The Three Master Memes

To continue with the theme of memetics begun in the previous post, I wanted to briefly discuss the three “master memes” which I have found to be most effective on the path of Kolinahr:

Zazen: Zazen is the sitting meditation practice used by Zen Buddhists, and is said to be the practice which led to Śākyamuni the Buddha’s enlightenment. In Zazen, one simply quiets the mind and follows the breath in an effort to experience pure awareness. I find Zazen to be of great benefit in separating myself from my thoughts and feelings, giving me enhanced awareness of and control over them.

Memetics: Memetics is the science of infectious ideas. It provides a useful framework for thinking about any idea or cultural phenomenon, at the level of both individuals and societies. When you begin to think of your thoughts as infections, which use your mind as a carrier and have a life of their own, including a desire to grow and reproduce, you develop a detachment and objectivity toward them that is very illuminating.

Logic: Logic consists of the laws of thought. When you must think, you should use logic to avoid false conclusions and make good decisions.

I find that these three tools complement each other nicely, producing a synergy that can deconstruct any idea, immunize against any mental virus, and optimize one’s mental functioning. Zazen deconditions the mind, allowing you to become aware of the memes that are constantly battling for conscious attention; the “monkey mind” of which the Buddhists speak can be thought of as the inner chatter of memes. Zazen also clarifies perceptions and disciplines the mind, which can be very beneficial when engaging in rigorous logical thought.

Use Zazen to become aware of your memes, then use logic to decide which memes are beneficial (symbionts) and which are harmful (parasites or viruses). Zazen gives you a foundation in unconditioned awareness, to realize that you are not your memes, and your memes are not you. Memetics gives you a way to think objectively about your own mental ecosystem and cultural programming. Logic helps you decide which memes to implant, which to retain and which to reject. This process of self-programming, using the three master memes of Zazen, Memetics and Logic — which we might call “ZML” or “Zemetics,” to coin another meme —  constitutes the core of Way of Kolinahr.

The Power of Memetics

I find that the best way to think about almost any idea — whether religious, ideological, cultural, commercial, etc. — is through the lens of memetics: the art and science of infectious ideas. What others call “magick” I call memetic engineering – intentional implanting of memes into your own mind and the minds of others to produce desired effects. The idea that there is some greater metaphysical significance to this activity is delusion in my opinion – that is itself a viral memeplex often called “religion” or “occultism”.

A good example of a meme (or memeplex) is Star Trek. The fact that you are at this site probably means that Star Trek-related memes have infected your mind — memes which have propagated and mutated since the work of memetic engineers like Gene Roddenberry. Sites like this continue the propagation of Star Trek memes, as do your own efforts to infect others with this way of thinking, using words, images, symbols, rituals, artifacts, clothing, etc. At some point this memeplex may die out or mutate beyond recognition, or it may become virulent and produce some kind of cultural revolution. The entire process may even be susceptible to quantitative analysis.

What is my point? Just to be aware of the power of memes, and to try to be rational about them. Analyze your mind and behavior and ask yourself, about every idea: am I just a carrier for this mental virus, or am I getting some benefit from it? Is this meme symbiotic, or parasitic? It’s a beautifully nihilistic, yet illuminating way of thinking about your thoughts and culture. You are taught to practice good physical hygiene to prevent your body from becoming a carrier of viruses, but are you also practicing good memetic hygiene to prevent your mind from becoming a carrier of mental viruses?

And with this post, I have implanted still more memes in your mind.

The Limits of Logic


As a Kolinahru postulant, I call myself a Disciple on the Path of Pure Logic. I follow this path because I believe logic is the human’s mind’s most powerful tool for pursuing Kolinahr: an objective understanding of reality, unclouded by personal biases, emotion and irrationality. However, I also realize that logic has limits, and that these limits leave open the possibility of seeking knowledge in other ways. To explain why I believe this, let me briefly discuss some interesting facts about modern logic.

Modern logic is concerned with proving formal, mathematical theorems. To apply logic formally, one must begin with a system of axioms and rules of inference, from which one may derive truths in that logical system. One might hope that with the right choice of axioms and rules — axioms which accurately reflect the logic of reality — one could prove anything that is logically true in that system, and thus prove anything that is logically true about reality. This was the dream of early 20th century “Logicists” like Bertrand Russell and David Hilbert: to turn logic and mathematics into a mechanical exercise for discovering all that is logically true. This might then make it possible to write a computer program that churns through all possible theorems expressible in an axiomatic system, and applies the axioms to prove or disprove each theorem. Such a program would constitute a logical truth machine which could do the work of human mathematicians and logicians; insofar as physics and all other sciences are reducible to mathematics, such a machine might even be able to generate all scientific truths about the universe, given enough time.

This dream died in 1931, when a young Austrian logician named Kurt Gödel proved the first of his two Incompleteness Theorems. This theorem states that any formal system that is consistent (contains no contradictions) and capable of expressing elementary arithmetic is incomplete (there are true statements expressible in the system which are unprovable). In other words, no formal system that aims to characterize the natural numbers can actually do so, as there will be true number-theoretical statements which that system cannot prove. Thus, mathematics will never be a complete body of knowledge; there will always be truths beyond our logical grasp.

What does Gödel’s proof mean for our Path of Pure Logic? Are we pursuing a path that can never achieve Kolinahr and ultimate truth? It would seem so, if we restrict ourselves to formal logic alone. But the Kolinahru also use the “higher logic” of mysticism to understand the world — we meditate, introspect and seek to directly experience the truth beyond conscious thought. Gödel’s theorems provide one justification for this seemingly illogical activity. For if formal logic cannot discover all that is true, we must be willing to use our minds in other ways to seek the truth. In the spirit of Cthia — the search for truth — and Kolinahr — the sense of selfless unity with universe — we must strive to step outside of our own logical systems and see what else we can discover.

As I see it, this is consistent with the spirit of Gödel’s proofs, and Gödel himself, who was very much a mystic. For what Gödel demonstrated was a way to “jump outside” of any formal system and construct statements which are unknowable in that system — a feat which perhaps only the human mind is capable of. It is also reminiscent of the methods of Zen, wherein the pupil is taught to have flashes of insight by meditating and contemplating koans which circumvent the logical mind. The Kolinahru should incorporate such techniques in our quest for truth, in acknowledgement of the proven limits of logic.

The Kolinahru Code

There is no emotion; there is Arie’mnu
There is no passion; there is Shaula
There is no fear; there is Kol-Ut-Shan
There is no ignorance; there is Cthia
There is no ego; there is Kolinahr



Arie’mnu: The process of purging all vestigial emotions.

Shaula: Control of one’s emotions, desires, or actions by one’s own will.

Kol-Ut-Shan: Also known as IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations). A teaching of Surak which calls upon people to cast out fear and appreciate the infinite diversity of life and the Cosmos.

Cthia: The philosophy preached by Surak, which emphasizes the search for the Truth as it really is, free of individual prejudices and illogic.

Kolinahr: The state of non-emotion and non-distinction between the self and the outside world. This allows the Kolinahr master to establish a sense of interconnectedness with the universe – an understanding that goes beyond words, feelings, and conscious thought.

A First Sketch of a Kolinahr Practice

Mount Seleya – the mountain on Vulcan where Surak had his insights and the Kolinahru have their Monastery.

The primary purpose of this site is to begin developing a real Kolinahr practice for this planet. Eventually, I would like it to evolve into a real monastic Order with a structured training program and physical monasteries. Here is a first sketch of some of the disciplines that this Kolinahr practice might include:

Meditation: Zazen, mindfulness, concentration, silence, stillness and other meditations

Logic: study classical and modern logic, including Aristotle, William of Ockham, Russell and Gödel

Emotion Control: use of breathing, mudras, mantras, catharsis and other techniques to master emotions

Body Control: Fasting, dietary restrictions, yoga, martial arts and other physical exercises

Mental Training: memory, logic, calculation and visualization exercises

Philosophy: study Stoicism, Rationalism, Utilitarianism, Buddhism and other philosophies

Modern Rationality: cognitive biases, probabilistic reasoning, game theory, memetics

Kolinahr training would include a series of examinations in which the postulant is required to demonstrate mastery of each of the above disciplines. The final test would be t’san s’at, a period of intense meditation and fasting during which the postulant would purge his remaining emotional attachments. He would then come before the Kolinahru High Master for final questioning and examination. If he passes, the postulant would be presented with a necklace, partially designed by himself, which symbolizes his attainment of Kolinahr. The entire program might take two to six years or more.

Those who attain Kolinahr could then return to the mundane world, where they would use their training for the greater good, or remain at the monastery as Kolinahru Masters to train postulants. In time, such an Order would become highly respected and valued throughout the planet, for their high levels of rationality, mental ability, ethics and discipline. It is not difficult to imagine corporations, governments, universities and other organizations sending members on sabbatical to Kolinahru monasteries, as a way of improving the quality of their workforce. Individuals suffering from various problems such as addiction, unreason or toxic emotions, or who otherwise wish to acquire greater mastery of their own minds, would also be welcome to attend retreats and seminars.

This noble vision seems quite achievable; I will continue to work toward it here, and I invite others who share my vision of the Way of Kolinahr to join me.

Kolinahr as Enlightenment 2.0

Though many rationalists might not like to think so, embracing reason is much like embracing a religious faith. Just as one may be “born again” into a new religious worldview, when one embraces reason, one’s worldview is radically transformed.Things which our “natural”, instinctive minds take for granted must be re-examined in the light of reason, and conventional wisdom, folk beliefs and superstitions abandoned if they don’t stand up to rational scrutiny. Since the Enlightenment, Western civilization as a whole has done this, gradually abandoning its faith in the old religions and traditions which had sustained it for centuries.

On a personal level, embracing reason may require a new way of life — at least it should, if one takes philosophy seriously. Rational thinking is a discipline, just as bible study is a discipline; it requires a reordering of your mind in order to divide the world into that which is true and that which is not true, and these truths have practical consequences. The primary tools of this discipline are logic, mathematics and the scientific method.

However, I would like to posit that this noble and fruitful discipline, which we might call the Way of Reason, is not the final word in human mental evolution. I would like to propose that the next step in our mental development should be the Way of Kolinahr, which combines reason with non-emotion, meditation and self-mastery.

Why should already rational people embrace something like Kolinahr? Here are four reasons:

The Inside View: Since the Enlightenment, Western philosophy has been focused on the “outside view”, the world of objective, external phenomena, but has lacked an advanced meditative or introspective tradition. The study of the mind “from the inside” has been neglected in the West in comparison to Eastern traditions such as Buddhism, which have developed intricate, empirical models of consciousness that aren’t amenable to the scientific method. I believe it is time for rationalists to embrace meditation and the inner life fully, by studying the techniques developed by the Eastern masters. As Sam Harris has pointed out, many truths about ourselves may never be understood scientifically, and can only be discovered by introspection. This kind of introspection is one of the pillars of Kolinahr.

Mastering Emotions: While it may sound rather extreme, I believe emotions are a vestige of our paleomammalian brains which are no longer necessary for human survival or progress. In the ancestral world, the animal passions which allowed us to succeed in hunting, fighting or mating are precisely the things which may destroy us in a technological age. To avoid this, I believe mankind needs to either be replaced by machines entirely or become more machine-like by mastering our emotions. This is another pillar of Kolinahr.

A New Monasticism: The Enlightenment has done much to diminish the influence of religion, and this is on the whole a good thing. However, there are a few aspects of religion that I believe are worth preserving. In particular, the monastic tradition, with its orders of highly dedicated and trained monks who live according to principles, think on larger time scales, pass on their knowledge and act as spiritual role models for society is something I believe the modern world is in dire need of. Humanity today seems to lack great models of spiritual and intellectual rigor and commitment, and the results are plain to see all around us. Nor are academics an adequate replacement for monastics, since they are beholden to the “profane” world of the industrial educational system. A true monastic order dedicated to the Way of Kolinahr, holding retreats and counseling for those who seek them out, could offer powerful new role models and sources of knowledge for mankind.

Revival of Philosophy: Western philosophy seems to have become an obscure, academic discipline with little relevance to modern life. This has left a great void which religions and irrational ideologies may exploit, to the detriment of society. To prevent the rise of such unreason, philosophy needs to escape from the stifling confines of academia and become a total way of life, as it was for the Socratics, the Stoics and the Skeptics. The Kolinahru should be philosopher-monks who live their philosophy every day, rather than just lecturing about it.

To summarize, what I am proposing is that while the Enlightenment was an important first step on the path to pure logic, it was far from complete. What is needed now is Enlightenment 2.0, which goes much further in promoting a total way of life that can reason, introspect, master emotions and supplant the legacy religions, while maintaining some of their more useful features. What is needed now is Kolinahr.

Honorary Kolinahru #1: Sam Harris

You might be wondering what a real, human Kolinahru living on this planet would look like. To answer that, I will start posting about individuals who reflect many of the Kolinahru ideals, such as logic, nonemotion, self-mastery, perception and nobility. Sam Harris is one such person. One of the leaders of the so-called “New Atheists”, Mr. Harris combines great logic, insight and honesty with a quasi-Buddhist willingness to examine his own mind. I recommend watching the video below all the way to the end; Harris has many interesting things to say about facing the reality of death, mindfulness and controlling one’s emotions. An impressive talk by an impressive individual.

Is Spirituality Logical?

I was challenged recently to justify how I could use the word “inspiration” in the context of Kolinahr, and I wanted to try to answer that here.

First, let us be precise with our words. What does inspire mean? defines it this way:


1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.): to inspire confidence in others.
3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.: to inspire a person with distrust.
4. to influence or impel: Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
5. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does: They were inspired by a belief in a better future.

According to these definitions, there is nothing supernatural or illogical about inspiration; it simply means to be influenced by an idea, individual, feeling, etc. such that one takes some kind of action or experiences a strong feeling. In the case of Kolinahr, I would avoid the word feeling; inspiration is an appeal to reason that has significant effects. For example, Surak inspired the people of Vulcan to abandon their war-like, passionate ways and embrace C’thia (the way of logic). By his example and teachings, Surak influenced the people of his planet as much as any Earth prophet who claimed to be divinely inspired.

Let us go further now, and ask whether it is correct to refer to Kohlinahr as a “spiritual” path. Consider the definition of spiritual:


1. of, pertaining to, or consisting of spirit; incorporeal.
2. of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature: a spiritual approach to life.
3. closely akin in interests, attitude, outlook, etc.: the professor’s spiritual heir in linguistics.
4. of or pertaining to spirits or to spiritualists; supernatural or spiritualistic.
5. characterized by or suggesting predominance of the spirit; ethereal or delicately refined: She is more of a spiritual type than her rowdy brother.

Here we see why someone might see a contradiction between the spiritual and the logical. What is this “spirit” or “soul” which is separate from our physical beings? In Star Trek, the Vulcans called this the katra, which was a real, empirical entity that could survive the death of the body and be transferred from one mind to another (as we saw in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock). In that case, their belief was grounded in empirical fact, and was therefore perfectly logical. But what about in our universe? I would answer this way: there is no scientific evidence for a spirit or katra — it is not something that has been measured physically. However, there is a sense in which a spirit does live on beyond death, in the memories, ideas, writings and creations of the deceased. We can say that the “spirits” of the Buddha, Aristotle, Jesus, Mohammed, Galileo and Thomas Jefferson have survived for centuries after them, profoundly effecting millions of minds to this day. Nor have all of these spiritual leaders claimed divine inspiration; some simply pursued the truth according to their reason, without fear of the consequences. In Richard Dawkins’ terminology, these leaders created potent memes which have taken root in the mass consciousness and propagated down through the ages. In fact, Richard Dawkins himself is a spiritual leader, since he is the figurehead and progenitor of ideas whose time has come. It is in this sense — the propagation of logical memes across spacetime — that followers of Kolinahr seek our inspiration, and may be said to be spiritual.

As a final thought, I would like to point out that while there have been many influential rationalists who could be called spiritual leaders, there has yet to be one whose stature approaches that of the religious prophets of old (or the fictional Surak). Perhaps the time has come for such a leader to a appear — a rational prophet who can inspire humanity to embrace a new way of life which is both spiritual and consistent with logical truth.

Live long and prosper…

Triune Brains and a Taxonomy of Ideologies

According to the triune brain model, the human brain is divided into three complexes: reptilian, paleomammalian and neomammalian. The reptilian brain is concerned with aggression, dominance, territoriality and ritual displays; the paleomammalian brain is responsible for the emotions which produce feeding, reproductive behavior and parental behavior; the neomammalian brain is the seat of language, abstraction, planning, and perception. These three complexes sit physically on top of each other, from the oldest reptilian to the newest neomammalian, reflecting the evolutionary development of our brains.

Humans, according to this model, are therefore split personalities whose mental functions are engaged in a power struggle between these three regions of our brains. It seems clear that the neomammalian complex has been on the winning side of this power struggle for thousands of years, as our societies have grown more complex, abstract and technological.

It is interesting to correlate the triune brain complexes with various belief systems. Here are a few religions and ideologies, categorized by their dominant complexes:

Reptilian: Fascism, Fundamentalism, Theocracy
Paleomammalian: Christianity, Sufism, Liberalism
Neomammalian: Philosophy, Technocracy, New Atheism, Kolinahr

Some ideologies seem fairly balanced between two or more of these complexes. Buddhism and Secular Humanism contain strong strains of both neomammalian (self-analysis, reason) and paleomammalian (compassion) thinking; Islam seems dominated by Paleomammalian and Reptilian thinking, while Judaism, Catholicism and Socialism combine aspects of all three.

However, there is one important type of mental functioning that hasn’t yet been located in the brain: our capacity for spirituality. There has been some speculation and research into the possibility of a “God module” located in the neocortex which produces spiritual experiences as a result of meditation and prayer, but nothing conclusive has been discovered. Unfortunately, there also seems to be a tendency among neomammalian-dominant rationalists to denigrate the spiritual aspect of human experience. As aspiring Kolinahru, I believe one of our main missions is  to reconcile human spirituality with our cerebral neomammalian brains — we should seek a purely rational form of mysticism which can finally free us from the destructive influence of our pre-rational minds.

My First Fast

This morning I completed my first fast. It was short, about 24 hours, and I allowed myself to drink water and some goji berry juice. Still, I did notice some results. During the fast I felt a bit less at the mercy of my bodily functions, and a mental sensation I would describe as “clean”. Today I have felt more energized than usual and have had no problems with irritability or other upsurges of emotion. In fact, I found myself smiling a few times, though it passed quickly. This may also be partially the result of recent dietary changes, which have eliminated most meat and low quality food. Based on this first experiment, I can say that fasting is a practice worth further investigation, and that it shows promise as a discipline on the path to Kolinahr.