HomeUncategorizedFrom Taoism to Theosophy to Occult semiotics

From Taoism to Theosophy to Occult semiotics

The Taoists have a saying, basically that we use our mind and heart backwards. We sense with our heart which is riddled with the biases of personal emotion, and let our mind guide us, which cannot see past its own perspectives.

Enlightenment is the reversal that happens when our little shell cracks enough to let the stars come rushing in and the heart flowers into the flow, stabilizing the infinity of perspectives with the stamp of authentic creative vision. Then we can use the mind as an instrument of sense, “feel” with the mind in the sense of seeing all ideas and perspectives as the very medium and environment of existence. But it is then the heart that guides us, the heart liberated from personal emotion into love and a creative will that knows no law but the divine impulse to create and form new laws as mere conditions for the possibilities of communication and community. Easier said than done. In contemporary life, we need a guide through the minefield and that is where esoteric thinkers like Steiner and Aurobindo come in.

Aurobindo could be thought of as an integration of tantra and vedanta. He doesn’t reject ascent or a certain amount of asceticism, just like he doesn’t reject the tantric focus on power and the body. But in integrating the different branches of yoga he creates a translation of the occult path Theosophy claims to be teaching, into the mainstream currents of Indian thought and practice. In so doing, the actual practices of tantra and vedanta, which tend towards unbalanced realizations, (too much asceticism in vedanta, dangerous entrenchment in the sex and senses with tantra) are deemphasized to make way for a more direct surrender of the soul to the Divine in its own individual development of the creative force of truth, which he called the Supermind, and which he considered a new possibility in humanity.

Aurobindo may be dense, but he is actually rather basic and intuitive concerning all the levels and grades in comparison to Theosophy and especially Steiner who builds an entire cosmology and cosmogenesis for every level of our being, beyond anything Blavatsky did. Steiner had more of an appreciation for thought, whereas Aurobindo preferred to describe things in poetry and gesture towards personal surrender to the divine in his thinking. His philosophy was merely a general sketch which needed to be actualized through one’s own unique psychic transformation by a complete surrender in the heart. He was much more skeptical and scientific in the details of visionary and occult experimentation. Which is why he influenced Michael Murphy, the founder of the human potential movement, with its focus on exploring human power and the evolution of the body.

Whereas Theosophy had a greater influence over the whole countercultural development through Steiner, Leadbetter, Bailey, Rudhyar, and the Hermetic reaction to it in people like Crowley. But Steiner has had the deepest influence, even if he is not often read or understood. He is particularly hard to understand. But if you make the effort, he is probably the most helpful. He realized people needed more details to guide them through the opening into visionary consciousness. They needed to develop their thinking and understanding to model the spiritual world through concepts which orient us in the maze of spiritual reality.

Deleuze agrees with Steiner that creating concepts is what defines the way the infinite appears to us. Deleuze is a great guide for understanding this process in the postmodern age. He connects the spiritual conceptions of premodern and modern metaphysicians with the virtual and scientific environment we are moving into. My work is mostly along these lines, translating occult wisdom into a contemporary semiotic understanding of virtuality/spirituality. Semiotics looks at everything as signs. I think this is crucial in contextualizing both the occult and the scientific—both of which too often lead people into dogmatism. Our instinct is to apply narrow causal thinking to a world that is ultimately created out of a chain of abstractions into infinity, an instinct that obfuscates the process and deludes us into false knowledge. That chain of abstractions needs to be mapped and that mapping needs to be mapped and contextualized as a fractal recursive process instead of as a representational scheme as most thinking does. 

Deleuze and other developments in science, mathematics and logic like Category Theory, Complexity Theory, etc. are mapping the world this way. I apply this way of thinking in a practical critique of culture, both scientific and spiritual, philosophical and pop culture.