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'Doing Easy": William Burroughs' eassay on wu wei  

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ignant666
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02/04/2020 3:31 pm  

Just thought of this classic Burroughs essay on "Doing Easy", a major influence on the teenage ignant, and was pleased to find it available online. He never mentions wu wei, but that is what he is talking about:

DE is a way of doing. It is a way of doing everything you do. DE simply means doing whatever you do in the easiest most relaxed way you can manage which is also the quickest and most efficient way, as you will find as you advance in DE.

https://tayiabr.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/doing-easy-william-s-burroughs/


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kidneyhawk
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02/04/2020 3:56 pm  

It is a great essay by Burroughs and was also an influence on a young Kidneyhawk. After a while, the beds DO make themselves. 🙂


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Michael Staley
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02/04/2020 4:51 pm  
Posted by: @kidneyhawk

After a while, the beds DO make themselves.

Gosh, could do with some of that round here.


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kidneyhawk
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02/04/2020 5:00 pm  
Posted by: @michael-staley

Gosh, could do with some of that round here.

You may need to let the dishes wash and put themselves away first. 😉


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Tiger
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02/04/2020 6:13 pm  

On occasion the universe moves me to shovel my self out when i’m in the wu way .


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Serpent 252
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02/04/2020 10:28 pm  

@ignant666

Thank you very much for this link.

William S. Burroughs

Posted by: @kidneyhawk

was also an influence on a young

Serpent 252, especially his collected essays "The Adding Machine" (John Calder Pub., 1985) & "The Job: Interviews with WSB" (Penguin Books, 1989/first pub. 1969 in French, 1974 in USA).


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kidneyhawk
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02/04/2020 10:32 pm  
Posted by: @serpent252

"The Job: Interviews with WSB"

Great volume!

I'll add that one of my all time faves by Burroughs (and in my opinion one of his best novels) is The Western Lands. He gets into a bit of Egyptology and there is influence in its pages from Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings which, if memory serves, is also a favorite of our esteemed webmaster.


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ignant666
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02/04/2020 10:34 pm  

@Serpent252 - The Job is where i first read the DE essay i think. I was 15 in 1974, so that sounds right.

I suggested Naked Lunch when my high-school senior son needed a 20th century novel to present in English class last fall. It went over very well, even the "orgasm-death gimmick" (which i made him promise to mention in his class presentation, if he wanted to keep sleeping indoors) but then his English teacher is as gay as a very gay thing indeed. His classroom is pink and turquoise, there is a rainbow flag, and a photo of the Stonewall Tavern, and just tons of Gay Kitsch bric-a-brac. It looks like a John Waters set.


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Serpent 252
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02/04/2020 11:22 pm  

@ignant666

I just browsed The Job from the start to the end, & then from the end to the start, and DE essay is not in the book. (I haven't opened the book in a while so at first I haven't trusted my memory.)

Ha ha, you have given not an easy task to your son when you've suggested Naked Lunch.

@kidneyhawk

Posted by: @kidneyhawk

The Western Lands

Yes, great book. Some 15 years ago his concept of the Seven Souls has started to be of the great help to me. And, yes, WSB has acknowledged Mr.Mailer in the book:

"I first encountered this concept [of the seven souls] in Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings, and saw that it corresponded precisely with my own mythology (...)"

As an example, the "Egyptian Attribution of Parts of the Soul." given in 777, Col. CXVI, have never been of any help to me. I have used the Hebrew & The Hindu Parts of the Soul and/or soul's attributions before I've learned the Mailer/WSB concept.


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ignant666
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02/04/2020 11:37 pm  

@serpent252 - Drug out my teenage copy of the '74 Grove paperback, and of course you are correct.

It was in Exterminator!, published a year earlier in '73, and probably bought by me as soon as it came out; that was when i worked at a hippie bookstore as an after-school job.

One of the funniest things said to me in my 20 year career interviewing heroin addicts was "I read Naked Lunch in high school, and i couldn't wait to shoot some dope and fuck somebody in the ass!"

Bill is definitely the #1 author among junkies who read, with AC a close second. Almost everyone interested in AC's work that i have ever had a face-to-face conversation with was a heroin addict. Of course, most of my contact with Thelemites was when the Breeze and Wasserman were running the NYC (c)OTO branch (look at the cover of Wasserman's Into The Fire if you want to see a picture of two strung-out hippies on a fire escape)


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Serpent 252
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02/04/2020 11:51 pm  

@ignant666

ah, you had Exterminator! right when it was published... what can I say? you have really good karma, you lucky bastard.

Yes, I know that picture. I had a similar experiences with a heroin addicts. One of my girlfriends has started when she was 14.

I don't know, I've read the both books before I've tried the dope, and, even to my surprise, I didn't liked it.

On the other hand, I have liked something similar, but that is another story.


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Shiva
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03/04/2020 2:16 am  

This wu-wei doing-easy concept is "easy" to explain or talk about, but it gets a bit harder when one "tries" to do it. This is, of course, because one cannot "do" it. One can only "allow" it to be done. A similar case, known to all readers of AL, is Pure will, unassuaged of purpose.

Anyone who accidentally committed intake of any psychedelic substance, and then went through a series of inner and outer encounters, has an exceedingly high potential for having experienced this state, and thus paradoxical explanations, that make no sense, are completely unnecessary.

In the martial arts, which are ultimately based on wu-wei, especially Aikido, the more delicate techniques will not work if effort (strength) is applied. One must relax and let the Ki do the work. This is rather difficult to do, especially if the other person resists (doesn't "go with it"), so when one finally does get it to work, effortlessly, they don't need any paradoxical explanations.

Top line athletes, on ones we might refer to as "naturals," seemed to have some easy doing going o,n because the always appear to be relaxed, even if they are in the middle of some exertion.

Although beds and dishes can be done without effort, they unfortunately cannot be done without human intervention. The trick is that the vehicle is capable of functioning on its own, and it really doesn't need some director directing it.

In Kumite (Karatedo Competition). some participants are taught by some high-ranking past champion not to look at the opponent, not to be concerned with one's own posture or position, but to shift one's perspective (viewpoint) six feet back and four feet up. This allows perception of the combat like an observer in the audience, who is sitting in the elevated, front-row seat.

All these examples, and the whole thread itself, suggest that this concept gets around, and is not restricted to Taoists, Zenists, Dzogchenists, or Thelemites who decode this (relatively) simple hint from the lines in AL.

 


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Jamie J Barter
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03/04/2020 2:29 am  
Posted by: @shiva

Although beds and dishes can be done without effort, they unfortunately cannot be done without human intervention.

 

"In every job that must be done there is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap! The job's a game
And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It's very clear to see that

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down, the medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way ..."

Spit, spot!

Norma N Joy Conquest


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ignant666
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03/04/2020 2:40 am  

Kudos, JB.

It is not often enough that we see the words of Mary Poppins and Bill Burroughs linked, as you have done so masterfully.


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Shiva
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17/04/2020 7:10 am  

On-topic, another viewpoint of the same thing:

I'm doing a little research, and found that ...

"Rigpa is seen as beyond affirmation and negation, acceptance and rejection, and therefore it is known as "natural" and "effortless" once recognized. Because of this, Dzogchen is also known as the pinnacle and final destination of all paths."

Note: We know Rigpa as "gnosis."

 


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The HGA of a Duck
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17/04/2020 5:57 pm  

@shiva

Quite relevant to me actually as I was more into the Advaita/Dzogchen stuff for a while. I started to notice that "Rigpa" is talking about the same thing as "Babalon" and "Nuit", so I got interested in Thelema again and that's sort of why I'm here on this forum.


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frater-r
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17/04/2020 6:18 pm  

I love Dzogchen! If one could drop all preconceptions, including abstract assumptions about space / time, etc., one would be in a state of samadhi.


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Shiva
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17/04/2020 6:36 pm  
Posted by: @frater-r

one would be in a state of samadhi.

Right. All these terms mentioned (rigpa, gnosis, nuit, samadhi, natural, wu-wei, et al) mean the same thing. The mind has stopped or otherwise become suspended.

 


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ignant666
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17/04/2020 7:20 pm  
Posted by: @shiva

The mind has stopped or otherwise become suspended.

Or even eventually expelled, for chronic bad behavior, and talking out of turn.


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The HGA of a Duck
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17/04/2020 7:45 pm  

@ignant666

Thanks for this one. It always takes me a while  for my slow brain to get round to reading some of these more "high brow" threads and articles. Thanks to Shiva's bump I finally got around to it.

My concentration span sucks (maybe I wasn't given enough cod-liver oil as a child or something), I've read bits and pieces of Burroughs' writing over the years but not managed to finish one of his books. He's been influential on "chaos magick" though I don't know if he considered his work "magickal" or "occult" himself.

I don't know much about "wu-wei" so from this article I get "mindfulness" which I'm a bit more familiar with. I guess they're both the same thing in the end.

 

Shiva has pointed out that Wuwei = 6+6+6+5+10 = 33 (using Hebrew). I found it amusing how "absurd" it seems to transliterate a Chinese word using the "English Alphabet" and then transliterate this again with Hebrew to add them all up, and then use the English alphabet again to discuss the result.

This thread has given us a nice enough English translation for "wu-wei", so we can now do gematria with an English term using the "English Alphabet" alone. From various posts I have noticed that the simplest A-Z, 1-26 gives some nice results such as Set = 44 recently, so lets use that here:

Doing Easy = 4+15+9+14+7 +5+1+19+25 = 99

A pleasingly harmonious 3 x 33 of Shiva's wu-wei result above.

 

A-Z, 1-26 could be the simplest and most "wuwei-ian" method to use for English QBL.

 


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ignant666
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17/04/2020 8:27 pm  
Posted by: @duck

from this article I get "mindfulness"

Yes, but only as a step on the path to mindlessness, aka samadhi, "the real O-Mind", wu-wei, harmony with the Tao, "the charioting", etc.

Burroughs is, these days, "literature" but not in any way "high brow", except for his later work. Naked Lunch is bizarre and disturbing, but good fun. His two biographical novels, Junkie and Queer, are very very readable, and very very good. i used to assign chapters of Junkie to college freshmen (almost all NYC public high-school grads, so a not too effete bunch) in a drug class, and no one ever complained of the material being too high-brow for them.

Bill certainly considered his work/life both occult and magickal, and was an honorary and genuine initiate in several traditions. There are bunch of good bios, but Literary Outlaw is a nice one.

Bill also had a later-life career as a painter, shooting up bags of paint attached to boards with his many firearms. He shot and killed his wife playing "William Tell" with a pistol at a party when he was still in the closet.

I have known a few who knew him when he lived in NYC in the late '70s-'80s, but sadly never met him. His favorite topics of conversation were who had good heroin that day, technical info about crime/hustling/scams/stealing, young men with firm thighs and buttocks, and firearms and other weapons, in that order.

"Kinda creepy, but not half as bad as Allen Ginsberg" [who used to perv on another friend, starting about age 9, who grew up across the hall from his LES apartment ]


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Shiva
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17/04/2020 11:29 pm  
Posted by: @duck

This thread has given us a nice enough English translation for "wu-wei"

I saw "mindfulness" listed, which is a key that doesn't fit the lock. "Effortlessness" or "mindlessness" would open the door.

 


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The HGA of a Duck
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18/04/2020 12:49 am  

@shiva

🙄 The name of the thread dude: "Doing Easy"

Doing Easy = 4+15+9+14+7 +5+1+19+25 = 99

which I thought was a harmonious result to get with:

Wuwei = 6+6+6+5+10 = 33

(3 x 33 = 99, of course)

 

I mentioned "mindfulness" as something I got from reading the article, being more familiar with this than the term "wu-wei". That's just my personal "take", not saying that's the only way to look at it.

 


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Shiva
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18/04/2020 1:20 am  
Posted by: @duck

(3 x 33 = 99, of course)

Of course.

Posted by: @duck

I mentioned "mindfulness" as something I got from reading the article, being more familiar with this than the term "wu-wei". That's just my personal "take", not saying that's the only way to look at it.

Okay. Surely, everyone must build their own QBL. Says so in the Scriptures, dammit and flutter away.

However, "mindfull" implies a "full mind," or "using the mind," when such activities are what must cease in order to enter gnosis, wuwei, samadhi, or such.

 


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The HGA of a Duck
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18/04/2020 1:44 am  
Posted by: @shiva

However, "mindfull" implies a "full mind," or "using the mind," when such activities are what must cease in order to enter gnosis, wuwei, samadhi, or such.

The article suggests its a learning process and it reminded me of what Buddhists mean by "mindfulness" which is a "practice" and an ongoing learning process for those who are not enlightened yet. I think I know what you mean: this "mindfulness" leads to wu-wei ("mindlessness") when it isn't a "practice" anymore. 

Posted by: @duck

(3 x 33 = 99, of course)

Just included that in case there a some mathematical dumbasses reading this, not suggesting you are one of them.


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Shiva
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18/04/2020 7:31 am  
Posted by: @duck

t Buddhists mean by "mindfulness" which is a "practice" and an ongoing learning process for those who are not enlightened yet.

Oh, okay. I can buy that. However, such mindfullness would be a virtue if one were not in the supreme state. If one were in that state, there would be nothing to mind or practice.

It's important to notice the context of these tricky terms. One needs to know if the state itself is being described, or techniques for attaining that state are described. In this case, I'll leave it up to you to figure out the context, but ... no staying up late. It depletes your Kidney energy.

 


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Shiva
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18/04/2020 11:21 pm  

The head of the Nyingma school, Dudjom Rinpoche, emphasizes the eight lower vehicles are intellectually fabricated and contrived ...

"The eight lower levels have intellectually been fabricated and contrived, so that which is changeless becomes fleeting thoughts that never experience what truly is. They apply antidotes to, and reject, that which is not to be rejected. They refer to "flaws," in that which has nothing to be purified, with their own mind that desires purification. They have created division with respect to that which cannot be obtained by their hopes and fears, that it can be obtained elsewhere. And they have obscured wisdom, which is naturally present, by their efforts in respect to that which is free from effort and free from needing to be accomplished. Therefore, they have had no chance to make contact with genuine, ultimate reality as it is."


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Tiger
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19/04/2020 12:48 am  

good stuff Shiva !

I’ve heard that in the Bardo of the nature of mind ; the trance often includes a perception of a body as being external.
might have been from the Je TsongKhapa Gelug school.


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Shiva
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19/04/2020 2:52 am  
Posted by: @tiger

a perception of a body as being external.

If we count nine levels down on the Tree (to Yesod), then ignore the "external" Malkuth, then start counting back up, we find that everything from Yesod to Chokmah is intellectually contrived, leaving monadic Kether as The Primary Clear Light.

I mentioned in my recent e-pistol that the physical body was an "Addendum" to the three grades (eachof which has three phases).

It all fits together. Did we solve the puzzle yet?

 


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Steven Mancuzzi
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19/04/2020 10:30 pm  

Relevant to the topic; I caught an early film of Gus Van Sant's on DE a few years back. As much as I have mixed feelings about Van Zant (his constant need to display hipness credentials can sometimes override the fact that he's infinitely capable of directing some brilliant films,) it's more than watchable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoOUBETTyMI

 

Speaking of hipness credentials, it was a rite of passage in high school during the early 90s to tote around copies of Naked Lunch and Junkie. Heroin chic and all that. It didn't strike me until after I graduated that none of these self professed professed free thinkers had actually read either.

 


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