Keeping with the recent geometric theme of this blog, August is the eighth month of the year, and so now we can put aside hexagons in favor of eight-sided octagons.
I mistakenly thought the rectangle across a hexagon was a golden ratio rectangle. What I know for a fact, however, is that the rectangle across an octagon is a silver rectangle, with a silver ratio, based on the silver number sequence.
What is a silver rectangle? It’s basically just a reiteration of the golden rectangle. A silver spiral is a reiteration of the golden rectangle, but this time coming from two directions, instead of one.
As stated earlier, the sunflower, too, is a reiteration of the golden spiral as well.
Sometimes you’ve just got to reiterate something, be persistent, say or do something more than once to make sure you’ve said or done it enough, and people will give you a hard time about that.
How do you know if you’ve reiterated enough?
You never know if it’s enough, really.
You definitely don’t want to fall short, not provide enough development, and spend your life wondering if you should’ve gone far enough.
You’ll probably only gain the wisdom to know when to stop by going overboard a hundred times first.
And then sometimes you end up in boring reiterations of things you’ve done before, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
But then iterations are, after all, how we practice, how we get better at things, how we smooth things out. Maybe the reiteration is painful, but maybe in a moment of humility you can admit you need the practice.
Months having themes? What?
I haven’t told my readership about my insane thought process.
2017 is a fateful year for the revolution, being a Uranus-Jupiter-Pluto alignment, and also critical for myself, being immediately prior to my own Saturn return.
I have been dwelling on each month as if they have been in alignment with each point my Hexagonal Doctrine – January with point 1, February with point 2, etc. But also with the planets.
Is this total insanity? Oh definitely. By now you should know this blog is comedic, this blog is serious, this blog is post-ironic, or to paraphrase Get a Job, this blog is so ironic it loops back around and becomes authentic, this blog is “irauntic.”
But my Hexagonal Doctrine only has 7 points. Now that it’s August, I’m in a bit of uncharted territory, and I only have the astrological meaning of the planets to go by.
Now if you have something against astrology I’m just going to stop you right now and introduce you to Richard Tarnas. If you haven’t read Cosmos and Psyche and encountered this deeply materialist, Marxist, historical, revolution-and-reaction basis for historical astrology, lift your weights and get on it.
It’s not café horoscope astrology about what mood you’re going to be in this week, it’s about the major historical trajectories of economic trends, major wars, revolutions, reactions, and cultural tendencies, and it’s solid. The first chapter is a bit New Age but skip it and just dig into the evidence and historical alignments.
First let’s cover Neptune a bit more, then talk about 2017 and the current moment of astrology.
August is the 8th month, and Neptune is the 8th planet, Neptune of course being the god of the sea, astrologically a planet of amorphous kaleidoscopic fascination, ceaseless iterative waves of spiritual sensory manifestation, like this:
Waves are constant reiterations, hashing over the same flow again and again, gradually wearing down stones not in one mighty blow but by gradual repetitive contact. Even within the waves there is a whole host of micro-waves, iterations within waves.
August is the 8th month. 8 = 1+7, an octave: a reiteration.
So if 2017 is a Uranus-Jupiter-Pluto alignment, turning into a Uranus-Saturn-Pluto alignment at its tail end, it hasn’t been quite as progressive as we would have hoped, has it?
Or maybe it has.
Uranus is supposed to be the planet of progressive rebellion. Uranus-Pluto alignments tend to be periods of uprising, rebellion, and revolution. Jupiter embodies quantum leaps of progressive change as well, and the last Uranus-Jupiter-Pluto alignment was the global uprising of 1968. Saturn, on the other hand, is usually conservative and reactionary, and Saturn-Pluto alignments being wars and periods of reaction. (Saturn-Uranus-Pluto alignments are clashes between revolutionary and reactionary forces, like the 1930s.)
But Uranus isn’t just progressive and Saturn isn’t just reactionary, and they sometimes reverse roles, and this is what is going on in our times, and what is implied in the video above.
Uranus is also about seizing power. That’s not always progressive. Yes, sometimes rebels seize power, but so do reactionaries. Trump is definitely a massive embodiment of seizing power, and in this way is actually an expression of the Uranus-Jupiter.
Likewise, the massive protests against Trump, while expressing the Uranian progressivism, also express Saturn’s other role: defense and conservation. Trump is ceaselessly on the attack against every group under the sun, whether it’s the working class or other more specific oppressed identities. These protests are acts of self defense under fire. This, too, is the role of Saturn. It is the spirit of people finding the strength to fight back under pressure and oppression.
There was a Saturn-Neptune climate of extreme lies and deception clouding everything up until now, currently sharply turning into a Saturn-Pluto reality principle as mentioned in the Tarnas video above. To see a liar like Trump begin tailspinning in such a climate of increasing reality principle correlates.
Saturn can also be preservational moral force in times of rigor and challenge, which can take on the form of progressive forces under attack from reactionary assault enduring the storm and becoming the centering rock of social stability.
Ultimately for a revolution to succeed, the revolutionaries have to become more than rebels; they have to become the reliable and responsible organizers of all of society’s core functions itself. Perhaps that’s the true universal coherence, when we revolutionists perform that role reversal, and perhaps that’s what’s going to begin to happen in this uprising/reaction cycle from 2017 to 2020.
(Of course, it could also just mean us getting crushed, or getting co-opted into the machine and selling out, etc. Lol.)
It occurs to me now that if the 2010s decade is like a modern 1960s, with lots of moralism, energy, and identitarianism, perhaps the 2020s will be more like a 1970s: a bit more of a subdued, chilled out, cynical energy, but still with a lot of countercultural and radical activity going on. Perhaps then will be a good time period to build a class-conscious, organized Left, instead of spasms of edgy protest that don’t really add up to anything permanent.
The silver rectangle and proportion in politics
The silver rectangle reiterates certain themes of proportionality I’ve entertained before, but more intensely, and more subtly. The silver rectangle can be subdivided just as the golden rectangle, as an analogy for what balance we ought to strike in certain political priorities, such as in the debate between class and identity.
As always, sometimes it’s a matter of timing. At specific moments when oppressed groups are under direct official attack, their issues may take priority. But in general, a class-centric approach where the golden or silver rectangle may be slightly divided toward not a class-reductionist, but class-centric approach is needed. And in fact, when identity politics is abused as an outright assault on the working class as we have increasingly seen it been, then class-centric politics should be doubled down upon as most of the silver rectangle, or perhaps all of the golden.
It’s a matter of proportion.
To Educate is to Reiterate
New people constantly come in and out. Old members need to be refreshed so they can communicate with others, and not embarrassed the movement by coming up empty in public disputes. We can’t rely on only our leaders to represent us in public.
Everyone in the movement must be educated, everyone must be knowledgeable, everyone must be capable of explaining our standpoint and defending it. This requires internal discussion and education events which prepare the whole membership for that readiness, and they have to be ongoing, both grasping permanent topics and keeping up with the events of the world.
Before I got kicked out of Philly Socialists, I fought for the group to have a series of events about “What is Socialism?” It was ridiculous that I had to fight within the organization to even have these events held, and that it was a point of tension. But I did, and it was.
These events have probably not been repeated since my expulsion, because Philly Socialists is an organization which believes in keeping its members ignorant, keeping communication between them poor with no common political language, and exploiting their lack of political articulateness, in order to string them along and control them down any road the leadership wants. I, on the other hand, believe in having an educated membership that is actually capable of existing on an equal footing and exercising democracy.
I’ve been reading a Buddhist introductory app on my phone called Access to Insight and the theme of iterative education appears there as well.
The Dhamma, the truth taught by the Buddha, is uncovered gradually through sustained practice. The Buddha made clear many times that Awakening does not occur like a bolt out of the blue to the untrained and unprepared mind. Rather, it culminates a long journey of many stages:
Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline (dhamma-vinaya) has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch.
Monks, I do not say that the attainment of gnosis is all at once. Rather, the attainment of gnosis is after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice. And how is there the attainment of gnosis after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice? There is the case where, when conviction has arisen, one visits [a teacher]. Having visited, one grows close. Having grown close, one lends ear. Having lent ear, one hears the Dhamma. Having heard the Dhamma, one remembers it. Remembering, one penetrates the meaning of the teachings. Penetrating the meaning, one comes to an agreement through pondering the teachings. There being an agreement through pondering the teachings, desire arises. When desire has arisen, one is willing. When one is willing, one contemplates. Having contemplated, one makes an exertion. Having made an exertion, one realizes with the body the ultimate truth and, having penetrated it with discernment, sees it.
I know it’s repetitive, but I find the texts of Buddhism to be perfect examples of the power of reiteration. The fill in every gap. They restate things. They smooth things over. In the process they transpose their smoothness to you. They have a message certainly, but it’s almost like half the message of the texts is the style themselves – the simplicity, the calm, the repetition. It chills you out, and the iterations get smoother over time.
The Buddha’s teachings are infused with this notion of gradual development. His method of “gradual instruction” (anupubbi-katha), which appears in various forms in countless suttas, always follows the same arc: he guides newcomers from first principles through progressively more advanced teachings, all the way to the fulfillment of the Four Noble Truths and the full realization of nibbana:
Then the Blessed One, having encompassed the awareness of the entire assembly with his awareness, asked himself, “Now who here is capable of understanding the Dhamma?” He saw Suppabuddha the leper sitting in the assembly, and on seeing him the thought occurred to him, “This person here is capable of understanding the Dhamma.” So, aiming at Suppabuddha the leper, he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensual passions, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when he saw that Suppabuddha the leper’s mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elated, & bright, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path. And just as a clean cloth, free of stains, would properly absorb a dye, in the same way, as Suppabuddha the leper was sitting in that very seat, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose within him, “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”
In the past I’ve been hostile to holding up the radical party line, and spending a lot of time bashing the Democrats instead of building positive connections with people over economic justice. It can be, well, repetitive.
Iterative. Exhausting. Boring. Monotonous.
But it’s still necessary. A lot of people thought it was okay to uncritically dive into the Sanders campaign with no critique. And Sanders was good. But then that became diving into the Clinton campaign. And then that became defending Obamacare uncritically, and attacking Trump thoughtlessly, and embracing liberal identity politics moronically, and attacking Russia nationalistically, abandoning all radicalism, all class consciousness, all internationalism, all insistence on the long term project of building an anti-capitalist third party.
And now that this consciousness has been lost among so many activists, we need to reiterate the necessity of all those things.
Reiteration is required.
To build a revolution we have to build conscious with everyone. To educate someone you have to relive your entire education, rehash basic concepts, intermediate concepts, and advanced concepts, with each individual you want to bring on board.
That’s a lot of reliving our radical education we have to do!
That’s a lot of reiteration.
Reiteration is required.
Hey, could do a lot worse.