My split from the masses occurred at age 15 when I had been rejected by a woman I hardly knew. A profound split occurred in me that day when I realized that the knowledge base I had was woefully insufficient to cope with the reality I was living in. The image of woman drew me from my conscious standpoint into an admission that critical parts of my awareness were missing. Where could I find this awareness? I had a reasonably good command of the rational scientific universe, but I mistook that understanding for sufficiency in terms of knowledge of how to live my life. My life is unlike the lives of those around me. I can’t just act like them and hope to succeed. The difference are too great. The best a scientific understanding of the universe can give you is a generic way in which a human might live. I realized with horror that I would not fit into my idea of how a generic person was supposed to live. In physics, all particles are defined not by what makes them different, but by what makes them the same. As an individual human being, however, I am unlike any other. As social animals, human beings strive to avoid being different. The costs of ostracization are enormous. We simply don’t want to be the ugly duckling, or the ones left behind. Thus we fall victim to theorists who classify us as particles because we don’t want to be alone with only our own soul for companionship. We accept the theories which say we are the same, and comparisons to physical forces provide the metaphors for our times.
I only open up the can of worms here. I comment more later, if my individuality wants me to. I never know with my individuality.
Well, John Milton’s Paradise Lost. His blindness gives him such attunement to the invisible tactile world. The powerful contrast between a description of planets faithfully following their course and the inner sensations of our own organs touching each other. The planets, they know mathematics. Our inner planets, that is, the tactile sense we have of the various organs which compose us, they know warmth and wetness. Sometimes we want to be reminded of our eternal connection to the organs which sustain our bodies. If we can be reminded of our original place in the wombs of our mothers we can put up little resistance to these thoughts. But if we are not convinced, the proximity of our bodies becomes disgusting to us. We wish we could escape and be something other than mortal. Life reminds us of the great schism between the original state and the current one. The soothing poetry of Milton becomes uncomfortable to us. If we are in a group or are subject to the influence of modern rationality, this discomfort can become a social dogma, so we can’t even relate to Milton’s sentiment. We can’t bring ourselves to ignore Milton’s scientific naivete. We must only resort to enjoying his lyrical rhythms, if our discomfort doesn’t alienate us completely from his work. In his time, the scientific revolution was just around the corner. Is our modern reason which rejects this book the metaphorical equivalent of the pride which preceded Paradise Lost?
I remembered an important thought yesterday which helped me understand the difference between the blog and myself. I realized that while I am certainly uncomfortable telling the world at random about who I am, the blog itself is a work of art. I carve the statue which is the blog, and it’s not me, but its own thing. I don’t need it to make sense. I simply don’t want to reveal things about myself. If you want to know about me, seek me out. Write me a letter.
What you read here is my version of a literary work of art. The blog form is a medium. I feel comfortable enough working in that medium to produce this work. I felt so much better when I realized that, or re-realized it. I had been conflating the work with my own existence.
I think the thing which stands out most about the blog is its democratic aspect. What it means is that if I write it here, I am OK with ANYBODY reading it. I know of some famous instances in which the author of a blog becomes closer to her anonymous readers than they are with anyone they know. See the movie Julie and Julia for an example. This is what would be a type of psychological incest she had with her many anonymous readers, using the anonymity to become more honest than she was capable of, in her daily life, in which she must be phonier, to maintain her social status.
There is a long history of the written word being more intimate than the revealed life of a person, for just this reason, the necessity to maintain appearances in regular life. I realized I am very different about this. I cannot form a degree of comfort with you just because I do not know you. In my experience even the most innocent looking people are as dangerous as pit vipers. Therefore I do not trust strangers any more than I trust those I know well. Add to this another peculiarity which is that I maintain no discrepancy between my social status and my in-person behavior. I have no social status to lose, and while no one can predict the future, I believe it will be some time before I must consider how I would like to appear in contradistinction to my actual condition.
I can simplify the message this way: the real ME is the one you meet in person. The blog I write is a sculpture I’m making.
I recently thought to myself, “Man, I think the whole thing’s failed,” or something like that. It was as if I have some idea of the “whole thing” meaning, my idea of whatever I’m trying to do. But the whole thing wasn’t localized, not a project, but my whole understanding of my life. So there’s was some “thing” which is everything I’ve put my conscious attention toward. My subconscious mind had created some kind of casing for my life project. So clearly I have been laboring under an unconscious assumption as to what my life is about and what I can expect. And it’s failed, apparently. This total idea about what life should be, combined with how the world has failed to conform to it, now has an existence of its own, separate from me. At the same time as being disappointed at the failure, I recognize the existence of the idea or original expectation. There’s a third consciousness now looking at both the failure in the world and at the idea. Obviously this third consciousness looks from a framework which can contain the old failed idea, which is no longer contained in any way by the old idea, otherwise I couldn’t have thought, “Man, the whole thing’s failed,” in the way I did. This new third consciousness obviously stands on a framework of its own. Hopefully the new third consciousness won’t construct hopes which fail.
It’s pretty much a run-of-the-mill defeat of my manhood, I’d say. That’s the whole point of manhood, to conceive of projects which don’t fail. The fact that the nature of the project is left ambiguous doesn’t change this. Simply the thought that, “Man the whole thing’s failed,” let’s you know that there was a project, and that I finally came into consciousness of the fact that it failed. Which is to say, both that the outer world came up far short, and that I finally know enough about the nature of the desired result to see that it hasn’t been met.
So every day is a new day. What false expectations will come up with today, I wonder!
I’m still stewing the creative juices. I’m a little worried that I haven’t even committed myself to a specific medium of communication let alone written anything. I do write stuff in my notebook. One interesting shift I’ve made, is that I have decided that it is critical that I believe the solution to exist. The problem of living environment, for example. I simply postulate as an axiom that the suitable answer to my problem exists. Perhaps it means that I have simply moved through all the negative possibilities in my mind and find myself right back where I am, still needing to solve the problem. Action then proceeds under the assumption that I will find the positive solution. Much of the harping on the negative comes from residual bitterness at Mother or Father, or some variation therein. That bitterness comes essentially from a tension between how Mother or Father treated you, and how you currently believe the world is treating you. If one has a proper view of the world then one is capable of facing it with all its harshness and still believing that a proper solution exists to your current dilemmas. Indeed one’s view could have been badly distorted by Father or Mother, so I’m not saying the bitterness is unjustified. But there may also be a component of Father or Mother’s behavior which is uncannily in line with the world. Therefore you must face the world without Father or Mother to guide you. How perverse, that the possibility could have entered your mind, that no solution exists for you! How long, and how many, of father’s and mother’s Children languish and decay in that deep cavity where the light does not get in! Read the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz! You are Free! You are Free!
Jung himself is inclined to agree with both his admirers and his critics. His own conception of religion is so eclectic, that it embraces everything from Catholicism to Hinduism, Taoism and Zen Buddhism, and finds truth of some sort in nearly every form of dogma and ritual. “His principal weakness, aside from overeating,” a close associate recently remarked, “is his habit of seeing all points of view and agreeing with practically everybody.” “The idea an an all powerful being,” says Jung himself, “is present everywhere, if not consciously recognized, then unconsciously accepted…I consider it wiser to recognize the idea of God consciously; otherwise, something else becomes God, as a rule something quite inappropriate and stupid, such as only an ‘enlightened’ consciousness can devise.” – article on C.G. Jung from Time magazine, 1952
I like Jung’s point here. I need not concede all aspects of the God that the monotheists insist on (such as the ridiculous notion that God is Good with no Evil in him???). But to acknowledge no God at all will have someone like Josef Stalin or Saddam Hussein conflating his own existence with the notion of God in a ridiculous state of psychic inflation. I grant the existence of a powerful God, and I think everyone else should too. At the same time I don’t think that anyone need delude themselves with the privatio boni, the longstanding Christian delusion that God is all good. God has in many ways much to account for. Therefore the intelligent person must navigate between the need to hold God accountable for his wrongdoings and an appropriate humility before a much more powerful being. I am still struggling with understanding how God can have omniscience at all since he seems to blunder his way through the creation, although humility tells me to spend more time on the problem. Harsh judgments which come from bitterness are often part of the personal shadow and by no means to be attributed to external forces.