Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Yes and No" an essay

This is a rough draft of an essay on what I am calling a logical operation of Allism, the ability to affirm a thing. I am not claiming any of this is unique to allism, but its special use here I have attempted to lay out. How do you affirm something that has been negated. How can you use the negations that a person has imposed on you, on an idea, on a religion or belief, not only to open the possibility of following the road of its affirmation, but to simultaneously gain the power of the very negation you wish to oppose.


The logical operator of Affirmation allows us to have the spiritual rights to any idea, rite, god, practice, or Truth any philosophy or Religion has yet pronounced. It is a means of bypassing initiation to gain the fruits of a system. Therefore, Affirmation is something Hermetic, akin to that transgressive God who alone could travel anywhere he wishes without being barred or blamed.




Yes and No: Allistic Affirmation explained



            A basic practice of Allism (and not only Allism) is affirmation. The Allistic affirmation is such a basic, easy to use operation that it may even seem like a trick, something cheap and easy to gain an effect drastically out of proportion to the effort put into its use. And yet, as with all the mental operations of Allism -- whose logic, of course, includes all logics, as Allism has no other, includes all it sees, makes use of whatever ideas have cash and whatever logic has use -- allistic affirmation is a means to an end, a way of opening further creative thought. Affirmation is not meant to end though, or the creation of ideas, but to always and ever put them to work, to get more out of thinking, to open up, in other words, all the systems and schools that went before, and also to suggest how new schools and religions can yet be built.

            Affirmation says that every system is dynamic by imposing a blind spot. Every system, religion, political group is able to say YES by saying NO to something else. This is the inherent self-deception of any one perspective. By taking a perspective, one is seeing a thing from one direction, one way. And yet any object can be seen in an infinite number of ways. Since not even God's eyes are infinite in the head of Ama, but always guided by one self's necessity, the infinite understanding of any object is always potential: the universe will grow forever, and each of us with it.

            What this means, in other words, is that a man, woman, group, or religion is both dynamic and mortal by what it negates. What, after all, does a religion wish to make unthinkable? Not sin, of course. Religions need sin, need to create, open, and allow constant sin in the world and in themselves, to give their God something to do. Christianity is hell. A man can only have great faith when in hell. No satisfied, proud, strong, healthy, powerful man would resort to confessing supposed "sins" to a supposed "redeemer." A man must be infected with the idea of sin to come to view his inevitable mistakes and shortcomings as "sins," or as something worthy of such exaggerated shame.

            So if sin, doubt, and blasphemy are quite thinkable by Mormons, Muslims, Christians, and Jews -- indeed, Christians invented all the blasphemies they so loudly deplore -- what is it that is unthinkable to a Christian? That would be the religions blind-spot, it's self-deception, its curse of No that must be so subtle that it never crosses the mind of either Christians nor its enemies.

            However, before pursuing these riddles to their end, let's consider conscious negations. Take the Mormons. Unlike Christians (except Catholics) Mormonism is not a belief, but a way of life -- a whole way of life. These people would be Theocrats in America if they could. Like Muslim countries that make laws concerning the inner and outer life of each individual in his individuality, and not merely as a citizen, so is Mormonism a complete lifestyle. This gives tremendous comfort to Mormon True Believers and tremendous anxiety to Mormon closet doubters. Every virtue is also a vice. A good Mormon, like a good Catholic, simply does not read certain books. "Anti-Mormon" literature must not be read or even discussed. This form of negation is obvious and open, is a taboo rather than a repression. To affirm such negations as these would be easy, and would have a drastic effect on any Mormon insofar as he is already open to and secretly determined to cast off his loyalty to the group. (With Mormons, as with Muslims, the ideas of Faith and Loyalty are soldered together).

            But again, let's skirt following this line of thought were it might take us: a mere gesture at the religions is enough to suggest how they are based on negations.

            Remember that a religion evokes the human capacity to experience the sacred (an internal process) by nominating some external thing as in itself sacred. The Buddhists take the basic human experience of "letting go" of something that causes you pain as the most important spiritual process. Imagine holding  coal. Dropping it gives you release. This metaphor, this symbol, is taken for Buddhists as the most important spiritual operation. All pleasures and all pains are like those searing coals, and to become enlightened you must "let go" of all that. What is most wrong in us is when we "cling" to pleasures and sufferings. This idea is the entire point of the Four Noble Truths, where detachment from the world is spelled out as the supreme goal of the enlightened person.

            Note that the very affirmation of Buddhism, where making something Sacred, or Noble, or Spiritual counts as the highest affirmation, simultaneously counts as a negation. Letting go is all important if clinging on is ruinous.

            In the same way, the Christian's basic ethical act of forgiveness is both a sacred affirmation and a negation. Any psychologist can note that it sometimes feels good to "forgive" a person, especially when hating and resenting that person has caused ourselves anxiety and guilt. Forgiving a neglectful parent, making peace with your brother, this sort of thing has a natural value -- any person can value such an experience. The operation ceases to be natural and becomes supernatural when the action is attributed to God (whose basic function is to "forgive our sins") and then idealized into the most important activity of man on earth. We are to "forgive trespasses" so that our own "trespasses" will be forgiven.

            Affirming such an operation to such a height as the supernatural is not a matter of truth. It would make no sense to ask if forgiveness truly is a supernatural action. It is if and only if you believe it to be so. The entire myth of Jesus on the cross, sacrificing his life so that God will be able to forgive us our sins, like all myths is meant to substantiate, anchor, and justify a religious ritual, the ritual of forgiveness so important to practicing Christians.

            This affirmation negates another natural and important human function: the feeling of a grudge and the act of revenge. Such expressions of human emotions and values require no elaborate justification at this point -- though it almost seems counterintuitive to Christians that holding a grudge and seeking revenge can be good, positive, beautiful, and even sacred practices -- but a mere gesture at world literature, including narratives written in Christian countries, often present heroes who either hold a grudge or seek some form of revenge, usually under the auspices of executing "justice," which is a euphemism for the same.

            Of course, there is much more than revenge and clinging that Buddhism and Christianity put their No upon, and a thorough critique of any religion, political party, philosophy or moral system could spend endless energy in affirming the negations of the party they oppose. Allism, which affirms what is best in every system, and this according to a table of values defining the best in terms of representation of the All, which puts every other system into a network of mutual relations, necessary affirms the Yes-Saying and No-Saying of every sect, since these are necessary operations by which a group defines itself and determines its goals. Yet to be an Allist primarily means to be independent and free, to be able to move within and through competing systems, as if one had a right to be in any of them, and had the power to take their guarded ideas and values as if he or she had the right, power, and ability to remove them from their limited context.

            As our myth poses the after life: every man is justified in whatever he believes, for whatever metaphysical system he believes in -- in what he really believes in at a fundamental level (heavens, hells, nirvanas, samsaras, etc.) is what his post-mortem mind creates as a reality. Believe in heaven and really believe you deserve it, and that is where you will end up. Believe in hell, and officially believe you won't go there but fundamentally believe you will, and there you go. The mind is its own place. The Allistic difference is that an Allist alone is able to traverse eternities, to visit any heaven and hell he wishes in the afterlife.

            What this metaphysical myth of the afterlife pragmatically means for us on this earth, here and now, is that we are willing and able to slip into any religion or philosophy and claim ownership to whatever ideas we wish -- the myth justifies the ritual. And to be able to do this, to have the psychic power to do the deed, requires, as we've noted, a series of spiritual operations, including the ability to toggle affirmations and negations, to negotiate criticisms and defenses both against us and from us, and also the ability to divine not only where the taboo negations are situated, but where the repressed negations also reside.




            Habits of thought are not merely free-floating, as if a man could pick up just any set of habits of feeling, thinking, talking, and behaving that he happens to encounter, as if he were a computer that is capable of installing any and every program it comes across. A man is first and foremost, before he is born and after he dies, an individual, a self-contained, self-defined, self-propelled being. The layers of the soul, which are extrinsic to his centermost identity, by degree incorporate the energies and powers of the world, which he attains first through his parents contribution to his genetic code and in-uteri environment, and then by their intended and accidental influence on his education, continuing naturally with the artificial environment, structured by political whim, scientific theory, and economical necessity, that we call a “classroom,” and including the voice and voices of his generation, his peers – all these he internalizes as layers of his own soul, which emerges, finally, with the world soul, and beyond that, in eternity, with the soul of the all.

            Holding such a structure of habit, the man has freedoms with limits. He can develop new habits, but not just any new habits. Some things he must say yes to and no to, other things he has some chance of deliberation before he dedicates himself to a yes or a no, and some things he is ignorant that he even has a possibility of saying yes or no to, until some foreign logic frees his mind, either through having a personal mental breakdown or by being exposed to an eccentric individual who is yet capable of impressing him.

            The Allist, who is an Allist by being part of some other religion or philosophy first – this is considered the larval stage of an Allist, where he is force fed the precepts of scientific materialism or Christianity, Islam or Buddhism – is necessary the sour milk by which that Allist gains his unique identify. Nor is Allism simply in renouncing and casting off that influence as if he would cut out part of his soul, but always and ever in digesting it, to find a place and function for the nutritious aspects of his education, and expelling the toxins from his system.

            Allism wishes, therefore, never to teach any such thing where a man must say “I believe,” but to give a list of logical operators that allow him to move within all the other systems, and to aim, as always, by living his life and seeking his purposes, to integrate all other systems into a perfect whole. The unification of Earth while maintaining the beauty of its diversity – E Pluribus Unum – is the global consciousness, the wide goal he has, both for Earth’s relation to itself, and also the Earth’s potential relationship to alien civilizations.

            Metaphysical, we take the innermost Self, which is each man’s unique needs, his Name, his self-increasing logos, his inner sun, to be in other words his YES. That innermost YES shines out towards the world. It structures his biological, evolutionary, psychological, and philosophical needs. The complement to the inner Necessity is the mediary Freedom, the Freedom that is Nothingness that is the Conscious mind. This mind is the NO of the system. It wills one thing a time by focusing on it and saying no to all other focuses. Being thus isolated we will a new activity, a new feeling, a new thought, a new word, a new behavior. The interaction between YES and NO, between necessity and freedom, constitutes life itself.

            An experience, when it is combined with a desire, becomes a meaning. Experiences in and of themselves have meaning only insofar as they suggest an action. Therefore, we can say that the meaning of any experience is the action it implies. What separates one group from another is of course their consciousness of their identity, their shared name – a name is a container – but more than that, every group has its unique experience of the world, and to initiate new members, including in the case of religions the children of the next generation, means to impose a specific narrow experience with limited freedom of interpretation. We call that artificially imposed experience an initiation. A person who has been thus initiated into a group, and all groups have such initiations whether they are conscious of it or not, is able to readily use the ideas of that group, to take as his own property the ideas of its philosopher or theology. An atheist, for instance, could not console his dying mom that Jesus is waiting for her in heaven. He has no right to that mental technology, to those forms and narratives, because for one he doesn’t believe in them, and also he is not part of that tradition. After all, many Christians don’t believe in god or heaven and hell as literal realities, but they are still Christians because they have been so initiated into the group. Nevertheless, Christians might balk at such a conception in a way that Jews would not.

            Initiations are trauma, a kind of rape or violation: they impose a psychic wound on the tender minds of the initiate, and mark out a conceptual space where the new ideas will reside. That is the case, even when the symbols of the initiation include physical activities such as a sexual initiation or a circumcision, or a baptism. One takes in the symbol for the group experience, and being so implanted with the group seed, he or she comes to in fact live the group experience hence forth, with greater and greater clarity.

            The psychic realities of each religion, the spiritual truths, the lived meanings, are, experientially, undeniable, self-evident, and unassailable. Insofar as one lives with a philosophy or religion, he sees the supernatural effects of his belief. Here, supernatural is referring not to a metaphysical reality of questionable scientific validity, but of something natural that is above the ordinary level of experience. Because we take these experiences as having such a high importance, they bear unique fruits. Our praise, awe, worship, honoring of, and adoration of a way of life, perhaps indirectly expressed through the worship of literary characters, or sacred stories – through religious art, in other words, and that is all the scriptures really are or need to be – is only an indirect recommendation of and confidence in a way of life that you yourself take up. In other words, you praise God so that you feel confident enough to live a holy life. Grandiose externalizations allow us a mainframe for manipulating the logical operatives that are too near our psychic center for direct access. We quibble over theology in order to psychoanalyze ourselves.

            If all this is the case, that a given group has privileged access to a group of ideas, philosophical terms, and sacred beings and powers, inside information and direct religious experience, where does that put the outsider? He is doomed to never get it, to waste his time arguing over the letter of the law, having no direct experience of the spirit of the law, or the lived experience of what an idea can mean. This is why many groups, and especially religious groups, have put their greatest hate on apostates, on those who were once enthusiastic members of the religion and now have “betrayed” the cause.

            Where does that place us? As human beings born in a country, born in a religion, or born out of a religion with neighbors who are part of a religion – this too gives a definite life experience – we have swallowed the sour milk that renders us invulnerable, and we are ready for our apotheosis. I myself, having been raised a Pentecostal Christian and an American would not disown those imposed identities, but would maximize on the powers that I’ve gained from them. Nevertheless, the Allist, as the imago, as the psychic God, casts off his larval form, and negates the outer aspects of his childhood tradition, while yet retaining the spiritual ideas of it, by keeping the logical operatives.

            As an American, I do what I recommend any person do: study the traditions of his own country and people, to take pride in his national identity. I end each day reading American Literature, such as the work of American’s Mind, Emerson, or Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, Melville, Henry James, William James, Henry James. Just as William James and Dewey might try to define a set of logical operators in their philosophy – this is, after all what philosophy is for, so does every novel, painting, and symphony also embed in its flesh a wide set of logical operatives in their most fecund form: in a unique vital experience.

            Of course, a national writer is more than a national writer. He may also been globally relevant. Beethoven was Europe’s heart, not just Germany’s and Shakespeare is the world’s greatest writer, not merely the greatest in the English language. But there is a privilege, a bonus, and extra intimate vitality in reading, primarily, the writers closest to your group, to your living experience, to the life-experience you’ve been initiated into. Your mother and father may not be the most intelligent teachers in the word, but their wisdom moves you more than even the greatest philosopher’s because of their intimate relationship to your growth and upbringing. Kant, after all, spoke more from his father than in response to Hume. In the same way, our national poets, national philosophers, national divines, while addressing the entire world nevertheless resonate deepest with us.

            Where, then, is Allism located? Is it an American viewpoint? Is it a Christian, or post-Christian experience? Surely those experiences are vital to the initial forms of Allism because of how it began, with us. Nevertheless, the full apotheosis of Allism itself, as a religion of religions and a philosophy of philosophies is to transcend its origins and apply equally to the best men and women of every tradition.

            Yet we are selves are located by latitude and longitude. Here I stand. How do I use Allism to access a world of meaning? How do I spiritualize my own experiences, metamorphose my own home-born religion, and also access the intimate truths and meanings of all religions, philosophies, ideologies, and worldviews.

            It would seem, first of all, that we would require some initiation rites of our own, and perhaps other than the ones already mentioned, such as metamorphosing, and thus in a way betraying, our childhood religion, and in of course carefully studying such writings as this. Indeed, such practices are characteristic of us. The more symbolic and formal rites and rituals are expressed in a separate book from this (Allism: Religion of religions).

            A man’s maturity exists in his tone. The tone of his voice, the tone of his being, show the quantity and quality of his life experiences, show how thoroughly he has understood and comprehended them. The ability to enter any group, any world and worldview, depends on the tone of our words, the words by which we open the world. Our Yes and our No, and how we say them, will allow us not only to navigate through different world systems, but to avoid the dangers of being either seduced or condemned by them.




            To approach the clarity of a formula, Allism presents the YESNO. This is the ability to dislodge an idea from the dogmatic inflexibility of its sacred position to give us access to its use. An atheist might say “I don’t believe in God,” and thus define himself and give his life meaning, in part, through his negation of an powerful idea. This is good and it works. What are charity workers other than those who say NO to suffering? Negations can be just as empowering as affirmations. The YESNO is not simply bipolar, but uses two extreme poles to wrench a concept into many directions.

            This requires some concomitant logical operations characteristic of Allism (if not each every philosophy), such as the ability to create new terms, to name, to un-name, to doubt, to praise, to condemn, all the same idea. The ability to create a new term, to either invent a neologism, or at least to use an old word for a new idea, is the ability, first of all, to think of an idea, to define and delimit it to be able to say what it is, what it isn’t, what it can do, what it can’t do. All the philosophies and sciences created specific jargons to express new experiences. An “atom” is something different to a modern physicist than it was to Democritus, though they us the same term. The experiences of both the atomists and the modern day physicists are the same – the conceptualization is generally the same; but modern day scientists mean something more carefully defined and more thoroughly experienced than Democritus meant, having the technological apparatus and the scientific methods for sharpening their senses and carefully experiences in matter what Democritus experienced in his imagination.

            It is natural, of course, to create terms. A girlfriend may put a halt to her boyfriend’s attempt to confront his boss, saying “Let’s not have a repeat of the incident last Friday.” In referring to a historical event as “an incident” that could be “repeated,” she has in effect made a meaningful term of it, an idea that can cast judgment and give guidance to further behavior. This is similar to how all terms are created, and the ability to name is a basic mental operation common to all of us.

            But though we all enter and name our experiences, there is a philosophical method for doing so that is a bit more rigorous and brings the experience and meaning a name or term stand for up towards universal use that might even be able to be past to other people, if not to posterity.

            Having the philosophical ability to identify, name, and term what we experience in a foreign system will gives us the mental objects towards which to address our yes and no. The religion, after all, and the adherents thereof, often have not explicitly formulated their meanings. The meanings of a system are in principle infinite after all, and furthermore, it is best, sometimes not to put into terms an experience, for that would invite criticism, would enable somebody to say no to what you experience as a yes.

            Therefore, as a defensive gesture, is useful to know how to unname an object or disterm it. The philosophical and spiritual realities that we express may, after all, have no place in our system, and what is the best way to escape an idea than to question its very identity. Does man have an ID? Freud claimed it was so, and this on spurious scientific claims, but most regard him as not only grossly mistaken on this idea, but abhorrently cynical in his assessment of human nature. That gives us some choices. We may unterm it, or we may reterm it. Instead of the Id being a universal psychic reality, it could be a symptom of Freud’s cynicism. It could be a lot of things. It could even be what Freud wanted it to be, and yet be dislodged from his system, and set to use in another system, either an old one or a new one.

            YESNO, as a logical operator, it to name a set of possibilities of the use of a term and to both negate and affirm them, consecutively and concurrently, and se what meanings come from that operation. It is to take the term from its dogmatic position in a single structure, and put it into the light of another structure. To get at such cross-cuts and juxtapositions, it is useful to alternate experiences, not only to read drastically different books one after the other, but to look for connections between all of life’s unrelated experiences. After all, what is life but a book of meanings, whose various situations and episodes can each comment on the other. Everything is everything.

            This brings us to another allistic operative, the universal metaphor. The logic of everything is everything is that any two entities can be metaphorically equaled, and once this has been done, the subsequent seeking of a justification for the metaphor opens up creative possibilities. To say that America is a backpack might at first seem arbitrary or silly. To explore how this could be is to play with meanings, to play a game, to explore logical relationships usually barred from serious conversation.

            That is why we say that the myths come before the religions (the rituals) and that the religions come before the philosophy. The poets give the philosophers experiences to explicate. Homer comes before Plato. To open up metaphors beyond the obviously clever and expressive to anything that is conceivable, we are able to break past the habitual modes of thinking (“what is genius, other than unhabitual thinking?” asked William James). The evaluating and heirarchizing of metaphors comes later in the process, but must not interfere with free play at this stage.

            Play after all comes before the game. In free play, there are no consistent rules other than the directive to “have fun.” Play becomes a game when the directive is no longer primarily “have fun” but to “win according to the rules” which is a higher level of fun: the challenge. To let yourself consider ideas, philosophies, religions, you need, therefore, your creative playground of misbehavior, where there are no externally imposed rules, and where blasphemy and sacrilegious are all in good fun. As we say in Allism, Blasphemy is Worship.

            YESNO, therefore, as an operative, as a bipolar treatment of an idea, is a form of play to open up creative possibilities for a term or idea, to show what it could mean for you, not what it has meant for others or what it must mean for believers. After all, once you have acquired your private meanings for all terms, there is then the justification for your use of terms, and the rationalization of it.

            The operation of reasoning/rationalizing will help us here. Religious apologetics have ever used the habit of thinking called rationalization. Reason begins with evidence and works towards conclusions, whereas rationalization beings with the conclusions, and seeks evidence. That it forges evidence, twists the facts, misinterprets ideas, and downright lies to substantiate its preconceived ideas, such as the contention that “the Bible never contradicts itself,” held in earnest by certain fundamentalist Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons, not only demonstrates their loyalty to their ideas (they pride themselves on “faith”) but shows how the willing to self-deceive opens again creative possibilities. To be open to these creative possibilities while yet free from the the slavery of having deceived yourself is the aim of Allism, to see the illusions, to have seen past them, and to see the uses of both having the illusions and not having them. Disillusionment is merely one more illusion. To comprehend every layer of illusion and reality and to relate them together into a useful whole, recognizing the necessity and potential of each part, is the allistic agenda.




            Allistic affirmation, therefore, is the ability to first of all affirm an established idea the dignity of having been grounded in some sort of necessity -- an obvious characteristic of all traditions, customs, and practices, even absurd superstitions -- and thus to at least consider it as having a logic, use, and right to be fairly considered; and second of all a recognition of the interacting of all ideas and systems in their mutual influence on each other, and thus an appraisal of the fact that all mankind is already globally unified and the mind of Man is one; and thirdly the ability to entertain all ideas as having potential use to yourself and your project, both in affirming them and also in denying them, either one or the other or both.

            Thus, when psychoanalysis makes a project of undermining defenses, we might affirm the health and use of psychological defenses; when a Christian condemns pride we might affirm the health and power of pride; when any author, thinker, or group makes it an important point to deny the worth and use of an idea or thing, we can easily reverse that, simply by saying Yes to what they say No to, and then creatively exploring ways to justify that affirmation. In this, the affirmation is a simple and easy tool for opening up a line of thought, a creative road already marked, albeit with a barrier, by some other sincere thinker. After all, only among Christians do you find truly diabolical persons: they learned to be evil from the paranoia of the Bible.

            Furthermore, by taking this operative and applying the mirror of reflection on our own cherished ideas and beliefs, we can open up possibilities in our own way we had not allowed ourselves to consider before. Our self-imposed limitations may soon be reinstated, but by challenging ourselves we have at least loosened the hold of the otherwise necessary dogmas of our worldview.

            Finally, by being able to say yes and no to a range of ideas and operations that confront us when we explore any religion or philosophy, we have in effect seized a system that may in self-defense hoped to freeze us out, damned us as blasphemous or otherwise disbarred us from the spiritual treasures that every tradition holds close and grants only to its most sincere members. Thus, in the YESNO, in the creative possibility of self-contradiction and bi-polar stretching, we are able to open intellectual and spiritual pathways we would otherwise be unable to guess at. Every wall is also a door. The Allistic Affirmation is the ability to chalk a door on any wall, and then in good faith, open up a literal possibility.



\ ~@M@~ /



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