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]


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.


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.




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


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, 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 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, 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."

Rainer Maria Rilke's Words on Solitaries - To All Those Invasive Pornographers/Group Mongers of Psyche/Soul


Though much of the quality of my life I owe to good psychotherapy, a solitary venture I greatly value, I have suffered most in that peculiarly extraverted American phenomenon called "group therapy" and later ongoing mutations in New Age "circles jerkles" foolishly participating when everything within me screamed (me ignoring all along), "Run away! Run away!" Eventually, I was fired literally out of the "Jerry Springer Group Grope For God", an anti-intellectual cabal of entertainers/distracters using the most ancient of smoke and mirrors, spirituality or adulterations which only American baby boomers can produce and actually believe and, alas, mea culpa mea culpa maxima mea culpa, I am one of them. It greatly repenteth me to confess it.

I have now returned to my roots, my solitude, that familiar joy and containment of woods, hills, veils, solitary rooms where some few invited souls may enter. I have rediscovered those good solid souls who endured alone, souls who selected their own society, writers mostly of days past where solitude was not a strange thing but the way of life for many spread thinly through the landscape but for cities which have become Urban Dieties collectively attracting the strange and the estranged. Of course, there are hazards which go with solitude, solitariness, but the greatest of hazards are, frankly, others, especially those who think they know what is for "your own good."

Edward Edinger is most helpful here:

"Loneliness is a precursor of the positive experience of aloneness. We might say that while aloneness is a fact of individual existence, the experience of loneliness is--for an individual
which is not yet willing to accept it--the first painful emergence of that fact into consciousness. Loneliness seeks diversion or togetherness in order to forget the uncomfortable fact of individuality. To be an individual means to be a special favored one, and also a lonely one. If loneliness is face instead of forgotten, it can lead over to the creative acceptance of the fact of aloneness.

The aloneness of individuality is represented by the hermit, the monk, the solitary one. In a recently discovered Gnostic Gospel called The Gospel of Thomas there are several significant sayings of Jesus which speak to the "single ones" or the "solitaries." The Greek word is monachoi which could also be translated as the "unified ones":

54. Jesus says: "Blessed are the solitary and the elect, for you will find the Kingdom! Because you have issued from it, you will return to it again."
65..."I (Jesus) say this: When (a person) finds himself solitary, he will be full of light; but when he finds himself divided, he will be full of darkness."
79. Jesus says: "Many stand outside at the door, but it is only the solitaries who will enter into the bridal chamber.""
- Edward F. Edinger, Ego and Archetype, Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche. Penguin Books. 1973. pgs. 171-172.

Here is Rilke:

"When one speaks of solitaries, one always takes too much for granted. One supposes that people know what one is talking about. No, they do not. They have never seen a solitary, they have simply hated him without knowing him. They have been his neighbors who used him up, and the voices in the next room that tempted him. They have incited things against him, so that they made a great noise and drowned him out. Children were in league against him, when he was tender and a child, and with every growth he grew up against the grown-ups. They tracked him to his hiding place, like a beast to be hunted, and his long youth had no closed season. And when he refused to be worn out and got away, they cried out upon that which emanated from him, and called it ugly and cast suspicion upon it. And when he would not listen, they became more distinct and ate away his food and breathed out his air and spat into his poverty so that it became repugnant to him. They brought down disrepute upon him as upon an infectious person and cast stones at him to make him go away more quickly. And they were right in their instinct: for he was indeed their foe.

But then, when he did not raise his eyes, they began to reflect. They suspected that with all this they had done what he had wanted; that they had fortified him in his solitude and helped him to separate himself from them for ever. And now they changed about and, resorting to the final, the extreme, used that other resistance: fame. And at this clamor almost every one has looked up and been distracted."
- Rainer Maria Rilke. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. W.
W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1964. pgs. 160-161.

Fame has indeed become the spiritual gold, the Quest, for spiritual baby boomer narcissists in guise of New Age or adulterated Eastern religions gurus turning the screw of ego another torque tighter. Grandstands and yogic head and handstands notwithstanding, these holy hand jobs milk unthinking collectively driven mobs for both mana and money. Welcome yet again to the new religion, the strange American mutant messiahs intent on material gain, gelt and inclusion in the Mammon god-head.

When living alone on Huckleberry Mountain in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, in my little cabin beside the stream, I worked the all night shift at a half way house, part alcohol detox center and part interlude for schizophrenics whose medications were effective. I worked the late night shift and thus had hours to read, to write, to journal, to contemplate madness and so-called mental health and the wired in need for other humans. My company in those wee hours would be residents with the shakes or those mad ones who had awakened in the middle of the archetypal psyche and could hardly contain much less articulate what they had seen and been put through. These were without a doubt some of the most amazing people I have ever known and interacted with, whose madness, though hell by all accounts, counted so much more greatly than all the channeled "revelations" of caucasian Casandras predicting world plagues and disasters (for a pretty penny to hear, of course).

I recently dreamed of such a true priestess who had been called by archetypal psyche into debts and made to pay a great price. I'll call her Sweet Jane after a woman sung about in a Grateful Dead tune, "Truckin'", "What in the world ever happened to sweet Jane? on reds, vitamin C and cocaine..." Sweet Jane was all of 22 years old and scarred from third degree burns when her god, Jerry Garcia, in her head told her to boil a large vat of water and to plunge her face, arms and hands in. She did. Repeatedly. Even though her hands were horribly scarred and damaged she could play her guitar well, Grateful Dead tunes, of course, and a few love songs to Garcia. Sweet Jane appeared to be sane in conversations yet, though medication helped, her references to Garcia and Dead lyrics were pretexts, subtexts and contexts for all things stated. This we might think is insanity outright but I grew up in the American South (and have found it now to be a phenomena all over the American landscape) where many pepper their speech with Bible verses, Biblical references and contexts, a kind of spiritual tourettes completely encouraged and rarely questioned. To hear Sweet Jane do with Garcia and Grateful Dead lyrics was not any different than most folks of the good and godly "Christ-haunted landscape" of the South and now mass media talk show hosts and politicians. Why not Jerry Garcia instead of Jesus? What sacred purgative ritual was Sweet Jane performing for us all? Some raw uncooked archetype had emerged in the land, in the American collective, large chunks of shadow which had been projected upon other races, sexualities, nations, along with repressed, devalued ancient spiritual traditions which compelled many Americans (and other Western cultures) to chase after utterly enchanted and fascinated by archetypal psyche. But it mostly remained raw, these archetypal contents, uncooked, possessed, pursued all the while those chasing after were in the grips of said contents. Mass inflation ensued from identification with the archetypal psyche with many caught up in the libido of such archetypes, soaring high, "getting by, getting high, getting strange" (lyrics from a Kris Kristoferson song). Sweet Jane was being called upon by a messianic figure of American white youth culture to cook these contents. In alchemy water refers to solutio, the process of dissolving solid things into liquid form in order to be cooked or to cook the contents dissolved. As is the case of most people, the contents of the unconscious are either denied (as a defense against the archetypal reality) or believed concretely. This poor and primitive relationship to symbols produces denial or inflation and in the '60's and '70's and, alas, currently, this dynamic continues as unconsciously as it always has with New Age gurus, healers, shamans, priests/pristesses who are, indeed, in touch with archetypal energies but have this primitive relationship to them and think that it is their accomplishment to be able to wield the energies. This is a dangerous inflation. The power of psyche remains uncooked, raw, and is now marketed with many consumers buying. The hard work of integrating the contents of the psyche is refused or "work-shopped" in typical extraverted American Mc-Therapies, Mc-Spiritualities (amalgums of hodge podge confections plundered uncritically and, frankly, disrespecting ancient traditions turned into consumer items to be picked at, nibbled at in a nouveau cuisine intended to ventilate egos rather than individuate.

Sweet Jane prophetically enacted a symbolic requirement for cooking (which means, making conscious, bringing to consciousness) the inflated narcissism which the culture had seized upon in the Beat, the hippie and ongoing youth culture. Her face was forever a burned mask, slits for eyes (which thankfully could see), stubs for fingers which could stretch toward chords of Grateful Dead tunes. The boiling water is an image not only water and solutio but that process brought on by fire (in alchemy this fire process is call calcinatio).

To Be Continued