Sunday, August 5, 2012

Verisimilitude, Verity, Guilt, Shame & the Enmity Within The Hidden God

[The God Oliver. Photo by Lowery McClendon. Lowly servant to Oliver who rests upon McClendon's journal.  See poem for Oliver at the end of the essay]

This open letter or, rather, more accurately, disclosure to close colleagues constitutes Part Two of the topic "Stalking the Divine"...although the October LFLG newsletter topic is "Healing Shame" I have conjoined both topics, "Stalking the Divine" and "Healing Shame"...the following is comprised of extended emails to colleagues and to members of one of my dream groups where the issue of "guilt and individuation" has shown up in several members dreams. 

"Verisimilitude (click here) is a philosophical or theoretical notion that distinguishes truth and falsity of assertions or hypotheses. The problem of verisimilitude is the problem of articulating what it takes for one false theory to be closer to the truth than another false theory...This problem was central to the philosophy of Karl Popper, largely because Popper was among the first to affirm that truth is the aim of scientific inquiry while acknowledging that most of the greatest scientific theories in the history of science are, strictly speaking, false. If this long string of purportedly false theories is to constitute progress with respect to the goal of truth then it must be at least possible for one false theory to be closer to the truth than others."
— (click the word "veriimilitude" above)

"We, as a species, have all been drafted into a deeper, more powerful archetypal, transpersonal process that has so taken possession of us, it is unconsciously acting itself out through us. We are all playing roles in a mythic, archetypal drama, what Jung would call a “divine drama of incarnation.” Jung said, “…it can be expected that we are going to contact spheres of a not yet transformed God when our consciousness begins to extend into the sphere of the unconscious[Jung, Letters, vol. 2, p. 314].”

"Through his further incarnation God becomes a fearful task for man, who must now find ways and means to unite the divine opposites in himself. He is summoned and can no longer leave his sorrows to somebody else, not even to Christ, because it was Christ that has left him the almost impossible task of his cross. Christ has shown how everybody will be crucified upon his destiny, i.e., upon his self, as he was. He did not carry his cross and suffer crucifixion so that we could escape. The bill of the Christian era is presented to us; we are living in a world rent in two from top to bottom; we are confronted with the H-bomb and we have to face our own shadows…. We are cornered by the supreme power of the incarnating Will. God really wants to become man, even if he rends him asunder. This is so no matter what we say. One cannot talk the H-bomb or Communism out of the world. We are in the soup that is going to be cooked for us, whether we claim to have invented it or not. Christ said to his disciples “Ye are gods.” The word becomes painfully true. If God incarnates in the empirical man, man is confronted with the divine problem. Being and remaining man he has to find an answer. It is the question of the opposites, raised at the moment when God was declared to be good only. Where then is his dark side? Christ is the model for the human answers and his symbol is the cross, the union of the opposites. This will be the fate of man, and this he must understand if he is to survive at all. We are threatened with universal genocide if we cannot work out the way of salvation by a symbolic death."  — C.G. Jung, The Symbolic Life, CW 18, par. 1661. (Quoted in Levy. See link above)


Dear Colleagues,

"...anyone who attempts to do both, to adjust to his group and at the same time pursue his individual goal, becomes neurotic." —C.G. Jung

At Monadnock's (hereafter referred to as "Monad:) birthday gathering, Prasada (hereafter referred to a "P".) saved me a seat next to his and we spoke almost non-stop...Govinda (hereafter referred to as "G") sat across from us...G. and P. were in the same spiritual group with Monad...G, assuming I guess, that I was still in the "spiritual fold" (more like folderol) or other waxed on about how his own practice was more and more about spirituality, etc.  I listened respectfully for "love's executioner" is justifiably scorned and shunned, and it seems "very G" to go or stay on this "spiritual" route and that's fine...P., who is refreshingly authentic and unedited in certain ways, wonderfully utterly human (as opposed to those who don "spiritual personas") after hearing G. speak of his practice and spirituality, said sadly, "I miss being a follower."  I could have kissed him for such honesty as he also named my own mis-ease...G. just kinda blinked, a spiritual rabbit in the headlights of undisguised existential truth and utterance, G, uncomprehending, or comprehending, was trying to figure out what P. meant.  But I knew intimately that some part of me would love to "bleat and follow" and drink whatever "spiritual kool-aid" there is then just collectively purr on some Creator's rug, belly up, teats turned toward the sky, stretched out in front of the Holy Fire while licking myself in all the right places without shame or worry.

C.G. Jung wrote much about "not being a follower" or, to use his apt words - from a dream he had where all were kneeling before a fish-skin Bible on an altar in the Holy of Holies, their foreheads pressed to the floor; Jung knelt too but left an inch or so between his forehead and the floor "for," - he wrote, "I would not be a dumb fish," meaning he would not be a follower "contained" (Jung's term for being in unconscious identification with a religious container and therefore a "dumb fish" (fish swim in "schools" and form an unconscious unit...the goal of Jungian individuation is to be in a conscious unity of ego with Self)...

So P. and I spoke some about how he even had one foot in and one foot out of Jung (a most funny image which I pointed out to much laughter, all of us assuming which foot was up what part of Jung)...and I pointed out that he was very Jungian, a modern/postmodern and that too is why Jung was Jung and not for those safely forehead-all-the-way-to-the-floor-pressed members and followers of a religious sect or belief, "the happy possessors of faith," Jung's phrase, and he did not begrudge these happy possessed and possessors at all, often referring patients back to their respective faiths if the faiths still had life for them (Jung even received a papal blessing for referring Catholic patients back to the Church, his having assisted said patients in rediscovering that the Church did indeed meet them and their needs)...he wrote, says he, for those who, no matter how they may have tried, can no longer dwell among the elect/elite/the happy possessors of faith because their psyche could not find a home there in the various religions and religious institutions and dogma, there souls could not be housed there...thus the importance of his discovery of the "religious function of the psyche" which all people are the (happy? or not?) possessors of...One heeds dreams, the waking dream, the personal mythology (the mythic themes/energies/events nuanced and hard-pressed-wired in archetypal compressions/expressions in individuals) which one (hopefully) wakes up within and comes to a new understanding and "meaningful" participation with in the unique unfolding of psyche in life that expresses the "eternal (archetypal) in time."

"We can follow," says I to P. and a still blinking G., "for you, P., your "follower" is in the are consciously NOT a follower so the follower is in the unconscious therefore it is imperative for wholeness sake to go find him, find the follower, retrieve him and see what together you may work out...we are all followers one way or another and in many "wired" ways. For example, the child follows the mother, the father, and all the projected baubles of the Self (shouting "gimme gimme mine mine!") flashing one forward toward individuation...give the follower room to be, take care of follower-business and see what may expand within you-who-misses-following...your lament reveals that some part of you IS following something/someone but unconsciously so be curious...follow your nose like the curious cat...deity is revealed in such curiosity and is even that which compels you to follow. And remember that compulsions come from the unconscious...there is no conscious compulsion. Martin Luther, driven, compelled, a most "complexed" man seeking the sacred within those complexes (of course, not knowing of complexes then!), discovered that he worshiped and warred with "the Hidden God," that dark side, that evil side of deity, that deity who said and demanded one thing of humans while "Himself" did/does the opposite. Like Job Luther "begged God to save him from God!" This is a most profound truth, a reality, of which New Age and more liberal theologies have conveniently eradicated by denying this split not only in humans but in the deity itself. The horrific result of such denial is that the dark side of the deity is placed solely in creation, in humans. And these religions reinforce the split. The dark side gets projected. There are many scapegoats to carry the dark side of God. And thus followers and flee-ers are born or made.

So in the midst of such talk we managed to eat cake and sing Happy Birthday to Monad...then we departed into the night, followers of known and unknown sacralities. Such are numinous heirophanies...sacred rocks or trees or tooth or thighs or earth or skies or-or-or or and-and-and or "neti-neti" (Sanskrit for "not this") revealing psyche/soul/archetypes before which one may bend the knee and authentically near one's forehead before, but leaving an inch, even a millimeter, between the brow and the floor...Jung speaks eloquently about not giving up one's free will and freedom to think else why would the Creator even bother with creation, why even bother with creating humans who are mere reflections, "dreary little mirrors," says Jung in candor, of Itself already supposedly complete in and of Itself and All Good?" That inch, that millimeter, between brow/brain and floor before whatever altar to the Creator, is the most significant distance that is and ever shall be for in that vast, and vastly significant, distance and space men and women are free to be in conscious relationship to That which, too/two, is unfolding, evolving and changing in relationship to creatures/creation.

Unlike G. I am NOT a nouveau Hindu or Buddhist who believes that all of creation and even the Creator is maya, an illusion. I am happily enough Western though I bow to the imponderable without location East, West, North, South, Above, Below, which ever-remains Existenz and Being before, within and of It made. To yield to maya is to relinquish the human experience of creation and to devalue it and the Creator, whatever/whoever That may be, beyond knowing...but still our images and approximations are real in that they may reveal nuances of That, these nuances are what Mircea Eliade calls "heirophanies." This term "heirophany" derives from the Greek roots "ἱερός" (hieros), meaning "sacred" or "holy," and "φαίνειν" (phainein) meaning "to reveal" or "to bring to light") signifies a manifestation of the sacred. A heirophany is NOT the wholly other (gans ander) Sacred but is a "face" (phane means "face" but I like the shadow in the double entenre in the sound of the word "phane" as "fanny" or ass or backside of the Sacred which, too, is part of the Sacred). The Sacred has many "phanes".  That Jung believed the god Mercury/Hermes was a more accurate "face" of the Divine honors this ever-changing many-faced "sacred" reality which humans too often reify, concretize and "nail" upon fixity as absolute and only THIS "phane/fanny".

Thus my harangue in last month's newsletter against or in contradistinction to "spiritual groups" and "herd mind," my creating a chasm (not just an "angry inch") between me and "BELIEVERS,"  "followers"...Luther correctly parsed that all people are priests who need no special "priest" to mediate between persons and the Divine...he spoke of the "priesthood of all believers" and thus the modern ego was born...yet, important to acknowledge, the shadow of the "priesthood of all believers" is what I call the "beasthood of all believers" for if every man and woman is a priest who has their own special relationship to Divinity and then they coalesce or are coerced into groups, denominations, churches, etc. they become identified with the Divine and therefore are back in "herd mind," mass mind, and in their collective or priestly power (there is always some one or two who comprise the "power" over a group of follower even if that group believes itself to be "leaderless" and "sharing power") all become become "dumb beasts" (no offense to the real beasts of the field) and act bestially upon the non-believer or heretic in their midst,  those who believe differently and who will not bend the knee/forehead to their "mystery" school and, in particular, to the High Priest/Priestess of the group...the excommunicated ones, or those who choose to leave, often feel guilt, shame, for breaking free though the psyche has compelled them to part.  The expiation for "breaking the container" is breaks free in order to become a conscious human, a dumb fish or dumb beast no longer...or, rather, owns both the "dumb" follower and that prophetic part which must stand before the Self and honor the forehead inch or millimeter as most sacred in all relationships, including the divine.
Religion and shame are intricately entwined...Hebrew scripture, pre-socratic Greek religion, and many others reveal in their cosmologies that the creation of the ego, of self-awareness, of the human being out of primal pack mind, herd mind, into conscious witness and argument with Being and Time distinguishes the human from other species and from the Creator...and this new species arrives (continually) from the disobedience and consequent shame of breaking the unconscious identity with the Creator and standing in relationship to Him/Her/Hermaphroditic It/Atman....I  know this is heresy on almost all counts in religions but it is both hubris and humility for anyone who has dared or had no choice but to leave the Dogmas Old and New (there are always new permutations, parsings, punctuations of the Old into what appears to be New) to live the "religious function of the psyche" and seek who/what/how/where/qua qua qua doing something we know not what but only through hints of images and such in dreams and the dream of civilization and it's myth- or mys- contents (mys- for mystery)...we seek how the numen (a Latin word which refer to deity or God), the Wholly Other, reveals It's self and are filled with what Rudolf Otto calls "the feeling of numinous dread, aka awe or awe-fullness, the ... Because the mysterium tremendum and fascinosum (click here to read a helpful summary of Otto's views of the approach to the "Holy") is wholly Other,unlike any other that can be known or revealed, "Otto identifies and explores the non-rational mystery behind religion and the religious experience ("non-rational" should not be confused with "irrational"); he called this mystery, which is the basic element in all religions, the numinous. He uses the related word "numen" to refer to deity or God (see the link just above as source)."

Shame is religious...shame is part and parcel to religion...Edward F. Edinger points out that if
"we grant consciousness a greater value than comfort (containment in a religion, autistic basking in original infantile-animal bliss)," we must sacrifice that very comfort and security and consciously carry the shame and guilt that comes from becoming conscious and evolving it person by person in space and time.  Edinger speaks, after Jung, of the guilt that comes with leaving unconsciousness for consciousness.

Just to be clear there is real guilt and shame for crimes committed, sins, pecados, mea culpas, afflictions of conscience when one has broken a moral code, etc.  The guilt that Jung speaks of regarding individuation is different though it may appear to be a crime in terms of family, clan, culture, church, etc. which is often internalized in the process of maturation out of infancy into an ego and  ongoingly into childhood and adolescence where cultural foundations, familial values and patterns are internalized (every family has its codes, systems and "contracts" both conscious and unconscious) some point the individual experiences an urge to individuate further out of mere imitation of collectives (which is what collective mind and culture disobey the group/collective is considered and experienced as a "sin")...this is a compulsion to individuate, to leave the group, comes from what Jung calls the Self, the greater totality of who a person is which demands that they not be just "dumb fish" swimming around in collective pools of mind and behavior...the Self within each is that urge to individuate and be one's own man/woman arriving at their own unique relationship to existence. 

Jung speaks of a guilt that accompanies this urge to "leave the group/tribal mind", the collective way and to consolidate one's own relationship to depth dimensions of Psyche, the Self, which insists on human consciousness and not just imitative behavior and thinking of mass terms of individuation-into-ego/personhood, that developmental journey of the neo-nate/infant, unconscious and identified with mother and all that is, the ego/child will undergo guilt as a natural consequent of "expulsion from the parental Eden"...and not just the child.  The adult will experience this guilt for individuation throughout the life cycle, the difference (hopefully) between an immature psyche's and a mature psyche's experience being that the mature one has developed and consolidated a real self in relationship to Self.  A thick skin with an open heart and a well-functioned critical intellect plus the hubris to be one's own person becomes more and more a sacred vessel in which the Wholly Other, the Self incarnates and experiences incarnate existence and presumably is, too, transformed according to whatever It is which evolves toward an ongoing end or ends. Jung writes of Nature having a telos or purpose (Freud would call it a drive) toward which IT is evolving and that evolution is toward Wholeness, or what I like to call "Holdness"...that which not only holds/contains the dance of opposites and their conflicts (it's not all a dance but a lancing and searing pain) but values the opposites themselves...the "10,00 things" bring the Wholeness of the Wholly Other into furtherance and extension into knowing, into Witness/Withness consciously met and responded to. Existential philosopher F.H. Heinemann speaks eloquently about this essential human response to Existenz and the apparent "appeal" from It for human response; Heinemann transforms Descartes famous proclamation giving primacy to human thinking to this meaning enhancing acclamation, "Respondeo ergo sum...I respond therefore I am."  Heinemann importantly points out that not in this responding as creatures of response not only do we exist but Existenz, too, exists, the Universe exists in our "ergo sum"...there is a most significant relationship between ourselves, our capacity for response, and That in Existenz which "appeals" to be heard/known, born witness to. It is indeed as Martin Buber proclaims a relationship of I to Thou, and of I to It, both Thou and It essential to intimate knowing of Existenz and its "10,000 Things."

Here's is Edward F. Edinger explicating further about the guilt which comes from birthing consciousness out of unconsciousness (from Ego and Archetype pgs 21):

"The myth of the fall [the Jewish myth of disobedience to god's command to not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the consequent expulsion from paradise ]expresses a pattern and a process not just of the original birth of consciousness out of the unconscious, but also of the process that one goes through in one form or another with every new increment of consciousness.  I believe with the Orphites [an early religious sect] that it is onesided to depict Adam and Eve just as shameful orchard thieves .  Their action could equally be described as an heroic one. They sacrifice the passive comfort [an infantile/immature state of containment in the unconscious matrix, the infantile Eden] of obedience for greater consciousness.  The serpent does indeed prove to be a benefactor in the long run if we grant consciousness a greater value than comfort.

"We see fragments of this theme of the original fall of man in a good many dreams in the course of analytic [therapy] treatment.  They are very common at times when new conscious insights are being born.  The theme of encountering or being bitten by a snake is common in dreams.  The latter generally has the same meaning that the succumbing of the temptation of the serpent in the Garden of Eden had for Adam and Eve, namely, that an old state of affairs [comfort, unconscious identification and containment in an infantile relationship to God/existence] is being lost and a new conscious insight is being born [as an aside but importantly related, a lot of addictions are an attempt to stay in comfort/containment and are a refusal to budge from Edenic states into the hard work of conscious individuation and maturation into adulthood...addictions are a refusal of the leaving the Garden...elsewhere Edinger writes that for each individual "dependent projections upon parents (and collectives, culture) must be broken" in order to find that father and mother within oneself...if one remains psychologically and materially dependent upon parents after a certain age then one remains psychologically immature, can atrophy, and then the psyche of the dependent one refusing turns against the self in retribution for the refusal]. This is often experienced as something alien and dangerous hence it is never a pleasant dream.  But at the same time such a bite usually initiates a whole new attitude and orientation.  It is generally a transition dream of considerable importance.  Also,dreams of having committed a crime may have the same meaning as the original crime of stealing the fruit.  What is a crime at one stage of psychological development is lawful at another and one cannot reach a new stage of psychological development without daring to challenge the code of an old [outgrown] stage. Hence, every new step is experienced as a crime and is accompanied by guilt, because the old standards [dependency upon parents, culture mass mind, etc.], the old way of being have yet been transcended. So the first step carries the feeling of being a criminal. Dreams of being given fruit to eat--apples, cherries, tomatoes --may have the same meaning. They are allusions to the theme of eating the forbidden fruit and represent an introduction to some new area of conscious awareness with much the same consequences as the original eating of the fruit."Edinger goes on to call that life that remains dependent upon infantile/adolescent states of mind and relationships to authority (in other word, remain psychologically undeveloped and immature) "the provisional life" which avoids hard work choosing comfort and dependency at his/her own peril. "Such a person is afraid to make a commitment required to create something real [a real life].  He would lose the security of anonymity [while having fantasies and visions of being famous, a superstar, artist, president, etc.] and expose himself to disapproval.  He is afraid to submit himself to judgment by being something definite. This amounts to living in the "Garden of Eden" state and not daring to eat the fruit of consciousness."Edinger then goes on to explicate the myth of Prometheus and the necessary theft of sacred fire which brings consciousness to unconscious, culture, civilization grew as a result of his theft AND he was punished for the "sin" of choosing consciousness over unconsciousness and dependency.

Given all the above, "stalking the divine" means "stalking consciousness" and it seems that all or most religions nascently or overtly understand "Consciousness" or "Meaning" (for we are meaning makers if nothing else as a species) to be "God"...Divine.


Seems I've written a draft of my next newsletter piece on shame as an extension of "stalking the divine" stalk consciously is also a breaching of boundaries between "heaven" and "earth" or "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of Man"...and it must be affirmed that guilt/shame comes with conscious beings, not unconscious beings. Guilt and shame are indications and manifestations of consciousness, therefore the word "conscience" affirms human beings... Jung also points out that we humans, being conscious, carry the guilt and shame of the "Hidden God," Its Dark Side, and in so doing, bearing it consciously, participate in transforming "the not yet transformed God" by each of us bearing the burden of opposites, Christ's cross, in the sacred task of healing the Divine split manifest in Its creation.

Leaving Weds. morning if the gods, hidden and uncovered, so will..

Flashlight in hand, beaming my little lamp ray into mine own and collective darkness,

War-cifer (Cypher?)the Bleater/Bleeder, a human brother to the Sacrificial Lamb-man


All Edinger quotes are from Ego and Archetype, Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche.  Shambhala. 1992. 

The Smarter Cat, Postmodern Theology - Most Scatalogical - Without Apology To Christopher Smart

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God...
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.

- from 'Jubilate Agno' by Christopher Smart

Forget Jeoffry.

Consider the Cat Oliver

asleep upon the journal's

leather, old ink and think

enclosed, weighted as

only Cat-weight weighs in

upon all things, pink-eared.

A Poem of Itself possessed,

Cat-self, He's but a winking

Dream only Paws may seize.

He speaks:

Please the dust in corners,

I'd rather nod.

Let others consider god.

I shall consider Me,

the better of the two,

furred things being best.

I shall not raise a tail to human

deity, that brute untamed,

clumsy, no sense of balance.

Rather, the human being is

My mastery. I have trained

some few of them well which

pleases Me and greatly them

though I shall appear indifferent

as I ever am.

Clever me.

I will the sun up and down,

daily annunciation of tin cans,

humming humans whose

voices are the softer for

My Presence, O bringest

thou me now the tuna.

And their laughter I patiently

endure. They think Me silly

but Trickster is an arse on purpose.

I take their picture with Mine.


But not now.

I repose.

Every moment is a pose,

each still gesture appears

insignificant, a supposition.