The hour is late, and the stakes are high. Time to sweep aside the cowards, flakes, basket cases and fantasists. Leave them to trade their debased currency among themselves.

There is no mystery to magick. It’s a tool for a job, and if you want to get the job done, you better turn to someone who knows how to use the tools.

If you want it done right, you turn to a professional.

What the fuck does all this mean? and does this signal the long-dreaded return of aggro drill sergeant zac?

No mysteries here. We strive for professionalism, and we align ourselves squarely with the professionals.

welcome to the system.

Direct download: the_new_school_same_as_the_old_school.mp3


24 thoughts on “Systematic for the People 1: the new school, same as the old school

  1. Great podcast. It is nice to be on board from the beginning this time around. Your boldness in this premiere episode (versus that of the Mosaic Effect) is interesting to observe. You seem to be much more sure of your footing (perhaps just because of increased familiarity and confidence with the medium).

    Have you ever written more about your Prison analogy? (about “thinking you’re free,” etc.) I found that section very intriguing and am wondering if you’ve explored it at a previous time (in more depth).

    With regard to the development of one’s “skeleton,” for instance, how important would you say it is that the choice to abstain (from a certain behavior) is a conscious choice? I’ve never killed anyone, nor seriously thought about it by any means — yet does my abstinance from this behavior is as meaningful as it might be to someone with a different temperment? Or how about smoking pot: I have several friends who have never touched it in their lives… does that mean they’re “strong” in a certain way, or merely that their weaknesses are likely found along other fronts?

    Just curious how these would fit in with the topics you’ve explored here.

  2. Hello Zac,

    First time listener, and I wanted to let you know that I am glad to have found your site and look forward to listening through your archives over the coming weeks. You have a nice voice. I have been reading Jeff Wells for quite awhile, and am always glad to encounter someone with an interesting approach to this line of inquiry. I resonate with your content, topics, and disposition, which have informed many of my own creative obsessions.
    I also have some video material online that you may enjoy:

    Drop me a line sometime.

    John Allen

  3. skip-

    the boldness is not especially a function of my familiarity with the medium. in a case like this i can make a clear distinction drawn from personal conviction and long experience to make a stronger point. which is part of the idea with the new series. little less roomey speculation and a little more brass tacks.

    as i’ve aid, the prison metaphor comes from the perrenial inquiry i get from people who cannot fathom willingly, even happily submitting to proscriptions on one’s ‘freedom’ of action.

    it’s kind of like our ‘choices’ as consumers. you’re free to have anything you can buy, but not what isn’t for sale.

    as for the rest; some people internalise a sense of what is good or bad fro them much more easily or early in life than others. some people have different priorities. if you have no particular desire to do a thing then a proscription is obviously unneccisary or trival.

    in this day and age i would submit that personal yamas relating to the uses of money, and the indulgence in food are relevant to most people, whereas murder is somewhat obsolete in an environment where the rule of law generally prevails.

  4. my experience has always confirmed that the most important thing is to practice. when you practice, there will be certain things for which you will develop a disinclination. relativization of yama and niyama is problematic in that certain basic parameters can create an evironment which is more conducive to absorption states. this is why solitary retreat based practice is so invaluable. although it is useful to exract the technique from its cultural trappings and superstitious baggage, in more specific practices that involve the envisioned manipulation of the subtle-body, it seems that some of the protocol is integral rather than arbitrary.

  5. i agree that if you have not ( at least ) refrained from murder, theft, rampant intoxication, unchecked sexuality, or habitual lies, whether by natural inclination or adopted discipline, then your practice is going to be crap. it may be that certain people need to go farther than this, or in some cases a little less.

    on a deeper level there are certain mental observances that do in fact make certain kinds of meditation easier, but that’s a bit farther down the line.

    i don’t intend so much towards relativisation, but rather universalisation. ashtanga/raja yoga is simply one reflection of a common truth to every culture and a common system that works for everyone. so to shed a certain amount of particularism is integral to this undertaking.

  6. Ahh zac,

    my precious ibook has decided to burn out on me (well, the hard drive, at least) and now I’m at a loss…I no more have my daily fixes of blogs and podcasts…the humanity…my forced exile from the internet wasteland, though, has turned out to be useful in a new agey cleansing sorta way…sometimes a step back, or being shoved away, is just reality saying “reassess..”

    Anyway, enjoy my silence as I miss your podcasts and I decide whether to dive into a new macbook pro now, or stick to my plan and wait it out till next year with some hobbled together contraption assembled in the darkest of nights…

    And Allison, my apologies as I was half done with my submission when the Apple-ocalypse cleaned me out. It was pretty good, if I do say so myself, and I will be in a slight twist of “goddamn piece of shit evil sonofabitch computer muthafucker” as I try to reconstruct what was lost, so it may be a another month before I complete my promised writeup. Again, apologies…

    Fortunately, I back up my hard drive on a monthly basis so my business files and personal writings were saved to August. Everyone…back up your files…routinely…I’m not kidding, I would be completely screwed if I didn’t get into that habit…external hard drives are cheap and will save your ass…

    So I sign off for a while…

    Be Good,


  7. “refrained from murder, theft, rampant intoxication, unchecked sexuality, or habitual lies”

    Well, I was listening and was going to say, you & I was barkin’ up the same tree, what with broadsides against mage-i-kal groupies, but then looked at this and thought, what about all those mighty transgressives? Burroughs was certainly a potent magus and spent the better part of his long life an addict and a deviant. And Uncle Al, aforementioned, most certainly didn’t meet these criteria either–though he seems to have made up for with self-discipline in spades elsewhere, what with his penchant for cutting himself as a disciplinary method. Likewise, his life seemed to be an extended experiment in rule-breaking, which is a dangerous path.

  8. well, i’ve been known to overstate my case a little bit, but in the instances of crowley and burroughs you could argue that their forays into transgression were of mixed benefit, and in some cases to a definite detriment.
    it’s a popular conceit that one is ‘powerfull’ enough to walk a more ‘tantric’ path, but they usually end up like crowley, alienated from all his lovers and would be acolytes due to his shoddy sexual exploitation of them, using cocaine to try and kick heroin and heroin to try and kick cocaine, and dying penniless, still addicted in some garret.
    and you could observe that burroughs heaviest period of use came before his best magical work began, and probably played little role in whatever practice he did have. in his case the drugs and the sorcery were seemingly parallel concerns and not convergent.
    in general i’d advise a good grounding in some rules before you anoint yourself fit to start breaking them. the transgressive path as it’s usually understood these days is largely a contemporary conceit born out of deconstructive postmodernism. and we all know how that bullshit turned out… look no further than michael foucault

  9. in light of this it is useful to restate the precendent for essential groundwork of contemplative practice. conventions of yama and niyama are the dispositional nutrient for the emergence of genuine glimpses of the trans-egoic. these “glimpses” are progressively sustained until they become the gestaltic qualification of the former identity or resonance domain of the individual, operating with then logic of transcendence. then, and only then is the anarchic post-conventionial “non-mode” an accessible. formerly, the trials and ritual abuse or systemic dislocation of the aspirant’s personality prepare them for their ingress into fullness of the interminable Becoming, as a mahasiddha.

  10. Ronin, next time, keep something like this : running in the background. Not foolproof, but should give you a fair warning and enough time to plan a last backup. Disk Warrior has this feature too, or check out Apple Disk Utility regularly.

    I like the new direction a lot! Crowley say that you become hyper sensitive and that you also shall drop all social contacts, because they become unbearable. I think I had a glimpse of what he meant yesterday night. Those electrical appliances were incredibly NOISY 🙂

    In your experience, does this last long, and does it preclude a ‘regular’ working life?

  11. what he’s talking about is a bit of a risk, but it’s more of a phase that you have to pass through. it depends on your personality i think.

    in the earlier stages you needn’t be concerned, but when you get around to more in depth insight practices there is a definite risk of paranoia, introversion, isolationism, and other types of dementia, which is why it’s extra important to houseclean AT THE OUTSET, not when shit is already hitting the fan.

  12. Well, it’s mostly gone now, but I’ve stopped doing yama since, so things have probably calmed down by themselves. Will try that again in vacation next week.

    This practice really does build up energy and focus. Crowley also says that you have to build enough to pass trough a tipping point, I could feel that. Does wreck your nerves, but nothing unbearable over a few calm days I think. Trying this more or less gave me the hang of how to start a negative feedback loop, so we’ll see how it goes.

    What’s next? Really enjoying it, but haven’t dwelled in the theory of the niyama yet.

  13. zac:

    I’m coming at this from, apparently a much less occultly educated background than most here, so thanks for making it accessible to people of varying backgrounds. I get a lot out of these and am looking excitedly forward to SFP2. (ps: I hope you do make some sweet bank off of all this eventually. You ought to).


    Sorry to hear about your predicament. I’m taking your advice. Last time someone warned me about something like this and I didn’t listen, something similar happened to me a few days later. So I’m pay better attention to life’s little heads-ups these days. As for your submission to OI, hey, I appreciate you taking the time at all, so whenever you have it is great. Sorry you had to lose all that work though.

    College essay flashback…. (shudder).

  14. I’m in the process of aligning my self with the professionals but I’m in doubt of my ability to know who are and who aren’t.

    I’ve found a teacher that teaches a form of Raja Yoga for free and his backround is the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.

    “Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya or Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University is a monastic, renunciants[1]or semi-monastic[2] Millenarian[3][4] New Religious Movement (NRM) of Indian origin.”[5] It teaches a form of meditation[6]called Raja Yoga, although not classical Raja Yoga as described by Patanjali,[7] involving spirit possession[8] and mediumistic channelling[9][10]”

    So I’m wondering, does that school agree with you? Are they, professionals?

  15. whoa. that so totally sounds off-the-wall. the whole ‘not classical yoga, mediumistic channeling thing’ that they have to give away so they can teach their millenarian narrative, is about three strikes more than I would give a yoga teacher right there, and I haven’t even met them.

    On the one hand free is nice, and it can sometimes indicate pure motives, but it sounds an awfull like they’ll end up wanting you to ‘renunciate’ your possessions into their keeping.

    I’d suggest you treat them the same way you would anyone who teaches ‘yoga’ and then admits up front it’s not really yoga.

    you’d proabably be better off at the ymca, learning how to do asana.

  16. Great, so there is even more shit out there then I thought.

    Couldn’t you create a guideline to add to our bullshit detectors in relation to Yoga, for example, what forms of classical Yoga are “ok”? Is Kundalini Yoga ok?

    And what questions should we ask to find out what is ok and what is not, I thought about asking if they teach all eight limbs of Yoga but realized that’s probably only related to Raja Yoga.

    The problem is that we have people who want to get into Yoga and there are numerous doors, in some there is gold and in others there is shit, but have problem seeing which doors are ok and which are not, some are easy to spot as shit but some really aren’t.

    We need guidelines on seeing the right doors, I’m not the only one with this problem for sure and it seams like you can’t really solve it without the help of someone who already knows, walking through the shit your self until you start to smell it or be lucky.

    I’ve thought about creating an overview of all Yoga classes in Iceland based on standard questioning and then have some online community go over the overview to spot the bullshiters from the gold diggers.

    But what are the questions? How do you see it?

  17. For example this guy, Pattabhi Jois.

    How can one tell? I could go right now to learn from a student of his if I wanted to, but there is no way for me to know if he’s the real deal or not, all I know is that the teacher is a student of his and teaches Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga but not Ashtanga Yoga, which includes the eight limbs, and he talkes about 99% practice, 1% theory.

    You know, what the fuck, where is the guide to see where the bullshit is.

  18. sounds pretty legit to me. sometimes all you can do is make educated guesses, and be ready to bail if it goes bad. don’t be afraid to make a mistake, just do your best to keep the mistakes small, and easy to fix.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s