Real-life illusions

A new optical illusion has been discovered.

All of those lines are the same except for their colors. Most people see zigzags and curves. The zigzags are an illusion.

You can read more about this illusion here: This Crazy New Optical Illusion Shows if You Have ‘Curvature Blindness’.

Vision is our most trusted sense and yet it can be illusory. How much more then can our emotions and even our psychologies be illusory?

This is why FIML practice is essential.


The other side of narcissistic sexual aggression

Sexually aggressive, narcissistic men destroy male rivals whom they perceive as threats.

Example: potential male rivals of Matt Lauer were “killed off” by the deposed star.

Matt killed off, in their infancy, every man who could succeed him at the time that he was ready to hang it up — so there’s nobody to take his place. And now NBC is paying the price. (Source)

Narcissistic women are the same. Anyone who threatens a narcissist’s “supply” is in danger of being  destroyed.

Malignant aggression is a core feature of narcissistic behavior. It can range from career sabotage to murder, from gaslighting to poison.

It is not likely you have never dealt with a narcissist. The worst kinds are called malignant narcissists, but all narcissists exhibit aggression against rivals or former friends who have seen through their game.

Don’t be fooled by their popularity. As Lauer shows, popularity is their drug and they often are very good at “impression management” which keeps them center stage.

Religious experience as core existential metacognition

I submit that profound religious experience can be adequately defined as “awareness or experience of core existential metacognition.”

I make this definition in order to have a way of speaking about the fundamental importance and rough sameness of deep states of prayer, meditation, grace, awareness of God or the Buddha mind, being moved by the Holy Spirit, “practicing the presence of God,” knowing God’s will, being drawn to the Tathagata, samadhi, dhyana, satori, chan, enlightenment, and many more.

These states can and do happen “randomly” with no prior conscious input from the experiencer of them, but they most often happen to people who do some or all of the religious practices mentioned above.

These states are very powerful. They are life-changing and life-enhancing every time they occur. They are different from ordinary conscious states because they involve what might be called in the words of today “core existential metacognition.”

As such, it is difficult even impossible to maintain these states at all times. Few of us have the brainpower or divine grace to do that. We achieve these states through religious practice.

If you are Buddhist you will call them by Buddhist names. If you are Christian or some other religion, you will use other names.

I for one believe you are much better off if you engage in practices that induce “core existential metacognition” than if you don’t engage in any practices like that.

The science-induced wonder of the hard atheist is not the same.

Religious practice is fundamentally the use of disciplined methods to achieve “core existential metacognition.”

The words we use to describe this state(s) and what we are able to see within it should be more beautiful and more in keeping with whatever practice gets you there than “core existential metacognition.” But it is good to have some words to describe what is common to all of these practice and that explain in simple modern terms what people get from their religions and why they do them.

Sexual misconduct and American culture

As a Buddhist, I am in favor of good sexual conduct, which in Buddhism means not harming anyone by your conduct.

As an American, I am frankly delighted to witness some of our most hallowed cultural hierarchies being undermined by recent sexual misconduct charges. Hollywood, mainstream media, and Congress are all experiencing major damage to their very highly undeserved reputations as “cultural leaders.” Yuck, I have learned more from cats.

As an individual, I also have to say that at least some of these misconduct charges are surely bogus, some are so minor and happened so long ago they mean nothing today, and some of them were surely enticed, if not by conscious design then at least by the way our culture operates. Just compare how men and women dress. And consider that women (I have been told) also lose their shit when around male dancers.

Cultural revolutions need to happen from time to time and often yield good results if they are nonviolent. The Czarist regime in Russia was too slow to change nonviolently and thus was overthrown violently. The KMT in China was similar.

I hope we are now living through a nonviolent cultural revolution that overthrows undeserving cultural hierarchies and the celebrities who represent them. I also hope that though the battering ram today is sexual conduct, tomorrow it will be intellectual honesty across the board.

In that vein, I hope academia falls next. No major public institution in America could possibly be 85+% liberal without also being totalitarian, excluding those with different views.

A word to whoever controls the Deep State or oligarchy, accept deep change now or be like the Romanovs.