When you give birth to something fundamentally new, you’re going to change society in a manner that you can’t properly anticipate. The reason for this is because society is a complex system, where tweaking one variable will end up indirectly changing a number of other variables, as the system seeks to maintain a sense of homeostasis.
If you’re a British man in the 19th century who thinks it would be a nice idea to build an internal combustion engine, you don’t expect that people in Siberia 200 years later will suffer Anthrax because of your invention.
When you set up an anonymous image board about Anime, you don’t expect to be building the infrastructure that will allow a real estate mogul annex reality TV star to become president of the United States.
When the Internet began, it was something fundamentally new. As with most fundamentally new things we create, the first reaction when we figure out it works is euphoria. That’s what you witnessed with the early internet pioneers in the late 90’s, who anticipated that cyberspace would end up liberating us.
In reality the system we live in seeks homeostasis. There are 24 hours in a day, so every hour we spend online has to come at the cost of some other activities. What happens is that Internet communication simply ends up displacing real world communication.
The early libertarian enthusiasts who laid the foundations for Internet culture championed free speech, but they did so in a context where the Internet was used by a different crowd. Teenagers who used to go to the mall now hang out together online. It’s inevitable that the culture of those communication methods has to change too.
This is essentially the mistake I made. The Internet as a whole should be anarchistic. Within that realm, if you want to create something worthwhile, you have to set up fences and decide for yourself what it is that you want to cultivate and preserve. To understand this principle, you should simply study nature.
As politically incorrect as it might be to say in this day and age, borders generate diversity. The reason the world has a diversity of life is because of borders. Visit an island like Socotra to see what I mean. Thanks to natural borders, plants and animals could survive there that wouldn’t be able to compete with weeds and rats.
To go a step further, borders protect the vulnerable against the powerful. The border of the rainforest allowed escaped slaves to set up voluntary communities where slave-owners could not reach them. Borders shouldn’t be absolute, that leaves you with the kind of life you see on the moon. Instead, they should be selectively impermeable, ideally accessible only for those who can’t thrive within the community they originate from.
If you set up an online community, or a community of any form really, you have two responsibilities, not unlike those of the gardener. The first is to enforce border control, prohibiting entrance to those who would harm the inhabitants of the community. The second responsibility is to nurture the community itself. Nurture the plants, remove the weeds.
On a galatic scale, the universe works like this as well. The reason humans can’t colonize other planets and meet other life forms is because we’re very much like weeds. We destroy the rare and fragile and spread banality. Unicellular organisms are capable of spreading from one planet to another, humans can’t.
I’ll go a step further. You’re capable of meeting extraterrestrial organisms, if you’re capable of learning the right lessons. People who take DMT quite consistently report contact with entities that seem extradimensional, whereas others meet organisms that appear like aliens. The most commonly reported alien organism appears to be an Insectoid type organism, that looks like a Praying Mantis.
This kind of contact is off-limits to billionaires like Jeff Bezos, who want to colonize the solar system but remain unwilling to pay their own workers the kind of salary that allows them to live a dignified existence. If you wish to meet benevolent entities, it’s important to treat others with dignity and respect, or at the bare minimum, to wish to work on becoming a better person.
A friend of mine lived a very self-absorbed existence for years. Whenever he took Psilocybe mushrooms, he would see his friends transform into demons, with black holes where their eyes should be, a rather obvious external manifestation of his own inner void. His big terror was to be confronted with his own inner emptiness and lack of reflection.
If you want to understand people’s dreams or psychedelic experiences, it’s important to study occultism and psychoanalysis (occultism disguised as psychology). Consider that Sartre’s mescaline trip was characterized by the appearance of crabs everywhere. The crab is an occult symbol of isolation, so the trip reflected his fear of social isolation. On the other hand, if you’re a boring materialist who FUCKING LOVES SCIENCE, all of this is nonsensical and psychedelics just make you see things that are not there.
I’ve taken a break of four weeks, to reflect on how I want to move forward with my community. The first thing I’ve realized is that words always shape our experiences. It’s possible to say things that are both true and destructive. That’s particularly something I need to be careful with, because you want to create a community that leaves people better off. Mostly, I have to be careful to avoid encouraging people to succumb to hopelessness and fatalism. I’ve taken the liberty of changing the layout too, because it channeled the kind of bleak perspective I want to move away from.
Second, I have to take a conscious effort to cultivate a positive community, I’m going to ask you to do the same. In other words, I obviously like it if people share my material, but please don’t try to draw people who are stuck in a toxic and hostile mindset. No neonazis, no left wing identity politics, no incels, no paranoid adherents of the grand monolithic conspiracy (whether of the Zionist, Reptillian or New World Order flavor). If asking it politely doesn’t work, I’m going to have to solve this problem by deleting some of my posts or avoiding certain subjects altogether. The problem with these crowds is that they turn into a lowest common denominator that a whole community ends up adjusting to.
To be fair, I have come to the conclusion that the crowd you draw depends primarily on your own mindspace. I have moved to a more mellow mindspace over the weeks. There’s a reason for this that I wish to share. A few days ago, I bought some homegrown cannabis from a friend. Most cannabis you buy in the Dutch coffeeshop contains very high amounts of THC, which is not really stuff that appeals to me, it leaves me feeling paranoid and can even trigger delusional ideas. In contrast, the natural plant has a broad variety of active substances besides THC, that soothe your mind and help you mellow out.
Every plant on Earth has its own personality and message, that manifests itself when we consume it. The message you can derive from Cannabis, is a message I would argue is best seen in Taoism. Most Westerners don’t know a lot about Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism are better known to us. Ironically however, Taoism is much closer to what we’re looking for in the Western world than any of the other Eastern traditional schools of thought. Our big issue as Westerners is that we lost our heathen traditions during the conversion to Christianity. Taoism should be seen as a kind of secular philosophy that complements and articulates the heathen outlook on life. It doesn’t speak of life before or after death, because it’s fundamentally not relevant to the message Taoism seeks to convey.
There’s a famous Chinese allegory, about three vinegar tasters. Confucius, Buddha and Lao Tze stand around a vat of vinegar. The vinegar here represents life. Confucius tastes the vinegar and proclaims that it has turned sour. The solution to this is to emphasize tradition, to maintain strict rules to prevent the degeneration of the people.
Buddha tasted the vinegar and proclaimed that it is bitter. This is Buddhism’s approach to life. This fits the Buddhists interpretation that life is intrinsically composed of suffering and we must dissociate from our environment, living without attachment to a world that causes us pain.
Finally, Lao Tze tastes the vinegar. He proclaims that it is sweet and good as it is in its natural state. This is the Taoist approach to life. The Taoist sees life as fundamentally good in its natural state. The main reason we suffer in the Taoist mindset is because we divert from our own nature, we live in opposition to how we really are.
There’s a well known book that was influential in popularizing Taoism in the Western world, it is the Tao of Pooh. Essentially this book takes Winnie the Pooh and interprets it through a Taoist lense. Winnie the Pooh is the perfect Taoist man, an enlightened being who accepts life as fundamentally good in its natural state.
The amusing thing is that good cannabis leaves you feeling the same way. This isn’t accidental. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years in China, long before recorded history began. Early Taoists used Cannabis in their ritual incense burners. An early Taoist text mentions: “For those who begin practicing the Tao it is not necessary to go into the mountains. … Some with purifying incense and sprinkling and sweeping are also able to call down the Perfected Immortals. The followers of the Lady Wei and of Hsu are of this kind.”
Taoism can be thought of as an anti-religion of sorts. It has historically gone hand in hand with Chinese folk culture. It also has a strong anti-authoritarian undertone, because it evolved in a nation where power ended up increasingly centralized in the hands of an urban elite who adhered to an authoritarian Confucianist outlook on life.
Returning to Winnie the Pooh, we can see that Pooh-bear is an enlightened being, when we contrast him with the other characters in the story and the problems they face. Owl wishes to have knowledge for knowledge’s sake. He is the archetypal academic. He fears being confronted with a question he can’t answer. He is actively obscurantist: He doesn’t want other people to understand what he learns, because if you genuinely understand his ideas you could shoot holes through it. He lives in the equivalent of an ivory tower, but from a Taoist perspective his theoretical knowledge is inferior to knowledge from experience.
Rabbit also likes knowledge, because it allows him to feel clever, which makes him happy. Cleverness however, is not the same thing as wisdom, which Pooh possesses. The cleverness of Rabbit involves no genuine enlightenment or insight at all.
Eeyore also seeks knowledge, but he seeks knowledge for the purpose of complaining about things. This is essentially the opposite of Rabbit, who seeks knowledge for the purpose of happiness. Eeyore seeks out his knowledge to reveal the misery of things, thereby preventing spontaneous enjoyment of life. Eeyore is also a masochist however. This is not just revealed through the fact that he has his tail stuck to his bum with a nail. It’s also revealed through the fact that he actively seeks out things to be unhappy about. He gains joy from his misery.
Finally we have an important character to mention, Tigger. Tigger’s main mistake is that he imagines himself capable of anything. “Tiggers can do anything” Is something you’ll frequently hear him proclaim. An important aspect of Taoism is accepting your own limits, the fact that as a human being you have a fundamental nature and that fighting against your nature leads to profound suffering. Tiggers often eats foods he doesn’t like, because in his ignorance he proclaims that Tiggers love eating anything.
Here you can see a good example of Tigger and Eeyore’s interaction from a Taoist perspective:
Tigger thinks he can do anything, so he witnesses gloomy Eeyore and tries to turn him into another Tigger. In practice this doesn’t work, it leads to suffering for Eeyore because he is forced to go against his nature. Tigger essentially represents someone who has neither knowledge nor wisdom. Although his life is overall happy, his lack of knowledge and wisdom leads to suffering for others. He lives a privileged existence, unaware that it would cause problems if everyone else lived like him too. You can essentially think of him as the kind of person who plays life on easy mode.
Finally, we have Piglet. Piglet is an important character too, because Piglet represents virtue from a Taoist perspective. Piglet is a loyal friend, thinks of other people first and wants to please people and get their approval. However, it’s not just that Piglet acts virtuous, he is virtuous. He is small, fragile and humble, so he must be cherished and well taken care of. Piglet can be thought of as a force of nature, when violated and treated with disrespect you bring hell’s fury upon you.
Because Pooh is an enlightened being, it’s important to pay good attention to his outlook on life. It’s not just so much that Pooh lives in the here and now, it’s the fact that Pooh accepts life as it is. He experiences life as a wonderful journey and adventure that he has embarked upon. He doesn’t worry about what might happen, he just is. Pooh fits the Taoist conception of enlightenment, because Taoism doesn’t aim to escape the cycles of reincarnation. Instead, the Taoists tend to focus on seeking out long, happy and exciting lives.
Fundamentally Taoism appeals to me, because it seeks to derive wisdom from the study of nature. It might seem strange to conflate Taoism and Winnie the Pooh, but it makes perfect sense, when you consider that Taoism champions a childlike mentality towards life and that Winnie the Pooh is a story for adults, disguised as a story for children.