The Frog in the Milk Churn.

There was once a poor frog who, quite unknowingly and entirely by accident, leapt into a pail of milk. He just couldn’t get out no matter what he did. The sides were too steep and the level of milk too low… A passing rat looked on mockingly and said, ‘You should just give up and die. Nothing can save you. Why prolong the agony?”

”Well, you never know”, said the frog and kept on swimming.

”Ha,” said the rat,” any fool can see your fate.” He laughed unkindly and scampered off.

Frog kept swimming and as he swam he wondered about all kinds of things. Sometimes it was about juicy slugs. Sometimes it was about the meaning of Life and the Universe, but mostly it was to remind himself that the secrets of life and death are meant to remain so and that if he could once have been a wriggling tadpole there was no saying what might be about to unfold.

Frog held out for the possibility that he didn’t have all the facts pertaining to his situation. Life was still a mystery and having more questions than answers was a good thing. It left room for the Unexpected and held the tension between longing and despair.

”There is no consciousness without the discrimination of opposites.” CG Jung.

By morning he was still alive, perched upon the island of butter he’d churned during the night.

So, sometimes its better to have the problems of the Neurotic than the solutions of the Narcissistic…… who have an answer for everything but won’t make it through till dawn.

Rat has to have the answer, even if its suicide. Everything must be cut and dried. Get with the programme or call yourself a taxi. Its like that because his identity is so fragile. Even a little tension or dissent will tear the fabric of Being apart let alone entering into life’s mysteries like how life can still be worth it in the face of the inevitable..

The unshakeable belief that you know what’s going on and what must happen next is compensation that’s essential to Narcissism’s going-on-being. Its like having a super strong patching over an otherwise rickety picket fence, sections of the Great Wall of China interrupted by square miles of open badlands that require sentry posts and somewhere safe to water your horse..

What makes Narcissism malignant is when the sentry posts are overun, when there are major border incursions by perceived ‘wisdom’ and how-things-are-done. Identity gets so destabilised it now requires more aggressive solutions to maintain inner sovreignty. It borrows from the chess strategy of offence being the best method of defence and goes looking for situations to accomodate such a gambit, to justify explosions of temper, to give himself a rush of adrenalin and the unifying zeal of prejudice. All done as if poor impulse control and paranoia were in fact riteous indignation and moral outrage.

There is nothing that quite consolidates a shaky sense of identity like an emergency, especially if you can become adept at creating them yourself. Its as close to an infant magically producing the breast as you can get to in later life without first meditating  for forty years. All the disparate shards of selfhood begin to pull together out of situational necessity, as if by magic.

”People lose their neuroses during times of war.” S. Freud.

What’s particularly dangerous about Malignant Narcissism is that conflict then becomes an Ontological Necessity. It needs conflict in order to know itself and without which is thrown into anxious crisis.

…does not play nicely with other children…

In ‘Chrome Yellow’, Aldous Huxley makes the observation that the protracted wars between the South American countries that had all been given independence by Spain about the same time needed their conflict with one another because they had lost their cultural identities. There was not enough tribal culture left to tell a Venezualan from an Ecuadorian. National conflict gave the people an immediate and made-to-meaure sense of patriotic identity.

One sure fire way of staying in conflict and the comfy internal cohesion it provides is to have more than you need or at least to aspire to it. Having or wanting wealth beyond a certain point cannot help but take bread from the mouths of aggrieved others, though they may be a continent away and tucked out of sight. In any case, the distant rumble of insurrection is music to his ears. The Malignant Narcissist needs to be hated.

It is said in the trade that psychopaths can only be loved once they are hated. Objective hate..

”is part of the healing process. It gives a person a sense of individuality and separation which allows him to start feeling real.” D. Winnicott 

and only thereafter..

”being able to feel love and love others.” ibid

Of course, this doesn’t mean acting out our hate in some clumsy splurge. In the West we tend to think of hate as simply negative and destructive. But it has a developmental function. For the child to have a sense of belonging it is necessary….

”not [just] for unconditional love and acceptance but for parents to experience the child as a nuisance – hate him for it if need be- and then by giving the child time to become loveable again.” A. Phillips.

The child needs to be a nuisance. His belonging depends upon it.

The formal voice, the hard look, the annoyance at intrusion, are all there to tell the other that they’ve crossed a line and are currently not the centre of the Universe, something an emerging sense of individuality depends upon.

The Narcissist rarely has these boundaries set and so he will unconsciously seek out hate producing situations and provoke triggering behaviours in others out of the developmental need to experience the authentic boundary setting and angry protest that gives rise to selfhood.

I once saw a young boy of eight or so at a wedding flicking up the ladies’ dresses and getting roundly told off every time. I was about to say something to his father when the boy ran over and threw himself into his father’s lap oblivious to the presense of others, demanding sweets. His father replied, ”you can have anything you want..’ and suddenly the situation was explained.

Something you will often find is that the family of the Malignant Narcissist are all saints. No-one ever says a cross word or speaks ill of the dead. Mother in particular is a paragon of virtue though beneath the surface she has had her femininity so undermined that the ordinary reality of petty annoyance, an angry look or a harsh word in the right place has to be suppressed in favour of a gilded fantasy. An alternative fact.

If mother can’t feel her hate, mediate it, chew on it, make it intelligible, then no-one can know what the rules are. A just scolding, even a look of disapproval from someone who loves you, invites the child to experience a bigger picture of life, a greater sense of proportion and of its place in the world, as well as the possibility of feeling honest shame and of making reparation for it.

That’s why we value and remember teachers from school years who had that quality of being ‘firm but fair.’ A good teacher will not only educate the mind, they will also usher souls into being.

My woodwork master was called D. Mudge. It was an unfortunate name because of the ease with which you could run it together as ‘Damage’, which is what he was, very damaged, shell shock as you’ve never seen it, including running for cover at the sound of any and all light aircraft and a curious tendency to be attacked by bees. But he was a great mentor because he had this alchemical blending of kindness and severity. So even though he’d fly off the handle, he’d also invite us to tea as equals and talk about fascinating things.

In my first year someone  wrote an annoymous poem about him for the school magazine..

Dust is rising through the air..

Sound of mallets everywhere

A Cornish voice shouts, ‘Ere’ Ere’..

Watchya doin’ over there?”

Calling the child to account for itself does more than correct its behaviour. It acts as a mid-wife to the child’s shadow, compelling the child to develop a relationship with that part of itself and blossom as a result.

So whilst the Narcissist is seduced into the ‘priviledge’ of being so above the rules, he’s actually been deprived of the building blocks of selfhood. His mother’s oppression has given rise to a great storehouse of unlived potential in her which she cannot help but secretly hope he will manifest on her behalf albeit at the expense of his own unfolding. Specialness is traded off against having his own path through life, a dynamic to be endlessly repeated in adult relationships as the contradiction between feeling special and yet of being somehow eternally thwarted.

This contradiction is all too easily attributed to outer situations. I was moved by a detail in Donald Trump’s biography where the children would be taken to their father’s building site of a Sunday to collect and straighten bent nails in the yard. But… they were millionaires and lived in a twenty-three bedroom mansion..!  No holding of opposites but rather a wild collision of realities! Having more than you need and yet there never being enough….

So there is no slow churning of milk into butter to make an ‘I’ land. Its said that Narcissists have big egos but the problem is quite the reverse. They have yet to churn one. The rat in our story only has the brash persona of, ‘why don’t you just drown already?’ Its an attitude that requires others to carry his inferior feelings and personal clumsiness for him, something a healthy ego can shoulder for itself.

Such a dismissive attitude is dangerous for everyone else, not just because it is heartless or unfeeling, but because it flourishes best in an increasingly Apartheid environment where the inferiority of newly designated second class citizens becomes enshrined and concretised in law. Narcissism thrives on inequality which it not only imagines but must also create and if necessary, conjure.

So he becomes a kind of magician still caught at the childhood stage of wishing making it so..

Its gonna be great, trust me..

but still needing the hateful experience of the milk churn which the Fates are increasingly liable to provide in the form of corrective sanction.

Death from Above.

Having mad leaders has been par for the course for longer than you think. In fact its been a fashion accessory for any truly civilized nation ever since Nebuchadnezzar went bonkers and spent seven years in the desert eating grass.

Emperor Justin liked to bite people, and sometimes quite large chunks, an arm or a leg a habit that could only be tempered by him being driven about on a mobile throne..

you mean a pram..

er..

“Having placed him on it, his chamberlains drew him about, and ran with him backwards and forwards for a long time, while he, in delight and admiration at their speed, desisted from many of his absurdities.”John of Ephesus

Across the other side of the world but about the same time, Emperor Quinfei of China kept order by forcing random attendants to have sex with each other in front of him. Anyone who refused had their family killed..

along with anyone that cleared their throat in protest at the time.

Madness ran in the family. Mostly because the family ran in the family. Special people, utterly confused by their parentage, its illustriousness and nine yards of tree diagrams not withstanding, were raised in an atmosphere of continuous terror and emotional neglect, but then suddenly given weapons and armies.

Its not going to turn out well.

But it seems from our foray into alternative forms of government that one need not be born to power to abuse it and in equally colourful ways.

John Quincy Adams thought the Earth was hollow. He attempted to prove it at the taxpayer’s expense.

It all started with John Cleve Symmes Jr, a U.S. Army officer who spent his life advocating his hollow-Earth theory on the literary circuit and gained quite a few followers. What he proposed was the 1800s equivalent to sending people to the moon to find cheese. He wanted to mount an expedition to silence his critics and also to trade with the Mole people…

ahem..

As luck would have it, Adam’s successor, Andrew Jackson, was a man who thought the world was flat. Naturally, Jackson promptly canceled the expedition and along with it, dashing  all hope of contacting the wily Mole people.

We seem to have developed a way of ensuring that whoever holds the reigns of power in any Single System system you care to name, if not already mad, is soon to become so with the absolute corruption of absolute power. What’s so funny is that we continue to promote ideals that create would be Emperors, as though at some point it is bound to work, like the magical novel written by the hundredth monkey.

One thing that most mad leaders have in common irrespective of their path to greatness is a preoccupation with their Nobs. Christian VII of Denmark wanked so much it interfered with his stately duties. Eventually his physician, Johann Streunsee, usurped power..

“as well as boning the queen behind Christian’s back. Presumably he was too busy jerking off to notice.” Kyle Stevens.

It seems that being given permission to live above the rules gives us some much needed perspective, as though something were trying desperately to impress upon us how unsophisticated and uncultured we really are.

“In a mercifully off-the-record moment at the height of America’s entanglement in Vietnam, reporters asked Lyndon B. Johnson to explain, simply, “Why?” Unable to conjure a suitable answer, LBJ instead produced his veiny avatar.

“This is why!” Johnson declared, presenting his penis to the press pool like Excalibur.” M. Judson

Apparently, Johnson’s passion for his Johnson went so far as to name it, Jumbo, apparently a sizeable trunk that he would regularly take out for everyone to admire….

as it pointed the way to death for 3.3 million people.

who didn’t share his pre-occupation.

The tragedy of LBJ’s madness was not just the numbers killed but the symbolic equation between his penis and his foreign policy, or perhaps between the Vietcong and his wife.

This equating one thing with another is the preserve of infancy. Mother’s milk is her love. Her arms are the world. Unfortunately it is also the preserve of the Gods. Our amusing list of mad leaders with their dicks out makes it easy to forget that they feel divinely inspired to show us into the bargain.

But, by what pray?

and we have to go further back than National Socialism to find the answer.

Supremacist ideals are lodged in European antiquity like currants in a bun. They are expressed in epics later condensed into Wagner’s Ring Cycle way before Christianity brought in its own brand of First and Only.

At the back of an already malevolent and warlike Yahweh, is his big brother, Wotan, whose deal it is to renounce Love for the sake of Power. The film ‘Lord of the Rings’ re-crafts much of the ancient story including a cursed Ring of Power.

The original specifies this curse in detail..

“The Ring itself as described by Wagner is a Rune-magic taufr (“tine”, or “talisman”) intended to rule the feminine multiplicative power by a fearful magical act termed ‘denial of love’ (“Liebesverzicht”). wiki

some form of sexual/emotional witholding.

The love of power costs the power of love. You get to be all powerful but also incomplete..

which is frustrating..

because in a world where you can have and do whatever you want, happiness is not something you can do for yourself or have room service send up.

So Wotan is a grumpy bastard and any man identified with such power isn’t really going to feel in the pink unless he is coming his load over an entire nation.

So, the Las Vegas shooter, was it gambling debts? Or could it be that a man placing daily wagers of $30,000 simply has more than he knows what do with and has devised a cunning plan to throw it all away…

except its supposed to be fun and its not. And you’ve achieved all the goals Life has set but the glittering prize…

crumbles as it is bestowed.

You are living the Dream but actually its a cruel and empty hoax, which might unhinge you just a bit and make you feel that if the attainment of earthly things is not enough then becoming a god and raining death from above will do the trick.

“Imagining that we have left all these Gods far behind, we are still as much possessed today by autonomous psychic contents as if they were Olympians which disorders the brains of politicians and journalists who unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world. ” CG Jung.

When they are perpertrated by Jo Citizen they are act of pure evil, when atrocities against civilians one thousand fold are perpertrated or contemplated by Presidents, all nicely sandwiched in a neat dossier with a fancy seal it magically becomes the foreign policy of having no choice.

 

 

On Having no Choice.

Being above the Law and “Having no Choice”, have something in common. They both absolve a person of accountability, which is the essential condition for any public office. And if one cannot pardon oneself for ones own crime then the next best thing is not to be responsible for it in the first place.

Curiously, the legal test for a criminal insanity plea rests precisely on this issue of whether or not a person can help themselves,

“arguing that the defendant is not responsible for their actions due to an episodic or persistent psychiatric disease at the time of the criminal act.” wiki

but what does it mean, not to be able to help oneself, to have no choice?

Does it mean acting instinctively is a psychiatric condition?

Probably not. And then there is the conundrum that stating you had no choice, is the end result of reasoned consideration. Which doesnt make sense.

and it doesnt have to, which is precisely the joy of being unaccountable. Its a moral version of not filing your taxes. Not only can you shoot someoneon fifth avenue and get away with it. You can poop your pants and nobody on the bleachers will say a word.

Not being responsible for the consequences is a threat parents sometimes use to get junior to tidy his room, but not before his brother made him punch him in the head and trash the room to hell some more.

And so the worst of all scenarios is that the pudgy little digit on the button feels absolved of its actions. Disocciated. It couldnt help itself. It was compelled by some rogue pinky.

The problem is not a massively inflated ego, though it is a useful disguise of posturing competance, but that there is only the most tenuous internal cohesion held together by regular doubling down displays.

So the problem is that the decision to Nuke Korea is made by the part of him that also says it is not his responsibility. Unfortunately, “the devil made me do it” is not an empty get out of jail free card. Watching the reality TV show of absolute power corrupting absolutely you can observe the process of degenerative ego functioning. A recent speech at Fort Myers contained regards sent by his wife who was stood right next to him…..

The reality of the Deep State is out of the closet. Most folk know that no matter who you vote for the government and wealth get in, that politicians are the grey uniformed lackeys of Overlords who dont get out much….

it can be like that in the individual soul. The evicerated ego can become a kind of puppet, a golum for the Denizens of the unconscious that have their own agenda and the power to erode a mans critical faculties.

Its dangerous enough when the infantile part of a person grabs the wheel and starts dictating events. “He made me do it” gets fuelled with babyish rage and pretty soon you are all over the road.

The problem is that its not just the babyish part of a man that threatens his ego integrity. Jane Goodalls recent compared the antics of our Great Leader with the dominance rituals of chimpanzees..

“In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: Stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks.”

Her words are echoed by others in the Chimp hood..

“The top male essentially goes berserk and starts screaming, hooting, and gesticulating wildly as he charges toward other males nearby. Trump’s incendiary tweets are the human equivalent of a charging display.” Prof Dan McAdams.

And if that were not enough, the Chimps are in the safer end of the jungle which is full of all kinds of archetypal forces.

I have just seen a video clip on FB of a cop gunning down a man outside a convenience store for resisting arrest..

Someone commented, “getting up in that aggressive way was what got him shot”. The cop didnt kill him. He killed himself. And perhaps the man who pulled the trigger believed that too, that he was simply witness to a suicide. The fact that he calmly emptied a clip of seven rounds into his chest at point blank range had nothing to do with him. It was his time.

When I commented, she said, “oh, well you have never been in that situation”, and I replied, “actually I have”, she responded, “then you should be more understanding.”

and there is the double bind of those that are no longer constrained by Principle of Relatedness. Things not making sense becomes a pious incomprehension of the Will of God in whose mighty Right Arm, you are now his Instrument.

The psycho beat cop, the bent Senator, the orchestrated oppression of the People is about more than greed. Its not just about angry babies stuffing themselves from the cookie jar, or mere hooting primates, they are also filled with the light of messianic riteousness, Wotan personified.

The God who had no choice.

and its better than coke.

Of course Wotan wishes to live in the natural freedom signified by the Rhinegold..

“but cannot because if he does his power as a ruler will be destroyed along with the order on which his authority is based.” S. Williams.

Wotan, God of Doubling Down.

God of War.

 

 

 

The End is Nigh, Again.

Apparently, tommorow is supposed to be the End of the World.

I hope you have packed your things.

The curious thing about Doomsday prophecies is not simply the supreme consistency with which they have all been wrong thus far…

…but that being eternally wrong doesnt deter people from further speculation. You begin to suspect that there is more going on than fear of God or Death. The fervour with which such things are peddled suggests something more interesting than Eternal Damnation is afoot.

But what could it be?

Having folk forever examining their consciences on the premise that the earth is imminently about to open up and swallow them whole, is a good way of keeping potential miscreants in line. Its also got to make you feel pretty damned important to be there at the time. You would be eligible for a free T-shirt,   “Armaggedon, I was There”, with a skull and cross bones motif, just to show how hard you are.

You might give legitimate consideration to the thought that there is just a little passive aggression in exaggeratedly running about to dodge a falling sky, or loudly announcing that Gods Wrath will be visited on Teatime.

Its scary. Nursery will never be the same again.

Perhaps membership of an Apocalyptic Cult fills some unacknowledged need that attending church socials just doesnt quite cut. Meet and Greet is hardly as punchy as having ringside seats to the Final Reckoning.

They do say that giving a person news on their imminent demise has a somewhat invigorating effect on the psyche. Having your time left measured by a wristwatch can be positively galvanising.

Maybe if we were to look at individual responses to knowing the exact time of their own death we might get some insight into this collective phenomenon of being eternally preoccupied with the End of the World..

and not just because we can now do that to ourselves…

Convicted criminals whose countdown to the rope or the chair comes close to the catastrophic expectation of a collision with Planet X or the vengeful fires of Yahwehs wrath.

How prisoners face their end seems to be the same the world over. They obsess about food and need more than usual amounts of bathroom time. The famous last meal is our human response to the helplessness and horror of being dragged towards a death that someone or something has arranged for you.

Sometimes the prisoner comforts themselves with something that reminds them of home and childhood. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber wanted mint chocolate chip ice cream. Ricky Ray Rector wanted Pecan Pie he decided to save for later. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy went the whole hog and had shrimp, a bucket of KFC chicken, fries and several pounds of strawberries.

The exception to the rule seems to be Victor Fueger, hung in Iowa at the age of 28, who asked for a single unpitted olive, though, to be fair, it was in the hope that the olive would grow into a tree above his grave as a symbol of peace….

So human response to death being a tad more concrete than at-some-point-in-time is to feast and comfort themselves in any way they can. Eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow you die.

The main difference between the convict being marched down the Green Mile and the End Timers is that the folk all dressed in white gathering on the hillside at dawn of the appointed day are all really glad to be there.

Why?

Because if you are riteous and sorry and about to die but still somehow out and about on your own recognizance you might feel entitled to be exempted from the rules for a spell. After all, it is a special occasion.

And so it makes you wonder if our preoccupation with having life cut short represents a secret need to be momentarily freed of the repressive attitudes that cannot help but lurk beneath first-and-only. A wish for some brief respite from the Treadmill and all the life denying rules and expectations that go with it. A need to eclipse whatever it is that promotes meanness, that taboos tenderness and intimacy. Something both to mend and to remember the trauma of being ripped from the Great Mother.

After all, what does your town do if you are all convinced the world ends tommorow? You forgive your enemies, make love and party till dawn.

 

 

The Lure of Automatic Pilot.

Pizza Hut have bought out a trainer. Embossed on the tongue of the shoe is a button that you can press to order pizza. It sends out a GPS location to your nearest convenient franchise and..

boom..

pepperoni at your fingertips.

In Greek mythology the magical shoes were Hermes department. He had a pair of winged sandals that allowed him to pass between Olympus and the Mortal Plane. The magical shoes mediated between worlds just as they did for Dorothy in her travels between Kansas and Oz.

Very handy.

The capacity to mediate between worlds with enchanted footwear is the nub of a developmental stage in childhood characterized by symbol formation which magically uses transitional objects to manage the gap between Self and Other. It is the essential condition for passing from “first-and-only”, wherein hell is other people, to “being-amongst-others”, where we not only learn to tolerate otherness but are redeemed by it.

“You are therefor I am.” Satish Kumar.

This shift of perspective, is from what the Gnostics called “hylic consciousness”,  It comes from the Greek “hyle”, meaning husk, the unnourishing and winnowed part of an ear of wheat and is characterized by the person who simply lets themselves live without reflection or enquiry…

” He takes life as it comes and does not worry about the problem of meaning, its worth or its purpose. He devotes his time to the satisfaction of personal desires, enjoyment of the senses, riches, ambition.” R. Assagioli.

Transition from ego as landlord to the experience of no longer being master in ones own house is expressed in the Alchemical tradition as “the problem of three and four”.

..as taxing as divvying up a pizza between an odd number of people..

because three into four wont go. The conscious mind and the denizens of the deep Psyche are like oil and water. Making it across a threshold that demands acknowledgement and valuing of the Other without being swallowed up by them..

and with Pizza trainers instead of Hermes sandals for help…

is a way more tricky business than you might imagine..

“Not a few have perished in our work.” Alchemical saying.

A modern fairytale that expresses this sense of crisis and shows how it is resolved comes from an unexpected source, Robocop.

The hero Murphy has his humanity stripped from him and is largely reduced to robotic functioning, a fate suffered by many who adopt the first-and-only stance because it…

” contains the archetypal, omnipotent, defensive and mechanical, as well as the manipulative and destructive nature of Robot.” Lederman

The robot adaptation of the narcissistic character is, however, not entirely negative. Robocop can be redeemed by a combination of two factors. One is that his partner, Lewis, continuously reflects his humanity back to him. Her unflagging faith that he is in there somewhere gives him the courage to explore his obscure situation. Second, he finds his own dramatic solution to the problem of three and four.

Robocop has three protocols, 1) Uphold the law. 2) Serve the public trust. 3) Protect the innocent. As you might expect in any fairystory there is a hidden fourth directive which is entirely incommensurable with the first three..

Do not rise up against your masters.

Becoming conscious of this contradiction throws Murphy into turmoil. The law must be upheld… depending on who is involved. Serve the public trust, for as long as it serves the masters to do so. Protect the innocent, if its expedient…

Murphy realises hes been forced into a catch 22 situation that he cant win. Unless.. he plunges his hands into a massive electric generator that wipes out his programming but also nearly kills him.

Wright speaks of,

“the traumatic birth of self-consciousness, erupting into the still intact (and mechanical) symbiosis with mother.”

Realising that you harbour hidden and contradictory injunctions is shocking. Rewriting the inner script means first realising that you are being run from within by something so old, so habitual, so not-self that you can lose sight of its operation.

Folk simply clank through the day on automatic pilot fulfilling ancient expectations which may once have ensured survival but now serve the demoted purpose of simply keeping oneself on an even keel, maintaining the comfort zone, making sure reality does not intrude or question the preferred construct.

People will go to extraordinary lengths to keep the automatic pilot going because what they are up against is not a mere addition of information, another nut for the store house, but a shift of paradigm that threatens to bring the storehouse down.

Be careful what you wish for…

A good example of this is the story of Hiroo Onoda a Japanese soldier who continued to fight WW11 untill 1972 in the Phillipine jungles. He did this because he absolutely refused to believe that Japan could have surrendered. It was inconceivable. Surrender was more ignoble than suicide, something he had been expressly ordered against. Could his superiors be any the less accountable?

And so he fought on.

Many people have an inner Hiroo, an old soldier still fighting yesterdays battles,  disrupting the present with archaic material, fused to the Motherland, crushing the possibility of change or anything unscripted.

Over the years great efforts were made to persuade him that the war was over. Leaflets were dropped, photos and newspaper articles, all regarded by Hiroo as propaganda, fake news.

He was finally persuded only by hearing of Japans surrender from the lips of his own commanding officer, Major Taniguishi.

“Suddenly everything went black. A storm raged inside me. What had I been doing for all these years?” Hiroo Onoda.

Hiroo got a big shock, but he also went on to become a philanthropist and even donated some of his considerable back pay to local Phillipine projects as well as setting up a school Japan.

Many folk never get out of the Jungle. They remain omnipotently fused with the mother/land, content with the replacment of their autonomy by rows of endless choice, something to keep you occupied, hey, how about these new shoes you can get. They order pizza.

When Hate trumps Love..

Love hurts for a number of obvious reasons, the sudden prospect of loss through mere parting, through to real abandonment or betrayal. Worst of all, perhaps, the ardent striving of till-death-do-us-part which really does end at the mouth of an open grave.

But there is a hurt to Love we are generally more reluctant to admit, one that makes us ambivalent in our quest. Failing to address this knotty undermining of our own efforts to love and be loved makes it seem as though all these impediments to happiness come from outside,

from unfair stuff happening…

and wicked others.

Fessing up to the fact that you subvert your own goals and aspirations is a perplexing and deflating experience. There is something in the mix that the rational mind has failed to take into consideration..

And it is this…

” the meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction, both are transformed.” C G Jung

Conversing converts.

Intercourse interrupts.

Love hurts because who you think you are dies with the experience, along with stuff you thought was important but isnt. Being bent into a new shape, having your sense of self deconstructed by Cupids arrow, is as much a crisis of identity as it is expansive liberation precisely because your borders are suddenly stretching over different parts of the map.

“Each becomes an object of knowledge and perception by the other, which has a wounding or violating effect.” E Edinger.

This deters us from reaching out with all the instinctual urgency of self-preservation. Reaching in…. to previously unknown aspects of Self, is just as dubious a prospect since such Unknowns have a way of rewriting our scripts and job descriptions. Its far more tempting to convince yourself that the Other is whatever you already know of it and that you are the captain of your ship.

Love also requires that we keep our mouths shut. I was impressed by a line in a case history by analyst and author Nina Coltart where her client thanked her for all the things she didnt say.

Hate is a lot easier. It requires little regulation of oneself and sports the dual benefits of both eradicating anxiety and cementing identity.

Purveyors of Hate are selling something very attractive, the kind of knowing-who-you-are and certainty of purpose denied to Love who is fretful, perplexed, bewildered.

Though Hate is most often..

“the wish to destroy that which cannot be controlled or dominated.” Otto Kernberg.

a balanced veiw has to include the possibility that Hate is not entirely destructive. The Greek story of Hephaestus, thrown from Olympus by a hating Hera, tells of a Being betrayed on all sides and physically disabled by the violence of his youth, yet he becomes the greatest of all craftsmen, his smithing arts and jewellery known throughout the world.

So Hate can be transformed. It can be forged and hammered into something else. Why? Because it generally started out being part of a legitimate situation that only latterly gets expressed inappropriately and out of context.

The problem with the way Malignant Narcissism hates, is its need to do so. Hate is used as the glue to hold oneself together and to adhere oneself to others without having to be changed in the process. You can have your corndog and eat it….though the fine print in such a generous offer involves you being eternally driven from within.

Analyst Guntrip quotes from a patient, “I can only keep myself going by hating, I cant stop fighting, I wont give it up. I cant give in. I feel I will lose everything if I do”.

It becomes imperative not to experience the worth of others. In fact, the worth of others humiliates me, casts me down. You cannot be smart without me being stupid. You cant be beautiful without saying I am ugly. Your brightness besmirches me..

and so Im gonna get you back.

The Narcissistic character must destroy outwardly in order to co-here inwardly because his Ontological security is rooted in antagonism..

and because I like to be offensive.

What he refuses to entertain, the delights of affrontery notwithstanding, is that he does so in order not to be a separate and autonomous person with his own ledger, with his own life to live and death to die. He affronts to remain little. Babies say anything. He does this by attributing all the goodness, youth and aliveness of others to himself. He sucks the life out of the world so that he can remain omnipotntly identified with the Good, which means that others must be actively turned into things, deprived of the qualites that comprise personhood, deprived even of legality and citizenship.

You cannot belong..

why should you, if even with my Billions I feel that I do not?

 

How Baboon got his Butt.

Back in the Before Time, Zebra was pure white. He was also the meanest, most ornery crittur in the bush. He liked to set the other animals against each other because it made him feel good. He liked to order them about and tell them in what parts of the forest they could and could not travel.

White as white he was..

Whenever he felt bored or insecure he would dream up some new piece of persecution to divert himself for a moment. This meant that the animals avoided him and so he became even more bored and insecure.

“There has to be a way to pick up a quarrel with the animals… I have to find a place where they all go to and then find a way to annoy them,” he muttered to himself as he stood all alone on the grassy plains.” Kalas Ambasivan.

So he went down to the waterhole where all the animals had to drink and lay in wait for them. When they arrived he leapt out with unrestrained glee, ” Ho, you stupid creatures, dont you dare go near the water. Its Mine.”

“May we drink from your water?” asked one of the animals timidly.

“No, Never!” replied the haughty Zebra. “All forest resources are for Zebra first and only…

” But you dont need to own everything,” continued the foolish creature.

“Silence,” commanded Zebra. “that is fake news.”

Then Baboon stepped forward..

” What if I refuse? ”

“Ha!” yelled Zebra, delighting at the prospect of a fight. “You cannot attack me,” And he built a boma of wooden branches around himself as a protective wall which he then set alight to intimidate everyone.

But Baboon was unafraid. He sailed over the burning branches onto Zebras back. It was the last thing Zebra expected. His own cowardice could not countenance the prospect that Baboon could act in such a spontaneous and unselfconscious way.

And even though Baboon was burned and pummeled and kicked till his arse turned blue he managed to unseat Zebra and bring him crashing down into the burning branches where the singe marks have remained to this day.

Baboon does something spontaneous and authentic.

He is wounded in the process.

But he is victorious.

Being burned from behind is a metaphor of betrayal. It means acknowledging not only the reality of the impact of Zebras actions on the lives of the forest animals, but also of their own collusion. Avoiding him on the forest trails, failing to speak out, turning a blind eye to intimaidation, are all the passive acceptance of pretending things arent so bad and that threats to freedom will just go away.

And yet betrayal is something that appears to be fundamental to life.  The idyll of primal innocence has to be lost and the shadows in everything faced. Zebra has no shadow as yet. He is pure white. Which is why he is so dangerous. He doesnt believe himself capable of dark stripes, so he has no watch on his own wickedness. Wisdom is not knowledge of stuff, its consciousness of ones own darkness, enough to make you alert and wary in an empty room.

“When alone, behave as if in company. When in company, behave as if alone.” Zen  Proverb.

Betrayal is a kind of necessary evil, and perhaps the bullying white Zebras of this world too. They help us to find what we are made of, the testing of ones spirit being also the fuel that makes it grow.

Adversity somehow drags authentic response from the soul and though Baboon gets burned for the priviledge, he does more than cast a ballot. He defies the firey wall.

His blue bum is an expression of authentic life. You cant fake a massive blue arse or its meaning. What you see is what you get. As indicators of sexual receptivity and tribal seniority they continuously advertise what is actually going on. No fake news in baboon culture.

So Baboon manages to bring Zebra down not by the co-ordinated effort of collective might but by his own spontaneous and individual action.

Its  easy to feel overwhelmed by your own insignificance. Its something Zebra counts on. You imagine you have no power because you are just one person. Yet every act of courage begins with one person refusing to buy into the con that this is a limitation.

Being just-one-person is a great thing, more than you can hope for, because it is from the refusal to be dictated to and the insistence on having your own say whether there is anyone there to listen or not, that change comes.

Folk may denigrate you saying thats just your blue arsed opinion, but actually that is all any of us ever have, can ever aspire to. and so really all they are saying is, ” I havent yet learned to speak my own mind.”

Baboon risks the flames because his suffering blue arse means something to him. It symbolises something. He is free of the eat-work-sleep merry-go-round by which he had formerly been seduced. So he cannot be steered, cowed, or have the wool pulled over his eyes.

Despite his superior size Zebra is defeated and given a mark that represents his babyish need to have everything be black and white, for the solution to everything to be obvious and to have everybody else be stupid. His fate is poetic because he lives in a world in which there can not be reconciliation between opposites without first being torn apart by  his own contradictions and complexities. Baboon on the other hand has been initiated by fire, happy with the contradiction that he is just-one-creature.

On Wanting to be Great Again.

When you think about inspiring words of leadership, great speeches that stir the heart, they all have something in common. They evoke values which connect people to themselves and to their neighbour.

Their words touch on some universal recognition that the quality of life is more important than its width. There is a sense of lyrical poetry or a sudden cadence of imagination that invites the listener into some greater awareness of themselves and their purpose.

And sometimes its just the opposite…

The invitation to regress, to have permission to suspend the hard work and moral demands of critical thinking, to indulge Poor Me, can be mightily seductive.

“Thinking is difficult, which is why most people judge.” CG Jung

Judging ahead of time, pre-judice, is an attractive ticket because it invites us to sit back and bask in our own glory… provided of course that we can then find a scapegoat to carry the group shadow. None of which should be too difficult since judging ahead of time is precisely that we know what is going to happen next, a big plus in an age of anxiety.

So speeches reduced to sound bites and slogans appeal to a far older part of the hind brain than the lofty ideals of the neo-cortex.

” We ask little except that ye abstain from red meat and fornication”. Acts 15;29

Mr Trump has taken considerable critisism for both the content and the style of his speeches. Some say that his incoherence indicates the onset of senilty. They cite and compare a variety of speeches from his earlier years in which he seems to manage grammer and syntax perfectly well.

Of course this would be no great surprise for a man of 71, but there is a further consideration that has ramifications greater than the precise nature of his medical diagnosis….

…people speaking in tounges has been part of Bible Belt culture for some time. When folk get inflated they regress. This impacts coherence, but scarier than diminished diplomatic finesse, is the mind set that goes with it, which is that if you want to understand me you will just have to keep pace and figure it out. Listen better. Follow me as I flit from flower to flower.

The concept of Symbiotic Omnipotence, coined by psycho-analyst Masud Kahn, is useful for understanding the significance of incoherent narcissistic rhetoric. One of the key features of Symbiotic Omnipotence is that it is a double act, a folie a deux, a between, in which the psyche of both parties, starting with mother and child, stay in a partly fused state built on mutual superiority. In adult life this dynamic often plays itself out in co-dependent relationships where the glue is delusional shared specialness.

“Isnt it wonderful that we both hate the same things.” Seymour Skinner from the Simpsons.

The contribution of third parties is denigrated as insignificant or fake, eroding….

”…the perception of others as valuable or nourishing, through subtle collusion and indulgences”.  M. Khan

There is no real point in making oneself understood in any case since the world is reduced to Them and Us, fools who cannot comprehend and allies who already get it.

Under such circumstances correct grammer and lofty syntax come a poor second to the attitude which says ” I dont have to make sense and nor do you.”

People love this. You can get to be a very particular kind of baby all over again. Its an invitation to act out all the petty grievances and violent tendencies that had to be repressed the first time around, all of which then led to the sorry pass whereby identity has to be shored up with knowing what happens next and forging the kind of relationship with the world that….

”enables a person to both perceive and deny [reality]”. M. Kahn

useful, say, if you had some command codes and a red telephone.

Wanting to be great again is the secret wish to be the omnipotent baby in the room, without any constraint, seeped in specialness, but one which urgently needs the Symbiotic Other to define it, to manifest its hopes and dreams.

A classic instance of symbiotic omnipotence in the news concerns one Kevin Gugliotta, a Pennsylvanian priest who has recently been sentanced for peddling child pornography. He says he did this to punish God for not letting him win at poker.

“According to pre-trial records, Gugliotta told probation officers that he was an avid poker player, and he felt God was attacking him when he lost games.” RT Question More.

What is so scary about this is not just that friend Gugliotta assumes  Gods involvement in his loss, but that his own response to such divine wickedness doesnt have to make sense in the process, unless he perhaps had some personal wish to be the nasty thing that happens to nice people.

Permission to be above the law, both those of the land and those of linguistic coherence, is a dicey prospect for anyone, especially a leader. To succeed, he needs Others who will bite, in their millions, at the tempting invitation to be similarly unconstrained, having been seduced into the conviction of their own specialness, but still needing the Opioid Epidemic from Hell to manage the gap between the American Dream and the Nightmare of Hate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Executions: a Psychology.

Floridas execution industry has suffered a recent set back with controversy about the use of a new type of lethal injection, Etomidate.

It doesnt work?

Oh no, it kills people really well..

The problem is that it causes the condemned recipient ten seconds of *mild to moderate discomfiture*, before suffering the worlds worst heart attack.

First off, if its untested, how does anyone know that…? But more importantly, what kind of a split reality do we live in where you might be happy to kill someone whilst moping their chin after a hearty last meal, making sure their death suit is freshly back from the cleaners or losing sleep over the *moderate discomfiture* of the person currently having his heart stopped.

Somehow the discomfiture…..

don*t make the noose to tight on him, its unconstitutional!

…and the unpleasant feelings associated with having your heart ripped out in tune to the lapping oarstrokes of Charons ferry, seems somewhat disconnected from the big picture..

All this split politeness about judicial killing has quite some history. Its a tradition that the condemned are allowed last requests, even if you hate them. You might have to send out for pizza, give them a choice of blindfold, or a final fag, perhaps the book clutching comfort of a man in a black dress muttering words to break the arkward silence of those last few moments..

Perhaps thats why the executioners get to be hooded, to hide the shifty look that knows there is covert agenda..

or could it be for politeness sake, so that the poor condemned need not be offended by the coldness of a face with all the mercy of a stone cliff on a stormy night…

or perhaps its to discourage unnecessary chit chat. Rapid dispatch will serve to  reduce the unpleasant chances of wetting of oneself, so thats jolly decent of them.

Oh and in fact you dont have to worry about having your head chopped off, which is a barbaric,… but we might dangle you by it and let you twist and kick for a bit. Way more humane.

The choreography of the pageant is preceeded by the death watch, a macabre ritual of intruding on the prisoner every couple of minutes to make sure he doesnt somehow manage to cheat his fate and make an earlier appointment with death, magically producing the means to kill himself from an empty cell, as though the maximum penalty also made you into a witch if you werent one to begin with.

Prisoners are often given a physical before their execution, in order to ensure that they are fit enough to die..

which is very considerate..

So, if you hurt your nob having a final desperate wank, you might be let off?

No, I dont think it works like that. Though it does beg the bizzare question of what constitutes health grounds for a stay of execution..

you cant kill me, I have a life limiting condition…

yes, its called the green mile.

The physical, the meal, the solemnity of final requests, the intricate rules, observances, training procedures to make sure the restraints dont chaf, all these are structures of denial about what is actually happening which have to be set in place to live with the contradiction of believing how evolved we are whilst clinging to the practices of tooth and claw. And so before delivering 300,000 volts to your exquisite jelly we will moisten the sponge, just so.

We dont want to kill people but we have a whole host of juicy ways of doing it which you can experiment with…of course, once due process has been tended to and we have made sure that the prisoner is not bruised before he is fried. We are humane.

Or maybe the execution industry is all part of a policy of bread and circuses designed to keep people amused whilst the State picks their pockets and slips shackles on their imagination. When times are hard the rate of judicial killing rises. The people must be diverted.

Of course, we are way too gentile to have such circuses publically anymore, that would be distasteful..

and crowd control is soo expensive.

But the court room dramas leading up to them, and the reliably endless media coverage makes up for all it. Shucks, its like having a front seat at the arena complete with corn chips and beer without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

how did life get this good?

But there is a problem..

For more than the amusement of a culture couch bound and weary from its own greatness, and for greater purpose than deterrence, there lies a dark and hidden motive that strikes further than the prisoners heart… and that is to convey to one and all that life is cheap, his, yours, mine. And since it is cheap it is not worth fighting for.

As soon as you argue for the relative worth of a particular persons life, irrespective of whether they *deserve* to die, then you are on the slippery slope of an arguement for the relative worth of any and all lives.

Andrew Anglin, founder of neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer wrote this about the Charlottesville attack…

*the real tragedy is what happened to the car. It was a very nice car, worth much more than the life of anyone who died.*

The ultimate effect of having a federal industry that puts people to death is not less crime, the deterrent effect, or justice for victims, but the ennervating message, embraced wholeheartedly by the collective insecurity of Supremacy, that the value of life can be measured like stock. And you wonder why your infinite, boundless soul is depressed.

 

 

 

Bluebeard, the Secret Hell.

The reason that we arrange to be led by folk we know don’t care about us is that there is an X in the equation which swings things away from what you might think was a more desirable outcome.

We acceed to authoritarian management because there is a covert pay-off. No-one has to do the difficult work of self-realisation.

‘It seems good to Us not to burden you with too many requirements.’ Acts 15;28

It’s okay, you don’t have to find your own way or fulfil any driving ambition. Its alright to be curtailed and told what to do…

because the part of us that minds it has a cunning plan…

to take refuge in the strong arm of he who’d beat you and so, in a very real sense, not be at home when he comes calling. The great thing about abdication is that you get to hold the torch when the castle is burned to the ground.

Alice Miller calls it ‘Identification with the Aggressor’, a process by which a child or subjugated person defends against the precarity of their situation by disocciating from it and forming a psychological alliance with the source of their suffering.

It was named ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ after bank raiders in Sweden took hostages that then became their fervent supporters, even writing to the Prime Minister asking to go with their captors. Hieress Patty Hearst became a gang member of the group that kidnapped her. Natascha Kampuch wept at the death of her jailer and rapist Wolfgang Priklopil, moved into his house and ran his car…

Levy-Bruhl called it participation-mystique, a process of  merging with another, initially observed..

‘in so-called primitive cultures where certain objects treated as holy artifacts were seen as filled with the spirit of their owners or worshipers.’ Gifford

 Without such meaningful totemic relationships that allow a person to be in the presence of their own mystery without being contaminated by it, we in the West do the same with pop stars and celebrity, reality TV and the cult of personality, which despite the high of being one with your hero..
‘can influence a person or group of persons into acting against their own best interest’. (ibid)
Identification with the Great Leader makes all kinds of heroic feats possible though you may not survive them. It wipes out all your troubles back home and replaces them with a fizzing riteousness so potent it can transcend the fear of death and calmly walk wave upon wave of unfaltering youth to the grave.
Sometimes the battlefield’s turf is the quietly carpeted drawing rooms
of gentility rather than the crack and thump of conquest at any price, but still….
‘a person caught up in this spell would rather die or injure him or herself than consider new information that might upend their thinking.’ ibid

Most people know the story of Bluebeard. He murdered his wives one after another and kept them in a secret locked room. He forbids his most recent bride from entering the room on pain of … well, a lot of pain, but she is unbearably curious and sneaks in while he is away…

just a peek…

Too late!

The room is a charnel house of former wives. She drops the key to the floor in horror where it becomes stained with blood that will not wash off no matter how she tries…

Bluebeard finds her out, and sets out to do just what he said he would do…  though she is saved in the last moment by her brothers who show up in the nick of time…

an’ cut ‘Ol Bluey down…

The traditional meaning is that of a cautionary tale,

‘Oh curiosity thou mortal bane, spite of my charms thou causest oft pain and sore regret..’ Charles Perrault

followed swiftly by reassurances that men are not so bad..

‘This a story is of time long pass’d; No husbands now such panic terrors cast; Nor weakly, with a vain despotic hand, Imperious, what’s impossible, command:’ (ibid)

More recently its been given socio-political attention with BB in the role of Patriarch enforcing gender roles with violence, or more psychologically with BB in the role of pathological narcissist. Clarrisa Pinkola Estes calls him,

‘the predator of the Psyche, wanting to sever intuition, a malignant force at odds with the instincts of the natural self.”

Von Franz amplifies this theme, BB is the destructive, murderous animus which must be encountered in order to grow..

”If a woman hasn’t gone through the experience of being trapped by a demon animus she only has unconscious thoughts.”

All well and good but there is a curious detail in the story that snags my attention.. Most of the interpretations are based on later versions of the tale in which the youngest of three sisters falls for his charms because she is naive, or she marries him against his will. But in the original by Perrault there’s neither foolishness nor abduction…

Bluebeard goes to one of his neighbours…

‘a lady of quality, whose two daughters were perfect beauties. He desired of her one of them in marriage, leaving to her the choice which of the two she would bestow upon him….

‘I want one of your children, it doesn’t matter which…’

None of this phases anyone. There is no outrage, no injunctions never to darken her door again. Mother colludes and passes of her kid like a mail-order bride who gradually identifies with BB rather than face how she has been betrayed.

There was nothing then to be seen but parties of pleasure, hunting, fishing, dancing, mirth and feasting. Every thing succeeded so well, that the youngest daughter began to think the master of the house not to have a beard so very blue, and that he was a mighty civil gentleman…

A six year old child, having been persuaded onto her parent’s lap rather than explore the nearby swings and play area, is trying to extricate herself in an ungainly way whilst mother chides her softly like Nursy from Blackadder..

‘Oh you.. banana-brain…’

child’s inaudible muttering…

What are you?… a banana-brain.

more muttering..

‘banana-brain, that’s what you are.’

And you could say its just harmless fun and the mother is ‘joking’ in an extroverted and jovial way. ‘Its just people being what they are,’ you say, but actually its the worst kind of cruelty.. making a child feel stupid for wanting a go on the swings, feeling like a banana-brain in adult life for wanting to explore, embittered and muttering in old age for the life that’s been denied her.

Such throw away lines are how lives are poisoned. Often repeated they become the kernel around which identity is built because our survival compells us to adapt to expectation. So even when she’s free she stumbles, can’t get co-ordinated, making a hash of her liberty, just like… a banana-brain.

Her inner life is destroyed, not by showdowns, punishments or overt rejection but by one thing parodying  another, by the wicked cleverness that can say you are stupid and I hate you with a smile. What’s the matter, can’t you take a joke?

Life is what you make it but more importantly its what you believe it to be. Life will faithfully offer us up our expectations of it, rising to manifest and mirror back to us all our prejudices, secret fears and covert assumptions.

‘We do not see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” Torah

That which we cannot face on the inside comes at us from the outside. Having had her inner life attacked by her social-climbing mother, our heroine learns to attack herself, killing off her sponteneity, deadening her sexuality, stringing up her feelings and hobbling the discriminating function that feelings are there to serve.

When she intrudes upon BB’s inner chamber she is bound to find there some expression of this violation. She is going to find her worst nightmares in the little room because she has entered into this arrangement in terrible bad faith, having sold out her integrity and the possibility of true love for the sake of a life of easy luxury.

BB is certainly a villain, but never pretending to be more or less than he is. There is no deception. ‘I want one of your daughters, I don’t care which.” The poor bride masks over the awful injury this constitutes by following suit, pretending that people and privacy don’t matter, but has to kill off her aliveness and subjugate herself to the tyranny of life’s baubles which will extract their pound of flesh from her one way or another. Her inner world will be attacked on a regular basis.

Life presents us with the face we show it and mirrors back to us inner states normally occluded from veiw.

I once comforted a woman whose husband had just had a heart attack and was at death’s door in hospital… but I withdrew my hand from her shoulder as if bitten by a snake when she wailed, ‘who will help me now?” Her thoughts were not of him, nor her tears about him, but about the burden of her middle-class chores.

Through her tears she then told me a dream that wild dogs had gotten into her lovely white Mercedes convertible and torn all the upholstery to pieces. Her inner life had been ripped out by her paltry material concerns and the utter failure to transcend her own petty troubles.

”We thought it was the outer event that had happened to us, but now see that it is we who have happened to ourselves.’ F. Wickes.

Its curious how much sympathy the heroine evokes, how villainous BB seems to be, polarised utterly with the Soldiers of Light, the brothers who finally do him in. Yahweh fairs much better in the popularity stakes when he puts Eve to the same test. Her curiosity gets her eternal damnation wheras Mrs BB just inherits everything and comes up smelling of roses.

There is no transformation. The dead wives are as much a part of her world as BB himself and killing him off still leaves her with the problem of life denied and the damage done to her personal destiny by the spell which compells her to identify with toxic values rather than her own gut feeling…

which says that people come before stuff.

 

 

The Tyranny of Lawn.

How people have their gardens is interesting. What they do with them, even if it is nothing, says much about a person because it embodies something of their relationship with Nature and their own Deep Selves.

Maybe you don’t have a garden and long for one but that too is a relationship, missing space to potter and grow stuff. Or, you only have a potted Yucca to call your own but that can be enough if you love it.

Some feel gardening is just housework out of doors. If you scratch a little you’ll find that Life itself is a drudge, the day a series of tedious boxes to tick all linked together with Obligation’s resentment.

Others ‘maintain’, their patch. Its a notch up from housework-out-of-doors because there’s a little pride in it though it’s limited to space to-be-kept-the-same, the chaos of creative potential held firmly in check.

More are making their mark or making an effort, or having something to do because there is nothing to do..

On the far-side there are the parking lots, Nature supplanted by Tarmac, forecourts for the glittering prize.

More wierd than the Parking-Lotters are the Lawn Brigade, acolytes of a tradition strangely rooted in tyranny and death.

Back in the day, only the rich could afford to hire the many hands needed to scythe and weed the grass, so a lawn was a mark of wealth and status.  The earliest lawns, however, had a very specific purpose.  They were the closely trimmed verge around medieval castles in France and Britain, kept clear of trees so guards had an unobstructed view of any dodgy blokes in armour that might hove into veiw.

Part of the problem with building big fat castles and hiding your loot in them is that everyone for miles around knows it’s there. The word ‘lawn’ comes from the Celtic ‘laun’ meaning safe enclosure, which sounds very sweet and mystical except that it was invariably a clearing on the other side of which are bearded hordes with a malevolent twinkle in their eye..

and pointy sticks..

The first lawns were battle grounds. Nice to promenade about on with your mates and stretch limbs weary from the Watch, but their real purpose was to deprive everything within bowshot of cover to hide in.

The bigger your castle, the more anxious the need for protection, the bigger your lawn needs to be, a kind of insurance policy reasoned on the likely assumption that the more loot you have the more attention you are likely to receive from unsavoury parties.

The problem with making a bet that something bad is going to happen to you is that it catches the attention of the Fates as well as that of your less than salubrious neighbours who are bound to then usher all kinds of ill to your door…

mostly in the form of armies.

So the status symbol of the pristine lawn originates in fear and conflict precipitated by folk having more than they need. The lawn, gentle epitome of Pimms, Tennis, and that Lounger-in-the-Sun, is actually the yawning gap across which Us is divided from Them.

So the next time you’re out trying to relax on the lawn but finding it difficult to do it justice, it might be down to your endocrine system anticipating the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..

and the cannon balls of very bad luck…

but mostly what makes it so difficult for us to relax that we need multi-billion dollar service industries working around the clock to make any kind of dent in it, is good old fashioned Conscience…

.. way deeper than any internalised moral code which knows that both the castle and its sumptuous lawns are bread from the mouths of starving babes and who’s purpose it is to rectify the balance any way it can, including the judicious use of colourful neurotic afflictions and physical symptoms.

Conscience is its own thing, beyond any great influence of the ego. It grows horns and a tail like anything else we try to suppress, becoming a kind of Fury that brings it’s own form of Justice to the table when normal constraints have failed.

It is She who compells any person who has more than they need to..

”unconsciously seek retributive punishment in order to atone and so remove the sense of guilt at having avoided the problem of love.” Frances Wickes.

Curiously, the Palace of Versailles has just obtained a dreamlike piece of ‘lawn art’, pictured above. It is a life size statue of Sarah Kerrigan in her role as ‘Queen of Blades’, an assassin hero from the Starcraft Universe. She is an avenging harpie..

‘Hell hath no fury like a woman swarmed..’ Queen of Blades.

These blades are not for cutting the grass. They are for exacting poetic retribution. When the Principle of Relatedness is cut off for the sake of having power over others She haunts the lawn, working tirelessly behind the scenes to reach  those parts that official channels cannot, making us live in the ivory tower the lawn serves…

cut off from self and others.