A really good show: Pike, at the Claddah in Newport

Pike

So, I’ve been playing Hookie from my usual haunts and friends for a while. But decided that I needed to get out on Saturday night.

Andy F. to the rescue. I discovered a couple of his friends were playing at the Claddah Irish pub, in Newport on the Levee, and of course he dragged me to see them. I am glad that he did so. The band, is called Pike, and have been floating around the local music scene for a few years.

Saturday 7/25/2009: They put on an interesting show, complete with fire breathers in the background. Quite Surreal. It started late, mainly due to the initial two bands in their line-up, but the wait was worth it.

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Blast from the past (“You can’t survive without being a rebel…”)

Back in my early 20s, as an undergrad, I used to collect underground zines and newsletters. In particular, the computer underground fascinated me. I stumbled on one zine called F.U.C.K – short for “Fucked Up College Kids” put out mainly by some kids who were part of Denver’s 303 scene in the early 90s.

A lot of the issues changed me, these guys were articulating the same feelings and sentiments I had, but couldn’t quite put into words. My struggles to understand a changing world and social order, my friendships, sexuality and women, an increasingly intrusive government, technology, and how I related to all of this as a young adult.  Going through old papers in storage I stumbled on old printouts of some back issues. It leaped out at me how much still relevant today. One writer in particular, Voyager, really struck me.

So I want to share a few things that deeply affected me and the way I thought about the world, long ago. If you are interested you can read it at http://attrition.org/fuck/fuckhome.html

In particular, this article is “so Money“. It was true in ’95, and is MORE true in 2009. The whole may hit you hard, but this single quote in particular speaks volumes:

“If you want to reproduce, succeed economically, or merely stay alive in modern America, you *must* become a rebel. Your other option is to be a meek virgin who spends all of his or her time indoors (afraid to go out, for fear of being robbed, raped, assaulted or murdered) filling out those 4,000 pages of IRS forms and sending your money away to a government which can’t protect you from anyone but yourself.”

Source: http://attrition.org/fuck/www/fuck0154.htm

So read more.
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The Governator, the value of learning words, and power

Governator coping a feel So, this post is rather important. Though it ended up being longer than I intentioned. Not to pat myself on my back, but there are things I’ve struggled with my whole life.

And I know you have too.

What holds you and I back, so often in life, is fear and laziness.
Learning is a type of discipline
Well “no duh”.

As Paulo Freire in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed points out, only by learning how to speak, and by learning words and the meaning of words, can the oppressed obtain some measure of power.

Once we know how to articulate something, once we know the word for something, then the fullness of its reality dawns upon us. We may all know we are getting the short end of the stick, but if we cannot articulate it then this remains an incoherent and fuzzy realization, you may know you are getting screwed.

But do you really know? Do you know why? Do you know how? I mean, really know?

Most of us can not articulate our oppression. In general. There are exceptions, but in general.

This is a demonstrable fact.

Ever go to a protest? Notice how incoherent and inchoate many protesters thoughts are? This is particularly the case at anti-capitalism, anti-globalism protests. You have a few people who can articulate their opposition to Davos, or G8, or whichever Summit du Jour, but most can not. There is authentic rage, and passion, but inarticulate.

Sure, we the caferati can bitch and moan after work over a cup of our free-trade coffee or a Jack and Coke. But does our bitching and moaning go anywhere?

Is there a reason why ruling elites do not respect the masses. By in large, elitists note that they are able to control and manipulate us to the point that once we figure out a particular scam of theirs we are still partially incapable of articulating it fully.

“I always tell them, get away from the violence. Solve problems with dialogue. That’s the ultimate power — your vocabulary. How you communicate. Study vocabulary. The more words you have, the better you can communicate, and the quicker you can put someone away…” -Arnold Schwarzenegger

There is great power in words.

Some people have criticized similar statements but as in all things there is great truth to it, and you do not have to look deep.

Knowledge is power. Full stop. Applied knowledge trumps theoretical knowledge, however. What stops so many of us from effectively leveraging our knowledge is an impotence, often instilled in us when young.

We grow older and a bit more clever, but deep down inside, often, is still impressed on our souls a realization of limitations that are often only self-imposed, and partial. That our limitations less total than we have been raised to think. This affects all of us in society, excepting a narrow few who are raised, and groomed, with an awareness of their potentiality. Most of us are raised in Plato’s cave.

The original quote in full context:

“I want kids to understand the difference: one is make-believe, like we do in movies. But in reality, I’m for gun control. I’m a peace-loving guy. I hate violence amongst the young kids.

I always tell them, get away from the violence. Solve problems with dialogue. That’s the ultimate power — your vocabulary. How you communicate. Study vocabulary. The more words you have, the better you can communicate, and the quicker you can put someone away. Because if you hit someone in the face, that maybe hurts then and there. But to put someone away with dialogue — it’s painful for a long time. People think about it at night, when they go home, and they say, “Oh, my god, what this guy said….”

It sound’s a bit different, now doesn’t it, in context? There is still the sense of a will to power, but frankly. Let’s be honest. Is this a bad thing? There is a subtext that, of course, selective quoting highlights.

That Arnold has a deep fascist bone in him is well documented.
But it is important to understand the context in which things are said and not just react to them emotionally.

Power is a reality. Control is a reality. And we live in a world in which if we do not assert some measure of self-mastery, and self-autonomy, by default we are mastered by others who are autonomous over us. Arnold is telling his audience this. Those who react most negatively to these kinds of quotes often need to consider them the most deeply.

Believing there is an easy exit from social control is a type of Pollyanna thinking.

It is comforting and fuzzy until life punches you in the face, and you discover that you don’t know how to roll with the punch. The “Law of Attraction” is not quite as easy as Oprah guests make it out to be, if it were, so many of us who passionately yearn to change our lives would have done so.

This is something that everyone must learn for herself. And sadly some people never learn it.
You can only “make your own reality” by mastering it, and yourself, by degrees. This requires discipline.

This requires your claiming agency, blaming our situation on racism, sexism and patriarchy, women, feminism, our parents, our genetic heritage, rapacious alpha males, our low IQ, our hard-gainer bodies, near-sightedness, the Jews, the Muslims, the Freemasons, the Catholics, the Amish (and why pick on the Amish?) and suchlike, all of this misses the cart for the ox.

You and I are.
We exist in a situation.

Within that situation people with far greater handicaps have achieved great things. Our mediocrity is not a birthright. But it is a destiny unless we change it.

Part of changing it is learning the power of words, as the “Governator” so kindly points out. Because we can only imagine something with clarity if we can articulate it.

There exists conditioning on our beings, we have physical and mental limitations. Genetic, biological, and physical differences. Try not to overcome nature, rather use her. Nature can be your friend if you accept what is, and work with it to maximum efficiency. Trying to master nature, turn her on her head, and sculpt an illusion out of our life, is a mistake.

Within us, as we are, here and now, within our natural limits, are vast vistas of potential that are so immense that we reject them because we fear our own power, we fear responsibility and not having something to fall back on, we fear freedom.

So perhaps Schwarzenegger was right when he said:

” …look down on people who are waiting, who are helpless. I like people who think there is more to life than eating or going to the toilet.

Ever since I was a child, I would say to myself, “There must be more to life than this,” and I found that I didn’t want to be like everybody else. I wanted to be different. I wanted to be part of the small percentage of people who were leaders, not the large mass of followers. I think it was because I saw that leaders use 100 percent of their potential. I was always fascinated by people in control of other people.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. You must want to be the greatest…”

Egoistic? Absolutely. Not politically correct. Indeed.

But look at his situation, and look at ours. What is it that keeps us in our place, and keeps elites in theirs? Our morals and ethics? Hardly. Though we may like to think so. Some grab fortune by the neck, and others wait for it.

If our world is run by rapacious profiteering elites who care about the interests of their families clans and corporate shareholders more than they care about us, it bears noting that they do not come from special golden wombs, no matter how much eugenic in-breeding goes into (poorly) preparing the world’s top families.

They simply believe different things from most of us. When most of us want to sleep 9 hours a day, some people sleep 5. When we want rest, some work 16 hour days, when we see them as insane, they retire early and live lives of leisure while we still punch in their time clocks. While they believe in their potency and power and right to lead, we are simply resentful. We do not cultivate a feeling of our own potential, except in the most delusional ways. And mostly we just think about the mess our lives have become.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

And it all starts with reading a book or two. And learning a few words, and then finding the self will and discipline to will change.

You are smart enough, you simply haven’t realized it yet. Some are prettier, smarter, faster, and stronger than you, but there are trump cards you hold in your hand that you haven’t even realized.

Time is a form of wealth that the young have in abundance, and mostly waste. It is a choice.

Choose well.

“The trick is to keep breathing 2” Of dreams and stranger things

Breath is a strange thing, by simply breathing certain ways I have been able to induce changes in consciousness that can best be described as “out of body” – this seems to be an old trick.

I see references to breath control in Muslim Sufi works (Ala al-Dawla Simnani’s techniques for example, or the Naqshbandi technique of Hosh dar dam which cultivates an inner awareness and stillness during breath) and some practices of Shia Irfanis seem to use it to support visionary exercises. In the West Julius Evola and the Ur Group’s “Introduction to Magic” advocates some suspiciously similar breath techniques to cultivate an awareness of the body’s subtle aspects and to promote a certain… dislocation of consciousness during the liminal stage between sleep and wakefulness.

I also stumbled on something similar in Robert Moss’s books on dreaming and some of Robert Bruce’s books. What is going on here?

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“The trick is to keep breathing 1” Something that helps with dead-lifts and dumbell squats

dead-liftSo, I learned this trick from one of Pavel Tstastoline’s (a.k.a. the evil Russian) books on weightlifting. This technique lies behind many “hard style” Iron Shirt techniques in Chinese Gung Fu, and also forms the basis of some Hatha Yoga techniques as well.

Basically it is Breath compression.

By using a heavy lifter’s belt whilst lifting heavy objects you are actually weakening your back because your core, being artificially supported, doesn’t have to exert as much effort. Outwardly this seems safer, but in reality you may be setting yourself up for further injuries and retarding your progress.

Why dead-lift to begin with? It increases testosterone massively, and done right it enhances over-all body strength by working out almost every major muscle group in your body.

In any case, by using your body’s own core muscles as a virtual belt, tensing your gut (NOT sucking in. Rather tensing up like you were about to take a punch) you can support your inner organs, and also cause additional tension in any muscles currently, well, tensed.

The principle is irradiation. Squeeze your hand around a tennis ball. Notice how hard you can squeeze it. Now, at the same time, squeeze your other arm tightly too. The ball holding hand should increase in muscle tension.

The same thing happens when you tense your core muscles. Tense up your abdominal muscles very lightly while inhaling, tense them hard while exhaling, and you form a tight band, like a girdle, holding your inner organs in place while you exert yourself.

If you hold your breath and exert, as if you are trying to push air out but holding it in, you can succeed in

a) Blacking out.

b) Having an aneurysm.

c) Generating massive core strength through a supreme tension of your muscles.

To avoid the first two unfortunate consequences, try breathing out slightly, slowly, but in a fluid movement.

This is highly useful while moving heavy objects, I discovered while helping a friend move into an apartment.

It really, really, helps me keep good form while dead-lifting and squatting.

It also makes the abs stronger. Much stronger. Do 5 minute sets of this sort of controlled breathing a day, but carefully. You don’t want to blow a gasket in your head…

I enjoy dead-lifting. It scrapes my shins up, and doesn’t really bulk me up. Oddly though I am becoming much stronger. My appearance is unaltered, but my core is becoming bizarrely stronger. Plus it just feels… manly.

Barbell squatting too, is enjoyable. I felt some real fear starting without a belt, but using this breath trick, and just focusing on keeping good tight form, I found myself able to squat and lift loads I would have not even imagined before.

Like Henry Rollins said

“.. I can feel it when I close my eyes.

And this is good.

And this is good.

And this is good…”