The Liminalist # 128: Your Own Personalized Tulpa (with Darren Westlund)

First of a two-part conversation with Darren Westlund (Derek Swannson) on using pseudonyms, being a local celebrity, Kingsburg consternation, writer’s syndrome, representing Sebastian Horsley, DMT & what it’s like to die, big lucid dreams, Robert Monroe’s astral bag of tricks, developing the double, your own personalized tulpa, Buddhism & the multiplicity of selves, David Foster Wallace, the mind’s job, the relentlessly pernicious nature of the internal voice, when nothing is enough, the path of boredom, Fernando Pessoa, making art for the spirit world,  J. D. Salinger and the allure of mystery, meeting the doppelganger, Wallace’s “Supposedly Fun thing to Do,” an evolving self-referential ego, being removed from direct experience, cultural love for suicides, Jonathan Franzen’s Purity as Assange-take-down, the concept of mental illness, writing and the primary relationship, taking chaos from within, Paul Bowles on death.

David Foster Wallace & the Horror of Life,” by Darren Westlund.

Audio reading of essay.

Songs:  “The Kommema and his Religion”  by SunWalker; “Ghost of a Chance” by Dead Cinema; “Pirates” by Entertainment for the Braindead.

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  1. oswald spengler
    Posted September 23, 2017 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    you guys had a rapport here that i’ve not heard too often on this podcast, like two special authors at a pub. great episode, looking forward to part 2.

  2. JorisKarl
    Posted September 25, 2017 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    I listened to Swannson’s DFW essay from the link provided and found it riveting and VERY funny what with Swannson’s gift for apropos but unexpected similes ala Kunstler, like the description of his septic-tanked efficiency that he deodorized with the farts of some pine tree gobbling log man.

    Jasun (and Swannson) please read Morris Berman’s _Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West_(1989), especially the central chapters on the extirpation of the Gnostics in Provence during the Middle Ages. Jasun, I’ve nominated Berman as a possible podcast interlocuter but I should warn you that his present concerns seem to be a relentless criticism and exposure of our American Psychoses, although he seems still to be the author of his earlier works in that he endorsed Amazon’s republishing of Coming to Our Senses.

    Non-self in Buddhism, esp. Buddhist philosophy, is extremely involving and complex. The key notion is that of “dependent origination,” in that we are the result, or we depend on a seemingly infinite array through time of countless causes and that we ourselves propagate said causes and effects-as-causes into a future without bounds. But the idea is to break the chain of causes and get out of the merry-go-round of endless causation and effects. The flaw in this thinking is reincarnation because of the inherent instability of a “self” that supposedly can unify the concatenation of infinite reincarnations. A conglomeration of selves perhaps could be conceived in the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (construed analogically) as reincarnating into an infinite number of futures, but such a conception is beyond hope of experiential confirmation. After all, things happen to a me in rather a sequential way as to absorb me into that way and blind to others.

    Chogyam Trunpa, the Tibetan Tulku and meditation master who founded Naropa Institute in Colorado, shortly before his death came up with an alternative to traditional Buddhism in what he called the Shambhala Program in which to connect with the heart of sadness (a natural, human ground state in his view) involved simply sitting and allowing the boredom to enter one’s awareness. Out of this basic boredom, if one patiently remains in sitting meditation, one eventually encounters the “heart of sadness,” a basic, intensely human encounter. While browsing a used bookstore, I picked up a book containing a host of 19th-century photos of American Indians, and their faces and eyes are suffused with this basic heart of sadness! That’s life! That’s what we as humans are! It’s a mistake to think that there is anything for us after death. In fact, the dream of an after life plays into the hands of the Archons. If you’re waiting for heaven after you’re dead, then you are being docile and not willing to hang the Archons with wire by their balls and beat them with metal baseball bats. They deserve no less. I guess I’m sceptical of the Gnostic’s after life. It’s all here in our physical bodies, the seat of spirit. If you have a talent for alcoholic black outs you’ll know what I mean. BTW, the English philosopher Hume had very cogent arguments on the non-existence of self as well as causality. He thought that causality was a shaky concept to say the least!

    Hemingway-suicide (he felt he lost his knack for writing?); John Kennedy Toole-suicide (“Confederacy of Dunces” most famous posthumous American Novel) Chief character Ignatius feels the Middle Ages would suit him just fine. Great dialect recreation of New Orleans and the piquancy of Southern humor.

    For Swannson: Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher, was born in the Prussian town of Koengisberg (=Kingsberg). His Critique of Pure Reason sought to map out how our minds structure the universe so as to be humanly intelligible. But I haven’t read that dense philosophical lucubration myself!

    I’d commented previously on my spontaneous ejection of consciousness during my tenure as a young man in Portland, Oregon during the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption. In my case it was spontaneous, no Monroe instruction manual. After the major eruption occurred in which Portland got ashed, I had a series of lucid dreams and paralyses over the course of several weeks. Then one night, after going to bed, I found myself floating near the ceiling of my apartment, observing its rough texture, and then willing myself to turn, rotisserie-like, to face what was beneath me. The sight of my body sleeping on the bed below me so startled me as to collapse me back into my body and into the initial sleep paralysis. Though paralyzed and startled, I intuitively felt that relaxation was key and as a result the paralysis thawed and I was able to physically move and wake up. After discovering a way of depreciating weirdness and horror, I was able to accept and gracefully disengage from these un-desired ejections of consciousness. But I have presently noted that there must be a relation, perhaps cause and effect, although I am reluctant to categorize, between lucid dreaming and so-called “astral projection.” The former precedes and perhaps causes, or at least habituates, the occurrence of the latter.

    Anyway, you two have a rapport as noted by spengler. I’m very much looking forward to the next podcast with Swannson. BTW, how can I get hold of Swannson’s novels and other writings?

    Finally…DFW=Dallas-Fort Worth.

  3. JorisKarl
    Posted September 25, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I’m skeptical of the reality of my “ejection of consciousness,” a phrase that I first heard a Buddhist lama use in a seminar he gave on death and dyingI; I think it’s achieved through the Phowa meditation (?) to achieve the transference of consciousness at the time of death (Wikipedia). Anyway, I think it’s more likely that my ejection of consciousness was a phase of my lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis. Because of the lucidity of my dreaming, the out-of-bodyness seemed indistinguishable from reality and I felt that if I had (but I didn’t) got up on a stool while awake and examined my ceiling that I’d observed that it had the same rough texture and aspect that it had while I was up close to it during my ejection of consciousness. But still it’s interesting that my body looked like it would have from the perspective of looking down from the ceiling at it.

    Could it be that when consciousness subsides our minds are then able to flexibly warp perspectives in a reality-conforming way, that the images gathered during our waking ours can be photo-shopped by our unconsciousness? Seems likely given that visual artists can, for example, mentally visualize a figure in the round when only given a front view of it.

    These ejections became almost routine with me once I overcame my initial fear. But it puzzles me that I never tried leaving my room and wandering in the astral. Perhaps the fear is still there on a very deep level.

    Carlos Castaneda made his books quite tedious with querying Don Juan constantly about the reality status of his experiences. I’m doing the same.

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