The Dave Oshana free online event has been and gone. There were over seventy attendants, counting the people that came in twos, like Noah’s Ark. It went on for four and a half hours. A good time was had by all—well, everyone who spoke up about it on the event at least (the last couple of hours was group interaction). If I were to say there have been new converts, I would of course be asking for trouble. But there were those who had impactful, possibly life-changing experiences about which they seemed curious, excited, optimistic, and grateful. (The streaming replay is also freely available to everyone who registers at Dave’s site, see here. Those who have already registered have automatic access.)
This was followed by Dave’s Sunday online event, in which there was some discussion about the free event, including a useful dialogue about my changing role in Dave’s project, and, by inevitable extension, Dave’s role in mine. Immediately after that, I hosted a free Zoom meet for attendants of Dave’s free event, where we shared our experiences and compared notes. This meet was recorded and I may share highlights from it in a future podcast, with permission of those involved.
Meanwhile, back at the Auticulture ranch. Murmurings of discontent continue and have provided unexpected inspiration, though almost certainly not of the sort intended.
A recent commenter (whose comments didn’t make it past moderation) claimed I should listen to the “90% of my fans” who are trying to save me from Dave and get me back on the straight and narrow. This is a curious claim, because, so far, the total of such commenters is probably less than half a dozen, especially if you consider that three of “them” posted from the same IP address. One informed me that they no longer intend to finish Vice of Kings; another, quoted below, that they had planned to buy my book but now they were reconsidering. When I kept this person’s first comment in moderation, they posted again, this time in full-on infant attack mode, complaining about idiot jerks and numb nuts.
Bait and switch. With fans like these, who needs a lynch mob?
One of the most insidious hooks in all this is that, the more stupid, asinine, and vulgar the attack, the more tempting it is for my ego to whip out its mighty pen and start swinging its conkers: it starts to feel like sport. Maybe this was the unwritten temptation of Jesus? The part where the devil acts like a complete ass, hoping Jesus will get all puffed up and give him a good whupping—while Satan secretly snickers the whole time.
But Jeshua knew better. I wonder if I do?
The Voice of the Disgruntled
The first commandment of virtual space is Thou shalt not feed the trolls. But what about making a meal out of them? Turning diarrhea into miso soup, is that better than water into wine!? And if Satan’s body can become bread, can even the tempter-troll be redeemed?
Here’s the email, anyhow. I reproduce it without the author’s permission, under the “fair-usage of troll-shit” act:
I posted a response to your most recent podcast, which you moderated out. I just want you to know, I was very interested in purchasing Vice of Kings, but the position you’re in, your background, it all seems to point to you being the devil in disguise. How can your audience trust you? Isn’t counter culture just the next hand of the Establishment?
It’s even more curious you promoting Dave so hard. The answer isn’t to fight culture with better culture, or even to organize and rebel directly — its to go see Dave. It’s to just give up and say: “this is just the way the world is.” Really? Is that really just how it is? I can’t see this as anything less than the most convenient option for those in power. Go follow some guru (but don’t worry he’s not a guru) and meditate about your soul energy. It’s worked for untold millenia in India…it must just be karma then?
At least Grant Morrison had the dignity to say: “don’t trust me.”
But I haven’t heard this from you, Jasun. I think those of us who were hoping for some genuineness are heartbroken, and maybe that’s the point? There’s no one to trust. Stop looking. Give up. Can you see how this would be convenient for Empire? To give that message to us last few on the fringes? I heard you say the word “shill.” I didnt hear you say you weren’t – I hear clever talk-arounds that avoid having to come clean about it. I think your fans deserve some basis of honesty– even if it’s “don’t trust me.”
When commenting at the blog, this unnamed person used a proxy that was bounced through several countries. Clearly they want to conceal their identity, and have some minor skills in doing so. The sincerity of their intentions is open to question, however: Are they a real fan, or only playing a role? On the other hand, since they did use the word “heartbroken,” however melodramatically, I feel I owe their email at least some serious attention (beside the brief email response I gave them, and despite their most recent comment at the blog ~ 100% troll shit that insulted my readers, while simultaneously claiming to be speaking for them).
There’s more to it than compassion, though. I was sort of glad that someone put into words this position, however loony, since it was something I guessed at, while talking to Martin Jolly on the last podcast, in reference to a comment on YouTube that made similar accusations. This lets me know there are at least two people out there (unless it’s the same body using different avatars) whose minds run down these rusty old tracks. On the third hand, it’s possible I am only using all this as an excuse to write another blogpost, one that allows me to linger in the past a bit longer. It’s possible. But it also seems like a golden opportunity to better articulate and understand what may be happening here, for those who are along for the ride (so far).
It also occurred to me that, as unpleasant as it is to have to entertain these half-coherent rantings for an hour or a day, these troll-people have to spend their whole lives listening to them inside their own skulls! This is not a pretty prospect: in fact, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Why I Don’t Have Fans
The first question that came to me on reading this person’s comments was “Do I have fans?” And if so, are they disgruntled? And if so, why are they only speaking up now, and only to express a feeling of being betrayed? Why didn’t they let me know they were there earlier, with expressions of loyalty and support? This seems more than a little suspicious to me.
Some may say that they have spoken up; but if so, in most cases at least, it is not, so far, these same disgruntled ones (or if it is, they are hiding their identities). All I know for sure about these “fans” is that they generally cease to be fans—in my mind at least—the moment they engage me in a dialogue. I don’t have time for fanatics, including the flattering kind. Maybe this is why my “real fans” stay quiet—until, at least, their disgruntlement becomes more than they can bear?
The only fans I am really aware of are people who have become collaborators and friends, or at least acquaintances (as well as the occasional client). There are dozens of readers and listeners who have made this simple transition, and many of them are currently intrigued, and supportive, about me sharing my experiences with Dave Oshana. In a number of cases, this has led to their meeting Dave (attending online events, and even retreats); of these cases, the majority have expressed enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity.
But for some reason, the attitude of the disgruntled fan is that I should listen especially to their cry of indignation—which sure enough becomes full condemnation when not satisfied—and that if I don’t, I am proving my bias. But if my first acquaintance with a “fan” is when they start to complain about being betrayed or accuse me of being a shill, is it really surprising I am not especially interested in what they have to say? Or in having fans, at all?
Apparently, the mere fact of their being a fan (which apparently also means disgruntled) means they deserve special consideration. “I almost bought—or half-read—your book! Dude, you owe me!” One good thing has come of this at least: it has helped me to realize how little I care about selling books compared to actually reaching people. It may even be better in the long run if I sell less books, if it means having less “fans.” Or perhaps I only need to be reaching a different demographic?
Am I responsible for a disgruntled fan’s disillusionment? Or am I responsible for giving them the illusion they feel disabused of? Is it both, or neither? Where does my responsibility begin? Am I my brother’s keeper? At what point do I cease to be a human being, sharing his experience with anyone who’s interested, and at what point do I become a teacher, leader, cultural figure, with followers or fans, and a corresponding responsibility for looking after their feelings?
Ironically, I have (mildly) wrestled with this question regarding my previous written output, The Lucid View and Homo Serpiens especially, via which (I now feel) I unintentionally spread disinfo due to my own naiveté and unconscious complicity with bad memes. Yet, also ironically, no one so far has complained about that earlier material. (My guess is the sort of “fans” who are disgruntled are more likely to groove to old Aeolus material; they certainly don’t seem like they would appreciate the subtleties of Seen and Not Seen.)
Another irony: several of these fans (possibly the same one, using multiple sock puppets?) have tried to argue that I am repeating the mistake I made with John de Ruiter, only now with Dave Oshana. As Mr. Jolly jests, Dark Oasis 2: Electric Boogaloo (and yes, Dark Oasis and Dave Oshana have the same initials: what more proof do you need?!). Despite this, no one, so far, has tried to argue that, since I have reneged on some of my earlier books, why the hell should they trust me to read the more recent ones? Yet surely this would be just as reasonable a position to take—or just as unreasonable?
Fear of the Light
As my wife said yesterday, when I told her of some of the troll comments: “This (project) is not for the faint of heart.”
You thought you were going to have it easy? You expected to be able to lounge around with your bongs and your Bibles and bitch about Empire and controlled oppositions till the hens came home to roost in your unwashed underwear? To ferment like mushrooms in the darkness of the cozily-familiar and fantasize about fomenting a grass-roots revolution while binging on Netflix or Gnostic Logos Media?
Well, you wuz wrong.
Anyone who thinks they know where this project is going is in for a rude awakening. You thought darkness was scary? Darkness is comfortable, safe, predictable, easy. It keeps you warm at night. It whispers in your ear that you don’t have to do anything at all except keep on dreaming.
The light is something else entirely.
Some people apparently think that wising up equals becoming wise. From what I’ve seen, it’s just as likely to equal the opposite. You wise up, and then you become the biggest fool of all. This is what happens when people think they have seen enough shit—enough of the toxic and deceptive nature of the world—to know that it’s all shit. They become complacent in the certainty that culture and society is nothing but lies, so they can stop looking for truth. Stop seeking anything besides entertainment and distraction—including online “information” about how the world is all shit, which, since they “know” this already, is just reinforcing their prejudice, idly fingering a wound instead of dressing it.
There are two sorts of complacency in the face of unrelenting darkness: either we give up or we start fighting. These are the only two options the mind identity ego sees. Revolt or despair. Fight or flight/freeze. The problem with rejecting culture while remaining embedded in it and dependent on it—instead of looking at the ways we have been conditioned by it and made complicit with it—is that it leads to self-rejection, guilt, self-loathing. It leads to a tale of a beast without a beauty, a troll without a soul.
A curious fact about Dave Oshana is that he appears to annoy both spiritual believers and spiritual skeptics. He annoys the first class because he doesn’t meet the requirements of a spiritual teacher or guru. He bugs the second because he looks too much like one.
Sometimes, most curiously of all, the critic comes at the conundrum that Dave presents from both sides simultaneously: “He’s a guru!” (bad); and: “He doesn’t act like an enlightened person!” Presumably, by this token, a guru who did act like an enlightened person would be OK. But in fact, that’s not OK either, because gurus are bad. The only OK thing, apparently, would be an enlightened person who acts exactly like anyone else (especially them).
It’s either that, or enlightenment itself is bad, or perhaps a proven delusion. Essentially, the problem seems not to be with someone saying they are enlightened (which is only considered arrogant and rude), but with the possibility of enlightenment itself, at least pertaining to anyone but themselves. Because, if enlightenment did exist, and someone attained it, they would have no choice but to look up to them, and this is ipso facto already established (by the cultural program) to be bad.
It feels good to write all this down, but what feels best of all is to share good news with good folk and to see that, for every disgruntled trickle oozing from behind a soiled proxy condom, there are five or ten heartfelt and soulful voices who seem increasingly receptive and willing to let down their guard of cynicism and mistrust, without sacrificing their critical faculties, and take a chance. There is relief in seeing that healthy skepticism isn’t the same—is not even related to—suspicion and distrust. Seeing that the exact opposite is the case: that the purpose of sharpening our skepticism and discernment to a fine point is precisely so we can begin to trust in life, more and more full-bloodedly, and to go boldly forth, without hesitation, doubt, or fear, where only the intrepid few have gone before.
What’s being revealed to me over the course of this latest unveiling is that there are people out there who dare to care, to love and trust, not because they are naïve or uninformed, but because they have found something good and are willing to stick to it. Not everyone needs to know the dark, inside out, in order to find the light. There are different degrees of immersion required of us all. And I have immersed enough.
What could be sadder, more wasteful or tragic, than someone who has become so acquainted with the darkness that they have lost all sensitivity to the light? Yet this seems to be what’s occurring within the field of conspiratainment: limb-thrashing, teeth-gnashing seekers of “truth” who are willing to go so far and no further, who shrink back in horror at the sight of light, of an actual way out, and who seem less afraid of a life of endless tunneling than of the light shimmering faintly but unmistakably at the end.
Those who have been unable to go from paranoid awareness to self-awareness have unwittingly chosen paranoia over awareness.
For the Convenience of Empire
In Disgruntled Fan’s email, he writes: “I think those of us who were hoping for some genuineness are heartbroken, and maybe that’s the point? There’s no one to trust. Stop looking. Give up. Can you see how this would be convenient for Empire? To give that message to us last few on the fringes?”
What has broken this person’s heart? The fact that I have been saying the precise opposite to what they have heard? That I have been writing and speaking about someone I have found who I can trust, someone who I believe is offering the possibility of a way out? The disgruntled are objecting, not because I am giving a message of hopelessness that is convenient for Empire, but because I am giving a message of hope that is inconvenient to them. It is easier—more convenient—for them to believe I am a shill. Why? Because Empire has them, body and soul. It has captured them via their own fear and loathing of Empire. They have succumbed to the devil’s wiliest temptation.
Originally, this person thought I was genuine and trustworthy, if not quite as good as Grant Morrison (who they can trust—because he tells them not to). Then I did something they didn’t like, and the romance was over. What did I do? I spoke about somebody I consider trustworthy and genuine. Their disgruntlement is this: “Why the hell did I ever look up to you, man, when you are stupid enough to look up to this guy?”
What an ironic paradox! Apparently, I exposed my own gullibility, foolishness, and untrustworthiness by being willing to trust someone besides myself. Yet if we can’t trust anyone besides ourselves, why would they even care (if I trust someone)? The lonely troll was looking for a savior to save them, but couldn’t admit it to themselves. What could be more humiliating for them than seeing the one they were unconsciously looking towards, doing the very thing they couldn’t bear to admit to?
That which you have within you that you do not bring forth will destroy you. Troll, digest thyself: or submit to becoming fodder for thine own soul. Hey it’s almost Easter: someone has to be the sacrifice, right?
While mulling all this over, I realized yet another irony: there are a whole lot of people (maybe—or maybe all sock puppets to one Borg-mind) who insist they would never be stupid enough to look up to someone else. And yet: they have no problem at all looking down on just about everyone. When they say, “I don’t look up to anyone,” they aren’t claiming that everyone is equal—far from it. They are saying, implicitly, that they are better than everyone else.
How do you square this diabolist’s circle? I had a brother who also considered it weakness to believe in any kind of superior power to himself, so I think I have the answer. When “You are the only light there is, my friend” becomes “I am whatever the hell I choose to pretend to be,” you have moved 180 degrees from the tiniest of openings to a dead-end. You have gone into nihilism-lite, which is solipsism, dark. Faith in anything outside yourself is weakness, gullibility, stupidity? Contempt, superiority, and cynicism are the only measure of strength or integrity? What a perfect state of submission to reduce people to!
The Empire is within you—which is why it never seems to end. Both Jesus and the Serpent said “Ye shall be as gods.” There are two ways to receive truth; but only one of them leads to freedom
There’s another problem. Since we are cultured, socialized beings, we don’t (yet) have the tools—we haven’t developed enough sensitivity—to recognize anything that doesn’t come to us via the world. If we reject anything and everything that appears to be good, on the basis that “nothing good comes out of culture” (while we carry on taking the stuff we know is bad, and hating ourselves for it), what does that leave? A tunnel without light. Because if we are waiting for something that isn’t wearing the outer garments of culture to save us, how will we even recognize it if it appears?
The same applies with Dave Oshana and the spiritual marketplace. Dave may have no other choice but to parody being a guru in order to be identifiable to those he can assist. The awakened must enter the nightmare to awake the dreamers; formlessness must assume form, if it is to transform it.
The same applies to this blog, podcast, etc. Whatever is happening here. Not “If we build it, he will come,” but, as we come together, something (formless) enters into form. There may be no way for souls to come together and share a burgeoning awareness and optimism about something that has nothing to do with the world—or with the terrible state it is in—without appearing “woo-woo” (formless, fruitless, or un-in-formed!) to eyes and ears that are permanently fixated on the world. Whether their senses are fixated in idolatry or dark fascination matters little. Often enough it is both combined: We idolize the darkness, and fetishize the pain.
I should know. I am the original sinner. Once upon a time, while half demented from too many psychedelics, I heard God say to me, as I turned away from infinite love, “Well, kid, if perfect beauty ain’t enough for you, you’re on your own.”
That moment of sheer damnation seemed to go on forever. Yet every moment since has presented the same choice to me. Mercy is infinite, but we have to ask.
The Problem of “Enlightenment”
Now I will offer up my one olive branch to the disgruntled, however wildly irrational, obtuse, circular, and numbingly empty their arguments may have been. The word “enlightenment” does seem to be part of the problem and not the solution.
Accordingly, this is my open letter to Dave Oshana:
Like “conspiracy” and “guru,” the word “enlightenment” may at this point be tainted beyond salvaging. There may even be a solid reason for this. The word “conspiracy” was coopted by conspirators to further confuse us, to prevent understanding, and to obscure their actions behind a cloak of counterfeit narratives designed to constantly trigger our ego-minds into perceiving the problem as an “us-and-them” one, rather than an “us and us” one (exhibit A: DF’s email).
“Guru”—as you spoke about in the last online event—traditionally referred to “fixers” who worked in conjunction with religious, political, and economic power structures, to help the world-oriented become more comfortably entrenched in the world. No freedom here, either.
So then, what if “enlightenment”—the word—has, by and large, likewise referred to a state of consciousness that is compromised and incomplete? One that was itself a form of worldly dissociation, of super-egoic inflation and siddhi-wielding, turbo-charged, psychic consciousness, allowing for genuine power and knowledge, perhaps, but lacking any deeper reference to the body or the soul (wholeness), and hence divorced from truth or goodness? In other words, a lie? What then?
(This is simply a more nuanced way of saying: what if 99% of people throughout history who claimed to be enlightened, weren’t?)
In this case, does using the term associate you with a lineage of delusion? And if so, is it time to coin a better phrase? Far be it from me, who has only the most partial experience of this mystery, to offer suggestions. But, in the spirit of getting a heavy boulder rolling: how about “cellular sentience”? Or “full-body awakening”? Or “somatic ensoulment”? Or “embodied formlessness”? Something! Anything!
Will you hear the appeal of the unenlightened? You are the enlightened one here, so you tell us. Provide us with a pithy and punchy description that doesn’t trigger all of these unnecessary associations, the good, the bad, and the ugly, a descriptor that requires some unpacking, certainly, while stimulating healthy curiosity and interest. I know you can do it.
You may counter that we shouldn’t cater to the negative critics (don’t feed the trolls). This is something I am learning now, as I slowly shift my literary focus away from the dark, towards the light (scary stuff—this is not for the lilied of livers, as we have seen). On the other hand, if a door squeaks often enough when you go through it, maybe it needs some oil?
And if a word sticks in enough people’s throats, perhaps it is not only the throats that are at fault? Maybe not all words are created equal, and this particular fish is too bony by half?
Speaking of words, here’s a last tidbit that speaks directly to that matter. This is from a dream I had of Dave, following the free event. Just the relevant parts.
Dave explains to a woman who is antagonistic to him that he can only help people if he cares about their bodies. The implication is that caring about someone’s body (their being) is dependent on how much they themselves care about their bodies, and how they treat it. All this makes perfect sense to me.
I am talking with Dave about writing a book together—telling his life story. I feel I have cleared up enough space, internally and externally, to take on the task. Dave says, “I don’t think you are ready. You haven’t asked for lightning to strike yet.”
I disagree with him. “There are several reasons that’s not right,” I say. “Number one: I ask for lightning to strike every day. Number two—I forget what number two was just now. Number three: how do you know that working on this project might not be my way of asking lightning to strike?”
Dave seems to accept this. He begins to talk about his life, and shows me several previous attempts to write it down. I am flooded with material, a vast and overwhelming amount of impressions and data (the only thing I recall has something to do with mushrooms). There seems no conceivable way to organize or structure this material (turn it into a book). It is unthinkable. I realize then that, if I am going to take on such a project, since there is no way to contain all of this material with my mind, I will have to rely on something other than my mind. More: I will have to go outside my mind to do it.
I realize then that it is not a matter of wanting lightning to strike but of needing it. I am outside my mind realizing this. All that “Dave” content has pushed me out of it. Lightning has struck.
I wake up in a spacious bodily state, energy coursing through my body, which feels quite different, like an expanding container of light, possibly a sphere. I wonder for a moment if I have awoken in a new state of being (I won’t say that word). I realize after a few moments that I am still in my mind today.
Follow-on live event, Sat 13th 11 am PST: