Towards a new reality

Our reality is shaped by our environment or by our own attitudes and deeds.

Reality as the individual knows it is shaped by self or by the environment.

Take the example of the agency of coronavirus upon the world. I discovered the joys of cutting my own hair, so I save £8 every month at the expense of a hairdresser. A printer friend of mine discovered that their online business boomed, and started to think they will no longer need their city centre shop, which has been closed due to lockdown. Due to stress, I quit as an administrator of a website, but have started thinking about how artificially intelligent entities might do a better job than a human could do to moderate internet sites. These are all small changes due to coronavirus, which when multiplied, brings about a tsunami of change in the world.

There are many who hang on to the previous pre-coronavirus normal, and will fail. Bars are set to reopen in the UK; but they will fail, because people come out to bars for the experience, and the queues, inconvenience, plastic barriers, gloves, masks and social distancing destroys the experience, and they will not return. The coronavirus has fallen away in US states such as New York, but is surging in Florida; the virus is collapsing in the UK, but is rising in India, Mexico and Brazil. Europe is talking about restricting travel from the USA to Europe.

Coronavirus is not the only agent of change in the world. President Trump will increasinly be the source of ripples of discord for all the months running into his November election. China, burnt by coronavirus, is increasingly warlike with Japan, India and Hong Kong. Locusts eat their way through the Middle East and Africa, leaving millions at risk of starvation. And, Siberia, with record temperatures, echo the global drum of significant global change.

But self is also the agent of change in self, and the greater world. I choose to drink more water, and to take up tai chi. I have lost all interest in being entertained by media. Small changes that impact my body, my mind, and then the world through me.

Here are a few final thoughts. Our thoughts, deeds and experiences shape our reality; we are the sum total of all that has gone before us. All change in the world starts with self.

A life goal can provide stability in times of fast change

By finding their life goal and then pursuing this goal, the individual can find stability in a world of turmoil and uncertainty.

The death of Vera Lynn this morning in Britain at the age of 103, marked the transition of my country from a time of certainty and stability to one of unpredictability and confusion. Lynn represented what was the blitz spirit of Britain that faced down Nazi Germany, when it had empire and a proud knowing of its place in the universe. I live in a time when I am unsure what Britain is anymore, where there is nothing to hold onto that defines my sense of Britishness. I sense that this existential crisis may exist across many nations of the world, where the citizen, in the age of global branding such as Facebook, Nike and Coca-Cola, has had their sense of national identity stripped by superficial cultural garbage.

The philosopher Heraclitus says that all of nature is in constant motion and change; which is to say, that the only constant in life is change. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius observes that events in life and history repeat; today, we have a global epidemic of the coronavirus, in the time of Aurelius the Antonine Plague was ravaging the Roman Empire.

Despite the ideas of constant change and repetition of events, there is an understanding that in these cycles, the pace of change is slow and fast. Vera Lynn might represent to me a time of slower change, but Brexit represents a period changing at a faster pace. Indeed, the speed of change in the world, has made it so confusing and distressing for me, I have a major reluctance to follow the news anymore.

Even as the world moves forwards at a frentic pace, the individual has the refuge of self to turn to, which moves at a calmer pace. The individual can find stability and calm in the storm by reference to their internal self. The individual ages, but feels the same as they did as when they were younger: their heart beats the same; their lungs fill with and expel air; their brain fires, leading to thoughts.

Marcus Aurelius suggests that the individual ceases worrying about the world; to find the goal in life of why the self exists; and then to focus all resources and life to that goal. In embracing and manifesting the goal, the individual finds stability in the goal of their life.

An individual can replace lost money or shoes, but time is unreplaceable. An individual has a finite amount of time of life in their body, just as Vera Lynn was allocated 103 years of time. Too many people waste time worrying about things they have no power over: such as coronavirus; or over matters such as Donald Trump, who will vanish into history one way or another, like so many leaders like him in the past. So, by giving time to things that are irrelevant, the individual sacrifices a finite resource – time – which could have been better spent on the goal in their life.

It is my view that the goal in life becomes the rock pillar of stability in periods of confusing change. The goal gives a sense of purpose and meaning in life, which makes a life worth living, regardless of what the world is doing. Even if Britain or the world has lost all meaning, the goal provides a constant source of meaning to the individual who finds and pursues their life goal.

Everything is a story

Walking and observing, the individual can learn about the elements and relationships between those elements to understand the story of things. This Woodland anemone tells me the woodland is ancient; and the time of year is spring, before the first leaves appear in the woodland trees. Understanding the story, the individual gains the power of storytelling; and the ability to be the master rather than the slave to stories.

One of my skills is that I am a storyteller. I research an area of interest, then I communicate my learning to others in the form of a story.

The story is a system of of patterns that form and transform patterns in the mind of the reader or listener of the story. The story encodes ideas, and the relationship between ideas, in an understandable way to be easily assimilated in the mind of others. This is why story has been a common tool by which people transfer information from one generation to the next since ancient times.

The story appeals to all levels of the mind: emotional; intellectual; sensory. Stories can influence the mind to motivate it to activity. Story can be used to start wars, movements and change the way people think.

The individual can observe and identify the hidden agenda behind the story; for there is always a purpose behind a story, to have an effect on the mind of the hearer of the story. US President Trump recently used the story of linking elements together about the protesters against the murder of coloured people by the police: Antifa; terrorism; protesters. The story transformed protester into terrorist; the protests became terrorism; the police and army became the defenders of the USA crushing the enemies of the people. The story became dangerous, because it allowed the army and police to think of their own citizens as threatening objects to be crushed; to ignore the liberties written into law of the freedom to protest over violations of human rights such as the right of life of citizens.

All branding are stories designed to have an effect on a target group. The Black Lives Matter movement uses branding as a call to action against racism in culture. Statues associated with the oppression of coloured people are being removed worldwide; television programmes that depict minorities in a negative light are being cancelled and taken off air; people in power, who expressed any hint of racism, are being chased out of position; and the powers of law enforcement are being scrutinised and curtailed.

Storymaking begins by identifying the elements and the relationships between those elements in the story. To know the story of a woodland, I will walk in that woodland observing the animals, plants, geography; how those elements relate to each other. If I spot the Wood anemone, I know I am dealing with an ancient woodland of 300+ years of age; I know the time of year, for such flowers emerge in spring before the foliage of trees appear. If I spot Lesser celandine, I know that there is water in the area such as a spring, for these like damp habitats. Thus, I understand the story of the woodland, and I can tell stories about what I learned.

Knowing about the magic of storytelling, the individual gains the power to influence other minds; but also the ability to resist the influence of those that use story to achieve their ends. There is always a purpose behind stories; to identify the effect of the story upon the mind, is to become the master of the story rather than the slave.

Magick is creativity

This spider web is an act of creation by a living thing. The act of living is the ability to create this web, for if the spider cannot do this, it starves to death. Nature adds to this spider web new things such as water drops, to the mind of the observer, a beautiful creation. Magick is the ability to create.

I consider magick as creativity. This blog post is an act of creation. I put together letters to form words; words to form sentences; sentences to form paragraphs; and paragraphs to form the creation of a blog post. There is a kind of magick in this creative process to form an overall pattern out of letters and words, that has an effect on a reader.

Magick is all around us. It is an amazing thing to see when a thousand random people are dumped into a space, and they will like magick, self-organise into something intelligent without an external authority to direct them. This same self-organising principle applies to groups of atoms or ants. So, one can see that a chaotic system loves to self-organise of its own accord into something more complex. The process and the result of self-organisation is creative and magickal.

There is nothing hocuspocus about magick. The creative person can take a substance such as clay: and can convert this clay into a form such as a cup, brick or statue; each form with a different purpose; but retaining the same substance of clay. The creative person acts with knowledge and wisdom, understanding the nature or essence of the substance they work with: the clay can be molded when wet, but becomes fixed in form when dry; the nature of alder wood is never to decay in water, but becomes hard like concrete, making it suitable as foundations for harbours.

The creative person, as the magician, understands that something can only come out of a thing if there is potential for it. An elephant does not grow out of an acorn, for there is no elephant potential in an acorn. The creative magician discovers the potential possibilities of a substance, and liberates a potential out of it. The oak tree is liberated out of an acorn; a pile of wood is liberated out of an oak tree; a ship is liberated out of the pile of wood; an empire is liberated out of a ship. At the heart of this liberating process is the creative magician.

Magick is a process of action. Acorns must be planted in the ground; provided with water and light; for potential to emerge from them. Knowing the nature embedded in a thing, the magician liberates that potential nature out of the thing to become something more, by a process of active nurturing grounded in action. A plant grows larger by reason of the creative person actively feeding resources to it, mindful of avoiding extremes of the opposites: too much water, rots the roots; too much sun, burns the leaves.

To be alive, is to be creative. Those of the Left Hand Path embrace life, and thus creativity. By being creative, the LHPer is a magician.

The agents of chaos

Those of the Left Hand Path are the agents of chaos; standing at the edge of chaos; and they are the champions of what is just and good.

There are always at least two extremes in life. You know you have reached the first extreme when the police take it upon themselves to be judge jury and executioner. You then reach the other extreme when angry mobs loot the retail stores. Both extremes bring a sense of completeness of absolute stagnation or anarchy, where nothing can live or grow. Death rules over both extreme states.

Both extreme states bring about injustice: the police officer murders the citizen; a retail store owner loses their business. Thus, it is a struggle of justice against injustice, upon which a member of the Left Hand Path stands.

What is justice? The ancient Greek calls justice “becoming.” The Viking word for fate – “Wyrd” – also means becoming. Justice is the middle way between extreme states, the healthy mix between what disrupts against what reorganises. When Heraclitus says “strife is justice“, he means that there is a middle point between two opposites, that mix, join, and become something more. When one opposite is dominant in the extreme, there is no mixing, there is only a state of injustice, for nothing can become from it but the death of all things.

There is a scientific set of thinking tools called complexity theory. The world such thinkers say consists of systems of elements (objects) and relationships between these objects. Through these systems flow: information, patterns that influence the formation or transformation of other patterns; and energy, the capacity to create movement. Either what flows through these systems creates something greater than the sum of its parts (positive synergy) or disrupts the system (negative synergy). The point where systems break apart and reform into more complex systems, these thinkers call the edge of chaos. What emerges from the edge of chaos, they call emergence, which they define as becoming visible after being concealed. And becoming is justice.

The ancient philosopher Heraclitus says “Panta Rhei!” everything flows; strife is the agent and primary principle of change and motion; the unity of the opposites bring about justice and all good things. And thus, the point of two flowing opposites merge into a unity of opposites and justice. And when one opposite dominates, there is only injustice.

Those of the Left Hand Path stand at the edge of chaos – the agents of chaos. The LHPer are the agents of justice: the weavers of fate; the champions of what is good and just in the world. When the swamp stagnates, the LHPer releases a crocodile. At the point when two opposing armies meet, the LHPer builds a city; so the armies forget to fight, and trade instead.

Two faces of the same coin: the police officer that executes; the looter that burns the retail store. Police officer and looter are the same thing, absolute states of an opposite: lawful and unjust. Says Heraclitus: “The way up and the way down is one and the same.” Only where two opposites mix and merge into a unity of opposites at the edge of chaos, is there justice.

Thus the LHPer is different from the crowd, the lonely agent of chaos. The LHPer is at the meeting place of two opposites; as the crowd drowns their senses into the oblivion of one extreme opposite. The LHPer recognises the solution, and moves where the crowd does not. Then, as Heraclitus says, the LHPer is like a child leading the drunk (crowd) back home to what is just and good at the edge of chaos – an agent of chaos.