• Templars of Earth

    by  • August 29, 2011 • Everything Else • 33 Comments

    Say only

    I understand and accept fully that the human race is harming the natural world by driving species to extinction, releasing long-lived pollutants, changing the climate and poisoning nature.

    I understand and accept fully that the human race makes many suffer horribly and die in war, famine, injustice, poverty and oppression, and that we are not choosing to provide a good life for all of humanity.

    I understand and fully accept that my own efforts appear unequal to the task of changing these facts.

    I swear by the bones of the earth, the roots of the mountains to always treat those who understand and accept fully these Three Truths with dignity and respect, myself included.

    Make a badge or banner, by any means, of this design.

    You are now a templar of Earth. Display the symbol as you will.

    A templar is a soldier, a warrior. But as I said earlier, at this point, and perhaps always, violence is pointless. However, to counteract the struggles and isolation of knowing, seeing and feeling these unbearable truths, I enact the formation of a modern Templar movement.

    I don’t do this lightly. You’ve seen me struggling for weeks or months with the pressure to do something, to pick a direction for the energy and awareness pushing me to action. Nothing that I’ve been able to find has had the heft required to make a dent in the problem of how to step operations up. I’ve been pushed further and deeper in my thought, but without the kind of breakthrough that satisfied the times.

    So I’ve fallen back on something old, and something that I know works – the guild. Let me tell you why Templars. Freemasonry gave us two major innovations, science and secular democracy. Yet Masonry itself does little which would lead one to think in terms of revolutions in human thought – what it teaches it teaches by good example and symbolic gesture. From these practices come trust and insight, and trust and insight between people can generate all else.

    I looked at that example, and thought “I don’t know what to do, but I do know that the people who are doing the best work in this domain are isolated and alone, and share no banner. There’s mutual respect, but in the absence of a shared platform, little mutual aid.” Yet we have not and are not likely to agree a shared platform. Perhaps there is something to a guild, where there is mutual respect and mutual support, but from a much broader and more inclusive foundation.

    I’d like to see a situation where those who are most directly feeling the load can turn to each-other, under these bonds of common humanity and recognition, dignity and respect, and see a way past whatever differences they have to help each-other continue their work in the world, towards victory over our destruction of nature, and our destruction of one-another. Where there are differences, there can still be respect and dignity.

    It is a big ask to raise a common banner. To pick something as archaic and mystical as a Templar flag and an oath is quaint. Yet I know of nothing else that I believe has the power to solidify what is between people: a political party will not do it, and there is no religion. Many of those who stand strongest on these issues do so from their own personal spiritual foundation, of whatever nature. This is not coincidence – there is vast strength within us.

    If you struggle with this knowledge, and are willing to commit to dignity and respect between those who share that struggle in whatever form, you may choose to swear the oath, use the symbol and the name, and commit to always treat those who are fighting the good fight with dignity and respect. This does not mean that we put our differences aside, as the resolution of the problems of the world require us to be clear about such distinctions. It does ask for and engage a higher level of acknowledgment between those engaged in this struggle.

    So that’s what I have for you: an oath, a symbol and a name. What you do with them is up to you, but I will be here, under this banner, for the time being.

    I am a templar of Earth.

    Hail, and welcome.

    flattr this!


    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


    33 Responses to Templars of Earth

    1. August 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      I like this. I want to sign up.

      But there is a bit of an issue with the name isn’t there?

    2. August 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm

      Brevik’s an asshole. Nothing to do with anything of us.

    3. zac
      August 30, 2011 at 12:16 am

      things are bad. the institutions we rely on to fix bad things are part of the problem. getting more people into a bigger tent doesn’t seem to help. our individual efforts don’t seem to be equal to the scale of the problem, nor do any collective efforts we can muster-they get diverted or grind to a halt under their weights. on that field, all you can do is empower each other to make the best moves possible and to keep making them. just because there are few clear tactical goals, doesn’t mean there are no top level strategic goals. that is, shared values, but no clear end point. we can advance the values, without agreeing on the end point, or any number of points along the way. maybe a leaderless, open source, planetary scale smart mob of technologically empowered individuals is the only thing that can work. in swarm logic, you don’t need to see the whole picture, you just need to see the people around you. in a situation as murky as this, that might be as good as it gets.

    4. zac
      August 30, 2011 at 12:21 am

      the name and badge I can take or leave. it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg, as it were. the underlying pattern doesn’t depend on them, anyway. the smart mobs tipping over governments in the middle east are following this basic template, after all. we might have different, slightly higher level strategic outlook, but the emergent social forms have a lot of similarity.

    5. August 30, 2011 at 2:55 am

      This is cool, it reminds me of Bucky Fuller’s Knights of the Random Element (even though he was talking about something completely different). The alchemical symbol for earth that you use is a single Unicode character (technically a code point, but still): 1F703, in Unicode 6.0, handy for being able to type it into messages.

      As to the use of violence, I’ve read good arguments that both Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were successful not only because they were non-violent, but because they were alternatives to others with the same goals who were using violence. That is, the non-violent were able to accomplish what they did not in spite of others who used violence, but because there were others using violence.

    6. August 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm


      I’ve read a few of your posts now, and I’m struck by how they all seem to be directed towards changing the external world. It is interesting how here you seem to be saying that the individual can do nothing to change the world – which I happen to agree with. Is this so? And in any case, I wonder, what do you have to say about changing oneself? Can you point me towards your practical advice on solving the conflict, frustration, anxiety and craving within the individual? Do you have any observations or insights into what makes you tick, how your mind works, how you – and perhaps by extension we – behave in groups, alone, in love? Where the evil is in your own heart, and how it helps you to understand the world? And so on. It is enjoyable to read of your forays into philosophy, politics and so forth, but I need something a little more “salt in the eye” to really understand your point, what you are offering.

      Also in your manifesto, or declaration, you use a lot of words which need explaining – at least to me. Above all what do you mean by “I”, that’s kind of fundamental, wouldn’t you say?

      Also what do you mean by “understand” and “accept” – mentally agree? What do you mean by “dignity”? What do you mean by “respect” – and why should we always treat those who accept your “three truths” with it?

      Forgive these questions. I hope you have considered them and can easily answer them – or, better, you have not considered them at all and can explore a little with me.

      Best in all,


      (p.s. I would also very much like to know how you can answer the questions I posed in your “when” piece, if you can find the time – although I imagine you’re a very busy person.)

    7. August 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Darren, I’m going through a rather unproductive phase right now, and I’ve been postponing half a dozen really serious pieces of communication, including replies to When? and the Dark Mountain stuff, for a few days. I’m just making inroads, and you’re on top of the stack 😉

      On the “inner life” bit, I was in formal training as Hindu clergy until I was about 30. That was my vocation. My lineage stopped teaching in the West after 9/11, and I was pointed at the world’s problems, rather than lineage transmission.

      Hence what I do is deep-rooted in the mystery traditions, but I don’t actually put very much energy into propagation of them. My friend Alan Chapman has the vocation of teaching, and is doing great work deconstructing the purely-cultural vs. deep-and-human aspects of the wisdom traditions to come up with something that really works for here-and-now. He was working under the banner Open Enlightenment, and is just “moving house” to Deep Humanism as an even broader and less encumbered way of looking at the truth.

      As for the rest of your questions, this is not the place to pick apart words. I think the intention of the work is pretty clear, and it means what it says it means. If you don’t feel drawn to it, that’s just fine – it’s a message with a particularly resonance, and to some it’s meaningful, and to others, off-putting. I was not striving for generality here.

    8. August 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      Dethe, thank you 🙂 Good to know there’s a unicode glype, that’ll come in handy 🙂

      Zac, I’m firmly anti-mayhem at the moment. I don’t think we’re anywhere near a position where civil unrest is a step forwards: in fact, I think that five years from now, there’s a very good chance that the MENA revolutions will be remembered as a disaster for the people of the region.

      As Saul Alinsky says, “the price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative” and right now, for the most part, we don’t have one. Most of the really dramatic policy changes I’d like to see are Engineering Trivia – building codes, car fuel efficiency etc. We could get tons done with very, very low risk interventions.

      I fear that people who want change without a clear model of “Change Into This” could plunge us into disruptive chaos, paving the way for authoritarian regimes to restore order, among many other possible negative outcomes.

      I want to see a coherent consensus, including most of the population, on what Positive Change would look like. If we can form that, democracy might deliver it. If we form it, and democracy doesn’t deliver it, there might be a mandate for radical action.

      But, right now, we don’t know what we, collectively, want the State to do, and that problem would plague any alternative that arose.

      First unity.

    9. August 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      Hello Vinay,

      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful responses. I’ll answer both of them – the “when” post and this – here.

      Firstly the “when” post – First question. Are you saying that the senior military thinkers who conducted, for example, the secret bombing of Laos and Cambodia, arms sales to Indonesia, training of Nicaraguan Contras, invasion of Iraq, etc are “subtle, thoughtful, brilliant, ethical, moral and wise”? To what degree would you say that the generals behind these events (and similar) are responsible for the carnage in those countries? You say that politicians start wars – are you saying that the “senior thinkers” in the military are powerless to stop them? Are you saying that they bomb, for example, defenceless peasants against their better judgement? I would very much appreciate clarification on this point.

      In addition are you saying that politicians start wars simply and purely for political reasons? To what extent, would you say, were the invasions of Iraq and Libya motivated by oil, for example, and to what extent, do you think, are oil companies behind decisions to invade? At all? Do you think that arms companies benefit from a bellicose foreign policy? What about mining companies? Do you think that there is a “revolving door” between government and top positions in oil, arms and engineering companies (e.g. Bechtel and US government)? What do you say about corporate power to lobby?

      “When” post – Second question. I’m afraid I cannot see how your answer addresses my question. I asked, given that your advice to individuals was to “put it into high gear,” “get off your ass” and “be brave.” how your suggestions were different to advertising slogans. I also asked which part of your post was an “incomprehensible truth.” I’m afraid I cannot see how your answers fit my questions. Can you help? Are you saying that “Much, much better work-to-chat ratio in Open Source” is an incomprehensible truth? How is this incomprehensible? And could you go into greater depth – the problems you outline in your post are horrific indeed – are you saying that “open source” is the solution to them – for the individual? Also, can you explain how one, practically speaking, is to “put it into high gear,” “get off your ass” and “be brave?”

      You seem to value highly emotive, punchy words, emotionally evocative. My problem, perhaps, is that such language makes me suspicious, until I can see specifically how it relates to me and to you, as individual humans in our normal lives.

      Forgive all these questions Vinay, but you seem to be saying that you’ve got some big answers for us, and I sincerely don’t understand them.

      Moving on to the second post. It is interesting to hear of your vocation and lineage, but this was not my question. I asked what your “practical [is] advice on solving the conflict, frustration, anxiety and craving within the individual?” and if “you have any observations or insights into what makes you tick, how your mind works, how you – and perhaps by extension we – behave in groups, alone, in love?”

      Your answer is that you are “deep-rooted” in the mystery traditions and that you have a friend who is doing great work. This is not really the answer to my question. Do you have an answer? No problem if you do not, but I would very much like to know.

      Finally you say that this is not the place to pick apart words, which can only mean that the meaning you give to all the words I asked about is the most common ones. That, for example, by “understand” you mean to mentally see the structure of and mentally agree to its nature and significance (etc). I’m afraid, for me at least, mental agreement / structuring / understanding – coming to *think* “yes, that is true” – is a very weak motivating, binding or inspiring force in human affairs. I am much more troubled by the word “respect,” but as you are reluctant to go into semantics I shall desist.

      I asked about these words, and about the words you used on your other post, because your practical recommendations to the individual strike me as being extremely vague. I am a practical man and enjoy practical insights and practical advice. Do you have any?

      I do hope you can find the time to answer all these questions.

      All the very best, and thank you again,


    10. August 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      Hm. So there’s two ways I could do this. The first is I could answer your questions, but most of those questions have little or nothing to do with me, and the answers should be pretty self-evident. You’re not really asking because you want my opinion, you’re asking because you want to win an argument.

      So let me take the second approach. In terms of practical answers for people, little that I do applies to moderately comfortable first worlders. My real focus is on disaster management and poverty alleviation. http://hexayurt.com is an answer to one problem. The Simple Critical Infrastructure Maps work is another. The “Ending Poverty with Open Hardware” strategy is a third. All of these things are well documented online, google will reveal all, because I document my work pretty heavily.

      If you haven’t understood, maybe it’s a question of looking in more depth?

      Let me know what you think.

    11. Nick
      August 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Great gritty gutty thinking you’ve been up to as of late. It certainly resonates with me.
      I’ve been thinking as of late that what is going to come to a head sooner or later is what we as a people are going to define or redfine what is sacred. The religions of our day tend to be so coopted and full of idealogy that in the end they are against the very core of what they claim to stand for, and they don’t even know it.
      Templars of earth or similar templar group could quietly take constructive action towards supporting the most essential and therefore sacred elements to life and the rights of those living on the planet.

      I’m thinking networked hackerspace/open source expirement incubators where templars build earth 1.0 infrastructure is a most constructive first step. Seems biggest obstacle in USA though is getting the willing and often indebted generation in some sort of financial position to committ to this goal in focused manner.

    12. August 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      An interesting vision, Nick. I don’t think of that as being a job *for* the Templars of Earth. I think the main function of that group – and I may be wrong about this, as things evolve – is to give the people who are balls-to-the-wall on whatever their own projects are a peer network of people of people who really understand where they are coming from and can effectively witness.

      Marcin might be a good example of somebody who could benefit from a bunch of hard-headed fully-committed people who are *not parts of his project* to decompress with once in a while, for example, and that might make a lot of other stuff in the practical, physical, material sense a lot easier to do.


    13. August 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      Thank you for replying Vinay.

      My questions are all about what you said, and about what you have to say. How is this “nothing to do with you”?

      Although the answers should be self-evident, they are not to me, and I am asking for your help. If you do not wish to give it, then so be it.

      I am aware of your work in different fields, which is impressive, but I am not asking about that and see no need to look in depth into the construction of hexayurts, etc. I am asking about what, despite it not being your main focus, what you HAVE written and said to “moderately comfortable first worlders,” of which I am one. I am happy to read any essays or links which explains your advice to individuals in greater depth – but will you agree to answer my questions about what you point me towards?

      I am not seeking to win an argument. I am looking for clarity because, like I say, you seem to be saying you have some important answers for the world. As a member of the world I would like to know what you have to say to me, specifically (and not to governments and big decision makers, which your “when” post was largely aimed at). As I say, I am particularly confused about “putting it into high gear,” “getting off [my] ass” and “be[ing] brave?”

      I would also like to know more about your remarks on military leaders, which is flatly contradicts my understanding and the evidence I am aware of. Again, this has nothing to do with wanting to prove you wrong, but a more practical desire to be, myself, as right as possible. I enjoy being proved, or rather shown (as proof depends rather too much on slippery facts) to be wrong – I tend to learn more that way.

      And again, given that you are so passionate about the problems of the world, I would really like to know what you have to say to the individuals facing them. Again, if you have nothing to say, beyond what I am – possibly unfairly – calling “emotive sloganeering” – then so be it, but I have used this critical phrase conditionally, so to speak, with questions, in an attempt to find out what is behind your exhortations and recommendations and hopefully understand them better.

      Hoping you can help,

      With kindness,


    14. August 30, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      Awright, sorry if I misread you, dangers of the written word and all that.

      So, in terms of individual change – I’m of the opinion that it needs teachers. Yes, it needs individual practice *as well* but it’s like learning to drive; something that we should teach, rather than just expecting people to learn.

      I brought Alan up because Alan and I see eye-to-eye on most of the _content_ but he’s teaching without Hindu cultural frames, and he’s fundamentally a much more balanced and reasonable human being than I am. He’s the guy to ask about meditation, about lifestyle changes, about Truth, capital-T. Prometheus Rising is bloody useful reading, also.

      On the military leaders front, I’m talking about my direct personal experience of about half a dozen very, very senior people. We didn’t wind up with hexayurts in the middle of the Pentagon because the military are uncaring jerks, and they treated me and my work much, much better than the NGOs did. In a crisis, I’d trust my life to the military over a charity in almost every case.

      Similarly, a military which refuses to go war has committed an antidemocratic act, a mutiny. In the USA and in America, the People continue to elect and re-elect (Bush 2004) warmongers. The military does the will of the people, and the will of the people is War, as demonstrated by their voting choices. We may disagree, but that’s democracy and we were outvoted.

      On the “Just Do It” front, what I mean is very specific.

      1) Pick a task you can completely yourself without outside aid

      2) Do it

      This as an alternative to endless community processes and trying to raise support for more complex projects. I designed the Hexayurt Project to run for 15 years as a hobby without external aid or funding because that was the only way I could be sure to deliver the thing, and now that there’s a team helping it’s going faster, but I *started a project I could complete alone*.

      So that’s what I mean: pick something you can do. Do it. Document it too, because pix or it didn’t happen.

      Now that’s not very satisfying, and it’s not like one person can fix the world, but right now, all of us together can’t fix it either, and our attempts are totally failing. So better that we start doing what we can individually, and help other people who have picked projects which *they* can deliver themselves, but which will go faster with friends, than sitting in endless consensus hoping that somehow we’ll find unity to act together.

      Productive work can happen before a consensus forms. So must it be.

    15. Nick
      August 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      Ok so the earth templar is more of an international social support and discussion group to any and all who recognize its core truths.

      Sounds very useful, particularly since all that is required for participation is an acceptance of some very basic and deep truths. Seems like an essential step for any legitimate social movement.

      It makes me realize that in projects like Marcins OSE and others are in some ways putting the cart in front of the horse. They need a broad social moevement that recognizes , sympathizes and provides at least some moral support to there mission and goals. Don’t get me wrong I’m very glad we have proactive balls to the walls doers like him working on it. Just that they could probably be much more effective with a good social group movement behind them.

    16. August 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Yep. Part of the reason I specifically wanted to use the term Templars was to make it clear that this was a network *for hardheads*. Hardheads are often incredibly over-extended, difficult to help and alone. ToE, if it’s something which is everything I hope it might be, might keep a few more of those people afloat and productive than would be so if it didn’t exist, and might keep the rest of us hardheads saner.

      Laudable goals with potentially far-reaching *secondary* impacts. But if ToE ever picked up a _project_ it would lose most of it’s functionality as a meeting ground for people who really need a space to see some friendly, understanding eyeballs.

      I hope that Marcin will find a way to communicate effectively with Ananda Marga. They might be just what he needs. They’ve got an outfit near OSE, they should talk.

    17. Nick
      August 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      Ananda Marga looks interesting, but also begs the question of how will a movement like ToE handle the massive diversity of spiritual perspectives likely to be found in any sort of global movement?

      I’ve noted that in general most spiritual schools end up introducing a new operating system or perspective unto the student in order to handle the new state state of conciousness. You can call it mythology, belief ect,but it seems to me that no matter what sort of spiritual practice you engage in you will end up creating some type of supporting software to function. In other words I don’t think there is any way to avoid arriving at a distinctly unique, and potentially divisive perspective.

      The big problem is that the most spiritual schools are of the belief in one exclusive perspective on the world. Somehow though we must recognize the validity of multiple different spiritual perspectives, while at the same time winnow out clearly erroneous beliefs.
      Perhaps the ToE can serve as a winnowing function by supporting the most core and sacred beliefs that are common to nearly every legitimate spiritual perspective.

    18. August 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      You’ve got much more ambitious goals for ToE than I do. To me, the key features are

      1) A place for people who are really taking it seriously and feel the pressure, particularly those of a warrior mindset, to meet in peace and affinity

      2) Some wider social benefit by helping those people stay well and sane, because it’s hard to be a warrior-type in the environmental and social justice domains, it’s not an archetype that most of those folks are friendly to by default

      The depth work, well, each-to-their-own. There’s plenty of paths, and I have no interest in making a new one, I’d just like people of a particular mindset to have a sense of not being along with the burdens of the world.

      Easy enough really.

    19. August 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      Just popping in to comment on the idea that Marcin’s OSE is “putting the cart before the horse…” I would say absolutely the opposite. Being of VERY practical and evident usefulness OSE trumps ideology, politics and other blockages that enlightened makers need to route around to solve real world problems. I’ve been working for months in a very red very small town on localization and sustainability efforts and emergency response/preparedness efforts. For months we had very free ranging impractical theoretical tussles that made it hard for members in the group to get work done. I brought in Marcins’ work and BANG….we very politically diverse group got past a LOT of our ideological static with each other. We all care deeply about this place and when REAL solutions emerge so do hugs and big smiles. So for me, a political animal by nature, the lesson learned was bring REAL value and listen past the ideological road bumps. Formulating a manifesto is the least interesting thing we could do together. Vinay I love the idea of a guild of sympathy as it were…and though I do understand the objections to the “templar” thing – What you are aiming at is beautiful.

    20. August 31, 2011 at 12:49 am

      Hi Vinay,

      No problem. Thank you again for the friendly reply.

      I can’t agree with you about military leaders. “Just doing my job” is not a good excuse. Millions are killed and societies ruined because military leaders are “just doing their job”. It doesn’t make it right, whether the leaders in question are monsters or, like those you met, friendly and helpful.

      In other words I would not describe anyone as “subtle, thoughtful, brilliant, ethical, moral and wise” who was only “subtle, thoughtful, brilliant, ethical, moral and wise” when they weren’t being ordered not to be.

      I’ve looked a little more over your site. I like your hexayurt very much, and some of the things you say about dealing with a disaster. I’m afraid I can’t agree with your approach to wider and deeper social and personal problems. You write about fixing society with new systems, structures and policies, and about individuals picking tasks and doing them, without mentioning the conscious lives of the individuals selves involved. I appreciate your book and friend recommendations, but it seems to me that you personally, on this site, are vastly over-emphasising external change and personal action.

      You can change as many systems as you like, implement whatever policies you want, fill the world will hexayurts and with people working on their own individual projects; and absolutely nothing will change if the individuals themselves don’t change. If we are all suffering from the same restlessness, anxiety, craving, fear, boredom as we ever were (or at least were since self took charge of consciousness ten thousand years ago – see my history of the dream world – http://www.gentleapocalypse.com/2010/06/history-of-world-from-pre-history-to.html), if we are as confused as ever about love and death, who cares what external paradise we live in?

      You might say that we have to first of all design the external world right, that we are all products of the world and it must be shaped correctly for us to think and behave healthily. I completely disagree with this, but as I don’t know if this is your position or not, I won’t go into detail here.

      Finally you say that “its not like one person can fix the world.” I also disagree with that too. The world, as far as I can tell, exists in me. True I – in the sense of “my self” cannot change a thing – but it can change in me. Completely. And, as I say, unless it does, I can “pick” the most noble task in the world and “do it,” and, whether alone or in a group, I will get nowhere and change nothing.

      So, I think your recommendations and insights on building cheap housing and stocking up on the instruments of survival are very good. I think your recommendations and insights on changing the self, changing the world and acting in it are – book and friend recommendations aside – empty rhetoric.

      I hope you don’t mind me saying that. You seem like someone whose bonhomie can rise above his opinions.

      Extends hand. Smiles,


    21. Nick
      August 31, 2011 at 12:52 am

      Good to hear people are rallying around OSE’s work in your area! I guess I should clarify my horse before the cart comment comes from my perspective of working on the project in the early days. No one in my immediate social circles really got the implications or the need for the work. In fact my family and friends labeled my activities cultish, bizarre and paranoid ect. Thats when i came to think that such a project should ideally be accompanied by a broader social movement. So there is at least some sense or recognition of what is trying to be accomplished.

      I guess though as your example illustrates that sort of understanding comes probably only after we just BUILD and share some solutions. Point taken…..

    22. August 31, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Darren, I was formally recognized as enlightened by my guru in 1998 or so. But I’m not interested in telling anybody else to change their head – that has to come from within.


    23. Pingback: The Bucky-Gandhi Design Institution › On being a mad cultist

    24. August 31, 2011 at 11:25 am

      Hi Vinay,

      You were “formally recognised as enlightened”? I didn’t realise that enlightenment required formal recognition!

      Erm, you are joking, right?

      Anyrate, I never said you should “tell people to change their head” – I’m with the gurus on that one – “who’s head?” – I’m just asking why you focus exclusively on identifying external problems and acting in the external world.


      p.s. Any response to the military point in my previous?

    25. August 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      No, Darren, I’m not joking. In most wisdom traditions, enlightenment is formally recognized by a teacher. There are all kinds of daffy mystical states that people can mistake for the real thing, and they’re not durable.

      On the military, I answered you. That’s all I have to say on it: the paradox you sense is real, but I think you have to look to the voters for the problem, not the soldiers. They sign up to defend, and wind up being used by our corrupt democracies to attack. But it is the voters who can stop war, not the soldiers.

      I’m surprised you did not know that enlightenment is formally recognized in many traditions.

    26. August 31, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Vinay,

      Formal recognition may be part of some traditions, but enlightenment does not require it.

      This is the end of our interaction. Thank you very much for the time you have spent on it.

      All the very best in all things,


    27. August 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      I never suggested that enlightenment *does* require formal recognition.

      Your message has a very strange tone.

      I hope you got what you came for!

    28. August 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      OK, starting to get this now. Very basic trust/collaboration platform for people doing the tough front-line work of trying to stop the global oil tanker running straight into St Murdo’s Unnecessarily Inflammable Dockside Orphanage.

      You mention Doctors vs Soldiers. Do we need some Knights Hospitaller on hand too, to support all the PTSD global warriors? Or perhaps a different metaphor would be more appropriate for those who, rather than needing boundaries to restrain their interpersonal spikiness whilst they do Great Works, need encouragement in supporting and solacing the warriors.

      I tried for a name with “sooth(e)” in it, as in both healing and truth, but it’s not happening for me. We could perhaps call them “suagents”. Or maybe not even a noun – they are “suagent”.

      Anticipating that some people will not readily respond to broadcasts on the warrior frequency, I ran the oath through my inverted-world transmogrification device and it came up with this:

      The Suagent Pledge –

      Say only:

      “I am in a bond of love with the animals, plants and waters of the world. Even as they suffer at the hand of man, I cherish them and wish them to thrive.

      I am in a bond of love with my fellow humans. Even as we suffer at our own hands, I nourish and succour every one with whom I am connected.

      I am in a bond of love with those who strive to defend mind, earth and life against the poisons of war, tyranny and need. Even as they struggle in the fight, I solace and support them.

      I affirm and believe that my love, humble as it is, brings greatness to these tasks.

      I pledge by the blood of my heart and the breadth of the sky to be truthful and open with those who also labour within these bonds, and in my own self also.”

      Right, I’m gonna go and try this out on an apolitical woman of great heart currently pregnant with her first child. That ought to be a decent test.

    29. August 31, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Yep, beautiful, makes perfect sense to me.

      The folks I’m seeing who’re in trouble (and, to some extent, that includes me) are the ones on the warrior trip who are much, much more prone to stand in front of large, heavy, fast moving objects. (I very nearly sprayed half-chewed dried apricots over my laptop when I read St Murdo’s Unnecessarily Inflammable Dockside Orphanage)

      In a sense it’s a double ring – the actual content of the oath, which as you’ve observed can be very broadly reimplemented without a single semantic change because it’s a statement of recogniction, basically – and then the hurdle of Templar, which has (indeed) stopped a fair number of people in their tracks.

      And that’s intentional. Warrior-space is _important_ psychologically for people who are under loads, because it’s a place where they don’t get shit _for being warriors_.

      So that’s it in a nutshell: a group of people who know enough about where the others are standing to feel that they are with people who understand something of their situation, without requiring any complex formalism.

      A space to speak, for those who’s feelings are often judged harshly.

      Very lightweight as these things go.

    30. zac
      September 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      I sort happily walk the line between the martial and the medical. it just goes with the tradition. knowing how to fix and break things are a feedback loop of sorts. I do get slightly morose by how often initiatives break down over relatively minor semantic points. the sad truth is, people are all running their individual fantasy trips, and while it would be a relatively simple matter to get the pragmatics of the situation on the ground sorted out, if it were just nuts and bolts people and things, injecting allusions to myth and symbolism will jam the works as far getting people’s fantasy trips to not blow each other up.

      maybe something like this: we need to arrive at some kind of convergence on the real world nuts and bolts of what to do, but whatever ideological or psychological or aesthetic gloss people need to engage that, should be their business. the ‘reality bazaar’ if you like. we can shop the various brands around and see what grabs people on a visceral level, and just let that kind of stuff sort itself out on a free-market level, at the same time as we get the ideology-free convergent platform of activities that needs to be implemented across the board. as liz said upthread, you don’t need a story to sell marcin’s project as a good one. universal human needs don’t require a political or aesthetic justification to engage them.

    31. September 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Vinay,

      You know me, at least a bit online and through our mutual friends and previous chats.

      I like your vision here. I’m in Turkey traveling right now but I did register templarsofearth.com and .org. I’m happy to assign these to you if you feel, for any reason, that the registration is an affront or proprietary. I figured someone would do it if this got any attention and I noted that you hadn’t done so.

      I was thinking of deploying the site using the Jekyll blogging software and/or using github as a back end. This would allow a site to go up with open source-based source control tools that would allow people to contribute code, documents, etc to it easily. I haven’t made a github project for it yet but I am ‘albill’ there. If you made or have a github account, I’d add you as an admin to it.

      Anyway, feel free to continue this in e-mail if you want (or on twitter as well).

    32. ron
      September 5, 2011 at 4:28 am

      I found your blog from my interest in hexayurts,wich i really like.The rest of your blog?preety wacky.

    33. September 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Everybody loves the light and heat, nobody loves the nuclear reactor 😉


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