To: All Msg #314, 21-Apr-89 20:21:46 Subject: My resignation, pt.1 This originally was pos

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From: Michelle Hass To: All Msg #314, 21-Apr-89 20:21:46 Subject: My resignation, pt.1 This originally was posted to EarthLink, and was my formal resignation of my moderatorship. Acting moderator at this point is Blanche Nonken. Perhaps I should explain why... For all on EarthLink: this is why I resigned the moderatorship. MK-H * CHILDHOOD'S END, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND REJECT THE CONCEPT OF GOD by Michelle Klein-Hass * For most of my life, I have been the embodiment of the cliche of the "seeker". I have been through everything from Hebrew Christianity to Tibetan Buddhism with stops in Scientology, ritual Magick, Native American-influenced Neo Paganism, unorthodox Vaishnavite Hinduism (I never BECAME a Hare Krishna but chanted and meditated in a similar fashion) and other "new age" (that term goes much farther back than the contemporary Crystal Weenies) practices. I began my search in 1975 when my father, a wonderful man who was suffering for four years with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, finally succumbed to that disease. I couldn't handle it. I was an intelligent, slightly bookish kid with a faith in the god of my Jewish ancestors that was founded, in a large part, by the instruction my father gave me. He was devoutly Jewish in his own way, although he poo-pooed the Kosher laws and went out looking at potential candidates for auctions (he was an auctioneer and a successful one at that...if it weren't for his illness he probably would have parlayed his abilities into a small fortune) even on Saturday, the Shabbat. But he loved his god. He was fiercely proud to be Jewish, and attempted to instill that pride in me. When my father took ill, he took it in stride, but fought fiercely against it. He didn't see the disease as "god's will", not as "god's punishment", but a challenge to surmount. He loved his life, and fought for it with every breath he took. He was finally defeated by his disease, but he never surrendered. In a way, his concept of a deity was much like the Deism of the Founding Fathers. There was a great design, and a great designer, but when it comes to your own life, you are the architect of your fate. To quote a favorite quotation of his, "God helps those who help themselves." His politics were of the classic conservative variety, the conservatism of limited government and free markets. In the face of the fanaticism of the New Right and Reaganism, he would've probably disowned his affiliation with the Republicans, but that's merely conjecture. When Dad finally died, I really freaked. God was supposed to be just, right? Dad was a good man, why didn't the god he was so faithful to heal him? I resolved to try to find out why. The worst situation was when I adopted Messianic Judaism, a variation on Born-Again Christianity with a definate overlay of Jewish traditions. I had to swallow something even worse than the concept of god being unjust in not healing my father. Since my father didn't "accept Christ", but stubbornly stuck to his Judaism, not only was he --- * Origin: Tahuti-Net / Eagle Rock, CA (213) 258-5724 (Opus 1:102/862) From: Michelle Hass To: All Msg #315, 21-Apr-89 20:25:40 Subject: resignation 1a In essence, what the last part of this post was all about was how Messianic Judaism was so hurtful to me, and about how Born-Again Christianity in general was responsible for the problems that Reaganomics caused. Part 2 follows. MK-H --- * Origin: Tahuti-Net / Eagle Rock, CA (213) 258-5724 (Opus 1:102/862) From: Michelle Hass To: All Msg #316, 21-Apr-89 20:27:52 Subject: resignation pt.2 (continued from last post) I eventually kind of faded away from my initial "decision for Yeshua ha'Moshiach" after becoming entangled in a nasty political feud at a local church that I was attending; and being totally powerless to do anything because "the Bible says that women should remain silent in church." I also questioned the Biblical attitude about sex. Why was it that god made sex so pleasant if it was so damn sinful? My final break came when I fell in love with a young man and desired him sexually. When I finally "gave in", I realized that, no, I wasn't struck dead by lightning. No, I didn't feel guilt. I just felt GOOD. And apparently, feeling GOOD was a sin if you weren't feeling GOOD because of being "spirit filled" or in a state of religious ecstacy. My voyages continued, through Magick and Neo-Paganism, until last year around this time when I was introduced to the philosophical works of Ayn Rand by my friend Laura Rift. Our husbands were off on tour in Europe with their band (Zoogz Rift and Nonentity, aka Zoogz Rift and His Amazing Shitheads) and we spent some time together hanging out. I liked a lot of what I was reading. Here was a person who, rather than damning the mind, CELEBRATED it. Here was a person that believed that humanity, by using reason and logic, was capable of fixing their problems. I began to feel like that woman in "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish" by Douglas Adams who all the sudden realized, while having her afternoon tea, that "...[T]he world is a good and perfect place. It is in fact very easy." Humanity had the ability, through USING their brains rather than sitting on them, to solve all their problems. Through freedom of enterprise, nagging problems like hunger and unemployment could be solved, and no-one would need to sacrifice themselves to do it. There was a crystalline beauty and simplicity, without being pat about it, to her writings. And above all, the definate ring of truth. One thing was for sure, however. I absolutely could NOT handle her metaphysics. Sure, organized religion was the root of a horrible amount of evil. The Reagan Administration, with its ethical base in the twisted code of Fundamentalist Christianity, had left us with a very scary budget deficit and an economy wracked by the selective deregulation of some industries, the regulatory clampdown of others, and the downright governmental coddling of others. Small businesses felt the bite of regulation and taxation, while certain tax incentives given during the Reagan administration allowed arbitrageurs to go in and take over companies, gut them, and carry home the profit. Rather than the examples of Hank Rearden, Dagny Taggart, and Francisco d'Anconia of "Atlas Shrugged", the ideal tycoon began to resemble Gordon Gekko of the movie "Wall Street" and Alexis Carrington-Colby and J.R. Ewing of the TV prime time soaps "Dynasty" and "Dallas". It was, at its base, the ends- justify-the-means ethic of the Fundies that gave us the ruins of the Reagan Administration. But I digress. (more next post) --- * Origin: Tahuti-Net / Eagle Rock, CA (213) 258-5724 (Opus 1:102/862) From: Michelle Hass To: All Msg #317, 21-Apr-89 20:29:44 Subject: resignation, Pt.3 (continued from last post) Anyhow, I rejected such a horror. But as a Neo Pagan Shamanist, I could not reject the goddesses and gods that I felt so damn close to. I had experienced too much that could not be explained by "mere" materialist means. I felt a deep and abiding love for the Earth Mother and the Sky Father, as Chiricahua Apache tradition referred to the Neo-Pagan concepts of goddess and god, and couldn't let them go. And besides, through the "shamanic journey", I felt that I experienced them and experienced both my "lower", animal, instinctive self in the form of the Power Animal, and my "higher" self in the form of the Inner Shaman during those journeys. The journeys made me feel good, and gave me a feeling of self-confidence. The reading of a remarkable book, "Snapping" and a few other scientific studies of religious ecstacy and altered states of consciousness, made me realize what caused the experiences. The drumming, the chanting and dancing of the ceremonials, the drumming during the journeying exercises, and the drumming, chanting and intense heat of the sweatlodge all worked to plasticise perception, to make reality seem malleable, and induce hallucinations, "visions" if you will. It is similar to the effect of the singing, chanting, rhythmic music and "speaking in tongues" at a Fundie revival, the chanting and ecstatic dancing in Sufi and Hindu practice, and similar practices in in other religions. In a situation where fasting and sleep-deprivation are also combined, the "snapping" experience and subsequent hallucinations are even more intense. When these experiences are combined with the persuasion techniques, "love bombing" and whatnot used by the mind-controlling cults to cause conversion, the effect is the zombie-like state that cult members find themselves in, a twisted, endless dreamtime. Now, I am not saying that I believe that religion is a bad thing for all. If you feel comfortable abandoning your reasoning mind for awhile, that's OK, I guess. Most religious groups whose rituals have elements of altered states of consciousness, of the ecstatic, are NOT cults or cultish. If those groups also use methods of mind control, milieu control and coersion, they are cults. I would say that P.E.I. Bonewits' "Cult Evaluation Frame" is a good guideline to figure out whether a religious group is a cult or not. I still firmly believe in the freedoms of religious expression that the Constitution ensures. I will not put down anyone who wishes to continue on any spiritual path they choose. But as for myself, I realize that although I may have benefitted from the practices I used in my practice of the Shamanic Neo-Paganism, it has ceased to be beneficial, and in fact an impediment to my perception of reality AS IT IS. (continued next post) --- * Origin: Tahuti-Net / Eagle Rock, CA (213) 258-5724 (Opus 1:102/862) From: Michelle Hass To: All Msg #318, 21-Apr-89 20:31:30 Subject: resignation, pt 4 (continued from last post) In the metaphysical universe of Rand and her philosophical heirs, as well as the universe of her predecessors Aristotle, John Locke, and other neo-Aristotelian philosophers of the Age of Reason, reality is totally consistent. Existence exists. The world is the world. What you see is by and large what you get. Any inconsistencies can be blamed on faulty perception or faulty conceptualization, rather than reality being illusive. There are no other worlds, no "true reality" beyond this one. Reality is knowable through your senses, by the process of conceptualization your mind uses to interpret the raw data from your senses, and through the process of reasoning known commonly as "the scientific method." If reality is reality, no reality BEYOND reality is possible. Thus, extending this logical process, there could be no supreme being. A supreme being or beings would entail the negation of any ability we have to perceive and conceptualize. If the world we perceive is an illusion, maya, whatever, and that the true world is unknowable, than ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN at ANY TIME and ANYTHING YOU KNOW CAN BE TRUE, FALSE OR TRUE *AND* FALSE AT THE SAME TIME. Since a lot of you are hackers, imagine trying to program a computer this way. A variable can mean one thing one time, another contradictory thing another time, or both or neither at the same time. The instruction "lprint" (I program in Turbo Basic, so naturally all my metaphors would come from this...sorry all you C and Pascal hackers!) would mean "print to the printer" in one line of the code and "randomize a three-digit integer" in another. No matter how you beg or cajole the computer, it won't do what you say. The computer knows, by the logical axioms it uses to interpret the code, that "lprint" means "print to the printer", and will mean "print to the printer" in the foreseeable future. The computer will either reject a variable that is defined one way in one line and another in another, or act on the assumption that "this code defined A as A and whenever A shows up as a variable it means A" and not do what you want it to do. So it is with reality. Like Zoogz Rift says in one of his tunes, "Reality is what it is/Regardless of what you would like."* I really would LIKE to believe in Earth Mother and Sky Father as more than idealized representations of things in nature, as divine entities. But they aren't. Earth and sky are sacred in that they are special, and important, and they are the only planet and atmosphere we have. To despoil them is not just "Ecocide", but suicide qua you and murder qua the rest of your fellow human beings. Deifying them is not the answer to the ecological holocaust, but science and rational conservation working hand in hand to help our planet out of danger IS. (concluded next post) --- * Origin: Tahuti-Net / Eagle Rock, CA (213) 258-5724 (Opus 1:102/862) From: Michelle Hass To: All Msg #319, 21-Apr-89 20:33:26 Subject: resignation: conclusion (continued from last post) So, there you have it. I have been through quite a spiritual journey. From Reform Judaism to Hinduism to Scientology to Tibetan Buddhism to Messianic Judaism/Born Again Christianity to White Magick to Shamanic Neo Paganism to reason and reality. It's as if I'm coming off some kind of Disneyland ride and emerging into daylight again, squinting my eyes to adjust to the bright sunlight of reality. It isn't a bad reality either. It simply lacks a deity pulling the strings. In the book "The King Of The Swords" by Michael Moorcock, the hero, Corum Jhalen Irsei, is walking through a heaven in ruins with the demigods Rhynn and Pwyll. Rhynn explains that the two of them have slain all the gods in the realms of Chaos and Law. Corum is horrified. He objects to the fact that they had slain the "good" gods of Law as well as the Lords Of Chaos, which he saw as evil. Rhynn tells him to find the good he so admired in the Lords of Law in himself, and furthermore told him that "the Multiverse is better off without gods." It is a reality where one cannot avail themselves of divine intervention, but one also where the only authority one has to answer to is one's own conscience, and the only law one need concern themselves with is to not infringe on the natural rights of others while pursuing their own goals. Does that sound like "An It Harm None, Do What Thou Wilt"? Sure it does. It's not a bad way of summing up Objectivist ethics. To paraphrase someone whose name escapes me right now, religion is an old explanation for the ways of the world that has outlived its usefulness, at least where I am concerned. This is why I am doing the exact opposite of what the Church of All The Worlds did when faced with the contradiction between Ayn Rand and their metaphysics, and resigning from the Neo Pagan movement. I wish you well. I will continue to fight with all the strength I have to protect your right to freedom of worship and freedom of speech. I will probably continue to put out the X-Hate anthologies, seeing that the Fundies are perhaps the greatest threat to America's Constitutional freedom that's out there. And I will continue to extend my hand of friendship to all of you. (If you're out there, Rowan Moonstone, please get in touch with me through Blanche Nonken!!! Or address has not changed!) I wish you the most joyous and glorious of Beltanes...and who knows, that curly haired, pudgy lady with the clear plastic dweeboid glasses ahead of you as you dance around the maypole may well be me. Yours in Reason, Michelle Klein-Hass 19 April 1989 * From "A=A" by Zoogz Rift (c) 1988 Miss Anne Thrope Music --- * Origin: Tahuti-Net / Eagle Rock, CA (213) 258-5724 (Opus 1:102/862)


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