Maggie's Ruminations

Margo's Magical Letter Page

A sample from my diary... I tried to free it of the most embarrassing mistakes,
but I beg the reader's patience


It's dark outside
Winter solstice
It says that He moved upon the Face of the waters
I envision Him moving quite swiftly
A foot or two above the surface
Through the dark of night
Somehow it's important that it's that way
And not some other.
For then suddenly there is light

There's so much going on in the world
So many ways of being
But again and again you find yourself coming back
To what is most simple and most obvious
Peace on earth
Goodwill toward men
Of course She's well pleased
That is Her essence
Only we are a little confused on that point
If God were ever confused about that
She would be other than She Is

We complain about the power hungry
As if there's something wrong with power
The essence of Power is purity of heart
You can't have one without the other.
We are wrong to seek power
Because we already have it.

The pattern is always the same
You recognize a Good
Or whatever it is
And up to that point of recognition
You haven't made any mistakes
But then you try to go about making it happen
Even though it's already happening
That's where everything quite literally goes to hell
We try to make something be the case
That's already the case
And in that gesture, we confuse ourselves
Into thinking it's not already the case

And every mess is only that
Trying to pick the shadows off the wall
And move them someplace else
Thereby only creating a messier shadow
And thus was the world born
But in one instant
You can just sit down
And the whole thing goes away
Takes no time at all
Requires no self-help
No improvements of any kind
Just sit down.


In the Gospel of Thomas, it says
"Don't lie
And don't do what you hate."
For doing anything less than you are called to do
Is a lie and a crime against the spirit.


I've spent hours, staring at triangles
And trying to see why those angles had to add up to 180º
Not as a mere proof whose logic I can follow
I was trying to see what that was all about in its essence
In the grand scheme of things
And I know if I ever do see it
It will reveal to me a Mystery
Concerning a great deal more than triangles
The difference lies in Presence
And Truths that extend far beyond the bounds
Of the original investigation
Into the very nature of things

There's another part of the story.
The taboo part
The part you're not supposed to talk about

Everything is related to everything.
It seems like a prerequisite for this life we must endure
That we land in the domain of the laughable, the immoral, the foolish
You never come through the process easily
You always confront constraints in the world
That's how you know you're doing it right.

You must learn not to think about all that.
Continue with your work.
When temptation arises to compromise
Your spouse leaves.
You can't pay the rent.
You're offered a boring, high-paying job
You invariably waver...
At least I waver.
Yes indeedy
These fears arise
And you run in terror and drop your plate
And it shatters.
But you are given a new one
Until you get better at walking through that cave of wonders
And pocketing nothing either on the right or on the left
Not even for the most benevolent and urgent causes
Because any means to an end
Is less than benevolent.
Compassion lies in serving the End itself
Not the means to it.
You spend all your time
Getting logs out of your own eye.
The rest is supposed to take care of itself.

I find it tricky
Because you don't believe it really is that way
That there really is a cave of wonders
And that you are in it
And that there is a light at the end
And that it will fulfill your every wish
And that it's important not to take anything.
You think instead that there's no cave
And if there were a cave somewhere
You're at least not in it now
That's pretty obvious, you say
Just look around you
No cave, you say
And no wonders

We are a funny breed
We look out on this world and say
No cave
And no wonders...

And since there is no cave...
SINCE there's no cave of wonders
That is to say,
Since it doesn't REALLY matter whether you're true to yourself
Since nobody's really keeping tabs
The most moral thing you can do
Is to step a little to one side and pick up one small gemstone
To feed your family
Not to steal it
But to trade it
In exchange for some honest means-to-an-end labor

The trick is to realize that there really is a Force behind it all
That does really take note
And that nothing is overlooked.

Hold the mind steady
Though the roof fall in
And the world burst into flames.
For that's just what will happen
And then you'll see
Why the angles add up to 180º...
I'm pretty sure that's how it works.


My friend Danny told me yesterday
How a girl he'd just met and liked very much
Someone he'd hoped to enter as deeply as possible into relationship with
Told him that she didn't believe there was an absolute truth
And how he immediately felt that the possibilities were very limited

I've been struck sometimes
By how one apparently benign little word or sentence
Can affect so much
Kinda scarey
Are you judgemental, you ask.
No... it's not that.
Depending on where you're at
There are mistakes you just don't make
"Oops... I'm sorry... I just killed your daughter
I keep forgetting
It won't happen again, I promise."
(Extreme examples often make the point easier to see.)
There are more and more of those mistakes you don't make
More things you don't 'forget' or have to think through
In fact, we think we can disguise where we are at
There's not one gesture, one thought, one word we utter
That doesn't betray where we are at.

I've also been struck
By how important the views a person holds are
It's not that you care what views they hold really
The world can hold whatever views it likes as far as I'm concerned
But the views you hold
Like everything you do
Are a reflection of how the energy flows around you
Where your awareness is at
And it's pointless
to spend time with those
Whose energy flow is incompatible with your own
This is not because they are better or worse
Or that you love them more or less
Love cannot be 'more' or 'less'
It's just that it's not helpful to either of you to interact
The one will feel betrayed and abandoned
And the other will feel constrained and imprisoned

I'm often preoccupied with the paradox
Love is universal
And you only talk to some people
Read books written by some people
Sleep with some people
Give birth to some people
Not all.
Seems like it should be all or nothing
If love is all or nothing.


So I've been playing with a paradigm
That seems to keep coming up in my mind
Consider absolute truth
It seems to me that the world is cleanly divided into camps
You either think there is absolute truth
Or you don't
And those who think there is absolute truth
Are also divided into two camps
Those who think this truth is in this material world
And those who think it is in the Other
That is, there are those 'absolute truth' people
Who think there is some correct form, pattern of behavior, set of beliefs, etc.
And there are those who think there is no such thing
There's the camp who think truth has something to do with morality
And those who don't

So this issue divides the world into three groups:
1. Those who believe in a 'moral' absolute truth with some particular form
2. Those who believe in no absolute truth
3. Those who think that truth is Absolute,
and that it is not a particular form, but the ground of our being

State 1:
A view that is formally correct is adhered to
You are trying to implement this 'Truth" yourself
Believing that it's not already the case
You think this "Truth" or "Cause" you fight for
Has something to do with the forms of this world
And so you try to imprison forms to match your "Cause" or "Truth"
You blind yourself to error
In the name of your "Cause"
The "Cause" is more important than what is the case
You serve means to an end
Confuse the map with the territory

State 2:
A state of transition, of confusion, anxiety, chaos
You believe in compromise
That everything should be considered relative
You do this to assert your personal liberty
Which has been violated and trampled under
You are in protest to a greater or lesser degree
You are angry or sad about the world
That you believe has some objective hold over you
And from which you must protect yourself

State 3:
You're no longer angry or upset about whatever it is
-How organized religion subverts truth
-How sexual taboos limit self expression
-The government
Because you recognize that you are ultimately immune from it
The hold it had over you
Lay within you
And not outside you
You can once again embrace its "Cause"
But in freedom
You no longer presume that because you embrace it
You are imprisoned by the form that it proposes
You are at liberty to do as you choose.

I feel some level of conviction about this paradigm,
Have been thinking in terms of it lately
But if I really understood it
I wouldn't be sweating so much over money

Examples of the 1,2,3 (Hegel, Maggie style)

1. At first you speak out, because everyone is watching you
2. Then you are silent, because everyone is watching you
3. Then the body speaks or is silent
and there is no audience but the Self.

1. At first you join the church, because you have been told that's the way to God
2. Then you protest all organized religion,
because it's alien to truth
perhaps you become an atheist
claim truth is relative
3. Then there is only abiding in the Self
free of any concepts or religions.

1. organized religion
God is a concept
used as justification and for control
2. science denies the existence of God
assuming all reference to God must
be merely an abstract idea/concept
3. science and religion merge
the occult is seen directly
has the status of empirical fact rather than concept
and knowledge of other worlds
is arrived at by scientific method
which is to say,
the discipline of stating what was observed
no more and no less

1. At first you marry, because the culture teaches
that that is the way to express love.
2. Then you are angry and dispairing of relationship,
because marriages and relationship never work.
3. Then you see that the body has always
entered into and withdrawn from interaction
with other bodies
according to the dictates of nature,
and that concepts of marriage and 'relationship' are irrelevant
and have never had power over this.
You recognize that all relationships are perfect
and there is no longer effort to make them anything but what they are.

1. At first you seek to help people materially
2. Then you realize it doesn't help anything in the long term,
and usually they aren't even grateful, just greedy for more.
3. Then you see that all giving and receiving
happens according to a natural law,
and there never was an 'other' or a separate 'you'.

1. First you raise your children according to some standard
seeking to instill in them virtues
2. Then you realize that no matter what you do, they go their own way.
You feel dispair that your efforts are in vain
And angry that they never change no matter how hard you try.
3. Then you relate to them not as lesser beings
who you are responsible for 'bringing up',
but as equals
You do as you please relative to them,
And leave them free to do as they please.



We spend virtually all our time
Insuring that everything in our immediate surroundings
Conforms to what seems to me to be
About 200-250 rules:
Always wear socks
Always wear a hat outside in winter
Eat at least 3 meals a day
Eat some vegetables for dinner
Wash the dishes immediately after the meal
The remainder is spent talking about
The proverbial food, health and weather
in some circles
other subjects in other circles
as long as they don't go too deep.

The rules are not aribitrary in the sense
That they are largely inherited from the culture
They are, however, arbitrary in the sense
That some other set of 250 rules would serve just as well.

I reason as follows:
I rarely wear socks in summer
I rarely eat 3 meals a day
I only wear a hat when my ears are cold
I never wash dishes right after dinner
They always pile up in the sink
Until I run out of teaspoons.
So I know for a fact
That you can be happy and healthy
Without following any of these particular rules.
The purpose of these rules
Must therefore not really be health or happiness
As is claimed
Their purpose can therefore only be
To to occupy attention
And why would we want attention preoccupied
With conforming to rules?
I can only think

Some people say
That clarity involves
Less sensitivity to pain
Increased capacity to do whatever you are told
They say you learn to like it
As you get 'Enlightened'.
My experience is the opposite.
You grow more sensitive to everything
Less willing to tolerate suffering
Less willing to act according to external dictates,
More insistent on abiding inwardly.

What this means
Is that many of not most of us are spending virtually all our time
All our attention
In conforming to unnecessary rules
I would like to examine this phenomenon for a little while.

I observe that despite this incredible waste of time
These people survive very well
They are fed, housed, warm
On average more safe and secure in some obvious sense
Than people who are most creative
Based on this observation and others
I conclude that physical survival
Is a function of fitting into the existing structure
Not a matter of contributing something new
Or inherently valuable.
But this is as it should be, I suppose.
The body is a manifestation
Within the thought system which is the physical universe.
It continues exactly as long as it has a function
Relative to that thought system
And then it passes,
Just as you remove your coat
When it's warm outside.

That is,
The world really does operate
From each according to his ability
To each according to his need
If you just leave it alone.
And even if you don't leave it alone
That's how it works.
But if you try to improve upon the world
It's harder to see

But to make a contribution
You have to have recognized the flaws of the system
And no longer be angry or discouraged about them.
It's not a matter of changing the system
It's only a matter of seeing the system clearly
For what it is
Recognizing that it is arbitrary
And that it functions to absorb attention
That it conspires primarily
To waste time.

We think,
Waste time...
What's so terrible about that?

Wasting time is wasting life
What else?
Is consenting to meaninglessness
Promoting it and supporting it.
And meaninglessness always brings suffering.

I think that by neither commiting the error
Of conforming blindly to the system
Or of protest against the system
Or efforts to change it by force,
The system changes all by itself
Simply because you hang out there
As yourself

You get closer and closer to transcending the system.
The path narrows.
Your options become fewer.
Increasingly in the moments you betray your inner voice
You are hit with the extremes of depression
Feelings that there's no meaning to life
And the closer you stand to yourself
The more you feel immense depth and meaning
It is increasingly terrifying to stand true
As the stakes get higher.
Suicide is a temptation.

I don't think suicide is any greater or less an error
Than wasting time, for example.
Sometimes it's not even an error.
All errors are of the same magnitude
And all ultimately purposeful.
And for that reason
In a manner of speaking
There's no such thing as error.

Similarly in relationship
You just stand true to yourself
Refuse to do what you hate
And eventually whatever should fall will fall
And whatever should stand will stand.
Loss of face is scarey.

We are all crucified
In various contexts
I suppose it's only as bad as you make it
For it seems to always eject you into a domain
In which you find yourself more at home
The things you were uncomfortable with disappear
And those things you once longed for
Are provided in abundance
You let nature decide
What form the solution will take.

The transition itself is difficult
And the speed with which it happens
Depends on your capacity and willingness
To hold the mind steady
Not to doubt and revert back to the old way
Where you find yourself increasingly in agony
But to keep your mind consistently
In the new way
Though it seems to imply your death.


evening now...

At some point in the process
You become sensitive to underlying energies
Before you thought that what made an answer right
Resided in some faculty of the mind
Eventually you realize that what guides all
Is that which you know through the faculty of Feeling
Which is not the same as emotion
Feeling is cause.
Emotion is effect.

All events and physical phenomena
Were never perceived
By the powers of eternity
Which are the only real powers
But all dispositions of the soul
Are known
You reorient yourself
For you realize that you will be held answerable
For unresolved sloppiness.
That there is no force more powerful than prayer
Call it meditation if you prefer
Call it science
Call it generosity, goodwill.

I think this is obvious
when you take time off from those 250 rules
And the attendant sense of guilt and duty.
For it is initially guilt and duty
Which insure that time is wasted.
After that, it is anger, dispair and regret
That insure that time is wasted.

Those who accomplish much
Bach, Gauss, Newton,...
Are first and foremost expert
Not in music, mathematics or physics
But in holding attention
In music, mathematics and physics

If attention wavers,
You're just shooting yourself in the boot.
I think people make less mistakes with time
Not because they're're more holy than they were
But merely because it's stupid and painful
To shoot yourself in the boot
It is just another mistake to think
That some are better than others
Or even have different identity from others,
Or that you've improved,
Or that you could be improved upon,
You can get better at playing tennis
Or working calculus problems
But who you are
can't get better.
I try to remember that when I'm trying to get better
Better at what?

And so increasingly
You respond on the level of feeling
Rather than thought
Thought becomes the servant of feeling
It does nothing on its own
Thought is just on autopilot
Blindly and effortlessly executing
Whatever the heart demands.
Strictly speaking,
Thought does not exist.
This is the essence of intelligence
NOT using your mind.
Just as wind does not exist
When it isn't blowing.

Life is a dance

It is possible to have visions
Of purer states
Than those in which you normally reside.
And after you reach the limits of your stamina
Attention wanes
And you revert to the older way of being
You feel so painfully
The knot of your existence
You always have an audience.

You can't fix that
I think there is nothing of value other
Than forgiveness.
And those who are more aware than you
Differ from you therefore
only in their capacity to forgive themselves
Which is not different
From forgiving you.
It is only your judgement of yourself
Which keeps the knot in place.
Know yourself therefore as innocent
And all is accomplished.
The knot is loosed.



a morning
on the subject of machines...
we think badly of machines.
what makes me think of this today
is that i wrote yesterday of the mind
that at its best
functions like a machine
doing nothing on its own

this can be thought of as frightening
we identify with the mind
and think it's terrible that the mind
should function like a machine
we think of Big Brother
of being absorbed into a system

i observe that most aspects of existence
must and do function automatically
that is to say, like gravity
in accordance with natural law
only spirit with which we are identified remains free
all other aspects of existence must serve the spirit
do serve the spirit whether we like it or not
like machines
on autopilot.
when certain conditions are met
they kick in
no way to prevent it.

if we are wrongly identified
then we try to make that with which we are identified
- money, mind, the body,... -
and in the process
we act as if
spirit is imprisoned...
answerable to some illusion
we act as if there is leeway
in the workings of the mind, the body, the financial system
all freedom lies with the spirit
everything else is held captive by spirit and serves it
according to natural law

when i talk about one thing
i'm usually talking about many things

i first saw this phenomenon in the context of marriage
i offer two examples

1. you read these books on anthropology
that tell how before a society enters into a moneyed economy
they have marriage and commerce
all tied up together
you pay for your wife
all exchange is done by means of gifts
but although the pretense is that you're free not to return the gift
it isn't true
if you don't eventually return a gift of equal value
it's grounds to declare war

the idea is that this should be a friendlier economy
everything happens by means of gifts
no cold, feelingless transactions
which occur by means of mere money
every transaction has emotional content

(imagine if every time a pencil fell to the ground
it were associated with emotion bonds
what a lovely life that would be)

but i wouldn't trade my moneyed economy to live like that
not in a million years
for one thing, quite universally in these systems
woman is to a large extent
a piece of merchandise
this is not a mere coincidence
but follows from natural law
the law i was talking about before
that if you try to make what is not spirit free
you imprison spirit
if money can't be money
then woman and children and livestock
and anything else you can control
must be money

another problem is
that without money, every transaction has emotional content
i can't acquire so much as a piece of bubble gum
without being emotionally indebted to somebody
physical acquisition is not repaid by mere physical indebtedness
but by emotional indebtedness
talk about a pain in the neck
i don't want to be that tied emotionally
to my own children
much less my bubble gum vendors

but since you are tied in this way
to your bubble gum vendors
you can only function economically
on a very small scale
societies such as this can never invent the computer
or vaccines
or produce books
or do any other large scale project
all major technical advances
are dependent on a moneyed economy

some of us are nostalgic for these old communal lifestyles
and i also agree largely with Schumacher
even though what i write now seems in some obvious way
i'd rather not be emotionally bound to anything
especially not my bubble-gum vendors
i'd rather be emotionally free
but that does not make me irresponsible
relative to the environment

we confuse being emotionally bound
with love
but more on that anon*

what happens with money
is that barter becomes like a machine
subject to physical law
all emotional content is taken out of a material transaction
this is a positive move
aligned with the spirit
so methinks
for then material exchange is free of all encumberances
to respond to the movement of spirit

notice this happens when a distinction is made
the existence of money represents this distinction
we distinguish material exchange
from all that is not material exchange
we cease to confuse levels
material debts are payable by material means
emotional debts are payable by emotional means
and spirit does not recognize debts
they are not crossed

emotion is no longer mistakenly viewed as free
rather spirit is free
the smallness that is beautiful
is the autonomy of each soul
and money serve the spirit perfectly
like a machine

and in this process
(slava bogu)
woman is once again a human being
large scale projects can be initiated without entering into
an infinitude of emotional ties
a gift is once a real gift
money serves spirit
spirit no longer serves money
material exchange is machine-like
don't knock it

2. to take a modern day example
when i divorced i noticed
that my husband was much more sane about the whole affair
than i was
and the reason for this was
that he wasn't a sticky hermetic like me
but a scientific materialist
a wedding for him was not a holy sacrament
but something much closer to a clean exchange
sex, labor, emotional support, finances, etc.

as a result
the end of a marriage
was much like the end of a business contract
the barter was no longer profitable to the two parties involved
so end it and move on
no anxiety, whining, blame,...
much more enlightened approach

but what of holiness in relationship?
i had to reformulate the whole thing in my mind
in the face of this
supposedly the spirit was more tied up in relationship for me
supposedly this view was more enlightened
how come i was less sane about divorce?

(i make a side comment here
oft noted by hermetics
the difference between taking the wide path
and the narrow path
is whether you stop and enquire into yourself
every time you encounter an inconsistency
these ignored inconsistencies
(I'm happily married, work is meaningful,...)
feel like to me
white noise, mild confusion and discomfort
a little signal is sent to the brain
you first learn to recognize what this signal feels like
then you practice stopping up every time you feel it)

so what of holiness in relationship?
the error i made was to ascribe holiness
to something which was not inherently holy
namely marriage
a mere social contract.
marriage is not relationship.
we ascribe it counterfactually with holiness
for the sake of a stable society
keeping certain structures in place.
what is holy
might more closely be described
as the relationship itself
what is holy
is always dynamic,
never static
never can be named
it is dynamic, eternal,
ever responsive to change.

this second modern day error i describe
is essentially the same
as the error of a non-moneyed society
failure to make distinctions
confusion of levels

*on the confusion of emotional bondage
with love

many people who are given a pop quiz like
love is:
1. emotional bondage
2. God, truth, the foundation of existence
3. sex
will answer (2)

but the vast majority of us
who would answer (2)
actually live as if the answer were (1) or (3)
marriage is not a mere social contract for us
but somehow more of an expression of love for someone
in our minds
than shaking hands
or blowing our nose.
we have notions that we love some more than others
that it makes sense to label some relationships
husband, brother, daughter
that that means something.
we feel we are no longer loved
if our partner has sexual feelings for another.
we feel sad when this person moves out of our house or dies.

and we persist in living from these views
by simply ignoring the inconsistency
that we answer (2)
but live as if the answer were (1) or (3)

the root of all evil
is what Socrates calls the unexamined life.
we bounce along
living on the basis of a falsehood
a falsehood that we could prove to be false in seconds
but we don't have those few seconds to think it through
because we're too busy conforming
to those 250 rules.
like i said,
we spend our time conforming
to those 250 rules
so we don't have to think about the inconsistencies.
we have a societally sanctioned excuse
for living the unexamined life
we are too busy being law-abiding, 'good' citizens.
good citizenship is the root of all evil
see european history 1938-1945
but we still teach good citizenship
in our american schools
because it appears
that that example was not clear enough

the deepest states of being in love
are impersonal.
that is,
the personality is not acknowledged
much less the lifestyle, race, religion, background, appearance.
a law of nature takes over
a distinction is drawn
each person is answerable only to God
and in that state of reverence
they know one another as One
it happens like a physical law
whenever the conditions are right.

at the same time,
these deepest states of being in love
in which the personality is not acknowledged
are always arrived at
through a highly personal regard.
one sees the beauty
in the gestures, expressions,
tendencies, of another,
and holds them very dear.
so dear
that the personality dissolves
and one is no longer separate.

the mechanistic nature of natural law
the 'machine' we fear
is simply the manifestation in this realm
of the fact that God is God
confusion of levels

the freedom of the spirit
does not lie in having lots of choices
the closer you get to having only one choice
the closer you are to truth
you aren't confusing what you think
with what you feel
and God's Will becomes your own



a note on God's Will
i was confused for a long time
how i would know God's will
or my own will
it turned out to be really simple
God's Will is my will
and it manifests very simply
when i want to wash my shirt
or write a dictionary
or eat potato chips
the energy i feel which i think of as my will
is simply God's Will
hence the maxim
'follow your bliss'
only if you think we are inherently evil
will you be afraid of recommending to people
that they follow their bliss
what we want is always good
a reflection of God's will.

there is one little caveat, however.
if you would like to avoid traps like
heartbreak and alcoholism.

attention is not well trained
one thinks as follows
'i want a lamborghini
but i can't afford a lamborghini
so i'll go get that education
so i can have that job
so i can earn that much money
to buy a lamborghini'
what you really want
is usually not even the lamborghini itself
but what the lamborghini is going to get you.

a feeling is what you want, I think

beauty, freedom, competence, peace of mind
power, goodwill, joy, gratitude,
grace, compassion, clarity, purity of heart

i think we do better to serve these
than our notions of the means to attain these

it's a really weird set-up here

perhaps enlightenment
is doing whatever the hell you want all the time
also witness the source
know yourself as this consciousness
that kind of sits back
and watches the body
do its thing
eat, poop, wiggle its fingers on the keyboard
ten fingers, ten toes
wiggle, wiggle
it conks out
snore, snore
wake up
it comes to school
another body says to it
'you're late. you're very bad
go to the principal.'
the 'you'-body goes to the principal-body.
the principal-body says to the 'you'-body,
'you're late. you're very bad.
you only care about yourself.'

now if attention is clear enough
not to indulge the requisite shame and guilt
not to confuse itself with the 'you'-body
to continue feeling very innocent
it can ask
who is observing all this silliness?

the body can't observe anything.
the body is this chuck of inspired meat

the principal-body talks to this body and says
'you' are bad.
this wiggly chunk of meat is bad?
because this meat didn't wiggle rapidly enough
in the direction of the school building?
because of that?

this wiggly chunk of meat doesn't 'care'
says the principal-body
very true...
it does very little of anything
except wiggle.
doesn't care, doesn't think, doesn't love, doesn't even not love
the principal-body stares at the 'you'-body and says 'you'.
it could just have well have been staring at the filing cabinet
saying 'you are very bad'.
who you?
it's hysterical
but the gestures of the principal-body
reflect no sense of humor whatsoever.


some teachers would say
that you should learn to desire what is eternal
rather than desiring what is of this world
i think there is an error in this statement
you cannot in principle desire anything but the eternal
suggesting you could
is misleading you into thinking you could be any less than perfect
that you could be improved on
that your will could be different from God's
and that you have to do something to make it consistent with God's

i'd say
don't try to change what you want
just examine what it is you want
if it still seems to you that you really want that guy
or that lamborghini
or a drink
or sex
then pursue it
and see where it gets you
keep your eyes open
don't overlook inonsistencies
don't lie to yourself about what happens



on the letter w
and God's Will

when you do these experiments with sound-meaning
observations come in a certain order
1. first you're sure there's no sound-meaning
because 'dog' and 'chien' and 'sobaka' and 'hund'
sound different
and mean the same thing
you prosthelytize this authoritatively to the world
despite not having conducted so much as 3 hours
of experimenting to find out for yourself.
i did that too.

2. then you become convinced
that sound and meaning are related
but only in some words
you see yourself as being more scientific
if you don't make sweeping statements
that is,
we do the non-moneyed number on science
and assume it's safer and truer
not to assume that things function
by means of sweeping natural laws
i did that too.

3. then you become convinced
that sound and meaning are related in nearly every word
and you can say something
about the nature of that meaning.
to take the letter 'w' as an example,
the first thing you notice is its waviness
i did that too.

4. i know of very few modern scientific types
who would claim that all words
in all languages
are affected by sound.
most of those scientists who are in that class
have mystical leanings
highly suspect, i know.

5. and at the next stage i noticed
that the interfering factor
is reference...
that 'sobaka' and 'dog' don't after all
mean exactly the same thing
they just often refer to the same class of things
in the world.
reference is
mapping sound onto things in the world
setting A equal to B
confusing levels
like mixing commerce with marriage.
but i think that observation
makes the premise more acceptable
to the scientific mind

6. then you start seeing deeper and deeper
into the sound-meanings
after the waviness of 'w'
i saw the willfulness
and that the waviness of 'w'
was associated with wind and water
natural powers with a latent force
similar to will

the Hebrew meaning of 'w' is 'waw' - nail
i must say, i never understood this
until i read althoff
who was trained in the tradition of the kabbalists.
what did a nail have to do with winding and willfulness?
he writes (among other things):

"This flowing 'u' sound ­ the bilabial w ­
can be experienced as a swaying wave of devotion,
from which the empowerment of
and rootedness in the 'I' can arise.
The nail fastens and solidifies.
It's like a staff, which gives one stamina.
The nail which locks the door serves as a bolt.
In a related form, it can also serve as a key
with which one can lock and unlock.
The 'power of the key' is the power of the 'I'
which is grounded in itself.
It is the authority to lock onself in where necessary,
as well as to open oneself to understanding
and to resolve oneself to one's Will,
which brings about one's own free understanding.
The power of the key is also the authority
to bind or release destiny.
Wherever the power of the key
or the inner stamina has not been attained,
the soul dissolves into the Spirit like water
which flows out and becomes ordinary
and common to all."

in some of my deeper dreams
an image appears
of a stake in the ground
which has a kind of magnetic force
in the dream this stake represents truth
or the Will of God.
i try to approach it
and the truer i am
the closer i get

but at some point i am generally veered away
with a rounded 'w' motion...
in deeper meditations
you can be 'caught' by this magnetic force
as if your polarity has been reversed
and it holds you fast rather than repels you
and as you are held fast
the power of the spirit enters you
and sets to work
rearranging things, it feels like.
but these meditations have tend to be so deep
that that one loses the faculties of the senses
there's a state which is neither sleeping
nor waking.
it's also not like an alcohol- or drug-induced state
nor drowsiness
it transcends wake and sleep

somewhere in the Nag Hammadi Library
it says that when you start to see the staff
the time remaining is short
the 'staff' in the Western mystical tradition
is, i think, the 'nail' of 'w'
the axis of the earth's rotation
the stake of truth
which holds fast or repels
in a veering motion
like the Will.

(note 12/1/99)
i read today of the vril
'v' is 'w' in a lot of languages
which is another word for the ki, shakti
it is thought of as a staff
"Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I fear not, for though art with me
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me"

speaking of the axis of rotation
notice how the word 'vril'
is similar to the word 'world'
it starts with the 'wr'
which i think are the masculine and feminine energies
'w' is wavy willful woman
and 'r', ya know
is ripping, rowdy, robust, rigid, rock solid, raring, rearing, roaring
and he and she either work or they're at war
(mostly in english they're at war
wrenching, wrong, wretched,...)
have ya noticed?
in english 'wr' is one sound at the beginning of a word
i personally think the 'w' sound is still there in 'wr'

and the 'rl' is also a different kind of masculine/feminine dynamic
'l' is the lucious, passive Venus
that guys like better
than the willful Athena woman
but she's not without power
it is she who flows, blows, clusters, slips, glows, plows
depending on the circumstances
she just doesn't take initiative.
and that 'rl' is round
curl, furl, pearl, burl, swirl, roll, reel, rill, rail,...
you get the idea
the 'r' leads the dance
and the 'l' makes his energy swirl around
instead of being so linear all the time
as it wound be if she led the dance.
so the 'world'
is at root the Hebrew 'nail' (w)
with a bit of an 'url' to it
and it ends in the 'door' (d)
to who knows where?
that's how english secretly thinks of the world
kinda like Hermes' Caduceus

2/12/99 - note
i come across the following in my reading:
"I am He, the Bornless Spirit,
having sight in the feet,
strong and the immortal fire.
I am He, the Truth,
I am He that hateth that evil should be wrought in the world.
I am He that lighteneth and thundereth.
I am He from whom is the shower of the Life of Earth.
I am He whose mouth ever flameth.
I am He, the begetter and manifester unto the Light.
I am He, the Grace of the world.
The Heart girt with a serpent is my Name.

and check out the T.S. Eliot quote
on my Quotations page



imagine that you wake up in the middle of the night
craving milk
you go down to the kitchen and drink some milk
leave the empty glass on the counter
start back up the stairs
2/3 of the way up
the thought hits you involuntarily
and with complete clarity
'this walking thing is ridiculous...
i don't need to put one foot in front of the other
and march up the stairs
i'm only insisting on this cumbersome mode of transportation
to prove to myself that there is no God.'

and in that moment
you are lifted up and transported down the hallway
lain in bed

you think to yourself
'wowie zowie
things are going to be different tomorrow morning.'

the next morning
everything is the same
you can't levitate.

and then you start asking yourself
'what really happened?'
was i hallucinating?
on what basis do i determine what constitutes hallucination?
did that perception seem in any way different
from my currently normal perception
of my wiggly fingers on the keyboard
of a Macintosh Powerbook 180?

suppose you decide it didn't
subjectively speaking
that you have as much reason to doubt your normal experience now
of sitting with your computer
as to doubt the 'abnormal' experience
of floating down the hallway

so why do you still wonder if you hallucinated?

because you never floated down a hallway before
in fact
you never even saw anyone float down a hallway before
in fact
you never even met anyone who ever claimed
to have floated down a hallway
or for that matter anywhere else before
you've read these physics books
that explained why people can't float down hallways

science as it is popularly understood
is a set of notions
about what's possible
so if you have empirical evidence of
(i.e. personal experience of)
floating down a hallway
you reject it
by means of labelling it with a word
'hallucination' means
'empirical data which you reject
because it does not fit into currently existing theories
about what is possible'

well, you know...
i actually think that's rather bad science
it's better science not to put on any labels
or jump to any conclusions
but simply to say
it seems to me now like i'm sitting here
typing on the computer
and it seemed to me then
like i floated down the hallway

sorry about that

you are not in a position
to assess or say much more about floating down the hallway
at this point
you need more floating data to do that...
as it stands,
you so far only have one piece of floating data
but inconclusive...
you can't repeat the experiment
don't know how
that doesn't mean it didn't happen

if you press me for an interpretation
i would say
that you did indeed hallucinate that you floated down the hall
you are currently hallucinating
that you are sitting with my computer.
there are things you see which cannot be hallucinations
that was a different kind of Seeing
much more reliable
2+2=4 is like that a little
but there are other profounder insights

and these unconquerable truths
are the greatest Gist one can get in life

this floating Power gives you
what you think you want perhaps
transcendence of physical law
but having received it
all you can say
is that you don't know what it means
or even whether it really happened
it's just a weird piece of empirical data

which is why i would also say
it's helpful to try to be clear about
what it is you really want


c.s. lewis
lions witches and wardrobes
little lucy returns from narnia
and tells how she's seen this magical country
with dwarves and elves and talking beasts
and her brothers and sisters did the predictable
'great joke, lucy... now get off it'
and then they start wondering if she's insane
so they go into the old professor
and tell him of the dilemma

he asks
'does lucy ever lie?'
they say
'never, but we think it might not even be lying'
he says
'you mean insanity?'
they nod
he says
'but you only have to look at her and talk to her
to see that she's not insane
she's in full command of her senses.'
they say
'then what?'
he says.
'why do they never teach logic at these schools?
there are only three choices:
1. she is lying - you say your sister never lies
2. she is insane - she's obviously not insane
3. she is telling the truth
so until further evidence appears,
we must assume 3
she is telling the truth.

but there's another possibility
Scrooge says to the apparition of Marley
that he's just a piece of undigested potato
this is the doubt i'm always confronted with
so let me address the undigested potato theory
i guess in this case
it would be the undigested milk theory

it seems to me
that one must look into the nature of causality
and ask if undigested potato
has the power to cause anything
and whether stress
exists in fact
or whether it is merely a word
which we erect saying
'stress and potatoes is the explanation...
inquire no further'

and why are we in such a desperate rush
after all
to reject levitation data?
why is there such emotional content
around rejecting it
'hurry! hurry!'
we say
'reject it really fast'
the rejection doesn't necessarily have to be well thought through
just make sure it's effective
make sure we never ask again what really happened

it's probably because
it requires an undermining of your entire thought system
if you accept that something like this 'really' happened
you have to question a great many things
and this is a disruption one doesn't want to deal with

but ascribing levitation to 'stress' or 'undigested milk'
is not proper diligent science
stressed people and milk drinkers
don't in general hallucinate levitations
such explanations are just making stuff up
based on no empircal evidence whatever

which you might be able to get away with
if you weren't the person who levitated.
but if you actually levitated
it kind of bugs you more.

so let's back up
if someone sticks a probe
in parts of my brain
and wiggles it around
i often 'hallucinate'
in the sense that
i see and hear things
that no one else sees or hears.
i have no real reason to doubt
that this is empirical fact.
similarly it seems to me pretty indisputable
that all perceptions, emotions, sensations
mediated by the body
correlate with chemical changes in the body.

we say these chemical changes have a causal effect.
probe wiggling 'causes' hallucinations.
kant didn't convince me on this point
i think he's just real uncomfortable contemplating hume
i think it's more correct
to steer clear of claims regarding a causal connection.
i'll leave it that there's a correlation
between probe wiggling, drug use, etc.
and perceptions which only the individual to whom these things are applied

if, however, i 'really' levitated
the modern-day metaphor would be
that what 'caused' the levitation
was not chemical changes in my brain
but energy changes surrounding my body.
in the case of energy fields around my body
i 'really' levitated
whereas in the case of chemical changes in my brain
I hallucinated that i levitated.


now if the 'cause' of the levitation
was chemical changes in the brain
we think it is a phenomenon of the mind
but if the energy changes surrounding the body
then this is a phenomenon of matter
and since matter is more real than mind
then we can dismiss 'hallucination'
but not real material levitation
and the way you tell the difference
is by whether other people saw you levitate or not

is this reasoning valid?

my primary complaint with it is
that the only way i know of a material world
is through mind
i have sense perceptions
and hypothesize the rest
kant spends a lot of time trying to convince me
that there really is an external world
and that causality is a priori
i'm not convinced

spinoza says that mind and matter are the same process
only when it's called matter, we are regarding it outwardly
and when we call it mind, we are regarding it inwardly
this seems truer to me

it has to do with identity
if we identify ourselves with the body
then what is outside us is matter
by definition
if we identify ourselves with mind
then there is nothing outside us

so when you label this event as hallucination
all you are saying is that a human being is a body
and that's all it is
and only bodies are real
and every other aspect of our humanity
consciousness, will, mind, emotion
is not real

if you are schizophrenic, then
and hear voices that no one else hears
i might propose a different criterion
to determine whether the voice is real

what is really worth focussing attention on
is whether the voice speaks truth
what is true cannot come from what is not real

consider that first
then once having assessed the value of the message
you can more sensibly
start inquiring into the nature of the messenger
assuming you feel so inclined

what's interesting is
that although you can't always tell
whether the voices you hear are so-called 'hallucinated'
or so-called 'real'
you can always tell
in some relevant way
if they speak the truth
whether they resound inwardly


when i was perhaps five years old
i suddenly got terror struck with this idea
that there was a grand conspiracy to fool me
i had this idea that the whole world was slapped up
to create an illusion around me that it was a certain way
and that everyone was in on it except me
there was no one i could trust

but the best i could do was to trust my dad
and ask if there was such a conspiracy
and if he was in on it
i didn't hold out much hope
because if he were, he would lie
so i could never know

but he knew something i didn't
he was a mathematician
you may have heard the puzzle
there are two men at a fork in the road
one always lies and one always tells the truth
what question can you ask to insure
that you get pointed down the right road?

well there's a way to know
even if you don't know whether either of them lies
even episodically
because that's how it really is here

well my dad didn't say something like
'no, there's no conspiracy'
or 'i'm not in on such a conspiracy'
which would have been no comfort to me
instead he said this

"you can't know if there's such a conspiracy
and if i were in on it, i would lie to you about it, right?
but there is something you can know if you look within yourself
you can know that goodwill, kindness, love, warmth
are important
and that they are the right way
and so if this is all a giant hoax
you can just figure that's their problem
if they want to waste their time on this foolishness
it makes no real difference
all you have to worry about is that you
do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God
and in this you can never buy into to their sham
in this there can be no mistake
no fault, and nothing to fear
and eventually if this is a game after all
they might get bored with you and leave you alone"

so you see why
i grew up loving mathematics

it's the same as the levitating thing
what is hallucination is a matter of definition
it's a non-question
pure nonsense


a friend once asked me how i define evil
and i said that evil was the consequence
of taking for real
that which is not real
in a manner of speaking
evil is that which is not
and they said
"don't kid yourself
there is evil"

she thought that my denial of the reality of evil
was the same as being susceptible to fascism
when in fact one denies it
exactly to the extent that one is not susceptible

and, you know
i've noticed an anomaly or too
i don't say 'thank you for the world so sweet'
at my dinner table
it has perhaps been bittersweet a time or two

but i still feel
that it is a wonder

and i feel strangely grateful for it


"Go be useful!" says the Group.
"sorry, I'm just kinda not up to it," you say.
the Group calls you 'self-centered'.
this is faith.
this is being nailed down by the vril
it is seeing the staff
when it's really there, it's happening in spite of you.
you act in faith, even though you don't trust it yourself.
a force higher than the separated 'i' holds you fast.
and you are granted this true faith
to the extent that you have the courage to hold right attention
and just let the house of cards fall around you.

To the extent that you are answerable in this way
to the beat of a different drummer,
a soul is born.
increasingly, the individual soul becomes articulated
and empowered to create.
the empowerment to create is a direct result
of the individual's self-centeredness.

so paradoxically, the less you experience a separated 'i'
the more autonomous you become
and the more unique

Margo's Magical Letter Page