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Brief flow discussion

Michael Hoffman and James Kent

Power of the Flow vs. personal control vs. alien purpose

This message in is response to the concept of "Flow" introduced within the text of Psychedelic Information Theory.

----- Original Message -----

From: "Michael Hoffman"
To: "'James Kent'"
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2006 12:37 AM
Subject: Power of the Flow vs. personal control vs. alien purpose

Hi James,

Does the Flow, or does it not, include all our thoughts? Do thoughts count as "all matter and energy", or not? You say everything is connected, and that the mystic state requires relinquishing control to the Flow, but you dismiss the "psychic ether that permeates the thoughts and dreams of all living things". Do you hold that everything material is controlled by the Flow, but we simply control our own thoughts, or is personal control some sort of hybrid of 2 or more aspects?

Is the Flow something other than the alien force you dismiss? If an alien purposeful controlling agency doesn't exist, is the Flow trustworthy? On what basis can we trust the flow, on the advice of "go with the flow"? If the Flow permeates all, then is not the struggle against "the Experience" itself "going with the flow", in the sense that whatever happens is by definition the Flow? You advise not getting in the way of the flow, but that seems to set up and reify "you" as something apart from the Flow, which seems to contradict the Flow by definition.

If I am something other than the Flow, something that could "get in the way" of the flow, then the Flow seems to be defined by you, in practice, as everything except this 'me' who stands apart from the Flow, struggling against it and "fighting it".

Without knowing whether you define the Flow as containing all our conscious control-related thoughts, I can only ask this semi-valuable set of questions for clarification.

-- Michael

----- Reply ------
From: "James Kent"
To: "Michael Hoffman"
Subject: Re: Power of the Flow vs. personal control vs. alien purpose
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 10:21:29 -0700

Interesting questions that I have not really pondered, but I think I can come up with some answers.

We are part of the flow, the flow is just a the quantum cascade of energy interacting through time. So the flow is actually motion and the passing of time. However, the flow is not uniform. Within the flow are eddies, vortexes, blockades etc. This "channeling of the flow" is why our universe has evolved in a non-uniform way, what cosmologists sometimes refer to as "clumping" of early gas pockets into denser states. Within something like a plasma, the flow is near infinite, but when you get to heavy minerals (or absolute zero temperatures), the flow moves towards zero.

Obviously, the flow of electrochemical information through our brains (our thoughts) are part of the causal chain of the larger flow of the universe. However, within our own network we have a limited kind of flow control, which is our conscious thought (freewill?). We can channel flow to move our arm, or think about horses, or say the word "peace", etc. Those are conscious decisions that actually gate, filter, and direct flow, channeling the energy of the flow to do some kind of specific "work", much like a farmer might redirect a small part of a rushing river to irrigate his crops, or use a windmill to grind the corn, etc.

In terms of "going with the flow," this is specifically a kind of Taoist sentiment (or sometimes used in Christ consciousness) where you live in a state of the universe (or god) acting through you effortlessly and without conscious restraint. In other words, going with the flow is like surrendering your freewill to the greater will of the universe. Some may see this as taking the path of least resistance, being a passive re-actor instead of an active actor. Both of these states are part of the human spectrum of being, and neither (I think) is more valid than any other. However, in terms of entheogenic experience, it is often easier (and more rewarding) to simply be a passive reactor (surrender personal will to the larger other) as opposed to actively fighting or manipulating the flow to a specific end, which is essentially the job of the shaman, and is more of an advanced skill (or so it seems to me).

You cannot stop the flow, but you can fight against it and redirect it into new channels. The flow is not an agency or intellect, it is dumb and mechanistic, which can either be interpreted as cold and evil (uncaring, unyeilding, machine-like) or secure and loving (sustaining, dependable, consistent), depending on your world view. We are part of the flow just as fish are part of the river. The river controls the movement of the fish in a macro sense, but the more you get down to organism level the more you see the fish has control over tiny variations in how it reacts within the flow. We sense that we are "apart from the flow", but we are more like a maze of channels that filter flow into dynamic output.

The flow is not something to be trusted or denied, it just is what it is. The flow is responsible for the flower blooming just as it is responsible for the eighteen-wheeler jack-knifing on the freeway and killing dozens of people. You can rail against it or call it God, but that is just anthropomorphization of power that is essentially beyond our control. So, when I say "Go with the flow," I am basically saying, "When facing a tsunami, don't build a dam, grab your surfboard."

Of course, these metaphors start to break down when you have numerous actors seeking to channel flow to a specific end, like political parties and such. If Hitler is in power and forcing all the Jews to get on the train, should we just "Go with the flow?" Obviously this kind of manipulation has to do with preconceived notions of morality, religion, ethics, political power, etc. In this situation, "Going with the flow" actually means "Going with Hitler's flow", which is not what I am talking about at all. The only way to truly go with the flow is to remove the preconceived notions that lock you into a particular "flow pattern" (ego, identity, routine, behavior, the self, etc.) and allow yourself to open to the flow without restraint. This is, I supposed, akin to a mystical experience, when the lenses of the self are cleansed and reality is seen as it truly is (or something like that).


Tags : flow alien mysticism tao
Posted on: 2006-04-12 12:53:07