The Previous Glob
The Glob before this one, called Follow Your Bliss, had a sub-headline ‘Each of Us is a Completely Unique Creature…’ a quotation from the chapter entitled ‘The Hero’s Adventure’ in Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. His fundamental belief is that we are all unique in the way that we are heroes—but some of us can’t accept it, nor do we realise what the ramifications are. That Glob proceeded to figure out what these might be. He said:-
We have to give our students guidance in developing their own pictures of themselves. What each must seek in their life never was before on land or sea. It is to be something out of their own unique potentiality for experience, something that never has been and never could have been experienced by anybody else…
Each and every life—yours, mine, the next person’s —‘never was before on land or sea…’ Each and every life is unique, never been before, never again to be.
Jone Dae’s comment was that the word ‘unique’ does not take a qualifier: as I learned sixty years ago—I remember the moment—you can’t be ‘almost [or nearly] unique’ or ‘very unique’; either something is unique or it’s not unique… So why did I not for a single moment question the qualifier ‘completely’ in Campbell’s statement? I did not think about it at the time but I reckon that, going against my previous learning, it’s probably reasonable to argue that the concept ‘Completely Unique’ is justifiable at a meta-level as signifying something like ‘unique in every respect’—a complete portrait of uniqueness: as I said in the previous Glob, you might be unique as regards upbringing—unique in the entity you imagine yourself to be; unique by socialisation and the resulting presentation of self, say; unique as far as the books you’ve read and particularly in the order in which you have read them; unique by the road you’ve travelled, unique in time and space, the experiences you’ve had and the things you’ve seen along the way… and so on. Unique by reason of the beliefs and values all these things in massive combination have thrown up, the way you hold to them, the behaviour that ensues.
The systematic collecting of all this together would help to create a rich and unique picture of your single solitary Being.
In response, Henry Koehler suggested that people are, in general, more alike than they are different; and most of the differences are imaginary and I replied with Robert Dilts’ words, ‘We are all exactly the same in being so different…’
No, no, you have misunderstood. All humans are much, much, much more similar than they are different, and this is a very important point to see. And most of the differences between themselves and others are imagined differences. A person doesn’t know anything at all for certain, either about self, or about others, but we imagine that we do. We guess, we speculate… People like Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti have made this point, and I invite you to see it for yourself. People are imagining all the time, and for sure they imagine the differences between themselves and others. And awakening can be very disturbing. You know, some adults and most babies grump and cry when they’re awakened, they don’t like it! And when people are awakened it is sudden and startling. That’s why they always defend and rationalize at first… identified with whatever their point was, still defending it. The awakening is that it was wrong, and that they were wrong. Most people aren’t big enough to admit when they’re wrong; they are small people.
This caused me to ponder. Was I doing a bit of self-justification in arguing for the acceptability of ‘Completely unique’? Maybe. I have no doubt that we do not really know very much about ourselves though we imagine that we do. We fumble about and over-trust the words we use imagining that they somehow represent, or even are, the things we think we think. There’s a useful little question, with very practical implications, variously attributed as to its source, which points this up: How do I know what I think till I see what I write? One could do variations on this: How do I know what I believe until I observe the results of the practice of what I take to be my belief-system? How do I know about the nature of my relationships till I notice another’s responses to what I say & do? It’s systemic.
We know even less about other people than we do about ourselves although, by projecting our own way of Being on to them, we imagine that we know all about them. We kid ourselves. We can only construct ‘reality’ with the meagre gift parcels that what we assume to be ‘The Real’ has donated to us in the past—from which we make but a limited selection anyway, whatever suits us.
Living in the Imagination
As far as living in our imagination is concerned, we are all in the same boat! This is how we survive in our different ways. A kind of antidote is to keep on asking question of ourselves, to challenge our assumptions constantly.
It can certainly be very traumatic to wake up to the realisation that we live mostly, if not always, in our imagination. The way we imagine the world to be is all inside us and does not necessarily bear much resemblance to what’s actually out there. As Gurdjieff points out we ought to quell Internal Considering and make a beeline for External Considering. In NLP terms we need to be very aware of when we’re doing ‘mind-reading’, imagining that we understand where another person is coming from…
The knowledge we imagine we possess is a liquid that fits the shape of our personal containers, as Jan Cox says. Even when you change the container it’s still a container!
It’s also very possible to construct imaginary differences between oneself and other people until one gets down to specifics.
And so I suggested to Henry that difference is surely inevitable. That he and I, for instance, will be different (and therefore unique) in that we will never ever occupy the same space and time. Further, that I will never ever be sitting here flogging the computer in exactly the same way as I am now ever again or even as I was two minutes ago: my thoughts have changed, the light outside is different from what it was before the cloud came down, my limbs are differently disposed. I asked Henry whether, for example, he was an anarcho-pacifist-vegetarian. I asked him if he was able to turn his head and look out of a window to see an apple tree incredibly full of blossom. Did he know an avant garde classical music composer by the name of Michael Finnissy? Had he met him? Was he going out shortly to Colchester, England, for an evening of improvised music? I imagined that the answers might be NO which would suggest that in very specific respects we were entirely different from one another, each being unique in our own particular way..
Henry replied that these were still rather small differences. He could look out of the window and see dogwood and olive trees in full bloom right now; he knew the works of an avant-garde classical composer named Philip Glass. He is a vegan-pacifist in real life; a christian-buddhist hybrid by religion. On Saturday night, he did some Sufi dancing, accompanied by live music.
For me, this highlighted what I take to be the difference between our perspectives. I replied:-
I can understand that you just are the same as me in that you can swivel your head and look out of a window, we both know the works of Philip Glass, your beliefs about war are maybe the same as mine, your eating habits are similar.
In other words, Our Centres operate in similar ways though if we looked at the combinations of Centre activity there would be extensive differences—similar rather than same, then. In Moving Centre we can both turn our heads to look out of a window; in Emotional/Intellectual Centre we listen to similar music though how we classify our reaction might prove to be different were we to go into it; our beliefs about war & eating (Emotional/Intellectual Centre?) are probably roughly similar.
So I’d agree we two have a human framework that is maybe more or less congruent and we have a bunch of neurons that work in more or less the same way but with massively different content. But if we were to explore the interrelationships of Centres eg we’d find huge existential differences. The small differences add up to more than the sum of their specificity. For instance we might debate the idea that Michael Finnissy is considerably more avant garde than Philip Glass who fortunately has moved on from what I find to be his rather tedious early minimalism into post-minimalism; Michael is a man on his own, doing his own thing, not conforming to any musical-isms on principle; whilst engaging in Sufi Dancing is no doubt great to do (my hips sadly now prevent dancing much) it’s not a bit the same as improvising music on the recorder with ten other people whose next move it’s not really possible to guess; the group I’m part of often comes up with something that I wish I’d composed—a couple of weeks ago there arose an out-of-this-world improvised piano duet with a guitar and myself on descant recorder that I wish I could have written down.
Though I would certainly find ways to qualify it, my provisional conclusion would be that we are all potentially the same in basic structure, molecules, neurons, skin & bone & muscle, but quite different in the minutiae of experience and understanding. For me, it’s the minutiae that matter. Scramble all the huge dish of minutiae together and you get a big difference. The minutiae are the differences that make the difference.
A Note on Centres
Early on in my growing familiarity with the Fourth Way, I was somewhat mystified by the references to Centres: the existence of the word itself suggested misleadingly that there were discrete physical containers in the human set-up with, in turn, Moving-physical, Emotional and Intellectual functions; this was rendered all the more obscure by talk of ‘the Emotional part of the Intellectual Centre’, ‘the Moving part of the Intellectual Centre’ or even the Intellectual part of the Emotional Centre’ and so on, endless minute combinations.
The Triune Brain
The mystification continued in my thinking apparatus until I related the concept of Centres to MacLean’s now out-moded, but still fairly practical in its implications, model of the Triune Brain (1960’s)—Reptile, Limbic & Neocortical. More recent sophisticated scan-explorations of the brain have demonstrated that bits of its Moving-physical, Emotional and Intellectual functions are variously distributed all around the squishy walnut. This is a more up-to-date way of looking at the Centre combinations which mystified me for a long time. I put the above chart together from various Fourth Way readings over the course of some years. There have been many more or less useful attempts to model human functioning but its complexity will probably always escape precise definition.
Difference Rules—or Does It?
When, as part of my so-called professional task, I used to encourage teachers to develop their grasp of the teaching-learning process, I presented this model as a jovial way into thinking about how a teacher should begin to contemplate devising a variety of ways of catering for different types of students. No doubt it would be entirely possible to relate these animal types on to Centre combinations!
Many and varied are the differences between human beings in practice; they make for complex workouts when it comes to forging relationships. On the other hand, I don’t think we are any more advanced than (or different from) dwellers in caves. And so I found myself moving towards Henry’s suggestion that human beings are all pretty much the same as they’ve always been. The long view suggests that.
Then I thought of a memorable something Thoreau says in Walden—that there’s no point in keeping on reading newspapers every day because once you’ve read one you’ve read them all; they all consistently report murders, political chicanery, earthquakes & devastation, upper class marriages and their breakdown—what more do you need to know?
And then Jung’s idea that things always turn back in on themselves—enantiodromia. Things constantly repeat themselves over time. Human beings are rigorous in they behave over time.
And then Hegel’s thesis-antithesis-synthesis , on and on forever.
Henry said that Jan Cox went even further than he did with the idea, that people are more similar than they are different. He seemed to be saying, that there are really no important differences between people, between any persons, unless they have been transformed; he further qualified this by saying that Transformation, if it is The Real Thing, changes the person right down to the cellular level. Henry found himself in agreement with that.
So the difference between Henry & me is maybe about what’s ‘important’ or it may be that there’s a moment when one becomes transformed in some profound way and finds oneself being able, with enlightenment, to step aside and notice the Big Difference, whatever that might be.
Henry doesn’t seem to think that the minutiae matter, that they are unimportant; they are simply the very things that distinguish us one from the other. He doesn’t think that we matter, most humans, and from Life’s perspective, we are all quite interchangeable.
For me, this takes us into another realm of discourse altogether where one might argue that human life is a pointless carry-on—existentially absurd in the technical sense of being totally without purpose or significance. At a different level, I would not argue with this!
Indeed, Gurdjieff asserts somewhere that it’s not until you realise fully that you are a No-thing going No-where that you can begin to make sense of things. All other points of departure are loaded with preconceptions deriving from First Education beliefs and values. In Second Education we start out from Essence. Start afresh. Transformed.
Before you can start afresh, it’s as well to be fully aware of what you acquired in First Education otherwise you won’t recognise it if it should appear again in Second Education. It may be useful there but it might well imprison you again.
For this purpose, Gregory Bateson’s concept of what are called ‘Logical Levels’ is useful. I’ve never found the Levels particularly ‘logical’, nor do I find them hierarchical but they work like this: we exist in an environment—we are affected by its nature and temperament (Level 1); we do things in that environment, we behave in different ways in different parts of it (Level 2); we are capable of doing so much more there (Level 3); whatever we have done in time & space, whatever we imagine we could do, gives rise to a personal system of beliefs & values according to which we run our lives (Level 4); this all gives rise to a feeling of who we are, a sense of personhood (Level 5); beyond that there might be a developing notion of Something Larger than Self, Spirit of the Universe or God, perhaps (Level 6). It may be the case that all human activity can be fitted into this scheme of things.
‘Logical Levels’ answer all the questions we need to ask about life which I have often often described as 5WH: where & when? (Environment), what? (Doing), how? (Capability), why? (Beliefs & values), who? (personhood, Am-ness). An additional question is the one that opens up what could be called the spiritual realm—and what else is there?
I have always seen ‘Logical Levels’ simply as a set of concentric circles or containers and have extended and adapted the so-called levels to fit in with Fourth Way concepts. So Essence might be the place where, in setting aside all worldly influences, one arrives at the fundamentally spiritual part of Self, guided by Master-I and Deputy Steward as powerful parts of one’s Being. Everything is contained by the past with its multiple (what Brian Lancaster called) I-tags that condition how we are today; these in turn will have come from all the things we’ve done in the past (all the Doing-I’s) as well as all the things we might have done (Capability-I’s + Hoping & Dreaming-I’s) had we turned our minds to them. And as a result of all this activity, there emerge Believing-I’s and Valuing-I’s.
What this does show up in practice is that different people emphasise different aspects of the whole realm of human potential for action: some are rooted in the environment; others are doers, quick fixers, practical people above all; others are thinkers and/or inclined towards the spiritual life. Add to this the way people vary as to whether they are visualisers, talkers and feelers at each ‘level’ and the variables of difference increase astronomically.
Meta-I can stand outside all this and notice what’s going on. Meta-I is my own contribution to the model!
Just to Be is to Be Unique
Yet another way in which people are ‘different’ comes out of a model such as that proposed by Anthony Gregorc. This is a measure of the way individuals have different thinking/learning styles. Though I can see the point of other approaches to doing things, and, on a good day, am able to adopt a different way of applying myself to the thinking/learning process, my own preference under Gregorc’s scheme, is for what is called the Concrete Random approach—I tend to throw ideas & theories & concepts up in the air in the expectation, born of long experience, that, after they land in random order, my hands-on fiddling will be able to marshall them into reasonable Concrete Sequential order which is where another person with a different thinking/learning preference, one which opts for linearity above all, might start. As a result of my random behaviour, conflict can arise when I have to work with somebody who craves a Big Picture to start with (an Abstract Random thinker/learner)—though I can appreciate the usefulness of them in certain circumstances, I don’t do Big Pictures, preferring, having a high degree of toleration of ambiguity, to fumble with uncertainty to start with. On the other hand, I am at the opposite extreme to a person with an Abstract Sequential proclivity who delights in abstract theory which, I note, they often have difficulty putting into practice; for me, practice is all.
The danger is that we generally act as though there were no differences, believing that everybody else works in the same way that we do; that our way is the right way; that other ways are aberrant and should be put right. Hence strife & dissent.
The fact is that every moment is unique—never another like it in the whole history of the universe. Every moment is looked at, thought about, acted on in a different way by different people. Never again will the Great Systemic Lurch conspire to present me with this particular collection of impressions, visual, auditory, kinesthetic in varying combinations.
(a sure sign that a linear order of events
that I can keep track of is breaking down)
I feel a poem coming on—
the first poem for a few weeks; and how does that happen—
the suddenness? the bits & pieces of what I think
can legitimately be called my ‘awareness’ conspire
to represent a kind of completion of the day:
the nearby bumblebee in the white dead-nettle flowers
loud chaffinch & distant blackbird;
the tractor that goes up the lane
and the dying sun (an answering chaffinch across the way)
it’s the feeling of a unique completion that makes the poem—
ephemeridae bouncing gold in late sunlight;
scent of Mexican orange-blossom in full bloom;
the shadow on the sundial;
the book I’ve just finished with; a small insect
that crawls over the page and then takes off
the completion and the way I feel—
that there’s a something-or-other that chooses
(as a result of long habit) to call itself an ‘I’
existing at the centre of it all—non-existent entity
held in place for the time being by a multitude—
all the myriad creatures; the ten thousand things
just as I’m thinking it’s all an illusion
a beautiful loosely flapping orange-tip releases
itself from the shrubbery gloom
and works itself my way to fall gigantically
of the pink flower of a geranium; the scent of evening
last of the fifth month dying
lilac in the dooryard intensely purple
and ‘I’—this thinking feeling scribbling cipher
whose only claim to being is the collecting
of this random congeries—its spontaneous unedited
fashioning into what you could call a poem
experience—an unnecessary one
in the sense that everything just happens—
would happen if it were not here—this entity
that simply registers
constant conceptual weaving & ducking
to avoid the ordinary conceptualising
of what & how we are in the world;
being in the world is all there is—things just happen
mighty sycamore; varied green of shrubs;
woodpigeons making their tree-settled noises;
the lengthening shadow of the house
across the lawn where I have sat all afternoon
a momentary thing & long series of aspects—
the shape of my life draws around me
I Shall Remember This Moment for the Rest of My Life…
I used to run a teacher-training exercise during which I asked people to come up with the very first thing they remembered in their lives. Sometimes I was very surprised to discover that some adults could go no further back in time than, say, the age of fifteen—before that everything was a blank. I was surprised because from a very young age, I developed the habit of saying to myself, “I shall remember this moment for the rest of my life…” Numerous very distinct images from the long ago past remain with me. I have a Rich Picture of my past.
In more recent years I have been in the habit of writing haiku which easily capture very specific moments in time.
Sketching the moment is an even more certain way of retaining an experience!
We Live as We Dream—Alone (Joseph Conrad)
Nobody else can have the same experience as we do; we are alone with the unique way we construct ‘reality’. This comes to a head when we relate to another person. We act as though the other will always get exactly what we mean when we address words to them; when they seem not to do so we might get exasperated, speak louder, thump the table. For the most part, we assume that our model of the world is the same that pther people entertain; we become scornful when they fail to see or construct or feel things the way we do.
But very occasionally we ‘click’ with another. Once every blue moon there seems to be a complete correspondence. It would be interesting to know why this is the case, how & when it can happen. What common factor is at work?
From another point of view… What stops the ‘click’? Lack of common interests, moving in a different circle, having a different agenda, clash of beliefs, irreconcilable points of view, different aims & objectives, markedly different angles on life, politico-religious variance and so on…
What if all these things could be set aside?
I wonder if it would be possible to ‘click’ with anybody if you recognised that they did not intend to convert you to their way of thinking? To their model of the world… An easy-going state of just being.
John Keats: We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us—and if we do not agree, seems to put its hand in its breeches pocket…
Equally, we don’t get on with people who have a palpable design on us and grab us by the scruff of the neck…
On the other hand we warm to those who are adept at embracing Keats’ notion of Negative Capability… when you’re ‘…capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason…’ with a humorous ‘annulling of self’.
I think that I get on especially with anybody who has what I recognise as the facility to do this kind of ‘self-noughting’. That seems to me to be an admirable quality.
The practice of self-noughting can get you, at least temporarily, to a place where you have no pretensions, no ambitions, no hidden agenda, no intention to convince anybody of anything—it’s a take it or leave it kind of state.
You don’t have to have the concept to be able to practise self-noughting; some people just do it naturally; it’s just a phrase that pins it down for me. I don’t know where it came from: if you Google the phrase you’ll find one or two references to Puritan prayers about making yourself as nothing before The Lord—that is very far from what I mean by the phrase. They do not seem to me to illustrate the concept very well nor do they suggest how you might achieve the state of self-noughting. And you’ll find a link to an earlier Glob of mine colinblundell.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/self-noughting.
Not being a Lording-it-over-people kind of person, I do not know where the phrase came from for me. But I do know where and when I first used it out of the blue.
There was a teacher for whom I had a very high regard. He was so good at what he was teaching that some members of the group I was in sometimes got very angry with him. As a project, I decided that I would attempt to figure out how he managed to remain so calm in the face of what I regarded as unwarranted ire. I put myself in his shoes and faced it. What I eventually discovered was that I could put any angry voice a long way outside of me—I could even move it further away as though it were coming from the other side of the universe; I could silently smile to myself about it; I didn’t feel superior to it in any way—on the contrary, I became as nothing to it.
I had self-noughted.
What then? Well, I could make a calm, cool and collected response, just as my teacher did, knowing that the way the angry person constructed reality, however it was for them, was quite different from my own way, whatever it was.
The question then arises of what to do with the substance of their ire, how to take it and deal with it. I would only ever bother to contemplate this if I thought it was important to do so or likely to oil the works of a valued relationship. There are some folk who stroll into my life with whom I could never be bothered to exercise self-noughting—the issue does not arise because I simply walk away from them intact.
What’s the difference that makes the difference? I think it’s that the people I don’t bother with could never even begin to understand the concept of self-noughting whereas anybody I ‘get on with’ is, whether they know it or not, a self-noughter—we meet in a self-noughting space; we have discarded aims & ambition, intention & purposes and meet as twin No-things, able to make the relationship and its focus come into being from scratch, as it were.
I can’t think of more than about twenty people with whom this has been possible in 76 years. They are people who are aware that ‘their life never was before on land or sea’.
31 thoughts on “UNIQUE (R10)”
Colin: What an amazing read! Thank you so much for this. A gift to our busy and distratcted minds. Absolutely worth staying with your lively and playful mind!.
A gift indeed: from my own perspective (of course) it is my belief that nothing can be learned from any position of rightness and that in order to even begin to appreciate anothers perspective, or to learn anything new one first has to put onself in a position of not “knowing”.
The apparently default human position of “knowing” perhaps occurs as a result of life experiences and conclusions drawn, beliefs and values formed as a consequence of that unique collection of life experiences built up over time and even millenia in our DNA.
The “knowing” state can be seen as a state of safety, where we “know” in advance what might happen in any given situation because we have made up our minds in advance as to what a particular outcome might be; or what another might be thinking or how they might react; because perhaps from our own unique perspective that is what we might think or do in the same circumstances. Argument comes from a lack of understanding that another – in fact any indeed all others – have a uniquely different set of life experiences and therefore a uniquely different perspective.
Perhaps therefor there is no definitive question that could ilicit a definitive answer because there can be no definitive answer. It is all a question of perspective.
From the example that Colin gives of the gifted teacher – I think this not knowing state may differ slightly from Colins concept of self nougting in as much as the terminology – self noughting – to me implies becoming as nothing to something. Which in turn implies that we “know” what the something is – e.g. something we “know” to be anger – is anger – however if we don’t “know” it as anything, but simply observe the phenomena as a behaviour a something (rather than attributing a label of some sort) we can ask what this something is from taking a postion of not “knowing”.
It isn’t that we are as nothing to it, neither inferior or superior, nor do we need to “do” anything with it – but rather we are taking up a position of explorer in finding out what it is. I can see that a teacher hasn’t got the time, nor indeed is it his/her purpose, to find out what this something is – it is his/her task to teach.
In NLP Metaprogrammes are the programmes outside our conscious awareness that help run our behaviour so that we can make sense of the world from our own perspective. To fit things into our own patterns. There are many of these Meta Programmes – one such is whether a person naturally looks for differences or similarities.
If a person takes up a position of “knowing” or “being right” and that persons meta programmes also happens to be to look for differences rather than similarities – this may be a reason for a propensity to argue the toss and at the same time provides an opportunity to embrace an enlarged perspective.
A position of not “knowing” in interaction means I think taking up a position of setting one’s various (I’s) aside and attempting to takeup the position both physical, mental and emotional of the other in order that an inner /felt understanding of what might be occurring can take place. In other words placing one’s self in a state of not “knowing” and asking questions of oneself and another to elicit a deeper understanding. It doesn’t mean one has to agree with the perspective, merely to respect another persons right to hold it.
The ramifications of uniqueness are many and various and provide a never ending source of fascination of human nature – however there are also similarities which provide opportunity for recognition and bonding. But there can be no such thing a sameness in human interaction.
A belief in the mantra that all human behaviour no matter how repugnant, has a positive intention behind it, allows for the uptake of the not knowing state in even the most abhorrent of contexts – perhaps.
I do like Colins “we meet in a self-noughting space; we have discarded aims and ambition, intention and purpose and meet astwin NO-things
able to make the relationship and its focus come into being from scratch, as it were.
If only there were more spaces like this. Thanks once more Colin
Joseph Campbell reignited the popular consciousness about mythology when his book, A Hero with a Thousand Faces was published in 1949. This seminal work in comparative mythology introduced millions of readers to not only Campbell’s own scholarly pursuit of a system of symbols and rituals interwoven throughout a multitude of cultures and ethnic groups around the world, but also corroborated with Carl Jung’s psychological insights about the collective unconscious. Both men believed we weren’t born with a blank slate, but were born instead carrying within us a mysterious uniqueness unlike and like all those who had come before and will come after. This paradox of self according to Campbell and Jung could either be provoked by an outside force of nature, or lie dormant gathering dust until death. In accord with the myths a wild man or a wild woman must take the hero away from his home and help guide him on a journey into the unknown, the mystery that will reveal to the hero who he really is. After years away from home usually spent in some wilderness country or place of hardship and suffering, the hero returns to his home, and brings back with him something unique, something his community needs. There are thousands of variations of this same story but they all contain a version of the wild man.
This wild man may have a long white beard and look disheveled, Walt Whitman is a wild man, and so is Colin Blundell! He may have piercing eyes and speak in a manner that demands respect. The wild woman may have long black hair and wear a shawl covered in exotic symbols or animals. They both could be wearing ordinary work clothes also, but either way they must be from another world; a world the young hero has hopefully dreamed while sitting alone in the woods or in a place void of other conventional voices.
Campbell was concerned that our educational system had developed without the necessary means for students to encounter a wild man or woman. The lack of a wild man who grabs students around the ankles and pulls them down into the underworld causes students to go out on their own. This way of feeding the primordial forces of nature can lead to drug addiction, alcohol abuse and a latent sexual energy that can be harmful later in life. When these hungry students grow old they may find themselves feeling what Thoreau referred to as quiet desperation. This can help explain what happens when these men and women are left to their own devices after retiring from work. The world becomes a dry and lonely desert. Their sexual energy drained of nutrients and so the grandchildren have a difficult time, they might feel confused without the pull of a vast interior inside their grandparents.
Campbell’s assertion that we are all completely unique is based on a student’s ability to acquire knowledge that is given in the context of an encounter with his or her own internal wilderness. Nature is the giver of such knowledge and each student is given something that is unique to them. These visions or seeings’ don’t happen now and so the outcome is a mechanical education that produces sheep, not men and women. I know this sounds harsh, it’s supposed to.
Once the student encounters the unknown or mystery he or she doesn’t lose it. Today, this is just a dream (I hope not) but can happen by accident, literally: a terrible car crash or a traumatic illness, a close encounter with death, something earth shattering could produce a shock, so the student can lift off into the unknown, but even if this does happen the student still needs a teacher who understands how to navigate the many labyrinths below the surface. In this wild place the student will meet the various gods and monsters that will inflame their dormant imagination, not the false imagination that buggers us up, but the imagination contained in mathematics, science, music, poetry, dance, athletics, magic, philosophy, and all the esoteric arts. After many trials each student according to the myths discovers their own muse, completely unique to the individual. That’s what the stories say according to Campbell. Maybe later on each student can progress to include new knowledge such as what Colin has included in this glob, but none of this can happen without some break from the ordinary, where Homer sits and waits for us to follow.
The Little Prince is another form of the wild man, a wonderful example of a traveler from the world of constructive imagination.
Thanks so much for this Patrick – Campbell’s book has inspired many people to delve into this world and produce books of their own developing and using the subject matter. Dilts and Gilligan’s Hero’s Journey is certainly one that attempts to lead the reader to wider internal experience and to understand the nature of “calling” and of responding to the call.
It’s wonderful to read your explanation of Campbells work – thank you for that – and breaking from the ordinary is undoubtedly as essential as daring to be a wild man or wild woman. Taking time in setting aside the humdrum of everyday life to consider other possibilities outside of those “trained” into us.
Always to ask “what if?” and responding to the call of the inner wild man or woman for it is surely there within us all.
“Campbell was concerned that our educational system had developed without the necessary means for students to encounter a wild man or woman”.
I couldn’t agree more – my own children and consequently grandchildren are more than aware of my refusal to conform to the norm, for as long as I remember I just never fitted that mold – I’m affectionately known as the mad woman of the family – it suits me just fine. I hope some of it rubs off – in fact I know it deos – I see it in there ability from an early age (sometimes irritatingly so) to question rather than acquiesce.
Whether they look inward – for their guidance is something that is being recovered as they become older in years and more mature and self directed – so I have hope that they each inturn will become known as “the mad one” and pass it on to their own kids more deliberately than I did –
As a tutor of mine once said – my xyz is their abc – my knickname under his tutelidge was Pandora and his Merlin. He certainly got me to “open the box” and “think outside the box”
In Carl Jungs – Modern Man in Search of a Soul – he states
” It is the growth of consciousness that we must thank for the existence of problems; they are the dubious gift of civilisation. It is just man’s turning away from instin – his opposing himself to instinct – that creates consciousness. Instinct is nature and seeks to perpetuate nature; while consciousness can only seek culture or it’s denial. even wehn we turn back to nature ….we “cultivate” nature”
He goes on to say
” problems thus draw us into an orphaned and isolated state where we are abandoned by nature and are driven into consciousness. There is no other way open to us; we are forced to resort to decisions and solutions where we formerly trusted ourselves to natural happenings. Every problem, therefore, brings the possibilityof a widening of consciousness – but also the necessity of saying goddbye to childlike unconsciousness and trust in nature”
It’s my interpretation that says that he means our own nature here.
Further in the same paragraph he goes on the state
“Nobody can say with certainty when consciousness arises – but we can observe small children in the process of becoming conscious. When a child recognises someone or something – when he “knows” a person or thing – then we feel that the child has consciousness………….. But what is recognition or knowledge in this sense? we speak of “knowing” something when we succeed in linking a new perception to an already esptablished context in such a way that we hold in consciousness not only the new perceptionmm but this context as well. “knowing” is based therefore on a conscious connection between the psychic contents”.
I would postulate that in order to get beyond this world of conscious connection and problems and in order to set aside the “knowing” we have developed – we have again to become unconscious – to allow ourselves to vere away from the predecided safe pathways of habitual response and explore what lies beyond in the other than conscious realm of our being.
To return to Jung he refers to the development of “I” ness and of a growing awareness of “also I” – and of the temptation in order to solve probelms to attempt to leave one “I” and simply become another less beset with problems.
This quote rings so true – “Whoever protects himself against what is new and strange and thereby regresses to the past, falls into the same neurotic condition as the man who identifies himself with the new and runs aways from the past. The only difference is that the one has estranged himself from the past, and the other from the future. In principal both are doing the same thing; they are salvaging a narrow state of consciousness.
The alternative is to shatter it with the tension inherent in the play of opposites – in the dualistic state – and thereby to build up a state of wider and higher consciousness”
Colins beloved pendulum comes into mind – Gilligans generative trancestate also – to seek what lies in the middle
“The serious problems of life, however are never fully solved. If it should once appear that they are, this is the sign that something has been lost”.
“The meaning and design of a problem seem not to lie in its solution, but in our working at it incessantly”.
I’m sorry if this is seemingly turning into just a series of quotes from Jungs book, but nonetheless he states
“the nearer we approach to the middle of life and the better we we have succeeded in entrenching ourselves in our personal standpoints and social positions, the more it appears as if we had discovered the right course and the right ideals and principals of behaviour. For this reason, we suppose them to be eternally valid and make a virtue of unchangeably clinging to them. We wholly overlook the essential fact that the achievements which society rewards are often won at the cost of a diminution of personality. Many – far too many – aspects of life which should also have been experienced lie in the lumber room among the dusty memories, they are glowing coals under grey ashes”.
I for one celebrate the writings of Colin often in providing the bellows for re-igniting those glowing coals under my own grey ashes. For giving renewed energy to all those also “I”s which continue to be discovered – sometime with delight – sometimes with horror – but always with deep appreciation.
Again thank you wildman,sage and multitudinous other “I”s that culmiate in the being we know as Colin Blundell.
Colin, you give the most thorough treatments and long replies of anyone on WordPress! And you cover the ideas with some thoroughness, that is not as tedious as long academic papers, but much more thorough than we see on blog-sites, generally, and on fb, as well.
BTW Bateson was one of my first teachers, though his untimely death prevented me from learning in person from him. However (not really an important point but) I think the idea of logical level was not original to him. I first saw it in Bertrand Russel’s writings.
Also, you have totally achieved the goal that I hope for when I provide those kinds of contrasting thoughts, as foils to a thinker. You have proven that you are a thinker, and a writer, and that you can surround another’s thoughts and make them your own, and enclose them with your agreements and disagreements, illustrate them with your own examples, metaphors, and comparisons. Beautiful. I refined my technique a lot watching Jone Dae work, she asked me to watch over her shoulder electronically speaking, as a check on her own work there, on WITW; but they never knew that and so on. But Jone and me are similar in this way also: I didn’t really care about the ideas and arguments. In other words, when you do that for someone, like me on 4thwayLA, Jan paradigm, or JC 4Dscience, or like Jone on WITW, it’s a kind of love. You know what will help them and you give that help freely. BTW we, you and me are still similar in even more ways. For example, I did meet Philip Glass in person. I met and heard a talk by Bandler in the 1980s, studied NLP then and practised it some. Studied Bateson in school, and traveled to Santa Cruz Ca to meet him and study in person with him, but he passed away before we could meet and I got no closer than talking to his daughter on the phone. Trivia, maybe, but thought you’d like to know.
And your uniquely thorough treatments of these questions is one thing that is lovable about you. There are reasons for discouraging it, but, it is not a learning that you need IMHO, and with you might be inappropriate. That is rare. Most people who write or talk at length like that, remind me of the old saying, the empty barrel makes the most noise. Like those comments above, I find myself grateful that there is still someone online who thinks and writes as you do. Many are smart, and many are wordy, but most of them lack the courtesy, considerateness, and respectfulness that you have and show; these things are every day, more and more rare in our world, on- or off-line.
I liked Patrick’s quotes from Jung and his points about all that, as well. Again and again I see that kind of thing coming up in these kinds of discussions. But I would like to interest you both in a discussion from facebook; I think Colin is one of my FB friends, if he’s not he certainly should be. And 4th way LA has been very quiet lately, I haven’t seen anything new from them for a long time. But I always did like Martin Lass; and once I posted that on FB and he returned the compliment. We’ve had some good discussions since then, Colin, and I think that you would love to dialog with him, he’s another wise man. So, along those lines, I want to share that discussion with you, but wondering how to technically. The problem: I have a quick and easy way of recording any online conversations, but the results are not text documents, the are images, either jpegs (.jpg) or bitmaps (.bmp). They’re still readable, but you, alas, can’t cut and paste text from a jpeg. So, if anyone has any ideas, either post it on my blog henryjay.wordpress.com, or send e-mail to email@example.com. So far, the best idea I’ve had, is to post the images on my blog, where you all can go and read them, and reply and comment, but I’d like to hear from Colin first. Colin, I think you’ll love that conversation. Check henryjay.wordpress.com for its appearance there.
Ok, Colin, so that conversation is up, for you to read if you want to. http://henryjay.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/a-conversation-from-facebook-2/
Henry – I’ve posted this in your WordPress Site. It seems relevant here!
We 3-brained beings are separated by hundreds of different belief systems. Belief systems are two a penny; they may be acquired from any old market stall, pew, or soapbox. That’s one of my beliefs. What if this were not the case—what if we were united in our facility for knowing the capital T Truth about this & that so that we didn’t have to be bogged down by belief? After all we find it fairly straightforward to imagine that ‘the world out there’ and all it contains is the same for all of us.
Which of course it isn’t: when we imagine we observe ‘how the world is’ we are simply engaged in the act of creating it for ourselves. This is called ‘consciousness’; consciousness, whatever it might be in itself which is none too clear, creates what we call our reality—or a set of beliefs… ‘Consciousness’ is a part of the reality we imagine we create. It contains going to school, getting a job, participating in daily activities such as sitting at a desk staring at a computer, engaging in sports, watching movies, eating/drinking & laughing. Every morning we repeat the same old cycle without realising, as things are, what we’re doing.
Then, the way things are represented, in school, projected now as a place where you have to get ready for work, we are programmed into designing a future for ourselves—a job; when we are engaged in that daily distraction we work to save money for possessions and what we think of as ‘security’ in the future. There’s always something up ahead which contrives to disconnect us from the present moment. We do not question the System even when we imagine we do, bent into shape as we are by TV, radio and the feuilletons (see Hermann Hesse).
‘Consciousness’ is choc-a-bloc with stuff that comes to us from outside sources—everything I’ve written here probably comes from something outside me. But at least I’m still asking questions. I observe that many people have simply stopped asking questions.
From a young age, a child is pounded with a so-called adult version of reality: how the world works and operates, how you describe its workings, how you categorise and count up the products, how you share them out. What we are taught is usually what our parents were taught, which is what their parents taught them. We do make sense of all this in our own unique way but we could do without the pounding.
I never tire of pointing out that the root meaning of the word ‘school’ is ‘leisure’—the opportunity to play with ideas, to create your own system, as Blake advised, rather than be a slave to somebody else’s system, to address problems and come up with creative solutions.
By some quirk of existential being-mode, some of us wake up and realise that the world is not how we are taught it is. The wild men and women who fall into this pattern seem to have made some strange choice early on in life never to do as others do, just go to school to be brain-washed, but to do their very own thing. So long as they don’t hurt others (the only ethical principle worth much) they just get on with life as they want it to be designed and sometimes, oh joy, they meet up with others who have made the same choices.
Maybe it would be useful to ask one another how we did it. In NLP that’s the fundamental question: when you come across somebody who does something you’d like to be able to do you ask them how they did it piecemeal. It’s called modelling, learning another way to be— not by slavish imitation but by systematically trying out different processes for oneself
Consciousness creates reality, and perception of reality shapes what we choose to call ‘reality’, so learning other ways of being will help to change the starting point .
As it is currently set up, the nature of things works by concealment of information. For example, it’s a little known fact that avoidance of tax by rich individuals and big companies would more than cover the entire world amount of what is called a ‘deficit’. It does not suit the ‘Power Possessors’ for us to know this; it might start a revolution, or at least a refusal to go along with world-wide destruction of welfare programmes.
The ‘Power Possessors’ only let us know what they think it’s good for us to know.
But that of course will be written off as just my opinion (or belief) to which they will say, in their namby-pamby oh so liberal way, I am entitled. On to the next thing.
We are locked in a system. How to break out of it?
There is no way to break out of any system such as you describe, Colin. That is the lesson one learns. Did you see that blog, from a facebook forum, that Henry re-blogged here, and I’ve been looking at that. Some of the questions they looked at there pertain to this blog of yours, and to your blogs generally, Colin; and I was happy to see that Martin Lass is wise, as we are, and middle-aged as well.
It’s taking me a helluver long time to learn that lesson! 🙂
“The ‘Power Possessors’ only let us know what they think it’s good for us to know.”
Answer – not to hand over power in the first place. Too late we’ve already done it. There are always people who rise to positions of power we need to prepare them properly to use the power wisely.
“We are locked in a system. How to break out of it?”
Answer – recognise that the prison has bars of our own making. Too late somebody threw away the key.
If what we are doing isn’t working – do something different.
Our islands of memory of individual instances which eventually join together to become a land mass of personal experience, belief systems and “knowing” form the basis for the way we behave in life.
We repeat the patterns of this behaviour so often and without thought that it becomes automatic and our enquring self becomes obscured in the red dust of life. In later life, when one has the opportunity of allowing the red dust to settle so that one can again see things clearly, one begins to be able to return to one inner nature. When perhaps there is a perception that one’s time is one’s own and what one does interferes of harms no-one.
What if we were able to teach techniques to children to allow the red dust to settle earlier in their lives?
What if we were to ensure that we designed a childs experience differently so that he/she could make choices based on a different sort of “knowing” and also in being open enough to ask what if? and explore the posibilities?
This way avoiding problems for the individual in mid life or for society as a consquences of the decisions that “child” might take in later life?
Would this be utopia?
Or are problems, challenges and things to think about and endevour to understand the very stuff of life and therefore “normal” and healthy pathology? And not undesireable at all.
“Society” seems to have a overarching wish to medicalise (to give lables to) every possible aspect of human behaviour. Since labelling implies understanding and provides a mask for not understanding. Whereas what is a fact is that human behaviour is as many and varied as the bilions of unique indivudual that make up the human race.
Again according to Jung – “problems” are a normal part of development of the individual and occur when he/she notices the disparity between what they doing and being in the world and what they sense is their calling to do or be in the world in accordance with their essence/nature –
Problems can be viewed therefor as being designed to bring us back in touch with our nature. Who designs them iin the first place s the interesting thing.
If problems in society can be seen this way as designed unconsciously by society (us) to bring us back to a natural order then they are a good thing. If sufficient persons feel the need to raise consciousness and enable wider numbers of others to become cogniscent a debate around a different way forward can take place.
Labelling the occurances that cause us to think and develop as something other than “problems” might be one way forward.
Is there the possibility of living at a higher level on the spiral of life? – already there are some that do and if that number reaches a tipping point, others will follow.
Perhaps hope is in the bottom of the box after all.
However – Who decides what is a “good” way to “be” for humanity?
I wonder if I just got on with things while others were in a state of distraction…
In 1942 my father went off to India to do what felt at some distance like very odd things. My mother was naturally somewhat distracted. My sister began to develop the awful disease she eventually died from—another distraction for my mother. I was left to my own devices, allowed to develop what Pat quotes from Jung ‘childlike unconsciousness and trust in nature’.
I think that became the wild man for me – the role was reinforced when I attended a classy school in 1949 that was full of eccentric male teachers, variously shell-shocked and disorientated by the late war for ‘democracy’ & ‘freedom’; they ministered to the wild man—a nice concept which I haven’t necessarily numbered amongst my ‘I’s till now though I did read and absorb the brilliant ‘Modern Man in Search of a Soul’ some time ago!
My teachers between 1949 and 1954 constantly said and did things that were so strange—I lapped it all up; I don’t think it was the result of some pedagogical vision—the teaching was mostly off the cuff, I think now—but it somehow fitted what I had become during a rather ordinary Junior school experience where teaching, mostly done by strict women, was very ordered. I was bashed into shape, pounded probably, and then let loose into Eccentricity.
The event that can serve as an emblem or anchor for my entire learning experience took place one afternoon in 1952. ‘Gasbag’, the Irish English teacher we had that year came into the classroom and instructed us to put our heads on the desk with our arms round them so we could see nothing.
“I’m going to walk round the room—you’ll hear my foot-steps. When I’ve walked what you take to be an appropriate number of steps, I want you to put your hand up…” We did just as we were told. The clumping on the wooden floor went on for some time.
“Right, you can look up now. Do you know—everybody put their hand up when I had marched exactly 32 paces!” There was no explanation. What did ‘appropriate’ mean? Since we could see whether hands went up or not at 32, we didn’t know whether he was kidding us or not. On with the lesson proper… I learned to ‘tolerate ambiguity’—never to have a desire to come to a final wrapped-up conclusion about anything. This did not of course fit me for conventional ‘work’ with which I struggled for few years before becoming a teacher myself with the opportunity to say & do strange things. But the great thing is, as Patrick says: ‘Once the student encounters the unknown or mystery he or she doesn’t lose it…’
For me, this is all ‘glowing coals under grey ashes’. Lots of grey ashes.
Thanks Pat for giving me this Sunday morning opportunity to revisit what I take to be my starting point. And writing this I’ve realised why my response to Henry, written earlier without revisiting all this, is relevant to this discussion! And thanks for calling me a ‘Wild Man’—gives me a little frisson!
And thanks Patrick for the comparison with Walt Whitman, fellow wild man!
I love the idea of the journey away from ‘home’—the place where one feels too comfortable for adventures of the spirit. The Unique comes about when students are offered the chance ‘to acquire knowledge that is given in the context of an encounter with his or her own internal wilderness’—Yes! Recognising the wilderness is the first step perhaps before it becomes too early sanitised, all the awkwardnesses swept away, learning pigeon-holed for mass consumption, as was beginning to happen in my junior school!
‘…nothing can be learned from any position of rightness and that in order to even begin to appreciate another’s perspective, or to learn anything new one first has to put onself in a position of not “knowing”…’ Pat
What one imagines one already knows is an obstruction to acquiring novelty. Maybe the whole of schooling as preparation for work (what a godorful idea—I winced as I wrote it) incites you to know things for sure so that you don’t come unstuck in a multiple choice test for example.
I like Pat’s definition of ‘knowing’ as a security state. And or argument as the result of a clash of security states.
Pat says that self-noughting implies to her ‘becoming as nothing to something’. Exactly! What I observed in the subject of my exploring was that he didn’t know at all what was going on for the other person; he didn’t know what the something was at all—it was just a bit of inexplicable behaviour, call it ‘angry’ for the moment if one likes. So it was a useful strategy—first to become as no-thing, a Neutrality, a place deep inside where no attitude or pose is struck, where the label ‘angry’ is discarded—all labels discarded. Then explore from a state where there are no assumptions, a Meta-state, or even a Meta-I. A not-knowing, I agree!
In terms of Metaprograms, as I understand them, I think the ideal place to be—the place to strive for—is at a centre point (or bottom of a pendulum swing (!) ) where one is neither Moving Away From nor Moving Towards, neither in Self nor in Other, neither Looking for Similarities nor Looking for Differences (but just looking). If I were revisiting my bit of research I’d probably put self-noughting at the bottom of the pendulum swing.
If I’m quick enough when thrown off-balance that’s where I go to make self-noughting easier to adopt.
A metaprogram Always Right><Always Wrong has at its centre point Always Looking. I hope that’s where we are here!
[This was written while Pat was writing her 9/6/2013 10.23 response which I'll now read!]
What if there were no more questions? Last week I took a job teaching Earth Science, a subject that required me to open a text book and quickly read the chapter the students would be reviewing that day. As I read I wrote down 10 questions that I would hopefully have time to explore with the class after they were finished with their work. The class was a rowdy bunch so it took some time for them to realize that I was a gruff old goat who wasn’t going to allow for their antics. When they were quiet and working I asked one of the students to put their smart phone away and open their text book. I could see that he was unusually anxious about my request. He complied with my request but I sensed in him a kind soul and I asked him privately what he felt classrooms would look like in the future. Without blinking he described the future classroom as a technological playground with no need for teachers. Instead the schools would be completely wired to some mega-program that could be accessed from anywhere so the classroom would be virtual and everywhere!
I’m a relic:-)
Later when the students were finished with their assignment I tried to engage them in some of the questions I had written down earlier. When I asked the first question, something about if the earth systems they just studied were compatible or had anything to do with their lives, they boisterously while in a state of enmity reminded me that my question was not in the book!!!!!!! Understanding that it isn’t wise to engage every battle I changed the subject.
Sounds absolutely delightful Patrick !
And so if that is true people will be experiencing and therfore learning less and less – sounds terrific! hopefull I will have departed this earth before that happens although with the rate of technological advance – who knows.
In the end will there be anything real (by that I mean something I can touch feel taste hear and see for myself) or will everything be virtual ?- didn’t Orwell alude to that in 1984?
Fancy you asking questions you weren’t suppose to – what ever next?!
I’m joining this conversation at too late a date to contribute much that hasn’t already been articulated with great skill by your many readers, Colin! I will just echo Pat’s positive comments on your concept of “self-noughting” – which seems to shed some much-needed light on the highly abstract Buddhist notion of “no-self”. I’m off to read your post on that topic right now. Thanks as usual, Colin, for the rigorous mental work-out!
Tom posted this under my Glob on Self-noughting: ‘It seems to me that the process you’ve outlined for achieving the state of Nothingness that you’ve termed “self-noughting” actually involves a mental inhabiting of an imperturbable self that, ensconced in its unique “safe haven” space, is so rooted in its own self-hood that it can’t be disturbed by any extraneous phenomenon, such as the negative comments of a hostile student. If I have this right – and I’m not sure I do – I susect that this is not what Buddhism means by “no-self”, but perhaps it is a useful step on the path to achieving “no-self”.’
I think that’s just right! The concept of ‘no-self’ is abstract. Like all abstractions it just sits there and stares at you. How to get to it? How to achieve a mental safe haven?
‘No-self’ is an abstract noun – it doesn’t DO anything; whereas ‘self-noughting’ is a verb, a process to be followed. So it’s a ‘step on the path’ as Tom says.
All abstractions should be converted to verbs before they act as thought viruses. There are so many of those around.
I was pleasantly surprised when Henry jumped-in with me, in talking about that little grammatical error that Joseph Campbell made, which you repeated. And BTW with most usage errors, the person doesn’t know that it is wrong, or has forgotten. That, of course, is the fault of education, during the K-12 years. And Occam’s Razor makes it a simple grammatical error on Campbell’s part.
Example: In English, we say “is” for singular and “are” for plural; (and today, folks are so badly uneducated, that you have to say to them, “”is” for one and “are” for many”; words like “plural” and “singular” they can’t handle, calling them “big words”). So, therefore, one would say, there *is* one bird, or, there *are* many birds. And, of course, the contractions for those are “there’s” and “there’re”. And yet, many people who graduated high school and even college, will say, “there’s many birds”. ????? Not knowing, they repeat automatically, and never question. That is how Americans are today, Colin, and it makes me wonder about the Brits.
And people talk automatically; of course you know this. What they say is driven primarily by the formatory apparatus, and the rest by whatever center they normally live in, most are in the moving/instinctive center. These two things are evidence of each other, that they talk automatically, and that they repeat what they hear others say, whether it is right or wrong.
And adding a modifier to “unique” is another such mistake. I saw it in a book about common grammar and usage errors, written in this century, by a grammarian. She also pointed out, that with the word “none”, it is correct to say either “is none” or “are none”, either way is correct. This is funny, since several intelligent people I knew or observed, insisted adamantly that only “is none” is correct. Well, they will have to take up that argument with the published and respected grammarian I read; her name escapes me just now.
So, it wasn’t that he meant something skillful or subtle by that usage, but rather, that Campbell had just made a simple and common grammatical error.
I was also thinking, that Henry must be watching the same Jan Cox videos that I have, since he has had some of the same insights and impressions that I have. I thanked him for jumping in on that topic with us, I posted some Fine Art image Collages on my blog.
I was also thinking that, with so many to watch, perhaps you had not watched the specific videos that we did. So, some links.
I also noticed that, the way you have your blog organized, all the comments are on one page, and your writings are on the main page. I think it would make your blog more interesting to read, if you would put them all on the same page. You sometimes include snippets or excerpts from your replies, but this becomes a subtle way of controlling what they say, by controlling what others see of it, since, if they have the time to read your long blogs, they will read them, but will not see the comments that others made, whole, and in their own words. Also, the comments are useful since they show the name and icon (gravitar), which allows others to connect. That can be happy; for example, if I hadn’t seen references to you and Will Mesa on WITW, I wouldn’t have known that you both were on 4WLA or that you both had blogs. Yes? For instance, here Patrick and me might not have much to say to each other, but, I would like to reply to or comment on the same from Henry, yes? Or meet others to dialog with. Having the comments and blog all on one page would help.
You could also be saved the minor trouble of making quotations from us, by simply having our replies themselves appear at the appropriate place in your blog. Yes?
I had some feedback for you for some of your other remarks, but lost track of those reading your newest post. I’ll have to start writing them down, I guess.
So, let me know what you think of these ideas.
I also noticed that the question, Why Does Life Lie? Since this is the cause of humans lying to each other, not only habitually, but pathologically, and up-front at that. So, the Jan Cox video(s) that discussed this: 38) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai0DVtc8c5Y&feature=related }more to banking. 32:24. Life itself is alive, and has its own “intentions”. Addresses people in other times and places. The out-front denial gambit. Why does life, why do people do that?
28) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUGkVldsj2g&feature=related }hiding the truth, 24:49.
Here are the videos about Change and Transformation. The two of them are related and both were made at about the same time:
30) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzyUL70BxWI&feature=related }change is (only) alteration of one’s DNA. 7:28. √
31) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPmnckg5aLY&NR=1 }no such thing as the environment. 18:37.
And lastly, this one. It suggests that we (in the Work i.e. Doing This Thing) should strive to not take credit for things we’ve done, and gives methods for achieving that. 51) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWYFUCNyksg&feature=related } This is 1248. (how to not take credit for what you’ve accomplished.)kill the past. 1:01:47. There is no such thing as learned behavior. Watch this with one below, no such thing as the environment. Life’s middle name is ‘gradual’.
So, take a little time, 30-60 minutes a day, and watch these videos. That will give you a break from having to write so much. 🙂
Of course,I don’t have to write so much any more than Jan Cox has to commit so much to film. There’s no compulsion! It’s all a matter of making choices. And watching videos is no substitute for the constant wrestle with words, as TSEliot puts it.
But I can appreciate that very very few people these days of sound bites and simplistic mantras have the stickability required to wade through long pieces of writing any more than they have the drive to make sense of Jan Cox’s many & varied presentations or read Beelzebub twice let alone the three stipulated times or conquer Heidegger’s Being and Time which I am currently doing.
Since none of the links work and Googling ‘jan cox.com’ doesn’t help I’m afraid I certainly don’t have the time to attempt to locate the videos you suggest, remarkable though the videos may well be if they’re like the ones I have seen.
Simply running with your Youtube video trailers, I might comment by suggesting my usual (maybe mechanical) statement that all linguistic abstractions are meaningless:-
‘Life itself is alive, and has its own ‘intentions’…’ There is no such thing as ‘life’ in the abstract—it’s a reified invention based on the human proclivity to effect shorthand syntheses. ‘Life’ being an abstraction, doesn’t do anything—people do things (sometimes unspeakable things). Somewhere Jan Cox talks about the diversity of ‘living beings’; we do each have some kind of energy that percolates through our being; you can feel that right now when you exit the computer-trance. When we meet up with others some of that energy is transferred but it is neither necessary nor valid to stack it all up into an abstraction. ‘Intention’—another abstraction: one can reasonably say, “I am intending to spend the day in the garden…” but to call that by the name of the abstraction ‘intention’ is an unnecessary addition to the behavioural statement. ‘One must never do anything unnecessary’ Ouspensky.
‘Change’ is another abstraction—meaningless on its own, achieving some kind of status only when it becomes a verb. “I change my ‘intended’ activity for today—it has become cloudy, threatening rain, so I will probably not spend the day in the garden…” My neurons become connected differently via synaptic explosions—on a relatively minute scale, of course. They may connect up differently again soon. ‘I’ am subject to environmental apparitions.
‘Environment’ = a set of impressions which become part of us and so exist inside there as an abstraction. Gurdjieff advises that we seek out ‘pure impressions’ by which I understand those which come straight in to our various receptors by-passing conventional habitual associations and ratiocination to register a pure, unnamed, nameless something or other, as Mr G might say. There is stuff around us and it changes itself constantly (blue sky replaced by rain clouds, etc…)
Not taking credit for things one’s done in the past = but one aspect of disidentifying from all the things one identifies with.
I’m not sure what you’re saying about the organisation of my Globs. As far as I can see, all comments are posted under the writing itself which will remain as it was originally. I don’t understand the reference to ‘pages’.
The only thing I control is the trashing of obsequious comments which angle for connection and demonstrate that the writer has no idea whatsoever about the ideas I’ve been hacking at. (“You will become a great writer one day…” was a comment that went in the trash-can last week…)
For me the Pendulum metaphor that Maurice Nicoll makes so much of expresses a great deal about what human experience collects up and how it is conditioned to do so: day v night, light v dark, blue sky v rain clouds, simplicity v complexity; length v brevity, associationism v purity of impressions, multiplicity v singularity and so on. This is what Mr G refers to as iraniranumange as I understand it…
Or in my terms, systemic thinking. See new Glob…
Thanks for your reply, Colin. Actually, you helped me to make an important discovery: the Jan Cox Video List, which Jae and Henry put together, so that Henry could give it to the JC followers on FB, is now filled with DLs. I have since notified Jae of this, and he’s been working on some solutions. Well, if you wouldn’t mind some details… basically, Henry has a you tube account, since a year ago or more, google changed to combining the formerly separate accounts, for all the services it bought-up or bought-out, such as you tube. So, he wants to upload the missing one. He also is asking his friends on FB – do you remember Dana Ross and Derek Hand? -asking them about the losses. It appears, Jae told me, that all the deleted videos, were originally uploaded by the same person of account, so, it therefore appears that the account itself was deleted. But Jae’s laughing at it, since it ruined that List! All at once, more than a dozen links to some of JC’s best videos, are dead, are broken links! So… that’s what he’s been working on. Now for the good news. We uploaded several of the JC videos to my skydrive, and these are now the only copies of them that any of us know of! As you know, I share my skydrive with Henry, since he started working with us before he had his gmail account, which also offers a few GB of storage. So… URLs will soon be available to those videos, which I’m sure will change you mind. I know that a person of your intelligence and erudition loves to watch JC videos, same as I do, to watch a brilliant man at work for the benefit of others, every week, until it came to more than 1300 videos before he died.
And watching those videos will change your mind, they are the best ones, in the opinions of Jae and Henry, not random selections.
So, my next comment will have something for you. I was glad that you took my gentle teasing about your gift of writing words, the right way. Again and again I have had to shorten things, on my blogs, on the forums I’ve been in which you know about, in my-email. People today are so ridiculously intolerant of long texts! I’ve actually gotten mail from people, who thought that I was stupid, I guess: they would tell me, another reason you don’t get as many replies to your e-mail notes, is that they are too long. (Paraphrasing) We’re just really busy, and don’t have the time to read a whole page like that, let alone two pages, and people find it almost rude to send such a long e-mail [message] to them. -That’s what they said!
They should just try, the Bohm Dialog forum, like Jae did a few years ago. It was full of people like you, me, Will Mesa, etc. and some of them were very well-reasoned, some loquacious, and so on. They would be overwhelmed by the long arguments between intelligent men and women, and so on.
JC said, ” ‘the environment’ is really just other people’s genes”, and similar comments. I read your blogs and sometimes all the comments that follow, and I ‘m sure (based on that) that you’ll love that particular set of four videos.
“Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits”
Some peole like to read – some through as clear a lense as possible – given that it is never quite possible.
Whilst some other peole like to read through blinkers having decided in advance what is being said and the motivation for the author.
Others still like to read as best they can – then read again – then cogitate and reflect and then ultimately join the dialogue.
Some people like to watch videos or u-tube.
Others do nothing at all to think about any of this and seem to get by in life to their own satisfaction.
We’re each and all unique don’t you think?
Jae and me once rented an artists’ loft, in a huge warehouse in Oakland, Ca, that had been remodeled into artists’ lofts and independent, small business’s shops. And we had some housemates, also artists… who had leased the unit before we did. And they had a little typewritten sign on their refreigerator, which said:
“When I works, I works hard; when I sits, I sits down; and when I thinks, I go to sleep. ”
Last night I came across this passage from Dickens, the opening lines from A Tale of Two Cities, Book One, Chapter 3 ….
“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret, that every room in every one of them enloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!”
Beautifully done Tom –
I agree, thanks Tom
Says it all! Well, most of it anyway… 🙂
Dear Pat, Patrick, and Colin – thanks to each of you for your comments above, which are very much appreciated, my tardy acknowledgment so many days later notwithstanding ….