Aug 09

The Elevator Speech on Fractal Society and the Fetish of the Individual

The problem- why FSATFOTI is important


The world is in a terrible mess.  No matter what day of the week or what month of the year you read this, there will be wars going on and other wars waiting to break out, people starving while other people lounge in luxury, changes in our climate that threat the end of human civilization as we know it – and an amazing inability/unwillingness to do anything to reduce or mitigate those changes. world on fire And on a more personal, immediate note, we all have challenges in our day to day lives and the lives of those we care about that–while they might not be “a mess”–are challenging. Nothing new in all that.  The world is a mess, We all know that, and we all know there is nothing we can do about it. There is certainly nothing you or i could about.  Now, if we could just get about three hundred thousand of our friends to do something, to care enough to do something, then maybe all would not be lost.

And the whole point of FSATFOTI is that there is something we can do about. One of the challenges of writing (and I suspect reading) this is that part of the problem FSATFOTI is meant to address is the language we use, the words we speak and write and read.  So in the first sentence of this paragraph it says “something we can do about it” but normal thing would be “something you can do about it.”  Some you can do implies that addressing those issues is your responsibility, something the reader should do or think or say, and the reader alone. Something we can do implies you are off the hook, that “we” are going to take care of things. But as Pogo said, “we are the people our parents warned us about.”  And as Obama said, “we are the people we have been waiting for.” The basic assumption I am making is that the belief/idea/preconception that you are just a little you separate and distinct from everybody and everything else in the world is a mistake. So rather than saying “you” or “we” or “me” there should be a different word, a word that reflects the view of Fractal Society. Another way to say this is that maybe are are missing something, maybe we (and by “we” I really mean all of us, each and every one) took a wrong turn at some point and have been heading in the wrong direction for a long, long time. So what is the mistake we made?  Where did we turn wrong?  This is what I wanted the Elevator Speech to be about, and I fear it is beyond me to sum it up in thirty seconds or less. But here is my best shot. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 03

Ram Dass, Einstein, and Levels of Consciousness

In the Beginning

Back in 1967 or so, I remember reading a back of the magazine article in the NYT’s magazine about Zen Buddhism.At the time I was a Sophomore or Junior in High School, and this was the first thing I’d ever read that hinted at some way of looking at the world that was “different” than the way I’d grown up looking at things.

My Senior year we moved to Belgium, and I remember reading a Carlos C. book about Shamans. For some reason I think I read this on a trip to Garmich, which is in the Bavarian Alps. Anyway, I remember thinking CC had it wrong, he was being too scientific about the mystical things the Shaman was showing him. In retrospect I think CC wrote it that way on purpose.

I went to Cornell for college, and to begin with I was a good, nerdy, academic student.  I didn’t drink or do drugs, I think the only time I’d ever drunk was once or twice when my folks were out and I’d mix combination of hard liquer.  Anyway, my Sophomore year at Cornell I had a girlfriend who lived in Long Island, and I took the bus into NYC and a train out to where she lived, and in a book store picked up Be Here Now, by Ram Dass.

Be Here Now talks about LSD, and Hinduism, and Mysticism beyond the HIndu approach – I think. At some point I started doing hallucinogenics – and this was before I’d ever smoked dope or done any serious drinking.  When I would trip i thought I was getting close to God, or something like that.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 01


all the world at peace.

Today is my 63rd birthday, March 1st, 2014.  And recently i’ve been getting a glimpse of how it might actually be.  How the world, the universe, all of it – might actually.  Both how it might actually be as opposed to how it appears to be, and how it might actually be in the future.

There is a phrase in the bible where G*d says “I am what I am,” that some say would be more accurately translated as “I am becoming what I am becoming.”  So maybe she isn’t some static thing. Maybe, as Joanne pointed out a long ways back, G*d evolves.

In any case, i think that figuring out the G*d questions are above my pay grade.  But what is at (or maybe just slightly above, so I can get a glimpse of it) my pay grade is how i impact the world, or to make the evolutionary correction, how i impact what the world is becoming. Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb 01

Flatland and Fractland: A story

While this is based on Flatland: A romance in many directions, i suspect there is some influence from Spencer-Brown’s Laws of Form. This needs some work, but if you know Flatlands, this might be fun.


 What i saw in a dream

Borrowing a viewing glass from PIE (either this PIE or this PI) I saw that in one town the inhabitants had the Fetish of the Individual – and from turning the focus knob I could see that each person in the town was surrounded by a large transparent cylinder that separated them from their environment. The cylinders helped me focus on either the individual inside it or the environment outside it, but there seemed to be some distortion created by the cylinders, a distortion I could not put into words. That is, I could not name this distortion until after I turned my attention to the other town I could see from the hilltop; the town of Fractal Society.

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Dec 29

Mind and Awareness

Though i’ve studying/practicing a version of Tibetan Buddhism since 1980 or so, i’m till somewhat surprised when i read something that i must have read tens or hundreds of time before, and it strikes me as something totally new. and important.  Differentiating between mind and awareness is on of those things.

In the midst of reading  Vivid Awareness: The Mind Instructions of Khenpo Gangshar   for the third time this year, i came across Khenpo Gangshar’s discussion of mind and awareness, and thought it worth while to share what he said.

khenpo Gangshar

Khenpo is the one on the left, Chogyam Trungpa on the right.  What i’ve written comes from Read the rest of this entry »

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Nov 01

Fetish of the Individual: Intro

i’m not sure if the fetish of the individual is the reason we cut ourselves off  from others and the world , or if it is one of the results of our cutting ourselves off.  In either case;.

“The Fetish of the Individual” is overly focusing on yourself as the center of the universe.

We all think we are the center of the universe, in some manner or other.  i mean, all i can see is what i can see, all i can think of are things i can think of, all i can do are things  can do. And i assume that holds for everybody, that everybody is the center of their own universe.  The problem with the fetish of the individual is thinking that my view is the correct/best view, what i see is what everybody  sees, that my thoughts are the truest/most valuable thoughts, that my actions are the correct actions. It is thinking “I am the one thing that really matters.”

A Paradox

Those we call heroes are often people who have gone past (transcended) overly focusing on their own individualism, people who in the words of Humphrey Bogart realize “the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans.” Or the soldier throwing themselves on a grenade to save the others in their unit, the fireman who rushes into a burning building, or the teacher who spends her free time making comments on her fifth grader’s English papers in the hope that they might learn to write better and that might help them in the rest of their lives.

The paradox is that we make a big deal about the individuals who didn’t make a big deal about themselves.  We fetishize those who, at least for a moment, transcend the fetish.

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Oct 25

You are an enlightened being, but might not realize it

I was walking from the parking garage to my office yesterday, having driven my Prius in So I was thinking about how i might change my mind to change my/the world, and how people i found attractive or annoying or threatening or interesting tended to wake me up. Tended to remind me that i could just as well be Vajrayogini playing at being Michael, as michael playing at being either michael or Vajrayogini.


Lead-up to the discovery

And then these thoughts came up (or came in, or came from wherever thoughts come from).

  1. One, i could/should be thankful to them for waking me up,
  2. Maybe i wake up people whether i intend to or not,
  3. Maybe they are just like me, and they are Vajrayogini playing at being ‘a college student.’

And then it hit me.

The discovery

  1. The students are Vajrayogini!
  2. And you are Vajrayogini.

Translating the discovery

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