Digital Gangs in Dark Forests Who Hold Secrets Dear
Collective Journaling w/ Peter Limberg and Co-Hosts. Daily @ 8:00 AM ET. Patreon event. 90 mins.
Enlightenment Transmission: Experience First, Understand Later w/ Dave Oshana. October 23rd @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here. 90 mins.
From Dave Oshana:
I'll be communicating from within your inner world to your pre-language self, aiming to move your awareness beyond the restrictive filters of your socially conditioned, traumatized, and triggered identity.
October 22nd, 2021
I am going to continue my live journaling of the Beyond Self-Discipline Zero (BSDv0) experience. I finished yesterday’s entry with some throbbing thumos…
The time is here for virtue to make a fucking come back.
I am fired up. My energy feels like it has shifted since Saturday, the thumos is sharper, the energy more penetrating, and the desire is deeper to get the fuck after it. Camille is noticing it as well. She said she feels the fire. I asked her how that makes her feel and she said “protected.” That turns me on.
My full body is turned on. The thumos is wild, overwhelming at times, and the daemon usually attempts a full spectrum takeover when I feel like this. I learned my lesson before though, when I almost fused completely with the daemon, on the knife’s edge of losing my mind. I was live journaling when this last happened back in April 2020. In a foreshadowing entry titled Stoicism Reborn I wrote...
This crazy wisdom that I thought I possessed is just feeling crazy, and fully listening to the daemon is like being ill prepared to hold on to a fire hose, and I have never done either before. I feel the need to back off. I am becoming unpredictable, dangerous, feral. I am ready to turn my life upside down.
There was a sense that I needed to slow down and wrestle back the daemonic energies, but there was also this mysterious balance of a cognitive unknowningness mixed with an embodied knowingness...
In this interregnum, between the games, I do not know how to play. Well, the daemon thinks he knows, the daemon always thinks he knows. It’s funny that I had to be in a state of complete unknowingnesss, like Socrates, in order to access this knowingness, like Socrates.
I am feeling some of this come online again. I am in a more mature state now though. I processed so much since the previous daemon fusion occurred. My working theory back then was the daemon leads you to demons, perhaps for some needed integration. If true, the order of operations for spiritual warfare could be something like this: the daemon first leads you to demons residing on the inside; once that “battle” is won, the daemon leads you to demons residing on the outside.
This feels kind of scary to write. This might be why I strongly feel that virtue needs a comeback in a collective way. Maybe we are building an army of virtue here with BSD. This will not be a traditional army, centralized with a hierarchy, fighting within the five dimensions of warfare (land, sea, air, space, and information). It will be a decentralized army, plugged into the thing that connects us all, coupled with an awareness of the best ecologies of practices that will afford sovereignty, orientating us towards the good, true, and beautiful.
For BSD we are using the phrase “digital gangs” as the place where philosophical fellowships and mastermind groups are combined, trojan horsing friendships of virtue to the wider culture. Why use the phrase digital gangs? Well, the phrase is one Daniel came up with during his mastermind experiments at The Stoa when COVID first came online, but it was a passage from one of Caroline Busta’s articles that sealed the deal.
Caroline wrote this really good article called The Internet Didn’t Kill Counterculture—You Just Won’t Find It on Instagram; she argues that counterculture did not die thanks to the internet, as some have argued before, but it has escaped from the “clearnet,” aka the surface internet (think Twitter, YouTube, Reddit), towards a “dark forest.” This is the phrase Yancey Strickler uses to describe how people are cohering (and culture-making) in private online spaces, such as Discord servers, Telegram groups, and Zoom calls.
I was originally framing The Stoa as a “digital campfire,” a term used by Sara Wilson, a digital brand and community strategist. Places like Rebel Wisdom use this term as well. There is something sacred about the campfire as a gathering place. It also maps nicely to the dark forest phrase. Yeah, The Stoa is a digital campfire within a dark forest.
Now, playing with these terms, while considering the relationship between The Stoa and BSD, I sense we are now departing from the warmth of the campfire, through a dark forest, to the clearnet, to “IRL,” and even to the primordial realm. There is something about a group of close-knit people moving and communicating in unseen ways, which is related to Caroline’s passage that inspired us to go with the digital gang phrase:
So what does today’s counter-hegemonic culture look like? It’s not particularly interested in being seen—at least not in person. It gets no thrill out of wearing leather and a mohawk and walking past main-street shops, which are empty now anyway. But it does demonstrate a hunger for freedom—freedom from the attention economy, from atomization, and the extractive logic of mainstream communication. We can imagine collectively held physical spaces reclaimed from empty retail or abandoned venues hosting esoteric local scenes, a proliferation of digital gangs in dark forests who hold secrets dear, and a new desire for scarcity in cultural objects—deeper and closer connections made between people even while rejecting the platform’s compulsion to “like and share.” In the internet era, true counterculture is difficult to see, and even harder to find—but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
I really like this passage, especially this part - digital gangs in dark forests who hold secrets dear. That is what is happening here. Somebody at BSD this weekend mentioned the interesting contrast between the use of the word gangs with the word virtue. “Virtue gangs” or “gangs of virtue” does seem like an oxymoron, as the word “gang” often conjures up images of killers, drug dealers, and thuggish characters: Bloods, Crips, MS-13, Los Zetas, Hells Angels, etc.
All criminals. Could the virtuous ever be deemed criminal? Could the true cultivation of virtue, not some virtue signalling substitute, become the thing that is no longer welcome in the institutions we give our trust to on a daily basis? What I am about to write will probably be fodder for my future self to experience the sense of cringe, but I do find that there is something boyishly romantic about becoming a virtuous gangster. I think there is truth to the idea that virtue is becoming the counterculture now, as virtue is not the first thing that comes to mind when I sense into the dominant culture. This reminds me of Akira the Don’s famous line: wholesomeness is the new punk.
Someone who has a pretty sophisticated spiritual capacity recently told me this: the forces of darkness are well organized, and it is time for the forces of light to start becoming organized. I am inclined to agree with this. Once you touch the darkness within, like I have, you know it exists in others, and it is not unreasonable to think that darkness can find a way to become organized to perpetuate itself. Dark forces have blindspots though, and cannot see what the wholesome can see, as they do not have access to what invokes holiness - the vision coming from our hearts.
We have a window of opportunity where the light is slipping through the cracks. And the cracks are ever-expanding, harder and harder not to notice for those who have hearts to see. I guess what I want to say here is this...
Let’s go light this place up.
Support The Stoa @ patreon.com/the_stoa