The Sweet Wound.

 The greatest obstacle to healing depression is to see it as the enemy. We talk about fighting, combating, struggling with depression. Even ‘having depression’ suggests it intrusively came to you from somewhere else.
In the early days of my training I went to see an analyst and was reeling off my woes and complaints about life.
”At least I’m not depressed,”I said.
‘No,’ he replied, ‘you haven’t got there yet.’
I was shocked.
Depression could be a goal.
The fact is there are lots of things in life to be depressed about. And if we then try and combat it rather than enquiring into its purpose, it entrenches itself.
”What we resist, persists.” CG Jung
Depression is a sign that I has stopped talking with Me. The path between their houses has overgrown. The feeling of social isolation that comes with depression is mirrored on the inside as self estrangement.
Much depression has to do with the issue of authenticity, with whether we are being who we are. If a gap begins to grow between who we really are and who we wish we were then depression will fill that gap.
If we pretend to be what we are not for others in the fruitless and misguided quest to be loved by them, then depression will call our attention to the dissonance between what is actually going on and the new improved version of ourselves we’re trying to sell.
Depression hits particular kinds of people.
Did you notice the aggressive metaphor I just used?
…that I typed, myself, without noticing it until it was sat licking its paws on the screen in front of me.
We’re conditioned to have this combative relationship with depression. Centuries of being great white hunters.
Depression mostly unfolds in particular kinds of people. It’s the underbelly of perfectionism, people pleasing and ‘positive thinking’.
The perfectionists are at war with their shadows, their inadequacies and unevolved aspects.
The people pleasers are at war with their own destinies, so readily derailed by other’s baggage and expectation.
The positive thinkers are at war with anything that isn’t rosy and bright.
Whether its with yourself, your path, or life’s mourning and pain, the insistance on things being other than they are gives rise to depression.
”Our suffering is as much created by our struggling against the circumstances at hand as the circumstances themselves.” M Israel.
If we are living someone else’s life, or someone else’s vision of who we ‘ought’ to be, then depression will ensue. And if we are not living up to our potential on account of its cost to us, it will be all the worse.
”There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain.”  RD Laing
Its big. The US spends an incredible $350 billion a year on medication and therapy for depression. This amount is currently increasing at a rate of 20%.
http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/statistics-infographic
The figures are scary and again its tempting to whip out you sword forgetting that depression has a purpose and failing to notice that it is pointing at something we subscribe to that doesn’t actually feed us or represent us.
Something has to give.
and not this or that but the paradigm itself.
We have a collectively narcissistic vision of ourselves as highly evolved when in fact we are really the creature that has only one of its senses working and thinks itself so grand in the absense of all the others.
This is the characteristic response, the strategy, of the unmothered child, and indeed we’ve had no Queen of Heaven for quite a few millenia now. When Mother is lost the child does not grow, or in only one of its aspects.
The rest of it shuts down and regresses.
So here we are, trashing our play pens.
We fail to grasp the proverbial reality that as we selfishly destroy nature “our outer world”, consequently we destroy “our inner world”, and ourselves as a species. The psychological consequence of this disconnection from nature amputates our soul connection with Mother Earth.
http://www.michaelgeorge.com/app/uploads/2015/03/Civilizations-Disconnect-from-Nature-and-Psyche.pdf
And its a question of more than mere deprivation.
A seven year old proudly announces to mother that he’s made money! Mother asks how and the child explains with great delight that he got it out of mother’s purse but then swopped it for the same amount he’d persuaded his mate Billy to take from his mother’s purse…. so it wasn’t stealing….’
And this is the logic of the economic market in the Western paradigm culminating in banks printing their own money and lending what they don’t have . We call it free enterprise but actually its a way of becoming magic in the absense of magic, the magic of belonging and feeling held by the Universe. A strategy that involves a hiest.
We deal with what feels like abandonment by attributing ourselves with  whatever specialness it takes to gain some additional illicit toe hold on the world. Our deep hungering then justifies whatever follows next, generally an envious attack on the worth and value of others..
This envy creates depression. Its part of the fallout of being so pious and better than everyone else. In order to really buy the shining version of ourselves we have to attribute others with the very fragments of  self most needed to be whole.
We cannot take command of our great battlements without corresponding feelings of having been robbed.

The paradigm itself creates depression.

The monotheistic notion that life always has to be cheerful (could) be instructed by melancholy. We could learn from its qualities and follow its lead, becoming more patient in its presence, lowering our excited expectations, taking a watchful attitude as this soul deals with its fate..” T Moore

The loss of the Principle of Relatedness in our culture means both a loss of the internal cohesion of I and Me and of the bond between ourselves and the external world. This is generally experienced as disconnection, lack of trust and not belonging that then reinforces internal divisions and the feeling of alienation.
The thing is that the creative life also has its gloomy vales.

”Creative people who can’t help but explore other mental territories are at greater risk, just as someone who climbs a mountain is more at risk than someone who just walks along a village lane.” RD Laing

So sometimes it can feel like a choice between the aggravation of refusing to be what we are or the further aggravation of  grasping life’s nettle. It doesn’t seem fair and its not.

”a warring peace, a sweet wound, a mild evil.” R Owen.

If the feelings of being depressed can be honoured as a form of longing then so can the feelings of riding your push bike down Middenmarsh hill with a mouthful of blackberries and chocolate.

based on an extract from my new book, ‘Abundant Delicious’, http://andywhiteblog.com/2016/06/11/abundant-delicio…ot-off-the-press/

 

 

Paranoia and Parapraxis.

Once upon a time there lived a poor couple whose greatest wish was to have a child….

From a small upstairs window in their little cottage, where they could see over a high wall and into a wonderful garden owned by an Enchantress in which there were all manner of exotic and magical plants, the woman spied a great clump of Rampion growing. Rampion is famed for it’s fertile properties and  she set her heart upon having some. So she persuaded her husband to clamber over the wall in dead of night and fetch her a bit.

..which he did.

and the next night too… and the night after that..

..getting quite blase now about his habitual stroll through this strange garden by moonlight to collect Rampion.

Until one evening, in a twinkling, the Enchantress has planted herself in his path, way bigger than he imagined with purple tendrils of electricity snaking about her fingertips.

‘What are you doing’? she asks, in a voice silky with impending malice..

”Er, sorry your Enchantress-ship. I was collecting Rampion for my wife who wishes to conceive a child. Please don’t turn me into anything nasty.”

The Enchantress pondered for a moment, ‘very well, but when the child is born it will be mine,” and then she vanished in a thunder clap leaving the poor man clutching his Rampion and quaking in his boots. On the day the child was born the Enchantress appeared as if by magic and scooped the babe up, ‘I will call her Rapunzel after the Rampion,’ she said and then they were gone..

To say that the Enchantress was an over-protective mother doesn’t quite do justice to her determination that Rapunzel be sequestered from the world. She built a tower in the forest without doors and Locked Rapunzel Up. Occasionally the Enchantress would arrive with supplies and command Rupunzel to lower her lengthy tresses for her to climb up..

‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your golden hair..’

One day the local Prince is riding by and sees all this happening. He’s a tad curious and go’s over to the tower once the Enchantress is gone…

‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your golden hair..’

So, he climbs up and they fall in love… as you might expect. But what happens next is not so expected…

One day the Enchantress visits and as she’s climbing over the balcony Rapunzel inadvertantly blurts, ‘ oh, you are so much more heavy than the Prince,’ and before she realizes it the truth is out. The enraged Enchantress cuts off Rapunzel’s tresses and banishes her to a filthy hovel in some farflung desert place. Then she lies in wait for the Prince.

Slips of the tongue, or ‘paraparaxis’, meaning ‘beyond what is acceptable’, in Greek, can get you into a world of trouble.  The problem with slips of the tongue is that they have a nasty habit of outing unacceptable truths. Its as if the Truth is just busting to find expression. The more unacceptable that Truth is the harder it will push for the light.

which is all very well. But to the person who’s just outed themselves its like having an inner traitor.

My most cringe-worthy slip of the tongue was in the library,  wanting to borrow a reference copy of the ‘Writers and Artists Year Book. The librarian was very attractive and scantily clad in summer heat. I tried my best to ignore the fact, not least of all because a gaggle of old ladies in the doorway were looking me up and down as if to say, ‘we know what you’re thinking you filthy little man..’

So I was on my best behaviour, and doing my utmost to be polite..

‘Good afternoon, do you have a copy of the Writer’s and Arse Tits Year Book?

which brings us to the next order of business, Paranoia. Something Unknown is Doing I Don’t Know What… and it doesn’t seem to have the interests of polite society on its agenda…

The Prince climbs up Rapunzel’s severed locks only to find the Enchantress at the top who wants very much to scrag him. Only by throwing himself from the tower is he saved, though he loses his eyes to the thorny thicket surrounding the tower on his way down.

Paranoia is when you think something is going on but its not. We overlay reality with our own inner pallette to the point that what gets painted is really rather different from what is actually there. The Prince thinks he’s getting Rapunzel but has to deal with the Enchantress instead…

a common male complaint.

He’s bound to feel that some wicked will is working against him. We’re all conditioned by experience to expect the world to respond to us in a particular way. Survival depends on learning who we are from our environment and living up to its expectations even if they are not good for us.

”Instictive forces do not reason. They assume, from the immense weight of their experience,.. that it will serve the individual well to be stabilized according to  initial experience.’. Jean Liedloff.

What this means is that..

‘the design of each individual is a reflection of the experience it expects to encounter… defined by the circumstances to which its antecedents had adapted.” ibid

So the boy who was humiliated by his mother, says to himself que sera sera, this is how it is. He adapts and expects to be humiliated by Life. He will even engineer it if he can, because survival means integrating Expectations, even if that expectation is that you are stupid and will fail.

‘Not so easily do we forget what we learned with our Mother’s milk’. Dostoevsky

The prejudices and assumptions we all have about life serve to create a seamless fit between the peculiarities of childhood and the objective face of a wider and untested Universe later on. Confronting your own paranoia, realising that how things were needn’t be how they are, is a huge wake up that can rob a person of their usual perceptual ability symbolised by the Prince’s blinding.

When I was a kid there was always a sense of something amiss at home that I couldn’t name until one day my father put his hand on my mother’s shoulder and she involuntarily shuddered with disgust. I was shocked. My first thought was, ‘what else is it that I cannot see.” And even though it was disorienting and painful, I grew.

because the painful thing was at least real.

‘Loosening and even fragmenting the internal psychic environment. . . is the ground for the birth and development of higher psychic structure. Disintegration is the basis of developmental thrust upward, the creation of new evolutionary dynamics and the movement of the personality to a higher level.’ Dabrowski

So the prince has to wander blindly about the  kingdom like a beggar until one day, deo concedente, by the will of the gods, he finds Rapunzel in her desert hovel. She recognizes him straight away, embraces him and her hot tears fall upon his eyes which are then restored.

Love heals all wounds.

Both Rapunzel’s parapraxis, which caused so much trouble, and the Prince’s paranoia…more trouble, ultimately serve the individuation of both and bring them together in a very human way unencumbered by the ivory towered inflation of their first encounter.

So slips of the tongue, though embarrassing, serve to bring unconscious material within reach of consciousness; and paranoia, though uncomfortable, helps to air the gap between what we think is happening and what is actually going on whilst continuously encountering the Unknown and being bent into interesting shapes by it.

 

The Plague Pit.

If you were to look to history for examples of how to get yourself out of a fix on a grande scale you’d think you couldn’t do much better than the miraculous swath of time that birthed the Rennaisance out of the Dark Ages. You could be forgiven for feeling that therein lay some treasure, a mystical clue to the redemptive flowering of Humanity rooted in some collective noble sentiment or sacrificial gesture.

But no..

It was done for them, or rather.. to them…

by a nasty little beast called Yersinia Pestis.

The author of this great Resurgence to our collective spirit, impossible without an affluent middle class, was not benevolent Popery or Charlegmane’s Universities, nor the art scene in Florence. It was Yersinia riding abroad on her mount, the mighty rat flea Xenopsylla, which made up for it’s teensiness by jumping far and harbouring pustule inducing chemical weapons that can kill quicker than thirst.

The Black Death killed over half of Europe. A liberating bonanza for those it left behind and so the West flourished for a while until Yersinia was wiped out…

or went back to her reservoir for a well earned rest.

”Widespread death eroded the strict hereditary class divisions that had, for centuries, bound peasants to land owned by local lords.” Louisa Woodville

Like sex, death is a great equaliser. It meant a temporary end to the stranglehold of landlords by the sudden dip in demand from surviving peasantry who, flush with inheritance, could now negotiate wages and had both the time and the means to better themselves, to fulfill personal ambition and potentials previously impossible.

Da Vinci’s mother Catarina was of peasant stock, as was Bruegel, Goya, and Titian.

Unfortunately we can’t have the fabric of society further rent by such upstarts whose contributions, whilst gratefully received, have a way of making people think that is not congruent with their governance.

And so the Deepening State must work to erode the Individuation of its citizens despite the consequences to culture, indeed, must make such a sacrifice in order to consolidate power that now depends on having people at a disadvantage.

What art came out of Nazi Germany? Or music from Stalin’s Russia? Not a lot. Stalin made musicians compose in groups so as to prevent any one individual from shining to brightly. Result? Decades of dreary band music. Shostakovitch was made to apologise to the Russian people publicly for the poor state of National musicianship….

Stalin was not just aware of his impact on Russian culture. He planned it, a deliberate, plaguing policy of dumbing people down.

Russian jokes play on the erosion of personal expression and identity. This one is a conversation between a foreman and a worker at a construction site. All its words are derived from the single obscene word khuy.

Ohuyeli! (have you gone mad?).. Nahuya (why) dohuya (so much) huyni (of stuff) nahuyarili (you have loaded up?) Rashuyarivay.. (unload it) nahuy.. (out of here).

Huli?! (What’s the problem?) Nihuya!.. (no way) Nehuy.. no need) Rashuyarivat,.. (to unload). Nehuyacheno.. (it got loaded) nehuyovo.. (quite well). Pohuyarilli.. (let’s go!)

Author S.-A. Kristofferson offers the tentative translation..

”Fuckheads! Why did you load so much of this shit? Unload it the fuck away from here.”

‘What’s the fucking problem? Fuck no! No need to unload. It got loaded right. Lets go.”

Another story tells the fate of a Ukrainian factory marked out for a special award and visit from dignitaries to bestow it with a Quality Mark. The bosses told the workers to mind their language and banned any obscenities. Production fell sharply. The bosses discovered that all the workers’ tools were known only by  their profane names, pizdulina, huynyashka, huyutina, all loosely translated as ‘thing’.

The same went for technological processes. Zayabenit, to push or force through, prihuyuachit, to connect or bond, huynut, to move slightly, zahuyarit, to throw far away or to put in deeply….

Plague is a symbol of something. It hits where there is the greatest density, the greatest sedimentation of character, entrenched identity that cannot move with the times. Its what happens when we are cut off from both ourselves and one another.

 In Camus’, ‘the Plague’, the citizens of Oran are initially indifferent to one another’s suffering because each person is selfishly convinced that his or her pain is unique compared to “common” suffering.”  S Notes.

or is the plague caused by the indifference, the omnipotent fantasy of being ‘unique’… identifying oneself with persona at the expense of authenticity?

Both physically and symbolically plague is about claustrophobic ‘no-space’. Fortunately ‘space’ is about a great deal more than the cubic yardage of your apartment. It also addresses an inner condition which has to do with being able to reflect, to tell yourself off, to value the wilderness within sufficiently to want to spend time there despite its dangers.

The problem is that getting some inner elbow room means coughing up hairballs and received wisdoms that will make you question stuff supposed to be set in stone.  The alternative is not to enquire, not to question, not to ask…which is where plague suddenly, surreptitiously, sets in.

When we are all boxed in and have no space, plague ensues one way or another, either in the spontaneous manifestation of Yersinia mounted atop faithful Xenopsylla, or the living death of stumbling towards a fate that is not your own.

Recognizing our potential, at any moment, to fall asleep and unwittingly become an agent of darkness is to become psychically immunized from falling prey to the malevolent bug of egophrenia.” ~Carl Jung- CW 10

…though many are bitten, become infected and die. The worst affected succumb to Cotard’s Delusion, the belief that they are already dead..

and it might be true.

“I see men assassinated around me every day. I walk through rooms of the dead, streets of the dead, cities of the dead; men without eyes, men without voices; men with manufactured feelings and standard reactions; men with newspaper brains, television souls and high school ideas.” Charles Bukowski.

And you can’t help wondering what it all means…and that perhaps if we do not die to our own grandiosity then, like grail kings of old, we will be made to die a different way.

Zombie Nation.

It seems there are as many prepping for the Zombie Apocalypse as there are for WW lll. What does this mean? No-one thinks its real but an awful lot of young people are pre-occupied with it. I even came across a zombie survival manual in someone’s loo recently. It was very detailed.

”your team of hunters will be out during the brightest, hottest, most excruciating part of the day. Make sure each hunter is well supplied with water and antisunstroke accessories.” Max Brooks. Zombie Survival Guide. Complete Protection.

Max put a lot of thought into that. My own seventeen year old waxes between sigma functions of differential equations and the best places to hide out in case of a zombie attack….along with millions of others, judging from the brisk sales of the bestselling survival guide…

and its contribution of a Wall St estimated 6 billion dollars to the economy..

So what is going on?

Max himself says,

”You can deal with societal breakdown, famine, disease, chaos in the streets, but as long as the catalyst for all of them is zombies, you can still sleep.” Max Brooks.

yeees, but that seems a bit thin.. self-analysis always gives you what you already think… It still keeps the zombies ‘out there’, not me and nothing to do with me.

Zombies are one of the main collective psychological fantasies of our culture, a significant contender to Porn Industry for the OCD  Heavy-Weight Championship face-off.

The Living Dead are a collective symbol. They describe an inner condition of Western Consciousness, and because it has to do with us we have a fascination for it.

We have festivals to try and give some creative expression to it. Halloween is second only to Christmas in the Collective Imagination. Yet  it has been so overladen with split off aspects of the modern psyche that it more resembles a Mexican Day of the Dead than it does the original Samhain New Year festival.

The Mexicans proptiate their departed with offerings of food, drink, music and fireworks, to stop them messing in Life’s affairs and ease them along into the next world. Its good psychological hygiene. It works because the Mexicans understand what they are doing. Its a far cry from sending your kids out in elf costumes to get wasted on sucrose.

We have lost the knack of honouring the ancestors, or facing the underbelly of their legacy to us, the planetary pillage they initiated, the theft of whole nations still ours, still exploited, today.

Collectively failing to know our own history makes the walking dead of History’s descendants. Our firm belief in our moral superiority, subjecting others for their own good, the rampant proliferation of narcissism in our culture and continued exploitation of what are now Slave Nations, gives rise to something inside us eternally hungering, devouring of Consciousness, sapping of Life.

We are naturally moral beings. People know when they are living off ill-gotten gains. It makes it difficult for them to enjoy what they’ve taken and makes them subconsciously want to fail, want to be brought down, finds them in need of enemies. Eventually the split off conscience finds some way to sink the shining hero, which is why evil always rots from within and why anything dictatorial is invariably the author of its own demise.

I too believed in my own supremacy once, in elite right to rule. I was priviledged, and suppressed people ‘for their own good’ but strange to say it filled the world with demons that only truly disappeared when I pulled my head out of my ass and reflected on the hidden fascism in policing the planet whilst feasting on its  brains and intestines.

Curiously the symbol of zombie brain-feasting was never part of the original genre. It is as recent a contribution as the Simpsons 1992 classic Treehouse of Horror. Yet, like any divinely inspired midrash, it stuck because it seems right.

But why?

Return of the Living Dead’s writer and director, Dan O’Bannon, suggested that the undead felt the need to feed on brains because it somehow made them feel better by easing their pain.

Which, by way of allegory, is precisely what makes people mess with one another’s heads. The insecure narcissist who knows he is only skin deep has to have someone be the dumbass in the equation. Even the prime Minister of Montenegro will do. Anyone with juicy brains and soft guts.

When Life gets Random..

Of course you have control issues. Life is a bitch and then you die. But worse than being short, nasty and brutish, life is terribly random. For anyone who is not the Silver Surfer and cannot ride the Quantum Fluctuation Fields of curved space, we cope instead by giving chaos a pedigree, saying it was meant to be, as if Fate simply meant being led by the hand through a single possible life.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Bilbo Baggins

Most of us need only reflect on the way we met a partner to remind ourselves how co-incidental life can be, and that everything is a billion to one. We prefer the idea of being in the right place at the right time to try and bring some semblance of order and purpose into events, forgetting what personal responsibility is lost in things that are meant to be, how much expectation then has to be shouldered by the other.

Life’s collective chaos tends to express itself in acts of war. Though we abhor the idea of war so too do we go to battle on the slightest pretext and sometimes on whim and invention. The Gulf of Tomkin debacle, which precipitated the Vietnam war, pissed quite a few people off by never having occured. The Gulf war was joined on the strength of WMD’s which turned out to be a lie. Yemen lies in ruins because the Saudi king doesn’t like their elected President. His mate wants the job.

But its how these chaotic things are sparked that grabs my attention because they are so far flung from the hushed rooms of diplomatic discussion, the fine manners, the fine wine…

and even from the undertones of opportunism, or the cut and thrust of deliberate calculation..

No better event exists than the sublime Unlikelihood of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which started the Great War, to serve as an example of how the most absurd occurence can trigger global events.

There are in fact two versions of the story. The first, less interesting, is the testimony of a fellow conspiritor to the assassin Principe, a Serb Nationalist whose account makes a cunning ambush of the killing… after an initial failed attempt and having been received by the mayor of Sarajevo Fehim Cercic …

”Potiorek, the Austrian Commander, pleaded with Franz Ferdinand to leave the city, as it was seething with rebellion. The Archduke was persuaded to drive the shortest way out of the city and go quickly.

The road to the (Austrian Military) maneuvers was shaped like the letter V, making a sharp turn at the bridge over the River Nilgacka. Franz Ferdinand’s car could go fast enough until it reached this spot but here it was forced to slow down for the turn. Here Principe had taken his stand. As the car came abreast he stepped forward from the curb, drew his automatic pistol from his coat and fired two shots.”  Borijove Jevtic (a member of the Black Hand group who later claimed he had been involved in the assassination.)

The second story, from a number of other primary sources, rings a lot better. It was a shambles. Eight assassins, mostly pneumoniacs who were in the terminal stages of illness and once arrested would not survive long to enjoy their commuted executions, lined the main street of Sarajevo every hundred yards armed with grenades, hand guns and cyanide. You’d think they could manage to take down a  glittery waving target with a great feather hat in the back of a slow moving car with the top down?

But no. The first assassin bottled out. The second threw his grenade but missed, hitting the car behind instead and injuring two of Ferdinand’s men. The royals roared off and the rest of the assassins melted away into the crowd.

And that should have been the end of it, but Chance had only just come out to play and was about to deliver up something in the assassins favour even more unlikely than the golden opportunity they had just botched.

Ferdinand insisted in visiting the two men injured in the attack once the official business at the town hall was concluded.

”In order to avoid the city centre, General Oskar Potoriek decided that the royal car should travel straight along the Appel Quay to the Sarajevo Hospital. However, Potiorek forgot to tell the driver, Franz Urban, about this decision. On the way to the hospital, Urban took a right turn into Franz Joseph Street….

where there just happens to be a cafe that sells cheap coffee… which was where Principe had gone to calm down and collect his nerves while he had a cup of Joe… His breathing had returned to normal, the crowds had dispersed, the police had gone, so he got up, paid and left…

In that moment the Archduke’s car swung round the corner..

One of the conspirators, Gavrilo Principe happened to be standing on the corner at the time. Oskar Potoriek immediately realised the driver had taken the wrong route and shouted “What is this? This is the wrong way! We’re supposed to take the Appel Quay!”.

The driver put his foot on the brake, and began to back up. In doing so he moved slowly past the waiting Gavrilo Principe. The assassin stepped forward, drew his gun, and at a distance of about five feet, fired several times into the car. (http://spartacus-educational.com/FWWassassination.htm)

within a month Europe was plunged into the war to end all wars.

I personally feel rather intimidated that a cup of coffee could trigger such an event. Its the kind of thing that makes you want to move more slowly and be careful where you put stuff down just in case you start world war 3. Who knows what cataclysmic events might be set in motion by popping out for a pint of milk…

or riding your bike..

Fortunately, I also laugh in the face of danger. Brazen with courage, but careful as can be, I venture out every day – knowing full well the mayhem that can ensue from saying hello, the shrapnel that can fly from tipping your hat just so. Yet I manage to brave it all none the less.

Luckily the chaos that happily ensues from the teensiest thing is also what seems to generate creativity, steepen your learning curve, and bring the soul to fruition.  DNA research shows that the further from the Alduvi gorge humanity roamed, the more complex human DNA became. The challenges, the new skills that had to be learned, the eternal encounter with the unknown and having to adapt to it… all this fed and strengthened nomadic wo/man.

Our is not a survival of the fittest. In fact Darwin only used the phrase once, rather tentatively, in his whole Origin of Species. His emphasis was actually on the survival of those best able to adapt. His phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ has been given the best of all possible make overs and emphasised by the Establishment because it implies the right of might and power as proof of its own legitimacy, useful at a time (1859) when you are busy colonising the planet.

We need unforseen change like roses need muck which it is why it is a death knell to life’s adventure to wish it were all easier, something I have to remind myself of twenty times a day. Moreover, we are not just the passive recipients of what happens to us, some canvas on which life viciously paints itself. If freedom is simply freedom from, from oppression, tyranny, tragedy, we cannot be free because all this chaos is the raging stream in which we swim. It is home as well. So better we ask, given the chaos, what am I free for…?

 

 

 

Thunder, Perfect Mind.

How big is the Universe?

very big..

with mobius strip blueprints.

People who think about such stuff, other than those trying to perfect techniques of delayed ejaculation and have already mastered their times tables, generally fall into one of three groups..

each one of which has its own Quantum Demon to wrestle with.

The first bunch, the Old School, like their Universe all squared away, limited in space and time. The second lot, Hawking’s Hotspurs, are a bit more mystical and have their Universe expanding. The third, mostly consisting of undergraduates in possession of their first ever quarter of skunk,

say its infinite and goes on forever, dude.

The Quantum Demons that preside over each mob have the rational mind by the hip. The First confonts the Old School with what might lie beyond their sign in the verge..

‘No Parking, Universe non-existent beyond this point”.

The second, the Big Bang Demon, feasts on the arguement that the Universe expands at such tearing speed we cannot creep up on it fast enough with a tape measure. Even the speed of light has a number and the fact that you can’t sharpen your pencil quickly enough, or live long enough to chase after all the zeros involved, doesn’t mean that the number, though unimaaaaginably big, isn’t out there and therefor the question, ‘What is supposed to lie beyond?”, still remains. Put more simply, ‘What are we supposed to be expanding into?’

The third Demon takes a large toke himself and asks, ‘If the Universe is three dimensional, twiddly warps in time and space not withstanding, how can it contain that which is infinite?

Err..

The Universe cannot go on forever and yet it must. You can appreciate why the story of a minor god, Ialdabaoth also known as Yahweh, creating it All out of pique at his Mum, who’d sent him to his luminous cloud for bad behaviour..

should become so popular.

It by-passed the paradox.

God made it.

Problem solved.

I like the idea of Autogenesis, that which makes itself. Somehow, something that comes into existence because It Wants To dwarfs the question of it’s inside leg measurement, however mighty.

At the micro cosmic end of the scale you find a similar paradox. It also has to do with time and space doing what they shouldn’t.

Matter is and is not.

Fortunately, these things are supposed to be a mystery.

‘I am the utterance of my name.” Thunder, Perfect Mind.

Hoping for redemption at some point in the future on the basis of being sorry for something you did in the past is not only designed to rip you out of the present. It gives you the idea that everything can be understood. And that’s why there is no real wonder anymore.

because you have to be able to acknowledge that you haven’t actually got a fucking clue, not even if you are awake or asleep, to find wonder in any one moment.

I knew a Professor of Comparative Religion from Oregon who approached his work in a very rational and academic way. Eventually the mysteries of all these religions began to plague him and he got really obsessed by that-which-could-not be-spoken. In particular he was tormented by the Buddhist concept of Desirelessness.

He heard there was a great Buddhist master visiting in the next state and drove all night to meet him. When question time arose he jumped up and said,

‘but how can you desire desirelessness?’

The master shrugged and said, ‘It just doesn’t bother me.’

At some point contradiction collapses into paradox and rather than confuse and agitate it soothes and nourishes.

‘We are all alone, together.’ Buddhist proverb.

Its supposed to be a mystery.

The Uninvited Guest.

Carl Jung tells the story of a man who came to see him in despair. He had just married his fourth wife and was anxious it would go the way of the other three, as though he was driven by a compulsion to destroy his intimate relationships. Jung asked about the three former wives and it turned out they were all sculptors.

Jung chuckled and said, ‘Well its simple, you have to manifest the creative part of yourself and stop getting your wives to carry such intolerable expectations.” So the man became a sculptor and managed to protect his marriage from the vengeance of a muse grown to angry destruction in the wings of life’s pageant.

What cannot come in by the door will climb in by the window. When others live out our dreams for us it ends badly but the divorce courts might prove to be the least of a person’s concerns .

After all the creative principle,

”does not take a man by the hand and lead him right up to Paradise; she puts him first into a hot cauldron where he is nicely roasted for a while.” Von Franz

..the choice not to be roasted is really a decision to be eaten up a different way… The muse becomes dark and forbidding..

you have never given her a chance of expressing herself, and therefore she has become inhuman and brutal.”ibid

but with poetic intent, for your pleasure and delight…

When inner choices are restricted some kind of compensation is bound to ensue in its concretised and less conscious outer form. We may then manage to turn our consumerism into an index of success and prosperity rather than experience it in its original form as a compulsion born out of inner hungering and unfulfillment but it will still taste like chewing gum and smell like burnt rubber.

By their nature, Single System Systems discourage the kind of errant wandering necessary for Individuation. We are free in the way captive baboons cling to the bars of their cages when released into the wild. Children are not encouraged to think, to follow their own destiny, to really choose, and so you have 68 different types of snack instead to pour all your creative energy into and, having energetically shortlisted and brainstormed, arrived at the difficult choice twixt Wispa and Mars.

”Here the Crocodile god, Inertia, presides. He invites you to share his sunny log and, as you contentedly bask in the sun, he obligingly swallows the energy that might otherwise disturb your sleep.” Frances Wickes.

Its easy to forget that the archetypal principle associated with creativity and embodied by figures like Dionysus or Loki are gods of madness as well as gods of abundance. Put clinically, emerging potential ‘de-integrates’ ego structures. One way or another it disrupts the human realm, arriving always in a great chaotic clamour that cannot help but make a mess of things..

and that’s when he’s in a good mood.

Analyst Lyn Cowan suggests masochism is a distortion of the principle of submission to higher wisdom. Perhaps sadism and what passes for ‘ordinary’ cruelty can be distortions, sometimes horrendous, of creative buds that fail to fruit when higher wisdom is not acknowledged, Dionysus, Render of Humans, grown angry and petulant.

I once new a man with a string of anti-social convictions, a text book psychopath with very little interest in what was going on around him or in any creative venture until he’d had three lines of coke and half a dozen Intergalactic Gargle Blasters whereupon he would spontaneously weave metered poetry around the evening’s events in perfect rhyme.

Next day it would all be forgotten.

It seemed that much of his anti-social meanness was about more than what he might have suffered as a child, it was the vengeance of his creative spirit that was only allowed out to play once he was massively disinhibited.

Collective inhibition, which persuades us there is nothing we do not know that is also worth our effort, is the same beguiling voice that then offers us a compensatory outer world of dazzling novelty, everything new, improved, and yours by right.

For life to be good it has to be easy. We want it easier as though the worth of life could be ascertained by how little you had to put into it….

as though there was an inverse relationship between meaning and getting your trousers on. Generally speaking our highest ideal is not to have to do anything. We work so that we can take time off from it. We do it today to be free tommorrow.

Life-as-a-journey, with its glassy, jaundiced eye perpetually upon some future goal rather than upon life as it happens, gets upgraded to life-as-vacation, at least it should be if only the lousy world would cut you some slack and let you trough through that bucket list you’ve been nursing.

as though life’s fulfillment could not take place without riding shotgun in the Paris to Dakar rally or walking the ten tors of Dartmoor. So what we want to happen next is seriously going to mess with what happens next. It’s a form of dismissive and limiting attachment that ultimately makes an old grouch of those whose creative life has been made dependent on time and money.

”People who have a creative side and do not live it out are most disagreeable. They make a mountain out of a molehill, fuss about unnecessary things, are too passionately in love with somebody who is not worth so much attention, and so on. There is a kind of floating charge of energy in them which is not attached to its right object and therefore tends to apply exaggerated dynamism to the wrong situation. M.L. von Franz

In the Samuri tradition, warriors were expected to hone their skills in calligraphy, poetry and painting. This was not just to garnish their CV, it was psychological hygiene to make sure that unlived creativity did not sour and devolve into indiscriminant pointyness.

In the West we’re busy cutting these outlets from our curriculum. They can’t be quantified and take too much effort. When would you ever need to play a bassoon? What use is a pen and ink drawing? Will making a kite put food on the table?

So we demure and go back to the T.V. where nothing is required of us….exulting quietly that our sloth is really a measure of frilly cuffed sophistication. Of course one might think of  ‘leisure’ as a well earned reward for hard work but that still somehow fails to address the truth that for many, life’s highest value can be measured in days spent comatose on a beach with nothing to do till dinnertime.

 

 

 

 

Time, Eternity and Bathtime.

The recent stink created in scientific circles by Stephen Hawking’s angry letter to Big Bounce theorists, Ijjas, Steinhardt and Loeb, is as interesting to Psychology as it is to Physics.

Firstly the letter claims that there can be ‘no disputing’ the current model championed by Hawking and his friends, of an ever expanding Universe. This is curiously authoritarian for ‘objective’ scientists.

He was angry, you say… How interesting.

Then the letter cited just how many scientific documents exist to support the dominant model.

Our dick is way bigger than yours.

most scientific..

But even stranger, they then went on to say that Ijjas et al were disrespecting the scientific community by their research and rubbishing the research of the signatries, which is a glorious piece of paranoia….

By holding your opinion you are attacking me and destroying everything I stand for..

So, what makes otherwise level headed chaps suddenly become Unquestionable Authority believing that Vengeful Dissenters are out to get them?

when paradigm shifts turn your world upside down.

Something unknown is doing I don’t know what.

Ijjas et al have some compelling evidence gleaned from the European Space people, a mapping of the most ancient light, Cosmic Microwave Background, by the space probe, Plank. What they found was a puzzle and didn’t fit with what you might expect if you subscribed to the accepted veiw.

And so they said as much.

The frenzy with which this was then received is typical treatment of all mould breakers. They get pilloried and called into line like apostates. The leading lights of their day become the old guard, defending against innovation, unable to bear that their story might be but one among many.

Quantum theory itself asserts that what we see out there mostly has to do with us, so these riled physicists have had a raw nerve gouged somewhere..

what might it be?

The problem is that Science finds it very difficult to deal with some of its own conclusions….

especially when they are decidedly mystical.

And you don’t have to be a physics major to see it. The current model says that the Universe came into being 13 billion years ago. How can it make sense to say that Time came into being at a point in time? It’s a tautological argument whatever ‘age’ you put on the Universe. The reason it’s a tautological is because you have to refer to a moment in time in which you aver Time was created..

which is a tad circular.

Moreover, it is in the nature of Time to tick, and so the mains of a time when Time began, can be additionally garnished with the question of what was going on at elevenses the previous day…

The Big Bang theory is more than a scientific theory. It is a creation myth. Those that tend it, the true believers, do so with curiously sacred and tetchy devotion. Questioning into what does the Universe expand is a bit like asking an Australian Aboriginal to explain how bandicoots came from Ka-ro-ra’s armpit.

Ijjas et al propose a ‘Big Bounce’, contraction and expansion, which suggests recurring life-cycles and sentience…

within which the Universe is perhaps more of a three dimensional Mobius Strip. If you went as fast as your legs could carry you, armed with enough biscuits, you’d soon approach Earth…

The veiw that our telescopes continually approach the boundary of Creation leads to a strange condundrum. Since matter cannot approach the speed of light without becoming infinitely dense, the light of the Big Bang must precede it’s material manifestation, which means that the light of the Origin exists outside the conceivable Universe let alone the measurable Universe…

and all of a sudden Orthodoxy is plunged into sacred fire.

Not disssimilar to the goal of Consciousness as suggested by the Gnostic gospel of Thomas….

“I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, and what has not arisen in mind.” Thomas logia 17

that which is both ‘the light’ and no-thing.

Thomas Kuhn observes that folk on the cusp of paradigm change tend to behave in the same way no matter which era you find them in. They carry pitchforks and torches. He defines science as….

“a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions”. T. Kuhn

Which is why we can live with the paradox that recognises being hugely overweight is problematic whilst owning more stuff than you need is aspired to as the very symbol of success.

Can you imagine how bright the torches would burn, how pointy the garden gear, if a significant body of folk suddenly got it into their heads that having more than you need is a form of obesity and something to be troubled about?

…and that the ubiquitous collective value we’re sold, to be rich and famous, is the same as wanting to be fat? If a person’s body weight reflected average wealth then the richest of our species would put blue whales to shame.

On the side of obscene, slavering wealth, is the conditioning of centuries that associates money with salvation and the right to rule. We regard material gain as deserved and even ordained which means the stuff you stole also has the numinous power to confer legitimacy on the theft and transform it into something noble.

One of the greatest symbols of this in the West is the Spear of Longinus, now housed in the Vatican treasury, the spear that supposedly pierced the side of Christ. When Hitler invaded Austria the first and only thing he did that day was to take possesion of the Spear of Longinus from where it was kept at the time in Vienna.

The gilded Spear magically confers legitimacy on the owner, no matter how it has been obtained and therefor represents a symbolic equation between wealth/possession and the favour of the gods.

Since piety replaced good works as the index of salvation as early as the Council of Nicea in the fourth century, it became difficult to tell saint from sinner. Charity no longer counted for much, and so piety had to be inferred by the extent to which god’s blessings might rain down upon you. Wealth and virtue become synonymous, resolving once and for all the puzzle of spiritual poverty being dolled from a golden chalice.

Scientific theories are just like the spear of Longinus, we imbue them with the Magic of Authority and get very peeved when someone claims their relic to be more holy. Creeds of any kind are dangerous. They let us live with horrendous contradiction and stamp all over originality.

Personally I like the Big Bubble theory over the Big Bang and the Big Bounce. This theory says that somewhere God is creating the Universe with bubble bath.  Our galaxies are all in the the skin of the bubbles which sometimes burst but get re-made with just a little splashing. Not quite in Eternity, yet neither in time, life emerges in the unimaginable vastness of the Monad’s wash tub.

 

 

 

 

On Not Wanting To Know.

In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, the Master takes Thomas to one side and gives him some secret teaching. Thomas demonstrates his worthiness to receive this knowledge by refusing to be drawn into a comparison between Christ and anyone else.

”Master, my mouth will absolutely not permit me to say you resemble any one.” Then Jesus said, ‘I am not your master. Because you have drunk..from the bubbling spring I have made to gush out, (and so) he took him aside…” logia 13

When the other disciples ask what Christ said to him Thomas refuses to tell them, not out of preciousness but out of fear…

”If I tell you one of the logia that he said to me you will take up stones and throw them against me” ibid

So, we don’t get to find out what these teachings are, nor why they would provoke reasonable and even saintly men to violence, but we might find some meaningful extrapolation in the Apocryphon of John, which was also found at Nag Hammadi, and which also describes a set of secret teachings to the author who likewise demonstrated that he had ‘the ears to hear’..

”I said, “Lord, how does the soul become smaller and return back into the nature of its mother?”

Then he rejoiced when I asked this, and he said to me, “Truly you are blessed, for you have understood! That soul is made to follow another who has the Spirit of Life in it. It is saved by that (other) one. Then it is not cast into another flesh.” Apocryphon of John logia 23.

we are to save one another.

now that’s something you might get stoned for….

John went one further than telling everyone he could find, he wrote the whole thing down. The Gnostics considered what he had to say so significant, so pivotal to spiritual life, that it was the most copied work found at nag Hammadi.

The Apocryphon is not simply non-canonical. It is the Watergate tape of the fourth century. Just having a copy meant instant death.

John pens a very different Genesis and Yahwewh doesn’t feature all that much. In the beginning was the Monad, out of which emerged Barbello, a mother who begat Sophia, another goddess, who only then made….

something imperfect.

..she created it without her partner. And it was not patterned after the likeness of its Mother, for it had a different form… It was dif­ferent, a model of a lion-faced serpent. His eyes were like flashing fires of lightning. She cast him out from her, outside of those places so that none among the immortals might see him, for she had cre­ated him in ignorance.

She surrounded him with a luminous cloud. And she placed a throne in the midst of the cloud in order that no one might see him and named him Yaltabaoth. This is the Chief Ruler, the one who got a great power from his Mother.

And he was stupefied in his Madness… for he said, ‘I am God and no other God exists except me,” logia 12.

sound familiar?

looking about for a hefty rock yet?

Sophia begins to reconsider what she has done as Yaltabaoth/Yahweh severs diplomatic ties with her and she repents ‘with great weeping’.

So she confesses what she has done to the Monad who helps her trick Yaltabaoth into breathing some of his power into Adam and thus depleating himself. Eve is created by Sophia as Yaltabaoth tries to reverse what he has done.

It is she who aids the whole creation by toiling with him, guiding him by cor­rection toward his fullness, and teaching him..logia 19

Thereafter, Yaltabaoth’s purpose is one of revenge and subjugation..

‘let us therefore cast them out lest they eat if the fruit and become as one of us.” Genesis 3;22

His intent is..

”to deceive the human race, keeping them in ignorance of their true nature, and is the primary means by which Yaltabaoth keeps humanity in subjugation. It is the source of all earthly evil and confusion, and causes people to die “not having found truth and without knowing the God of truth”. Derived from Wisse’s translation.

Yaltabaoth is thorough. He doesn’t stop at expulsion. He sends angels down to seduce humanity…

And the angels changed their own likenesses into the likeness of each one’s mate, filling them with the spirit of darkness…

They brought gold, silver, a gift, and copper and… they beguiled the human beings who had followed them into great troubles by leading them astray into much error and thus the whole creation became enslaved forever.” logia 25

So you can see why the Church might want to destroy this book and anyone who read it. But if these secrets shown to a deserving John are in any way similar to the secrets taught to a deserving Thomas, why might they provoke Jesus’ own disciples to stone wielding violence?

The answer has to do with the way Consciousness develops and the impact this has on self-construct.

Generally speaking we think of Consciousness as an incremental thing, increases by successive stages, building upon what has gone before, the gradual addition of more or less compatible information to an already established and solid storehouse of knowledge.

But Consciousness doesn’t work like that.

‘Perhaps men think I have come to cast peace upon the world and they do not realise that I have come to cast divisions upon the earth, fire, sword, strife… Thomas. logia 16.

The reason for this is that Consciousness, rather than comfortingly adding to our storehouse, sometimes burns it down. What we come to know often negates what was before. Our self-constructs can feel threatened in the process because who we are is inextricably bound up with what we know or think we know.

If what you know is turned on its head then who you are will feel profoundly challenged. Rather than supporting received wisdoms, new experiences can  question all our sacred cows, but its an upset without which there is no real consciousness at all.

”Conflict is the birth of consciousness.” Esther Harding.

So Thomas’ concern that the others would stone him if he told them the truth has to do with his recognition that self-preservation sometimes wins over the thirst for knowledge, a tussle he has just had himself.. What is being asked about is not just game changing but paradigm shifting and therefor destructive to the security of Tried and True.

be careful what you wish for…..

A good example was in yesterday’s news. A white police officer in Hastings Police dept, Michigan, took a DNA test and discovered that he was 18% black. He told his white colleagues in the department who began to rag him about it to such an extent that he finally sued the department for racial discrimination.

The officer’s whole self construct, his job, his relationships, his priviledged role in society was overturned all at once. He was forced into the shoes of his dark brother and compelled across a threshold  that would question his core beliefs.

This happens whenever anyone faces their shadow. You don’t just pop it in you knapsack. It displaces you.

Even worse is the second of life’s great transitions. The shift from shiny persona to a complicated and not so marvellous ego is a breeze next to the one of having ego-consciousness become consciousness-of-an-ego; i.e. having a position outside it .. which begs all kinds of questions about our relationship with our Maker.

”I am the vine which he

doth plant and cherish most

the fruit which grows from me

Is God the holy ghost.” Angelus Silesius.

This is very different from being the helpless pawn of an omnipotent God. It is a philosophy of salvation that is a two way street..

” for such a prayer increases the light of the star.” Jung Seven Sermons.

This is symbolically represented in John’s Apocryphon by Yalbadaoth depleating himself by breathing life into Adam.

”As the human ego depends on God for creativity, so God depends on the ego for its nourishment in the form of trust, confidence and the acceptance of archetypal intentionality.” S. Hoeller.

The paradigm shift offered us by John is as radicle as Galileo’s revelation that the earth revolved sun rather than the other way around. And not just for all the differences in the story. Nor even for the mutual dependence inferred. It turns on its head the generally accepted idea amongst ordinary modern people that we contain a soul, that we are partially divine, as though we could omnipotently house that which transcends us.

No, the soul contains the body. It’s the other way around. Which means that eternal life after death can be happily preceeded by eternal life in the meantime….

Consciousness and Quantum Physics.

As part of Empire’s ‘special’ forces I was once caught up in a covert operation to ‘liquidate’ a group of dissident fighters who’d defected to our side, having been given a clean uniform, a shiny semi-automatic G3 and a square meal… without really thinking any of it through… They must have wondered at their sudden good fortune, all freshly laundered and all.

Most were taking the opportunity to exact tribal revenges or personal vendettas. The problem was that they also had a check list of grievances which had become diplomatically, ahem, ’embarassing’.

We were eight gunners in the belly of a Crocodile, 16 tons of armoured personnel carrier, roaring to its rendezvous. En route, the mission is unveiled. Gooks. Lure them out. Kill them.

During the rest of the journey I sat in shock, trying to think through what I had just been ordered to do, and as more of an invitation to a party than a command..

…you are in the grip of Evil….

They are defectors, untrustworthy, here today and gone tommorrow, taking pot shots at you along the way with your own weapons..

…you are in the grip of Evil….

They’ll turn against you one day. You can’t trust them! Strike now while they are unprepared and easily beguiled by treachery….

I mean strategy…

…you are in the grip of Evil….

When the innocents were teased from the bush with bully beef and cigarettes  the trap was sprung. I remained bolted to my seat, immobilised from within. A woodlouse in the debris at the bottom of the vehicle was trying to negotiate my bootlace. Would it go over or under? Which way forward? What would he do?

When the firing  stopped, the officer (subsequently killed) glared at me furiously for refusing an order. It could have fetched me an eon in the Dog Box but he said nothing.

And so I started to chew. If I can refuse an order and get away with it something other than the ordinary rules of war are at play. Moreover, if allies can be killed today for the inconvenience they might pose tomorrow then what about one another? What about the guy sitting next to you?

And what might motivate such hideous cupidity? The answer was in the momentary anguished screams of the dying, which is what the Crocodile was ultimately searching for, what it fed on, the beseeching howl of betrayal that confirmed them as sacrifices to the dark face of god.

What any of us were fighting for had nothing to do with freedom or any political ideals. The scenario I had just witnessed was the endgame, apparently gratuitous carnage until you consider the awful possibility that when strategy assumes the the shape of rite and sacrifice we weren’t just soldiers anymore, we were ministers, priests at the devouring altar of Mammon, disavowed dark face of Yahweh whose PR makeover into New Testament Shepherd could be swung but had to be fed with offerings of Humanity to do it, culminating in the current  famines in Yemen and Somalia engineered not just by economic policies of greed or the propping up of corrupt regimes for gain…

..but to feed the maw of gods we will not name.

War proliferation and economic infrastructure depending upon perpetual conflict is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s about way more than money and greed. Its about the quasi-religious experience of being sunk into the Collective,

of being Quanteam,

and being used to act out the horrible, denied underbelly of Yahweh.

The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus, and disorders the brains of politicians and journalists who unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.” CG Jung

In the days of the Indian Empire the dashing Brits were fainting at the sight of a table leg at home whilst pig sticking ‘overseas’. Within the collective hive there is no jaring query, no raised eyebrow. ‘I’ has been swallowed up by ‘We’.

With the prospect of nuclear war greater than it has been for decades we would do well to remind ourselves, not just of the dangers of escalation but of nuclear weapons specific purpose, civilian deaths,  game changing technology for gloves off diplomacy. Its the innocent people we’re ultimately after. You don’t nuke a city because you don’t like the mayor. Nor even because you are pissed at its citizens. We are through the looking glass of collateral damage. The dark god requires sacrifices.

never before has…

Dresden..

what?

The bombing of Dresden by the Allies, deliberate civilian targets, a hundred and twenty thousand killed..

never,..

and the Holocaust, and the Armenian genocide.

Never before this last century..

Acre.

What?

Acre in Judea. 1052 AD. Richard the Lionheart bravely killed every civilian in the entire city. 20,000 people. Oh and Charlegmane, he was full of convert or die. Some of the ones who were converted still had to die… only quicker. By the sword instead of the garrot. I wonder if they were grateful for that mercy?

and lets not forget Edward Longshanks beaching the Jewish citizens of London in Morecambe Bay, 1275, to be swallowed by the tide as surely as Andromeda was offered up to Poseidon….

Soon after the above, when the fittest had done a rather poor job of surviving and my troop had been cut down from thirty men to a mere four, we remaining Sons of Empire were treated as pariahs by the others in the Commando who wouldn’t talk to or eat with us. Men refused transfers to the unit or pulled strings to avoid it. It was as if we had condensed all the fear of mortality that soldiers are apt to deny and become embodiments of ill fate.

The irony is that when the troop was disbanded as a solution to the obscure mythology developing and we were individually assigned to other units we immediately became the opposite, like Yahweh himself our association with carnage and death suddenly inverted into one of heroic talismen of survival, lucky warriors carrying some kind of manna imbuing each host troop with new life and hope..

despite the obvious reality that we were being cut to pieces.

and despite all the ardent blood sacrifices to the Dark One..

This flick from one state to its opposite is what the ancient Greeks called Enantiodromia. Its the kind of thing that seems terribly unlikely, impossible even, yet actually describes both matter and consciousness rather well,…

”This phenomenon practically always occurs when an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life; in time an equally powerful counterposition is built up, which first inhibits conscious performance and subsequently breaks through….” C G Jung.

Enantiodromias occur at a sub-atomic level as well. In fact, life as we know it seems to depend on the unlikelihood of matter being one moment a wave and the next a particle while blinking in and out of ‘reality’. Its as unlikely as going for tacos at an icecream stall and still getting lucky, or an entirely indoctrinated man refusing an order…

and getting away with it.

Enantiodromias, in both quantum physics and in psychology, presuppose a ‘quantum superposition’, or Self, a non-material state wherein these opposites are tolerated as paradox.

Within the quantum ‘superposition’ matter is in an unquantifiable state, you could even say it both does and does not exist. It ‘pre-exists’ in contiguity with everything else. Consciousness is like-wise an unquantifiable soup until something observes, witnesses, mirrors, even a woodlouse will do, compelling realisation from the Belly of the Crocodile. That which pre-exists, knowing right from wrong, takes form as a definite state.

Being here now, the unrehearsed messiness of emerging from the wave function and becoming what you are not, is then further complicated for both consciousness and matter when time and distance come into play.

It seems there isn’t any.

Old Man Physics says that if you lie in wait for a Quantum Creature on a jungle path after you’ve seen it leave its lair, it will in fact arrive at its destination by a different route. The act of lying in wait changes the past. If quantum creatures are separated and housed in different laboratories what you do to the one affects the other. Distance is a construct.

”If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t.” Feynman.

Participation mystique, a term coined by levy-Bruhl to describe the  soup of collective identification with one another, a state of shared psychic reality like the quantum superposition, containing the components of individual identity without suffering their trials, just outside real time and space, removed from any circumstantial trouble and gloriously protected from all moral consideration.. allowing men to play dice with the Universe in a way the Gods would never dare….

similarly defies conception.

Just before my decimated troop was disbanded, I passed out one day on the parade ground. I was carried to the medic’s tent who looked me up and down and asked, ‘have you got a girlfriend?

er, yes. Jane.

Is she pregnant?

er, I don’t think so, why?

Because you have the worst case of morning sickness I have ever seen…

Many years later and out of the Blue, Jane’s younger sister called on me and told me that she had in fact been pregnant at the time and had an abortion without letting me know.

how does that happen?

You hear about fathers-to-be having sympathetic experiences with their partners, but without being told and thousands of miles away?

Distance doesn’t matter.

Like the enmeshed sub-atomic particle, individual consciousness is undivided from its superposition in a way that bypasses the constraints of time and distance like phones or first class post. This enmeshment of the wave function is what Rupert Sheldrake calls Morphic Resonance.

This most excellent Quantum Biologist refloats the gnostic idea that matter and life pre-exist as morphic fields of possibility which are both non-material and have memory. Get that..

Though if these fields exist beyond the bounds of time and space what would there be to remember…?

It turns out that even dense materials have a morphic field which ‘informs’ the process of crystalisation, something which can be observed by the way in which synthetic crystals grown in laboratories become easier and quicker to create over time. Laboratories starting up on the other side of the world synthesise the crystals at the new faster rate despite using all the same old equipment. Something akin to a neural pathway, but outside three dimensional space and time, enables the crystallisation process to ‘remember’ how it is done.

The simplest of creatures have morphic fields that help them ‘know’ who they are, cuttings grow roots, the lizard his tail, the segmented lugworm a whole new body, and what is learned  by one member of a species becomes part of the storehouse of knowledge of all its other members wherever they are. Sheldrake taught a sample of rats to achieve complex tasks. A separate second control group then took only a fraction of the time to learn the tasks once the first group had them well mastered.

Morphic fields do more than share memories. They share information. The introduction of milk bottles in the 20’s led to the surprise discovery that once one Blue-tit had worked out how to get the top off the milk bottle, the news then travelled faster than Blue-tits can fly, let alone breed. So, no new genetic markers or mutations in the mix.  When delivery was interrupted by WW11 and several generations of Blue-tits had come and gone, the new generation knew straight away what to do.

What does it mean?

When I bought myself out of the military for the princely sum of $125 I went walkabout in Central Africa for a few months to try and get my head straight. I had just left Kasama, south of the Burundi/Zambian border where I spent the night. I walked for miles along an empty road into the sprawling endless forest. All of a sudden I became panic stricken as it occured to me, I cannot say how, not in words or images but as an impression, that I was about to be arrested before the hour was up.

I rushed into the forest with my heart pounding, emptied my bag and sorted through all my stuff to see what there might be to incriminate me in any way, anything that might give anyone the slightest reason to get offended.. I had an old cammo bush hat, a sewn set of parachute wings I kept as a momento of the war which was a bit off….

So, I buried them with about twenty minutes to go and got back on the road to meet my fate. Nothing and nobody. Still, strange shit will happen so I squared my shoulders and walked around the bend in the road.

Nobody, just jungle.

I began to relax and walked on. Perhaps I’m just a bit mad? After another ten minutes I got to the lip of a shallow escarpment that looked out over a broad valley. I could see for miles and waaay down the road.

Nobody. Not even locals, let alone horrible policemen. Just the cicadas.

Four minute warning. I began to laugh..

At that moment a young couple from Malawi drove up behind me, the first vehicle all day, perhaps taking pity on my clearly hysterical state. They gave me a lift as far as the road block three miles away where I was arrested exactly on time.

What the hell..?

 

Kibbles for Schrodinger’s Cat.

Scientist Steven Weinberg says that the corrosion of religious belief by science is a good thing because of what an awful God it is that’s shared by Christians and Muslims alike…

…but while his character analysis may be spot on it does tend to make a neurosis of anything other than ego based psychologies and ignores discoveries in quantum physics that seem to demonstrate that there is something truly mysterious, mystical, about the relationship between Consciousness and Matter, between Time and Eternity.

‘The Self is not so much linked with what happened to its ancestors, it is not so much the product, and merely the product, of all that, but rather, in the strictest sense of the word, the SAME THING as all that.’ ― Erwin Schrödinger.

just as the person who is fifty experiences themselves as the same person as they were at forty no matter what has happened in the interim.

Quantum theory uses an intertesting term, the ‘quantum superposition’ in which an atom can pre-exist in a combination of multiple states corresponding to different possible outcomes. Curiously, this is also true of Consciousness.

”The unborn work in the psyche is a force of nature that achieves its end either with tyrannical might or with the subtle cunning of nature herself,” CG Jung

Shrodinger’s cat experiment, in which a cat in a box would be killed if a random particle was detected by a gieger counter and could therefor be considered both alive and dead until you’d checked up on it, was meant as a mockery of the prevailing ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’ which supports the idea of quantum superposition and can demonstrate the truth of it with experiments during which light behaves as a wave or as a particle depending on whether the experiment is being observed at the time…. Even if it is being merely monitored by detection equipment…

matter playing peek-a-boo…

Consciousness, too, exists in multiple, contradictory and sequential forms that seem to have very little to do with one another not unlike a recent scientific discovery which has determined that some species of dragonfly shares no DNA with its nymph. At some point in the metamorphosis the organic state of the nymph not only dies to itself, it is reduced to its most basic atomic constituents…..

from which will emerge a three gram jump jet.

For those who have a Newtonian point of veiw, life is like being a dot on a page. It cannot imagine a line any more than a line could imagine a page, or a page a book. Yet what seems particular to all life is this  incomprehensible transition from one kind of life to another.

Something I console myself with when I’ve lost perspective in all the chaos, is that whether science or religion is right in their eternal wrangle about the origin of life, it is an indisputable fact that at some moment, from a ball of millenial flame now cooled sufficiently for rain to fall and support life…

Life did just that, and at 2.34pm one Tuesday..

Life blinked on.

Consciousness too, blinks on from multiple potential states beyond our comprehension and navigates a passage through the world chiefly by virtue of the attitude held towards that quantum superposition from which it emerged..

and whether or not it allows itself to be altered by involvement.

An example of quantum theory at work in fairy tales can be found in the comparable stories of, ”The Devil’s Golden Hairs,” and ‘Brother Lustig,’ both of which involve an encounter with the quantum wave function of Hell.

In the first story a boy is born with a lucky caul and a prophecy that he would marry the daughter of the king who just happened to be around. The king took Lucky Hans and threw him in a river to die but he was saved by a Miller who then raised him as his own.

Years later the king passed by the Mill. By chance he learns of the boy’s identity and sends him to the Queen with a letter saying, ‘kill the bearer of this note.’ But the boy gets lost and wanders into a thieves’ den where he falls asleep. The thieves  read the letter, feel pity for him and secretly change it for one saying, ‘marry this lad to the princess’.

And so it was.

When the king finds out he has been tricked he’s enraged and sends his new son-in-law to fetch three golden hairs from the Devil’s head, thinking he could not possibly return.

On the way the prince encounters three gate keepers. The first asks, ‘why does the spring here not gush with wine as it once did?’

‘I don’t know,’ he says, ‘but I’ll try to find out.”

The next one asks, ‘why does the tree of golden apples no longer give fruit?’

‘I don’t know,’ he says, ‘but I’ll try to find out.’

The next is the ferryman to Hell. ‘Why must I be the eternal ferryman ?’

‘I don’t know’, he says, ‘but I’ll find out’.

When he gets to Hell the Devil is out, but his Grandmother is home. She’s friendly when she finds out that he’s there to save his marriage, when he’s transparent and straight with her. She turns our hero into an ant which she hides in the folds of her skirts having promised to help him get the hairs and the answers to his questions..

Prince as Ant has acheived what the Tao calls action through non-action. He acknowledges the primacy of the quantum superposition to take care of the situation.

The Devil arrives tired and grumpy. He falls asleep on Grandmother’s knee and when he’s snoring she tweaks out a hair. He wakes startled. ‘So sorry,’ she says. ‘I was dreaming of a spring that no longer gushes with wine.’

‘Nor will it,’ replies the Devil, ‘for as long as the toad sits upon the source.”

He drifts off and she tweaks a second hair. ‘So sorry,’ she says as he starts up, ”I was dreaming of a once beautiful tree of  golden apples that now has even lost its leaves…’

”and it will die entirely if the mouse continues to gnaw at the root…’

A third hair and the Devil leaps furiously to his feet. ”Sorry, so sorry, I was dreaming of a ferryman who was imprisoned to his task…

‘so will he always be till he hands the oar to another,’ grumbled the Devil and wandered off to a spot less infested with grandmothers.

And so our hero returns victorious with the three hairs and the secrets of the various afflictions… and bags of gold from the grateful gatekeepers.

‘Can I have some? asks the wicked king.

Sure, says the prince, ‘go ask the ferryman for his oar.’

The kind of consciousness a person has, influences their material fate.

This is not a crude, ‘everything happens for a reason’, nor even that we might make meaning of tragedy. Its more that Fortune favours the brave. Fortune was a Goddess before the church got hold of her and made her an attribute of knights. In our story, the youth who experiences himself as fortunate catches Her attention. In her guise as Grandmother, the quantum superposition, or archetype, enables him to realise a useful outcome because he’s motivated by his heart and by the Principle of Relatedness, which is her thing too.

So all goes well.

Not so for ‘Brother Lustig’, who, like Schrodinger, had a hard time with the Copenhagen Interpretation, that potential states can exist simultaneously on the threshold of the phenomenal world and that what happens next is down to how they are perceived.

Er, so, reality as well as beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

You can see why someone lurking with philosophical intent might have a problem with that.

Brother Lustig can’t co-operate with Saint Peter, his travelling companion, his wave function, who goes to great lengths to make sure Brother Lustig does okay in life but is thwarted by our hero’s own ineptitude and bad grace. The Self, the  combined multiple states of a quantum system, has healing and energising properties. St Peter brings a man back to life with just the right salve and mysterious ability, but Brother Lustig, the self involved ego, is more interested in the reward of a lamb dinner than the miracle he’s witnessed.

Brother Lustig eats the only part of the lamb that Peter wants, the heart, and then lies about what he has done despite ample opportunity and considerable pressure to come clean. To make things worse he then tries to resurrect the Princess of the land who’d just died, by the same means as Saint Peter the day before.

Of course he is just inflated. He hasn’t got the knack for it and fails. Saint Peter has to step in at the last moment and pull him out of trouble. He even gives him a magic knapsack which could contain anything he wished to make sure he should never be hungry before he departs but Brother Lustig is unimpressed.

”I am very glad you have taken yourself off, you strange fellow, I shall certainly not follow you.’ Grimm.

Eventually Brother Lustig dies and comes once more face to face with St Peter at the Pearly Gates who is reluctant to let him in.

‘At least let me return the knapsack,’ he says and passes it through the gate. No sooner has St Peter taken it than Brother Lustig, thinking himself clever, wishes himself into it. St Peter tutts quietly and places the bag in a corner.

‘Tis strange how some want their Eternity. The power was only to wish things into the bag. Now you will have to stay in there.’

”What happens to a man has something to do with him.” CG Jung.

We create our reality.

and do so by refraining from trying to be the author of it all the time.

”One must not wish to leap over everything and penetrate directly.” Lu Yen

Lucky Hans has a way of rolling with life by accepting his dependence on it. He lets himself be lost and need help. He willingly takes a backseat in Grandmother’s folds while she does the work. He has faith in the Universe because he knows it will offer him the face that he shows it.

”The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings.’ CG Jung.

I was once on a train which was bound to my destination but via a different route to the inbound journey. The conductor points out that its the wrong ticket and that I could be liable to a fine and the cost of another ticket.

The situation was entirely absurd and of course I could have protested the unfairness of it all since I was clearly just making a return trip. The route was irrelevant.

But the guy had a job to do.

So I handed him the ticket and crawled into the folds of Grandmother’s skirts.

He looked at me, looked at the ticket, clipped it, and handed it back.

A quantum system, British Rail conductor, remained in his Quantum Super-position until interacted with or observed by the external world, BR passenger, at which time his wave function collapsed into a definite state,

”causing the set of probabilities to reduce to only one of the possible values immediately after the measurement.” from the Copenhagen Interpretation

The situation emerged as a result of how it is measured. I knew he would do the right thing, and he did.

”Consciousness is fundamental. I regard matter as derivative of consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” Max Plank.

So we have to stop it already with all the what-is-the-meaning-of-life? What life might mean presupposes that we know what it is…

The followers said to the Master, ‘Tell us in what way our end will be. The Master replied, ‘Have you therefor discerned the beginning in order that you seek after the end? For in the Place where the beginning is, there will be the end. Happy is he who stands boldly at the beginning. He shall know the end, and shall not taste death.  Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. logia 18.

My teacher George Brown used to say, ‘don’t get caught in the (client’s) story’. Its even easier to get caught in our own story and, like Brother Lustig, to get mesmerised by the drama.

Roberto Assagioli, founder of Psychosynthesis, likened the psyche to an orchestra where there was the various facets of personality represented by different instruments, the conductor, the organising ‘I’, and then the Self, the composer.

What he left out was the audience, the all important observers of the experiment, since music is meant to be enjoyed after all. They, by their appreciation, draw the utmost from the performers who in turn forge admiration from envy and abundance from gratitude.