Friday, December 24, 2010

Inferior Function notes

"Jung defines the shadow as "the thing a person has no wish to be."

Renaissance and Jungian psychology can also be reconciled with Christianity. For example, a Christian monk who is also a Jungian explains the passions and the shadow in this way: The shadow carries the "disagreeable and ruthless elements in myself," the "rejected bad qualities" that otherwise we would recognize as our own, the shortcomings that corrupt and taint all our loves. Our attempts to escape facing up to our shadow bring down God's wrath, which is not anger, but "unrelenting opposition" to whatever damages us."

-Doris T. Myers, Bareface: a guide to C.S. Lewis's last novel. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri. 2004. pg. 35

"The central question in the life of the Christian [or in the life of one who is inclined to Higher Power, to Ultimate Ground of All Being] is: Who am I in relationship with God? In his little book, Depth Psychology and Religious Belief, Christopher Bryant leaves no question as to the importance of bringing one's whole personality to bear on one's attitude toward one's relationship with God. There is an essential unity in one's psychic life which cannot be ignored if one is to strive for an integrated existence. "The secret of success, or at least of getting the best out of yourself...lies largely in getting your unconscious to work in harmony with your conscious mind." To do so, it is very important for the individual to come to some realization of how he or she functions as a conscious, intending subject. This is a very great responsibility for the individual, for only such an awareness will create the possibility of bringing the unconscious into harmony with the conscious. Onlly in this way may the individual relate to God in a holistic rather than fragmented manner..."

"...the habitually repressed or undeveloped function (the inferior function) may suddenly burst forth at times, making its presence known in most undesirable ways. Due to its lack of utilization, it remains the least differentiated at of the functions and thus tends to have a rather primitive or archaic nature. Such being the case, the inferior function has a natural ability to act as a bridge to the unconscious, often through its role as a major factor in the constellation of the individual's "shadow" and other neurotic complexes.

"Many people discover relatively soon in life that the realm of their inferior function is where they are emotional, touchy and unadapted and they therefore acquire the habit of covering up this part of their personality with a surrogate pseudo-reaction...You can always observe these "covering up" reactions by the fact that they are impersonal and banal and very collective. They have no convincing personal quality about them." - Marie Louise von Franz, "The Inferior Function", Jungian Typology. Spring Publications. 1979. pg. 11-12.

"When any of the conscious functions is overdone, the inferior function will arise to thwart and falsify it, making its presence unmistakenly felt and calling the individual to the realization that there is more inhis or her life which needs to be integrated...It is the inferior function which reveals that person's cross, which points to shallowness and a need for personal growth in the individual's life."

In keeping with Bernard Lonergan's notion of the particular grace which we all need at the point where we experience moral impotence, keeping in mind, too, Sebastian Moore;s reflections on the self within that is hated because of the comfort it causes, I would say that it is precisely in the realm of the inferior function where the depth of one's commitment to his relationship with God, in humble acceptance of himself and desire for transformation, meets the real test. The religious experience of conversion will always be accompanied in some manner by an eruption of the inferior funciton as it reveals the individual's state of disintegration, rendering him helpless and in need of the healing of God's love and acceptance in grace."

In Jungian psychological types, the inferior function is that

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nietzsche For Brunch, Digestive Elegies From Twilight To Morning - Perebluebols Holiday Missive Foregoing Invitations To Festive Occasions

[Not really. Well, a little. Photo by brother monk, Leonard Falcon]

In Excelsis Deo - A Surrealist Carol For Madrigal Choir To Be Sung While Bathing

Hair of soap and head of tears
rinse mine eyes of Christmas stars
O bells, the bells sear me

Wash my hair of splendid fears
water me hot and redly rare
O trumps, the trumpets blear me

Scars heal me up to here
scald me
pinkly if you dare
O gay, the gay sleds slay me

Is that flesh floating on the surface me
who swims or sinks fraternally?

I know a strange me
with soap for eyes
and suds for see

Eternally yours,



I greet you all, dear friends,
ye wishers from the well,
ye hand washed and heavily blanketed,
All ye of the runny noses,

Christmas day I shall go to Virage Bistro for brunch alone and read, seriously, Nietzsche while feasting upon my annual merguez sausage and Eggs Zarathustra replete with heartburn in honor of his notion of "eternal return", his love of one's solitary "fete" (amor fati) while proclaiming the fate of the culture which shares semblance to his...many a lively conversation has been struck up with servers and customers at nearby tables humored by my Christmas reading material. This tradition of a "secular monk" started 10 years ago when a client who worked for a publishing company gave me a new Nietzsche biography which I spontaneously grabbed off the stacks on my way out the door to Virage "on Christmas Day in the mornin'". I discovered that it was actually calming and peaceful keeping good company with myself, book-in-hand, sipping espresso, savoring the merguez, the eggs (broken, scrambled, o broken), later the dessert cheeses "sans Jesus" (nothing personal), with Nietzsche's voice insisting from the page for musing and underlining.

Novelist Flannery O' Connor once spoke of the American South as being "Christ haunted". Well, Nietzsche, a Protestant Reform preacher's kid, was most certainly "gods haunted", earnestly, zealously applying himself to his task which has collectively been refused by world culture, most definitely by the Church and its Protestant "step children", the task of Being, of wrestling a new culture destined to come into being into beginning-being at the end of the slowly receding aion...and how does one wrestle with that which is as yet substantial, the new world culture, but by turning to the task in our laps and wrestling personally with the too substantial and barnacled culture at hand, Western Civilization and, now contaminated by the West, Eastern and other culture...Nietzsche loudly pointed out where "we" Westwards went wrong by the Greeks (refusing the challenge of the Pre-Socratics) which a la Socrates/Plato divided our awareness into subject and object, thus our language/worldview/optical lenses divide us still from more direct experience of being, of existence (many Westerners now chase Eastern tails to hopefully capture direct experience and thereby more truly exist consciously while existing). He saw and felt/intuited all of this well ahead of the collective swarm, the consequent-from-logical-cosmological inexorable conclusions of the culture bearing out in the 20th century, and bearing still out in the 21st, which Nietzsche is in large part blamed for. Kill the messenger! But Friedrich has not been easy to kill off as a true diagnosis can be ignored but not killed off. Scapegoated, yes. Denied, yes. The very style of his writings is contra consciousness of the culture he found himself within and outside of, foundering but not without his still dynamic offerings shaking what was thought to be forever secure foundations. We have yet to give Nietzsche his due and he is read by very few though many, many seem to think they know him through and through and are therefore through with him.

But his solitary all-too-human foresight is not easily subjected to cultural cosmetic surgery nor rehabilitation for religious derelicts. Necessary root work must be done which is indeed as easy and pleasant as a root canal. Rather than turn the pain to good uses, the culture has become genius at numbing out said pain, at extractions without any requirement for personal effort, with little or no consequent personal moral/psychological gain in consciousness; and the sad extraction, most consequential, is mostly of human soul with counterfeit mass-produced-induced " faux-souls" supplanting realer souls authentically capable of finding meaning and value in suffering, in turning shit toward the alchemical task of growing into gold, that which gives meaning, that all too human soul that creatively endures to enhance existence not just for self but for as many living beings as possible.

I have no brilliance whatsoever or if even a little bit of glitter is upon me it does not compare to Friedrich who suffered such tremendous loneliness yet managed within it to turn it to both "good and evil" purposes, attempting a conscious breaking down of collective constructs in order to build something new and hopefully truer to where humanity may be going. His breaking it all down, even his personal breakdown, heralded the much needed shadow work, personal and collective, required to bring about a more conscientious human being and collective. He, like the Christ, the Buddha, and other "solitary" chakravartens (a Sanskrit word which means "wheel turner", culture deconstructors and rebirthers) endured and broke yet their suffering did not keep them from what must be spoken to cultures regarding that which is breaking from undergrowth finally surfacing to alter the human landscape, the geography of mind.

My crusty monk is less gracious with age and above said undergrowth breaking ground and through into the light of day. I croak these days more than sing and, alas, bring ire upon my oft misspoken, unrehearsed self and his rambles. Twilight dreams ramble, too, and thus I take their threads and fling myself dreamward in order to bring something from their undergrowth for this world of dust and roses longing for interpretation to itself, longing for, as the poet Rilke discovered, "an invisible re-arising in us", the all too human yet essential witnesses to existence. I weave my monk garb of said threads and have learned, obedient to the requirements of Self and the aion upon us, "to tread less softly upon the world."

To some, to true friends, come January I perhaps may be a little more emerged from the long retreat in the "hermitage" on the top floor above East 10th Street, church bells down the street marking time passages as the great wheel turns. I tend to emerge in the bleakness of winter (more than in the painfully green of summer), an Inuit past life no doubt breaking through.

Be weller all ye who dwell.

To dwell truly...therein is the task.

I am your Pere BB

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Eleven Addresses to the Lord - John Berryman

[Photo by Mario Novak.

Eleven Addresses to the Lord

by John Berryman


Master of beauty, craftsman of the snowflake,
inimitable contriver,
endower of Earth so gorgeous & different from the boring Moon,
thank you for such as it is my gift.

I have made up a morning prayer to you
containing with precision everything that most matters.
‘According to Thy will’ the thing begins.
It took me off & on two days. It does not aim at eloquence.

You have come to my rescue again & again
in my impassable, sometimes despairing years.
You have allowed my brilliant friends to destroy themselves
and I am still here, severely damaged, but functioning.

Unknowable, as I am unknown to my guinea pigs:
how can I ‘love’ you?
I only as far as gratitude & awe
confidently & absolutely go.

I have no idea whether we live again.
It doesn’t seem likely
from either the scientific or the philosophical point of view
but certainly all things are possible to you,

and I believe as fixedly in the Resurrection-appearances to Peter & to Paul
as I believe I sit in this blue chair.
Only that may have been a special case
to establish their initiatory faith.

Whatever your end may be, accept my amazement.
May I stand until death forever at attention
for any your least instruction or enlightenment.
I even feel sure you will assist me again, Master of insight & beauty.


Holy, as I suppose I dare to call you
without pretending to know anything about you
but infinite capacity everywhere & always
& in particular certain goodness to me.

Yours is the crumpling, to my sister-in-law terrifying thunder,
yours the candelabra buds sticky in Spring,
Christ’s mercy,
the gloomy wisdom of godless Freud:

yours the lost souls in ill-attended wards,
those agonized thro’ the world
It this instant of time, all evil men,
Belsen, Omaha Beach,—

incomprehensible to man your ways.
May be the Devil after all exists.
‘I don’t try to reconcile anything’ said the poet at eighty,
‘This is a damned strange world.’

Man is ruining the pleasant earth & man.
What at last, my Lord, will you allow?
Postpone till after my children's deaths your doom
if it be thy ineffable, inevitable will.

I say ‘Thy kingdom come’, it means nothing to me.
Hast Thou prepared astonishments for man?
One sudden Coming? Many so believe.
So not, without knowing anything, do I.


Sole watchman of the flying stars, guard me
against my flicker of impulse lust: teach me
to see them as sisters & daughters. Sustain
my grand endeavours: husbandship & crafting.

Forsake me not when my wild hours come;
grant me sleep nightly, grace soften my dreams;
achieve in me patience till the thing be done,
a careful view of my achievement come.

Make me from time to time the gift of the shoulder.
When all hurt nerves whine shut away the whiskey.
Empty my heart toward Thee.
Let me pace without fear the common path of death.

Cross am I sometimes with my little daughter:
fill her eyes with tears. Forgive me, Lord.
Unite my various soul,
sole watchman of the wide & single stars.


If I say Thy name, art Thou there? It may be so.
Thou art not absent-minded, as I am.
I am so much so I had to give up driving.
You attend, I feel, to the matters of man.

Across the ages certain blessings swarm,
horrors accumulate, the best men fail:
Socrates, Lincoln, Christ mysterious.
Who can search Thee out?

except Isaiah & Pascal, who saw.
I dare not ask that vision, though a piece of it
at last in crisis was vouchsafèd me.
I altered then for good, to become yours.

Caretaker! take care, for we run in straits.
Daily, by night, we walk naked to storm,
some threat of wholesale loss, to ruinous fear.
Gift us with long cloaks & adrenalin.

Who haunt the avenues of Angkor Wat
recalling all that prayer, that glory dispersed,
haunt me at the corner of Fifth & Hennepin.
Shield & fresh fountain! Manifester! Even mine.


Holy, & holy. The damned are said to say
‘We never thought we would come into this place.’
I’m fairly clear, my Friend, there’s no such place
ordained for inappropriate & evil man.

Surely they fall dull, & forget. We too,
the more or less just, I feel fall asleep
dreamless forever while the worlds hurl out.
Rest may be your ultimate gift.

Rest or transfiguration! come & come
whenever Thou wilt. My daughter & my son
fend will without me, when my work is done
in Your opinion.

Strengthen my widow, let her dream on me
thro’ tranquil hours less & down to less.
Abrupt elsewhere her heart, I sharply hope.
I leave her in wise Hands.


Under new management, Your Majesty:
Thine. I have solo’d mine since childhood, since
my father’s suicide when I was twelve
blew out my most bright candle faith, and look at me.

I served at Mass six dawns a week from five,
adoring Father Boniface & you,
memorizing the Latin he explained.
Mostly we worked alone. One or two women.

Then my poor father frantic. Confusions & afflictions
followed my days. Wives left me.
Bankrupt I closed my doors. You pierced the roof
twice & again. Finally you opened my eyes.

My double nature fused in that point of time
three weeks ago day before yesterday.
Now, brooding thro’ a history of the early Church,
I identify with everybody, even the heresiarchs.


After a Stoic, a Peripatetic, a Pythagorean,
Justin Martyr studied the words of the Saviour,
finding them short, precise, terrible, & full of refreshment.
I am tickled to learn this.

Let one day desolate Sherry, fair, thin, tall,
at 29 today her life the Sahara Desert,
who has never once enjoyed a significant relation,
so find His lightning words.

A Prayer for the Self

Who am I worthless that You spent such pains
and take may pains again?
I do not understand; but I believe.
Jonquils respond with wit to the teasing breeze.

Induct me down my secrets. Stiffen this heart
to stand their horrifying cries, O cushion
the first the second shocks, will to a halt
in mid-air there demons who would be at me.

May fade before, sweet morning on sweet morning,
I wake my dreams, my fan-mail go astray,
and do me little goods I have not thought of,
ingenious & beneficial Father.

Ease in their passing my beloved friends,
all others too I have cared for in a travelling life,
anyone anywhere indeed. Lift up
sober toward truth a scared self-estimate.


Surprise me on some ordinary day
with a blessing gratuitous. Even I’ve done good
beyond their expectations. What count we then
upon Your bounty?

Interminable: an old theologian
asserts that even to say You exist is misleading.
Uh-huh. I buy that Second-century fellow.
I press his withered glorifying hand.

You certainly do not as I exist,
impersonating as well the meteorite
& flaring in your sun your waterfall
or blind in caves pallid fishes.

Bear in mind me, Who have forgotten nothing,
& Who continues. I may not foreknow
& fail much to remember. You sustain
imperial desuetudes, at the kerb a widow.


Fearful I peer upon the mountain path
where once Your shadow passed, Limner of the clouds
up their phantastic guesses. I am afraid,
I never until now confessed.

I fell back in love with you, Father, for two reasons:
You were good to me, & a delicious author,
rational & passionate. Come on me again,
as twice you came to Azarias & Misael.

President of the brethren, our mild assemblies
inspire, & bother the priest not to be dull;
keep us week-long in order; love my children,
my mother far & ill, far brother, my spouse.

Oil all my turbulence as at Thy dictation
I sweat out my wayward works.
Father Hopkins said the only true literary critic is Christ.
Let me lie down exhausted, content with that.


Germanicus leapt upon the wild lion in Smyrna,
wishing to pass quickly from a lawless life.
The crowd shook the stadium.
The proconsul marvelled.

‘Eighty & six years have I been his servant,
and he has done me no harm.
How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?’
Polycarp, John’s pupil, facing the fire.

Make too me acceptable at the end of time
in my degree, which then Thou wilt award.
Cancer, senility, mania,
I pray I may be ready with my witness.