Leo's Blog: Infinite Insights
Miscellaneous bits of wisdom about personal development, philosophy, epistemology, nonduality, life purpose, psychedelics, etc. Published randomly throughout the week.
Insights here are meant to be quick and half-baked. Consider these food for thought.
I've deliberately disabled comments to keep the blog streamlined. If you want to discuss any of the blog posts, you can do so here: Actualized.org Forum
I'm back from a week of meditation in Hawaii. Here's what it actually looked like. It's hard to imagine a more beautiful place to meditate.
"Teach the tongue to say, 'I don't know'."
-- Hebrew proverb
I don't like to get too political or too alarmist, but the reality is that if you believe in holism, you ultimately cannot separate politics from personal development. Being conscious also translates into being a good citizen and taking responsibility for the community in which you live.
These days people take government totally for granted. As if a well-functioning government is a right or a guarantee. It is not! Government is not a service. You are not entitled to any rights or any fair treatment whatsoever. The only reason we have well-functioning government today (if we do) is because high-consciousness people put a lot of blood, sweat, and thought into orchestrating and defending it. The default position is not good government. The default position is corruption, theft, gross inequality, abuse, egotism, and domination. Free democracy is a very precious and fragile thing. You should be very thankful that you live under such a regime, if you do.
It is no coincidence that the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers were also deeply involved with politics — because mankind is a social creature, and community affects consciousness ENORMOUSLY. Perhaps the best example of this was Marcus Aurelius — one of the best Roman Emperors who also happened to be deep Stoic philosopher. In his work, The Meditations, you can clearly see how his level of consciousness affected his governing. Compare the thoughtfulness of someone like Marcus Aurelius and Obama vs Caligula and Trump.
So with that justification out of the way, I want to present a couple of really good videos about the troubling situation happening with the Trump presidency. This isn't your typical partisan mudslinging contest. This is really wise analysis from hard-nosed and experienced thinkers which you rarely hear on TV or Facebook.
Please note that I am not sharing these videos to convince you to become a liberal. Whatever your political leanings are, that's okay. What's being pointed at here is a meta-issue, beyond partisanship. I want you to start to think of how it would look if you started applying principles like consciousness to your relationship with your government. If you are not American, there are still lessons to be learned here. This really isn't about Trump per se, but about psychology, ideology, consciousness, groupthink, dogma, epistemology, tribalism, critical thinking, self-deception, ego, ecology, materialism, etc.
Bonus videos from Noam Chomsky:
P.S. If you use these videos to become ideological, or to entrench deeper in your political position, you've missed the point entirely. Go meta!
"Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald
I'm about to start my second solo meditation retreat. This one's taking place on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hilo side. I booked a secluded cabin in the middle of the jungle near the volcano. It's on 20 acres of dense forest, filled with old Ohia trees and fruits trees like lechi, guava, bananas, and avocados. I'll be meditating outdoors on the 2nd floor deck. That is, if the mosquitoes let me.
(These aren't actual images, but similar to where I'll be staying.)
Can't wait to get out there and meditate my ass off. It will be 8 grueling days of nonstop meditation and self-inquiry.
As I did with my Arizona solo retreat, I will do some filming outdoors and nightly debriefs with lessons learned. I'll post those a week or two after I return.
I feel more confident and prepared for this second retreat. In the last month my gains in consciousness from 3 deep psychedelic trips have been remarkable, and my new yoga practice is showing lots of promise. My mind has become quieter, my concentration ability has improved, and my inquiry process has honed-in. Now is the time for everything to come together into a major breakthrough.
I'll let you know how it goes.
P.S. I have 3 more solo retreats planned for 2018. One more in Hawaii, one in the jungles of Costa Rica, and one probably in the piney forests around Seattle or maybe Oregon. I also have many psychedelic trips planned. All of it should produce a big transformation in my consciousness in 2018. At least that's the plan. You never know how things will unfold. One thing I hope you take away from my retreats is that this non-seeking advice you hear from certain corners of the spiritual field is total horseshit. You should work like a mule for your enlightenment, the way all serious spiritual masters did.
P.P.S. Weekly videos and blog posts will still be released. The hopper is loaded, so stay tuned.
I like Nome Chomsky. He's a brilliant thinker. He's also quite controversial. Why? Is it because his political ideology is radically liberal? No, not really. People hate on him because fundamentally what Chomsky does is expose American self-bias. He preaches and practices a rare form of collective self-honesty. And of course what's the greatest sin one can commit against the collective ego? Self-reflection!
Getting unreflective Americans who hold as dogma that America is innocent of wrong-doing in the world to reconsider their self-biased position is tantamount to treason. It commits the greatest sin: disloyalty to self. The sudden realization that America may be one of the greatest perpetrators of evil in the world can be a difficult thing to stomach, especially because this is so rarely talked about in American media.
American media isn't conservatively biased or liberally biased so much as it is self-biased. Notice that you generally cannot go onto mainstream American media as an American and call America evil. If a major news anchor made such a statement, he/she would be immediately fired and spammed with death threats. All sorts of crazy ideas are tolerated in the media, except for that one. Why? Because it's too true! That level of self-honesty cuts too deep. It means that you, as an American, have blood on your hands. And who wants to hear that?? Certainly no American. The whole point of ego is to deny all responsibility for wrong-doing through self-justification, cherry-picking, and double-standards. The mind is like a good lawyer, always arguing on behalf of its own selfish ways.
Notice the parallels between what Chomsky points out about America's collective political ego, and what we're doing with self-actualization and spirituality, where we do the exact same thing but on a personal level.
If ego is the devil, then you are it. And so is your community, organization, corporation, nation, and species. What do all of these have in common? They are an imaginary boundary drawn around some portion of reality which seeks to privilege the included while marginalizing the excluded. Notice how this mechanism works, not only in yourself, but in the groups that you're a part of. Notice what happens when you stand up in a group and say, "Hey guys, what if we tried being less selfish?" Notice how the members in the group start to see you as a filthy traitor.
Just be careful, or you might get punched in the face. Egos get defensive and hostile when directly called out on their bullshit. You can see what I mean in the following video. Notice the paradigm of the right-winger is us-vs-them rather than we-are-all-one. That's not just a political position. That's his level of consciousness because he doesn't yet understand that all human beings are one. He doesn't yet understand the value of self-reflection because in his paradigm it's framed as disloyalty to the self. And to a low-consciousness ego, that is the greatest sin. Which is why tribalism punishes disloyalty severely.
I don't agree with Chomsky on everything (his body of work is MASSIVE), but I do admire his willingness to confront the self-biases of his country. This is rare because facing one's own devilry is some of the hardest work the human mind can do.
Please Note: The issue of self-bias is a totally separate issue from your political ideology. Self-bias is a meta-issue which cuts across party lines and is independent of ideology. Self-bias is a problem regardless of whether you lean conservative or liberal. So be careful about making this meta-issue into yet another partisan debating point.
BTW, Chomsky is also an excellent example of life purpose done well. Take a look at his career and his consistent output of creative work. He's written like over 50 books and carved out a unique niche for himself, bridging the gap between hard-nosed academia and ordinary folk. If you're an intellectual-type, such a niche might work great for you.
"Don't overwork a willing horse."
-- Russian proverb