I've been rereading Illuminatus! for the 3rd or fourth time. What I'm finding interesting about the experience is that there's always more in the book than I previously realized. My focus this time is on the way that the characters develop through initiatory processes.
One observation is that the kinds of initiatory shocks the characters receive are fairly traditional in their intent, if not always in their particular forms. When I compare this to the kinds of experience that I've had both in formal group initiation and the times initiation has manifested in my life, it leaves me wondering if I started from the wrong point. The characters, and many of my friends have had very strong emotional reactions to initiation; it 'is' a transformative experience for them. My own experiences have always been taken in stride. The patterns have always been recognizable to me, and there is a sense of inevitability and frankly, a rather jaded, passionless engagement with the process- and indeed, when a cycle has played out, I'm left often left with a vague sense of disappointment that there wasn't more to it. It's almost like there's some of Taoist at the controls who simply accepts the even, processes the experience, and then lets it go until the next one comes along. The IAO cycle plays through very quickly for me. There's a sense of "Is that seriously all you had for me this time? Well, it's a nice t-shirt, at any rate." Is there such a thing as being too far over on the h. neophilus side?
I don't seem to differentiate the mystical or mundane in the same way that I observe others doing; I think that's part of it. I'm not certain if that's a good thing or a bad thing from a developmental standpoint. Even QBListic practices have yielded only a lot of amusement for me - I see that the revelations received are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense and true and false and meaningless in some sense. I can change my perceptual grid rather readily, and run a great variety of behavioral programs, though some with much more difficulty than others. Nonetheless, I figured out years ago more or less who the robot is, and who the programmer is, and I have a handle on the meta-programmer as well; everything else seems to mostly be a matter of practice, and the search for a direction to point it all in, in order to do something with it all. I find myself caught in a bind where all courses of action are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense and true and false and meaningless in some sense. Even if I could change the world to fit perfectly my vision, the next question is always the same: "To what end?"
The best answer I have ever come up with is "why not?" In a transient world where change is the only constant, death is price of failure and cost of success, How do we play the game and bend it to serve a useful end?