YouTube Gurus

It’s the start of a new year and the celebrity guru Russell Brand is on YouTube offering his followers the opportunity to join up for a course that will change their lives (for the better, of course).
It’s hard, really, to knock the guy – or the message – when you see the short comments that follow his videos, how people reveal the suffering in their lives.
Russell’s main concern at the moment is that he looks at his phone device too often, especially first thing in the morning.
Hmm.
Does it have to be an ‘iphone’ he looks at? Couldn’t it just be any little old smartphone?
This innocent-sounding pronouncement somehow drills down to the vacuous, unthinking sludge which gushes up from beneath the crust of all these celebrity YouTube gurus.
Gabor Mate had an addiction to buying classical music recordings; Eckhart Tolle suffered depression while on a scholarship at Cambridge University.
One can hardly deny these individuals’ suffering any more than one can deny that of their followers.
Equally, one can easily see a pattern of Western privilege and a whole series of worrying paradoxes.
As an actor, entertainer and YouTube guru Russell Brand clearly relies upon his sex appeal. Ironically, after chocolate, and before heroin (apparently) he became addicted to sex and pornography.
Really?
Online porn is a freakshow that takes advantage of vulnerable individuals. (I recall bunking off school one day as a thirteen year old with a boy from the village, sitting in a Paddington café after a trip to Kensington market, and a man offering to buy us food before offering us parts in porn-films and the promise of girls with ‘leather fannies’…which we declined.)
You might express similar concerns about all the online gurus.
I mean, look at them, all dolled up or down according to the message they wish to convey and the audience they intend to reach.
Just thinking of the three above:
RB is your typical white Jesus fantasy, no different-looking to those cartoons put out by North American evangelist organisations.
ET – not his real name, but a marketing ploy (Ulrich not having the same ring) – is a non-threatening contemplative little elf in his Val Doonican sweaters.
I caught GM, by chance, in a silent pause from a videoed talk and saw your archetypal glamorously-aged rock star in his adopted stance and open-neck style (think Rolling Stones).
The awful thing is that their audience similarly conform:
The baby-boomers who largely make up RB’s following.
The white, middle-age, middle-class male acolytes of ET.
The aging affluent white women attending presentations by GB. (There is one glorious passage in a video of him giving a talk at a bookstore event, as a woman in the front row revealing a shoulder and cleavage buttons up bit by bit as the videographer actually zooms in on her – it’s hilarious, and a bit sad really.)
I could go on; but I actually don’t like writing this stuff: it seems a little cheap and nasty (and everyone is open to criticism). I’m not a journalist or social commentator, but a novelist and mystic who likes to see things from all sides.
One final irony, however, cannot go unremarked.
The very celebrity spiritual gurus who rely on bookstore signings, stage shows, webinairs and videos on Google’s YouTube are the very ones who are telling us we should eschew fame, cut down on our logical thinking and resist the alienation caused by contemporary technologies like, er, electronic devices and YouTube.
Yeh!
Now do you believe them?

Novels by Glyn F Ridgley

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Mouth of the Ganges river, Rishikesh (March, 2019)

I think you’re a machine (Pt2)

‘Man does not know himself
He does not know his own limitations and his own possibilities. He does not even know to how great an extent he does not know himself.
Man has invented many machines, and he knows that a complicated machine needs sometimes years of careful study before one can use it or control it. But he does not apply this knowledge to himself, although he himself is a much more complicated machine than any machine he has invented.
He has all sorts of wrong ideas about himself. First of all, he does not realise that he actually is a machine.
What does it mean that man is a machine?
It means that he has no independent movements, inside or outside of himself. He is a machine which is brought into motion by external influences and external impacts. All his movements, actions, words, ideas, emotions, moods, and thoughts are produced by external influences. By himself, he is just an automaton with a certain store of memories of previous experiences, and a certain amount of reserve energy.
We must understand that man can do nothing.
But he does not realise this and ascribes to himself the capacity to do. This is the first wrong thing ascribes to himself.’
– P.D Ouspensky

AND MAYBE YOU THOUGHT I WAS JOKING EARLIER!

Well, this matter will be a subject for continuing investigation.

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Novels by Glyn F Ridgley

pistons

 

I think you’re a machine

My Woman’s a machine
You know what that means to me?
Nothing.
My Woman’s a machine
You know what that means to me?
Everything.
I think I’m a machine
You know what that means to me?
Nothing.
I think I’m a machine
You know what that means to me?
Everything.
I think you’re a machine
You know what that means to me?
Nothing.
I think you’re a machine
You know what that means to me?
Everything.

Buy

pistons

Hepatitis C

Hep C. What a drag. Me, too squeamish even to watch blood taken from my vein, let alone injecting any kind of shit, deliberately abstemious from sex in his twenties while following the mystical path, never so much as shared a toothbrush… So now I have to take a whole bunch of retro-viral drugs starting soon. But what a relief it will be to regain energy-levels, appetite for food, enjoy a few drinks, and no more itching skin..!

Can’t wait to begin.

UPDATE: have now been informed by a member of the NHS that I am entitled to access treatment immediately in the UK rather than waiting for more interviews and scans abroad. I actually began this process in the UK three years ago but my GP / local hospital failed to pick up on the problem despite having a whole series of blood tests. Not until I visited a foreign doctor was the virus discovered. Hep C can lay dormant in the body for decades before any symptoms break out (this condition is known as ‘chronic’).

One final irony: when I met the woman who was to be my wife thirty years ago I went to my GP and asked to be checked out since I knew that a serious relationship was about to ensue (this was the era of HIV, hepatitis and General Ignorance), after asking me questions concerning my lifestyle it was decided that no tests would be required. Now, she will have to take a Hep C blood test to check on her status.

Now, it seems, following further blood tests the Hep C reading was a ‘false positive’!

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Books available at stores and websites around the world

60 going on 17

Some old guy of 60 gets back to the UK from a three week trip mostly through Oaxaca, Mexico – starting in Mexico City and ending on the beach at Puerto Escondido – and feels like the country he grew up in really isn’t ever going to change for the better: the GE2019 has come and gone, the racists have got in again, the rich have got richer, and the PM is making his puerile way to the island of Mustique to enjoy a naff time with the von Bismarks over Christmas and the new year.

sunpic1975 and Hawkwind have Warrior on the Edge of Time and The Who have By Numbers and in 2019 they have All Aboard the Skylark and WHO respectively, and both these latter albums would have done it for me way back when I was sixteen going on seventeen. The difference is that what was radical back then is now totally non-threatening (well, even at that time each of these bands were nearly spent, culturally-speaking).

Mick Jagger had offered to put a knife through his heart to commit suicide on the stage on the Rolling Stones last album (the awful It’s Only RnR preceding the equally awful Black and Blue – how did they get away with it..?), while in 2019 he actually did have a heart attack on the stage…and it didn’t help to ease the pain.

Every time I check out the book-selling charts they are full of rubbish whatever the decade or year, 1975 or 2019.

Films. Gimme a break.

Art? Yeah, right.

It’s true the human brain has atrophied.

We could access all the information contained in the universe but instead prefer to remain locked in our skulls and go round and round along the neural pathways of our brains, spewing psychology and politics, eating, and neglecting to understand what our nervous systems are telling us.

Go back to the cannibalistic Indians, their European conquerors or veganistic modern descendants and you find the same mindset hopelessly spinning on this planet Earth unable to achieve lift-off.

Stuck in our bodies, we may fly and opine and generally believe change is occurring but it isn’t and it won’t until we let go of the physical being and understand that we are ready for soul-travel.

What seemed nascent and tolerable at sixteen ought not to feel the same many years on.

That’s not what getting to sixty is all about.

Glyn F Ridgley books available at bookstores worldwide and Amazon

From Mexico

Humanity’s problem – it seems – is not systems or particular individuals; humanity’s problem is – itself.

About forty years ago I tried to work this out for myself. Having read my Karl Marx and Adam Smith, I reckoned that politics was not the way to solve the problem; nor, having read all the major works from Plato to Popper, was philosophy.

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My first image / memory of British imperialism, Aden 1962

I did join the Oxford University Philosophy Society and attended The Socialist Party of Great Britain meetings, whose concepts maybe chimed best with my own. But neither avenue really led to the place that I was seeking.

So then it was literature – I wrote A SORT OF SYMPHONY PIECE and QUESTION – and mysticism.

This latter actually delivered (see all my other full-length written work).

Mysticism is the link between the human individual and the vast cosmos; when the two blend the human knows everything there is to know, and the cosmos knows the individual.

on releaseThese last few weeks in Mexico have been telling. At some of the historic sites and within the country’s museums we have discovered how the indigenous peoples at the time of Cortez’ arrival with his conquistadors were highly stratified in social terms, and human sacrifice was rife. The Spaniards subjugated the native groupings and stole all the gold and silver they were able to carry, but they hardly spoiled any paradise.

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The Peace Banner 1936

As for the current British people, they are grown up enough to know what they want and have opted for an elitist and racist society in their droves. Their is no point blaming the media or Jeremy Corbyn. The choices were there and the electorate, as ever, went for the conservative, semi-royalist position that appears to be their default.

I am happy to be out of it.

I have made my own peace having written and suffered greatly over the previous decades – and am not in conflict with any system or any individual.

From now on – as far as possible – I intend living life according to my own mystic lights.

rc
The Rosy-Cross

And I would advise that you do the same if you are able to gain the insight and muster the strength to do so.

Humanity might yet be pulled back from the brink; but conflict will not be the solution.

Only peace and harmony can make this planet earth a better place.

Novels by Glyn F Ridgley available from bookstores worldwide and Amazon and other websites

 

Booked Up Xmas

Novels

‘A Sort of Symphony Piece’, ‘Question’ and ‘Death and the Dead’ set the scene during the late 1970s/early 1980s as a homeless Bod treads the streets of London in search of a place to complete his music score, Sam makes plans on a Karachi beach to gain his revenge on the duplicitous and undeserving rich, and Matt recovers from a series of epileptic fits in the perfect peace of the English countryside while plotting his future life as a ‘long-haired fiend’.

‘On Release’, ‘Dostoevsky’s Place’ and ‘Life is a Feeling’ continue the affairs of these characters lives and their friends during the 1990s and the 2000s, so that a family murder in the first of this intermediate threesome unearths a generational history of lies and intrigue, a trip to Russia promotes a series of stories concerning the past and present, mortality and death, while in the third the outcomes of previous choices among all the characters are revealed in a polyphony of joyful and sorrowful voices.

‘Answer’, ‘Soul Journey’ and ‘Rosicrucian’ in some manner involve journeys taken throughout the 2010s by the same characters as they consolidate all they have accomplished over the intervening decades, with a trip taken to the Santa Linda Mountains in Arizona leading to a growing understanding that despite all the fear generated in the world there is a way to find tranquillity and courage through internal peace, an idea that is taken further as two of their group are pursued during an extended drive through the West Country by the Secret Services who ultimately seek to eradicate all individual thought, and finally after a long haul through the Balkans everyone gathers in their hometown with the next generation to have a big reunion where they celebrate their past and current lives and hopes for the future.

Novels

‘What do Bob Dylan, Kate Tempest, the Mayan calendar and GE19 all have in common?’ by Maddy Ridgley

To this tumultuous planet that humanity currently calls home, the sun and the moon have stayed remarkably loyal. Bright spheres of stability give at least some order to our world, reliably illuminating our repeated mistakes

Part I

2000 BC – 1500 AD

Locating coherence between the cosmic order and earth-bound activity was the beating heart of ancient Maya cosmovision. They understood that we humans, while consciously floating through perceived time and space, are part of a much wider flow of interconnected entities that move within an integrated universe.

Birth, growth, decay and death; this life cycle repeats itself in every crevice of our world. From bacteria to corn cobs, humans to fireflies, we are all subject to this predetermined fate of existence. The ancient Maya celebrated this shared transience and within it they saw a common cosmic essence.

They associated these earth-bound cycles to the circular celestial movements that their astronomers would trace across the skies. Moons, planets and stars looping around the universe reflected, in their eyes, patterns of cosmic growth and decay that simultaneously pushed and pulled all interconnected universal beings into certain motions.

Maya cosmovision predicts that the beginnings and ends of cosmic cycles trigger instability, transition and dramatic upheaval down on earth. In 2012, an infamous 5,000 year calendar cycle came to an end and a new count began. Every 52 years, the Mayan calendar also forecasts a smaller cosmic shift and the possibility of renewal on planet earth.

I am personally skeptical as to how far my Aquarius moon shapes my selfhood or whether Jupiter’s regression guides my behaviour.

I do know, however, that my menstrual cycle is synchronised with the moon’s cycle, and lunar forces also push and pull on the earth’s tides. I also know, indisputably, that circular rhythms are beating all around us; days and nights, seasons, harvests and rainfall. Breath, photosynthesis, digestion, sleep. Politics?

Part II

1963

In early 60s, the tides in the United States of America had turned. The order was fading, the battle was raging and the times they were a-changing, or so sang a young Bob Dylan. His anthemic protest song captured not only a zeitgeist, but a shift in societal consciousness. He elevated a new generation of hopeful rebels with the melodic promise that the first will be last and the last will be first, and as the crowd sang along they believed it was possible.

The same year, the same promise from a different pen was published in English for the first time. Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth was a radical exploration into the consciousness of people subjected to centuries of colonial violence. The book guided liberation struggles around the world, encouraging the oppressed to move together and cultivate a common consciousness that served their humanity.

Also in 1963, Martin Luther King had a dream and it illuminated the world. Students began to mobilise against the Vietnam War. Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique and the seeds of second-wave feminism started to sprout.

Consciousness was expanding. People were coming together en masse, charged by love and anger, and together they questioned, prodded, fought, marched and sang, and with communal strength they began to shake the rigid foundations of capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy.

Part III

2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmHgQT9zP_c

Under the summer sun in a Glastonbury field, Kate Tempest could feel things changing once again [see above link]. Strangers wept and held each other as she stood on stage and constructed an alternative world for the crowd, a world defined by love and empathy, a world creeping closer and closer towards our open arms.

A few weeks before, a socialist Labour Party had shaken the British establishment by winning the largest increase in vote share since 1945. Their strong stance against privatisation, austerity and inequality had resonated profoundly with people crushed by decades of neoliberalism. People, it seemed, were hungry for change… again.

The revolutionaries of the 1960s had been defeated and a new form of old power began to tear through humanity, trampling on hopes for an emancipated world. Neoliberalism reinvigorated the capitalist class, legitimising the continued exploitation of people and land for private profit, as well as sprinkling new forms of suffering upon humanity – anxieties, depression, isolation and detachment.

Politicians declared that there was no alternative to this callous social order, so the hippies put on suits and cut their hair and embraced the bland joys of the material world.

Now, fifty years on, as a Maya calendar round completes full circle, this social order is in flux once again. Neoliberalism has failed us. We are frustrated and tired, our souls have been beaten.

Kate Tempest diagnosed this pain on that summer’s day, but also, more importantly, just as Bob Dylan had done 54 years before, she spoke with a renewed sense of hope that reflected a growing belief in the possibility of change. None of this bullshit was written in stone, she told us. A new world is ours to make.

Part !!!!

12th December 2019

Chile, the testing ground for neoliberalism, and many other Latin American countries, have exploded over the past month, with disaffected citizens putting their bodies in front of police rifles to demand a complete upheaval to a broken system.

For better or worse, British radical politics have been scraped off the streets and spat into the arena of party politics. Corbynism is a rare force, an unforeseen phenomenon with the potential to rupture the smug domination of the 1%.

We are actually very lucky. On Thursday, we will be handed a piece of paper, ink, and a stark choice; penning an X for a regenerative government, a government that will help our society learn to love again, or penning an X for the old, vicious political order with a populist facelift.

We are writing the future now. Together, we can close this rotten cycle with poetic justice, with the hubris of the ruling class provoking their downfall. We may not be offered such opportunity for another 52 years, and by then our crumbling earth may be too ravaged to save.