You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘theory’ category.

Michael wrote that I bring the Classics department perspective in the invisible college of transcendent knowledge. What does that consist of?

My background in official academia:

My training is primarily in the field of Classics, the study of the ancient Greek and Latin languages and literature written in those languages. This primarily involves study of the technical grammar and syntax of the languages, of the figures of speech and rhetorical structures typically employed, of the plots of major works, and of the implied viewpoint and assumptions of an author. In its most basic form this consists of a close reading of the Greek or Latin in order to better explain what a text means. Classical authors typically wrote in a dense and layered way, even without taking into account encoding of altered state cybernetics

For the majority of contemporary Classicists, the literature to be studied primarily consists of ancient Greek literature from c. 800 BC to c. 300 BC and Latin literature from c. 200 BC to c. 200 AD. I take a wider view of this field than most and include anything written in those languages, including works of Late Antiquity, Middle Ages, and the Renaissance, however we should define or understand those periods. Even within official academia I am something of an outsider in this way. A better name for the field may be ‘Classical Languages and Literature’, to de-emphasize ‘pagan’ antiquity in favor of a more natural and balanced focus on the full history of the languages and literature. Contemporary classicists unduly limit themselves in general to non-Christian texts, creating an artificial divide in the ‘western tradition’ that negatively affects both the study of Classical texts, which are assumed to be wholly different from Christian texts, and the study of Christian texts, which are not subjected to close reading and linguistic and literary analysis as works of Greek and Latin literature as often as Classical texts. For many, studying the Classics has become either a refuge from bunk Christianity, similar to the turn to Eastern religions, or a way of avoiding the critical study of Christianity and preserving the just-so story of early Christian history and texts.

I have also intentionally sought out advanced training in the related disciplines of ancient history and archaeology/art history. This is relatively unusual among academics of my generation, who are usually encouraged to hyper-specialize by the demands of graduate training and the academic job market, and by the tendency observable in the 20th-21st centuries of academic fields to wander away from each other into increasingly specialized subfields. I saw these pressures early on and resisted them, wanting to cultivate a fuller picture of the ancient world than the study of language and literature could afford. Although based in the study of language and literature, I embraced the study of history and archaeology/art history.

I remain, however, highly skeptical of these fields, as I am of my own. Besides not recognizing the role of psychedelics, they remain tied to the overly naive literalism of 19th century scholars who founded the modern fields. Contemporary scholars in those fields have not overthrown that literalism to the degree needed, especially to the general public. The fields, as presented to the general public, undergraduate students, and even many graduate students, rely on a degree of certainty about reconstructions of the past that is unfounded and misguided.

Ancient history: the majority of modern narrative histories of antiquity largely follow works of history written by ancient Greeks and Romans themselves. They tend to use those ancient works as the basis for their chronology and history-telling, with some additions or corrections based on non-literary sources. This however continues to ignore work done since the 1970s detailing how the works written by ancient historians were not founded on the principle typical of the modern discipline of history that the past be recorded and depicted as accurately as possible with as much objectivity as possible. Instead ancient history writing was a branch of literature, one that had some relationship with the concept of an accurate representation of the past, but certainly not in the same was as moderns would like. It has been shown again and again that history writers in antiquity were willing to distort events for a wide variety of reasons, from advancing specific political positions, to creating arresting emotional effects, to crafting an account that corresponded with poetic motifs. Moreover, as I have been showing in my ongoing translations from the first history writer, Herodotus, episodes presented as history regularly reflect altered state cybernetics, and so we have to wonder to what extent the representation of events has been modified to conform to altered state cybernetics or whether certain episodes are privileged because they conform to the typical trajectory of altered state experiencing. Modern narrative histories that rely on ancient histories should acknowledge and reflect those dynamics. As it is, they flatten out those dynamics, literalizing them, flattening the inspired air out of them, reducing them to a simple narrative.

Archaeology has a similar problem. Archaeologists of the 19th and early 20th centuries regularly relied upon ancient texts as straightforward descriptions of sites and topography. The authority given to the texts regularly shaped the identification and interpretation of sites and parts of sites. Even though working archaeologists have questioned the authority of texts, some abandoning them off completely, the identifications and interpretations made by their predecessors have often been taken over by guide books, informational signage aimed at tourists, and academics outside of the field, who are unaware of challenges to the initial work or unable to enter into the debate. The presentation of sites to the public is affected issues of local and national identity that are often obscured. A problem for the classical era, it is even more so for early Christian sites, where mythology is repeated as historical fact time and time again. My graduate training in archaeology has resulted in a deep skepticism regarding the way sites are presented. To a certain extent this is out of the hands of practicing archaeologists, and I know many who call for revisions to the identification and chronology of sites, based on more reliable dating techniques than suspect literary texts.

John Bartram is one such scholar, who calls for a revised chronology and identification of ‘early Christian’ sites and texts based not on the received chronology, but on more reliable dating techniques (more of relevance throughout his site).

Classics itself, as the study of classical literature, is not free of these problems of received assumptions in chronology and identification. The field is inconsistent in its assumptions of authorship and authenticity of texts. The 19th century was characterized by a great deal of skepticism regarding the unity, authorship, and authenticity of classical texts. A good deal of that skepticism was rejected primarily because literary scholars wanted whole texts by single authors to analyze. Moreover, the field relies upon unverifiable assumptions regarding the transmission of texts from antiquity to the earliest currently extant edition, which may date to centuries after the believed date of composition.

All my studies in official academia have shown me that we have far less certainty regarding our historical reconstructions of the ancient world than is normally presented. When researching I favor alternating between two approaches – a wild, throw anything against the wall approach to see what sticks and a careful questioning of assumptions and of importations of material from outside the immediate topic under consideration.

Altered state cybernetics are inherent to the human mind, even if expressed and in a certain way experienced differently by different cultures. To truly unlock ancient thinking and writing, learn to recognize those dynamics and metaphors for them.

There is an analogy between my reservations concerning received historical reconstructions of the ancient world and the uncertainty and detachment concerning the reality of the external world, the splitting of representation and represented referent, in the loose state of cognition. This skepticism and reservation is not an abandoning of all possibility of knowledge about the past, as recommended by some post-modernist thinkers, but rather a detachment and flexibility regarding our reconstructions and assumptions. Researchers must be more open than they have been to questioning wide swaths of assumptions at once, not simply manipulating individual pieces of evidence at a time.

Michael writes (7/9/16):

In the University of Transcendent Knowledge,

Cybermonk brings the STEM department perspective.

Max Freakout brings the Philosophy department perspective.

Psyber Disciple brings the Classics department perspective.

A fitting twist on Cyber. Wordplay made possible by English pronunciation CYber- of ancient Greek κυβερν- (upper case: ΚΥΒΕΡΝ). psyche and kubernetes. the mind/soul is most properly/fruitfully conceived as a helmsman. The cybernetic aspect of the mind is revealed by psychedelics. psyber/cyber.

κυβερνήσεως disciplina = knowledge of steering (mixing languages to show both the Greek and Roman tradition)

Liddell, Scott, Jones Dictionary entries for ancient Greek words using κυβερν- root, meanings in bold [my added translations in bold brackets]:

steer, νῆα κυβερνῆσαι Od.3.283, cf. Pi.O.12.3 (Pass.), Pl.Plt.298e, etc.: abs., act as helmsman, αὐτὸς ἑαυτῷ Ar.Eq.544.
drive, κ. ἅρματα Pl.Thg.123c; τὸν δρόμον τῶν Ἵππων Hdn.7.9.6.
metaph., guide, govern, Pi.P.5.122, Antipho 1.13, Pl.Euthd.291d, etc.; τὴν δίκην ὀρθῇ γνώμῃ κυβερνᾶτε Herod.2.100.
act as pilot, i.e. perform certain rites, in the Ship of Isis, IGRom.1.817 (Callipolis).
Med., = Act., κυβερνωμένης τῆς διανοίας Arist.Pr.964b17; ὁ κυβερνώμενος μουσικῇ Marcellin.Vit. Thuc.49:—Pass., σῇ κυβερνῶμαι χερί S.Aj.35; μιᾷ γνώμῃ τῇ Κύρου ἐκυβερνᾶτο X.Cyr.8.8.1; ἡ ἰατρικὴ . . διὰ τοῦ θεοῦ τούτου κυβερνᾶται Pl.Smp.187a, cf. R.590d, Antiph.40.8, etc.; cf. κυμερῆναι.

κῠβερν-ήσια (sc. ἱερἄ, ων, τά,
festival at Athens in memory of the steersman of Theseus, Plu.Thes.17.

κῠβέρν-ησις, Dor. κῠβέρν-ᾱσις, εως, ἡ,
steering, pilotage, Pl.R.488b.
metaph., government, πολίων of cities, Pi.P.10.72 (pl.), cf. 1 Ep.Cor.12.28 (pl.); θεοῦ by a god, Plu.2.162a.

κῠβερν-ήτειρα, ἡ, fem. of
κυβερνητήρ, τύχη AP10.65 (Pall.), cf. Nonn.D.1.89.

κῠβερν-ητήρ, Dor. κῠβερν-ᾱτήρ, ῆρος, ὁ,
= κυβερνήτης, Od.8.557, etc.: metaph., Pi.P.4.274: as Adj., κ. χαλινός Opp.C.1.96.

κῠβερν-ήτης (Aeol. κυμερνήτης, q.v.), ου, ὁ,
steersman, pilot, Il.19.43, Od.9.78, A.Supp. 770, Hdt.2.164, Ar.Th.837, Th.7.70, Pl.R.341c, etc.; skipper of Nileboat, ναύκληρος καὶ κ. PHib.1.39.6 (iii B.C.), cf. PGiss.11 (ii A.D.), etc.
metaph., guide, governor, E.Supp.880, Pl.Phdr.247c; as an official title, PMasp.89 iii 1 (vi A.D.).

κῠβερν-ητικός, ή, όν,
good at steering, Pl.R.488d, 488e; νοῦς καὶ ἀρετὴ κ. Id.Alc.1.135a: Comp. -ώτερος Id.R.551c: Sup. -ώτατος X.Mem.3.3.9: ἡ -κή (sc. τέχνη) pilot’s art, Pl.Grg.511d, cf. lamb.Myst.3.26; τὸ -κόν Pl.Plt.299 c; τὰ -κά Id.Alc.1.119d. Adv. -κῶς D.Chr.4.25.
metaph., ἡ τῶν ἀνθρώπων -κή Pl.Clit.408b, etc.

κῠβερν-ῆτις, ιδος, fem. of κυβερνήτης, epith. of Isis, POxy.1380.69 (ii A.D.).

Lewis & Short dictionary entries for Latin words etymologically related to disciple:

discentĭa, ae, f. [disco],
I. a learning (late Lat.), Tert. Anim. 23 and 24.

discīplīna (also uncontr. DISCIPVLINA, Num. Hadr. ap. Eckh. D. N. V. 6, p. 503; the Cod. palimps. Cic. Rep. 2, 19, prima manu has likewise DISCIPVLINA: so,
I. discipulina, Plaut. Most. 1, 2, 75 Lorenz; id. As. 1, 3, 49 Fleck.; cf. Ussing ad loc.), ae. f. [discipulus], instruction, tuition, teaching in the widest sense of the word (for syn. cf.: ars, litterae, doctrina, scientia, cognitio, numanitas—very freq. and good prose).
I. Lit. : ad aliquem disciplinae causa concurrere (for which, shortly after: illo discendi causa proficisci), Caes. B. G. 6, 13, 4; cf. ib. 6, 14, 2 and 3: alicui in disciplinam tradi, Cic. Div. 1, 41, 92; cf. id. Verr. 2, 1, 45; id. Phil. 2, 2: eadem in litteris ratio est reliquisque rebus, quarum est disciplina,are the objects of instruction id. Div. 2, 3, 10: puerilis, id. Rep. 4, 3; 4; cf.: pueritiae disciplinae, id. de Imp. Pomp. 10, 28: praestantior, id. Fam. 1, 7 fin. et saep.
II. Meton. (causa pro effectu), all that is taught in the way of instruction, whether with reference to single circumstances of life, or to science, art, morals, politics, etc., learning, knowledge, science, discipline .
A. Object.: caveto alienam disciplinam temere contemnas, Cato R. R. 1, 4: qui haec (sc. justitia, fides, aequitas, etc.) disciplinis informata, alia moribus confirmarunt, sanxerunt autem alia legibus, Cic. Rep. 1, 2: totius familiae praecepta et instituta et disciplina, id. Verr. 2, 3, 68: a pueris nullo officio aut disciplina assuefacti nihil omnino contra voluntatem faciant, Caes. B. G. 4, 1, 9; id. B. C. 3, 10, 4 et saep.: cujus prima aetas dedita disciplinis fuit iisque artibus, quibus instruimur ad hunc usum forensem, Cic. Cael. 30, 72: juris civilis, id. de Or. 1, 39, 18; cf. id. Mur. 10 fin. : dicendi, id. Brut. 44, 163: musices,music Quint. 1, 10, 15: omnis honesti justique, id. 12, 2, 1: ruris,agriculture Col. 1, 1, 6; cf. id. prooem. § 23 et saep.: militiae,art of war, tactics Cic. de Imp. Pomp. 10, 28; cf. bellica, id. N. D. 2, 64, 161: militaris, Nep. Iphicr. 1 and 2; esp. military discipline, Liv. 8, 7 fin. ; 8, 32; 34; 35; Tac. G. 25; Suet. Caes. 24 et saep.; cf. also: docuit, quid populi Romani disciplina atque opes possent, Caes. B. G. 6, 1 fin. ; and with usus, id. ib. 1, 40, 5: domestica,domestic discipline Suet. Caes. 48; cf. domus, id. Aug. 65 et saep.: rei publicae,science of government, statesmanship Cic. de Or. 1, 34, 159; cf. id. Rep. 1, 33; 2, 38 fin. ; 3, 3 al.: disciplina philosophiae,philosophical doctrines, philosophical system Cic. Ac. 2, 3; cf. id. Fin. 1, 4 fin. ; id. N. D. 1, 7; 5, 32, 90; id. Brut. 25; id. Off. 3, 4, 20 et saep.—
B. Subject., a custom, habit : eademne erat haec disciplina tibi, quum tu adolescens eras? Plaut. Bacch. 3, 3, 17: eādem nos disciplinā utimur, id. As. 1, 3, 49; cf. Ter. Heaut. 2, 3, 59 Ruhnk.: imitatur malarum malam disciplinam, Plaut. Cas. 3, 5, 28; cf.: imitari, Castor, potius avi mores disciplinamque debebas, Cic. Deiot. 10; cf. also, id. Verr 2, 3, 68; Plaut. Merc. 1, 1, 6; id. Truc. 1, 1, 30.

discīplīnābĭlis, e, adj. [disciplina],
I. to be learned by teaching, Cassiod. Var. 4, 33; Isid. 2, 24, 9.—Hence, adv.: discī^plīnā-bĭlĭter, in an instructive manner, Cassiod. in Psalt. praef. 4; id. in Psa. 150, 4.

discīplīnātus, a, um, adj. [id.],
I. instructed, disciplined (late Lat.), Vulg. Jacob. 3, 13 al.; Alcim. Avit. 4, 46: disciplinatior, Tert. Fug. in persec. 1, fin.

discīplīnōsus, a, um, adj. [id.],
I. docile : gladiator, Cato ap. Non. 463, 5; cf. Gell. 4, 9, 12.

discĭpŭlātus, ūs, m. [discipulus],
I. the condition of a disciple, discipleship, Tert. Praescr. Haeret. 22; Cassiod. Var. 5, 40.

discĭpŭlus, i, m. disco, and root of puer, pupilla; cf. Sanscr., putras, son; Gr. πωλος; Engl., foal,
I. a learner, scholar, pupil, disciple .
I. In gen., Plaut. Bacch. 1, 2, 44 sq.; Cic. Div. 1, 3, 6; 1, 23, 46; id. N. D. 3, 7 et saep.— Trop. Prov.: discipulus est prioris posterior dies, Pub. Syr. 120 (Rib).—In the fem. : discĭpŭla, ae, a female scholar or disciple : ego te dedam discipulam cruci, Plaut. Aul. 1, 1, 20; Plin. 35, 11, 40, § 147; Hor. S. 1, 10, 91; Vulg. Act. 9, 36 al.—Cf. transf., of the nightingale, Plin. 10, 29, 43, § 83.—Of Latin eloquence: Latina facundia similis Graecae ac prorsus ejus discipula videtur, Quint. 12, 10, 27.— —
II. A learner in an art or trade, an apprentice, Plaut. Aul. 3, 1, 4; id. Ps. 3, 2, 76; 96; Paul. Sent. 2, 8, 3.—
III. (Eccl. Lat.) A disciple of Christ, Vulg. Luc. 5, 30 et saep.

disco, dĭdĭci, 3 (
I. part. fut. : sic disciturum, etc., App. ap. Prisc. p. 887 P.), v. a. from the root da-, Gr. δεδαωσδαηναι; dak-, cf. doceo, doctus, Gr. διδασκω, to learn, to learn to know, to become acquainted with, etc. (for syn. cf.: capio, percipio, concipio, comprehendo, intellego, cognosco, nosco, agnosco, animadverto, calleo, scio—very freq. in all periods and sorts of writing).
(a). With acc. : litteras Graecas senex didici, Cic. de Sen. 8, 26; id. Tusc. 1, 13, 29: so, litteras, Plaut. Truc. 4, 2, 22: jus civile, id. Mur. 9, 19; 10, 23: litteras apud aliquem, Cic. Fam. 9, 10, 2: dialectica ab aliquo, id. Ac. 2, 30, 98: artem ab aliquo, Quint. 3, 1, 10 et saep.: aliquid de aliquo, Ter. Eun. 2, 2, 31: virtutem ex me, fortunam ex aliis, Verg. A. 12, 435; cf. Quint. 12, 8, 6 al.: fabularum similia, Cic. Rep. 1, 36: artes, id. ib. 2, 21: palaestram, Quint. 5, 10, 121: affectum, id. 1, 11, 2: inde vocabula prima, Lucr. 5, 1042: elementa prima, Hor. S. 1, 1, 26: dulces querelas, Lucr. 5, 1384; cf. preces, Hor. Ep. 2, 1, 133 et saep.: me peritus Discet Iber, Hor. C. 2, 20, 20; cf.: quem (Augustum) didicere Vindelici, id. ib. 4, 14, 8: omnes crimine ab uno, Verg. A. 2, 66 et saep.— Pass. : dum est, unde jus civile discatur, Cic. Verr. 2, 1, 45; cf. jus, Quint. 12, 3, 9: Crassus, quod disci potuit de jure didicit, Cic. de Or. 2, 33, 143: tot artibus discendis, Quint. 12, 11, 9 et saep.—
(b). With inf. or acc. and inf. : pueri qui nare discunt, Plaut. Aul. 4, 1, 9: rapere et clepere, Cic. Rep. 4, 5 (ap. Non. 20, 15): Latine loqui, Sall. J. 101, 6: nobis ignoscere, Quint. 11, 2, 45: assem in partes diducere, Hor. A. P. 326: bene ferre magnam fortunam, id. C. 3, 27, 75 et saep.: bene ubi quod consilium discimus accidisse, etc., Plaut. Ps. 2, 3, 15: discit, Litavicum ad sollicitandos Haeduos profectum, Caes. B. G. 7, 54: animadverti et didici ex tuis litteris te omnibus in rebus habuisse rationem, ut, etc., Cic. Fam. 3, 5; id. Ac. 2, 30 fin. : deos didici securum agere aevum, Hor. S. 1, 5, 101 et saep.—
(g). With relat. clause : plures discent, quemadmodum haec fiant, quam quemadmodum his resistatur, Cic. Lael. 12, 41: quantum in Etruria belli esset, Liv. 10, 25: patriae quid debeat, etc., Hor. A. P. 312 et saep.—
(d). Absol. : disces tu quidem a principe hujus aetatis philosophorum, et disces quamdiu voles, Cic. Off. 1, 1, 2: didicit,oratory id. Brut. 71, 249; Caes. B. G. 6, 14, 4; Quint. 1, 12, 14 al.: discendi aut visendi causa maria transmittere, Cic. Rep. 1, 3; so, discendi causa, id. ib. 1, 10; id. Off. 2, 1, 4; Caes. B. G. 6, 13 fin. al.: se ita a patribus majoribusque suis didicisse, ut, etc., Caes. B. G. 1, 13, 6. —Ellipt.: discebant fidibus antiqui, sc. canere, Cic. de Sen. 8 fin. (cf.: docere fidibus, Cic. Fam. 9, 22, 3: scire fidibus, Ter. Eun. 1, 5, 53).—
b. Transf., of inanimate subjects: manus, Plaut. Am. 1, 1, 159: nec varios discet mentiri lana colores, Verg. E. 4, 42: arbores, Plin. H. N. 16 prooem.—
c. To teach = docere (late Lat., cf. μανανειν, and Eng. learn): falsa discentes, Amm. 14, 1.

Lewis & Short dictionary entries for Latin words etymologically related to Greek κυβερν- root

gŭbernābĭlis, e, adj. [guberno],
I. susceptible of being governed, controllable : sive anima est mundus sive corpus natura gubernabile, Sen. Q. N. 3, 29, 2.

gŭbernācŭlum (poet. contr. gŭ-bernāclum, Lucr. 4, 904; Verg. A. 5, 176; 859; 6, 349 al.), i, n. [guberno],
I. a helm, rudder (cf. clavus).
I. Lit. : hominis, non sapientis inventa sunt navigia, additis a tergo gubernaculis, quae huc atque illuc cursum navigii torqueant: exemplum a piscibus tractum, qui cauda reguntur, etc., Sen. Ep. 90; cf.: piscium meatus gubernaculi modo regunt (caudae), Plin. 11, 50, 111, § 264: ut cruribus velut gubernaculis demissis cursum dirigeret, Front. 3, 13, 6: hic ille naufragus ad gubernaculum accessit, et navi, quoad potuit, est opitulatus, Cic. Inv. 2, 51, 154: ipse gubernaclo rector subit, ipse magister, Verg. A. 5, 176.—
II. Transf., guidance, direction; esp. of the state, government (usually in plur.): clavum tanti imperii tenere et gubernacula rei publicae tractare, Cic. Sest. 9, 20; cf.: qui ad gubernacula rei publicae sedere debebant, id. Rosc. Am. 18, 51: repelli a gubernaculis civitatum, id. de Or. 1, 11, 46: recedere a gubernaculis, id. Fam. 16, 27, 1: ad gubernacula rei publicae accedere, Liv. 4, 3, 17: quis ad gubernacula sedeat summa cura providendum, id. 24, 8, 13: abicere gubernacula imperii, Val. Max. 7, 6, 1: transferre ad aliquem fortunarum suarum gubernacula, Nazar. Pan. Const. 27, 2: temperare gubernacula vitae, Plin. 11, 37, 88, § 219.—In sing.: (rare) exercitus non habilis gubernaculo, Vell. 2, 113, 2: gubernaculum rei publicae tenere, Lact. 1, 1, 14.

gŭbernātĭo, ōnis, f. [guberno],
I. a steering, piloting of a ship (Ciceron.).
I. Lit. : si in ipsa gubernatione negligentia est navis eversa, Cic. Fin. 4, 27, 76; cf. id. ib. 3, 7, 24. —
II. Transf., in gen., direction, management, government : summi imperii gubernatione districtus, Cic. de Or. 3, 32, 131: civitatis, id. Rep. 1, 2: tantarum rerum, id. Cat. 3, 8, 18: consilii, id. Inv. 2, 54, 164: summi consilii, id. Vat. 15, 36.

gŭbernātor, ōris, m. [id.],
I. a steersman, pilot (cf.: magister, navarchus, nauclerus, navicularius).
I. Lit. : si tu proreta isti navi’s, ego gubernator ero, Plaut. Rud. 4, 3, 75; id. Am. 3, 2, 69: gubernator clavum tenens sedet in puppi quietus, Cic. de Sen. 6, 17; id. Phil. 7, 9, 27; id. Ac. 2, 31, 100; id. de Inv. 1, 34, 58; id. Rep. 1, 40; 5, 3; Quint. 2, 17, 24; 34; 4, 1, 61; Verg. A. 3, 269; 5, 12; 6, 337 et saep.—Prov.: tranquillo quilibet gubernator est, Sen. Ep. 85 med. —
II. Transf., a director, ruler, governor : cum in rebus animalibus aliud pro alio ponitur; ut de agitatore (Ennius): Gubernator magna contorsit equum vi, Quint. 8, 6, 9; the same, Enn. ap. Charis. p. 244 P. and ap. Diom. p. 451 ib. (Ann. v. 160 Vahl.): poli,God Sen. Hippol. 903: custodes gubernatoresque rei publicae, Cic. Rab. Perd. 9, 26; cf.: quasi tutor et procurator rei publicae: sic enim appelletur, quicumque erit rector et gubernator civitatis, id. Rep. 2, 29.

gŭbernātrix, īcis, f. [gubernator, II.],
I. a conductress, directress : an fortunam collaudem, quae gubernatrix fuit? Ter. Eun. 5, 9, 16: ista praeclara gubernatrice civitatum eloquentia rem publicam dissipaverunt, Cic. de Or. 1, 9, 38.

gŭbernĭus, ii, m. [guberno],
I. a steersman, pilot, for the usual gubernator, Laber. ap. Gell. 16, 7, 10.—Another form: ‡ gŭ-bernĭo, ōnis, m., acc. to Isid. Orig. 19, 1, 4.

gŭberno, āvi, ātum, 1, v. a., = κυβερνω,
I. to steer or pilot a ship (class.).
I. Lit. : dum clavum rectum teneant navemque gubernent, Enn. ap. Isid. Orig. 19, 2 (Ann. v. 472 Vahl.): ut si nautae certarent, quis eorum potissimum gubernaret, Cic. Off. 1, 25, 87: tranquillo mari gubernare, id. Rep. 1, 6.—Prov.: gubernare e terra,to guide those who are in peril while keeping in safety one’s self Liv. 44, 22, 14: quilibet nautarum tranquillo mari gubernare potest, id. 24, 8, 12; cf. gubernator, I. fin. —
II. Transf., in gen., to direct, manage, conduct, govern, guide (a favorite word with Cic.; cf.: moderor, rego): qui eos gubernat animus infirmum gerunt, Ter. Hec. 3, 1, 31: quid miramur L. Sullam, cum solus rem publicam regeret orbemque terrarum gubernaret? etc., Cic. Rosc. Am. 45, 131; cf.: melius gubernari et regi civitates, id. Rep. 2, 9: rem publicam, id. ib. 1, 34; 3, 35; cf. also: in gubernanda re publica, id. ib. 1, 29: teque hortor, ut omnia gubernes ac moderere prudentia tua, id. Fam. 2, 7, 1; cf.: illa tormenta gubernat dolor, id. Sull. 28, 78: totam petitionem, id. Mil. 9, 25: velim ergo totum hoc ita gubernes, ut, etc., id. Att. 13, 25, 2: sed haec fortuna viderit, quoniam ratio non gubernat, id. ib. 14, 11, 1; cf.: sed haec deus aliquis gubernabit, id. ib. 6, 3, 3: fortunae motum, id. ib. 8, 4, 1: iter meum rei publicae et rerum urbanarum ratio gubernabit, id. Fam. 2, 17, 1: vitam, id. Fin. 2, 13, 43: fortunam suam, Vell. 2, 127, 1: Massyleum virga gubernet equum, Mart. 9, 23, 14.— Absol. : jam ex sermone hoc gubernabunt doctius porro, will steer, i. e. behave, Plaut. Mil. 4, 2, 99; cf. gubernator, II.

gŭbernum, i, n. [guberno],
I. a helm, rudder (ante-class. for the class. gubernaculum): proras despoliate et detondete guberna, Lucil. ap. Non. 490, 32; Lucr. 2, 553; 4, 439.

An unexpected, unlooked for side-effect of studying the Ego Death Theory has been that Max Freakout and I have both become adept at deconstructing the style-based pretenses of competing theories and approaches. I don’t guarantee that everyone will experience this, but it may be a hallmark of thinking within the Ego Death Theory paradigm.

I have noticed in our podcast recordings that we easily identify cultural assumptions and poses and their impact upon theories and approaches to psychedelics. Examples: Martin Ball’s New Age self-help theater, Robin Carhart-Harris’ trendy scientist social media branding, Tom Hatsis’ academic-styled playground bullying.

The Ego Death theory asks you to take on no cultural pose or identity, except for, as a side-effect, the pose of critic of cultural poses and identities. Such a pose is not centrally relevant to understanding the concepts of self-control limitation and eternalism, but it is a part of adopting a revolutionary new and independent paradigm. It is linked also to a fluid mastery of metaphor and semantics, which the Ego Death theory enables.

I must acknowledge, too, my debt to my academic studies. It is typical of literary studies to critique the cultural poses of a text and author.


Complementing the first podcast, in this second one Max and I discuss his history with the Egodeath Theory.

Covers youthful exploration of psychoactive drugs, drug-induced control loss, developing interest in philosophy and theorizing, Psychonautica podcast and interview with Michael Hoffman, posting in online forums, relationship to pop psychedelia, obstructions to mainstream academic career in philosophy/religious studies, experience of learning the Egodeath theory Phase 1 and Phase 2.

Coming episodes include initial definition of prominent models of thinking in contemporary discussion of psychoactives and analysis of Martin Ball’s Entheological Paradigm.

Max Freakout invited me to join him in creating a podcast. The first episode, as a videolog, is now available on youtube:

In this first episode we discuss my history with the egodeath theory.

In coming episodes Max will tell his story, and we will discuss our motivations for collaborating in the podcast format, define common sets of assumptions present in contemporary discourse about psychedelics, and begin to present and critique those assumptions from the standpoint of the egodeath theory.

Michael distinguishes metaphysical enlightenment (concerning control, time, self) and daily conduct of life enlightenment.

In metaphysical enlightenment, the mind experiences eternalism in a series of altered state sessions and builds the mental world model of eternalism (a mental model of time, self, and control that is consistent with the experience and perspective of eternalism).

Daily conduct of life enlightenment is a separate area of concern.

Before Michael’s work defining metaphysical enlightenment, religions and philosophies routinely addressed both areas of concern, either in a knowing way such as in premodern religions that use analogy to compare and contrast the two areas or in an unknowing way such as in modern religions that both fail to comprehend metaphysical enlightenment and to understand analogy between the two areas.

People in the premodern era loved mystery and analogy and created systems of analogy (imagery, metaphor) to first conceal and then reveal metaphysical enlightenment. These analogies taught people to interpret events, text, and art as referring to metaphysical enlightenment. Social customs and ethics used metaphysical enlightenment as a foundation. Even seemingly contradictory and competing ones were based on the same perspective and experience of eternalism.

This model was not expressed clearly and succinctly before Michael’s work (earlier systems as a junkyard and source of spare parts).

Our historical scholarship is in some ways trivial, in that there can be no treatment of metaphysical enlightenment superior to the Eternalism theory.

Historical scholarship can clarify competing systems. This is most needed for systems that are still active today and claim people’s allegiance (to beat phony religion, we must move through it and take it over, not simply reject it). Historical scholarship helps make sense of culture, including politics, customs, ethics, literature, visual art, etc., that we have inherited. Detailing how premoderns blended metaphysical enlightenment with daily life in a variety of contexts can help us judge the culture that we have inherited.

I am a relatively ‘pure’ follower of the cybernetic theory of ego transcendence and the entheogen theory of religion. I was not ‘tainted’ with intellectual or professional commitments to other theories or cultural practices. I first discovered Michael’s writings online at about age 16 in the early 2000s. I knew nothing of entheogens and other theories about how entheogens work, about the ego and about egodeath and ego transcendence. This indicates the power of publishing online. A curious teenager with the internet was exposed to all of these ideas outside of the prohibitionist publishing industry.

Some people speak of ‘digital natives’, meaning more recent generations who have grown up and are growing up now with the internet as a natural part of their lives, unlike older generations who had to adapt. I’m an ‘egodeath theory native’, more or less. I had some exposure to the main religious and spiritual traditions, both western and eastern, but was not raised to practice any of them. I had perhaps more exposure to Greco-Roman antiquity at the time because I had already studied Latin for two years and had loved Greek mythology as a child, at least the sanitized (less sex and violence) typically presented to children. But the decoding of mythology as analogy was not my main interest in the egodeath theory at the time.

I first stumbled upon the egodeath theory while surfing the web for interpretations of Rush lyrics. I was an obsessed teenage fanboy and wanted to connect with other fans. Rush lyrics spoke to my insecurities in social settings and lack of self-esteem. Peart’s lyrics seemed to speak to those issues (the modern suburban sensitive teen’s insecurities) and to channel them into a stronger sense of self, confidence, individuality. There are a number of similar testimonials among fans of the band concerning this aspect of the band’s appeal. I was also particularly, it seemed to me, obsessed with why I was insecure, why I would freeze up in social situations, why I could not successfully and easily force myself to act in a way that would create the results I wanted (typical insecure teenage things in modern america: to be liked, make friends, find a girlfriend).

It was through the pages at on Rush lyrics that I first learned about cybernetics, about the egoic possibilism operating system’s built in tendency to trip itself up, about encoding of allusions to altered state realizations, about LSD and other entheogens. The writings appealed first to my interest in understanding Rush lyrics and then, almost concomitantly, to my obsession with figuring out why I could not command myself to act in the ways that I wanted to act. What prevented me from simply following through on the commands I gave myself? What caused the gap in myself between wanting a particular outcome and figuring out how the particular steps needed to achieve that?

I’m writing this to give some history of my interaction with the theory and why it appealed to me. I am now mostly focused on posting decodings of Greco-Roman art, literature, and culture using the principles of interpretation found in phase 2 of Michael Hoffman’s work. But this is a later project, one fueled by my professional training in studying and explaining this material and by my sense that sharing decodings of this material is important for society because it puts our understanding of this foundational part of our history on a better footing than it currently stands.

My trajectory goes something like this: initial teenage insecurities -> Rush lyrics as important to understanding those and working through them -> pages on Rush lyrics reveal veiled no-freewill/monopossibility meaning -> pages on cybernetics, self-control failure, no-freewill, determinism(eternalism), block universe, time slices -> Hoffman’s phase 2 decoding religious mythology as analogy.

The beginning stages of phase 2 up to the 2006 main article happened alongside my college years. It took some time for my own understanding of the concepts brought together by the theory to mature. I had to grasp better the terminology used and what it signifies, the other fields from which the theory draws and which the theory modifies, to test the theory experientially, and to embrace as a matter of self-identity that I held to officially taboo and non-sanctioned ideas and combinations of ideas.

I launched this site as an outlet while I flew under the radar in my academic work. I was not permitted to introduce entheogens and the altered state explicitly and directly into my studies and so have had to work out in my official professional work indirect ways to communicate to readers in the know. I suffer from a certain amount of boredom and frustration at having to code everything in pedantic academic talk. I’m not currently privileged enough to merge my official professional work and my work here, though that day may come soon. Both sorts of work suffer to a certain extant from the separation I’ve had to impose. I don’t write about my official research here and, and in return, I don’t develop my quick idea development decodings done here in my official research (yet).

Before the egodeath theory I knew nothing of block time determinism (eternalism), mental construct processing, representationalism, cybernetics, the ego, and entheogens. I knew a bit about literary interpretation, religion, history, and a lot about my own frustrations with my buggy self-control power and about Rush lyrics (and some other bands). I had no intellectual and professional commitments that prevented me from exploring and trying out the ideas presented in the egodeath theory.

I also had no therapeutic commitments to building up and rescuing egoic possiblism thinking. I was already pretty convinced that my self-control was faulty. To a certain extent I used Rush lyrics (connecting to the lyrics while rocking out with the band) as a sort of therapy to build up my self-esteem. But Rush lyrics themselves contain the seeds of cybernetic egodeath and transcendence, even when they seem to build up the ego and ego power. Rush lyrics build up the ego, magnify it in order to better define it and perceive its limits. It’s impossible to deny that for all the pro-individualistic stance usually attributed to Rush that the lyrics also contain songs of striking defeat and compromise for the supposedly free and independent thinker (No One at the Bridge, the Body Electric, the suicide in 2112, the explorer trapped behind ice in Xanadu, Circumstances, ticking traps of Subdivisions). The allusions to LSD are also undeniable. The surface meaning of Rush lyrics combined with learning to decode them using the principles of interpretation summarized and defined by Michael Hoffman gave me the best of both worlds: they helped me learn practical day-to-day confidence and individuality in self-management and they helped me learn about and grasp the altered state realization of no-freewill and dependence upon a hidden separate control source.

Priests, gurus, self-help therapists, shamans – they will do you wrong. My twin guides were Neil Peart and Michael Hoffman. Both of them encouraged an individualistic, skeptical stance. Trust only yourself and test ideas for yourself. I ended up with better practical self-management (though not perfect and still difficult) and mature understanding of no-freewill/monopossibility. Peart’s lyrics were my original gateway, though I doubt I would have perceived no-freewill/monopossibility in them without Hoffman’s decoding. Peart’s lyrics encouraged my self-confidence and individualistic stance, Hoffman’s decoding of Peart’s lyrics provided my first understanding of no-freewill/monopossibility. Both worked in tandem on me in my early days. And neither required that I attach myself to a pre-modern or foreign set of cultural practices nor to any sort of expensive network of priests, gurus, therapists, etc. All these entangle people in economic systems and cultural attachments and promote practices that reinforce egoic thinking and put off experientially recognizing no-freewill/monopossibility.

I ‘adhere’ to and ‘follow’ the egodeath theory not in the traditional sense of joining a religion or following a guru. I ‘adhere’ to and have ‘converted’ to it for these practical reasons: 1. it is the simplest, most coherent, and most easily testable explanation of the phenomena of experientially discovering no-freewill/monopossibility. 2. its principles of decoding mythology, words, and imagery provide me with a unique and distinctive perspective on my field of study that incorporates the altered state of consciousness (and is therefore more complete than other approaches that only consider the ordinary state) and gets us closer to understanding the historical cultures that I study. 3. Hoffman’s online publishing and description of his idea development provide a powerful model for a researcher and writer.

Don’t believe me. Go test your self control power and rely on it in the altered state. Read the egodeath theory and see if you can disprove it.–-cybernetic-ego-death-–-012816/

Topics covered:

Origin of work on problem of faulty self-control, figure out our dysfunctional attempts to control our thinking and actions. Answer questions ‘what is enlightenment?’, ‘what is ego transcendence?’

Breakthrough from applying Minkowski block universe with frozen future to Alan Watts’ writings on Zen and the problem of control. More powerful ego death and transcendence came from this idea than from practice of (non-drug) meditation and idea of nonduality (current in late 80s).

Practical benefits of this enlightenment are limited to the ending of frustrating attempt to control self, to recognizing and delineating clearly two mental models of control and time, possibilism mental model and eternalism mental model. But practical difficulties in everyday life still exist. We are in ordinary state most of the time and have to exert energy and manage our time. This enlightenment only removes a certain kind of frustration or pressure to rely upon oneself to control. This is a reduction of the promise of enlightenment: ‘Enlightenment is nothing other than gaining this other distinct, contrasting mental model.’

Harrowing part of altered state is the fun part, leads to the most interesting dynamics of control and non-control. The mind desires to explore and test control power in the altered state, tries to make its own power fail. The strange excitement of exploring how to undermine my own control power.

Mythology is analogy for altered state transformation from possibilism mental model to eternalism mental model.

Binary switch between one specific way of thinking (possibilism) to another specific way of thinking (eternalism). In mythology terms, from tree thinking to snake thinking (branching paths that I steer between vs. rail that I am bound to follow).

Michael’s role as independent leader. Recognized privileged position, taught to give something back to society. Freedom outside of official academic channels and censorship that other scholars suffer under. Only disparagement of altered state are encouraged to be published, but online publishing allows for more freedom. Because of censorship, we must assume that there are many supporters of studying the altered state who are unable to undertake official research and publish their findings.

All fields must take on altered state. Scholars should be familiar with Cybernetic Theory of Ego Transcendence and Metaphor/Entheogen/Eternalism Theory of Religion. It is potent and must be addressed.

Summary of Michael’s focus across time: late 80s-early 90s spent on core theory, no myth/analogy. mid 90s-late 90s on decoding rock lyrics that describe eternalism etc. 2000-2016 on decoding religious metaphor as analogy for altered state realization. Present: summarizing ideas efficiently such that it can be taken on in a casual way.

When I was in the spirit I lost all control of my thinking. I was driven mad by the entheogen. I had been made to ingest a strong dose, contrary to my intention. I could not measure the dose well, dropping the liquid onto a cracker. I had thought I was taking a small, manageable dose. Instead I took a large dose. I didn’t realize until later when the dose kicked in.

I was completely lost. My surroundings swirled around me; my senses swirled; I swirled. I had nothing solid that I could grasp onto. I thought I had become mad permanently. At the depths of my despair, the saving thought kicked in. I had forgotten! This was predicted! I had read all about this before.

Previous loose cog sessions had revealed no-freewill to me, but freewill thinking had returned afterwards. In that moment when I realized I had no control, all my reading [of philosophy/theory] and study [of art] kicked in. There was only one way forward, a narrow route, through the eye of the needle, through the gates, into the inner sanctum. Although I knew about no-freewill I had not yet rooted out freewill thinking and assumptions from my thinking. I could not become stable, could not stand, steer, could not advance (both physically and in my thinking) until I repudiated freewill thinking fully. I had been led to this point by Controller X, led to think all my thoughts, led through all my false-starts and delusions by Controller X, led to read the writings and interpret the art by Controller X.

At the moment when I accepted fully that I had no control and that I had had no true control at any time, the thought kicked in that I should pray to Controller X in order to prove my acceptance of my lack of control. After this act of submission, the ground stabilized, the helm was placed under my control again, I could go forward into the inner sanctum without fear. Since then freewill thinking has not returned, only quasi-freewill, the ghost of freewill, now fully recognized as limited and partial, seen against the backdrop of eternalism.

Unity consciousness is not the end goal of enlightenment. You must test your mental model of control in the intense altered state:

From “Watcher of the Skies” by Genesis (1972)

“From life alone

To life as one [unity consciousness, oneness]

Think not now your journey’s done [a warning to ‘oneness’ advocates: you’re not finished!]

For though your ship be sturdy

No mercy has the sea

Will you survive on the ocean of being?” [A challenge to test control agency in the loosened state of cognition. You think your ship is sturdy? Set sail and steer your ship. See how your mental model of control fares on the sea. The ship is the control system, you are the pilot, the sea is the loosened state of cognition]


Metaphorical Psychedelic Eternalism
August 2017
« Jul    


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow cyberdisciple on