Icarus, shadow child.

Most of us know the story of Icarus, the boy who flew too high to the sun on wings made of vulture feathers and wax..

him fell an’ drown.

There is a back story that puts the tragedy into some perspective. Its a salutary tale about the fate of children raised by narcissists.

always, with the back story.

The back story is where meaning lies…

Daedalus, Icarus’ father, was a master craftsman, a vain man who ended up being imprisoned in a tower by Minos, king of Crete.

a poetic fate..

Icarus was imprisoned with him. He was a dark and moody boy who liked his own company and showed little interest in his father’s crafts. His adopted brother Talos, back home and waiting for them to return was very different, outgoing, bright and ever at Daedalus’ side in his workshop.

These two boys and the polarised differences between them represent a common underlying dynamic in the children of narcissistic parents.

What happens is that the children embody the parental split between the idealised self and the shadow, relieving the parent of the burden..

and the responsibility..

of having to deal with their own internal divisiveness.

Narcissists idealise themselves. In order to do this, they must hive off their shadow onto others. When this happens in the family..

as it does..

you will often find one of the children inexplicably slow and clumsy, a bit stand-offish and perhaps socially arkward.

if there is another child you will also often find that this one is apparently brilliant and can do no wrong. They are smart, popular, sporty and attractive.

What is going on?

Narcissists don’t do relatedness particularly and have this black and white attitude of ”you’re with me or against me”…

identify with me and how great I am or get out…

Other people, especially impressionable children, wind up either having to carry the parent’s shadow, or they are persuaded to identify with the parent’s more expansive, solar qualities.

They get to be the ‘golden child’ in the equation and are often treated very differently from the one delegated to carry the family baggage.

The dark scapegoat builds a defensive wall around themselves, sealing their status as aloof and uncouth,

”to ward off the pains of the toxic shadow material” Sylvia Brinton Perera.

Interestingly, Perera also describes the clumsy,  guilt laden child as one who’s experience..

”leads to generalised panic and flight.”

And, of course, this is Icarus’ fate.

When Daedalus comes up with his plan to escape the tower, he forgets how well he’s schooled Icarus in being slow and dumb. He can’t take in the hasty, impatient instructions not to fly too high or too low, the irritated sub-text that says he’s too stupid to take in even simple things and so he faithfully lets the warnings go unheeded and his panicky flight soon ends in tragedy.

Once Daedalus returns home, Talos fares as badly.  You might think the blue-eyed favourite would get a better deal but he too soon winds up dead at Daedalus’ hands.

Apparently, the exuberant Daedalus is swinging the boy around and around at the top of a tower..

not another tower!

But he’s so carried away with his idealised and co-dependant relationship that he forgets about practical things like gravity  and games you shouldn’t play at the tops of towers…

His grasp on the boy slips…

he falls..

you know the rest.

The golden child of the narcissistic parent is strangely prone to accidents. He’s been raised in a rarified atmosphere where the normal checks and balances aren’t in place, indeed, they don’t apply..

And because he’s had to identify with his parent’s inflation he’s had to disregard his own destiny and sense of self-preservation.

The tragic fates of these two boys is well portrayed in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by the characters of Borrowmere and Farrowmere, sons of the narcissistic Steward and pretender to the throne of  Minas Tireth, Denzil. They both die, the golden child, Borrowmere, by over-reaching himself, imagining he can use the ring of power, the dark and clumsy Farrowmere, sent to his doom by Denzil who refuses to heed the impossibility of retaking the lost town of Osgiliath.

Sometimes the roles of Icarus and Talos are lived out in the same child, alternately idealised and dumped on, or praised to the world but vilified behind closed doors. I once knew a mother whose ‘amazing’ son was bound to win X factor one day because of his incredible, extra-ordinary musical ability but wouldn’t pay the pittance his school required for violin lessons because he was, ”too stupid to learn’.

Such a child internalises this contradictory split, entertaining grandiose fantasies and un-realistic expectations of himself alongside self depracatory feelings of failure and incompetence.

Nor does Daedalus escape unscathed despite the various uses to which he has put his children. His shadow projection onto Icarus means he can’t grow, cannot integrate his own darkness and can’t stand back enough from Talos to enjoy the child’s own unique journey. He becomes increasingly childlike himself and ends his days eternally carving the figure of a winged boy….

Wiki equates the figure of Daedalus with the term ‘disambiguation’.

yes, I had to look it up too..

Its a poetic link. It means not to be ambiguous -to be single minded, and of course he can be once he’s foisted off his divided self onto his kids. But even then, and without reference to the fate of his offspring, it ain’t always a good thing..

no matter what Wiki says..

Why? because the compulsively single minded has no internal dialogue..

no conversation between I and me..

no reflecting and musing, no looking at stuff from different points of veiw, no variation in feeling, no living with the manure of paradox. His mono-voice, his one track mind, his single point of veiw ends..

in madness.

Narcissism and The Taboo on Tenderness.

Our culture suffers from what analyst Ian Suttie calls, ‘the taboo on tenderness.’ Not only are we discouraged from having a feeling relationship with our own ‘stuff’, we also tend to respond dismissively and defensively to others by thought, word or deed. Unspoken values inhibit the communication of intimacy and fellow-feeling.

Much of the over-emphasis on feeling and sympathy in the new age seems compensatory, as if it were being layered on, and can wind up looking like a parody of the natural, unselfconscious instinct to reach out to others.

the taboo remains in place.

It is also given virtuous clothes to wear. We call it ‘being strong’.We pride ourselves on our stoicism, the puritan spirit of reserve that  permeates our notions of what it means to be ‘civilised’. We become cynical and call it being ‘street wise’.

Such expressions of the taboo are cumulative from one generation to the next. The unmothered child cannot give what it has not been given.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
  They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
  And add some extra, just for you.      Phillip Larkin.

In other words the taboo entrenches itself with time. Eckart Tolle agrees, social dysfunction, ‘is actually intensifying and accelerating.’

Most of the time we don’t notice this. We don’t want to. We prefer the prejudicial fabrication of how evolved and free we are. It’s a myth we need to believe in order to compensate for the inner poverty that is the underlying reality of our situation.

We think about freedom as ‘freedom from’, and congratulate ourselves on the long list that this generates, forgetting that freedom is actually about what you are free for.

Freedom is not something that can be given to you. Its what you do with whatever your portion of life constitutes.

But we don’t like that. It deprives us of the prejudicial surety that we are already ‘free’. It thrusts up at us the responsibility to be congruent with that inner knowing voice , to be what we really are, to recognise the taboo on tenderness for what it is,

life denying, soul crushing, unfreedom.

Prejudice is not just about irrational hate. It’s about the need to bolster and strengthen internal structures that have become fragile and fragmentary with the slow demise of the Principle of Relatedness that once held I and me together when we had a place in our pantheon for the divine feminine.

Prejudice is about the need to align oneself with ‘self-evident’ and therefor unquestionable truth, so that we needn’t face uncertainty, or experience the need for tenderness that might shepherd us through the unknown.

Unfortunately, deciding ahead of time how life is in order not to experience the vulnerability and groping in the dark entailed in the genuine process of self-discovery, robs us of the very freedom our certainty pretends to be.

There is a story of an Englishman who was in Tokyo on business. He asks a policeman for directions. The policeman replies in broken English that he doesn’t understand. The man replies,’ if you listen carefully you’ll hear that I’m speaking Japanese.’ The policeman says, ‘ah yes, so you are’, and promptly tells him how to get to his destination.

The taboo on tenderness, sympathetic availability, generates not only prejudice but a catastrophic failure to experience reality.

This has an unexpected impact on emotional and psychological development. Its not just a question of being out of touch with reality. Suttie makes the crucial and perceptive observation that the taboo prevents regression associated with the all important transitions we make from one stage of life to another.

These threshold moments are full of anxiety and necessarily involve a tentative three steps forward, two steps back ambivalence shot through with the need to regress and be looked after.

If there is a taboo on tenderness then the developmental need to seesaw back and forth between the instinct for self-preservation and the urge to individuate will be frustrated. The threshold will not be crossed because the environment simply isn’t sufficiently containing which then ‘acts as a positive obstacle to development and integration’.

As a culture we rarely allow the tender generosity of regressing in the face of life’s challenges that, paradoxically, permit us to cross safely from one shore of our being to another. This keeps us stuck.

We then need to compensate for this with the belief that we are special, sophisticated and frankly better than other people. The taboo on tenderness breeds narcissism.

Far from the fantasy of prejudice that evolution is simply a self rolling wheel with yours truly proudly at the helm, what we have is emotional starvation and inner poverty.

Eckart Tolle states it in even more radical terms,

”If humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being the diagnosis would have to be ‘chronic paranoid delusion with a pathological propensity to violence and cruelty’ ” Eckhart Tolle

Much of this is down to the frustration of not being able to cross life’s thresholds, made possible by tender response to the real need for containment and leaning on one another inherent in the grief of death, the anxiety of birth, the trepidation of the unknown. All of these require a gentle hand and a sympathetic heart if we are to go through the life experiences that accost our self-constructs and shake the struts of our inner world.

Without the divine feminine who presides over the instinct to reach out to one another, we grow in anxious fits and starts, stymied in our efforts to cross the rougher seas of the soul.

 

 

 

On Tilting at Dragons.

I had a supervisee who was berating himself for being lost with his client. He described it as the shame of being adrift on a village pond in a row boat.. I had to point out to him that it was not his navigational skills, but his under-estimation of the body of water concerned that was the problem.

He was at sea.

As are we all when negotiating the vastness of the Unconscious.

An old tale tells the story of a sea monster that had been terrorizing the people. So the king thought he’d buy the monster off with a mighty offering. He summoned the people and charged them to bring every scrap of food they had to the main pier of their great maritime capital where it was all piled up for the monster to collect. He appeared, ate it all in one bite and asked what more there was for him and all his deep sea mates.

The dragon hunting hero in us all doesn’t like such stories. I recall the leg kicking howl of frustration and rage from my 12 year old son who was playing a video game and had spent three days descending into the bowels of the Earth in search of some magic scroll. He had arrived, finally, at the bottom where there was a cupboard within which he was sure to find it. But it was not a cupboard at all. It was a whole new world that he still had to find his way across.

The world should not be so big but it is. And so is the Unconscious, the deeper levels of which are made up of the Great Mother Herself.

When She was cut out of our Pantheon, we did more than circumscribe Olympus. We also severed our connection to the Unconscious, the lived experience of our own depth.

Just gimme the frikkin scroll.

There is a tendency amongst psychologists, even the ones that are seemingly ok with the Collective Unconscious, to talk about the loss of the Goddess at the hands of Yahweh….

with him cult of bling

..as though it was a necessary price to pay for the growth of consciousness.

…as though dividing up the sacred feminine into virgins-to-be-saved and monsters-to-be-killed were a sensible thing to do.

….as though having a culture rooted in millenial warfare with the dark brother was…. sophisticated.

…as though the collective delusion that having a say in the ‘below-stairs’ staffing of government were equivalent to freedom….

The terrible dragon mother has to be defeated for ego consciousness to evolve!!

No, it doesn’t. Ego strength in a child develops when they are nourished enough. The regressive urge to stay fused with mother..

which might require surgical intervention of the pointy variety…

is only necessary if attachment has been precarious to begin with. The ties that bind are tendrils of unmet need. We do not struggle to leave the table unless we have not had our fill.

So this dragon is not just pissed of at the arrangment whereby it can be deposed by a pretender dressed up in a tin can, masquerading as ego consciousness, and being allowed to get away with whatever it likes by Yahweh so long as it remembers which side its bread is buttered on, but is also the suppression of the unmet child protesting its emptiness.

Hindu tradition says the Gods show us the face we turn to them. Whether Kali is devouring or giving birth depends on your relationship with her. If we collude with Yahweh and attack the sacred feminine, then Dragon is what you will get.

Its the kind of family constellation where the child’s love for mother is experienced as a personal attack on him by father. Father is paranoid and creates split realities in the children who then have to partition up their inner worlds and renounce all knowledge of what they have had to do in order to contain the contradiction of limits being placed on love in the name of…love.

And so, I can no longer talk to me.

A great symbol of liberation!

Marvellous PR, but please note the thin golden thread on which the ‘maiden in distress’ holds the dragon, as if on a leash… So now what does it all mean…? And how grateful will she be once the hero puts his penis/lance away?

And they all lived happily ever after?

I don’t think so.

 

The Anatomy of Longing.

”There are links between a society’s predominant form of primal relationship and its collective social behaviour.” Mario Jacoby. Longing for Paradise.

Wow, what an idea. The collective pattern of mother/infant relations shapes culture, sex, religion…

How we eat, pray, love.

Jacoby draws on anthropological research comparing New Guinian tribes, the Arapesh and the Mundugumor.

The Arapesh have a distinctly close bond between mother and child and though they are a poor people they are characterictically friendly and generous. Their cosmology is easy going and occassionally adopts outside influences.

The warlike Mundugumor have a less bonded infancy, earlier weening and believe crying children augur well, bringing luck in their battle with various malign super-natural forces. Though they are prosperous the Mundugamor are aggressive, macho and nostalgic by comparison to the cheery Arapesh.

Also, if the Mundugamor took a dislike you you might get eaten…

that too..

What is going on in your life is quite secondary to how comfortable you are in your own skin. Jacoby links ‘well-being’ directly to a cosmology where, ‘the archetypal feminine is not suppressed.’

The Mundugamor are patriarchs. There’s no divine feminine, but there is a lot of mutual suspicion and nostalgic, whimsical longing, the object of which is often manifest as someone else’s stuff.

So ,what for we in New Guinea now?

I’m interested in it because we’re not so different. We too live in a largely reactionary world full of paranoia, greed and, above all, nostalgia.

But nostalgic and longing for what?

And if it is true that..

”Culture is an attempt to resolve the fears generated by a specific (pattern of) mother/child relations in earliest life.” F Renggli.

….then is there a connection between the longing in our culure that manifests as a desire for stuff and a lurking but as yet unnamed fear that permeates our culture…

surfed only by Bling!

gleaming hero!

Archangel of Mammon.

but what is he surfing?

Before we ask that, let’s recall  the old adage that the devil’s best trick is to get people to say he doesn’t exist.

I was dining alone on holiday at an open air restaurant on a Greek island.  I was forty. The table next to me had a young family sat down for dinner. In the process of not staring I began to soak in something the eye rarely catches, the inflection of tone in a man’s voice, how he jostles between wheedling with his wife or trying to trip her up whilst ‘managing’ his kids who seemed both lost and confused at his continuous frustration of their aliveness.  And underneath all of that was a particular cheddary scent of fear with overtones of raspberry and citrus and so eventually I turned to him and said, ”excuse me but when you were a child did you go to Plumtree school in Rhodesia and were you in Milner house?

Boys Boarding School.

endless Kalahari scrub.. ,

masters in khaki with guns.

Even the matrons had beards.

and it was all in his voice and gestures 3 decades on.

The poor man nearly fell of his chair.

Consistent with the culture of that time there was no further discussion once we’d established that he had left the year before I arrived and was therfore my senior.

Our culture was so rooted in unacknowledged  loss of the Principle of Relatedness, that you could smell it. I could sense it in this man’s table manners, in his style of fathering, in the convolutions of his relationship with his wife and in his bullish condescension dealing with the waiter.

And at the heart of it was a kind of ugly gap where something softer and more yielding might have been and without which our childhoods had been moulded in such detail that after 30 years and half a world away, I could recognise the impact of it on a person I had never met.

The miracle of which we could not discuss.

We think we can congratulate ourselves on having already reached such a pinnacle of clarity, imagining that we have left all these phantasmal gods behind. But what we have left behind are only verbal spectres, not the psychic facts that are responsible for the birth of the gods. CG Jung.

I went to a dating agency and they wanted to know straight off how long it had been since I was in my last relationship. They had a formula; It takes 20% of the duration of the previous relationship to get over it.

I was a couple of months shy.

Did you take their advice?

No.

And went on some dates anyway..

yeah

how did they go?

The point is that in the whole of our species’ life span, some 120 thousand years of species stabilisation, we’ve lost half our pantheon in only the last fortieth of that time….

or actually only a third if you go by the apocryphal book of Enoch.

The point is that the violent suppression of the divinine feminine over the last several millenia is not so long ago. Somewhere in the collective unconscious of our species, it’s a recent emotional wound……

FFunny how apocryphal used to mean BBanned-on-pain-of-death and now only means of-unknown-PProvenance…

…..so much so that from the perspective of the species we are still in shock from something that we can barely remember, like a kid who’s all aggressive in the street and can’t concentrate in class as a direct consequence of something he no longer thinks about but still acts out in a symptomatic way.

”We are still as much possessed by autonomous psychic contents as if they were olympians. Today they are called phobias, obsessions and so forth; in a word neurotic symptoms.” CG Jung

In my 25 years as a psychotherapist I have consistently noticed that even the smallest acknowledgment of the sacred feminine, even if it is simply at the level of longing or divine homesickness,

even if its just at the level of admitting the vastness of the unconscious let alone what it contains,

has a way of resolving affliction.

How? Because the affliction was the unacknowledged psyche in the first place.

 

Loss and Shame .

The bottomless, shameful pit

of the unmothered child,

trying to claw whatever he can to staunch his wound…..

seemed to me to be best expressed recently by the aside in some article I read that Donald Trump had claimed to own 9 billion when he only had 4.

Only 4 billion?!

For shame!

And suddenly despite every fibre of your body screaming out against it you start feeling sorry for the man.

Only 4 billion..what an embarrassing out, dude.

His ability to make people sorry for him and the dramatic style employed by the man are narcissistically generated strategies of defence against shame or the prospect of shame. Like the flares released by fighter jets to put incoming missiles off the scent.

Problem is those flares are only partially effective..

and so you have to take evasive manouveres

alla time..

Shame is very different from Guilt. Guilt is about what you have done, so it can be atoned in some way. There’s always some possibility of redemption.

But developmentally deeper and more ancient than the Guilt and Atonement story is The Story of Shame and for feeling bad about what you Are, let alone whatever it was you did.

The Gnostics preserved some ancient fragments of the pre-biblical Myth of Sophia. They are an allegory of the degradation of the Goddess.

”She fell into the hands of bad men who passed her between them. Some raped her. Others seduced her with gifts. She became a prostitute. Overcome with shame she no longer dared to leave her abusers.” The Exegesis of the Soul

When the sacred feminine at the back of mothering ceases to be collectively honoured, what will the way she holds her child communicate to that infant?
What a baby experiences of its mother is what baby takes itself to be. If the mirror is  seen ‘through a glass darkly’ then what can baby make of its own reality?

The dishonour to the feminine becomes baby’s dishonour. His shame.

An’ yo 4 billion will NEVER be enough.

Balint calls it ‘the basic fault’. This gives rise to RD Laing’s ‘Divided Self’ or Lacan’s, ‘paranoid alienation’ all of which needs soothing with Winnicott’s ‘transitional objects’.
But not all cultures experience this. Liedloff (1986) describes the child rearing  of the Yekuana Indians in Venezuela and notes,

‘they grow up not experiencing any gap or having any empty space in themselves. They do not spend their entire lives, (as we do) trying to prove they exist or making up for the missing sense of self.’
Crucially for the Yekuana, Wanadi, the sky God, has a good relationship with his consort, the Goddess of the Nadir who lives in the bowels of the earth. She is symbolised as a four headed snake crowned with horns. Four-foldness represents wholeness. As snake she is eternally self replenishing and her horns denote divine power.

This earth goddess animates Nature.  The Yekuana  experience all acts of Nature as participating in the body of the Goddess. Motherhood and being with children is a sacred communion with Nadir. And so they do not experience paranoid alienation.
We are tempted to describe certain phenomena, alienation, paranoid anxiety, anomie, bad breasts and the like as though they were of universal significance rather than the culturally specific expression of something now passed out of memory but still so faithfully acted out over time they seem intrinsic to human nature.

In my view they are  outcome of  deep and profound spiritual loss. Yahweh  banishes Hokmah/Sophia  from the divine stage just after the time of Solomon (3000BC) and this is the last time in Judeo-Christian literature that we hear of Her without the new bride’s curses being thrown at her heels.

Given Her place in our imagination for the eighty thousand years or more before that and we’re scarcely over blowing our noses.

Of course the stamping of  ash and bone into the sacred places to eternally desecrate them was a bit unfortunate.

And the, you know, all the hacking down of stuff.

Yes, and the, you know..

killings

We are the children of cosmic divorce who now live with daddy. We don’t see mummy anymore. And nor do we have feelings about it.

But we do hit each other a lot..

and break each other ‘tings..
At the same time as Yahweh was tipping Sophia/Hokmah into the sea the Assyrian God Marduk slays the Goddess Tiamat and the Sumerian Enlil deposes the goddess Nammu. It happened so long ago we are only dimly aware of it, but like the early and forgotten traumas of our own individual childhoods we still collectively experience the consequences at a symptomatic, visceral level. We collectively mistrust the body and demonise the instincts formerly championed by Sophia/Hokmah.

Henri Wallon uses the term ‘confiscation’ (Wallon 1949) to describe the emptiness that seems to be, from a western point of view, an intrinsic part of the developmental process from true to false self that is a substantial region in the underbelly of western civilisation. Confiscation implies that something once present has been lost or taken away and indeed it has. Baby has yet to learn of Yahweh’s divine truculence but soon gets wind from the non verbal cues of shame and rejection intruded in mother. And like all babies he holds himself responsible for the split he experiences in mother and begins to identify with her  humiliation.

Confiscation is the felt result. ‘The loss which lies at the heart of confiscation’, says Berman (1989), ‘is no small matter. It amounts to a revolution of consciousness the crucial feature of which is the decision to mistrust the evidence of our senses.’ ie Nature.
Baby renounces the body as a way of knowing herself, sacrificing her own capacity to apprehend reality for one now rooted in shame.

With the loss of the continuum  to the divine feminine, not only is the Universe suddenly unsafe but we ourselves cease to experience ourselves as trustworthy and have to compensate for it to the point of parody.

 

Kimwaki and the Weaver Birds.

A story from Africa.

Kimwaki was a wealthy young man whose father had left him a great inheritance. Kimwaki  was even richer than he had hoped. He could hardly believe the number of cattle and goats he now had.

No need for him to work anymore! And so he spent his days dreaming in the sunshine. And resting in the shade.

His cows became hollow eyed and his pastures overgrown. But he did not care. Why should he! He still had enough for himself.

No fear of hunger touch him.

And he did this until he was very lonely and then bored of the lonliness, and then tired of the boredom.

But he had forgotten what it was that might make some difference to his situation so long had he lain indolent. And didn’t realise how he was harming the land and the people that lived on the land.

And so he suffered and puzzled.

One day, while he was suffering and puzzling, he heard a chattering above his head. It was Spring and the weaver birds were making their elaborate nests. Each bought something to the colony, delighting in their contribution, and by nightfall the framework of the nests were complete.

The next day the happy birds bought moss and feather and bits of wool to finish off their new homes. Thunder clouds were approaching but the clever birds were safe.

And all the time he watched them the more Kimwaki began to understand..

He jumped up saying, ‘I am a strong young man. They only have their little beaks while I have big hands. They are the wise ones and I am not.’

Next morning he got up early and took his hoe to his neighbours field and worked alongside him the whole day.

And on the way home he found himself singing…..

If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

And if you have more than you need then some part of you knows that this can’t be done without exploitation and is going to poison your golden chalice in the moment you put your lips to it,

though it may take some time for symptoms to develop…

We cannot be oblivious to the needs of others without incurring something rather nasty upon ourselves. The depersonalisation of the other required to keep our equanimity in the face of their plight, requires  a broad swath through the psyche  taking in our compassion for ourselves to boot.

The division beween ‘I and Thou’ is mirrored in the inner world by a narrowing of paths through the woods between the homes of I and me.

and so our responses to the world start becoming stereotyped.  The narrowing of the soul’s arterial pathways limits life’s options.

The reason for this that the ‘either/or’ philosophy so eloquently expressed by the diplomatic coup, ‘you’re with us or you’re against us’, is rooted in Anxiety.

The ancient schism between Yahweh and Sophia/Hokmah, way before ‘In the beginning’, a split that resounds through our prehistory and the base of our skulls, cannot be tolerated very well so we over compensate

like you do

with now being the special child of the good parent.

We are children of both possession and exile.

The dissonance of it is unbearable.

And so the split is internalised.

And with that you get single minded.

You shut down all unnecessary stuff.

like feeling about stuff,

and stuff.

You know where all your kit is and you have a plan.  You regress to fight/flight alternatives and you cram down anything you can find.

”Do not save your bread for tomorrow” A. Solzhenitsyn

If there is not enough ontological security for people to afford themselves any greater range of response then very soon every situation will seem to mean something very restricted.

When I was a teenager I once got a letter from a mother quoting the bible at me because I was clearly responsible for her son getting drunk one night.

 ”And if ye lead one of these little ones astray it would be better if you were thrown in the sea with a millstone around your neck.”Mark 9;42

What does that mean exactly?

It means that the coroner will have trouble establishing whether you were crushed or drowned.

If you cross my path I will kill you in cruel and unusual ways.

it’s a bit steep isn’t it?

even if you had had poured whisky down his neck..

as he lay dere bound hand an’ foot.

screaming and protesting..

The funny thing was that I saved her husband’s life the next week in a riding accident and then I was a saint.

The either/or limitation placed on people by the One System system spawns the psychological features that thrive in polarised situations, sado/masochism, narcissism, bipolar ‘disorders’. It’s as though the loss of the Principle of Relatedness that sinks back into the sea along with Yahweh’s first Wife, Sophia/ Hokmah,

way back in the before time…

and with it our deep knowing of place and belonging,

so destabilizes the psyche that it goes into a kind of collective shock, reducing living to very immediate concerns.

only…

…that then becomes a life style rather than a temporary arrangement.

An’ you wind up like Kimwaki thinking yo’ll blessed an’ all….

but the creative spirit cannot fruit in the narrow confines of merely choosing whether to rest in the sun or in the shade.

And what’s needed is something radically other than what we know.

The beauty of the story is that even though Kimwaki had forgotten what to do, the weaver birds showed him.

They are that deep instinct for co-operation, that grateful  generosity which experiences its neighbour’s welfare as the source of its own joy, the abundance of the Principle of Relatedness.

And so Kimwaki learns the power of telling himself off…

and about the richness of life that there is to be had in looking beyond our personal concerns.

 

Guns of God.

When I embarked on my heroic quest to take on terrorism as a rosy cheeked eighteen year old,

..all proud and manly with him guns..

I really believed that I was doing so in the name of freedom,

…and him bombs..

To protect my family,

…just gotta shoot other people’s…

And our way of life.

…ratatataaaaaat…

Had I realised that my first nominal paycheck,

…which him didna care abou’ anyway…

was largely funded by deBeers and Anglo-American,

…forty pieces of dollar…

I might have queried my premise.

”Freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial. Meanwhile the ruling Oligarchy and its highly trained soldiers, policemen and mind manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.” Aldous Huxley

We do not vote for our leaders. They are already irrevocably in place. We vote for their lackeys, the one’s who have to wear the charcoal grey uniform and go mind the office. We are watching parliament  when we’d be better off staking out St Andrews.

You don’t understand, the enemy is out there!

No matey, the enemy is in here. Its called Rampant Unrelenting Greed, and its armed with stomach juices that can digest whatever you can cram in its maw.

But our God,

loves us… yes, and lets us do whateeeever we like so long as we are muttering his name at the time.

Ever noticed that there is no ‘I’  or ‘me’ in the Lord’s prayer?

No personal responsibility…

Not, ‘forgive me, oh god, for all the dumb, blind, stupid shit I’ve pulled and for the crappy thing I did, specifically x or y or z.

No,

forgive us, collective sheep.

give us bread. breeeead, breeeeead.

Lead us not…..us poor, poor, Baaaah.

Deliver us from all this shit, caused by…

Others!…

those motly bastards with their puny AK47s who,

bastards…

for some evil reason,

bastards…

resent us digging holes in their ancestral lands and want them back!

bastards..!

Lock and load, baaaaby!

”We are now truly a nation of sheep… and sheep are always led to the slaughter.” Milton Cooper.

I was always impressed by the ease with which the corporate rulers, the inheritors of Yahweh’s collusive covenant with earthly power, could simply wind men up like toy soldiers and march them to their deaths. My own troop in the Commandos was so cut to pieces that the unit had to be disbanded, but we were not unnerved! Our god would not let us die!

Perhaps a way to measure whether or not a culture is evolved is to examine the extent to which people are okay with being marched to their deaths for  the material gain of some unknown third parties tackling a tricky putt on the 9th green of an exotic golflinks somewhere foreign..

…you gotta have a million ca-billion just to sit yo ass down on dem barstool.

Oh, and how we wish we were them!

In luxury darling, with servants and maids and garden boys on crutches.

I was in the garden reading. It was one of the final afternoons of the summer holidays. Kimberley’s legs were withered from polio but he had immense upper body strength. He was working over by the chicken coop on his crutches digging a row of beans. He had been at it for an hour or so, swinging the pickaxe with one mighty arm whilst he propped himself up with the other. A slow but steady rhythm. All of a sudden the 5 PM siren sounded. We were governed by the town siren.

No baas, WE were governed by the siron..

Kimberley was in mid-swing with the pick. At the first wail of the siren he put his entire massive strength into preventing the tip of that pick from biting down into the warm earth that he had been working with all day. I watched as his whole upper body fought to prevent the Makiwa from having one second more of his time than he was being paid for.

It was the hate of a fierce and noble pride. The pride of a man who has not given his kingship away.

but it was more than sheer brute strength that was required to single-handedly prevent an already swinging axe from finding its mark, his crutch bending and bowing with force.

And it was more than the profound resentment that Kimberley must have felt for his demeaning situation, his white name, his role as garden ‘boy’.

It was his inner spirit..

that I saw he had more than I.

And I felt ashamed.

luxury, darling!

Give us this day our daily bread.

First line, first thing, first clause in the contract, Give.

Give us our fucking bread you tight fisted bastard.

BRE – AD

BRE – AD

And so the great con of our time, darlings, is that there is a good life out there just for you and that technology will set you free whilst slowly basting the moral fibre of your sorry ass. In fact the meek shall only inherit the earth subject to being priorly engorged by our golfing friend. In fact, why would the wealthy leave anything standing if their favourite sermon contains lines casting some doubt about how inheritance will work.

Go stuff yourselves boys, its the will of God!

Kimberley hadn’t bought Yahweh’s pact with David and his descendants, the implicit right to dominion over others..

and that God would look the other way while we adopted a more hands on approach,,

to loving our neighbour…

The wish for more than we need is rooted in the depersonalisation of others, because others have to be exploited to make those dreams come true.

This greed is rooted in desperate, collective anxiety that Mum has gone and may not come back, the kind of anxiety that can have you reaching for icecream or another fag..

or another lover…

or a shooter…

But the bottomless  pit is nonetheless softened by the notion that we are somehow sanctioned by God and, anyway, have power over others.

I live on de right side of de tracks because I am virtuous and this is my just reward

and suddenly even Rednecks…

or, no, particularly Rednecks, but ah, oh yes, us scientific techno folk suddenly believe in a divine plan with us at the top of the heap.

 

On Paranoia.

I was listening to one of my favourite Zimbabwean musicians, Thomas Mapfumo, who sings revolutionary ‘Chimurenga’ (guerilla) music.

I fought him when I was young. Wanted to kill him and all his gook buddies…

And signed up with Special Forces just as soon as they would have me to do just that.

Until I found the gook in myself one day

and let I have a little chat with me…

So, one of Thomas’ songs, sung in Shona so I don’t get the words, but the tone and the meter is like a kind of ‘whiteman prayer’, like 3 hours into the Ride of the Valkyries, I recall  it from my reactionary childhood, the kind of song that is intoned heroically from the ramparts of your citadel.

perhaps he was takin’ de piss..

And I wondered if Thomas was expressing what Martin Luther King called, ‘the nigger in the black man’s wood pile’, the introjected rascism of the overlord, ingrained with time and defeat’s oppression.

Maybe him just got an inner Episcopalian, like you got an inner gook…

And the meter of Thomas’ song reminded me of a poem I wrote as an entirely indoctrinated boarder at The Last Colonial Fascist Academy for Boys, complete with grenade screens, blast walls, evacuation practice and teachers armed like Rambo.

So this poem got into the school magazine. It was less the rhetoric than the mounting trills of sentiment, an adolescent Blake encountering Brunhilde in a sunlit mountain glade, a khaki ‘tomorrow belongs to me’.

And yet for all that I could never remember the names or the needs of my own neighbours.

One was an old man of nearly one hundred, bent double he was, an original member of the heroic Pioneer Column that forged its way across the Limpopo,

uninvited,

and into the great nation of Matabeleland back in 1885 or thereabouts.

You’d think a budding young fascist poet would want to know the man or at least remember his name..

or ask if he needed anything… .

but the shining hero isn’t always particularly interested in other people, barring the opportunity for a photo shoot. After all, those that are worshipped are also depersonalised. So whilst I would bask in the glow of his reflected glory, the exploits of which were already part legend, it wouldn’t occur to me that I might assist him with the gate or help him carry his shopping.

And this is why the hero myth is sometimes not what it says on the tin and doesn’t  feed the soul for long because it has sacrificed the Principle of Relatedness for the bling of unblemished armour.

Transformation can not ensue. The projected dark brother, and the split this causes in Consciousness, prevents anything fruitful happening between the hero and his virginal prize, even if he does vanquish the terrible dragon.

Which is why even the redemptive image of the harrowing of hell was not sufficient to obviate the need for centuries of papal armies..

and inquisitions..

part with your toenails for God, missus?

The problem with the One System system is that it is bound to give rise to single perspectives, or if you prefer,

one track minds

and one track feelings, or if you prefer,

paranoia.

And well it might, considering that having a single system is like having only one string to your instrument..

and what if some bastard cuts it…

which, poetically enough, is exactly what happened to the first great hero of the single system, Gilgamesh, who was left at the end of the day without his elixir of immortality or the Great Dragon Prize.

It also happened, oh best beloved, to his mighty city Uruk, poetically fed by a single river which one day decided to run a different course…

like you do..

leaving the great city, a great mound, in a great desert of great…silence.

symbolic confirmation of why paranoia is sometimes a good idea.

you can’t just chop down the Great Mother’s sacred grove and float it down the Euphrates without the divine feminine visiting some riteous affliction on you…

sho’ ’nuff.

only She might take a while to get around to you…

enough time for you to struggle with making the connection….

Something Unknown is doing I don’t know what….

a mounting refrain of Life unlived….

When alla those unplucked strings start playin’ and dancin’ by theselves.

 

 

 

 

How Wasted am I?

I’m chewing through Erich Neumann’s ‘ Origins and History of Consciousness’. Hoo boy. I’m sure its just me but its like being invited to a banquet serving 50 shades of salted cracker.

His argument, that consciousness progresses step by step from a ‘primitive’, maternally based polytheism full of projective identification and totemic identity, to an emerging ego-self axis represented by the crucifiction, by triumphing over the Terrible Mother who symbolises the regressive pull of the unconscious is….

still mashing the cracker then…..

and perhaps culminating in Descartes inflated, ”I think therefor I am”.

Nah, I’ve had enough now, you say sorry to Descartes…

Why, he was a terrible philosopher..

No, you just slaggin everyone off…

You didn’t even give Erich a chance to answer and all the sarcasmic cracker stuff. An’ now your havin’ a go at Descartes. Its not right. Play nicely.

But any two bit lawyer will tell you that coming up with the thought that you exist just because it occured to you is verging on criminally dodgy. Its just like insider trading.

And if Being itself can be subject to thought, then the values which derive from such an arrangement are bound to be the Machiavellian variety and ‘the end justifying the means’.

What Descartes proved was that he was veeeery mentally identified, a state which is..

”only too ready to emancipate (it)self…. from the reality and meaning of symbolic life.” CG Jung (paraphrased from the Psychology of the Transference)

in other words from moral and spiritual considerations.

The ‘new consciousness’, heralded by Uncle Neb, Jacob and David, codified by Constantine, and shipped into your hindbrain at birth, is this deification of Mind. Mind becomes synonymous with Spirit, or at least as divorced from knowing how to behave…  as Yahweh was from Sophia/Hokmah before…

you know..

the Beginning.

Consider the implications: If thinking is fundamental to being, whatever I can think is imbued with this primacy, this symbolic equation with Being itself. Whatever else I might be experiencing is real insofar as it is congruent with thought and it’s heavily invested self-construct.

Oh dear oh dear…

stuff like knowing right from wrong….

or having a gut feeling for something

or compassion for someone.

Or hands.

The problem with the philosophical position of such ‘flowering of consciousness’ is that it also fosters a flowering of depersonalisation and colonialism.

And it seems to me that our supposed consciousness is not worth the candle if it is accompanied by globalised exploitation laughingly termed ‘assisted development,’ where the colonisers have pulled out once the infrastructures of exploitation have been set in place, and manipulate from afar with generous loans the subclauses of which say we run your ship.

I mean, they carn’t govern theselves….

Nah, dun ’em a favour.

Thinking is not enough if I will not talk to me. If there is no reflection, then all that fine thinking is going to wind up in the hands of our darker complexes..

which of course don’t exist and you don’t have to think about..

really.

And since thought and being-able-to-rationalise-what-I-please all come neatly wrapped up in the same box we become like kiddies in a cake factory. A world where wishing should make it so…

Whilst praising ourselves for being so evolved.

I was shocked by many things in Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Gulag Archipelago’, which I read over and over during a rough couple of years to remind myself that things weren’t really so bad. But what got me most was when he began to question the Russian people’s relationship with Stalin.

Did the nation need his regime in some way? Did the suffering he imposed on Russia serve the spiritual life of the People? In any case, nations give themselves the leaders they deserve, seems to be the idea. The same is true for great minds. The victors write the Philosophy of a people as well as their History by supporting those thinkers that reinforce the zietgeist of the time.

Freud too, rose to meteoric success as soon as he revised his theory that parents mess their kids up, (The Aetiology of Hysteria 1896) to mean very nearly the opposite within ten years.

Society like ‘im now.

… give him his job back.

an lotta stuff.

Cocaine and unsupervised access to a massive printing press…..

In his own way, Darwin, too, rode the crest of our collective imagination, with ‘the survival of the fittest’. Though he only used the phrase once in the whole of his ‘Origins of Species’, the social milieu he was in grabbed it with both hands…

poised as they were on the cusp of global colonialisation.

and in need of a slogan.

The neat thing with the survival of the fittest is that it justifies the rules that the fit live by. Our way of being must be right or we wouldn’t be the ones left standing.

This is all on top of the divine sanction placed on thinking.

……….one might just invade India today……..

by Descartes.

This martial, dog eat dog, linear way of looking at evolution is taken up and echoed by Neumann.

but if ontology really does recapitulate phylogony (the evolution of the species follows the pattern of individual development) then you’d expect a more organic regime change from Polytheism. After all children generally grow apart from Mother in their own quiet way.

And she generally doesn’t have her stuff desecrated, or her mates killed off…

by a narcissistically  disordered  demi-urge with psychopathic features……

So Neumann doesn’t do it for me.

Oh, why so angry now..?

Well because… ”if  the emancipation of consciousness from the tyranny of the unconscious has gone far beyond division, and bought about a schism…..giving rise to atomised individualism”…. Neumann.

yeesss..

well that’s not very frikkin evolved is it?

No..

And since when was the Unconscious tyrannical?

Hummm.

 

 

 

 

Sadomasochism and Jealousy

The ‘jealous type’ lays claim to people.

It is not about the wounded heart…

It is about territorial identity.

I am what I have.

Territory.

And running up a flag,

followed by rifle drill,

and razorwire.

The jealous type looks like they are full of feelings, wounded and hard done by.

No, that’s adrenalin. Its different. And its internally derived. Like having your dealer living in your neo-cortex. People just doing their own thing is experienced as something not going according to plan. Things happening in their own time must be a conspiracy and it must be that you’re just trying to piss me off….

The intensity behind the thing that you said or did that was wrong….

or the thing that you didn’t say or do….right,

looks like a feeling….

but its more like the biochemical goop in your limbic system surging at the sound of an intruder in the cave or moose hackles bellowing up the glen.

Jealousybags doesn’t do feelings.

that’s the problem..

though useful in the short term given that JB must actively depersonalise others to constitute going-on-being, which you might not actually want to have feelings about.

JB is not friends with Conscience.

and prefers to cast a blind eye to the projections s/he must resort to in order to justify all this adrenalin production.

No matter how ridiculous.

I just took my dog out. Man in the lane with wife and their own dog. Loads of space, middle of nowhere. The man starts shouting at his dog, yelling and emoting. He barks and barks. The dog is just friendly and curious. ‘He barks,’ explains the barker, barking.

No, he doesn’t you prat…

He really couldn’t see that it was himself making all of the racket. His big beef had nothing to do with the dog. The dog was an accessory required to carry a projection that kept sliding off, so he had to keep barking at the dog about its non-existant barking.

He was all gold and bling an’ wha’ever, carrying his arms out to the side like a bear, all barrelling along and aggrieved he had to share the lane and have an encounter with something unscripted.

No eye contact.

Jaw and near-side shoulder lowered.

Barking and barking.

Narcissisitic jealousy depersonalises in order to creat a semblance of subjectivity, some experience of self, in what is effectively a very rocky inner world.  Because s/he has been maternally deprived in some profound way, ego structure is makeshift at best. Like a raft on the beach all cobbled together with whatever flotsam you can find.

So, what we’ll do is this,  tie you and me together at the hip and then I will feast on your essence.

And all my feelings of not quite being real can become yours. The secret sense of being a third class citizen will be added to your prize as can all the unworthiness of love and affection kept neatly in place by dint of contempt and scorn’s regime.

And so I will deride you, but keep you, so that my hate of you can keep me alive.

JB needs to hate. Hate is the added glue necessary for what Quinodoz calls ‘adhesive attachment’, bonding that didn’t quite do what it said on the tin and needs another trip down to the hardware store for backup.

Without it JB gets twitchy, couple of cracks showing now, mortar crumbling, need that shot of jealous drama to keep things turning…

Hate and adrenalin are great confirmation of who you are in an uncertain, shaky world. And so, irrespective of any belief system that would otherwise be aghast at the moody outburst that’s coming,  it will have its say regardless because the principles of egoic survival, internal co-hesion, are more important than the values of polite society.

Aldous Huxley (Crome Yellow) talks about the rivalries and incipient warring of central American states as a search for national identity in an uncertain world. Tribal identity had been smashed by the Spanish who left a cultural vaccuum when they handed those nations back their independence. They didn’t know who they were. So they went to war to find out.

This way of being is more common than you might think. JP Sartre felt that relationships were inherantly sado-masochistic, which is why..

”Hell is other people.”

And its hell because..

‘’The other is first the being for whom I am an object’’ (Being and Time).

We are depersonalised to the point that it seems intrinsic to being, or at least to Sartre’s being.

He may not be right but he must speak for many or he wouldn’t be so popular.

What he misses is that Jealousybags needs to foment and pace and froth, wondering who the other is with and what they are doing now.

It sticks I to me like mad.

Not to mention the added bonus that all this riteous hard done-by posturing is great for shmeering over the underlying belief that no-one could ever love me.

And your behaviour, as if you had a life, is proof that you don’t love me.

And though I may not actually have a set of thumb screws…

its gonna feel like I have.

watch my mood settle over everything, seep into the furnishings, your clothes, your hair,

silent accusation,

witheld interrogation…

belittling triumph!

Which is why sadomasochism begins and ends with jealousy and that extra bit of glue needed to cement self-construct. Either having or having not, doing to and being done to by – all these are faithful servants of going-on-being with definite roles and parameters.

Everyone knows what to do.

Phew!

And the big surprise is not that it works like this for so many but that its not more prevelant. For centuries, mothering in the west has been deprived of its numinous container. How can baby not be a little unstuck when mummy has been stripped of her sacred context?