Saturday, September 2, 2017

Father Will's Biography & 2 Dreams, "The Vale" & "The Constable"

Some Gratuitious Autobiographical Thoughts

[Should you wish to go directly to further account of Father Will, his biography and more dreams during the counseling work scroll down to
I believe that James' division of the two types of spiritual health, albeit pragmatic and convenient for rational discussion does not actually acknowledge the fact that both experiences are within and are optionally available as response for every individual. Carl Jung, who studied and greatly valued James, helpfully discovered the binary nature of human consciousness, simply put, that whatever is in the conscious mind has its opposite equally and powerfully in the unconscious which manifest as shadow, symptom and synchronicity for "what one does not live consciously," says Jung, "one is destined to live as Fate". If one is as James says temperamentally healthy-minded then the "sick-soul" attitude is in the unconscious and shows up as shadow and symptom in the self-identified (meaning ego-identified) healthy-minded one. Positive "mind-cure" approaches automatically engender tremendous resistance against locating and integrating the so-called "sick souled" aspect of oneself. Sick souledness is shadow in the healthy-minded one and is destined to be lived as fate, both consciously and unconsciously.

Having personally studied and spent years amongst both religious attitudes which are temperaments I can attest that the denial of the negative side of human experience and of evil is just as unhealthy as the overbearing negative sick souled emphasis I encountered in Protestant Christianity of the Calvinist ilk. More bred in the latter the time spent in the former was well-spent but at some point became out of balance until I realized that both approaches are expressions of the soul which is inclusive of both. I recall here a client overly identified with the healthy-minded viewpoint in compensation for too much suffering in childhood and adolescence. He began to dream repeatedly of high buildings and expansive climbing bridges terrifyingly collapsing. He dreamed of being on the edge of ledges and cliffs at great heights with powerful forces which he could not resist pulling him into the abyss. In other dreams planes fell out of skies, mountains crumbled into seas or into the earth. Having read widely of New Age material regarding thoughts "creating your own reality" and a student of psychic channeling he interpreted the dreams as precognitive and psychic rather than beginning with his need to come down to earth and deal with the painful side of his personal history and the tragic side of existence. It was only when his hair began to fall out in clumps that he began to confront his past, discover compassion and the healthiness of wholing powerful human emotions which the New Age books and channels had discouraged and judged as unhealthy contributors of his, the culture's, and the sickness. I must confess that this is one of the most prevalent and most difficult of belief systems to work with. To take a cue from a client's dreams like these and begin to gently approach the message of imbalance in too much "positive, high-up thinking" puts one in an awkward position as an advocate for the darker side, the down side of things, existence, behaviors, energies. Although I do not seek to change a person's personal belief system nor should I, I have found that the Psyche does which is why I pay attention to dreams.

In my own healing work and psychoanalysis my symptoms, complexes and dreams (night ones, and the dream of waking life) engender ongoingly, without caring for my ego and it conscious beliefs, a "confrontation with the unconscious", to quote one of the most important chapters in Jung's autobiography, Memories,Dreams, Reflections, deconstructing and destroying like my client's skyscrapers falling down along with the waking dream of his hair, my one-sided ego identifications/reifications evident in behaviors derived from what Jung calls the ego complex, the conscious and unconscious beliefs, deductions, conclusions and contusions about my personal existence and the cosmos in general. The psyche addresses, guides, corrects and, yes, demands a change of mind with one's persona and behavior altering (often with resistance, fear and trembling or with relief, joy and relish!) to accommodate the greater wholeness being insisted upon by what Jung calls the "Self", that totality that we are of which the ego is only a part and can know only in part thus the importance of a conscious relationship to one's dreams and the Imagination. This cuts both ways as the psyche also can assert, yea, insist the overtly too positive upon tho ego-identified dour sour puss of self. The psyche does not want saintliness and perfection but rather wholeness which does not mean perfection but, rather, maturing, ripening, evolving and developing in time as one intergrates both positive and negative aspects of self, the opposites, which insist upon living what Zorba the Greek calls the "full catastrophe" of fuller humanity, haloes and hellholes as equally valid options of expression and creation depending upon psychic balances, circumstance and awareness.

Perhaps my biggest "beef" with both healthy-minded and sick-souled religious approaches is that they both deny their opposite while elevating one over the other thus forcing the split in human consciousness further into the shadows and therefore guaranteeing painful yet meaningful, ultimately and essentially creative confrontations with the unconscious. Peter Brooks, the gifted British director of plays and films, in a documentary interview about the life of Jungian analyst, the late Helen Luke, spoke of his "being a realist. If one is an optimist one is too imbalanced. If one is a pessimist, likewise. Being a realist gives one helpful and multi-dimensional recourse to full spectrum living with access to both realities of optimism and pessimism thus enriching life, its experience, its meaning and its art.

This "mind-cure" belief system is still very much the stuff of American popular culture and religion and one only need peruse bookstores on and offline to find how pervasive these paradoxically dangerous and toxic-because-one sided pragmatic "positive thinking" beliefs are which mostly deny and certainly, if acknowledged at all, judge and devalue, the dark, tragic and evil aspects of human existence.

Much of New Thought, Science of Mind and other "new" religious movements derived and developed from "mind-cure" and current New Age and psychically channeled material derives and repeats "mind-cure" beliefs. Interestingly, it is no accident that Jane Roberts, probably the most famous and widely read "best seller" channeler in the hippie and post-hippie New Age movement wrote a channeled book called "The Afterlife Journal of William James." Roberts claims to have never read James but James, American pragmatism, New Thought and other positive and spiritualistic belief systems are such a part of the American psyche and culture, brilliantly intuitive though Roberts perhaps was, it is not a stretch to think that many could have set down something of this American "mind-cure" without knowing of any of these men or movements. It is not necessary today especially since one needs only to tune in popular culture, TV talk shows, films espousing "The Secret" and "Bleeps", Fields of Dreams and reams of channeled material purveying anti-intellectual, non-critical thinking pablum appealing to reptilian brain, child mind and the quest for stuff which we are told will make one happy.

I highly recommend Louis Menand's excellent book, The Metaphysical Club, where he explores in detail the historical personages and personalities of American pragmatism. If one is at all conversant with New Age, New Thought, Science of Mind, Jane Roberts, the Hickeys and other channeled material Menand's book provides foundation to what has come to be a religious phenomenon of positive thinking that could never have happened anywhere but in the United States.

Will's Dream and the Dream of His-Story

Will's dream of dying, his sudden intuitive insistence upon hearing "of the Resurrection" set within the immensities and extremes of remoteness, of heights, of depths, and of majestic yet cold and cruel Nature out the retreat master's window, of the givens of sickness, decay and death, depict his inner tumult as does the violent sea wrack wrenching rendering stone and soil from the yielding shore into the relentless sucking sea. A former religious (one who takes vows and joins a religious order) who lived the severities and austerities required, according to Will's early enthusiatic beliefs, , in order to cultivate holiness requisite for relationship to Go post-ordination into priesthood he eventually left the order after a series of recurring dreams of Vocation where he was continually tending to an abject dieing man in a third world country in extreme poverty. With permission from his abbot he left the order and joined one who served the poor and dieing of India, then East Pakistan. He was there, a young man, during The Bangladesh Liberation War, an armed conflict pitting West Pakistan against East Pakistan (two halves of one country) and India, which resulted in the secession of East Pakistan to become the independent nation of Bangladesh. Many men, women and children were displaced, starved, killed in the warfare or died of diseases.

It was in Bangladesh Will became one "well acquainted with grief" ( Isaiah 53:3). His exposure to sustained human suffering took its toll psychologically, calling into question the supposed goodness of an All Good God. His faith in tremendous crisis, he took his daily and sustaining grace from encounters with the living and the dieing, their attempts at affirming life in the midst of ongoing human catastrophe. He reverently told me of children playing witha mostly deflated soccer ball in the midst of human carnage wit and immediacy of ecstatic presense as only children can have in their resilient innocence. Will feelingly spoke of the passion of Christ, the suffering, the crucifixion, the burial and of the account that while He was dead He descended into hell to minister to the lost souls there. We both mused that if such was indeed the case, that the Great Physician spent time in hell then hell would never be the same after that. We were amused together about "when was the last time you heard a good sermon preached on this most obvious and revolutionary story of Compassion's descent into hell therefore hell would never be the same again from such a Visitation and assumed liberation. Will willed himself to live in the antinomy of the meaningless suffering he witnessed and ministered to and the mystery of the Paschal Christ suffering, dieing, descending into hell and being present with those there. His dream urgency to hear of the Resurrection speaks to his lack of belief in it as a living experience but for the incidents of human kindness in the midst of injustice, cruelty, and suffering.

After some years in Bangladesh Will served the poor in various orders in Africa and eventually, semi-retired, returned to New York City where he taught in several seminaries. The extreme contrast between America, its extraverted materialistic values, New York City being a glaring example, and emphasis upon the self, upon money and all it can buy, became toxic for him. The almost comical and maudlin mostly media-driven "god talk and spirit talk" he heard daily from politicians to TV preachers to talk show hosts, the consumerization of not only Christianity but of other world religions parsed and piece-milled together by choice (remember, America is pragmatic, one picks and chooses a belief by ego and will) in a hodge podge porridge of sentiment and show ("namaste") appalled him. He could not identify with the almost protoplasmic drive of American "greed and gimme gimme", and the apparent, he felt, unholy wedding of many religious institutions, including the one he spent his life within, and spiritual belief systems. From the conservative Christian prosperity gospel to New Age "think and be rich" spirituality which are actually one and the same in terms of means to monetary ends he found himself more and more alienated. He also reacted to the mania, what James Hillman has pointed out as a manic defense, passed off as "happiness" in one of the most, if not the most, depressed country in the world ironically devoted to, in part, "the pursuit of happiness".

He, too, became depressed, a man without a country in his native land, his isolation exacerbated by his life experience of living amongst the most profoundly poor and suffering of the world and witnessing the most authentic joy and happpiness amidst the worst of circumstances of genuine human suffering. Potentially serious health concerns from years of diseases, the physical and emotional hard work in third world nations now prevent his longed for return to live and die amongst whom he believes to be "the poorest yet most joyous". Observing the tragic and buffoonish irony in the manic pursuit of American recreational shopping and acquisition, its addictive and psychopathic disregard for others, even wealthy others much less the less well off and more unfortunate, "culture shock," he said, "does not even come close to what I am feeling here and for all of my inner and outter resourcefulness in the midst of my work with "the used, abused and utterly screwed up" (a phrase he culled from Thomas Klise's profound novel of the decline of the world, The Last Western) I am at wits end to find a way toward meaningful living in a culture which complains but essentially turns a willful blind eye away from any activism and self-examination about this "culture of death." From his work in the third world his mysticism was nurtured and grounded within Liberation Theology which was born and developed in the 20th century in the poorest, most oppressed and ignored areas in third world countries. Globally powerful religious institutions intent on impacting peoples personal morality while not focusing upon and emphasizing focus social and economic justice, not taking care of the poor, "the least of these among you" , he found himself becoming more and more bitter in bloated America.

"My bile is actually a healthy response to what is going on. It's just that I don't have the venues now as an older man that I would have had as a younger, healthier, more resilient man. I'm also humiliated to find that at my age I would be depressed and stuck. I'm not happy though happiness ala capitalist America is not my goal here. Meaningful living with what you, Warren, call the "givens of existence" is enough for me. One takes comfort and gives comfort where one can but I'm in this damned dark night of the soul; at least, NOT the one I expected. Damn it!"

I immediately recalled the last paragraph in Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

"Will, if we work together I must now warn you that you will hear me speak much of Carl Jung. And I may read a bit of him here and there outloud to you if he seems pertinent and you are game. Jung may fit here if you allow me to read just a paragraph, the last, in his biography."

"I'm game. Read."

Keeping my Jung books near at hand I easily found the book and began to read:
When Lao-tzu says: "All are clear, I alone am clouded," he is
expressing what I now feel in advanced old age. Lao-tzu is the
example of a man with superior insight who has seen and ex-
perienced worth and worthlessness, and who at the end of his
life desires to return into his own being, into the eternal un-
knowable meaning. The archetype of the old man who has seen
enough is eternally true. At every level of intelligence this type
appears, and its lineaments are always the same, whether it be
an old peasant or a great philosopher like Lao-tzu. This is old
age, and a limitation. Yet there is so much that fills me: plants,
animals, clouds, day and night, and the eternal in man. The
more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has
grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things. In fact it
seems to me as if that alienation which so long separated me
from the world has become transferred into my own inner world,
and has revealed to me an unexpected unfamiliarity with myself. 



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Manic mode:



And
this extended quote from the old British Isles region and religion in
which great happiness is taken about the dark, they who dwell aware of
the shadows within and round about, the mysterious and dubious forces
which expand us with fear, awe and if endured, happiness, authentic
happiness which embraces pathos for these dark ones inhabit us, concern
us and our well-being in terms of psychic wholeness, as well.

I
'hoppin'ed 'pon this' while researching the etymology of the word
'happy', an extended entry upon the word 'hobbit' in which whilst
reading I felt extremely happy to happen upon this entry haphazardly as
luck, which is what 'happy' means etymologically, would have it. Be
sure to read the entire list. Some great names to call people. Here is
the link to what is below:

[http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=happiness&searchmode=none]

"Hobbit Look up Hobbit at Dictionary.com
1937, coined in the fantasy tales of J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973).
"Hobbit is an invention. In the Westron the word used, when the people was referred to at all, was banakil 'halfling.' But ... the folk of the Shire and of Bree used the word kuduk .... It seems likely that kuduk was a worn-down form of kûd-dûkan [='hole-dweller']. The latter I have translated ... by holbytla ['hole-builder']; and hobbit provides a word that might well be a worn-down form of holbytla, if the name had occurred in our ancient language." [Tolkien, "Return of the King," 1955, p.416]
"On a blank leaf I scrawled: 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.' I did not and do not know why." [Tolkien, letter to W.H. Auden, dated 1955]
The word also turns up in a very long list of folkloric supernatural creatures in the writings of Michael Aislabie Denham (d.1859), printed in volume 2 of "The Denham Tracts" [ed. James Hardy, London: Folklore Society, 1895], a compilation of Denham's scattered publications. Denham was an early folklorist who concentrated on Northumberland, Durham, Westmoreland, Cumberland, the Isle of Man, and Scotland.
"What a happiness this must have been seventy or eighty years ago and upwards, to those chosen few who had the good luck to be born on the eve of this festival of all festivals; when the whole earth was so overrun with ghosts, boggles, bloody-bones, spirits, demons, ignis fatui, brownies, bugbears, black dogs, specters, shellycoats, scarecrows, witches, wizards, barguests, Robin-Goodfellows, hags, night-bats, scrags, breaknecks, fantasms, hobgoblins, hobhoulards, boggy-boes, dobbies, hob-thrusts, fetches, kelpies, warlocks, mock-beggars, mum-pokers, Jemmy-burties, urchins, satyrs, pans, fauns, sirens, tritons, centaurs, calcars, nymphs, imps, incubuses, spoorns, men-in-the-oak, hell-wains, fire-drakes, kit-a-can-sticks, Tom-tumblers, melch-dicks, larrs, kitty-witches, hobby-lanthorns, Dick-a-Tuesdays, Elf-fires, Gyl-burnt-tales, knockers, elves, rawheads, Meg-with-the-wads, old-shocks, ouphs, pad-foots, pixies, pictrees, giants, dwarfs, Tom-pokers, tutgots, snapdragons, sprets, spunks, conjurers, thurses, spurns, tantarrabobs, swaithes, tints, tod-lowries, Jack-in-the-Wads, mormos, changelings, redcaps, yeth-hounds, colt-pixies, Tom-thumbs, black-bugs, boggarts, scar-bugs, shag-foals, hodge-pochers, hob-thrushes, bugs, bull-beggars, bygorns, bolls, caddies, bomen, brags, wraiths, waffs, flay-boggarts, fiends, gallytrots, imps, gytrashes, patches, hob-and-lanthorns, gringes, boguests, bonelesses, Peg-powlers, pucks, fays, kidnappers, gallybeggars, hudskins, nickers, madcaps, trolls, robinets, friars' lanthorns, silkies, cauld-lads, death-hearses, goblins, hob-headlesses, bugaboos, kows, or cowes, nickies, nacks necks, waiths, miffies, buckies, ghouls, sylphs, guests, swarths, freiths, freits, gy-carlins Gyre-carling, pigmies, chittifaces, nixies, Jinny-burnt-tails, dudmen, hell-hounds, dopple-gangers, boggleboes, bogies, redmen, portunes, grants, hobbits, hobgoblins, brown-men, cowies, dunnies, wirrikows, alholdes, mannikins, follets, korreds, lubberkins, cluricauns, kobolds, leprechauns, kors, mares, korreds, puckles korigans, sylvans, succubuses, blackmen, shadows, banshees, lian-hanshees, clabbernappers, Gabriel-hounds, mawkins, doubles, corpse lights or candles, scrats, mahounds, trows, gnomes, sprites, fates, fiends, sibyls, nicknevins, whitewomen, fairies, thrummy-caps, cutties, and nisses, and apparitions of every shape, make, form, fashion, kind and description, that there was not a village in England that had not its own peculiar ghost. Nay, every lone tenement, castle, or mansion-house, which could boast of any antiquity had its bogle, its specter, or its knocker. The churches, churchyards, and crossroads were all haunted. Every green lane had its boulder-stone on which an apparition kept watch at night. Every common had its circle of fairies belonging to it. And there was scarcely a shepherd to be met with who had not seen a spirit!"
[Emphasis added] It is curious that the name occurs nowhere else in folklore, and there is no evidence that Tolkien ever saw this."
Important to note that as pertaining pathological happiness, to pathos and pathology in particular, that Tolkien's first note about hobbits is that they live in holes in the ground which is underworld imagery, the place of the dark, the hidden, the mysterious and tricksterish forces. Suffer, the word etymologically means 'to undergo', sub = under, ferre = go, carry. It can mean "under carriage", that part of a cart or car which carries and sustains the weight of the cabin above it. Hobbits are known to be innately happy creatures (see my William James reference in the text below re: 'healthy minded religion' about tempermentally people with positive dispositions. The shadow of hobbits, healthy-minded one, to use James' term, is 'sick-minded', those innately aware of shadow and the pathos dimensions of being. The entire hobbit series can be seen as a hobbit's individuation process of integrating the shadow, pathos, sick-minded aspects of self naturally in the unconscious of those predispostioned to "healthy-mindedness". That hobbits live in holes in the ground belies the as yet to be made conscious awareness and integration of the depth dimensions, the pathos dimensions of existence. But I am ahead of what lies beneath this beginning. I'm in the hole already. Proceed with all the listed nether beings above to accompany you.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Brunch With Nietzsche, A Dazzlement On The Ocassion Of His Birthday

for mis compadres, Low McClendon and Andrew Linton


[Autumn leaves cling on.  Keene, NY.  March 2016.  Photo by W. Falcon]


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It's undertow that matters. -- Jango Kammenstein

Dear Friedrich,

I am the man most pursued in last night's dream.
That emaciated thing at my back keeps tracking me.
I remain just out of reach. Classic. Even there
as here I am escaping something, a life time of
practice in this Kingdom of the Canker.

It was no banker who followed me last night
but a starved lacklove rejected by Canker and, well,
by me. Who'd want that part all start and no finish?
Replenishment has often enough meant hiding out
and a demand that it keep at least 5 arm lengths away.

I will try, I tell it, to look at it but I find its presence
most disturbing. Its handful of leaves continually
proffered leaves me in a quandary. What do they
mean, this offering, though my father was a lumberjack?
Perhaps this is a track of sorts to follow for an end
to the mystery.

I am stumped.


One adjusts. Continually.

The persona is adaptation
appearing to be solid but sleep reveals the neutrality
of the animal.

Dreams tell us otherwise
when we remember them as it takes an ego to witness,
to remember.

They reveal that we are
caught up into something so much greater than
flush and stir.

It's a wonder we make do
as much as we do and still call ourselves by name,
a species of animal, 'homo sapiens'.


I regret self pity.
I'd reject it if I could but it adheres,
last resort of old coots born honestly
into it no matter the copious Mercurochrome baths,
the smelling salts obviating the needed nipple.

The stippled trout I nightly catch,
pink insides turned out by blue blade
kept beneath the pillow,

baits me with the riddle
again and again.

Something about a stand of trees,
a man carving some bark,
what breath is for.


Today the Market reports a run on Mercurochrome.

Birth goes on.

I am for rebirth.

A dirth of days makes me suddenly Hindu,
foregoing gurus and bindu point.

I've made my own here.

Selah.


Still, methinks I'll have your ear
for a little while longer, a handful of leaves only for
my thanks,

one foot well into
Cracked and Crank, the drunk tank a memory
worn out.

Doubt is my companion.

Love, too. No remorse here.
Buys me time, aftershave and
loads of underwear for the trickles ahead.

Thank the gods for all that.

Oh. And one last good cigar.


Truly,

Birdie 


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Just Finished Rereading "The Paintings Of Giocometti" by Jean Paul Sartre


[Sketches from Giacometti's sketch books]


"He rejects promiscuity, the casual relations of proximity..."

"Diego is not solidly stitched, but, in the language of dressmakers, only basted...."

"Emptiness seeps in everywhere, between the eyes and eyelids, between the lips, into the nostrils. A face becomes an archipelago."

- Jean Paul Sartre, "The Paintings of Giocometti"

Just finished yet another read of one of my favorite essays, period. Jean Paul Sartre's The Paintings of Giocometti in his book of essays, Situations. I first read it in a Steak n Eggs, downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee near the U of Tn, in self-exile from the Christan college I had attended, alienated by and from the Southern culture I had inherited and so very much needed to flee. Amidst the grease stains, the hash browns, King James, Pall Malls, and weak coffee, to make matters worse an agonizing case of chilblains, also known as pernio, had me on the wrack and the hard booth seat, a naugahide special ripped and filthy,, this essay soothed and siren called me eventually Northward to NYC, to museums where I could embrace Giocometti and more who bore my inner burdens no ill will though artists, writers, were all spilled, and spilling still, out of Western cultural seams, thank god, but even god was in question thus Jean Paul and the tenderness with which he wrote of Giocometti, his paintings, for all ourselves:

"The small statue at my feet is a pedestrian seen in the rear-view mirror of an automobile--about to disappear. In vain do I approach him: he keeps his distance. These solitude repel the visitor with all the insuperable length of a room, a lawn, a glade one dare not cross. They bear witness to the strange paralysis which grips Giocometti at the sight of a fellow creature. Not that he is a misanthrope. This numbness is the effect of surprise mindgled with fear, often admiration, and sometimes respect. True, he is distant, but distance, after all, was invented by man and has no meaning outside the context of human space; it separated Hero from Leander and Marathon from Athens, but does not separate one pebble from another. I first understood distance one evening in April, 1941. I hadspent two months in a prison camp, which is like saying, in a sardine can, where I had experienced absolute proximity. My skin was the boundary of my living space. Day and night I felt the warmth of a shoulder or a thigh against my body. But it was never disturbing, as the others were a part of me. On my first night of freedom, a stranger in my native city, not having yet reached my friends of former days, I pushed open the door of a cafe. Suddenly, I experienced a feeling of fear--or something close to fear. I could not understand how these squat, bulging buildings could conceal such deserts. I was lost; the few drinkers seemed more distant than starts...If these men, shimmering comfortably within their tubes of rarified gas seemed inaccessible to me, it was because I no longer had the right to place my hand on their shoulder or thigh, or to call one of the "fat-head." I had rejoined bourgeois society, where I would have to learn to live once again "at a respectful distance." This sudden agoraphobia betrayed my vague feeling of regret for the collective life from which I had been forever severed. The same is true of Giocometti. For him, distance is not voluntary isolation, nor even a movement of withdrawal. It is a requirement, a ceremony, a sense of difficulty, the product--and he says this himself--of powers of attraction and forces of repulsion. If he was unable to cross those few feet of shining wood separating him from those nude women [the paintings Sartre is discussing], it was because poverty or shyness nailed him to his chair. But if he felt the distance insuperable, it was because he yearned to touch that luxuriant flesh. He rejects promiscuity, the casual relations of proximity, because he wants friendship and love. He dares not take for fear of being taken. His figurines are solitary, but when placed together, in whatever combination, they are united by their solitude, to suddenly form a magical society...

- Jean Paul Sartre, "The Paintings of Giocometti"

A sampler on google here



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A face becomes an archipelago.







[All photos by Warren Falcon]



Thursday, September 8, 2016

After Robert Lowell, Catholic Camp (circa 1978)

[from early poems,1970's, youthful attempts at voice]

An island of pines mock
Our Lady's open gesture.
A rain of sticks beats
upon tents of the austere.
The priest lives here in the
Sanctuary where Mary, too,
Resides, and the Host,
And a maid's quarter in
the rear, her cleansing
Hands, and the Father's.

Will venial sins vere
These holy scansions
Over blood, over wine
Most sincerely draught,
A grace bought it seems
By our prostrations and
Murmurs and fears for
Heaven in uneven loaves?

Are these leavened,
And are we mortals
To sort our thanks
Each chew  a rosary
Sacrifice renewed
With each bite

Finalized anew with
Each swallow sending
Immanuel like Jonas
Down into the morning
Growling pit craving
The body but not the
Deity Of the Lord?

Dumb Fish, Cheap Grace, Disconsolation To Individuation

"You start escaping into the other. Gather courage. Take a plunge into your being. Let us be acquainted with our own Center. Let us ask only one question, "Who am I?" All else is meaningless. Unless this question is answered all your love affairs, friendships are all nonsense. Unless this question is answered nothing is answered. Go into your aloneness. Let only one quest, "who am I?" And don't seek consolations because cheap consolations are available. The mind is very clever in supplying them. When you ask, "who am I?" and the mind can supply immediately and answer, and the mind is very clever. Mind says, "You are god. You are a soul, immortal soul." These are the ideas in put by the Magician put in the heads of poor sheep. The magician suggest to a few that you are lions, to few that you are eagles, to few that you are man, to few that you are even Magicians. That Magicians hypnotize the sheep and told them that "you are immortal souls. Nobody can harm you ever. How [can] you be harmed? The Magician suggested [to] them that, "I am for you. I am the best master you can find ever and I exist for you. And I will do whatever is needed and I will do whatsoever is good for you. Even if I kill you I will be killing you just for your sake." You have been given these ideas by the society. Your mind is nothing but a projection of the society. It is society within you. The penetration of the society inside you. It is in the image of society. You have been told things and you have believed...this is not your answer. You have been taught by the Magician. I am not saying the answer is wrong or right. I am simply saying it is not your answer and when the answer is not yours [NOT an induction] it is wrong."


I have known master Magicians. I have trained and sat at their entrancing feet, fed on their every entrancing word and I have been altered but, alas, after years of perhaps wasted time there I have not been altar-ed.

A hard lesson: states of mind can be easily altered but what a true mystic, Paul of Tarsus says, renewal and transformation of the mind and is not easy and without Grace it is not to had much less lived. Superfluous, glib manipulations of already entanced inductees via their own projections upon the entrancer serves more ill than good in terms of individuation lest it be a wake up emerging out of group/guru trance into clear adult, mature perspectives arriving from personhood and not the "sheep"-hood Osho speaks of in the above quote.

SO, imperative, one must discover and own one's sheephood :
where does one most want to be led, to give over one's own questioning and critical intellect, one's own authority? Where is one most likely to get "mugged" by one's dependency needs, dependency projections? where, and HOW, does one most want to regress into Innocence and long for a "return to the Garden," pronouncing that one's Fall is an illusion and propaganda of power grabbing religions? where is one to be most seduced into "return" to an imagined sinless beginning and who is offering such a return? Regression is hard-wired in our nervous systems and when there are appeals and promises of return via meditations upon fire, air, water, earth, or some individual or other who has transcended then one must be most awake. One is in perilous territory and one is also prone to entrust oneself and mind to some other who may or may not be worthy of such trust and surrender.

I am no authority in this matter but from my own experience and hard lessons, humiliating lessons derived from so many wasted hours, days, years being an unwitting sheep at the feet of profferers of power all the while disguised in "god or spirit talk" I have learned that no matter the god before one, the entrance into sacrality, one must not sacrifice one's ego and mind en toto to that which presents.

A dream of Carl Jung's recorded in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, illustrates what I have just said. From Michael Vannoy Adam's summary of Jung's dream:

"In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung (1963) recounts a dream ...what I call the “Millimeter to Spare Dream.” In the dream, Jung and his father enter a house that has a room that is a replica of the council hall of Sultan Akbar, the Muslim emperor of Mughal India. In that room, Jung’s father prays in the Islamic style. “Then he knelt down and touched his forehead to the floor,” Jung says. “I imitated him, likewise kneeling, with great emotion. For some reason I could not bring my forehead quite down to the floor—there was perhaps a millimeter to spare” (p. 219). Jung interprets the dream to mean that “things awaited me, hidden in the unconscious.” He says: “I had to submit to this fate, and ought really to have touched my forehead to the floor, so that my submission would be complete. But something prevented me from doing to entirely, and kept me just a millimeter away. Something in me was saying, ‘All very well, but not entirely.’” What was this something that prevented Jung from complete submission? “Man always,” he says, “has some mental reservation, even in the face of divine decrees. Otherwise, where would be his freedom?” (Jung, 1963, p. 220)." Adams, 2002

Jung goes on to say, "Something in me was defiant and determined not to be a dumb fish...Man always has some mental reservation, even in the face of divine decrees. Otherwise, where would be his freedom? And what would be the use of that freedom if it could not threaten Him who threatens it?

Adams continues:

To submit to God without any mental reservation is for the ego not to engage in free, critical conversation with the unconscious. In this respect, to practice prayer—or active imagination—is for the ego to exercise the freedom not to accept the opinions of the unconscious as dictates but to assess those opinions and either
accept or reject them. The purpose of Jungian psychoanalysis is not for the ego to capitulate, or surrender unconditionally, to the opinions of the unconscious but to relate to them effectively—that is, freely, critically—through dialogue and negotiation. Prostration of the ego before the unconscious may be the Islamic [and other religions] style, but it is not the Jungian style. Dialogue or negotiation with God (or the unconscious) is very different from submission to God."

Jung goes on to say this of this millimeter to spare:

These were the things that awaited me, hidden in the unconscious.
I had to submit to this fate, and ought really to have
touched my forehead to the floor, so that my submission would
be complete. But something prevented me from doing so entirely,
and kept me just a millimeter away. Something in me was
saying, "All very well, but not entirely." Something in me was
defiant and determined not to be a dumb fish: and if there
were not something of the sort in free men, no Book of Job would
have been written several hundred years before the birth of
Christ. Man always has some mental reservation, even in the
face of divine decrees. Otherwise, where would be his freedom?
And what would be the use of that freedom if it could not
threaten Him who threatens it?"


Both Jung and Adams, who explicates Jung helpfully in regard to becoming what Osho calls an entranced "sheep" and what Jung calls a "dumb fish" swimming around in unconsciously identified with the water one swims in, seek to preserve freedom to choose, to be in conscious relationship to others, to spiritual teachers and systems, to that which is called by many names, essentially unknowable but definitely experiential.

Spiritual teaching East and West value and require complete submission to their Deity, the teachings regarding the spiritual relationship, and ultimate salvation, enlightenment and transformation. Jung's dream is an ancient dream as well a modern/post-modern dream, preserving human freedom to consciously engage with, argue with, disagree with even the Creator. This is not strange to religions. The Jewish Torah and other sacred books give many accounts of prophets arguing and reasoning with G-d. When Moses argued with G-d he was not allowed to enter the promised land but G-d loved him and wept when Moses breath was taken from him and he died. Moses preserved something human in the face of Divinity and Divine decree which outlived him and lives on in humanity. Although at times functions as a Magician with his staff and word bringing about many plagues, even parting the Red Sea, he was essentially a Mystic who was shown G-d's presence, was ushered into it, and in the face of That Presence was utterly altered and altar-ed. One can say a conversation was begun and continued until the breath was gone between Moses and sacred reality. In this conversation and relationship even sacred reality was changed and forced to grow, to become more just and compassionate, to enter the "broken world and to trace what poet Hart Crane calls "visionary company of love," a love presented in and through the breaks, the cracks, the dusty instinctual world upon which even G-d depends for continued evolution.

Human freedom furthers evolution, risks dissolution but always seeks some way of knowing which affects one's being and ongoing becoming as response. Becoming aware of trance, of the abuses of trance (an occupational hazzard of consciousness), and how easily it is to shape shift into many lenses which shape or "create" one's experience of reality, profane and sacred, is essential human activity, it is what we as a species do besides make things. I personally believe that Mysticism precedes or should Making. Magicians are makers of frames of reality. They presume to act for and on behalf of Sacred Reality, are often inflated believing that they are the Creator Itself.
****************************************


I have rediscovered that I am more inclined to the Mystic's path and not that of the Magician ( the shaman, sorcerer, who must with impecability, at least in the attempt of that impossible state, not misuse the powers available to she/he who is initiated and, now with good enough depth psychology, aware of the clever seductions and manipulations of power.. Temperamentally I am more inclined to the former than the latter though I realize that the shadow lies in the Magicians path and have been forced upon it for the sake of some wrenching, humiliated and ultimately humbling encounter with shadow and the shadow of power and power of shadow."

This is all I have so far but I hope the a-muses will assist the next 2 days in making the above into an informative cautionary tale, a promo for Jungian analysis or its equivalent which advocates continual shadow work in order to remain grounded and uninflated by the powers which are all too easily available. Just look at advertising agencies and focus groups. Just watch "The Century of the Self" with Adam Curtis on google video and one will be horrified at the subjectivity of consciousness and "truth" and the abuse of trance states to sway individuals and groups into illusions/delusions of "freedom" and "autonomy"...none of us are free for trance seems to be wired in us...trances seem to be hardwired, capacities for trances...and thus the 10,000 things flourish...with this in mind a Buddhist or mindfulness practice which exposes the subtleties of trances in the "focus group" manipulations of religions/spiritualities/viagra and soap sales, et.al. or, eyes wide shut in the grip of ayahuasca or one's own self-aware/induced horrors make absolute sense...


********************

Jung's passage regarding the dream referred to above::

The problem of Job in all its ramifications had likewise been
foreshadowed in a dream. It started with my paying a visit to my
long-deceased father. He was living in the country I did not
know where. I saw a house in the style of the eighteenth century,
very roomy, with several rather large outbuildings. It had originally been, I learned, an inn at a/spa, and it seemed thatmany great personages, famous people and princes, had stopped there. Furthermore, several had died and their sarcophagi werein a crypt belonging to the house. My father guarded these as custodian.

He was, as I soon discovered, not only the custodian but
also a distinguished scholar in his own right which he had
never been in his lifetime. I met him in his study, and, oddly
enough, Dr. Y. who was about my age and his son, both
psychiatrists, were also present. I do not know whether I had
asked a question or whether ipy father wanted to explain something
of his own accord, but in any case he fetched a bigBible down from a shelf, a heavy folio volume like the MerianBible in my library. The Bible my father held was bound inshiny fishskin. He opened it at the Old Testament I guessed that he turned to the Pentateuch and began interpreting a certain passage. He did this so swiftly and so learnedly that I could not follow him. I noted only that what he said betrayed a vast amount of variegated knowledge, the significance of which I dimly apprehended but could not properly judge or grasp. I saw that Dr. Y. understood nothing at all, and his son began to laugh. They thought that my father was going off the deep end and what he said was simply senile prattle. But it was quite clear to me that it was not due to morbid excitement, and that there was nothing silly about what he was saying. On the contrary, his argument was so intelligent and so learned that we in our stupidity simply could not follow it. It dealt with something extremely important which fascinated him. That was why he was speaking with such intensity; his mind was flooded with profound ideas. I was annoyed and thought it was a pity that he had to talk in the presence of three such idiots as we.

The two psychiatrists represented a limited medical point of
view which, of course, also infects me as a physician. They
represent my shadow first and second editions of the shadow,
father and son. Then the scene changed. My father and I were in front of thehouse, facing a kind of shed where, apparently, wood was stacked. We heard loud thumps, as if large chunks of wood were being thrown down or tossed about. I had the impression that at least two workmen must be busy there, but my father indicated to me that the place was haunted. Some sort of poltergeistswere making the racket, evidently.

We then entered the house, and I saw that it had very thick
walls. We climbed a narrow staircase to the second floor. There
a strange sight presented itself: a large hall which was the
exact replica of the divan-i-kaas (council hall) of Sultan Akbar
at Fatehpur Sikri. It was a high, circular room with a gallery
running along the wall, from which four bridges led to a basinshaped center. The basin rested upon a huge column and
formed the sultan's round seat. From this elevated place he
spoke to his councilors and philosophers, who sat along the
walls in the gallery. The whole was a gigantic mandala. It
corresponded precisely to the real divan-i-kaas.

In the dream I suddenly saw that from the center a steep
flight of stairs ascended to a spot high up on the wall which
no longer corresponded to reality. At the top of the stairs was
a small door, and my father said, "Now I will lead you into the
highest presence." Then he knelt down and touched his forehead
to the floor. I imitated him, likewise kneeling, with great
emotion. For some reason I could not bring my forehead quite
down to the floor there was perhaps a millimeter to spare.
But at least I had made the gesture with him. Suddenly I knew
perhaps my father had told me that that upper door led to a
solitary chamber where lived Uriah, King David's general,
whom David had shamefully betrayed for the sake of his wife
Bathsheba, by commanding his soldiers to abandon Uriah in
the face of the enemy.

I must make a few explanatory remarks concerning this dream.
The initial scene describes how the unconscious task which I
had left to my "father," that is, to the unconscious, was working
out. He was obviously engrossed in the Bible Genesis? and
eager to communicate his insights. The fishskin marks the
Bible as an unconscious content, for fishes are mute and unconscious.
My poor father does not succeed in communicating
either, for the audience is in part incapable of understanding, in
part maliciously stupid. After this defeat we cross the street to the "other side," where poltergeists are at work. Poltergeist phenomena usually take place in the vicinity of young people before puberty; that is to say, I am still immature and too unconscious. The Indian ambience illustrates the "other side." When I was in India, themandala structure of the divan~i-kaas had in actual fact powerfully impressed me as the representation of a content related to a center. The center* is the seat of Akbar the Great, who rules over a subcontinent, who is a "lord of this world," like David. But even higher than David stands his guiltless victim, his loyal general Uriah, whom he abandoned to the enemy. Uriah is a prefiguration of Christ, the god-man who was abandoned by God. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" On top of that, David had "taken unto himself" Uriah's wife.
Only later did I understand what this allusion to Uriah signified:

not only was I forced to speak publicly, and very much to my
detriment, about the ambivalence of the God-image in the Old
Testament; but also, my wife would be taken from me by death.
These were the things that awaited me, hidden in the unconscious.
I had to submit to this fate, and ought really to have
touched my forehead to the floor, so that my submission would
be complete. But something prevented me from doing so entirely,
and kept me just a millimeter away. Something in me was
saying, "All very well, but not entirely." Something in me was
defiant and determined not to be a dumb fish: and if there
were not something of the sort in free men, no Book of Job would
have been written several hundred years before the birth of
Christ. Man always has some mental reservation, even in the
face of divine decrees. Otherwise, where would be his freedom?
And what would be the use of that freedom if it could not
threaten Him who threatens it?
Uriah, then, lives in a higher place than Akbar. He is even,
as the dream said, the '^highest presence,'* an expression which
properly is used only of God, unless we are dealing in Byzantinisms.
I cannot help thinking here of the Buddha and his relationship
to the gods. For the devout Asiatic, the Tathagata is the All-
Highest, the Absolute. For that reason Hinayana Buddhism has
been suspected of atheism very wrongly so. By virtue of the
power of the gods man is enabled to gain an insight into his
Creator. He has even been given the power to annihilate Creation
in its essential aspect, that is, man's consciousness of the
world. Today he can extinguish all higher life on earth by radioactivity. The idea of world annihilation is already suggested by the Buddha: by means of enlightenment the Nidana chain
the chain of causality which leads inevitably to old age, sickness,
and death can be broken, so that the illusion of Being comfes
to an end. Schopenhauer's negation of the Will points prophetically
to a problem of the future that has already come threatingly
close. The dream discloses a thought and a premonition
that have long been present in humanity: the idea of the creature
that surpasses its creator by a small but decisive factor.

Thoughts On Rimbaud, Imitation Versus Individuation

"Ah! I am so forsaken I will worship at any shrine impulses toward perfection!" - from The Drunken Boat, second poem

One must not imitate Rimbaud or any other epochal poet/creative artist. One must only imitate Rimbaud, Verlaine, Baudelaire, Artaud, others in this most important sense, each must, like Rimbaud/others, make their own experiment, live according to their own "daemon", consciously so, else that "daemon" (which is a force of nature, not conscious but conscious only as a volcano is conscious) lives/grips the individual. Without conscious resistance and relationship to this "daemonic force" (which the poet Rilke says, "secretly deigns to destroy us", Duino Elegies) the individual's ego can be literally worn down, worn out, burnt from within and without by archetyal possession.

When the individual becomes identified with the daemon, the archetypal, he/she becomes inflated resulting in a narcissistic belief that he/she is the archetype itself...as in the case of Rimbaud, this comes at a terrible price for as highly inflated one can become when possessed/identified with the daemon, there is always a compensatory negative deflation into depression, madness, illness depending on the heights of inflation/identification. In the resultant deflation in consequence to inflation one can suffer loss of meaing, loss of value, loss of world view. Addictions are tempting at this point as efforts to soothe as well as to restore the inflated "high" identity with the archetype. Rimbaud's life demonstrates this clearly, along with his early death. That he became a slave trader reveals that for all the ecstatic experiences of daemonic possession he did not arrive at any moral obligations to others. This is the psychopathology of narcissistic inflation for if possessed and identified with an arcetype, a daemon, there is no true self though one believes the daemonic impulses and thrust are one's true self. In actuality there is no true self and where there is no real self there is no other. Others become objects to be used via narcissistic hunger for a real self. Others become surrogate selves who must mirror a true self or one's hope for a true self back to the narcissist who has no "real" self but a symptomatic self subject to infillings of archetypal energies with all kinds of amazing experiences but which in the end leave the narcissist emptier and more void than ever. Best to remember Paracelsus wise counsel, "Why be another when he can be his own." The journey to being one's own is fraught with difficulty, loneliness, terror, and failure of self and of others yet it is the human journey, a heroic journey toward authenticity which requires a conscious encounter with self and other as sacred in and of themselves.

Imitating the life of Rimbaud has destroyed many a creative person, Jim Morrison is an example of being destroyed by the daemon, by identification with the Dionysian energeis. Jazz culture, Beat culture, Rock culture is still daily strewn with fragmented souls, and the young burnt out, crazed or dead. Rimbaud helped return Dionysus to us all. It is imperative that Dionysus, god of dissolution, of dissolving boundaries and of unconscious union/reunion was eventually dismembered, torn apart by the maenads, groupies...one can have the ecstasies but one must also be aware that the dissolution of ego, the dismemberment follows.

On the other hand, Rimbaud, whether he knew it or not, functioned as a prophet of what was beginning to emerge in Western culture, the repressed Christian/Victorian unconscious. He opened up the Pandora's box of primal drives, urges, powers to turn the merely natural, the animal impulses toward the uniquely human shrines where one may worship of "impulses toward perfection", meaning beauty, which humans uniquely seek to create, express and demonstrate. He returned, if you will, the repressed, ancient yet still living "gods" to "worship". And turned us again toward the task of beauty, which the poet Rilke says "is a terror" for a real encounter with beauty does indeed "destroy" us, rearranged old ego stances and reifications into a new order, restored toward Beauty and that which Beauty opens up within the individual psyche which must be somehow translated into daily mundane lives. When one encounters such Beauty one then lives the "romance of the mundane", "Graceless things grow lovely with good uses, " as Buddhist poet John Tarrant restoringly writes. But every poet must arrive at his or her own "good uses". Imitation of Rimbaud, others, anyone can only go so far. Then one must enter the wasteland and have one's own heroic encounter, one's own journey, make one's own experiment, undo life since, says Carl Jung, "life must be undone" toward one's greater wholeness/hold-ness.

The old gods were gods of possession and thus are still to be approached with caution and consciousness else one can be overtaken; transformative, yes, but for the better one is not so sure. Having these dis- and re-orienting experiences via "l'abaissement de la senses" (disorientation of the senses) Rimbaud was transformed which awakened him to the power of the unconscious depths but, as in his case, caused ego inflation and archetypal possession which can and does indeed wear one out. Fortunately, we have Rimbaud's miraculous "shout outs" be oneself, to "make one's own experiment" (Carl Jung's phrase), to make one's mistakes and grow for "life must be undone"...(Carl Jung)...

One must individuate even from Rimbaud...which is what he himself "preaches" throughout his ouvre...find your own voice, poets...and give Rimbaud his due praise. Marvel at his gifts to us which rearrange our own tongues to find our own utterances...

One may imitate in order to learn, to discover one's own vocabulary (always influenced by others so why not Rimbaud, "the master influence", especially of the young creative artist who indeed needs to break free of earlier incumbrances, indoctrinations, education which may socialize one but maim, repress or kill one's authentic spirit and relationship one's "daemon". Rimbaud's message is, if nothing else, to quote Paracelsus Bombastus, why "be another's who can be his own."