think about how absurd it is to reify or validate your existence as if by doing so, you somehow become more "real." If you haven't yet realized you exist, how have you gotten on so far? People are willing to pay all sorts of money and spend a lot of time on 'finding themselves' or in getting 'spiritually attuned to the universe,' when all they ever needed to do was to start with who they are right now. The New Age, many forms 'occultism', Buddhist and Hindu Yoga techniques, and much of that shameful pseudo-tribal Shamanism crap is peddled off on unsuspecting marks to keep them in the Great Deception. So let me rephrase the statement: If you haven't yet learned that you are here, how have you ever gotten on in life up to this point? (Even the most close minded and uptight person seems to have a grasp on this basic lesson.) Thus, 'going on a quest to find yourself,' is an absurd trick.

The truth is, if you can't find reality right now, where are you going to go to find it? So start with now and the Great Deception will start to lose its hold over you. Its concoctions will start getting evicted from your mind, not because you force them out, but because you have let go them. You see through them. You can then be all you can be, as opposed to what someone or some other group tells you to be. You start to spot the fnords and the memes that up till now have pulled at your heartstrings. That said, it is not as if there is no hope if you are still fooled by the Great Deception. And even after tasting freedom, we will fall under the deception many times. Hopefully we allow it to happen less and less as time goes on and we get more mature. Eris says "You Are Free." Buddhism says that ultimately our eventual awakening into a fully mature Buddha is simply human evolution - like a child usually grows up to become an adult; some just leap towards it quicker than others. By the standards of the Great Deception, one who is leaping towards this awakening might appear to be insane. Or absolutely worthless. But how stupid is it to go along with the deception that tells you that you must fit in, or you must do or get this that or the other to become truly "real" or free, when all you have to do is start investigating from where are you now?

"Do not believe what others say, even the Buddha. See for yourselves. As you live, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life. Contrary to the schemes and ads of everyone else, this way cannot be forced. Life is infinite beyond what we can conceive or imagine. If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. Choose freedom, even if for now you are skeptical. Choose it as an experiment and see for yourselves."

"It is the nature of all things that take form to dissolve again, endeavor energetically (to bring awareness) towards fulfillment."-The last words of Siddhartha Gautama (a.k.a. "the Buddha") circa 489 BCE

"And faith? Have faith your socks are where you left them. Unless the puppy got there first."
-The Beatus Ffungo (Summa Discordia)

-Irreverend Hugh
[My last rant/sermon as episkopos of the PMM/DSS(S)]
(July 31st, 2006) Happy Lunasa/Lammas!

Doctor Jeep
August 3rd, 2006, 01:32 AM

Welcome to the boards. :achug:

Lets Go Bowling
August 3rd, 2006, 01:49 AM

Welcome to the boards. :achug:

Thank you! I heard so much about them. I thought I should give em a try. :cheers:

August 4th, 2006, 08:04 PM
Hi Hugh.

Lets Go Bowling
August 8th, 2006, 02:07 AM
Hi Hugh.

Sup, Fnordie.

August 8th, 2006, 02:52 AM
Worth the 2d read.

Nicely done, Hugh.:cheers:

Lets Go Bowling
August 8th, 2006, 03:03 AM
Worth the 2d read.

Nicely done, Hugh.:cheers:

Thank you. I may post some other things here, if the stars and right and either Cthulhu or Azathoth will finally rise and eat the things that keep stealing my socks.