Hedonism: An Empty Path

buddha-india-mind-prayer-161170.jpegI am not necessarily opposed to hedonism, rather, I find it to be too shallow and spiritually empty. While I think that, in terms of physical enjoyment, hedonism can be quite grand, for the most part, hedonism simply encourages a form of living that is too materialistic. Hedonism attempts to be a method of escape that lacks any spiritual prowess. The goal of hedonism is to escape suffering, to try and enjoy as much of life as you can. But this enjoyment is based purely on material things, and it also fails to mention that pain and suffering are important tools in creating a stronger individual and thus are necessary for development. There is a reason why, when one thinks of a hedonist, one usually imagines an irresponsible, shallow and idiotic person. There is a reason why “hedonist” is used an insult and the word “ascetic” is not. One must understand that everything material is subject to change, and that materialism will only bring a short amount of joy but a long period of suffering. Hedonism, which is rooted in materialism, is a guaranteed way for a person to fall into spiritual oblivion, emptiness and possibly cause serious psychological or physical damage. One must live a life of adventure and pleasure, yes, but one must also have some sort of anti-materialist foundation to fall back on – otherwise all your materialistic and physical gains will quickly become meaningless and unsatisfying to you. Hedonism is therefore not “evil”, but it is shallow and misguided, and it’s philosophy is only appealing to those who lack any real sense of intellectual or spiritual character.

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Elitist Individualism

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‘For as long as organized human societies exist, there will always be a division between the unconscious masses and the conscious individuals. The Christian religion may wither and die, but only to be replaced by another philosophy glorifying the qualities of the herd. It lies not in the nature of the herd to live by elitist ideals – their nature is to be cogwheels in the machinery of society, and the fact that they follow a philosophy which glorifies this quality is aesthetically nauseating to the heretic, but still necessary for society to function’ – Erik Olivier Lancelot

The quote above is, in my opinion, a perfect explanation as to why some ‘radical individualist’ or ‘anti-herd’ mentality people hold such elitist views. The term ‘elitist’ usually conjures up ideas of wealthy businessmen or billionaire tycoons or some other group of men that are ‘elite’ in the sense that they are rich and successful. But this ‘elite’ is merely a materialistic one, and like all materialistic gains it is rather minimal and pathetic compared to higher spiritual values. There is also an idea of an ‘elite’ in a less monetary way, such as an ‘elite’ athlete (meaning an athlete or athletes that are far superior to everyone else’s physical capabilities), or perhaps ‘elite’ can also mean those who are much more intelligent than the average person.

However, for the most part, these ‘elite’ (the wealthy, the physically superior, the geniuses), they are still, as Erik put it, ‘cogwheels in the machinery of society’. These elite are better than most of the people around them, but they more than likely still fall into the ‘herd’ mentality of those lesser than them.

The majority wealthy and the physically superior still abide by the laws, follow religious dogma, and for the most part, do nothing to go against the tide of society. Sure, it can be argued that the wealthy ‘exploit’ the labors of others, or cause serious damage to others less fortunate than themselves – but the wealthy for the most part prize order. They may cause damages to society but they are still very much focused on the task of preserving society. After all, without society and its laws, the wealthy would be unable to prosper. Society is specifically built in a way that makes it almost impossible for modern man to support himself without getting a job that, more than likely, is reliant on one of the businesses run by the wealthy elite. The wealthy elite also have stocks and other investments that can only function when everything is running smoothly. The idea of a ‘wealthy elite’ is a modern creation – as in primitive times this type of elite never existed. This ‘wealthy’ elite is existent only because of capitalism, materialism and consumerism – things that, although they have existed for centuries, have recently become quite gigantic, to proportions that no one in the past ever anticipated.

Thus, while I do not deny that the wealthy elite cause harm to others, the wealthy elite are still very much a part of the fabric of society. They want society to run smoothly – they want people to obey laws, to follow religious dogma, to support their military or to follow traditional norms – whatever keeps a society ‘in line’ is good for the wealthy elite.

Now, if we go to the ‘physically superior’ individuals, we see that they too are far better (physically) than everyone else around them, but they too are still cogs in a machine. Most athletes are quite religious, and have no hesitance in voicing their ‘praise’ to god for helping them win (which is quite idiotic). No – the physically elite for the most part are even more ‘integrated’ into the unconscious mass of society than the wealthy elite. The physically elite are perhaps even more pathetic too – for no matter how healthy a body is it will eventually decay with age (whereas wealth, when used properly, can easy last a person’s entire lifetime).

So, the wealthy and physically elite are nothing too special. Now, the intelligent elite, the ‘geniuses’ so to speak – are a higher category and, sometimes, they will have an ‘anti-herd’ mentality. The intelligent elite are often freethinkers or at least have some ounce of skepticism, which allows them to be weary of the ‘unconscious masses’. If one should choose between the three (wealthy elite, physical elite, intelligent elite), one should choose the third option.

None the less, being part of the intelligent elite is no guarantee for a free spirit. There are many geniuses’ in many fields who are still quite ‘unconscious’ in the sense that they are so integrated into society they fail to see their own individuality and potential, and thus sacrifice their ability to learn to please society. The most prominent example of this are the ‘research ethics’ that plague the scientific community like a virus. ‘Research ethics’ are merely a subjective lot of rather humanistic rules that prevent scientists from carrying out certain experiments that may be ‘harmful’ or such. I think this is rather foolish – as the saying goes, one must be willingly to break a few eggs to make an omelet. How else are we supposed to learn if not by experimentation? The scientists who abide by research ethics – these scientists who let some petty morality get in the way of their path to knowledge – these scientists are very much a part of the ‘unconscious masses’, scientists who would rather please society than actually take a chance and see what lies in the possible experimentation.

But I digress. The point is that there are several forms of elitism – wealthy, physical and intelligent – but the elitism that I am talking about is greater than these three. This is the elitism that is not a part of society (unlike those other three elitisms which are). The elitism I advocate for is an Elitist Individualism– one based off spiritual and intellectual elitism.

The reason why society discourages selfishness, violence, and chaos is simple – because these things disrupt society. The goal of society, of the unconscious masses, is to keep everything in order by maintaining a blind, obedient populace. Therefore, any values that go towards self-perfection are discouraged. Society discourages self-discovery because self-discovery often leads to the realization that many of the problems plaguing the individual are a result of society, and thus by discarding society one discards these problems. Self-discovery leads to the knowledge and consciousness that things like material wealth, traditional norms and societal expectations are merely subjective ideas that have been disguised as objective goals. Society discourages self-perfection and self-reliance because these things would lead to an independent individual – one who would not need to rely on societies protection or offerings.

In other words, the unconsciousness masses (society) will do whatever it takes to keep people in line, and thus those who truly think for themselves – those who truly are against the tide of the herd, will be deemed a threat and looked at as being crazy.

Elitist Individualism is therefore the highest type of elitism – an elitism that goes beyond the expectations of society – an elitist that is, as the name implies, made for the individual and defined by the individual. The reason why this is termed ‘elite’ is because only a select few, namely the conscious individuals, are those who purse this – because, as with all things, there is a price to pay, and what this price is varies from person to person and place to place. Nonetheless, those conscious individuals will not have fear in pursing their individuality, and if they do have fear it will not be the crippling type of fear, but the motivational type of fear – the fear that teaches them to be cautious and careful but nonetheless pushes them forward on their journey. Do not sacrifice your own ideals or wants for society! There is, as Erik noted, a division, or a ‘war’ perhaps, between the unconscious masses and the conscious individuals. This is natural and, if anything, should be used as a stepping-stool to reach a higher form of being.

Becoming the Universe

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There are many spiritual guru’s who teach that an individual should become ‘one with the universe’. They usually mean this in a positive way, although what the misguided spiritual guru’s fail to realize is that the universe is a cold, apathetic, chaotic place that has no regard for anything. The universe operates under its own laws – it has no concern for how these laws affect others.

Thus, I became ‘one with the universe’ by adopting a similar approach – I became cold, apathetic and chaotic.

Seclusion in the Woods

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I recommend that every person spend time alone in nature – preferably somewhere forested and full of life; such as the woods.
However, a desert will work fine too – anywhere that is untouched by ‘man’ will do. By this, I mean an area of nature, regardless of its environment or climate, where there are no traces of man – no buildings, no homes, no roads and most importantly – no people.
When one spends time alone in the wilderness, one realizes how petty all their problems are. So many of the things that bother us, that hurt us, that cause us to stress – these things tend to be human creations. We worry about our financial situation, about our relationships, about our looks or body. We feel trapped, or alone, or worthless in the modern, industrialized world – with all its arbitrary rules, constricting social norms and unobtainable expectations.
But when one is in nature, one is truly free. Nature does not care how you look, or how much money you have, or what jobs you have or your eduction or what name you’ve made of yourself. Nature does not care about any of this. You could be a successful millionaire or a poor beggar – in nature, superficial titles and achievements mean nothing. In nature, it is the will and the character of the individual that determines ones worth. In nature, the only laws one must follow are the Laws of Nature.
Thus, I recommend that one spend time alone in nature in order to realize that they too, like everything around them, are merely parts of a larger whole. Personally, if it was not for the nature I probably would have killed myself long ago.
So go out and spend the day alone in the wilderness. Meditate, contemplate, or simply wander around – but go, leave this industrialized world and be reunited with mankind’s true environment.

On Spirituality

Image result for nicholas roerich artI believe in ‘spirituality’ in the sense that it is a psychological perspective. In other words, I do not believe in the ‘spirituality’ which encompasses an objective or existent ‘other-world’ inhabited by sentient spirits.
When most people think of ‘spirituality’, they assume things such as speaking to the dead, or being possessed by spirits, or coming into contact with God. This is largely a result of the Judeo-Christian influence on our western world, which teaches of spirits and angels and the objective existence of non-human entities that live in different dimensions.
However, this is definitely not the kind of ‘spirituality’ I am referring to. Mostly because, as anyone familiar with my work can attest – I am mostly an atheist.
There are other types of ‘spirituality’ which are professed by shamans and spiritual gurus – another group of individuals who, like Christians, expound ideas that I believe to be false or largely imaginative.
Sam Harris, a contemporary philosopher whom I greatly respect, has said that ‘spirituality’ is a psychological phenomenon – one does not need to be religious to follow it or study it.
For almost all religions, spirituality involves some form of altered consciousness. That is my primary concern – the altered states of consciousness. I am interested in the different states that exist within the human mind and how one can achieve them. Obviously, drugs are a great way to do this, but it should be noted that many monks and gurus have had similar states of consciousness without using drugs. Ram Dass, for example, went to India and gave a group of ascetics LSD – he reported that the monks acted normally and that they had experienced these types of visions and thought-processes before. However, while drugs are certainly a good starting point, I feel that one must also try to obtain this altered state without the use of drugs – namely, on their own will and practice.
Spirituality also aims to ‘recover the original shape of man’. In his book Waking Up, Sam Harris writes that’s ‘people of every faith, and of none, have had the same sorts of spiritual experiences. While these states of mind are usually interpreted through the lens of one or another religious doctrine, we know that this is a mistake. Nothing that a Christian, a Muslim, and a Hindu can experience – self-transcending love, ecstasy, bliss, inner light – constitutes evidence in support of their traditional beliefs, because their beliefs are logically incompatible with one another. A deeper principle must be at work.”
In other words, Mr. Harris has noted that spirituality exists as different types of mental states – the problem is that these states are often described by fitting it into a religious dogma for the sake of the religion. However this does not mean that these different states do not exist – rather it simply means that the state was interpreted in a religious way.
Mr. Harris also notes that many altered states of consciousness expounded by Hindu and Buddhist methods require no faith at all in an external, separate entity or spirit. Many of the eastern methods of spirituality rely on a personal, internal will and introspection – not on praying to spirts or submitting to some God (cough cough Abrahamic religions).
Spirituality has, for the most part, been a central tenet of mankind. Even the most primitive of people had some sort of spiritual belief system, and simply because one is an atheist does not mean that one cannot learn a thing or two by studying ‘spiritual’ belief systems.
As mentioned above, many Hindu and Buddhist spiritual techniques do not rely on faith and are thus accessible to anyone.
So, when I speak of spirituality, I mean it in a non-supernatural way – indeed, I mean it in a natural way. Spirituality to me is simply a psychological quest – a journey into the reaches of the mind and what it is capable of. For me, everything spiritual is connected to something personal – something mental – something that is residing in ones psyche.
Since my primary focus and teachings revolve around self-discovery and self-knowledge, it would be a mistake of me to disregard spirituality as merely ‘religious mumbo-jumbo’.
I have an interest in spirituality for the same reason that I have an interest in the occult – not because I believe it can unlock doors to a supernatural other-world, but because it can take one to different realms of their mind and experience things that are not present in ones typical day-to-day consciousness.

Transgression and Enlightenment

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I encourage drug use, sexual experimentation, dangerous activities, chaotic behavior and putting ones life at risk. Most people live their lives repeating the same experiences, feelings, emotions and routines – and yet they are miserable or are too stupid to realize how pathetic their lives are.
One must be willing to break taboos, to go to the dark corners of human existence, to experience true fear and terror, to see both heaven and hell. One must attempt to climb both the highest mountain and sink to the lowest abyss. The spiritual gurus want people to teach about love and peace, yet they forget that these things cannot exist without hate and conflict. One must be willingly to experience both sides of the spectrum in order to fully understand themselves.
There is an entire world of experiences out there; just because society or religion has deemed some of them (a lot of them actually) as being ‘bad’, ‘immoral’, or ‘destructive’ does not mean you shouldn’t do them. One must try to experience as much as they can in order to obtain enlightenment.
Take the Buddha for example. Born a rich prince, he lived the early part of his life as a hedonistic playboy with all the materialistic riches he could obtain. And yet, he was still unsatisfied, so he then became a ascetic – starving himself, barely sleeping, and essentially turning his body into a breathing corpse. And then, finally, the Buddha found the Middle Way, and did not participate in either an excess of riches nor an excess of asceticism.
But the Buddha only found his peace and enlightenment when he experienced both the extremes of pleasure and of suffering. Thus, the same is probably true for most individuals – one must experience great pleasure and great suffering in order to fully understand enlightenment.
One must understand that society is purposely built to keep people ‘unenlightened’ – so to speak. The goal of society is to turn every individual into a cog in a machine; society does not wish to better the individual; because a ‘better’ individual will follow his own will rather than that of some arbitrary social-norm. Societies goal is to keep people compliment, obedient, unsatisfied, and unenlightened.
Thus, in order to better oneself, one must disregard societies rules and laws and live their life as they see fit.
Most of you have lived your lives by being good citizens of society; thus, it only seems fair that you now become transgressive. The goal of transgression is mostly to shock – to shock the individual into a new state of being and to shock those who witness it, in order to break their sense of security and order.

Why Groups Are a Form of Imprisonment for the Individual

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I don’t like groups. I don’t think I’ve ever liked groups. Groups are literally the anti-thesis of the individual. As a Radical Individualist, I strongly dislike groups because they are in every way, shape and form a weight and, in some cases, a prison for the individual.

In a group, a consensus must be created. An individual’s own opinion or preference may be discarded or ignored because it is not ‘in accord with everyone else’s’. In a group, people must make compromises – they must co-operate, and this of course means that ones individuality is sacrificed.

Most groups have a leader, but even a leader must be careful of what they do, because if their actions cause unfavorable results this could lead to their removal as leader. Thus, even the most authoritarian and dictatorial of leaders will at times compromise their true desires in order to remain in power. Compromises are abundant in groups – such as political parties, activist organizations, company boards and so on – if one wants to get even more personal, one must compromise in a family, a relationship, and with friends. Even though these ‘groups’ are not based on an ideological consensus, they still require co-operation, sacrifices and compromising.

Obviously, each individual has their own desires and opinions. In a group, you have several individuals, thus you inevitably have differing and opposing views. The only way you’d have a truly ‘unified, all-in-agreement’ group would be one in which every member is too stupid to think for themselves and, without any hesitation, these members unanimously agree with everything their leader says.

No two individuals are alike, and thus, in a group, the individual is suppressed and cannot live as they truly see fit. Groups are inevitably a threat to individualism. A true individual does not need a group to support him or herself. A true individual is fine on their own. A true individual then, is their own group.