Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Helt otroligt

Det här är alltså ett kort utdrag ur en intervju med Donald Trump gjord för 40 år sedan. Ja, ni läste rätt. Året var 1980. Det mest surrealistiska är att han låter i princip likadan som idag. Han klagar på Iran, säger att USA borde ta deras olja, att USA behöver ett starkare ledarskap, och sedan frågar intervjuaren honom om han kan tänka sig att bli USA:s president! 40 år sedan. What the fuck.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Konsten att hindra Kuba-krisen

Det här är en autentisk rubrik som stått att läsa i flera svenska dagstidningar. Nog för att jag visste att Fidel hade högtflygande ambitioner, men detta... :D

Castro ger upp försök att bli USA:s president

Jag har ännu inte kollat om Che verkligen var irländare, stay tuned!

Vi måste lära, lära, lära av tredje världen

I Sverige hade de fått samhällstjänst sex månader och feministisk fortbildning c/o Miljöpartiet. Wtf, I love Mama India now!

Dödsstraff mot våldtäktsmän i Indien verkställs

Brutaliseringen av det offentliga rummet

Peter Wolodarski brukar ju klaga på brutaliseringen av det offentliga rummet. Or something. Fast jag misstänker att han inte menar nedanstående...den *verkliga* brutaliseringen av det offentliga rummet.

Some new shit in Sweden

Oh no, the Raëlians were right


Scientists create entirely new life form

Ännu en Jan Guillou extravaganza

Jag har ju alltid varit en hemlig beundrare av Jan Guillou och hans enorma biceps. Här flexar han lite mot Skatteverket i ännu en Guillou special. Och ja, han brukar få rätt också... (Alla vet att det är Carl Hamilton som är Guillous verkliga alter ego, inte den där reportern.)

Jan Guillou till angrepp mot Skatteverket

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Climate change as metaphor

One thing just struck me. While the climate crisis (and the eco-crisis in general) is real, I sometimes get the impression that the establishment claims to believe in it mostly for metaphorical reasons. The climate crisis is an emerging modern mono-myth and is really a metaphor for the establishment´s own systemic crisis. “The world goes under” really means “our system is collapsing”. Which, of course, is true. Fans of John Michael Greer can make the tie-in to the progress/apocalypse dichotomy here.

But there´s more. At least in Sweden (a nation or ex-nation in which the cognitive dissonance of the chattering classes must be especially severe), what struck me the last two years or so is how incredibly *lazy* the propagandists of the System have become. Logically, the chattering classes should repudiate all pessimism and start to call for *massive* investments (private or public, depending on your nominal partisan affiliation) in nuclear power, electrification, copper mines, or even bio- and geo-engineering. And while such articles have of course been published in the Swedish media, they are nowhere near the level you would expect of a confident triumphalist establishment. This stands in stark contrast to the period 2015-18 when the media at the top of their lungs made coordinated propaganda in favor of open borders and, (more briefly) #metoo.

Instead, the establishment is promoting Greta Thunberg as a kind of ersatz “solution” to the climate crisis. Greta has usually avoided explicit partisan statements, but I think it´s obvious that she is a left-wing radical, perhaps a budding eco-socialist of some kind. In other words, not the kind of person the establishment should promote. The mainline newspaper Dagens Nyheter has even published material from virtual doomsday prophets. Add to this more general statements about the old world order being kaput, and a pattern is emerging. In Sweden (that´s Sweden for crying out loud) the pundits no longer believe that Trump can be impeached or that he will lose the election. The negative reactions to the Suleimani killing are not those of a European ruling class confident in its alternative geopolitical strategy for engagement in the Middle East, but rather those of a cowardly and sickly lot deadly terrified of war, and therefore ready to give Charlie whatever he demands (except nuclear weapons, but wait another five years…).

This bizarre combination of exotic activism, “leftism”, apocalyptic pessimism, cowardice in the face of an expansive religious theocracy, and neo-liberal BAU is not what you would expect from an establishment in ascendancy. It´s not even what you would expect from an establishment in decline, fighting (perhaps desperately) to ensure its survival.

I say they are demoralized.

Tired of winning yet?

Nej, Greta är inte "vänsterpopulist"

Juan Peron: en sann vänsterpopulist 

Sluta kalla Greta Thunberg för "vänsterpopulist", det finns bara en sann vänsterpopulist i det här surrealistiska jävla skitlandet och det är jag. Och hör sen!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The highest accomplishment

“Raja Yoga” is a famous book by Swami Vivekananda, first published in 1896. Vivekananda was the founder of the Ramakrishna Mission and one of the first Hindu teachers to visit the United States. He is often regarded as a Hindu reformer, Neo-Hindu or Neo-Vedantin. According to De Michelis´ book “A History of Modern Yoga”, Vivekananda was heavily influenced by Western neo-esotericism, including New Thought and Transcendentalism. If so, I didn´t get it, since I think “Raja Yoga” sounds traditional enough. But then, at least in the West, this is how almost every Hindu or Buddhist teacher sounds like, no doubt due to the success of “Raja Yoga” back in the days. I suppose you could say that it has become “traditional” after a fashion. Presumably, the original audience gasped in awe and wonder at the swami´s teachings…

The book is divided into two sections. The first contains a number of lectures on the topic of Yoga. The second is a series of commentaries on Patanjali´s Yoga aphorisms. The term Raja Yoga refers to Patanjali´s system and is Vivekananda´s own designation of it. One thing that immediately struck me was that Vivekananda doesn´t connect yoga to any health benefits, the power of positive thinking or what have you. No New Age fare in this one! Yoga is forthrightly said to be a mystical technique to attain either godhood or complete liberation from the material world. The next thing that struck me was how freely Vivekananda talks about some pretty extreme practices. He accepts both hatha yoga and kundalini yoga, indeed, Raja Yoga seems to be a form of kundalini yoga. He also seems to accept that yogis can attain supernatural “siddhi” powers and essentially become “gods”. The author even mentions alchemical attempts (via mercury and sulfur) to make the physical body immortal. As usual, siddhi powers and godhood is said to lead away from liberation, and the yogi should therefore renounce them in order to attain genuine enlightenment.

Vivekananda points out that Yoga is based on the ancient Indian philosophy known as Samkhya. This is something of a problem, it seems, for many Hindus. Samkhya could be described as an atheistic and ontologically realist form of dualism. There is no creator-god, but rather an infinite number of spirits or “purushas”, many of whom are stuck in the material world for eons before attaining liberation. The world is real, not a mayic illusion. And since all spirits are distinct from each other, there is presumably no Brahman either. I suspect that many Hindus, while generally appreciative of Patanjali, nevertheless want to complete his system by introducing a creator-god, a kind of Über-Purusha controlling the entire cyclical process of the world. Others want the world to be an illusion and are hence monists. It´s not clear to me exactly what Vivekananda wants, but he treats the Purusha as one. The Purusha is a trans-personal (critics would say impersonal) god permeating the entire cosmos and somehow also standing outside of it. Unity with this divine reality is the goal of Raja Yoga. The author emphasizes the distinction between pre-personal and trans-personal states (today, this is the shtick of Ken Wilber and his fans) and occasionally sounds like a Theosophist, when he argues in favor of a cyclical involution-evolution.

“Raja Yoga” is not a textbook of instructions, although Vivekananda does mention a few typical practices, such as the importance of a correct body posture or various exercises involving inhalation and exhalation. He also discusses mantras. Following Samkhya, the author argues that sense perception or empirical experience is the ultimate ground of all knowledge. Of course, he regards mystical experiences as empirical. The only true religion is the one that isn´t based on blind faith, but invites people to come and see for themselves. In this particular book, Vivekananda seems to regard all “official” religions as false, while in other works, he rather emphasizes that most people can´t attain liberation unless they worship a personal god or even a human saint, although the ultimate goal can only be the trans-personal Divine. An ironic confirmation of this is that Vivekananda´s admirers on YouTube claim that he was actually Shiva! It seems some people can´t be liberated from samsara without worshipping a personal destroyer-god in the shape of one Narendranath Datta from Calcutta…  

The edition of “Raja Yoga” I have on my desk has a sub-title not present in the original: “A Scientific Method for Mental Modification”. This kind of “scientism” is rather typical of the New Age. As already indicated, however, there is very little New Age feel in this work. If anything, it has a “Buddhist” vibe, perhaps because a Western reader like yours truly rightly or wrongly associate “atheistic dualism” with Buddhism. I think “Raja Yoga” can be read with some benefit by those seriously interested in real yoga, and it could also be important for students of comparative religion, the history of religion, and the contemporary spiritual landscape.

Västmarxismen spårar ut totalt

Kalle Marx lär ju ha kritiserat sina självutnämnda lärjungar med orden "Om detta är marxism, så är i vart fall jag inte marxist". Kom att tänka på detta när Alexander Bard (av alla personer!) deklarerade sig som marxist under bråket med DN:s chefredaktör Peter Wolodarski (som försöker få TV4 att sparka honom). Säga vad man vill om barden, men "marxist" är han nog inte. Och ärligt talat är han nog inte zoroastrier heller. Men OK, han har skrivit några bra popplåtar...