Ecstatic Study Guide, Part 1

(Excerpted from my book, PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia.)

Strategies for plying a chronic, low-key, blissful union with everything you're not

1. Writing on, Scott Rosenberg recalled how in his youth he loved to play the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. "You'd have to choose not one but two 'alignments' for your character," he mused. "Good and evil, of course, but also 'law' and 'chaos.' And among the people I ran with, 'chaotic/good' was the thing to be, because it let you trust other people and still have fun."

Try out the "chaotic/good" approach for the character you play in your actual life.

2. The water you drink is three billion years old, give or take five million years. The stuff your body is made of is at least 10 billion years old, probably older, and has been as far away as 100,000 light-years from where it is right now. The air you breathe has, in the course of its travels, been literally everywhere on the planet, and has slipped in and out of the lungs of almost every human being who has ever lived.

Would you act differently if you had a visceral sense of how eternal and infinite you are? What unprecedented behavior might you express? Visualize a waking dream in which you remember the water you floated in three billion years ago. Imagine you can see the light that shone on you 100,000 light-years ago.

3. We tried to get our manifesto "Bigger, Better, More Original Sins" excerpted in Taboo Busters, a zine published by American expatriates in Berlin. Unfortunately, the editors didn't like the spin we put on the subject of taboos. They're fixated on depraved vices and sickening violations and contrived rejections of conventional values: smuggled photos of dead celebrities lying in morgues, for instance; paintings of religious scenes that use the artist's blood or other bodily fluids; hospital scenes of Iraqi children with gangrenous stumps where their limbs once were; performance artists who do Marquis de Sade imitations.

Our approach is different. We're connoisseurs of taboo-busting that yields uplifting pleasures; we identify and initiate transgressions that don't hurt anyone and expand our intelligence and improve the world. Here are a few examples: midwife Ida May Gaskin's suggestion that a partner can expedite the birth process by giving erotic pleasure to the woman in labor; our idea that satirizing one's own cherished beliefs is the most honest form of mockery; the Menstrual Temple of the Funky Grail's classes that teach men how to symbolically menstruate in order to learn to love rather than fear the Dark Goddess; my ability to use principles formulated by people I mostly disagree with, as in the case of St. Paul's "I die daily."

Are there examples of this kind of taboo-busting in your life? Make a list of uplifting transgressions that expand your intelligence and push you in the direction of cosmic consciousness and improve the world.