We All Deserve Better

“You must will the liberation of all beings; you cannot handle attainment with a careless or arrogant attitude.”

– opening of chapter VI of Cleary’s translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower

The above sentence got me thinking in my meditations. This has been a thread through Taoism for ages, that liberation comes with wanting to share it, fitting the tale of it’s creation (the story is some Taoists channeled it from Lu Dong-bin). It echoes with some of the fusion Buddhist sentiments from the time it was published. What is the role of wishing the best for others in the attainment (of the Tao, Enlightenment, etc.)?

So, simply, I started thinking about it, and it’s one of those moments where a few simple thoughts opens your mind. So of course I share it.

I realized how better the world would be, how happier people would be if they were more “practically” enlightened. If people were driven to be better, to be happier. It wasn’t just willing the liberation of others, it was hoping they’d seek to be happier that way.

I realized how hoping the best for others improved my own actions and meditation. I realized maybe I could help others in my practice, but also that they were fellow travelers on a journey. I wasn’t above them, or behind them, or whatever – we on the same path and it was best to do it together.

Finally I realized how people deserved better. Yes, even the assholes.

Call it Samsara or the mundane mind or whatever. Life didn’t come with a user manuals so between sages and gods and philosophers we’ve tried to figure it all the hell out. A lot of us yes, even the worst of us, could be better, could have been better. But we’re all here just trying vaguely to figure it out. So many of us would be better if we had a better idea of just what the hell we were doing.

We don’t have a full roadmap. We deserve better. We don’t deserve to suffer, and we don’t deserve to be assholes who cause suffering. This doesn’t mean I spare the assholes per se, but I can at least know things could have been better.

I’d like us to have better and we deserve it. Even when it’s time to slap some assholes down, it can be with some regret that it happened.

It really is best when the journey to self-improvement of whatever kind isn’t alone. It takes down your boundaries and your ego, and opens you up to others – and maybe to the you you want to be.

Amazing one a few sentences can do, can’t it?

You deserve better.

– Xenofact

Transgression Session

Spare me talk of “transgression” because it seems popular in media, culture, and spirituality. So many people like to brag about transgression it seems everyone is transgressing. Even the people stuck in hyper-conservative trad-life bullshit seem to be acting like it’s transgressive to give up any new ideas for the last 200 years. Hell, “transgression” seems like a brand that privileged people use to be assholes.

(Plus plenty of people who want to be transgressive also seem to hate other people who are the wrong kind of transgressive, which is kind of weird.)

Most “transgression” seems to be aimed squarely at someone else. “Look I’m violating this social norm! I’m offendingthis person.” Transgression, for too many people, is based on if you piss someone off, which is a rather silly thing. I mean I can transgress on someone’s rug with a bran muffin, a cup of coffee, and time but it doesn’t do anything.

Transgression for transgressions sake. Saying one is edgy, different, while of course being like everyone else. Also, most “transgressives” that brag about it loutly are also busy being cruel towards others as part of their “transgression,” so apparently for many “transgression” means “asshole.”

Want to know what’s really transgressive? Transgressing against yourself and your biases.

Try something different. Think different. Read something else. Contemplate if maybe you’re being cruel and mean in the name of transgression-as-brand. Blow your own mind by being someone else for a change. Maybe be someone betterb.

Transgression against your locked-down behaviors and own mummified beliefs is some real transgression.

Hell, meditation is transgressive. Stopping for a time not to be you, to sit and not act, to be different is a remarkable thing. Yes it may not seem transgressive, but really think how regular meditation seems to change you to something else. It’s quite transgressive.

Besides, when you change who you are you can really transgress against bigotries and boundaries that need to be torn down. It may also keep you from the transgression that is just cruelty and greed masquerading under another name. Sounds like a win win to me.


The Double Void of Artificial Intelligence

My regular readers are likely to be split on me discussing Artificial Intelligence. For some, you are doubtlessly curious or at least hope to see me be entertainlgy sarcastic. For others you’re just tired of hearing about “AI,” a concern I share. Don’t worry, it’s well within my usual discussions of mysticism, psychology, and religion.

As I write this in 2024, many a person is glad to sing the praises of AI. They also want to shoehorn it into every product and technology available. This desire to raise stock prices while creating bad will and endless security problems is painful, but the claims are also grating. It’s obvious to anyone with some understanding that so-called AI is essentially complex probabilistic systems that produce what (on the surface) seems to be “real.” Well, real except for being told to eat poisonous plants or presenting pictures with inordinate numbers of fingers.

Fortunately this age of faux AI also has people asking “what is intelligence?” One of the things that pops up again and again is that “intelligence is a process.” Intelligence is not something we can hold on to or grasp (or put in a box), but is a thing that occurs, it is an action. Intelligence is not something activated and shut down, but an ongoing activity.

If you’ve ever done studies of meditation, religion, and so on, this is going to sound quite familiar. Many a Buddist practitioner knows that moment where you can’t find a solid self, just a whirling thing. Taoist Meditators may speak of the entangled complexities that create the everyday mind, and the hope to see through them to a kind of spontaneous Celestial Mind. Practitioners of energetics experience mind and body as wheels and swirls and flows of energy, without solidity..

In my own meditations and experiments, I’ve experienced moments where I realize there is no me, there are just these processes. Yes the goal of many meditations is to refine oneself or see through illusion or however you want to put it – but you do learn a lot about your mind. If you practiced any form of meditation, I’m sure you’ve had those moments where you’re there but you’re not there because the you there isn’t a solid thing at all.

You’re a constant process. Evaluating. Thinking. Feeling. Modeling. Adjusting. You’re not going to be duplicated by some language toys, though your employer might try so be careful.

Now I’m not saying that “Ancient Wisdom” explains everything or predicts AI. I am saying that thousands of years of meditators, breath practitioners, and people asking “what does this mushroom taste like” will have accumulated a lot of insights in time. When you’re there looking into the self – and intelligence – you’re going to learn things.

And one thing I’d say is screamingly obvious from all these psychonauts is we’re processes so intelligence clearly is. This also is yet another reason to disregard AI as any form of actual intelligence. It’s not a process, just a bunch of triggered code and data using some complex math.

Kindly respect that your fellow humans are processes, void of any solidity whatsoever.