“When you evacuate yourself of the principles of a repressive ideology, you will experience a vacuum until you do the self-work to cultivate a new moral foundation.”
- ^ !!!
- “Self-work”. What’s that actually mean? What is the appropriate self-work, practically speaking? Is it a “you have to discover that for yourself” thing, or are meditation and the slew of introspective practices endemic to Eastern philosophies the one-size-fits-all approach towards “collapsing inwards”, as you awesomely put it? We can more or less agree on the problem: externally contrived fictions of “self” that inject all these ugly and oppressive neuroses into the culture. And we can more or less agree on the end-goal: breaking through the Ego’s glass floor into the warmth and light of boundless compassion & love & the good stuff (those were two big assumptions of agreement…hoping you’re willing to stomach them for the sake of the progression).
- (Really a continuation, 2.5, but Medium’s formatting doesn’t let me divide the behemoth paragraph otherwise) But how do we move from one to the other? That transition is fueled by “self-work”, as you said, but if you tell me to do self-work tonight I haven’t a clue what you actually mean. Again, I come back to wondering if I think the answer is telling everyone to meditate, or take psychoactive drugs, or some other tactic that seems inevitably bound to the idea of shedding our illusory separateness, but if I’m just told to deeply contemplate my identity, I don’t know what the hell I’m to do, and certainly have no idea what I think others in the same existential quagmire as me ought t’do. It sometimes seems that the more people realize it’s all Bullshit, they feel less compelled towards instructing others in any fashion, and gravitate towards advocating nothing (read: stillness). It’s the platitude along the lines of “stop striving to become, and just be”.
- I guess that even asking you to substantiate the “self-work” into a pragmatic thing is on the surface-level path of becoming — on its own track of cornball prestige, but cleverly disguised.
- For those of us in the vacuum, I suppose we just keep asking around if anyone knows a way out. And if we get lucky enough to ask someone worth asking, they tend to respond with the anticlimactic shrug of stillness. Then we carry on asking everyone at the gate if they know what the best “self-work” is, or what it means, until eventually, if we’re lucky, in a moment of enlightenment/epiphany/cosmic orgasmic/collapsing inwards, we lose the itch to continue asking.
- I still feel the urge to ask around. And I’m sure you’d have an interesting response as to what “self-work” means and where we can learn about it. But I’m also worried you might hit me with the shrug of stillness, which I can’t conceive of interpreting as anything other than meditation, which I groove with but am not sure how to convince others — or, I suppose, myself.
Thanks for the spectacular piece, you’re holding plenty of space at the gate.