Taoism

Cultivate Attention and Discernment (5)

La Clairvoyance (1936) (“Perspicacity”) By René Magritte 1936.

“Sound judgement, with discernment is the best of seers.”

— Euripides


Reading time: 15-17 mins

So far, we’ve looked at healing the past so that we have a firm foundation upon which to build, such as choosing constructive, positive emotions. To be able to take the first steps, we must have enough self-respect and at least some measure of self-control to take responsibility for our own development. That means choosing this as a central aim parallel or including, a process of objectives, without self-deception or short-cuts. We must simplify our daily routines and scale back our ambitions so that undue complexity doesn’t enter in prematurely. Economising our energy permits progress to that end. If we never have enough mental, emotional and physical energy available then our aim will remain in the realm of fantasy – the very source of the drain itself. Non-identification, positive detachment and proper attention help us simplify and return to what is essential. To be aware of the mammalian brain and its addictive habits we can choose to cultivate attention. When we know what to look for, we can begin to recognise the emotional, intellectual and physical patterns which keep our creative potential trapped. We might then be able to discern the true nature of ourselves and our relationship to others.

So, what is “discernment” exactly? From the Latin words ‘dis’ (apart) and ‘cernere’ (to separate), it’s a skill that we develop in order to comprehend what is vague or obscure. This applies to a person, situation or an abstract idea. It is the art of seeing which includes the realm of the five senses and by extension, the possibility of accessing different modes of perception using the marriage of intuition and reason. And we do this by shunning self-orientated, subjective impressions and by striving to obtain an objective view of life as possible.

If we can comprehend something and reach clarity then we can exercise sound judgement and the further ability to discriminate between what is true or false. Discrimination – the noticing of any part, quality, impression, detail or difference in comparison to another object, person or situation – is the essential partner to discernment. Without constant discrimination between what is negative and positive, good or evil, gaining useful insights from a holistic view cannot be attained.

Careful discrimination weighs up and compares, discernment permits initial recognition of impressions received. We are then able to exercise judgement and reach a conclusion of the overall picture, coordinated by the will of attention. As Scottish theologian Sinclair B. Ferguson states: “True discernment means not only distinguishing [discriminating] the right from the wrong; it means distinguishing the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, and the permanent from the transient. And, yes, it means distinguishing between the good and the better, and even between the better and the best.” And this means learning that the “devil” is often in the details because lies to ourselves and lies in the outer world are frequently sandwiched between the sweet and seemingly well-intentioned. Or, as British Baptist Preacher Charles Spurgeon once cautioned: “Discernment is not a matter of telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.” Which is why ancient philosophical traditions emphasize the subtleties inherent in developing such skills.

“Almost right” is still wrong. And that can be a big deal when your life depends on it.

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Cultivate Detachment and Non-Identification (2)

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

“Inner silence is for our race a difficult achievement. There is a chattering part of the mind which continues, until it is corrected, to chatter on even in the holiest places.”

— C.S. Lewis


Reading time: 15-20 mins

Inner Considering

You’re on an internal cell phone to your “Self” that never stops ringing. You pick up and you say the same thing over and over. You hang up. And then it rings again and you start over, completely forgetting your last feverish conversation. Our wires become so crisscrossed and entangled with endless contradictions and conflations that we end up trapped in our mind.

A life of endless chatter, deliberation, vascillation, questioning, doubts, ten thousand possible ‘if’s’ and ‘but’s’ fuelled by our fantasies of the future and the past. These thoughts get our brain and nervous system so habitually overheated, criss-crossing over each other with complexity, that we cannot discern or discriminate objective from subjective.

That’s an unfortunate part of being human. We all do it to different degrees – mostly as our default position. It certainly takes me back to all kinds of poor decisions which were based solely on that inner noise of fear and anxiety and not much else. We can even make ourselves believe that it’s all logical and rational rather than an internal babbling of self-protection.

All this has a name: “inner considering”, a phrase drawn from the 4th Way teachings of George I. Gurdjieff and its relationship to indentification and self-remembering.

When we fully identify with the object of our attention we immediately begin a cascade of thought loops about what might or might not be, fuelled by anticipation and inner dissatisfaction. People, in particular, form our most potent forms of identification. This is the social battlefield of unresolved childhood insecurities and misdirected sexual energies. Plagued by endless loops of inner considering we are not motivated by truth but by self-protection and inner comfort. It’s like we carry around a no-entry sign for any authentic interaction. Only those exchanges which bypass “sensitive” lanes into our heart are allowed access. And since most people are asleep to themselves, therefore inauthentic, much of what we see as social interactions are merely the exchange of inner considerations.

Fear is still pumped into society on a daily basis and has produced immense distrust and cynicism. Our infotainment mediocrity elevates artifice and images devoid of meaning which means most of us search desperately for anchors of purpose. Albeit entirely understandable, this is a fool’s game because it is driven by subjective, frustrated assumptions and all manner of negative projections – all of it largely unconscious.

The net result means no change, or change for its own sake. The loops are still there based on a refusal to take responsibility for one’s own development. A contractile denial of one’s own deformations remains in place.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (7)

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

“He is richest who is content with least, for contentment is the wealth of nature.”

— Socrates


Reading time: 10-15 mins

SEE

In this final post on Strive for Simplicity, Economise on Energy (SEE) we’ll summarise what’s gone before and end with a list of what we can do to get the ball rolling and a few other nuggets of interest to whet your appetite for change.

We looked at how SEE is expressed through Taoist traditions, the I Ching, Wabi-Sabi and Nature. This was followed by an exploration of how Western culture has lost sight of living simply with an unhealthy adherence to civil law and its development of “bureaucratic insanity.” A useless complexity bound by rigid absolutism enforced by an army of “robopaths” is in direct opposition to Natural and Common Law – not least the human wish to work together and seek self-sufficiency. A resurgence in voluntary simplicity and the natural community virtues that arise if cooperation were given the needed nourishment were also explored.

The challenge of simplifying our lives in order to reconnect with beauty and truth in practical ways can only be achieved with knowledge of how we use our energy – thoughts, feelings/emotions and body awareness. Our task is to use our energy more productively so that we turn towards creativity in everyday life. As a primer for further discussion on energy as it relates to applying SEE, we reviewed the nature of energy and the centres/chakras from a 4th Way perspective. The role of our planet, organic life and the moon as largescale sources that might drain our energy were reviewed, with a brief description of ancient and modern myths.

We then looked specifically at energy economy and conservation. After using the analogy of the house as our body-mind system we returned to Taoist and I Ching symbolism through the archetype of The Well as our fundamental resource, The Mouth as nourishment and The Cauldron as the alchemical vessel by which consciousness is refined to make SEE a possibility. This acted as a backdrop to the subject of sex and sexual energy which was briefly explored from a cultural perspective and the divisions and pathology which has led our sexual-creative centre being misused.

Beginning with a confirmation by science of the reality of the Chinese energy system we delved into the nature of sexual energy and back to the 4th Way views of the sex centre’s role in relation to culture, sexual relations and masturbation – a dynamic that is not just focused on the gentials but appears throughout our culture under different guises, all of which lead to the loss of intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual energy.

Finally, a brief look at the brain as the hub of energy refinement and loss was covered, along with some pointers on a digital detox from social media and other forms of infotainment  – a major source of energy drain. Two bio-mechanisms of procreative sex and pair-bonding were highlighted and the role of dopamine in the reward circuitry of the brain leading to a circle of unrecognised addictions. In light of these, we delved further into a narcissistic and orgasm-centred culture predicated on addictive behaviours which have displaced intimacy and bonding behaviours. This was followed with an introduction to the love-making art of Karezza as the most useful method for sustaining intimacy and harmony within a relationship.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (6)

The Kiss (Lovers), Gustav Klimt, oil and gold leaf on canvas, , 1907–1908.

“Behind every shallow sexual interaction, there hides a person who does not want to see or be seen at a deeper level.”

Michael Mirdad, An Introduction To Tantra And Sacred Sexuality


Reading time: 30 mins

Brain Power

Before we continue exploring the vital role of simplifying and economising through attention to sexual energy let’s take a brief detour into the brain and the spaghetti junction of incessant thoughts.

An enormous amount of energy is expended in thinking deeply about a subject and still more when our thoughts are a product of stress and anxiety. Factor in low-grade fantasy and you have a major energy drain in the mind-body system. With such a breach, our perception, impressions – what we give out and receive – and ability to think critically is seriously impaired by subjective evaluations, warped still further by defensive mechanisms and stagnant beliefs.

The brain is a big, jelly-like battery making up 2 per cent of our body weight. Even at rest, this incredible hub gobbles up a whopping 20% of the body’s energy. [1] It’s long been known that the brain uses more energy than any other human organ, – up to 20 per cent of the body’s total output., with two-thirds of that energy used to help neurons or nerve cells “fire” the remaining third devoted to general “housekeeping,” and cell-health maintenance. [2]

Each neuron has a small voltage 70 millivolts or 0.07 volts. That may not seem much when compared to the 1.5 volts of a AA battery or the 115 volts from a wall socket, but at the microscopic scale, which is where it functions, it’s pretty impressive. In fact, when you take into account that the brain is made of 80 billion neurological batteries each of which contains four times the electrostatic force that normally results in lightning during a thunderstorm.  [3]

Our brains pack a powerful punch.

And when the procreative urge gets in on the act, usually as a form of grounding all that “electrostatic” tension, then a massive explosion of neurochemicals occurs at the point of climax. Sexual saiety is the result – or offspring.

The point is, this is a major “charge” which has a major downside and may not only be exhausting your physiological responses and your nervous system but re-wiring the neurology of the brain toward habituation. We become addicts to what is a very narrow mental and biological mechanism rationalised by the intellect, fuelled by ignorance.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (5)

Infrakshun / pixabay.com

‘In order to make gold, you need to have gold.’

— Medieval alchemist


Reading time: 20 mins

Energy Matrix

Eastern philosophy and medicine has been well in advance of the West when it comes to recognising the energy of the body and mind. For thousands of years Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese and Indian practitioners had knowledge of the channels or meridians which carried two kinds of force, yin and yang, which flow along a network of energy pathways which map the entire body.

It is now accepted that our bodies are electromagnetic in nature with these energy pathways acting as electricity conductors, a fact of which acupuncturists take full advantage in order to regulate and “unblock” certain imbalances in the energy field. Knowledge of the energy network of meridians forms the diagnostic methodology behind Shiatsu/Acupressure, Qigong, Tai Chi and Yoga. Indeed, science seems to be catching up with what the ancients have already known for thousands of years.

As no anatomical foundation was perceived to exist for the meridian network in our current Darwinian-saturated science establishment the concept had been discarded and ignored as the Newtonian/Cartesian mindset held sway. However, a flurry of new experiments emerged in 2013 which produced a new anatomical foundation called the ‘Primo Vascular System’. Researchers at the Seoul National University in South Korea describe the PVS as “… a previously unknown system that integrates the features of the cardiovascular, nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. It also provides a physical substrate for the acupuncture points and meridians.” They propose “…a new vision of the anatomical basis for the PVS and the vital energy—called “Qi”—as an electromagnetic wave that is involved very closely with the DNA in the PVS.”

What is most fascinating is the duplication of the PVS by the vascular and the nervous systems during the very early stage of body development. Consequently: “… the PVS combines the features of the vascular, nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. The PVS in all its aspects is understood as a system that covers the entire body, and regulates and coordinates all biological life processes.” [1]

This was followed in 2016 with discoveries on the microstructure of the PVS via the use of a patented microscopy system by Professor Vitaly Vodyanoy of Auburn University in Alabama. He revealed for the first time “the microstructure of the miniscule, translucent system of vessels, subvessels and stem cell-filled nodes—together making up the primo-vascular system…” which appears in and on blood vessels, organ tissue and the lymphatic system. As for less complex biological of rats, it too features in the human system. [2]

Instead of a simplistic version of meridians lying on the surface of the skin, classical Chinese texts have always indicated the three-dimensional nature of energy pathways which carry liquid Chi to the internal organs. This liquid is made of stem-cells packed with DNA. And we know the enormous healing and regeneration properties of stem-cells and the mysterious nature of DNA as one factor in the interface of consciousness with knowledge and reality.

Now, keep in mind the importance of liquid in our bodies and its role in carrying protective and nourishing information.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (4)

© Creator76 | Dreamstime.com

“A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson


Reading time: 15-18 mins

Energy Conservation

To conserve our energy in the way we think, feel and act we need to know how they might all relate in simple terms. So, let’s simplify it.

Think of energy efficiency (upgrades) and energy conservation (energy use) leading to the correct economy for your life. The home can be thought of as a metaphor or symbol of your mind and body. (If you like, this is an extension of Jordan Peterson’s thinking of tidying up your room).

Energy conservation involves using less energy by changing your behaviours and habits. Energy efficiency, on the other hand, involves using techniques, traditional systems of knowledge and new technologies that requires less energy to perform the same function.

Energy efficiency = all those qualities and techniques you can find to maximize your potential and minimize chaos. Accumulate energy for creativity and minimize loss from internal and external entropy.

Energy Conservation = simplifying your life through judicious, careful attention and limiting unnecessary drains on energy. employing measures which ensure you are not only efficient but have a constant supply on tap. Conservation sometimes means getting very creative. The more you conserve, the more likely that can be!

In other words, to be energy efficient means looking at ways your personality system can be upgraded so that less energy is needed to perform certain functions and which provides qualitatively better results. This can be “costly” in the short-term but requires much less effort in the long-term. This includes insulation, replacements, careful monitoring and upgrades.

Energy conservation involves actively seeking new ways to on your internal efficiency. You change your relationship to energy within your home. You seek ways to receive energy for minimum loss and a minimum amount of effort. It is strategic, long-term and eminently practical. It requires a re-calibration of existing appliances (organs of perception; centres) in order to extract a maximum amount of energy. The energy that you have is used wisely.

In other words, it means a change in overall behaviour through commitment and a creative application of knowledge.

How might we use our energy more efficiently?

Insulate, upgrade and monitor.

Insulate your mind and body from that which would drain but remain porous enough to let constructive influences through. And if you have good quality insulation then you have more energy to produce warmth and proper flow of electricity and therefore creative potential. (It might be stretching this metaphor to its limit but it’s no coincidence that key brain areas found to have more nerve fibre insulation or “myelination” equates to advantageous personality traits!)

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7. Strive for Simplicity, Economise on Energy (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

© Infrakshun | M.K. Styllinski

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

— Lao Tzu


Reading time: 20-25 mins

Simplicity.

What images does it conjure in your mind? Minimalist architecture? A Zen garden? A painting? Perhaps the symmetry of a fir-cone or a statue of Buddha?

It probably took me about 25 years to really get what simplicity seems to be. And even now, I sometimes struggle not to complicate things. I like complexity you see. The more complex something is the more interest I have – be it people or abstract ideas.

But to reach a complexity that is enriching we have to first simplify our minds otherwise we become lost in abstraction, reductive identifications and a multitude of obligations and desires. Next stop – burn out.

Simplicity is a state of mind which has the potential to affect our thoughts and actions in the everyday world. It implies an economy of thought and movement which can to lead to harmony. When simplicity and harmony exist, moral virtue is not far behind.

Simplicity is not just peace or mindfulness, it’s the state of receptivity and creativity working as one. And for that to occur we have to let our 24hr desires abate somewhat; we have to let go and let it Be.

The root meanings of the word derive from the 14th Century listing “singleness of nature, unity, indivisibility; immutability,” and from the Old French simplicité; Latin simplicitatem meaning “state of being simple, frankness, openness, artlessness, candor, directness.”  The Middle English also from French: simplesse, used the word from the mid-14th Century in the sense of “humility, lack of pride,” and later as “wholeness, unity.” By c. 1400 it was also known as “ignorance.”

Obviously, I’m using simplicity in its positive sense: unity, wholeness, openness, clarity, purity, elegance, parsimony, humility, economy, etc. It can just as easily imply black and white thinking, ignorance and stupidity as the 15th Century populace discovered, ironically as humanistic individualism was making itself known.

The West has prided itself on inquiry, reason, rationale and critique (even if it doesn’t quite measure up to those ideals); the legacy of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason; individualism and humanistic innovations. The influence of the East is the other half of the equation: an understanding of the inner world and the meditative mind; the slow calming of the incessant intellect in order receive what Chinese and later Japanese Buddhists called “The Tao.” As esotericist George I. Gurdjieff  described it: “Take the understanding of the East and the knowledge of the West and then seek.”

The Taoists  have a lot to say about the virtues of simplicity. One of the most famous Taoist texts is The Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing) believed to have been written by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu sometime in the 6th Century B.C.

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In the Name of the Father IV: Catholicism, Cathars, Psychopaths and Satanists

ms4

                     Monségur castle

 

“What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines.”

― Ignatius of Loyola


The question of paedophilia – in many cases as a probable sub-category of psychopathy – has been explored. The prevalence of homosexuality within the Church is not the issue. The presence of hypocrisy and deception and even possible murder most certainly is. Paedophilia, pederasty, child rape – whether from homosexual or heterosexual preference is equally abhorrent and has been an infection within the Catholic Church, for a very long time, perhaps from its inception.

Sexual energy being forced into an unnatural repression for those who are nowhere near ready to lead a life of abstinence can also lead to disaster. The repression of instincts and desires on top of a maladjusted personality for whom such constraints are dangerous to himself becomes so for others. The Catholic sacraments require the clergy to become celibate and to renounce marriage for the observance of chastity – a view of virginity as the special prerogative of the Christian priesthood. In other words, it is a body-centric doctrine that requires the clergy to lead by example; to become one of the elect that is purified for Christ in order to transmit divine guidance based on the keynote of service.

Jumping back several centuries to a pivotal period for organised religion may be instructive.

The Cathars were a heretical, dualist sect which flourished in southern France, in the region of Languedoc in the 12th-14th century. The Vatican was so worried about them that it formed the notorious Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1233 to combat the spread of this form of heresy. This reached its climax in what came to be known as the Albigensian crusade. Catharism has a peculiar link not only to Catholicism but the nature of psychopathic dominance. Looking back at history we can see how it compares to modern day versions of the disease, acting as a progenitor of today’s emerging Global Pathocracy having spread beyond the confines of organised religion.

In the early 12th Century the Church was deeply threatened by the popularity of Catharism. So much so, it created the first systematic and organised form of inquisition which would later become the infamous Spanish Inquisition the template for much of the totalitarian forms of oppression and torture we have witnessed, from Stalin to Pol-pot, the Nazis to the inverted forms of totalitarianism of modern day government agencies in Europe and America. These were manifestations of a core change in societies which according to historian R.I.Moore led to the “… formation of a persecuting society” from the 1100s onwards and which would stay with us to the present day. [1]

The Catholic Church eradicated every last trace of Catharism, so that most of the writings and evidence for their existence comes from the inquisitors themselves or their supporters. While returning to the source of Old Testament barbarism this also serves to glimpse the true nature of organised religion. Once thoroughly ponerised it stands as a grand exemplar of inversion – what happens when psychopaths hollow out an ideology or belief system so that only the artifice of the original remains. Meanwhile, psychopaths and their sub-categories of authoritarian followers use it as a vehicle for bending reality to their desires.

It is fair to say that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church then was little different to the Church of today except in the crudity of their suppression and dogma. Whereas in the 13th century you could be burned at the stake, excommunicated, whipped through the streets for penance and other such draconian forms of punishment, these forms have been replaced by more subtle forms of coercion. Hidden criminality against ordinary people such as money laundering, extortion, cult and occult groupings and the immense wealth that drives matters at the political and civil level all have equally serious consequences for the idea of religious “service”. [2]

The crusade against the Cathars has remained shrouded in myth and mystery not just because of their beliefs but the brutal way in which they were exterminated from a region that was said to be hundreds of years in advance of the Renaissance. Much literal reading between the lines has been carried out over the intervening years by both specialists and romantics alike lending both authority and frippery to the legend. As a result, Catharism has become a flag-bearer for the New Age and occult tradition with various levels of credulity. Despite this, Catharism has a vital connection to the present in that we are witnessing the same genocide of truth across the world in a variety of complex forms.

220px-Cathar_cross.svg

Cathar cross

The word “Cathar” derives from the Greek word katharos meaning “pure.” The Cathars were quite literally more Christian than the Christians, following the Ten Commandments and New Testament more closely than the Papal clergy. They observed chastity and poverty rejecting all forms of luxury and material goods for life on the road. They revered Nature; refused to lie or swear oaths; were vegetarian; supported contraception, euthanasia, and held a belief in the transmigration of souls and reincarnation. Their dualist beliefs seemed to be rooted in both Eastern and Gnostic traditions of alchemy, where self-knowledge led to “purifying the vessel” which played a vital role in their teachings. Known for their ascetism, humility and compassion, practicing Cathars (or the “Parfait” meaning “the pure” or “perfected”) numbered no more than a thousand while the number of “credents” * (believers or lay-people) were many thousands more.

There was a rich culture of troubadours and poets aligned to Catharism whose poems and songs of chivalric love underpinned the teachings of the Parfait in populist form. These were travelling minstrels who entertained and educated with the equivalent pop songs of the day. With concepts known as “paratge,” which included honour, courtesy, nobility, chivalry and gentility as the starting point, the lyrics spoke of metaphysical principles that were profound and sophisticated and which greatly appealed to the population of South-West France. It eventually led to a natural rejection of the established Church and its ever-present corruption.

Having tried to muster support for a war against Languedoc and the Cathars for several years Pope Innocent III finally obtained his wish in 1209. The genocide against the Cathars and their followers began with the sacking of Beziers and gradually faded at the siege of Monségur in 1244. The Pope knew full well that any hope of converting the population with a war would fail so he turned it into a replica of the crusades that had raged in the Middle East, thereby appealing not just to the religious extremists but those who saw enormous an opportunity to rape, pillage and come away with substantial amounts of loot.

Béziers was the first city to fall victim to Simon De Monfort, the Pope’s military enforcer and supremely merciless medieval psychopath of the day. After slaughtering most of the inhabitants the city was intentionally set alight, a frightful precursor of what lay in store for so many Cathars, creydents and innocents. It was the type of carnage that was to characterise the next 25 years and lay waste the culture, ecology and spirit of the people of Languedoc.

Historian Stephen O’Brien describes the end:

Soon the entire city was ablaze. The soldiery gradually backed out of the inferno of Béziers. They staggered past the bridge, over the Orb and returned to where they had begun this strenuous afternoon of abattoir Christianity. As they watched the city was consumed in flames, literary a funerary pyre for what scholarly consensus estimates at 15,000-20,000 victims.

Everyone in the town from greybeard Cathar Perfect to newborn Catholic baby, was put to death in the space of a morning. In the days before gunpowder to kill that many people in so short a time required a savage single-mindedness that beggars the imagination. To the crusaders bitter about the lost booty of affluent Béziers there was consolation to be had in knowing that they had done God’s work so efficiently. Personal salvation had been ensured by this stunning victory. In his letter to Innocent Arnold [Amaury head of the Cistercian Order] marvelled at their success. “Nearly twenty thousand of the citizens were put to the sword, regardless of age and sex,” he wrote. “The workings of divine vengeance have been wondrous.” [3]

Over two generations or more of Languedoc men and women were put to the sword, burned alive or tortured to death without trial whilst the counts of Toulouse and many Cathar noblemen were dispossessed with their lands annexed to France. The educated and literate society of the region was replaced by a new Dark Ages and a descent into chaos. The Dominican order was formed to mop up and extinguish the last residues of resistance, taking advantage of the time to persecute and execute Jews whom the Catholic Church also did not trust.

The records of exactly what Catharism espoused is still mysterious. Since most of what we have to go on has come from inquisitorial records extracted under torture and therefore, not exactly the most reliable source from which to form an opinion on Cathar beliefs. From reading between the lines and the credents’ witness reports of the day, Catharism may not have concerned itself with a fear and loathing of the body as evidenced in Christian orthodox religions, but viewed the body as a tool to be respected and utilized for the production of “higher energies” or a form of alchemy of the soul. Their dualist perspective had many elements of a pragmatic holism rather than an enforced moralism.

During the governance of the Cathar councils over the churches in Northern Italy and Southern France, they advocated a spiritual practice for the lay-people that was incremental in its development. The eventual choice for celibacy was part of a natural condition for the very few Parfaits that felt the calling. It was for an elect that had sufficient objective quantities of love and wisdom which were obvious in their thoughts and actions. They were very probably genuine adherents of a living, spiritual faith which was not based on words but accessible, spiritually pragmatic actions which were in stark contrast to the hierarchical authoritarianism, ostentation and corruption of the Church. The maxim of: “By their fruits shall ye know them” was apt.

At its root, what made the Cathar crusade so ruthless and unrelenting may have nothing to do with belief at all, religious or otherwise. Rather it was the meeting of two opposing socio-cultural phenomena: a creative way of life which espoused a compassionate, spiritually practical worldview which met the full force of an entropic perception of life, thoroughly entrenched and unyielding.  As Cathar principles represented a living spirituality intimately connected to Nature and Mind it was logically practical and compassionate and therefore, easily translated into everyday life. Inevitably such teachings which emphasised a personal connection to God conflicted with the dominate purview of organised religion which was the current nesting ground for genetically predisposed psychopaths. The destruction of a way of life was the only conceivable solution in the face of a long term threat to a religious pathocracy.

Cathar coin found at Monségur the stronghold of Cathar parfaits and followers.

Cathar coin found at Monségur the stronghold of Cathar parfaits and followers 

The battle between Catholic orthodoxy and Cathar heterodoxy concerned the question of Good and Evil. Cathars were dualist: matter and spirit, yin and yang, light and dark. There were binary choices to be made in order to distinguish between what augmented the soul and what debased and thereby decreased it. Discerning the specific situation where good and evil battle is fraught with difficulty and knowledge of psychology was needed to discriminate accordingly. To that end, Hell was the Earth but escape was possible by learning to discern the presence of evil in yourself and the external world. Moreover, because the recycling of consciousness (reincarnation) was a key principle in Cathar teachings it inevitably made a mockery of most of the Catholic Church’s tenets and rules.

Who cared if you had sex before marriage if love was the driving force?

Who cared for silly rituals and oaths which made little difference to the essence of who you were?

If the task was to purify and refine your soul in order to escape the endless cycle of incarnation then it stood to reason that earthly concerns and the dogma of theology, nationalism, status and racial divides faded away when you knew that you could be born into the opposing camp. Muslim, Jew, Cathar or Catholic – all forms were on a spiritual wheel. The Light of God was in every man, woman and child and was there to be awakened and freed. Discipline was needed but it was an inner friction of conscious evolution, a choice to be made from within, not from an outside authority. It was the Cathars’ job to nurture that spark by example, something the Catholic hierarchy had abjectly failed to do. Love and empathy was inimical to the smooth running of the Church – fear was the primary weapon of psychological control.

Though Cathar teachings revered Nature as a symbolic version of Heaven made in matter, it was the earthly life that was the “World inside the Devil” and a creation of the forces of darkness. Matter was on the downward spiral away from salvation and ascension, thus corrupt. If systems and institutions were derived and built on the principles of matter and used for men’s desire alone then such systems deserved to be ignored. The authority of the Church was nonsense and a human construct inspired by the Lord of Matter, which was Satan.

For the Cathars and their creydents, it was no surprise that Satan had clothed his minions in the disguise of the self-professed saintly and divine. The self-denial, abstinence and conspicuous absence of wealth among Cathar elect brought into sharp relief the excess and opulence of the Catholic Church. It also fed into popular resentment from ordinary people that something was rotten in their ruling, religious Elite when it came to taxes and penance on behalf of God Almighty. The concept of hypocrisy became the whispered by-word of the people closely followed by disbelief and the reduction of fear. If paying taxes and tithes was a con-trick, this inevitably meant the loss of power and control which could never have been allowed to continue. This core principle of power hoarding is as relevant today as it was then.

The elevated status of women in the movement’s beliefs as well as the refusal to swear oaths of any kind was directly related to the nature of medieval society at the time. Women were deemed equal which was highly subversive. Yet the logic was fitting. If you were a high-ranking cardinal in one life and a prostitute in another – why consider anyone to be enjoying a higher status than the next person? This was also counter to the whole workings of feudal society where status was all important. The authority was maintained by everyone knowing their place in the hierarchy of serfs, vassals and nobles and clergy, a divinely sanctioned pecking order bound together by those same oaths that the Cathars refused to follow.

And here we come to the crux of the matter – the maintenance of power and control of feudalism in Medieval Europe was paramount. Strangely enough, it is precisely this vision of neo-feudalism that has been making a return in the halls of power in the 21st century. The only difference is it is masked by quite sophisticated history of perception management and social engineering.

One can easily discern in Cathar teachings echoes of Gnosticism and Eastern philosophy such as Chinese Taoism and by extension, later anarchistic thought. These perennial philosophies taught that society was inherently corrupt and beyond redemption due to the nature of its inception which was ego-based, desire led and promoted by darkness. The Path of Knowledge and self-improvement was the only way to escape based on the establishment of alternative communities of Truth.

Could it be that behind these great movements that were seemingly anti-society a kernel of truth was common to all in that the pathogen of evil lies in its ability to deceive and distract the mass populace until such time its ascendency has reached a critical mass? Perhaps the nodal points of this “darkness” allow the spread of this macro-social evil through genetically predispostioned “vessels” designed for that very purpose?

These men and women were not known by the terms “credents” or “Cathar” – these were pejoratives given by inquisitors. They called themselves not Cathars but Christians, and referred to their region not as Occitania but in terms of local places and lordships.

Perhaps, after all, they were the real Christians just as they claimed to be.

msmin

Modern symbol of the Cathars at Minerve

***

We are living in a potential age of renewal where in one very real sense we all have the choice to follow some of the principles of Catharism and right human relations or to believe those who profit from  lies and manipulations. Andrew Łobaczewski’s data gathered from his fellow psychologists and his own valuable but harrowing experiences provide us with the tools to understand the emergence of micro and macro-social manifestations of evil and to recognise the symptoms.

As regards religion, Łobaczewski had certain reservations at the beginning of his research that in some way his discoveries would lead to a dilution of his faith as a Christian. He knew that ponerology must bring about certain revisions in our way of thinking as to what constitutes morality and ethics. Perhaps like the Cathars before us who tried to embody the same evaluations and principles in their lives, he mentions that a true rendering of Christianity, without the distortions and many layered fabrications built upon it and an awareness of ponerology has the potential to:  “… bring our thought processes closer to that original and primeval method of perceiving moral knowledge.” [4]

Hysteroidal Cycle

What is fascinating about this period, its relationship to the modern era and the emergence of psychopathy and organised “evil” is that it is predicated on what Łobaczewski calls the “Hysteroidal Cycle” defined as a pattern of change from the psychological definition of hysteria: a psychological state of uncontrollable fear or exaggerated excitability. In this context Łobaczewski describes it as a “fear of truth” or fear of thinking about unpleasant things so as to not “rock the boat” of current contentment. So much of our atrocities and genocides occur precisely due to normal people’s refusal to see the writing on the wall until it is too late – a pathological adherence to a perceptual blindness. The primal fear of the psychopath and the evil that exists ironically causes an avoidance and projection of those fears to the extent that we collectively conjure the very thing we so desperately wish to avoid. Yet religion doesn’t have to be discarded entirely. Łobaczewski talks about the strength and cognitive introspection from the Gospel teachings that can help us understand our fellow man better and provide spiritual nourishment in times of hardship.

Yet, overall, religion cannot be trusted to overcome this cyclic disease due to the absence of a “naturalistic knowledge” i.e. an objective language formed from a psychological awareness and untainted by belief or egotistical demands. He reminds us that the pathogens of evil that eventually culminate as a Pathocracy have: “… certainly appeared many times in history, in various countries and in various social scales. However, no one has ever managed to identify it objectively because it would hide in one of the ideologies characteristic of the respective culture and era, developing in the very bosom of different social movements.” [5] It is this insinuation and successful germination of psychopathy within the structure of organised monotheistic religions of Islamic, Catholic and Judaic orthodoxy that proves so successful; the nature of subjective, authoriatarian doctrines guaranteeing their cyclic manifestation.

Although religion provides spiritual succour to the populace and acts as a regenerative source of strength in times of hardship it is often this very hardship that religion has in part been responsible for perpetuating due to the fundamental flaws built from its theological materials, a principle that applies to any institution that has fear at its root. Łobaczewski adds to this point stating that: “… religious faith and the phenomenon of Pathocracy are in fact at different levels of reality, the latter being more earthy. That also explains why there can be no true collision between religion and the ponerological knowledge about the macrosocial pathological phenomenon.” [6] Which is why the “truest values” regarding any religious faith and connected “societal defence” must stem from a purity of intent and the utmost transparency if pathocratic designs are to be blocked. Our present religions seem ill-equipped to do so.

The ponerisation of religion is a long, drawn out process. Any individual or group pathogens still remaining attached to the structure, even when ostensibly cleansed by reactions from normal people after suffering the sheer exhaustion and oppression that comes from such a dysfunctional state, it does not prevent the process from starting up all over again.

Łobaczewski states:

Human individuals cannot easily contain the entire process within their frame of reference, since such a state spans many generations; their criticism will thus be limited to the questions they are immediately familiar with. However, this gives rise to a gradual but uncoordinated pressure front of reasonable people, thereby instigating some kind of evolution within any group thus engendered. Such evolution will aim at reactivating the original religious values or at overcoming the deformations.

Whether this process achieves its definitive goals depends upon two conditions: If the original idea was contaminated by some pathological factor from the outset, the goal is unreachable. If it is attainable, our asymptomatic approximation will place us in a position wherein the definitive elimination of the effects of the surmounted illness requires an objective view of its essence and history. Otherwise it is impossible to eliminate the leftover pathological deformations which would survive as a factor opening the door to renewed contamination.

Some religious groups may have been started by persons who were carriers of certain psychological anomalies. Particular attention should be focused upon largely paranoidal characteropathies and their above-discussed role in instigating new phases of ponerogenesis. For such people, the world of normal human experience (including religious experience) succumbs to deformation; spellbinding of self and others easily follows, imposed upon other people by means of pathological egotism. We can observe marginal Christian sects today whose beginnings were doubtless of this nature.

If a religion which later fell apart into numerous doctrinal variations had such a beginning, the above-mentioned regenerative processes effected by healthy common sense will bring about a point of advancement that the said religion’s ministers perceive to be a threat to the religion’s existence. Protecting their own faith and social position will then cause them to employ violent means against anyone daring to criticize or bring about liberalization. The pathological process begins anew. Such is the state of affairs we may be actually witnessing today. [7]

Once religion is dominated by pathological individuals it has ceased to become anything remotely resembling spiritual guidance: “The religious idea then becomes both a justification for using force and sadism against nonbelievers, heretics, and sorcerers, and a conscience drug for people who put such inspirations into effect,” thereby allowing religious institutions to become enablers of far reaching, pathocratic directives. [8] In some instances, this can reach almost tragi-comical proportions such as the 1568 edict from the Catholic Church elect which condemned the entire population of the Netherlands to death for heresy. [9]

The Cult of Catholicism

Today, we face the same mass inculcation to obey authority under an array of disguises led by governments and agencies of the United States, Britain and Israel with suitable reactions of “paramoral indignation” should anyone criticise their imperialistic policies. And sometimes, large numbers of the population die for exactly the same reasons they did hundreds of years ago. As author Graham Green so aptly pointed out: “Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought.”

burning_hereticsA community-based, dogma-free spirituality incorporating basic psychological knowledge of ponerology may be far better suited to prevent pathogenic infection of the kind that has characterised the genocide and totalitarianism of religious history of the last two thousand years.  What will be crucial is a gnosis that infuses the foundations of a spiritual reality with its outward appearances as close to the truth as possible. Such a break from ponerogenic influence may only be achievable as Łobaczewski terms it, “… whenever a given religion represents a current of gnosis and faith which was originally authentic enough.” [10]

All this encapsulates and symbolises the cover-up of historical truth so prevalent in the twisting and early Christian myth-making that took place around the man called Jesus. It is the arrogance and self-righteous denial fused with the rigidity of “faith” that seals up the cracks in the walls of Pathocracy serving to extend its presence and adaptive qualities. To admit that the infestation of child rapists and molesters has come about because of the Church rather than despite it, can shake the very foundations of that faith. When that faith is inverted, it becomes the new “crusade” that creates conflict when confronted with objective reality. Psychopaths thrive on the warm, dark corners of our minds that harbour such illusions. They are then able to inhabit the outward structures of those beliefs at great expense to our inner life.

The balm of Religion can guide and heal with its myths. The structural precepts of the Church however, appear to be designed for control. When ponerogenesis has taken place the original foundations of truth have no option but to crumble in the face of the physical manifestation of the debasement of truth: abuse, thus organised religion has become a “safe heaven” for paedophiles.  A systematic cover-up of this age-old tradition of abuse was already present and enforced through threat of excommunication. Once the flood-gates began to open, the Church used every tactic in the theological book to coerce its members into remaining silent and to toe the line.

These entropic dynamics allow us to understand just how easily monotheistic religion lends itself to abuse in past epochs being a civilised version of an acceptable Cult in the most literal sense. This allows other cults to lodge themselves within the Church as parasitical leeches on a dying host. Focolare, Communion and Liberation, the NeoCatchumenate and the Spanish, Ultra-Conservative Opus Dei, are all examples of ultra-traditionalist movements engaging in secret initiation ceremonies, brain-washing techniques, intimidation and dangerous “psychotherapeutic” practices. [11]

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Seal of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei: “A cross embracing the world” (wikipedia)

Not content with refusing to engage in constructive discourse with his critics, the late Pope John Paul II chose to ride the spotlight of celebrity through the auspices of the Opus Dei movement, active in the world of finance, politics and journalism. He granted special legal status to the organization making it exempt from supervision. This is especially worrisome due not only to its fascist past, but its very real cult status which appeals to the young in ways the Vatican never could. The tacit approval of the late Pope John Paul acted as the perfect PR channel to extend the influence of these nested cults far beyond any rule or statute.

A Gnostic inversion of the sort experienced by Nazi Germany could easily have befallen the Vatican. Indeed, according to the late Jesuit priest and eminent theologian, Father Malachi Martin, there was a conscious Satanic component to the child molestation at the heart of the Catholic Church Corporation. Martin was convinced that Satanists had gradually infiltrated the Vatican which had led to a “… culmination of the rites of ‘The Enthronement of the Fallen Archangel Lucifer’ in the Vatican” and which took place after the installation of Pope Paul VI in 1963.

With the preceding 1962 Vatican document prohibiting all discussion of sexual abuse outside the remit of high level clergy it is hard not to dismiss this warning of Satanism out of hand.  Martin was adamant that Vatican Satanists clandestinely installed “Lucifer” through this ceremony which had been initiated at the St. Paul’s Chapel. While Catholic paedophilia has been located in almost every country that has dioceses, the Satanic references are seldom mentioned. Fr. Martin believed that: “The systematic organizational links of the network that had been established between certain clerical homosexual groups and Satanist covens had inordinate power and influence.” [12]

Whether or not these specific causes are true, the subversion of the Catholic Church was a forgone conclusion based around such sectarian ideology. The destruction of the Church however, which still gives meaning and direction to so many, begs the question, if the Vatican is rotten to the core, what will replace it?

Fr. Martin and others have interpreted the religious visions (and hoax) of the “Third Secret of Fatima” as the beginning of a redemptive period and the beginning of persecution of Christians in order that the Catholic Church may be renewed once again. Pope John Paul spoke in such terms in 1980 when he said:

“We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-to-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because it is only in this way that the Church can be effectively renewed. How many times, indeed, has the renewal of the Church been effected in blood? This time, again, it will not be otherwise.” [13]

The destruction of the Catholic Church and its consequent “renewal” could be seen as the inner elect emerging as wasps from a fruit having eaten up the insides. Only the shell remains on which a “New Order” may be formed. Much as the Church built on ancient Christianity and its perennial truths, so too, with the dissolution of monotheistic religion will the danger of a new branch develop, reconstructed into a new form of Pathocratic Rule. (See: The Light Bringer II: The Lucis Trust)

In 2003, the Archbishop of Manila died at the age of 76. He was hugely revered and greatly missed. His name was Cardinal Sin. [15] Let’s hope, unlike the Cardinal who seems to have acted as an example for his flock, that the Catholic Church can rid itself of its institutional “sin” in the same way either to transform or go to its meet its maker with a clear conscience. After all, the only authority that we need in our lives as responsible adults is the conscience of our own souls.

As comedian George Carlin expressed: “I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it.”

 


* French: croyants/croyantes; Latin: credents.

Notes

[1] The formation of a persecuting society: authority and deviance in Western Europe, 950-1250, by R.I. Moore, published by John Wiley & Sons, 2007. | A bizarre echo of Inquisitors of the 13th century and the Nazi “inquisitors” of the 20th century each required that the object of their persecution was required to sew something yellow onto their clothes. With the heretical sympathizers it was a cross and with the Jews a Star. See: pp. 11–12; The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars, by René Weis, New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2000.
[2] For a passionate, detailed and searing indictment on the results of two thousand years of organised religion read God is Not Great: The Case Against Religion, by  (the late) Christopher Hitchens Published by Atlantic books, 2007. Or for a more scientific and less bombastic view try Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion Published by Black Swan, 2007. Though in my view both are deeply flawed in my opinion, they are an entertaining and valuable analysis of the fallacies of organised religion.
[3] The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Death of the Medieval Cathars by Stephen O’Shea, Published by Profile books, May 2001 | ISBN 1 86197 3500.
[4] op. cit. Lobaczewski (p. 269)
[5]    Ibid. (p. 191)
[6]   Ibid. (p.278)
[7]  Ibid. (p.279)
[8] Ibid.
[9] p. 538; Europe: A History By Norman Davies, 1997.
[10]  Ibid. (p.282)
[11] The Pope’s Armada, By Gordon Urquhart, published by Prometheus Books; 2nd Revised edition edition, Jun 1999 | ISBN-10: 157392699X.
[12] Windswept House: A Vatican Novel, (1996) and The Keys of This Blood: The Struggle for World Dominion Between Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Capitalist West (nonfiction), (1990) both by Malachi Martin.
[13] ‘Pope John Paul II and The Third Secret Of Fatima’ QUEEN Magazine, published by the Mantfort Fathers-Bayshore, New York, September, 1983.
[14] ‘Obituary: Cardinal Jaime Sin’ BBC News, June 21 2005.