By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger
I have found it sobering to examine my own Thinker and Prover. Despite decades of work on the exercises in Prometheus Rising and in using E-Prime, I still have a lot of negative self-talk. My Thinker tells me negative things about myself, often using the verb “to be,” and my Prover methodically sets about proving them. Hopefully I can alleviate this situation over the next 21 months by doing the exercises in Prometheus Rising.
I notice that stress makes the situation worse. My physical health seems OK, but I allowed myself to get behind in my grading while I felt under the weather. It has proved a challenge to get all my grading done over the past two weeks. Plus, the holidays provide some stress as well. At least my Thinking thinks so, and my Prover complies, perceiving stress and castigating me for getting behind.
My Thinker also thinks Prometheus Rising has a lot to offer, especially if one does the exercises. My Thinker has pointed out my ongoing struggles with self-fulfilling prophecies. At times in the past I have had a Kinbote-like zeal for proselytizing for Dr. Wilson’s ideas and especially for the value of doing the exercises in Prometheus Rising. My Thinker wants these exercises to prove beneficial for me and anyone else who does them, but my Thinker also has lingering doubts about their efficacy. We will see how my Thinker and Prover respond to the experiences of the next 21 months.
I assume that you have read PR a fair amount of times already, and did the exercises before. Are you implying here that so far they have not proved as life changing as you d like them to be ? Or perhaps something more subtle, like the exercises seem to have some effects on your perception, but only temporarily, and who knows how much of it is self convincing rather than the actual opening of new neural pathways ?
Integrating E-Prime in my daily speech should be a new year resolution. I am not yet sure how much changes this could bring to my vision of things, but I feel like at the very least I would become more precise in how I speak and think. And I hope it would be for me a constant reminder of the ever changing nature of everything in the material world, as well as, somehow almost paradoxically, help me stay grounded in -and aware of- the present moment. Well, if my Thinker thinks hard enough that using E-Prime will bring about these effects, hopefully my Prover iwll do its job, won't it now ? Hehe...
I mostly wonder how to develop tactics and strategies for limiting as much as possible my use of the verb to be. Is that something Korzybski touches upon ? I have not read him yet.
Negative self talk has been a fairly strong handicap all my adult life thus far, sometimes almost debilitating, and for sure having a negative impact on me. Trying to get over it as much as possible (and more generally trying to learn how to live with myself) has been a major preoccupation for years now. It is funny to see how easy it is to convince oneself that we are useless and pathetic, but somehow much more difficult to decide that actually we might be better off thinking we are brilliant and beautiful. In the end, we are closer to a sort of blank state where anything could be written on as a starting point of how to think and act accordingly, rather than a fixed persona that "is" inherently good or bad, strong or weak, casting a shining light or constantly falling into a pit of despair (all of each nothing but abstractions constructed by human thoughts anyway...)
Thank you for putting up with my rants, this is mostly me thinking out loud on this blog so thanks as well for providing a platform for doing so in a constructive way.
Thank you for your response. I have found the exercises useful, and some of their effects have lasted a long time. However I do not think I have completely resolved my issues with circuits one through four. In fact, I don't accept the eight circuit model as much as I used to.
I have struggled with my weight for almost fifty years. My weight has yo-yoed during the 35 years during which I have (off and on) worked with the exercises in Prometheus Rising and other Wilson materials. In chapter three he says you will get to a healthy weight when your brain begins operating properly. Well, I spent a little time at a healthy weight in the early 90's after having done a ton of the exercises in PR, but my old programs reasserted themselves. I would like to have my brain operating properly (b.o.p. - perhaps Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk's music can help me).
Ahah, B.O.P. = Thelonious Monk, I liked that ! For sure music can always help, whatever the issue. :)
I guess it can be tricky to try and settle some body related problems with a better control of one's mind. I want to believe that that is somehow doable to an extent, but we might be talking serious years of meditation here. In the end, RAW himself saw his body failing him no matter how smart he got to be at this point of his life.
As for the eight circuits, like the rest it is nothing more than a simple map that tries to describes the way the human mind functions. It is still highly hypothetical as we know so little about those matters, and in a way a vulgarization of sorts of several operating modes of the brain. But this genius computer behind comprehension we carry in our head....I wouldn't be surprised if rather than eight levels it would actually have dozens... The cool thing about settling down to 8 is that it looks like the infinite sign...
As much as I like the idea of the eight circuits, I try not to make it the alpha and omega (and get stuck in yet another reality tunnel), and only take from it what I find useful for me.
Happy new year s celebrations to everyone, here's hoping to have the lasagna flying as high as ever in 2021 !
The mystic's goal to stop the internal dialogue or chatter seems helpful for avoiding useless thoughts. Gurdjieff distinguished between mechanical thinking and higher mentation. Deleuze spends a considerable amount of time philosophically proving that the 'thinker," as a subject, doesn't really exist apart from consensually reinforced (programmed) conventions. He introduces a radically different new "Image of Thought," a new way of thinking. In an event I did sound for, Tibetan Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman said that many people feel uncomfortable with the notion that the self doesn't objectively exist. Personally, I find that liberating. Thelemic cosmology relies on the union of two infinities, the infinitely large, Nuit, and the infinitely small, Hadit. It seems that could apply to the self.
I love collecting and doing exercizes of all kinds. I have a proverbial hobo bag full of them to pull out as needed or as the occasion arises. Exercizes strengthen muscles. The visualization muscle that strengthens from the quarter exercise has proved useful for other things.
I love RAW's books and consider him a Master. Prometheus Rising and Quantum Psychology, the ones with his exercizes, have been the most difficult for me to connect with. I tried some of the exercizes when PR first came out, but not that many, the quarter exercize proved very useful; I've heard it called "manifestation" to visualize something then find it manifesting into existence. Fellow students at the yoga center I lived at in NY would try it for getting cabs, late subway trains, etc. Later, in California, I used it effectively for getting parking spaces. I've tried it for getting work, I've worked freelance for the last 30 + years, and found it worked too well, be careful what you ask for.
Gurdjieff has something called the "Stop Exercize." He would unexpectedly and randomly yell "STOP" and students would freeze in both their inner and outer postures to observe themselves. I have applied this idea to my internal chatter when I can remember myself (what do you remember if the self doesn't exist? giving rise to paradox), silently giving the command to "STOP THINKING" when getting caught up in useless thoughts. It never ceases to surprise me that this actually works for a period of time, long enough to move on.
You are far from the first person I see saying that they use visualization to manifest parking spots, which I find hilarious.
But by doing so you are I think pointing out that perhaps the main point of the quarter exercize resides more in the visualization before finding the coin rather than in whatever conclusion your Prover will come to after finding it.
Using this Stop Exercize (does Gurdjieff use a Z as well?) to get out of useless thoughts in the end only link back to what they tell you in meditation, to consider thoughts from an external point of view, watch them as if they were clouds, fleeting, constantly changing shape, and gone before you know it if you do not cling to it and give them the power to reassert themselves within you. Which, in the context of a non-existent Self, should indeed be seen as liberating as you say. Because that implies that we very litteraly are in charge of ourselves and our reality, and can shape it potentially anyway we want it.
And that is were RAW becomes useful, helping us to stay grounded with his high level skepticism and critical thinking tools (for example understanding than one reality tunnel is not more or less valid than another). All this while keeping a good dose of humour, which tends to be missing in many spiritual or occult practices, more often than not making their practitioners taking themselves very seriously.
@BFHN: Stopping thoughts feels much different than watching them pass like clouds. Stopping clouds has proved very difficult for me. Wilhelm Reich and some yogis have experimented with this practice.
Gurdjeiff spelled exercize: "varzhut’yun," he wrote in Armenian, so yes, I guess he did use a Z.
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