Jargon and Attachment

Lacanian demande misattributes existential confusion as object-level needs. Adorno's jargon reifies object-level needs as the fundamental human condition. Demande is jargon.

I've been reading through Roaring Silence, a short, extremely readable book on Aro Dzogchen meditation (I also strongly recommend their free email course). One chapter tells the story of a Tibetan peasant who's decided to pursue enlightenment, and travels into a remote village in the highlands to study with the lama there.

Everyone in the Dzogchen commune is described as somehow ineffably more alive than the people in our protagonist's home village. They seem more relaxed and alert at the same time, they laugh readily, they are working but have time to help a stranger out. The one who kept a lookout for this stranger is described as standing up from a resting position with remarkable grace.

The lama is described as unpredictable in an intimidating way, but the specific unpredictability is that - by reputation - she might be grumpy, playful, serene, stern, etc. In other words, she's "unpredictable" because she has the full range of human emotions available, rather than playing a stereotyped role. Relatedly, low heart rate variability is a standard physiological marker of PTSD.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the surviving nonmonastic (or at least noncelibate) culture cultivating mental aliveness was until recently centered in the Tibetan highlands, one of the last major cultures to be colonized. The preparatory work for Dzogchen - and the good parts of most mind-body meditative work - seems to be, basically, decolonizing one's soul from stereotyped patterns of tension and attachment. It wouldn't make sense for evolution to install patterns that make us less sexy, less alive, and more predictable, but it would make a LOT of sense for civilizing priesthoods to install such patterns in captive grain-farmers.

Discourse about "attachment" that doesn't recognize its political nature can't find efficient solutions that reduce the rate at which it's recapitulated.


Compiled from a Twitter thread

Related: The Order of the Soul

3 thoughts on “Jargon and Attachment

  1. discourse love relationship

    If evolution wouldn't do that, why do we have large mammaries? Why do our metabolisms run so slim unlike our Neanderthal exes?

    If Seven Years in Tibet is anything to go by, Tibet laid spiritually and politically rotting for several centuries before it was colonized.

    Weil writes: To make an inventory or criticism of our civilization—what does that mean? To try to expose in precise terms the trap which has made man the slave of his own inventions. How has unconsciousness infiltrated itself into methodical thought and action? To escape by a return to the primitive state is a lazy solution. We have to rediscover the original pact between the spirit and the world in this very civilization of which we form a part.

    Aliveness onward and upwards is such an appealing idea. These puzzles keep me up at night

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  2. Pingback: CPTSD and Attachment | Compass Rose

  3. Alleged Wisdom

    I have noticed that a lot of my meditation progress takes the form of seeing clearly and liberating myself from the social programming that is designed to make me a producive cog in an inhuman hive mind, and does not care how much I suffer as a result. You are the only writer I've seen that points this out.

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