September 2006


“The witch doctor succeeds for the same reason the rest of us (doctors) succeed. Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. They come to us not knowing this truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.”

Albert Schweitzer,German physician, theologian, philosopher, and musician

Mesmerism, named after Franz Mesmer is the 18th century term for the therapeutic process which helps the free flow of an invisible “magnetic fluid” throughout the body. Proper flow is indicative of a healthy individual. If you are experiencing physical or even mental distress you do not have the proper flow within. Franz Mesmer used several different techniques including electrocution to facilitate healing. Now, I’m not really interested in advocating mesmerism since it’s mostly nonsense but it did have a very curious affect on society leading up to the French Revolution.

The discovery of gravity and electricity among other scientific theories in this era convinced many that there are invisible energies at work everywhere. For people in this time it wasn’t too preposterous to think an analogous human variant of this energy could exist. At first, the French academic institutions were not convinced and dismissed mesmerism from any serious study. Eventually, the French royal commission conducted a number of experiments in 1784 and concluded there was no evidence of its existence or efficacy of the animal magnetic fluid, and that its effects derived from either the imaginations of its subjects or charlatanry.

Mesmer claimed the academe and by extension the government did not want what was best for its people. But the popularity of mesmerism did penetrate the parliament, over half of which supported Mesmerists. They saw the ‘suppression’ of this panacea by the French establishment, as a clear example of the government acting against the common interest of its people. Mesmerism was perceived as the most humanitarian movement of their age, who could oppose it?

This antiestablishment undercurrent of mesmerism began to attract the radical philosophers, scientists, and pseudo scientists of French society. A snowball effect began to occur and more radicals were joining the cause. People of lower social standing believed they were suppressed, even being conspired against, by the government because their views were not taken seriously. To ignore mesmerism was to deny a cure to all the ills of society. The popularity of science at the time gave validity to mesmerism because it was considered to be a scientific political theory. If politicians and society underwent mesmerism, their bodies would be healed therefore, their morality would be improved and by extension politics would be perfected. It is safe to say one reason why mesmerism did not lead to the revolution directly but began several years later was because many revolutionaries considered undergoing mesmerism as an ineffective process for change.

I find it interesting that a popular yet inaccurate belief played a role in the revolution which is seen as a major turning point in the history of Western democracy. Bear with me but what if we replaced mesmerism with the 9/11 conspiracy movement? Even if we assume it is entirely wrong, its increasing popularity may be a factor in uniting those who would normally disagree. In the end it wasn’t mesmerism which played a role in the French revolution as much as it was the idea of the French establishment acting against the interest of its people. According to a recent poll, over a third of US citizens believe the government was involved with the attacks on 9/11. Just a thought…

“Nothing is True and Everything is Permitted”

To learn more about mesmerism check out: Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France

What is a Magical Operation? It may be defined as any event in nature which is brought to pass by Will. We must not exclude potato-growing or banking from our definition. Let us take a very simple example of a Magical Act: that of a man blowing his nose. — Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice

Aleister Crowley defined magic as the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will. He called this magic magick (mainly because it sounded cooler), a word that was to become famous and internationally used by occultists and magicians alike. In this short essay I will seek to explain my very own and personal definition of magic, with the aim of proving why it is logical and preferable to believe in magic. A cause of epic proportions indeed.

Our views and the way that we view our environment and internal proceses is shaped by our beliefs – and in turn these mold the way we view reality. Everyone has a slightly different view of any one thing – an identical occurence experienced by any two individuals will create two different ways in which those individuals perceive what’s happening. Both individuals will therefore experience something different even though the outside influences acting upon them are identical. Their different ways of looking at the occurence will create two different realities in which they live. In other words there is only subjectivity in an individual’s existence (and even though we all breathe air and gravity has the same effect on all of us, we perceive this and use this in different ways) – objectivity is the attempt of philosophy and science – an attempt doomed to failure since objectivity based on subjectivity is imperfect and therefore inobjective.

Having understood that we all shape our differing realities using our beliefs (or our beliefs shape our realities) we can move on to explain why this should concern us at all.

Let us take an example – we have man a, a scientist, a materialist and an avid enemy of all things mystical, spiritual, religious or magic. He lives his rather normal life working a rather normal job, building a rather common career for himself. He does not experience coincidences and a warm summer day brings little happiness to his heart. He is cautious and quickly forgets anything that happens to him that would cause him to question his scientific/materialistic beliefs. We could almost say that his life is lacking in wonder, childish amazement, and pure happiness without a cause.

Then we have man b who is a rather open-minded (apologies for using this word – in this case it is not an excuse for gullibility), enjoys everything that comes his way and while he does not frown upon science (he may indeed be a scientist himself), his view of the world gives ample opportunity for amazement and wonder. His life is full of inexplicable coincidences, every event in his life has a sense of purpose behind it, and every bad event is simply an obstacle that is supposed to act as a source of learning and growing. You could almost say that man b enjoys his life to the fullest and loves the fact that in his reality there is no need to hide things behind the need to explain them. He is a very flexible man.

Which one of the two men/women are you? Which one is enjoying life more? Which one will break down under stress and pressure or death of a loved one, while the other finds ways to change his situation to serve a better purpose? Which one is happier? Which one is knowingly lacking, without being able to define what exactly it is that he is lacking?

I do not wish to say that man a or man b will have different lives or that their environment will react differently to them – they may even go through identical lives. They will take away different lessons though and be differently inclined to change. Actually, they will lead different lives because they will make different choices based on their differing beliefs, identical occurences will therefore create differing effects. Personally I have made the conscious choice to be man b, who I shall finally label a magician.

Magic to me can be defined by a single word – change. Anyone who is willing to undergo change for whatever reason and with whatever result is a magician. The benefits of accepting change – or even seeking it – are simple to explain. Positive change is preferable to the less positive state preceding the change. Negative change is reversible due to the understanding of the magician that he has been the cause of the change in the first place – on one level or another. Consequently the magician can turn a negative event into a positive one, sometimes it simply takes a different view or outlook. Changing the way we perceive an event results in different emotions being produced – so it is possible to change fear to happiness or hate to love (or vice versa).  Not to mention that the only way to find what it is worse and what is better is through experiencing both.

Magicians believe that change can also be created outside of the things over which they have measurable control – in other words they can create change in things or events that the scientist would not believe are changeable. Keeping in ming that both the scientific and the magical belief-systems mold the reality in which the two live, it is not too far-fetched to say that the magician can affect more of his reality than the scientist. Where the scientist can only change what he believes is changeable, the magician can change anything.

I will end by giving you two examples of change in my past week that prove my theory. Last week I was caught on a bus without a ticket – just two days before I was showing off to my parents by telling them that I have found a way to travel in London for free. I usually get punished for arrogance. And at first, after being caught without a ticket, I felt rather shit because my capture cost me 20 pounds and social ostricization from my fellow travelers. As soon as I understood that not only was I loosing money but also my good mood, I accepted what happened to me and seeked a way to improve my situation. Instead of sulking or being aggressive (and creating negativity in me and in the people who caught me) I became rather friendly and had a half an hour conversation with the ticket inspectors. They took me to a cash point so that I could pay them (which they wouldn’t have allowed if I was a dick about it) and they told me a lot about a career about which I previously knew very little. They were very nice and when I left them we were all in good spirits, laughing and cheerful. Not what you would expect from a criminal and his capturers. In this instance I created change through acceptance of the things over which I had no control and through changing my view of the situation.

The second instance happened this weekend when I accompanied my girl-friend to a goth wedding of her friend in Birmingham. Instead of being scared or negative about having to spend money and meet new people with a negative outlook on life I intensely wished for certain things to happen during the weekend. I wished to meet a diverse group of people, to meet people who shared my interests, to meet a magician, to discuss my views on spirituality with a Christian and some other things – they all came to happen. Now I do not care whether I caused these things to happen through wishing them to happen, or whether I was simply looking for them and therefore found them among the numerous other things present at the wedding. All that matters is that they happened. I somehow suspect that in a different state of mind I would have fared much less successfully in an initially hostile environment.

And this finishes my essay. I hope that some readers will be as excited as I was when it finally dawns upon them that they indeed are magicians.

For a more thorough de-personalised definition of magic look here.

I recently met an interesting person and we got into a rather lengthy conversation. I learned that he has been studying Hinduism for many years and spent long lengths of time in ashrams. His preferred method of enlightenment is through independent study combined with the occasional stay with a guru in order to sift through and organize the knowledge he gained on his own. The longest of his visits was around a year in duration. He travels the US and considers himself to be a wanderer.

While speaking with him, I got to the topic of divinity within man. My new friend told me several stories and then mentioned one of his favorite techniques in Hinduism. One can invoke certain Gods when in need of help, usually invoking the God whose particular attribute would be most helpful to you. I’ve never considered the psychological significance of this before. Putting aside whether these Gods ‘physically’ exist or not, this is a very interesting practice of self-empowerment.

That night I randomly flip open Peter J. Carroll’s ‘Liber Null‘ to find the following:

Metamorphosis may be pursued by seeking that which one is not, and transcending both in mutual annihilation. Alternatively, the process of invocation may be seen as adding to the magician’s psyche any elements which are missing. It is true that the mind must be finally surrendered as one enters fully into Chaos, but a complete and balanced psychocosm is more easily surrendered.

The Magical process of shuffling beliefs and desires attendant upon the process of invocation also demonstrates that one’s dominant obsessions or personality are quite arbitrary, and hence more easily banished.

There are many maps of the mind (psychocosms), most of which are inconsistent, contradictory, and based on highly fanciful theories. Many use the symbology of god forms, for all mythology embodies a psychology. A complete mythic pantheon resumes all of man’s mental characteristics. Magicians will often use a pagan pantheon of gods as the basis for invoking some particular insight or ability, as these myths provide the most explicit and developed formation of the particular idea’s extant. However, it is possible to use almost anything from the archetypes of the collective unconscious to the elemental qualities of alchemy.

…the aim of invocation is temporary procession by the god, communication from the god, and manifestation of the god’s magical powers, rather than the formation of religious cults.

I enjoy reading several books at once so after I got my dose of Chaos Magic I flipped open ‘Cosmic Trigger‘ by Robert Anton Wilson, which I’ve been re-reading. It’s definitely worth reading books over in order to understand its subjects in a new light. Now, there isn’t much significance that this book has similar ideas to Liber Null because they share the same origins. Nonetheless:

The Shaman also experimented extensively with Crowley’s method of achieving and transcending religious visions. This is based on Hindu Bhakti yoga and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, with a typically Crowleyan difference. In bhakti yoga, you form a love-bond with a particular divinity, dedicate every waking moment to Him (or Her) and invoke that Divine Being by every method possible, especially vivid visual imagination. Loyola’s method is similar, except that you have no choice about which divinity to invoke. Crowley’s twist is to carry this through until you experience a real manifestation of the God, and then immediately stop, and start over with a different god. After you have run through three or four divinities in this manner, you will understand Nasrudin’s Donkey (the neuro-programmer) and you will be increasingly skeptical about everybody’s reality-maps, including your own.

So many things going on and so few posts…

Hugo Chavez made an address to the United Nations. He criticizes American imperialism, calls president Bush the devil, and advises all American citizens to read Chomsky’s ‘Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States’.
A few days ago FOX News interviewed Bill Clinton and the “reporter” asked the wrong question. “Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and Al Qaeda out of business when you were president?” And so what was meant to be a 15 minute interview takes 22 minutes with Clinton nailing it on all accounts. Now, I’m not a huge Clinton fan but at least someone is saying something.

First Part and Second Part of the Interview

It’s interesting to compare the media’s reaction to both stories. The same tactic was used, attacking the speakers as being “furious”, “combative”, “losing it” and “having a complete meltdown”. Unfortunately, the content of what they actually said was ignored or in the case of Hugo Chavez, edited out. Compare the video to the transcript of the speech and find out what Fox News doesn’t want you to hear.

A sample of what was edited out:

“As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated. The world parent’s statement — cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything. They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that’s their democratic model. It’s the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that’s imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons. What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy. What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?”

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show does have a valid point. You do lose credibility when you call someone the devil. It’s just a shame that most of the media cannot focus on anything but this aspect of his speech. Does anyone find it significant that such an address was even made at the United Nations?

The congressional outrage went into overdrive when, six months after the September 11 attacks, the Immigration and Naturalization Service sent word to the Florida flight school where two of the terrorists had been trained that their student visas had been approved. The agency had granted approval the previous summer, before the attacks, but “backlogs and antiquated computers” had delayed delivery, and the INS had failed to recheck what was in the pipeline.

-CQ Weekly, March 16, 2002

One of my favorite tales of healing, found in Hermann Hesse’s Magister Ludi, involves Joseph and Dion, two renowned healers, who lived in biblical times. Though both were highly effective, they worked in different ways. The younger healer, Joseph, healed through quiet, inspired listening. Pilgrims trusted Joseph. Suffering and anxiety poured into his ears vanished like water on the desert sand and penitents left his presence emptied and calmed. On the other hand, Dion, the older healer, actively confronted those who sought his help. He divined their unconfessed sins. He was a great judge, chastiser, scolder, and rectifier, and he healed through active intervention. Treating the penitents as children, he gave advice, punished by assigning penance, ordered pilgrimages and marriages, and compelled enemies to make up. 

The two healers never met, and they worked as rivals for many years until Joseph grew spiritually ill, fell into dark despair, and was assailed with ideas of self-destruction. Unable to heal himself with his own therapeutic methods, he set out on a journey to the south to seek help from Dion.

On his pilgrimage, joseph rested one evening at an oasis, where he fell into a conversation with an older traveler. When Joseph described the purpose and destination of his pilgrimage, the traveler offered himself as a guide to assist in the search for Dion. Later, in the midst of their long journey together the old traveler revealed his identity to Joseph. Mirabile dictu: he himself was Dion – the very man Joseph sought.

Without hesistation Dion invited his younger, despairing rival into his home, where they lived and worked together for many years. Dion first asked Joseph to be a servant. Later he elevated him to a student and, finally, to full colleagueship. Years later, Dion fell ill and on his deathbed called his young colleague to him in order to hear a confession. He spoke of Joseph’s earlier terrible illness and his journey to old Dion to plead for help. He spoke of how Joseph had felt it was a miracle that his fellow traveler and guide turned out to be Dion himself.

Now that he was dying, the hour had come, Dion told Joseph, to break his silence about that miracle. Dion confessed that at the time it had seemed a miracle to him as well, for he, too, had fallen into despair. He, too, felt empty and spiritually dead and, unable to help himself, had set off on a journey to seek help. On the very night that they had met at the oasis he was on a pilgrimage to a famous healer named Joseph. — Irvin D. Yalom, The Gift of Therapy

Just a quick thought…

The 60s saw the organization of mass protests both in the US and abroad. Students stopped going to school and took to the streets. Forty years ago there was no Internet, no chat rooms, instant messangers, or online communities such as Facebook or Myspace. Today, the American government continues to be more audacious in its attempts to violate human right, violate civil rights, and promote hostile policies around the world. Would it be proposterous to say things are as bad if not worse as they were during the Vietnam War? Why, with access to such invaluable tools for communication and organization do we not do something?

Check this out:

Brody Ruckus, a student allegedly attending Georgia Tech, has made himself a celebrity virtually overnight by means of the popular college networking site, Facebook. Ruckus created a Facebook group that claimed if the group could have a membership of 100,000 or more, he would be able to partake in a threesome with his girlfriend and another girl of his choosing. Within days, the group had already surpassed 310,000 users.

Why cannot something similar work for the organization of a protest?

Reasons:

-Students are too lazy.
-There are too many variations in opinion about politics.
-Such attempts have been made, failed, and aren’t taken seriously.
-Please comment why you think this wouldn’t work!

But offering guidance and inspiration to the next generation of psychotherapists is exceedingly problematic today, because our field is in such crisis. An economically driven health-care system mandates a radical modification in psychological treatment, and psychotherapy is now obliged to be streamlined – that is, above all, inexpensive and, perforce, brief, superficial, and insubstantial.

I worry where the next generation of effective psychotherapists will be trained. Not in psychiatry residency training programs. Psychiatry is on the verge of abandoning the field of psychotherapy. Young psychiatrists are forced to specialize in psychopharmacology because third-party payers now reimburse for psychotherapy only if it is delivered by low-fee (in other words, minimally trained) practitioners. It seems certain that the present generation of psychiatric clinicians, skilled in both dynamic psychotherapy and in pharmacological treatment, is an endangered species.

What about clinical psychology training programs – the obvious choice to fill the gap? Unfortunately, clinical psychologists face the same market pressures, and most doctorate-granting schools of psychology are responding by teaching a therapy that is symptom-oriented, brief, and, hence, reimbursable.

So I worry about psychotherapy – about how it may be deformed by economic pressures and impoverished by radically abbreviated training programs. — Irvin D. Yalom, The Gift of Therapy

A lot of people say that the only reason why someone would actively seek to study psychology or psychotherapy is to solve his own problems and deal with his own deficiencies. This is of course an overly simplistic view, one that forgets about compassion, the wish to help, and the wish to understand the unquantifiable. The fact of the matter is that we are all imperfect and there are always little blemishes in our happiness and contentment. To me it seems obvious that psychology is one of the best tools to remove obstacles to personal growth, change, and life improvement. I have been lucky enough to be in long-term contact with two great teachers – a woman who has turned her borderline-personality disorder around with the help of therapy, and a future psychologist now studying in America. Both of them threw my mind in different directions and made it possible for me to follow many strands of thought, many areas of study, and to meet numerous other people who have otherwise positively affected my personal growth.

Frankly, I believe that it is the mission of any individual to seek ways to deal with his problems – and there are ways to deal with any problem as I have found out.

I can’t give any general guidelines – me and the Knight have tried that before but it did not seem to do much. Maybe it will suffice to say that interests, hobbies, activities, and reading lists should reflect what you want to become, what you want to learn. If you identify something about you that you don’t like, don’t repress it, or deny it – instead actively seek ways to overcome the obstacle. There are obstacles on every path and there always has to be effort to overcome them. The difference between an accomplished individual and an unaccomplished one is that the unaccomplished one did not face his obstacles, or failed to acknowledge their existence. Do not be so arrogant as to make the same mistake.

You might remember my post 2012 by Daniel Pinchbeck from a few months ago. Well, this month’s Rolling Stone features an article titled ‘Daniel Pinchbeck and the New Psychedelic Elite‘ but it seems the media has sensationalized and taken things out of context once again.

Here is one of Daniel’s responses to the Rolling Stone article.

The following is a letter to the editors:

I was delighted that Rolling Stone found my work significant enough to deserve feature coverage. Unfortunately, the piece [RS 1008] was full of inaccuracies and outright abrications on a factual level, as well as sensationalist distortions of my ideas. To take a few examples, the first and last scenes never actually happened. We did not visit “a bunch of people on dimethyltryptamine,” I had not seen a “downtown rock show with Moby” the night before, and there was no woman groaning on a futon. I do not have “buck teeth.” Similarly, the scene described at the end never occurred-I don’t even own a copy of The Lion King.

I found the writer’ loose relationship to truth particularly depressing when she attempted to define my ideas. I am not “actively bidding to become [my] generation’s Timothy Leary”-in fact I critique Leary quite harshly in my first book. In my work, I don’t advocate mass use of psychedelics as Leary did, and certainly do not consider them to be “the answer.”

In 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, I do not argue that “the world as we know it is about to end-on December 21, 2012.” My hypothesis is that we are already in an accelerated process of consciousness evolution, and I explore the possibility that the Mayan Calendar is, as Carl Johan Calleman describes in The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness, a “timetable” for understanding this process.

I most emphatically do not argue or think that “only the psychedelic elite and those who have reached a kind of supramental consciousness” will “be saved in 2012.” I do think that a deep transformation in the mindset of those who hold power in the modern West is necessary if we are going to avert disaster in the next few years, as we approach resource depletion and biospheric collapse.

In the future, it would be wonderful to see a magazine with the rich legacy of Rolling Stone approach the living currents of the intellectual counterculture of the 1950s and 60s with far more grace, integrity, and sophistication.

I highly recommend taking a look at this exclusive debate on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman.

“Loose Change” writer/director Dylan Avery and researcher Jason Bermas go head to head with Popular Mechanics editor-in-chief James Meigs and executive director, David Dunbar. The later are a part of the editorial team that produced “Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts”.

I really wish such debates would happen more often. There is a huge camp that thinks the government is purposefully hiding the truth from the American people and there is another camp which thinks it’s all tinfoil hat conspiracy gibberish. These two groups need to meet more often and pool their information. In the debate the Popular Mechanics people come out strong but I think they lose it in the end, especially in regards to WTC 7 and the hole in the Pentagon. If you’re interested in an in-depth analysis of WTC 7 watch Professor Steve Jones’ ‘USVC 9-11 Scientific and Ethical Questions’.

Today, a debate about 9/11. Ever since the attacks took place, many people across the country have raised a number of questions about what actually happened on that day in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Websites, articles, books and documentaries have put forward a variety of alternate theories to the government’s account of what happened.

The most popular of these is a documentary called “Loose Change.” The 80-minute film first appeared on the web in April 2005. Since then, it has had at least 10 million viewings and is described by Vanity Fair as “the first Internet blockbuster.” As the popularity of “Loose Change” has soared, a book dealing with the questions it and others have raised about 9/11 has been published. It’s called “Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts” put together by the editors of the magazine, Popular Mechanics.

Today, we talk about some of the 9/11 theories and the arguments against them.

-Amy Goodman

I will have the chance to speak with Amy Goodman personally, if you have any questions for her, please send them to me as soon as possible!

Google Video of the Debate

Project Censored has compiled a list of 25 news stories of social significance said to have been missed, underreported or self-censored by mainstream press in the US in 2007.

#1 Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media
#2 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
#3 Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
#4 Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US
#5 High-Tech Genocide in Congo
#6 Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
# 7 US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq
#8 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
#9 The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall
#10 Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
#11 Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed

Click here to see more and read about details

Who needs concentration when you can have speed?

Parents want their kids to excel in school, and they’ve heard about the illegal use of stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall for “academic doping.” Hoping to obtain the drugs legally, they pressure pediatricians for them. Some even request the drugs after openly admitting they don’t believe their child has ADHD….

“I spoke with [some] colleagues the other day and they mentioned three cases recently where parents blatantly asked for the medication so that their children would perform better in school, yet there were no other indications that the child had ADHD,” says Dr. Nick Yates, a pediatrician and director of medical ethics for Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y.

Academic doping — using these stimulant prescriptions in an effort to enhance focus, concentration and mental stamina — first started on college campuses, especially Ivy League and exclusive, competitive schools. Now, the problem is filtering down to secondary schools, Yates says, and more parents are playing a role in obtaining prescription ADHD medication for their teenagers.

Via BoingBoing and MSN

logo_britishgas.gif

 I have had a very busy month. Looking for a job, looking for a new flat, moving to a new flat – all that jazz. Then when most of it has finally finished, a con-man arrives to stir things up.

Me and my girl-friend just arrived to our new flat – I was unpacking while she went for a dinner with her friend. The doorbell rang and I went to open the door.

There stood a man with the British Gas uniform (british Gas being the prime supplier of gas and electricity to British homes) wearing a British Gas ID-tag. He asked me whether I lived in the flat and whether I was the one paying the bills. I said yes. He asked me where the electricity meter was. I told him. Then he went on to take my name, address and phone number. I thought that he simply needed that information for the company billing system – I din’t know which electricity provider we had in the new flat so I wasn’t suspicious. Then he asked for two signatures and I was so out of it – and so naively trusting – that I signed the first document, then I woke up and started reading the second document that I was meant to sign. He started saying something and he got me so confused that I signed without argument. He left with a smile on his face and only then did I have a look at the documents I signed.

What the bastard actually did was to make me believe that he was doing a routine check-up. Instead I signed a contract with British Gas to change from my current provider to British Gas. He consciously mislead me, manipulated me, withheld information from me. He did not actually lie to me but after 3 days of moving all my belongings from flat to flat I was so intelectually drained that I didn’t catch up with any of it. I robotically followed his instructions based on a false belief in his authority, all of it leading to a negative result for me.

I guess that this event shows how much we all trust authority – I was cautious only until I was sure that he was a British Gas employee. It did not occur to me that I could be conned by a man with an uniform, ID tag, and a note-pad.

When I finally realised what has happened I first felt absolute shame, I couldn’t believe my stupidity and gullibility. Then I became angry. Then finally I escaped all negativity and understood the event for the lesson that it was. I have already called British Gas and I will be cancelling the contract (no bad done afterall). I will be finding out the identity of the salesman and I will report the mother-fucker to his company, to the bodies that safeguard face-to-face sales,… Basically I’ll do everything I can to get this man fired from his job and unable to find another sales job for the remainder of his life. I may not succeed but I will make my point.

And I guess that this is the moral of the story. We are all susceptible to manipulation, what matters is how we react to it. If I let the shame and guilt rule the day, British Gas and the salesman would have won over me. If I let the rage consume me I would have done nothing meaningful about it. By creating goals for myself and seeking a solution, I may have made the world a service.

I seem to remmeber Bill Hicks arguing for all marketing and advertisement employees to kill themselves. I would like to use this opportunity to stretch it to sales people as well. People, let’s not be fucking victims anymore.

My parents are Christian but luckily they’re incredibly open-minded and loving. They’ve granted me a great deal of freedom and provided me with wonderful opportunities throughout my life. My parents made me attend Sunday school for several years during my childhood and adolescence. I resented getting up on Sunday in order to be bored out of my mind for an hour and a half.

Living in an incredibly atheist country for half my life definitely had an influence on my religiosity. This does not mean that I am nor ever was an egotistical hedonist who broke all the rules, quite the contrary. Of course, some would just label me so simply due to the content of this blog.

An internal compass has always guided me through my life and it is something that I’m incredibly proud of. Was it a result of a good upbringing by my parents, early childhood experiences, role models, or all these combined? Was it learned through experience or is there something deep down at the core? I honestly don’t know.

My confirmation was uneventful, certainly nothing remotely similar to the incredible ‘coming of age’ rituals performed around the world. But, there was a point where I stood up and the entire congregation clapped for me. I felt something at that moment, it was unusual but I could never figure out if it was a divine moment, psychological reaction caused by the environment, or just self-induced. Probably, more like the later two than the prior. It felt like an important moment but also unclear in a way. It’s difficult for me to describe.

I will never forget the moment which occurred only a few years later. At the age of seventeen I refused communion at church while my parents sat right next to me. I’m pretty sure they noticed even though nothing was said after the fact. All I know is that my parents never made me go to church again. To clarify, the reason why I didn’t partake in the ritual was not out of rebellion towards my parents or even the Church. I simply didn’t feel right partaking in an act which was holy to some but meaningless to me.

Many years have passed since then and through my various experiences I somehow feel closer to the religion then ever before. Don’t get me wrong, I still denounce belief and faith. To me religious faith requires the voluntary suspension of knowledge and commonsense. It’s the act of accepting something as a truth in accordance to ones will alone.

I would prefer a kind of intellectual anarchy where whatever was pragmatically applicable was brought to bear on any situation where belief was understood as a self-limiting function. Because, you see, if you believe something, you are automatically precluded from believing its opposite; which means that a degree o your human freedom has been forfeited in the act of committing yourself to this belief.

-Terence McKenna

Today, Christianity gets a lot of criticism from many different groups. It seems to be the cool religion to bash and due to many events from the past and present it has gone beyond the necessary prerequisites to deserve such a harsh critique. Islam has also been hit hard; many people lead us to believe that an extremist hides behind every follower.

I find many popular religions to be like the diet coke of the people. “Follow this doctrine and your soul will be saved!”

Yet, I still find many ideas presented in Christianity and other religions very similar to my own. My respect for those who practice a religion has grown immensely. Now, I won’t say these are my beliefs; I’ll be slyer and say that I like these ideas but don’t hold them to be true.

God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Energy, consciousness, and existence can be equated with the very same concept. There is not an action that can be performed which is outside of God. The image of the father figure who gazes upon us like the owner over his fishbowl is a glitch in the mainframe.

We arose from a void to create and experience. God is playing with itself; we are the actors, the spectators, and the show.

“the devil? that still exists, that concept? really? does it really exist? the devil? a devil really exists? does it really, ya’ll? well tell me something, what could oppose god’s will…? nothing, could it? hahaha! a little delightful little realization. NOTHING COULD OPPOSE GOD’S WILL! NOT NOTHING!”

-Bill Hicks

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