On the discussion about philosophy and happiness over at glueboot — which I hasten to make clear I am NOT “slagging off”…

… I see the point glueboot and K-Punk are making. As Gen used to say, the only thing we know is that we die. I think that the experience of happiness can only be deepened by dealing with pain and suffering. Now, I don’t know much about philosophy, but from where I’m sitting, I think that the opposition between thinking and happiness posited by glueboot is a false one. In particular, such a position ignores the way you can resolve “extremely uncomfortable thoughts” without suppressing them and find a way of experiencing happiness.

It is, in short, too much head and not en0ugh heart. And — pace John Effay and Mark — I don’t buy, at least not yet, that “On one level, everything is thought, which would necessarily involve the heart as much as the brain.” I suppose this is something to do with emic reality, that all experience is mediated. Well, of course — that’s my line actually! The problem — as practitioners of magic and meditation and such discover — is that that the proposition doesn’t have ENOUGH levels. It still represents a flight from experience itself, from the smell of your own shit and the sensation of your lower back lengthening. It’s still about thinking with your head, not with your body, and not with your heart, and the reason that the discourse remains caught up in its own conceptual premises is because of a lack of technique. The obvious step from the realisation that all experience is a mirage, a construct, a work of art of one’s own making, is to figure out how to do it and what happens when you do. The results can be counter-intuitive. So far as I am aware, few if any western philosophers have made a really good go of this. In contrast, Plato and Pythagoras, for example, were in receipt of a possibly bastardised but indubitably ancient body of knowledge of this type, which informed (indeed intermingled with) their philosophy. The advent of Kapital reinforced the divorce between philosophic conceptual modelling and “esoteric” experimentation; I don’t know if they can be recombined, but I suspect they can fertilise each other.

So to return to glueboot, personally I wouldn’t really pay that much attention to a “miserablist” (my term!) philosopher unless I knew for certain they had a good practical grasp of yogic breathing and how to apply it in their everyday life. Of course, once such a hands on knowledge of the human OS has been demonstrated, then pessimist insight could be extremely interesting…

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