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    Mahat’s House of Leaves

    I’ll jump on the bandwagon and make an online journal.

    #2
    Topic: Empathy, empaths, and extending extending empathy to the likes of Clinton, Trump, and Hitler, narcs, and sociopaths. A response to a facebook thread.
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    Source: "Empathy" by Agnes Toth.




    “Do you consider yourself an empath?” - Undeniably not

    With that being said, I do experience empathy, both viscerally and in a distant utilitarian way. The emotional component, at heart, backbones the more detached utilitarian approach. But first I should define them separately:

    Visceral empathy - This is the more emotional, immediate, “their emotions are felt as mine” type of empathy. This is the empathy that I feel seeing videos of animals and people being tortured. Or someone being mercilessly bullied. It hits right in the gut and heart.

    Intellectual empathy - Acknowledging someone’s or other people’s humanity is framed through more universal, reason based ethics. A lot of my politics is based on this utilitarian approach to empathy - I want to uphold and promote the general welfare of humanity. There may be emotional feeling tones that may be attached to these ethics, but some degree of separation from feelings must occur in order to uphold these ethics. While the heart and the gut may be guides, it’s the head that formulates the condition and executes the decisions. This is the type of activity that leads us to question and philosophize why we must and how we should effectively extend empathy.

    With that in tow, I mostly experience the latter than the former. The former usually gets experienced with loved ones or people I’ve been exposed to repeatedly. I acknowledge other people’s humanity, but I don’t particularly care for them, except in a very distant way. But that indifference doesn’t lead me to treat them badly. If I were to treat them badly, especially when it’s not provoked, that would evoke emotional empathy in me, and I’m really not interested in taking on that psychological toll. As for Clinton, Trump, and Hitler, I don’t have emotional empathy for them. Not because they’re Clinton, Trump, or Hitler. I just simply don’t. I do recognize their humanity to some degree but at this point I see them more as cultural and historical focal points than as individuals. I honestly don’t care about them as individuals and the reasons why they do things, though those give me insight into the context of their decisions. I’m more concerned with what they symbolize and how they impact the rest of society. In this regard I have to question, what’s the point of extending empathy to them, emotional or intellectual? In proportion to what and to what end? Our empathy, individually or collectively, doesn’t affect them and how they manage affairs. But overall I can see how it mollifies the effects of polarization. An exercise in cognitive empathy especially in regards to those who are vastly different from us not only makes us more compassionate and understanding, but makes us more competent and savvy in navigating people. All in all, I’d rather not be an empath; that seems extremely uneconomical and overwhelming. Though overtime, empaths would learn to manage their psychological permeability more effectively, probably more so than non-empaths.
    Last edited by Mahat; 04-26-2020, 08:41 AM.

    Comment


    • Roshan
      Roshan commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, I thought that was where you were going with that. Some people with very porous psychological boundaries fortify them over time; others definitely not. I would suppose that
      most people who actually identify as empaths wouldn't consider fortifying their boundaries to be ego-syntonic though.

    • Mahat
      Mahat commented
      Editing a comment
      I can see that process as ego-dystonic to the empath. But I can't imagine the psychological toll of carrying all that emotional baggage. I don't know if I ever met an actual empath.

    • Roshan
      Roshan commented
      Editing a comment
      I stumbled on this book last year in the public library and took it out. She points out there is like an online cottage industry for people who suffered narcissistic abuse and they tend to consider themselves empaths; then they project their own narcissism out on others. Another person who discusses a similar process, but mostly online, is the charismatic professional narcissist Sam Vaknin. He considers borderline to be the typical way psychopathy manifests in females and conjectures that most of the online empaths are borderline.https://www.amazon.com/Selfishness-O.../dp/B01B1NC1SI

    #3
    Obsession And Its Contents
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    I constantly ruminate on the nature of sexual obsession and how much I miss obsessing over someone. I yearn for the opportunity to once again delve head first in the electric sea of erotic obsession. There's something spiritually transformative about it in that exemplifies the hermetic principle of "as below, so above." It not only awakens something base within in me, this baseness makes me strive for the heavens. The object of my obsession becomes my muse - not only do I mythologize his individuality, he becomes a reflection of own consciousness. I no longer perceive myself as a being that's just conscious of myself and other external objects, but a self-consciousness that's experienced and seen through the Other. The mythology that I impose on him is not only a reflection of his character but also reflection of myself as I conceive of him. I become more aware of I how I am seen and who I am through delving further into fiery depths of this obsession. For a lot of people, the conscious occlusion of the self seems to occur when in the grips of the obsession - the id makes one less self-conscious of one's own actions and blind to one's thought and action patterns. Initially this is true of me - my main focus is on him and I'm blinded to my own subjectivity, but over time a further uncovering of self-consciousness unfolds as I experience the object of my obsession. Am I enough for him? How will I gain his attention? Etc. And eventually it goes, what does this obsession say about me and what I desire and value?

    The sacredness of the feeling is of paramount effect. And it's truly a sacred feeling in that it takes a truly special person to evoke those feelings in me or to affect me in such a profound way. It deserves all of the intense reverence and fervor it receives. In the grip I feel truly free, finally released from the shackles of rationality, not that I placed supreme importance on hyper-rationality in the first place. It's the paradox of being free from myself and being more in tune with myself. Freedom from myself in that I'm not as myopically inward focused as I usually am, but also more in tune with myself in that there's a heated and concentrated focus on my desire and how to manifest it. In surrender, there's liberation and in the messiness of it all, lies an internal logic that one must abide through honoring one's passion. It's really through passion, the base ingredient of obsession, where one's self-consciousness becomes fully illuminated. I love taking my passion to a religious fervor and through the zeal, experience a mystical boundlessness.
    Last edited by Mahat; 04-24-2020, 12:16 PM.

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      #4
      Kindernaut
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      I've written here that I used to experience astral projections as a child:

      When I was a kid (like 5 and 6), I would frequently experience astral projections which I could induce intentionally and accidentally. I would be sitting in the couch, watching TV, and then all of a sudden I would experience myself looking on the self that's on the couch from the corner of the ceiling. I would see both selves, the one on the couch and the one in the ceiling corner. I could also experience myself as different people; I could be a Native-American Man in his 50s, a Hispanic woman in her 20s, etc. I was floating through different minds. These experiences made me question the fabric of reality. If I myself am real. If I'm actually situated in the house I live in. What if I'm actually inhabiting someone else's body? Or what if I'm dialing in from another space and time? I haven't astral projected in forever and I don't know if at this moment and time, my mind is pliable to do that.
      These weren't the only instances of mind-altering experiences. While I had a lot of friends as a child, deep down I desired to leave my body and traverse multiple universes. Similar to the astral projections, I would "zone out" and go into these semi-deep trances, and this especially happened when I was swinging on the swings while listening to my Walkman. The swinging motion and being high off the ground enhanced the 'high' feeling of the experience. I gained a lot of inspiration from the books I've read and the tv shows and films I watched, and what I often did was recombine characters and storylines in my head from various mediums and create my own universe(s). Or I would just zone out and be deeply rooted in the moment. I wouldn't think, I would just be, and that's when the greatest insights and inspirations would emerge. I unwittingly was in a deep meditation during those times, so deep that these must've been proto-psychedelic experiences.

      In middle school, these experiences started to wane considerably but I still had meditative states, though most of my states were tinged with religious symbolism. And these were especially potent when I was in mass. I would often meditate on the crucifixion of Christ, and how this was the greatest expression of love and surrender to ever occur. My religious meditations were also very sexually oriented, of a sadomasochistic nature actually (which led me to discover Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, whose names inspired the term sadism and masochism respectively). Even then, as a virgin and not having a boyfriend yet, knew that sexual surrender and religious surrender were of a similar nature - both involved the dissolution of ego boundaries and an ecstatic union. But the ultimate nature of these religious sadomasochistic fantasies wasn't morbid violence but a desire to reach a mystical boundlessness. I was attracted to extremes, extremes of excess and asceticism, of purity and debauchery, of piety and heresy, etc. We often modulate our lives towards the middle of these extremes, but I was a creature greedy for fringe experiences. And this led me to another insight. Christianity and the concept of goodness cannot exist without evil. Without evil, the moral high ground of the Church would lose its power and potency. Judas who betrayed Jesus, Jesus's executioners, the torturers who executed the martyrs, they were all necessary in the propagation of goodness. And this lead me to another insight. Without the concept of evil, God isn't particularly necessary. God damned humanity from the start, it wasn't Adam and Eve. God knew what would occur and yet still "let" it happened. If all was perfect in the world, we wouldn't pay much mind to God aside from passive recognition of his goodness and providence. But if sin and evil was introduced into the world, there's more of a explicit need for God's providence and salvation through his grace. It's no wonder that the Gnostics considered the God of the Bible to be an evil demiurge. It's only through our intent and dependency that God has power. It was this revelation that led me away from Catholicism.

      I can no longer induce these mind states, except through drugs, but even then, it's not enough. While I'm more well-read and smarter than I was before, I feel like a huge part of me has been lost, and I'm nostalgic for a more mystical, mysterious, and magical time both for myself and at large. Modernity's materialism and scientism falls flat for me, though I do enjoy a lot of modernity's trappings.

      Comment


      • Roshan
        Roshan commented
        Editing a comment
        " It was this revelation that led me away from Catholicism." And where did it lead you to stand on the question of evil?

      • Mahat
        Mahat commented
        Editing a comment
        Roshan, I'll make a separate post for your question since there's a lot to unpack, but these are the points to consider when addressing the problem of evil in regards to Christianity:

        1. The ontological status of God or the nature of God.
        2. Our conception of evil which gets into the question of the finitude of human perception.
        3. Free will/Theodicy
        4. The epistemological gaps in our knowledge of God (which ties back to point #2).

        I'll address all of these in that post.

      • Roshan
        Roshan commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks!

      #5
      Godhead (Repost)
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      It is as if this dream arose from the unconscious id and splatted itself all over me. This was a dream I had from the other night.

      “Groowwwls”

      Is the tune my stomach makes. I wanted to rub my stomach but stark reality hits me and I realized my hands were handcuffed to what I can make out in the darkness was a radiator. Starved, fatigued, sore, and handcuffed, I sit in the silent darkness alone and tethered to the cold ground. I have no idea why I was there, how I got here, or how long I was there. All I knew was that I was too delirious to call for help. Delirium and somnolence were about to overtake me until…

      “Crreeaaak….”

      I saw a sliver of light interrupt the black void. I instantly perked up to see what awaited me. The door slowly opened, and I can make out a shadowy silhouette of a tall man. He didn’t turn on the lights as he carefully and silently entered the room. In a more alert state, I could’ve better made out his facial features from the background light but I was so out of it that I could barely make out his visage. His dark figure loomed intimidatingly over me like an ominous spectre.

      “Who are you?” I said. No reply. He eventually knelt down. In his hands was a plate of food and water. I really perked up this time. Yess!!! Oh thank god!!! He undid my handcuffs and placed the bottled water in front of me. I snatched that bottle and chugged the water in almost one gulp.

      “Thank you so much…” Again no reply. I noticed that he hasn’t offered me the plate of food.

      *Growwllssss*

      Even in the darkness I can see him shaking his head “no.”

      “What?! Why?!” Silence.

      I tried to lunge at him, but in my weakened state I was essentially useless as evidenced by him easily sidestepping my attack and me face planting into that cold ground. With the plate no longer in his hands he grabs me by the hair and for the first time I heard his voice as he growled into my ear,

      “You’re an entitled one aren’t you?” And like a ragdoll he drops me back into the ground. He drags me back to my original spot and handcuffs me back to the radiator as I tried to uselessly fight him off. He takes the plate of food with him and slams the door behind him. Once again I return to the black void. Not again. As insane as it sounds, his rough touch was a respite from the endless pitch blackness. Oh how much I yearn to see that sliver of light again. Anything but this monotonous blackness and cold floor. All I have are my thoughts. I think of the last thing I did, anything to try to keep me sane. I was reading….something. Yes good. What were you reading? Something about the Omega Point Theory where the universe is fated to spiral into a final point of infinity. Could this prove the existence of God….?

      Some time has passed since our last encounter. It’s that sound again, that careful creak of a door slowly opening. My spectre has come to haunt me again. Will he show me mercy today or shall I be punished for any discretion that he deems unforgivable? He stands over me like a god about to dole out punishment on his sinful children. He eventually kneels down to my level, undoes my cuffs, and actually hands me a plate of food. I should’ve been more suspiciously incredulous but I was so damn hungry that I didn’t even care if I was consuming poison. He was watching me eat but I didn’t care nor did I pay much mind to table manners. Here, dear reader is something you must know. In my dreams, I’m rarely on the receiving end of mistreatment. I’m usually the perpetrator and the one in a position of power. So this is a new thing for me, and I don’t know if I love it or hate it.

      Once I was done eating he gently lays me down on the cold ground, and starts caressing my face and slowly moves his hand downward, exploring every curve he can find. I wanted to kiss him but as our lips almost touched, he moved his head away from me. He placed my arms over my head, handcuffed my hands to the radiator. He whispered menacingly into my ear, “Not today.”

      Could the Omega Point Theory prove the existence of God? Possibly. But in the end it doesn’t even matter because I found my God. My God is in the shape of a tall male silhouette. He is the black void and the small shimmer of light. The one I deeply crave and deeply fear. He’s both my savior and condemner. He is a cruel God who stirs up a frenzy in my heart.
      Last edited by Mahat; 04-26-2020, 10:25 AM.

      Comment


      • Roshan
        Roshan commented
        Editing a comment
        Did you realize it related to the Leaves when you posted it?

      • Mahat
        Mahat commented
        Editing a comment
        I actually did not until you mentioned it

      • Roshan
        Roshan commented
        Editing a comment
        Well...I suspect some aspect of you did....it's psychedelic House of Leaves. (Also brings to mind Si 'Wisdom Tree'...

      #6
      I'm very curious why you chose "House of Leaves" for the title, Mahat.

      EDIT: Does it have to do with this? "If I myself am real. If I'm actually situated in the house I live in."

      AAAH: Okay, I see the tree in Kindernaut...
      Last edited by Roshan; 04-26-2020, 06:52 AM.

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      • Mahat
        Mahat commented
        Editing a comment
        The title was inspired the book I read (but didn't finish) in high school with the same title.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Leaves

        In the novel, there's a house that's impossibly larger on the inside than on the outside, and I thought maybe that contents of this thread could possibly reflect that - that there's a whole inner world/reality that's larger or richer than the outer reality.
        Last edited by Mahat; 04-26-2020, 10:26 AM.

      #7
      Names & Identities (Repost)

      Thanatesque/Thana (Subconscious), Atelier(Progression), Mahat (Divine Immanence)...

      Sarah is the hypostasis of these three aspects.

      Interesting enough these identities only came about because of the internet and forums. Regardless, these identities illuminated an inner reality that occurred during the time of their appropriation. You can tell what I'm currently experiencing through the screenname I chose.

      Thanatesque (Thana) was the first ever enduring user name I used. One that I used for PerC. Funny enough, it wasn't an original but rather the title of tumblr page that I found. Thanatesque has the Greek Thanatos, the Greek god of (nonviolent) death. But the inner reality came closer to the Freudian thanatos - the drive toward destruction and violence. Repressed violent impulses viciously come to the fore to lay their heavy hand. Destruction was my God and anger was the temple I worshiped in. This was a drive toward abolishing unities and tearing down foundations. While the negative manifestation of this was destruction, it can also be challenging, motivating, disciplining, and renewing. We all require periods of upheaval in order to grow stronger, and chipping away at our foundations fortifies the ground we stand on. It is pure will to power, one that could be channeled apocalyptically or one that makes way for new beginnings even if its (or especially) through fire and blood.

      Atelier, compared to the other two, signifies a process rather than a fixed aspect. It's the nexus between Thana and Mahat. In order to reach her true potential, Thana must learn to temper her impulses and channel them towards more productive and meaningful goals. Aggression, lust, and even anger and inner violence are things that are not be ignored but instead mustbe expressed. However, it must be disciplined and streamlined. Atelier, workshop in French, is the process of chiseling myself into something more beautiful and well-defined,



      I want to turn my inner violence into an art where I can translate it into something more elevated, deeper, timeless, and challenging. There's a purification process in being able to manifest it in a way that one must constantly perfect the mode of expression. In challenging myself through doing that, I can better challenge others through the confrontation of my own and their own inner violence, one that both reflects my our individual standpoints and expresses something fundamental about the human condition. I think why I'm so intent on expressing it is because it shows on the symbolic level how I see myself and how I relate to the world around me - an orientation marked by a struggle between wills and the dynamic and complex interaction between these competing wills, and a certain reactivity and inner intensity that emerges from these interactions.

      Atelier is in constant motion and just because I don't appropriate the name, that doesn't mean she's irrelevant or no longer in action.

      Mahat, in Vedanta philosophy, is the cosmic mind. It is the first principle that emerged from the union of purusha (consciousness) and prakriti (matter),

      You must remember that the first manifestation of this Prakriti in the cosmos is what the Sankhya calls "Mahat". We may call it intelligence — the great principle, its literal meaning. The first change in Prakriti is this intelligence; I would not translate it by self-consciousness, because that would be wrong. Consciousness is only a part of this intelligence. Mahat is universal. It covers all the grounds of sub-consciousness, consciousness, and super-consciousness; so any one state of consciousness, as applied to this Mahat, would not be sufficient. In nature, for instance, you note certain changes going on before your eyes which you see and understand, but there are other changes, so much finer, that no human perception can catch them. The are from the same cause, the same Mahat is making these changes. Out of Mahat comes universal egoism. These are all substance. There is no difference between matter and mind, except in degree. The substance is the same in finer or grosser form; one changes into the other, and this exactly coincides with the conclusions of modern physiological research - Swami Vivekananda
      I also call Mahat divine immanence because we're all expressions of that cosmic mind but through our life experiences and the fortification of our defense mechanisms, we've occluded ourselves from its providence. We don't have to look without to find it because it's already within us, and through Atelier tempering and chiseling Thana, I experience an anamnesis, or a sort of remembering of its presence. Though at this point, I would say this is more of a goal than an actual current state of being. The further one seeks or encounters Mahat, the more one experiences an anagogic opening of one's world.
      Last edited by Mahat; 04-30-2020, 01:36 PM.

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        #8
        The Problem of Evil Part One
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        Roshan

        The Problem of Evil has plagued philosophers since the beginning of time, and this issue is especially salient in the Judeo-Christian tradition. These are the standard points that come up in addressing this problem:

        1. The ontological status of God or the nature of God.
        2. Our conception of evil.
        3. Free will/Theodicy
        4. The epistemological gaps in our knowledge of God.

        *(I might not follow these points sequentially)

        I won’t address the entirety of arguments that are out there, but rather give my account on these issues (though I did some reading in the past).

        The Ontological Status of God Or The Nature of God/Preliminary To Our Conception of Evil

        In order to address the Problem of Evil we must first establish what is the nature of God and what is the nature of evil. According to the Judeo-Christian tradition, God is

        1. All powerful
        2. All knowing
        3. All good
        4. Is perfect

        If God is all powerful, how did evil come to compete with his power?
        If God is all knowing, didn’t God know beforehand the evil that will befall us?
        If God is all good, why does God allow evil?
        If God is perfect, why does evil exist in the first place?

        Before we even address these questions, we must define what evil is in order to not cause equivocation with our terms.

        Evil can be divided into three definitions:
        1.Moral Evil - lack of virtue, moral wickedness
        2. Natural Evil - disease, natural disasters, physical pain
        3. Metaphysical Evil - Flaws in God’s creation and the imperfection of reality

        My definition of evil in regards to the problems above encompasses all three sub-definitions above for each problem.

        Since the basic ontological status sets up the entire course of this problem and bleeds into the rest of this essay, here’s how I’ll address the problem:

        Theodicy - explain how the existence of the traditional conception of God could be consistent with the idea of evil
        Our Conception of Evil - Explain how evil is to be conceived in way that’s consistent with our idea of God
        The Metaphysics of God and Reality - Dualism, monism
        Atheism - These inconsistencies cannot exist therefore there’s no God

        Comment


        • Mahat
          Mahat commented
          Editing a comment
          I’m not surprised that ontology is a new word but it’s nice to know the origin of it. As for the pic, let me look it up again. I just typed in ‘God art’ on google.

        • Roshan
          Roshan commented
          Editing a comment
          I can't find that image. Tried many searches, including photos by Bert and Roy. Can't make out the last name. If it didn't say it was a photo I'd think it might be digital art, but it's a photo.

        • Roshan
          Roshan commented
          Editing a comment
          I don't really see evil as a fundamental problem in the Old Testament in the version that was passed down. Very early on in Genesis the problem of evil is subsumed to the duty of obedience. Adam and Eve are punished by expulsion from paradise, from the Garden of Eden, for disobedience. Their sin is eating from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Before this disobedience, there was no evil or suffering. After this disobedience, they know that they're naked and are ashamed ,and will have to be exposed to the elements and work, toil and suffer just to survive. The language is explicit--childbearing will be severe, they will sweat in painful toil just to eat, and they will return to the cursed ground. Adam and Eve cursed the earth and its fruits for mankind by disobeying God. Old Testament language is very violent and it starts here. Jehovah isn't shown to be 'good' by any usual understanding of the word. The Old Testament god is not on the side of mercy.

          A garden isn't really natural; it's cultivated, and I find now reading Genesis 2 that Adam was set up explicitly to have dominion over nature. But the serpent gains dominion over Eve, and thus over Adam, by telling Eve if she and Adam eat from the Tree of Knowledge, they will be like God. This was the real crux of the sin, and so they lost their dominion over nature. I also find the specific reason they had to be expelled rather than just tormented was because the Tree of Life was also in the garden, and if they ate its fruit they would not only have God's knowledge of good and evil, but also be immortal--so, even more like God.

          Paradoxically Adam and Eve were expelled godlike in moral knowledge, because they sinned. So they have both lost and gained dominion. Pretty much everything that follows goes back to Genesis 2 and 3 as I learned things in Hebrew school. What matters most is to bow before God's will. God is very willful and testy. The Fall and Expulsion seem to me to contain the seminal vision of the problem of evil. Is there one? Evil comes from the original sin, which is disobedience. But the fruit of this disobedience is the knowledge of right and wrong. For man to be righteous is thus a conundrum. You have to first be bad to know what bad is. Then you're more godlike but now but you lose dominion over nature lest you become too godlike. And you keep getting subjected to tests and torments, and why not? Basically bad shit will happen because we're bad and we just have to obey more.

          I'm up to Abraham in Genesis now. So far, God preferred Abel's sacrifices; we're not told why, but Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer so was it Cain's fault? God seems to rub it in Cain's face ; it's like he tempts him, too--you knooow, you miiiiight fall into sin if you keep being so dour....God's also already killed almost all life on earth because people are bad; then he made a rainbow as a covenant, it seems to remind himself not to do that again, and also to remind people that they can sometimes have nice things. Here mention is made here of God's 'heart', but when the population is replenished God makes everyone speak different languages and scatters them all over the earth to punish them for building a tower so they don't get too big for their britches. The list goes on.

          What matters in the Old Testament is to be fearful and humble to God. I went to Hebrew school after regular school twice a week for seven years. I never thought there was a problem of evil because I was never taught God was or should be nice. We were just to obey His will. We were never given a reason for the sufferings of Job either and it never occurred to us there should be any. Job was the best and most righteous of men; Yahweh tormented him to make him prove his faith. The world is full of evil because we were bad. We are still so bad that even the best among us will be tested over and over again. Our reward that we are the Chosen People isn't all it's cut out to be.

          These texts have been written, rewritten, edited, expunged, translated, over so many years. But if we're going to call what we've been handed down the Bible,I think Genesis 2 and 3 is the foundation of the problem of evil in the Old Testament--which is, not much of one. Ours is to obey and endure. NOW I find that God torments Job to instill fear in him. To have faith in God must be to fear him.There are very good reasons why many Gnostic sects saw Jehovah as the Demiurge. Basically Jehovah was kind of an asshole. Hence, no real problem of evil, just duty of obedience. But all dualisms do provide an answer to the question why there's evil in the world. Christianity I believe emerged as a compromise position between Persian dualism and Judaic monotheism, and in so doing botched it and created a real 'problem of evil'.

          I have to look into it much more. And I may as well, since I've been postponing it for several decades now. My head is a sieve.
          Last edited by Roshan; 05-03-2020, 08:07 PM.

        #9
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          #10
          Liminal Spaces - A PerC post from 2017
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          "The Doll" by Hans Bellmer

          If I were to characterize my moods, they would be liminal. I inhabit liminal spaces. The spaces in between. The place between the familiar and the completely unknown. The threshold between the old and the new. The limbo between the ecstatic highs and the crushing lows. This is my waiting room. Typically, liminal spaces are where transformations take place, where the shedding of old methods and lines of thought bring forth new ones. For me, it feels like a floating, amorphous space where I’m simultaneously heading towards somewhere and nowhere. Picture driving on an empty interstate road in the middle of the night: you’re moving forwards yet the destination seems far away and unreachable in the darkness and monotonous scenery.

          In the Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, Kristeva identifies abjection as something that is situated outside of the symbolic realm (or prefigures it). When we encounter abjection we’re both repulsed by it and drawn towards it: the self is confronted and threatened by what's outside of it in terms of its typical systems of order and identity: being and non-being, identity and non-identity, human and non-human. The abject is located on the margins of two positions where the symbolic order is disrupted and meaning collapses. A somewhat related concept is the uncanny valley. The term originated from Freud’s 1919 essay, “The Uncanny,” where he defines the uncanny as something that’s both frightening and familiar. It’s the uncomfortably vague feeling that the repetition and flow of everyday life is being tampered by some outside force in a way that distorts our sense of reality. However, the uncanny is not something unknown that happens to enter our consciousness. Freud argues that the notion of “Heimlich” or "homely", relates to something that is both known and comfortable yet hidden and concealed.The home is a secret place, and the unhomely is a place that should be kept hidden but is revealed. An example of this would be a mannequin as its an object that creates a dissonance within us with the combination of its human-like visage and lifelessness.

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            #11
            I Wear My Stories (A Repost From 2018)
            Click image for larger version  Name:	wearstories.jpg Views:	1 Size:	20.9 KB ID:	9905



            The body is a semiotical space where various cultural, biological, aesthetic codes and signifiers interface and combine. In some cultures, the body gets scared, mutilated, tattooed to indicate a coming of age, status, and the passage of time. Aesthetic is narrative and appearances are important. While the outward presentation may not fully expose one’s inner workings, it does give a comprehensive summary of who you are and what you’re about in both subtle and not so subtle ways, but of course the message that’s intended and the message that’s received don’t always overlap. I first got a glimpse of this between the ages of 8-10 when I was going through puberty, and reached menarche at age 10. By age 11, I already had C cup breasts and looked mature for my age, cues for some older men to flirt with me, make advances towards me, and occasionally harass me. Of course my peers at the time wanted to join in on the spectacle at the oddity that I was. The idea that really took root in my mind was what it means to be female, and coming to understand what being female entailed. I hated my femaleness since it made me marked. My body was a public spectacle for others to comment on, leer at, and grope, a thing that matured faster than my mind, not to mention having all the sexual desires of woman but not fully understanding what those desires are. I almost think these conflicting drives set up a precedent for the duration of my life in that there’s always the need for me to exert control. Control over my image, how I orient myself, how I seek to manifest my own values and vision, and a lot of that control was exercised through the many disciplinary, aesthetic, and punishing practices I inflicted on my body, learning and experimenting with different ways to tell stories with my body.

            In my preteens and early teens, I nearly developed an eating disorder in order to wash away my womanness, an identity at the time that I felt was thrusted upon me. But what also came from my strict exercise and diet regiment was a deification of self-discipline and control to extreme degrees. Through harsh and unforgiving discipline of the body and mind, I wanted to reach to some superhuman level of existence. I wanted to overcome all of my weaknesses, become this exceptional being that’s beyond reproach and human folly. I never become that being.

            Since I was 8 to until about recently, I had severe acne and then the accompanying acne scars. All I saw was pus-filled, pulsating bumps and craters. Once again, I was marked. I felt like a leper, and I wanted to further embody that monstrosity. While making obsessive attempts to treat and hide my facial deformities, I would cut my body to ribbons and burns parts of my body (1st degree burns at most). Each new mark and blood trail was a new verse on this book of flesh. I wanted to be stigmataed with the inner workings of my psyche in all its accompanying rage-filled shame, bitterness, hate, hunger, and envy. I hated my body, the deformities on my face felt like a foreign force was occupying it, but at the same time there was a sacred reverence with each act of self-mutilation. I used to fantasize and dream about cutting off my own limbs and gouging out my own eyes as those acts represented the combination of my rage and a (twisted) control over my own body as well as the desire to be liberated from it. Nowadays I mostly stick to tattoos.

            Sex is poetry made in flesh and blood. Past and present lovers leave little pieces of themselves on me with each individual fragment having a story to tell. A bite mark from a man who had a fetish for teeth marks on skin. A lipstick stain from the time when a woman was kissing me on the neck while I was feeling between her thighs. A razor blade cut from someone who thought my skin looked absolutely gorgeous all bloodied up. Here the need for control slowly wanes and at some point in time, all laid claim to my body and our stories collide. Over time the physical markings eventually fade, but the emotions, sensations, experiences are still coded within me.

            The body is the main mode through which we navigate the world, and with that, I navigate the world by embodying all the narratives I weave.

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              #12
              I really like this self-portrait. I was thinking of posting the photo without the extra accouterments but I wanted to create an atmosphere with it. It's both revealing but the shadows and mist obfuscate the photo.
              Click image for larger version

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              • Animal
                Animal commented
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                You have the smoky. misty-mysterious aura <3

              • Mahat
                Mahat commented
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                ❤️
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