Monday, March 25, 2013

Metabolism VII - Control and Stoicism

"A sage once came to one of the meditators and asked that he be accepted into their society. 

The other replied 'My son, blessed are you to God.  Your intentions are Good.  But tell me, have you attained stoicism or not?. 

The sage said 'Master explain your words.'

The meditator said 'If one man is praising you and another is insulting you, are the two equal in your eyes or not?'

He replied 'No my master, I have pleasure from those who praise me and pain from those who degrade me. But I do not take revenge or bear a grudge.'

The other said 'Go in peace my son.  You have not attained stoicism  You have not reached a level where your soul does not feel the honour of one who praises you, nor the degradation of one who insults you.  You are not prepared for your thoughts to be bound on high that you should come and meditate.  Go and increase the humbleness of your heart and learn to treat everything equally until you have become stoic.  Only then will you be able to meditate.'"  Isaac of Acco

The maintainence of poise then is not just a factor of internal self-control, learned from the restraints and the observances it is also a matter of maintaining that poise in a social environment where your activities are constantly being judged and responded to with negative and positive attention.

Many people, including respected magi in the blogosphere have made the mistake that maintaining stoicism equates to a repression of feeling and suggested that if you have no link to external desires and the satisfaction of them then there is no point in existing.  On the contrary stoicism results in the identification of the will, and with discipline the magnification of it.  Desire pulls one in various different directions throughout the day, by being stoic one increases ones sovereignity in the world. 

Why would you want to be exposed to the careless off-hand comments of random individuals some of who may be hurting from their own problems and projecting their internal poison on to the outside world?  Stoicism does not mean you become armoured it actually means you identify the source of all of your emotional experience.  One lesson I teach in theatre is how to get angry technically.  Some actors believe that they need to think of some memory or experience they have had in their life and then link that to their performance.  I teach them to close their fist, curl their lips, tense their body and breathe shallow and fast.  Suddenly everyone in the class is furious.  I then tell them that if you can make yourself angry that easily, then you can make also make yourself happy as easily.  If I respond to criticism or praise it is my choice.  The emotional body is not repressed.  It is held.  This is poise and it is the manner of a King.

As one withdraws ever more into the mysteries of the self, it is true that you realise that the objects of the outside world are as shadows, but this is simply the first step.  When one has left the cave, and experienced the Sun, i.e. pure consciousness and will, then when one returns to the cave those once-husks now glow with the colour of the Mind, not with the shadow of the physical.  Manifestation is not drained of meaning by the pursuit of Stoicism, it is vivified by it.

"Real sharpness comes without effort. No growth without assistance. No action without reaction. No desire without restraint. Now give yourself up and find yourself again. There is a lesson for you. You need practice. I can teach you to fight with the Green Destiny, but first you must learn to hold it in stillness." Li, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Metabolism VII - Skill and Attention

The people of this world require social nutrition in the form of attention - they require praise for work done well and criticism for work done badly.  As outlined in Conflux - Masks certain types of behaviour are manifested by different physiognomic characters in order to complete their metabolism.  A Lover will seek out physical attention by lightly touching people, an Immortal will seek out attention by restating the group/team position and/or goals, an Angel by engaging in intense conversation about love or death, etc.  The responses to their behaviour are both negative/positive and these responses have an effect on the Mask to distort it (to consider this in the simplest possible way think about how saying something nice to someone makes them smile and saying something mean makes them frown) - with extensive bursts of one type of attention producing corresponding extensive distortions.  Attention which reaches the levels of abuse (both positive and negative) is that which results in distortion of the mask (and corresponding behaviour) to one suited to a different physiognomic character.  The natural state is in equilibrium where the character will seek positive or negative attention and when they recieve it either seek out the opposite for a while or simply withdraw from the need for social nutrition while they 'digest' and return to their natural state.

In terms of moral obligation here an individual is part of this system of social nutrition and should give and take both positive and negative according to their own needs whilst staying true to their underlying physiognomic character.  There are times when it becomes necessary to either stave off a Master Player (an individual who is aware of this system and uses it to manipulate people to their own baleful will) or to use it in the form of healing an individual who has had their mask distorted for one reason or another.

A working knowledge of the underlying theory is necessary for advanced applications - one should feel that they have comfortably identified the different archetypal characters which reveal the the nature of the physiognomic character they are attempting to work with so that they have knowledge of the type of behaviour which is naturally suited to this individual.

As detailed in the various sections positive and negative attention have the stated effects on individuals when they recieve it but there are ways to magnify the impact of attention by building individual bursts of attention into attention structures.  For instance say one encounters someone who is deeply sad for a reason, who has had their mask distorted negatively and who needs to be built back up in order to restore the equilibrium.  One can provide a continuous stream of positive comments (compliments, praise, heartfelt and uplifting advice, etc) but this will have a rapidly reducing effect over time.  Imagine now that you have just achieved something really good and everyone is giving you compliments, but then there is one person who criticizes - oh how we hang on to that negative comment amongst the positive!  The negative here is magnified by its position amongst the positive, gaining in strength by the contrast.  One can use this principle of contrast and magnification and build a structure.  If someone really needs a boost a more effective way, although seemingly strange on the surface, is to provide a small string of positives, one negative and then one strong positive at the end - the negative providing the contrast provides a springboard for the last positive.  One can reverse this principle, applying a stream of negatives, one positive and one strong negative at the end - if someone needs bringing down (which obviously happens as often as people need bringing up).  These are two really simple attention structures that allow one to magnify the effects of attention increasing the yield of said attention over time.

A Master Player is essentially a fevered ego, a mask that has been distorted into a kind of parasitic state where it will feed on attention to maintain its warped state - either reinforcing its negative distortion by seeking out hatred and criticism, or its positive distortion by seeking out compliments.  Typically on some level the Master Player is aware of the system I have outlined above, they know what they are doing to get what they want, they know what works and what doesn't work and so typically they will be aware of someone attempting to use those same principles to clear the fevered ego and will fight against it and/or retreat.  In this situation, depending on how advanced the skill of the Master Player is or how severe their distortion one must use a third principle amongst the negative and the positive and this is called the neutral (pause or silence).  Attention has the characteristics of a drug and one can become hooked on it - in general or for from an individual (see Masks for more clear examples of distorted behaviour in this sense) - with the correct use of the pause or silence one can use the force of the dependency itself to bring the problem to the surface.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Metabolism VII - Control


You are the control centre in the middle of your own reality, as the DNA in its nucleus is the control centre in the middle of the cell.  This does not mean you have total power over the cell as it is constantly recieving information, and nutrition from the blood, along with potential threats.  This flow (time) contains challenges that must be met.

You can alter the mood and atmosphere of your percieved environment, the cytoplasm of the cell, by your gestures, your facial expressions, your words, and even your thoughts, in a similar way to the way DNA unwinds to release information which is then transformed into proteins.


Direct physical action relates to the sphere of 'reach', communication or speech (proteins) to the sphere of perception, and thought to the sphere of consciousness.

As cells are joined by the interstitial fluids and the blood, so your actions, words and thoughts can influence other cells of consciousness.  This blood, or prana, can be considered astral.

Finite Players play within boundaries, infinite players play with boundaries - Finite and Infinite Games, James P. Carse.


 The modes of action offered by the structure of consciousness will now be referred to as Strategic Drama, and although there are many strategies we will generally be talking about protection and healing.

The first step in accessing the power contained in cellular consciousness is Control.  Control is ultimately control over the physical body (which is likened to the DNA at the command centre of the cell) - and control in these areas lead to a development of Will.  Control is necessary in order to avoid distortion of the natural mask of the physiognomic character from the various ups and downs presented as a challenge every waking day on Earth.  Control does not mean repression by any means.  It is developed by 'stopping' certain behaviours to begin with (for you must know what the part of you is that can 'stop' behaviour) - it leads through observing particular behaviours (making oneself do something) and ultimately leads to 'poise.' 

Poise is a medium-tension state where individual action is based on reasonable responses to incoming stimuli.  When lost, poise should be the first thing that is recovered - without poise you are not exercising will.  Medium tension feels like the body is being held but not constricted, held and not abandoned.  In disciplining the 'physical body'*, one is effectively beginning in the disciplining of the mind.

The disconcerting side-effect of taking control is a feeling of disembodiment - that nothing matters anymore.  This is because by engaging in 'stopping' yourself you are withdrawing the mind from the illusion of materiality.  Thinking about it qabalistically if you imagine that the power of control in you is the microcosmic version of the divine will then if one withdraws completely one is only left with only will and no willed phenomena - therefore there is nothing to matter.  Through control one can entirely drain the manifest of meaning but in so doing one finds the source of meaning - your own mind.  Once control is taken then one can invest meaning or love, if you like, in that which they want to as opposed to being compelled to invest it randomly by the whims of chaos or other, perhaps baleful, wills.

*The experience of the physical body is a structure in consciousness at the centre of the cell.  This experience is a mental construct as much as the perception of the environment is. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Metabolism VI - The Masks and the Conflux

To summarise important learning points so far:

  • Everyone shares an identical structure of consciousness - everyone has an awareness of their physical body and insides, an awareness of their physical reach, an awareness of their perceptual limits and these faculties are enclosed within a 'sphere' of the larger mind - this structure we call Feelix
  • Everyone is different in that they are associated with a particular aspect(s) of Feelix more than the others, i.e. a person can have an overactive thyroid gland or be high testosterone and this produces certain natural behaviours appropriate to that person - the set of archetypes that allow us to zoom in on the individual are called the physiognomical characters*
  • In order that the characters may survive in this world they must complete their metabolism continuously by finding nutrition, in the form of food and water, but on a social level in the form of attention (attention can be stored as 'Shards' or memories and metabolised later - similar to 'fat')
  • Like over-eating or under-eating, being overexposed or underexposed to attention, both negative and positive has damaging effects on the individual (in the terms of this work the damaging effects are called 'Rifts' which cause breaches in integrity or 'Veil' which is more of an attritive form of damage)
  • Each of the natural physiognomical characters (associated with the endocrine glands) also has a natural mask associated with it
  • This mask presents certain kinds of behaviour when in social environments and feeding on attention (social nutrition) - the natural mask is the one that is appropriate to the underlying physiognomical character
  • Under the influence of negative and positive attention this mask may alter - under extreme conditions, the mask can be distorted temporarily (although the duration of the distortion is based on the intensity of the attention experienced) - distortion can breach both elastic and plastic limits of the mask though with harmful consequences
  • The distortion that occurs is in line with the Metabolism of Time diagram, negative attention forcing the mask to distort to the mask type associated with the character 'down' the chart from the person's natural character and positive attention forcing the mask to distort to the mask type associated with the character 'up' the chart from the person's natural character
  • The physiognomical character is at its happiest when presenting its natural mask and normally healthy individuals will take action to restore the balance - i.e. a character recieving too much positive attention will either avoid social nutrition for a while or seek out negative attention and vice versa
*Individuals typically lie on a 'path' between two of these archetypes, although some people are very striking examples of a pure form - it is wise to identify people of the pure form (using the info in the physiognomical characters section) first and then extend your abilities from there.

Below is a list of working notes you will need if you want to explore this system further.  I recommend printing out this information and then exploring the social environment with it.  I have tried to put a lot of information into the images themselves and it is worth reflecting on them.  The lists contain the image of the physiognomical character with its natural mask (and typical results of distortion under negative/positive attention), Qabalistic reference, their position in the Metabolism of Time, and the endocrine link (which some of you interested in the chakra system will see is very much like the characters associated with the chakras...) These notes conclude this section of the theory of the Metabolsim of Time and what will follow in subsequent notes are some practical techniques for using this system.  I will now also be detailing the work on the Sefer Yetzirah.  Please ask any questions if you want any help.

YESOD - Many Mannered Mind Man, altered past, genitals - testosterone, natural mask Vampyr, important notes - virtually immune to negative attention, positive attention results in distortion to Immortal

HOD - Jay, remembering, adrenals - adrenaline, natural mask Immortal +ve attention distorts to dreamer, -ve attention distorts to Vampyr - more susceptible to positive distortion

NETZACH - Mime, forgetting, adrenals - cortisol, natural mask Lover, +ve attention distorts to dreamer, -ve attention distorts to Vampyr - more susceptible to negative distortion
TIFERETH - Prisoner, inner mind, pancreas - insulin and glucagon, natural mask Dreamer, difficult to distort because of general contentment +ve attention distorts to magi, -ve attention distorts to Lover
GEVURAH - Confused Venutian, analysis of the moment, thymus - recognition of foriegn bodies, natural mask Demon, +ve attention distorts to Gambler, -ve attention distorts to Dreamer, more susceptible to -ve attention

CHESED - Shellfish, response to the moment, thymus - recognition of self, natural mask Magus, +ve attention distorts to Gambler, -ve attention distorts to Dreamer, more susceptible to +ve attention

DAAT - Treefrog, experience of the moment, thyroid/parathyroid, natural mask Gambler, +ve attention distorts to Timelord, -ve attention distorts to Demon
BINAH - Bloodless Being, changing the future, pineal - melatonin, natural mask Timelord, +ve attention distorts to Director, -ve attention distorts to Gambler, more susceptible to +ve distortion
CHOKMAH - Ignorant Fool, reducing the future, pineal - serotonin, natural mask Angel, +ve attention distorts to Director, -ve attention distorts to Gamble, more susceptible to -ve distortion

KETHER - Ignorant Genius, the Altered Future, pituitary, natural mask Director, virtually immune to positive attention, distorts to Angel under -ve attention

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Metabolism VI - The Mask of the Pituitary, the Director and the Conflux

The natural character of the pituitary gland is the Ignorant Genius - often people of large build (giants on the extreme end) with strong features (noses, brows) and having an access to insight, intuition and imagination as well as natural skills in management - and its natural mask is the Director.  This role of the director is well suited to pituitary characters as the pituitary gland is the master gland in the system which measures the concentration of various hormones in the blood and adjusts the levels accordingly.  They are the great alchemists and the projects they invest in range from Science to Art - though it must be pointed out they are the inventors rather than the R&D (typically undertaken by Confused Venutian types i.e. Thymus (foriegn body recognition) characters). Remember as the summit of the Metabolism of Time, the Ignorant Genius is associated with the ''Altered Future'', and it is from here where their 'genius' is derived.

Director's manifest behaviour appropriate to their name - they plan in advance, objectify situations and they control other characters in order to fit them into their grand plan - nominally drawn from their imagination.  Since they are normally in positions of power and authority they also have tremendous resilience to attention and particularly positive attention to which they are virtually immune (like the Vampyr/Many Mannered Mind Man is virtually immune from negative attention).  Since they have power over characters, or at least typically more so than the others, they can *choose* the attention that they want to get.  It is rare to see them glut themselves on positive attention though, as one might expect from one who has power.  Since they objectify things they also objectify themselves and often approach themselves as an object or refer to themselves in the 3rd person (if not vocally, mentally).  Typically then they simply 'top up'on positive attention when it is needed, much like the pituitary gland 'tops up' the hormone levels as needed.

The negative attention that gets to them normally comes from outside of the group they control typically by critics of their projects whatever they happen to be.  In which case this negative attention will distort the natural mask to that of the Angel.  This distortion will manifest in the following way - mad ranting, intense emotional outbursts, 'my glorious work brought to ruin!' etc.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Metabolism VI - The Masks of the Pineal, the Timelord, the Angel and the Conflux




The Bloodless Being is associated with the pineal gland particularly the hormone melatonin - the effects on the personality and physical form of these physiognomical characters are detailed in that section of the blog.  The natural mask of this character is the Timelord who have very low need for attention (or at least appear to).  The Timelord seems to be able to make a little attention last a very long time - they often present the world with a face that indicates they do not 'need' your attention, this can be interpreted as aloofness, disdain and contempt but often it is not.  Bloodless Beings are generally fairly slender with good complexions and youthful appearances these qualities give them a kind of elfin appearance and a kind of 'beauty' that is universally recognised.  One of the side effects of the hormone that gives them this quality, i.e. melatonin is low body image (melatonin associated with occurence of anorexia nervosa) so often the compliments that they recieve based on their apparent beauty they in fact do not believe - this is the real explanation for their apparent aloofness/coldness and seeming lack of 'need' for attention.  In reality though the Timelord is as susceptible to attention as anyone else, being more susceptible to positive attention than negative because of their position in the Metabolism of Time.


Positive attention distorts the mask to Director and negative attention to Gambler.  In practical terms under the influence of positive attention which gets past the natural 'defences' outlined above they will become almost megalomaniacal and controlling, under negative attention they will 'run away' from the environment and attempt to seek a new area for nutrition.  In day to day encounters you are more likely to see a Bloodless Being's mask distorting from Timelord to Director rather than to a Gambler.



The Ignorant Fool on the other hand is associated with the pineal gland in the form of the hormone serotonin.  Serotonin and Melatonin oscillate inversely throughout the day, serotonin levels high when awake and conscious, melatonin levels rising during sleep.  During the section on Ignorant Fool we discussed serotonin producing these chracters who are really intense and alert or 'present' - this serotonin's effect on raising and intensifying consciousness.  Whereas the natural mask of the melatonin character produced the qualites of aloofness, coldness and distance - the natural mask of the Ignorant Fool, the Angel manifests intensity and focus - if the Timelord looks like it isn't interested in what you are saying the Angel looks like it is way too interested in what you are saying.  Such intensity can often feel like the Angel is trying to extract every last drop of social nutrition from you - their conversations will zoom in on subjects likely to provoke strong reactions, like politics or the fundamental meaning of life or death.  They are not good company for characters who want to chat about nothing.


Under the influence of positive attention, the Angel will transform into a Director and under negative, a Gambler but unlike the Timelord the Angel is more susceptible to negative attention than positive.  It is more likely that an Angel will be driven away from a group (and therefore become a Gambler finding a new group) because of negative attention as their very active and intense approach can provoke retribution unlike the Timelord's stillness and aloofness.  However under admiration and streams of compliments for whatever reason the Angel will turn into a Director, which in this distorted form is more likely to take the form of some kind of mad demagogue.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Metabolism VI - The Mask of the Thyroid, the Gambler, and the Conflux

We will now look at the mask associated with the natural character of the thyroid gland 'The Treefrog'.  Remembering back to the section on the physiognomical character The Treefrog is a fairly easy character to identify and a good place to start learning how to use this system practically.  Their size and metabolism tends to reign to the extreme - small, dextrous, fast (some may actually have something of a tremulousness because of the rapidity of the metabolism) with prominent, large eyes which bulge out of the socket a little or the complete opposite - larger with sunken eyes and slower metabolism.  The distinctive character traits were a love of the aesthetic experience, highly 'sensory' with an accompanying love of travel/tourism/adventure.


The mask associated with the Treefrog is the Gambler - a highly adaptive mask that is good at altering itself to new conditions.  This does not mean that the person is a shape-shifter or actor, just that their behaviour will be riskier - they will happily go and meet new people and are very good at 'fitting' in to new groups and adjusting their social norms accordingly.  They will fit to the group as opposed to trying to make the group fit to them.  This drive to ''evolve'' is very harmonious with the nature of the Treefrog and its travels.  However, the desire to continuously 'fit in' means that new groups must be found so that the 'fitting in' can continue - thus the accompanying desire to travel.


Under the influence of positive attention, this mask will distort to the Timelord.  Under negative attention it will distort to the Demon.  In real terms then the behaviour of the Gambler who recieves too much positive attention will be to simply stop attempting to gather attention and sit on what they have (Timelords have metabolisms which do not require as much attention as other characters in order to maintain the integrity of the mask) - i.e. their attention metabolism will slow down, they will be quiet, perhaps withdrawn into themselves.  Under negative attention, the distorted mask will probably attempt to make Shards by causing drama in the group, possibly organising from the shadows.

The Treefrog is associated with the experience of the moment - using the diagram we see that negative attention drives them to 'analysis of the moment' and positive attention to changing the future.  Again, like the other central characters it is possible to force alternate moves, i.e. to make negative attention produce 'reducing the future' and positive to 'reaction to the moment' but only under favourable conditions (atmosphere, catalysts, etc).

Friday, March 1, 2013

Metabolism VI - The Mask of the Pancreas, the Dreamer and the Conflux

The next mask we will turn our attention to is the natural mask of the Prisoner, which is the physiognomical character associated with the pancreas and the Inner Mind.  This mask is called the Dreamer and you've encountered it before when we discussed the distortion of the natural mask of other characters.

Dreamers have unique access to Flux derived from Colour (see Conflux - Processes), i.e. they can recieve 'attention' from existence itself - a kind of social photosynthesis.  If you think of the Prisoner as the pancreas with its relation to the production of insulin and glucagon, energy storage and release, one can extrapolate to the energy storage that occurs during sleep and dreams as well.  Its worth keeping in mind this notion of the 'Inner Mind' (the enteric nervous system or brain of the stomach and bowels) - we daydream as we digest foods high in carbs like pasta or mashed potatoes (see the Physiognomy Pancreas section) and transform the glucose to glycogen which is stored in the liver.  Thinking of this photosynthesis in terms of feeding on attention they are often content then to reflect on what other characters are saying (and therefore not agressively seek any kind of attention) and therefore like other characters in the central positions (i.e. Many Mannered Mind Men - testosterone) their mask is usually more difficult to distort. They can however ''erupt'' from time to time in violent energy release (glucagon phase of Prisoner as opposed to insulin) very much like the Sun occassionally throws off solar flares and this kind of activity (think revolutionaries, anarchists, messiahs) will produce attention responses from other characters (both positive and negative)- during these periods there will be some distortion of the mask but generally the attention recieved will equilibriate and the Prisoner will return to its natural mask of the Dreamer.

Negative attention on the Prisoner will generally cause the natural mask of the Dreamer to become the mask of the Lover, and positive attention will generally cause it to turn into the mask of the Magi.  This means that under the influence of negative attention a Prisoner will likely seek out positive attention through physical contact and flirtiness probably from people other than those who are the source of the negative attention.  Under the influence of positive attention they will take centre stage and become entertainers of the crowd or audience.

Before I mentioned that under the right conditions (pressure, temp) it is possible to drive a 'reaction' in another direction.  If negative attention is applied but the Prisoner is denied the option to go down the negative path to the Lover (by denying them physical contact for instance) they will be driven back up the negative path to the mask of the Demon (shard-forming).  Conversely if positive attention is applied but the Prisoner is denied to go up the positive path to the Magi (by denying an 'audience') they will go down the positive path instead and the mask will be distorted to the mask of the Immortal.  This does not happen very often at all naturally but can be achieved artificially.

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats


Information relating to the Prisoner, pancreas, Mask of the Dreamer and the Inner Mind relates to Tifereth.