The Liminalist # 32: Axioms of Perception (with Benett Freeman)


Spontaneous dialogue with blogger and open-letter-writer Benett F, on sending open letters, the question of choice, people’s openness to ideas, reliance on group identity, negative identity, joining groups, superficial and deep liminality, a return to philosophical principals, changing beliefs, changing identities, the premise of knowledge, acclarism, Jed McKenna’s spiritual autolysis, intellectual (language-based) knowing vs knowing without language, the English language’s many words for “good,” the writer’s dilemma and liminalism, the languified life, returning to a visceral, language-free state, the goal of escaping civilization, creating an enclave, a return to telepathy, the end of seeking, that which ruins everything (ego), a larger participation in existence, is this the afterlife?, Benett’s vision of a perfect life, enactments for embodiment, trauma and fragmentation, living metaphors, recognizing original trauma, the formation of the psyche and the defense mechanism of identity, amnesia and trauma, the role of a doula, Joseph Chilton Pearce’s babies in shock, a culture of denial.

Songs: “El Mariachi,” by The Freak Fandango Orchestra; “Ayahuasca” and “Quite a Light Show,” by Party People in the Can

21 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 32: Axioms of Perception (with Benett Freeman)”

  1. Earlier in my life, if I was (hypothetically) given the opportunity to snap my fingers and transform Earth into a utopia-like paradise with no struggle or pain or suffering, I would’ve snapped my fingers in an instant. If given the same opportunity now, I’m not so sure I would at all. Because isn’t struggle and pain and the overcoming of turmoil, our efforts, discoveries, risks/rewards etc. that allows us to grow, that lends a kind of high-stakes meaning and dare I say purpose to our lives? And isn’t it growth and accomplishment over adversity that truly brings us a deep sense of satisfaction? It has been for me- when faced with real challenges that I’ve triumphed over- that I’ve persevered and overcame- that’s where the true satisfaction, the deep sense of fulfillment has came from. I understand its a bit more complicated than this but there is a fundamental truth in it as well.

    You (Jasun) have expressed in your podcasts more than once that the world and human society is exactly how it should be, how it NEEDS to be. If civilization is an outward manifestation of the collective states of all individuals psyches combined, all collaborating to form our worldly experience, then isn’t society arranged in exactly the right way-isn’t it set up in exactly the proper manner so as to present us with the proper problems to overcome.

    The standard conception of Heaven doesn’t seem to me to be any type of Heaven at all. If all we did was lounge around in a beautiful, sensual paradise, free of problems, pain and suffering- we would get complacent and bored and begin to atrophy away, to regress fairly quickly. It just wouldn’t work; Heaven, in this way, seems closer to Hell. Perhaps this is why utopian thinking and aspirations seem to so often end disastrously; there is a lack of wisdom in utopian ideals.

    So a true Heaven would be some kind of quasi-tolerable space on a knife’s edge between the standard conceptions of Heaven and Hell, where wrong, miscalculated moves incur real painful consequences and true, proper, honorable moves become rewards for ourselves, rewards of growth, rewards of inner/outer accomplishment and self-discovery that we must EARN- in other words, a real Heaven would be the very world we currently live in. And then again-at the same time- I feel my statements are a bit half-baked, or even corny. Am I missing something here?

    One might ask: “If Earth is completely fair and exactly how it needs to be, why do innocent children suffer the wrath of traumatic abuse?”

    How do we know that prior to coming here, some truer manifestation of ourself, perhaps our “soul” for lack of less loaded terminology- didn’t see the pain and suffering on Earth and say “Sign me up! I want the trauma and pain because I know that is where the potential for spiritual growth is…” I dunno, is this too insensitive to survivors of severe traumatic abuse? To suggest that they- at some higher level- asked for it- seems kind of offensive I suppose. I don’t mean for this to sound like the Streiber-esque model of trauma = evolution. I’m simply saying that through struggle we have the opportunity to grow, in a kind of self-guided spiritual evolution that results from the collision of life and death, love and fear, harmony and chaos- that presented with the gift of adversity, the human spirit can ascend, can reach new heights that it otherwise would not achieve.

    • As a longtime lover of paradox, I appreciate this question-statement: isn’t society arranged in exactly the right way-isn’t it set up in exactly the proper manner so as to present us with the proper problems to overcome.

      There will be an answer. Let it be. 😉

  2. You always have such interesting conversations. Sometimes I wonder if we’re not all going through (being put through? how consciously?) an ancient mystery school initiation. The only way past fear is through it? Social conformity is traumatic, fear forges group think and group cohesiveness is maintained by fear. It doesn’t really matter if it’s religion, keeping up with the Joneses, nationalistic propaganda or geo-political demonizations. In many ways civilization is a protection racket that offers (the potential) for individual roses to bloom. Creating the degree of order we have in the west requires greater degrees of disorder elsewhere (the third world). 9-11 was quite obviously a trauma based co-option of the collective imagination that created the necessary ‘evil other’ that was (thought to be) necessary to maintain our way of life, that requires control of the oil resources of the middle east above all others in a globalized world. Of course there are layers of complexity but the US Military states it all quite succinctly with the phrase “full spectrum dominance”. Dominance, Control, Exploitation, Trauma…and possibly awareness, understanding, collective growth? Pollyanna perhaps, it can go either way I suppose.

    Nobody mourns for the sapling in the forest that fails in it’s bid for the light.

    I’ve experienced my share of trauma, despite having won ‘the lottery’ of a birth in Canada. Mental, physical and emotional abuse at home as a child. Sexual abuse (@ age 6) that I didn’t remember until 24, despite all the signs as a child but nobody wants to know – not really.

    When disassociated memories become conscious and associated it is mind shattering. Once the ball starts rolling down that hill life becomes very disorienting and revealing in the most bizarre and coincidental ways. I think we’re all, in so many ways, repeating ourselves (learned patterns) until we actually, consciously listen, then change can happen.

    On a more macro (societal) level the story of the Mau Mau is very revealing. The underworld is repeated everywhere and continuously – waiting to be lit up.

    I could go on but why bother? The world is plain to see if one chooses to look without preconceptions. Growth and struggle are synonymous. I’m 44 and I only hope I bloom in my own way before I die. Most blooms go largely unnoticed and I’m perfectly OK with that, it’s an interior thing that just happens to come out. This world is unbelievably beautiful, even as illusion, fractal, sensory, and I’m grateful I can experience it in a sensual way and attempt to connect with all of it as aspects of Self.

    Don’t get too lost in the hall of (distorted) mirrors. Silence is complete, words are shards or shrapnel.

          • I don’t know, it could go any which way. I can only suggest that the key to unlocking so much of this place (and western colonization around the world – begin with the vision of Francis Bacon?) are the First Nations. Gabor Mate is as good a guide and contact as I’m aware of. That is the most prominent expression of the underworld here, of course it can trace it’s roots way back: the theory of evolution —> Eugenics —> the myth of progress, technological superiority (control – power), etc.

            I’m white (from redneck stock) but my wife (Metis) works with first nations. They still have massive trauma in their community and are rather powerless and unwilling (shame, grief) to address it.

            People still seem to think that those that dominate win, meh, what we do to others we do to ourselves. Ask me how many alcoholic tree fallers I know? Plenty.

  3. btw, what I appreciate most about your conversations is your willingness to have authentic dialogue, it’s a rare thing. It takes great courage to stare into the void and be vulnerable to that unknowing; to shed all the tears of sorrow and transform them into tears of joy. Nobody knows, yet here we are in the lunatic asylum drunk on ourselves. It’s still a tragic comedy – this ape shape. So many b.s. cover stories for so much pain. I don’t know – maybe… 🙂

    i’m curious to see where this conversation goes in the next installment. You’re on thin ice pushing this fellow about trauma. If you crack the egg before the chick is ready to hatch…big responsibility.

  4. Hey Jasun, , I love the way the last podcast ended – I would say you tore strips off-of Bennett. I reckon the forthcoming podcast will be 5 minutes long because Bennett will say “fuck-you” and slam the phone down. Anyway, I can’t wait for the next installment!

    Wantage, England

    • Steven Herbert said: “I would say you tore strips off-of Bennett. ” I did not come away with that impression, and I listened to the episode twice.

      Gilgamesh said to Jasun: ” You’re on thin ice pushing this fellow about trauma. ” Regarding birth trauma, which Jasun was emphasizing, I would think that Bennett Freeman would have been much more likely to have had any possible trauma about that part of life to have been brought to light through his sister’s work as a doula. Conversing and being friends with a person arms-deep in the muck and brilliance of actual pregnancy, birth and babies is much more confronting about the lived experience than a phone conversation with someone quoting a book on the topic.

      • I didn’t feel I was tearing strips of Benett either.

        To the other point, not necessarily. It’s less to do with whats being said or the source of it, than the place it’s being said from. And most of all, with what one person is seeing in another, even without saying anything at all.

        BTW: I boosted my voice on this one so it was higher than Benett’s (in response to complaints, that is). I hope it worked.

        • Yes, i did find this episode easier to listen to – your efforts made a definite difference. Thank you!

          “….what one person is seeing in another, even without saying anything at all.”. Well, with all due respect you’ve pointed out yourself that you’re convinced that everyone is traumatized and nothing they can say or do will convince you otherwise. I don’t understand how it is you’re entitled to your world view but other people aren’t entitled to their own.

          “…what one person is seeing in another, even without saying anything at all.” This goes both ways, after all.

    • Tearing strips off of people? Never outside of a barracks have I heard such violent metaphors. I’m not sure what part of this scenario you are missing, but I contacted Jason in the first place, and although I’m a bit of a rambler, I didn’t display any hostility from which it could be deduced that I was going to lose my temper, let alone scream insults and hang up. What a shame that the best you could offer in the way of a comment was on the intellectual level of a football hooligan. I’m sure you can do better than that! 🙂

  5. I Wouldn’t go as far as saying tearing strips off, but I felt there was a terseness to some of Jasun’s responses. The main one that stood out being the part where Freeman apologises and says he was probably rambling and Jasun just went “Yeah” and let it hang there for a second. I know from reading what you have both said here that you won’t agree with me on this. Perhaps it was just tiredness or something else, but having just listened to all five parts of the show with Ann Diamond over the last few days I felt there was a marked difference in the atmosphere between those episodes and this one. Either way it made for a fascinating conversation and I’m looking forward to getting the time to listen to part 2 later.

    Also, I’ve been following your work, particularly the various podcasts you’ve done, for a few years now, and I really think this is the strongest stuff you’ve put out. The only miss for me was the episodes with Temple Grandin, and that was all about me finding it impossible to follow her train of thought and understand how, for someone that seems so logical in many ways, she kept on veering off in directions that made not a jot of sense to me. It’s a testament to your skills as an interviewer that I still downloaded and listened to the second part. So, basically I just wanted to say awesome job man and keep up the sterling work.

    • I appreciate the feedback.

      Naturally I am different with everyone I talk to, as befits the needs of the individual and the moment.

      Possibly if I’d left in Benett’s full 8-min ramble, you might have found my response more understandable. 😉


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