Monday, March 31, 2014

Post on Left wing website

 Posted here: http://www.democracyjournal.org/32/the-dismal-art.php?page=all

I will note, with regard to the word "democracy", that its use is ubiquitous among those who mean the precise opposite, as in Students for a Democratic Society, or German Democratic Republic, or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  It is a propaganda meme, nothing more.  I post here, of course, because I'd put my odds at making it through the censors at less than 1 in 2.

 
Let me ask you a basic question: how is it that few, on the right or the left, question who gets the money the Fed is "printing"?  It enters "the economy", but how? 

Here is how: it is given to enormous banks, and used to increase their already considerable fortunes.

I assume that since you have "democracy" in your name, that you have strong anti-Capitalist commitments.  How is it you are not questioning the propriety of giving the already rich, more?

Keynes himself noted, when he was still writing honestly, that almost no one understands how inflation is theft.

Do any of you grasp that when you increase the supply of anything, its relative value diminishes, and that what the Fed is doing will certainly, over some time horizon, decrease the value of all wealth in America, but not before those who came into that money first can spend it undiluted?

It is a source of constant amazement to me that the political left spends so much time demonizing "corporations" in the abstract, and fails to grasp the truly, foundationally, predatory nature of our banking system.  Left and right could and should make common cause on this issue.  I have been arguing this for years, and seemingly no one understands me.

Here is a piece detailing how things work: www.goodnessmovement.com/Page23.html

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Justice

I watched a film by Robert Bressard tonight: Mouchette.  It is about a sad girl, whose very sadness makes her easier to victimize. This is the way the world works, in all too many cases.

The ending is unclear, but I took it that she drowned herself.  Given the events in the movie, that feeling clearly would have been present.

I was watching, though, and if she had lived, she would have been bitter and angry; mean.  I thought of the prep school matron of "The Little Princess"--which I have watched many times with my kids, not least because I think it is a great "Bildungsroman" sort of story--whose viciousness comes out in the end, whose own hells come back into the present in the course of moments in the movie.

I watched her in my mind, looked deeply into her soul, and a cascade of colored discs came flowing out, a rainbow.  The darkness collapsed into nothing.  And it made my cry.  To be clear, I always view this as a good thing.  I fear stasis, not mourning.

I watched someone in hell being led away in a police car, to spend more time in hell.

I believe in justice, but more than anything I believe that at roots all human beings have the capacity for Goodness, even if in some it is so deeply buried we may never find it in this life.  This is not to say crimes should not be punished, but how does punishment really serve the cause of moral elevation?  True contrition?

Here is an idea: what if we gave people convicted of serious crimes high doses of LSD in comfortable environments?  What if they were provided social support, even love?  What if our goal was helping them learn, at a gut level, why their crime was wrong, how it hurt THEM?  What if we told them they could get out when they stopped hurting?  What if we gave them gardens to wander in?  What if we--the people acting through vote and volition--gave everyone gardens?

Please understand, if anyone who reads this blog regularly needs to be told this, I am no bleeding heart.  But I look around me, and I see pain, and little else.  Why punish pain with pain?  Is this truly justice?

Oh, we do so many things wrong.  We are deeply unwise and stupid in so many ways.  I will ponder this, too, and may have something else to add after a while.  Again, I am an ueber-Pisces.  Our destinies are confusion, emotional hurt, wisdom and vision.

Disinformation

You know, if you want to make people hate someone, tell them he is a pedophile, or wife beater, or rapist.  Good people will react in predictable ways.

If you want to make good people hate other good people, accuse them of crimes they did not commit.  This is the essence of disinformation: sowing discord among natural allies, or at least between people who had been living in peace.

The essence of leftwing propaganda in this country--which is clearly a remnant or, better, continuation of Soviet propaganda--is designed to make decent human beings hate other decent human beings for no reason other than that the second group is accused of a crime it did not commit.

Take racism: the people in this country who believe and act on the belief that black people are inferior are Democrats, and particularly so-called black leaders.

Take sexism: the people who want war on traditional femininity, who wage war on women's right to be whoever they choose, including dutiful mothers and wives, are leftists.  The abortion issue is about the lives of unborn children: the babies, when born, can obviously be taken elsewhere, which will make them irrelevant to the life of the mother, so HER life is not what is at issue.  SHE does not have to raise the child. That baby is not HER body: it is its own life.

I was reading today this very enlightening interview with a Rumanian intelligence officer sufficiently highly placed that he was in regular contact with then-KGB head (remember, he became dictator of the Soviet Union) Yuri Andropov.

Among things I learned were that there was a sustained effort to demonize Pope Pius at the end of WW2 because he was an ardent anti-Communists, and excommunicated all Catholic members of the Communist Party.  Because of this Soviet and other disinformation agents made him appear a Nazi sympathizer, when he was nothing of the sort.  He hated all totalitarianism.

Operation Ares was designed to convert people into blaming the violence of Communism on the United States government during the Vietnam War era.  If you recall the facts, "Ho Chi Minh"--the name Nguyen Ai Quoc, if memory serves, gave himself when he became a Communist--was a co-founder of the French Communist Party around 1920, just after the Bolshevik coup.  He was a lifelong Communist, and Communist International agent.  His agents spent World War 2 killing competing, non-radical, Vietnamese nationalists.  The Vietnam War was ALWAYS nothing more or less than a Communist invastion of the South by the North with the intent of establishing a totalitarian dictatorship, and using the tools of mass murder, mass torture, dissolution of families, forced relocations of precisely the sort we inflicted on the American Indians, except much more massive in scale, and much more brutal, and an extensive police network.

Clearly, they succeeded.  We won on the battlefield, and only lost in the war for accurate information.

The Soviets fielded more disinformation agents than soldiers during the Cold War.  If they had a million men at arms, they had that many or more being paid to warp minds, distribute false information, induce doubt in the minds of sensible people, install hate and fear, and pervert media.

Perhaps half of what the average person "knows" about this period is outright lie, and another quarter highly skewed.  Exhibit A is Joe McCarthy.  We KNOW, beyond any doubt, that our government and media complex were filled with Communist traitors.  They still are.  These people make rational dialogue, based upon actual concern for living, breathing human beings impossible.  Andropov would have been happy to put a Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid on his payroll.

The Soviets worked hard to direct suspicion about Kennedy's assassination towards the American government.  He mentions that here: http://pjmedia.com/mihaipacepa/  It was called Operation Dragon.  When I called  Alex Jones a Communist mole some time ago, this is what I had in mind.  I of course don't literally believe that--I think he has done good work--but I think his reflexive blaming of George Bush for what was clearly a conspiracy on 9/11, was unhelpful.  Could it not have been Putin, as I have alleged, perhaps in tandem with ultra-wealthy internationalists?

The Soviets figured anti-Semitism equaled terrorism equaled anti-Americanism, and by and large they were right.  Much of the radicalization of the Islamic world likely dates back Soviet era agitprop.

He even in the original interview provides a history both of the genesis of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (it was apparently based on a French satire), and their use by disinformation agents.

All in all, it seems clear most of us live in a dream world, a fantasy world, and that is exactly where a lot of people want to keep us.  All those of us who have any luck at all exiting the Matrix can do is speak the truth to the best of our ability, and as often as we can.

Supreme Court

I have said often that our Constitution is a nearly perfect document, with the exception that it makes no provision to reign in abuses by the Supreme Court.  Now, judicial review was not a part of the Constitution to begin with.  Nothing in there gives the Court the right to strike down laws seen as unconstitutional.  That right was simply asserted by John Marshall, and has gone largely unchallenged since.

I have proposed that a Constitutional amendment be passed allowing Congress to overrule any ruling of the Supreme Court--to insist that its will, which by design most directly expresses the will of the people, be considered ultimately paramount--by two thirds majorities on both houses of Congress.

Here is another idea: Congress could remove individual justices by the same process.

I am reading, again, and expectedly, about anti-legal biases entering discussions in our allegedly most refined, most logical, most ethical, most systematic body.  Specifically, the female justices, apparently not having read the law, and acting as if they are unfamiliar with the difference between a law and a regulation, and in principle unfamiliar with the concept of religious freedom, are objecting to the Hobby Lobby case: http://www.nysun.com/national/startling-rift-on-supreme-court-brsprings-from/88646/

What you will note is that they want laws to be "uniform".  Why?  At what point ever, in human history, have diversity and uniformity been compatible?  At what point have freedom and unity been conflatable?  The point of our system, the point of liberty, is behavioral and ideological diversity.  No one is arguing women should not have access to abortions, as far as this law is concerned.  At issue is whether or not people who believe abortion is murder can be made accessories to this murder.

I spend a lot of time doing emotional processing.  The reason is that even the most intelligent people--and I have no reason to doubt all of our Supreme Court justices are intelligent--can be driven mad by what they don't see.  I don't want to be mad, which is why I am willing to enter into madness.  I need to know its limits, recognize it, acquaint myself with it, so that I can banish it.

I think any honest Supreme Court justice could only look back in horror at all the abuses their body has countenanced and enabled; how much it has diminished a great nation, and helped put us on  path to self ruin.  They were given all the tools they needed; they chose not to use them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Beginning to fight

I must admit that at times I feel old and tired like Jean Valjean at the end of Les Miserable.  It is easy to imagine sitting in a comfortable chair in a warm room and just giving up the ghost.  I have done right by my children.

This is not to be maudlin, but at times that is how I feel.

Yet there is something which goes on, it always goes on. I can trust it to go on.    At some deep level I am simply congenitally, in my DNA, incapable of quitting.

And I look at my life thus far, and it seems obvious that it has consisted in reconnaissance, planning, and weapon building.  I have not yet begun to fight.

And to be clear, a "weapon" in the battle for clarity is a clear idea.  A weapon in the battle for emotional balance is a sound psychotherapy.  Weapons in the battle for a peaceful world are personal sanity and penetrating intelligence.

Perhaps six months to a year ago I downloaded a guided visualization meant to help me see my future.  I can't remember who it was from, but we got to the end of the relaxation, and I saw a giant church, and that was it.  Nothing about career, relationships, where I'd be.  Nothing but a giant, gothic stone cathedral.

But as I imagine it, could we not one day reach a point where all the Christian churches are reappropriated, for a new type of spiritual work?  Could we not make them hum with activity, useful activity, joyful activity, communal activity?  Now, I have nothing against Christianity, but at this point all it can do is fight a defensive battle.  None of its claims can be entered into the empirical column in a scientific dialogue.  I have nothing against Christianity, but I also don't think long term defensive battles can be won.  Offense is needed.  New ideas are needed.  Growth is needed.  My intent is not to stifle what is good in Christianity, but to augment it, expand it, beautify it, purity it.

As I think about it honestly, I think much of my hurt likely comes from other lives.  This one has certainly been a challenge, but I think there is other stuff piled in there too.  I think I have been killed many times, because--as in this life--I am willing to say the things that need to be said, and pay the price (hell, is it time for the lynching already?  I just got here.).  But I can always count on this whatever it is.  However much it hurts, I keep going, and I rebuild everything that has been broken, and then build something new.

I would like to incorporate more pleasure in my life, but my principle focus is and always will be learning how to do effective, useful, needed work.  Since our world is run by dunces, there is no shortage of such work.

I will say to anyone listening though that although success is far from certain, the battle for the future of Goodness in this world can be won.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Positive Psychology

I have a conflicted relationship with the work of Martin Seligman.  On the one had, Learned Optimism was one of the most useful books I ever read.  Learning to reframe things was and remains a very useful skill.  I use it with myself and my kids all the time.   If they say "I can't do X", I add "yet".

Where I differ a bit, though, is that I think sometimes you need to tell the kid: you suck at that, and always will, but I still love you.

No, that's not quite it either, because that, too, is a sort of framing. 

Here is the thing: in his so far very interesting and useful book "This is How" (I'm about a quarter through it), Augustan Burroughs points out that positive self talk only works for people who are already pretty positive.  Positive psychology describes what makes people happy, but it does not really seem to teach you how to become the sort of person who pursues those things organically, or who can pursue them consciously.

In my own evolving view of the therapeutic process--and I know my ideas have likely seemed a bit crazy, since they seem that way to me too, although I am fully 100% committed to seeing them through, since that's the only way it works--virtually all emotional growth depends on developing the capacity for emotional motion, and for anyone with even a moderate degree of trauma, that is not a given.  It cannot be used as a starting point.  The trauma, or lack of emotional skill, has to be the starting point.

Being rational, in important respects, is an extremely advanced skill that only follows the ability to fully feel, understand, and process emotion.  Suppressed emotion, to borrow a great line from Edward de Bono, speaking of arrogance, is a "Mistake in the future."

I had more to say, but find I have no more to say.

ADHD

I drove by the headquarters of Eli Lilly yesterday.  It is an impressive structure.  I have done some limited business with them, but enough to have been through the doors a few times in some of their buildings.

Yesterday, though, I found myself thinking: You bastards.  The entire pharmaceutical complex exists to CREATE problems which can be addressed through their drugs.

Think this through: we KNOW how to prevent almost all diseases.  We know how to prevent, in particular, almost all degenerative diseases, through diet and exercise.  Fresh air, good food, regular exercise, social network (church adds ten years to your life or so: do you see anyone talking about that?).

Big Pharma spends HUGE money developing drugs because they can be PATENTED.  They are not trying to cure anything.  People who want to actually heal disease have almost no voice in this country.  Anyone proposing anything simple, which does not require an advanced degree, and which is inexpensive, will always be outspent and outshouted by those whose incomes depend upon complexity, informational superiority, and high costs and high profits.

With regard to ADHD, sales keep climbing steadily.  Do you not think this is at least in part because an army of pharmaceutical sales reps--the stereotype, of course, is an attractive woman between 25 and 35, driving a nice company car, although I don't think this is quite as true as it used to be--are out encouraging doctors to write scrips?

Today, I was watching myself.  My work today was alone in a large room.  And I was watching unpleasant feelings coming up, and me getting distracted and wanting to shift focus.  Because I have, I think, convinced some latent part of myself that I can now handle more of these "bad" emotions, it is giving me more of them.  And I am staying in them longer, letting the waves crest a bit more; relaxing a bit more into it, accepting it, accepting Life, in important respects.

And I got to thinking about kids nowadays.  I have talked about this before, but I can't remember exactly how.  We assume that because kids CAN distract themselves constantly, that they are simply forming this habit.  And this is, I think, part of the truth.

But think of the pervasive lack of authentic, open communication among people, and in this case, among families.  Do not many families watch TV during dinner?  Do kids early on not leave the common areas and hibernate with their electronics in their rooms?  Precisely because they never have to live with silence, I think many kids become alienated from their own inner feelings.  But as I have said, they don't go away.  They intrude.  They pop up.  They let us know they are there.

And I am not even particularly or necessarily referring to unprocessed traumas.  Can we not speak, perhaps, of uncompleted connections?  Of warmth not given, and not consciously missed?

And would this, too, not cause kids to act out, and particularly boys since boys tend to express emotions through activity?

There are many factors in so-called ADHD.  Bad parenting is clearly one of them.  At root, we could perhaps call it cultural laziness and apathy.

Few thoughts.

Flight 370

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=252892%3Ais-this-proof-that-a-blow-torch-fire-struck-mh370-in-the-cockpit%3F&Itemid=2#axzz2xIlN8cMs

What if the fire both caused decompression AND cut oxygen to the pilots, or greatly reduced it? You go "Oh shit", accidentally go up, then think about it, and go "oh shit", and drop altitude as fast as you can, while turning back to land.  You die from lack of oxygen.  Your door is locked.  After thirty minutes, everyone else's oxygen runs out and they die too.  The plane keeps flying and eventually crashes somewhere deep.

Now, I have no idea what the situation is as far as cell phone service.  If they could, presumably passengers would have called people.  Technically, and this is a question someone somewhere knows the answer to, could cell phones have shown active while people were unable to make calls?  I ask this as there is no reason to discount the many reports that cell phones were showing active long after they lost contact with the plane.  Depending on the fuel load, the plane could have flown for another 20 hours.

Or what if the fire cut oxygen to the WHOLE plane?  Everyone would have died quickly.

I continue to believe my first hunch--the ghost ship--best explains the available data.

Here's another pilot saying more or less the same thing: http://www.hellou.com/2014/03/veteran-pilot-explains-theory-flight-mh370-makes-perfect-sense-3147/

Psychoanalysis

I think my self psychoanalysis, which no doubt would look from the outside a whole lot like self absorbed laziness, is nearly complete.  I had a put-a-feeling-into-words moment today, that helped me understand my tendency towards self importance and entitlement.  I fight it, but not always successfully.  I really am an ugly human being at times.  I really am.  That is simply a statement of fact. I was this week.  My shugyo, of course, it not pulling out yellow bubbles and rainbows of happiness, and over and above that I had a fair amount of concentrated bad luck.  No, inevitable consequences of poor or non-existent planning on my part manifested at the same time.  That is the honest statement.  That they all happened on the same day was God laughing at me and asking me to get my shit together.  And part of getting my shit together was figuring out why I constantly have this feeling the rules don't apply to me.

What that insight is, I will not share.  That was a journal moment.

This is what I wanted to say: Freud's work shifted from useful to counterproductive when he transitioned from an effort to elicit FEELINGS, to MEMORIES.  Memories you think, but they do not heal.  ONLY if they elicit feelings do they heal, but that is not the principle focus of historical psychoanalysis, which is more or less founded on lies Freud had to tell about pedophilia in his time and town.

To be perfectly honest, I don't understand the details, the transference, counter-transference blah blah blah.  I read about them some time ago, but at no point in my life have they made ANY sense.  I do know that psychiatrists have managed to erect and maintain the delusion that they are in some respect emotionally wiser and smarter because of their own in depth psychoanalyses.  Bullshit.  We all know this is bullshit.  And bullshit is a useful metaphor because we all instinctively are repulsed by the smell of shit, and bulls drop more of it.  The analogy is an obvious one.   Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes Freudian psychoanalysis is bullshit.

Here is the thing: I don't remember most of my childhood. Only bits and pieces here and there.  And it doesn't matter.  I don't and can't live in the past.  What the details are don't matter.  What matters is what my dominant emotions were.  Those can be found, contacted, embraced, and released.  The rest can be inferred, to the extent I have any need at all to do so for psychological closure.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Alienation

I was talking with a guy in the bar yesterday, who knew 6 heroin addicts, and it made me think of this song, which I have always thought was about heroin addiction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvUI-s4Azw4#aid=P-0eGGOo_Qw

This song pulls a lot of things out.  It gets at the sadness and disconnection of modern life, and drug use as one poor way of coping with it.  It has often made me cry.  I understand the sentiments expressed deeply and intimately.

It seems to me my role in life is to develop a firm enough grip and a strong enough back to pull these people out of their hell holes, and enough vision to send them on their way to something better.

Actually, a better metaphor is holding the rope.  Everyone has to climb on their own, but it's a hell of a lot easier when there is something to hold on to.

I will add something perhaps a bit odd (although you expect that here, no?  My, uh, ideosyncracies are on full display).  Some 4 or 5 months ago I had an intuitive and strong connection with a Tarot card called The Fool.  The details don't matter, but it came to me in a meditation, and at the time I knew nothing about Tarot.

Last week I realized it would be a good time to begin establishing a relationship with the future.  I have always lived in present, because that is where severe trauma drops you.  You live in a moment.  I have always had the intellectual capacity for planning--I am intelligent--but imaginatively I have never been able to connect to the future.

So I thought I'd get a Tarot deck.  The one I pulled out was the 3 of Wands, which based on the description is probably the best single card in the 72 card deck to continue the work begun with The Fool.

Here is the description.  I could not imagine a more relevant or positive card for what I intend over the next year:

On the Three of Wands, we see a figure standing on a cliff looking out over the sea to distant mountains. From this height, he sees all that lies ahead. This is a card of vision and foresight. When we want to see farther, we climb higher. By going up, we increase our range and remove ourselves from the immediate situation. We detach and gain perspective.

In readings, the Three of Wands can tell you to take the long view. Don't react to the heat of the moment, but step back and reconsider. See how the present fits into the greater picture. This card asks you to be a visionary - to dream beyond current limitations. It can indicate premonitions or other intuitions about what is to come.

Taking the long view is an aspect of leadership - another meaning of the Three of Wands. When we see far, we have the knowledge to guide others to their best future. Someone who knows the way can show it to those who follow. When you see the Three of Wands, know that now is the time to accept your vision and be confident that you can lead others to it. [emphasis mine]

A leader not only sees far, but he is willing to go there first, if necessary. The Three of Wands is also a card of exploration. Compare this figure to the Fool who is also on a cliff edge. The Fool steps out in innocence, not realizing he is going to fall to his fate. The adventurer on the Three of Wands is also willing to step out, but with full awareness of what he is doing. His courage is more informed, if less spontaneous. The Three of Wands encourages you to move fearlessly into new areas. Let the ships on your horizon take you far out into unknown seas.

Art and Abreaction

I have not written in my journal for months.  Two reasons occur to me.

First, I was reading this website yesterday: http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/?gclid=CNzym6nTsr0CFbBj7AodvRIAkQ

Their first recommendation is to "express your heart".  It occurs to me that is what I do here.  The fundamental difference between my journal and this blog is that I am making things public, and that feels to some part of me much more like an intimate conversation.  Yes, I likely share too much, but as I have said before, I also think our civilization is characterized by mass alienation, both from one another, and from our own feelings. I can claim to myself that I am setting an example, doing something useful.

And in any event the beauty of this is I have complete control.  I am never interrupted, and I can go as deep and as long as I want.  I do have friends I share things with, but no one who is willing to consistently go the places I go.  My emotional pain tolerance is, I think, quite extraordinary.  My practice--my Shugyo, to use the Japanese word for asceticism that I have always liked, and as I tend to call it for myself--would I think be much too much for many.  No one comforts me.  I have no one to run to with a complete expectation of openness. I am subject to constant psychological attack.  And yet I go on.

Sometimes I think of the Tibetan Buddhists who spend as I understand it 3 years, 3 months and 3 days in solitary meditation.  Think of all the things that come up: every fear, every worry, every imaginable demon.  And yet they go on, and are cleansed at the end.

I used to be completely and utterly serious all the time.  I had no sense of humor.  I never laughed.  I didn't wear a trenchcoat and boots, but if I have felt more able to express myself, I might have. I felt no freedom to express anything.  I spent most of my time more or less wanting to shrink into a hole, EVEN THOUGH, and this is an interesting point, I never would have admitted it.  I had no idea WHAT I was feeling, because I was able to live in my head, in both ideas and fantasy.

I did learn to laugh, but it has felt like I have two houses.  I have the one I built for my children, which is well lit, orderly, happy, full of love; and another one, that is dark, filled with ruins, rain, wind, and dark clouds.  It is not, by and large, angry, and I feel grateful for that at least, although I am at times also prone to bouts of inappropriate anger.  I am trying to speak the truth, because I feel close to being able to do something about it.

The other idea which occurs to me is that writing and feeling are two different things.  Writing about feelings is not feeling feelings.  All art is like this.

Think of some angry art you have seen--Picasso, say, whose work in his best known period has always felt to me like a big Fuck You.  How do artists remains in similar emotional places all their lives, when the idea is self expression?  How is that H.R. Giger has apparently remained in much the same place for the last 30 years?  Why is no happy stuff coming out (that I know of)?

Here is the thing, you can approach a feeling, interrogate it, take pictures from all angles, sculpt it, paint it, sing it, write poems about it, act it out in a drama, and put it into countless forms, and never process it if you never ENTER it fully, if you never allow it to possess you fully, to burn its fire within you.

In my view, only "primitive" art can be cathartic.  My "poem" of the previous post was the level I am talking about.  Nothing refined, nothing sophisticated, nothing that takes a lot of craft.  Nothing, in short, that would get published or hung on a wall.

Can I perhaps redefine "good" art as that which promotes effective abreaction? 

No.  I would add a level of art that I will call "mythic".  This is art which pulls things out of people. like Giger, either negative things, or sublime things, which allows people to feel feelings that were there, but unnoticed, of a positive nature.

These things are complicated, and I feel like I am wandering, so I'll leave it at that.  I'm sure I will have more to say presently.

Poem

I woke up this morning and ate a tangerine.

It was good.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Real Self, continued

It occurs to me--and I will readily grant I am in some respects trying to pass off a truism as wisdom--that precisely to the extent you try to force a child into a box, into an inorganic restraint, onto a path they would not have chosen, you weaken permanently, perhaps, their capacity for honesty, creative expression, and true emotional resilience.

Think of your stereotypical Church Lady (SATAN!!!!, not Santa): was she not forced into an artificial box early on?  Has she not spent her life denying any number of emotions, well in excess of the merely sexual?  Does this not make people angry and frustrated, even if they cannot express these emotions CONSCIOUSLY?  Of course, and of course all this gets out, one way or another.  Think Westboro Baptist Church, which I will not even attempt to defend.

Think of Islam.  I cannot imagine a cultural order better suited to the suppression of individuality (other than  Communism, with which it seemingly has much in common).  Everybody--all the men, I should say, who at that still have more chance at self expression than the women locked up in their homes--has to do the same thing (prayer), the same way, at the same times, every day.  And if they don't, they are condemned.

Heaven and Hell are absolute, irrevocable, eternal, and both contingent on conformity to the dominant cultural forms.

Is it any wonder so many are so eager to kill themselves?  Obviously, it is in their faith (actually, suicide in the pursuit of mass murder is not, but how can I quibble with the clergy who extol then excuse it?), but it seems to go deeper, to an actual social NEED, to something people want.

Now I have no issues with Christianity or Islam per se.  If I had to pick a "faith" it might well be Sufism.  But to extend this example, the Sufis have been and are persecuted for apostasy or heresy.  Many have been killed in Iran, at a minimum, in recent years, and that despite the brilliant Persian poetry of men like Hafez, Rumi, and Omar Khayyam.

There are countless ways to break people, and all of them are easier when they are young.  That so many continue to be practiced in the modern world shows how far culture has yet to progress.

The Real Self

My kids are on the same sports team, and I was talking with the coach the other day, and he commented on how different they were.  I've always sort of taken this for granted, but I got to thinking about it: part of my role as a parent, I have realized, is eliciting their individuality, teasing out what makes them unique and interesting and different.  I am not "placing them in. . ." but rather drawing them out.

Just one seemingly small example: my youngest does not like the volume control on the radio to be on an even number, and I indulge her in this.  There is no good reason for it.  I could easily just demand she stop being irrational, but I go with it.  It is small, and seemingly important to her.  I tease her, of course, but I let her get her way.  If I clamped down on her, I would not just be clamping down on that one thing, but many things.

It sounds perhaps like an exaggeration, but it is not: my singular gift in parenting is in knowing what to do by doing the opposite of what my own parents did.  I was crushed, absolutely, ruthlessly, and with no remorse.

We all have to get to our Real Selves.  This is the part that, definitionally, is real, and by contrast everything else is some degree of lie.  Most anxiety, failure, depression, anger and other negative emotions come from being out of touch with this vital, mutable, emotional place.

In my own case, I am beginning to arrive.  My Real Self is an electrical hurricane; it is Fear itself--not "fear of", but Fear. I think I discussed my vision of needing to hug a giant rotating circular saw.  I pulled it into my chest in my "dream", and it killed me.  As I mentioned, I have been doing this repeatedly.  This morning I looked into the eyes of a demon that used to haunt my dreams as a child.  It would hover over me, while I was in a state of sleep paralysis, and I could not open my eyes. I could feel it breathing though. 

This demon symbolizes many things.  This is one area I will not discuss in detail, but I finally saw it this morning, and it scared the crap out of me.  But I kept looking, kept going there, over and over and over.

I inhabit my Real Self and it is a bloody red pancake.  It has no height.  But I truly, really do have faith in the Inner Healer, that rectification, reorientation, renewal are an integral part of being human, if we simply keep moving.  If we "go there" things happen, things organize, light starts seeping in, and what needs to be fixed, gets fixed.

Many would question my capacity for rational or scientific thought in saying this, but I truly do believe there is something to astrology.  There are many ways to interpret charts, but in all of them I have an extremely prominent Mars.  Whatever the source, there is something in me that will not quit in the pursuit of learning how to live and how to learn. It throws me against the rocks over and over and over, breaks me over and over and over, but I keep going.

All of this, all of this introspection and examination, is in the pursuit of learning how to achieve effectively in the outer daylight world.  All my life I have had constant eruptions of unwanted and inappropriate emotion, had constantly to use willpower to keep myself on task, and I truly believe I am on the verge of ending this.

And I will say that I would much rather learn how to learn that be born with knowledge.  It is much, much more useful.

Success

Success for a leftist is going from failure to failure with no increased self awareness or sense of responsibility.

Nod to Churchill.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Post on Global Warming

 From here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/22/climate-change-deniers-have-won-global-warming

As I have said often enough, my comments seem to have a knack for disappearing.  This one is mildly snarky, but nothing remotely like most of them.  It is my content people object to.  Cognitive dissonance for the True Believers is an epically unpleasant feeling.

Your comment  that global warming is as proven as the murder of Jews and dissidents at Auschwitz cries out for psychosocial analysis.  You are not apparently unintelligent, and presumably read something or other substantive every day, so your capacity for thought does not remain fully unexercised.

Why then consider something proven, when every hypothesis--which is what a climate model is--has proven wrong?  You do understand, do you not, that guesses as to what might happen do not count as what some quaintly call "facts" in what most of think of when we refer to this process called "science"?

Do you remember Al Gore telling us in 1998 that absent drastic changes the polar ice caps would be gone by now?  I do.  Well, they seem to be growing, despite much greater increases in CO2 than was predicted.  The major change is that Al Gore's purported humanitarianism has made him one of the richest politicians on the planet, and at that one who uses the most energy.

The "science" can be analyzed point by point, and it breaks down at every level.   This is what I did in 2008, before Climategate made it impossible for any serious person to believe the discussion was unpoliticized: http://www.moderatesunited.blogspot.com/2008/01/global-warming.html

What I have since learned is that atmospheric CO2 is ALREADY absorbing 100% of the radiation which it is capable of absorbing.  How do those pushing this agenda get around this?  They abuse physics. They claim things can happen which have never been measured in any lab.  They lie: that is how.

You need to get out more.  You need to talk to more people who do not have glazed eyes and permaworry lines on their faces.  You need to study the scientific method, and you need to step back and ask what, if anything, has been proven, other than "weather happens." 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Intelligence

As should have been obvious, I had some really good emotional breakthroughs this morning.  This afternoon, I did really well on Lumosity.  I crushed my previous score on one, and got Top 5 on everything else. This despite the fact that I have been doing this thing six months or more nearly daily.  I'm top 2% in my age group now, and should have 1% soon.  Once I get my diet and exercise routines dialed in--both are shit right now--I"m going to shoot for 1% across all age groups.  I'm pretty sure I can do it.  I'm just getting started.

That is me indulging vanity.  Now the point I wanted to make.

There is clearly a link between emotions and even what we might term mechanical processing/RAM sorts of things.  The brain obviously in some ways is a machine, but it is a machine within a web of emotions.  Unprocessed emotion can dictate what you see, how well you see it, and how fast you see it.  They slow you down and make you stupider and less agile.

When one looks at rigid dogmatists, like the proselytizing atheists--who I tend to think of as paradigmatic dogmatists--what you must see FIRST is corrupted emotion, frozen in time, and directing their capacity for honest thinking away into more congenial--but wrong--climates.  The first line in my Grand Inquisitor is "Myth always preceded philosophy" (or something close to that).  This is my point.  Myth--primal beliefs about the nature of the world, of people, and of one's self--always happen before one starts the process of "reasoning".

You can debate facts, but you cannot debate myth--at least not until you get people deep enough to realize that deep rooted assumptions about the world can in fact be questioned, and may in fact be wrong.  Misunderstanding this fact is often fatal to productive dialogue.

You cannot reason about people, per se. They are a mutable, reactive surface.  You can only use reason consistently about objects.  Math we can all agree is a use of reason, of logic.  Its practice--if not its inspirations--is devoid of emotion, or the need for emotion.

As I say, though, there is emotional logic: it is simply not linear OUTSIDE of the emotional sphere.  There it is linear, but not in a way we normally think of.

In emotional logic, if you want to avoid accessing suppressed and dangerous emotions, you must live in your head.  If you live in your head, you have to do something, and you have to justify that something.  Logically, this would involve immersion in an activity devoid of the need for emotion.  "Science" fits this bill nicely.  But you have to go further.  You have to protect yourself from the possibility of unwanted emotion.  How to do this?   By making the world into objects.  Objects are susceptible to logic, where people are not.  Thus a metaphysics forms from childhood trauma.

These points are subtle, but what I am showing is how intelligent people become stupid--or rather, one of the ways.  There are many.

Abreaction

I am going to wander in this post.  When I'm not sure how to start, I just start.

Abreaction means "to react away from", from the German Abreagierung.

Sublimate: Chemistry .
a.
to convert (a solid substance) by heat into a vapor, which on cooling condenses again to solid form, without apparent liquefaction. 
Freud:
Psychology . the diversion of the energy of a sexual or other biological impulse from its immediate goal to one of a more acceptable social, moral, or aesthetic nature or use. 
If it is not obvious, I am not a big fan of Freud.  To the extent one can dislike someone he has never met, and who died long before I was born, I dislike him.  Still, he was brilliant.

I toured a whiskey distillery last week, and was struck by the process of distillation, and I am struck now in noting the appropriateness of quasi- or literally chemistry terms for emotional processes.

There are only two psychotherepeutic modalities in common expression in our world which take as their PRIMARY goal the process of abreaction: Dianetics and Holotropic Breathwork.  In Dianetics--and I am using the word loosely, not knowing too many of the details, many of which are perhaps not in the public domain to begin with--they do what is called "auditing", which as I understand the process involves hooking someone up to what amounts to a lie detector--I believe I read somewhere it is two metal handles one holds which conduct electrical impulses and detect sweat, etc.--and having someone say a series of words, and waiting for a reaction.  If one occurs, that person is to go as deeply as possible into those emotions.

This process seems to me potentially useful, but of course Scientology as a whole is a mess.  They sue everyone and everything, demand more and more and more money from people, and obviously have some very odd beliefs, like the idea of Thetans.  Whatever merits the process may have, it seems not to get expressed in freedom from greed, from vanity, from power lust, or in increases in the capacities for kindness, love, generosity and patience.  If any of you fools want to sue me, spare yourself the trouble and just post your intent in comments, and I will just delete this.  It is not necessary for my argument.

Within Breathwork, what I have learned is that there is a skill in activating what might be called the liminal side, the side beyond which it all fades to confusion in the reasoning mind.  One of the women in my last session could activate instantly.  I watched another guy breath relentlessly for hours without anything happening. It is a skill.

And it is a skill that can be practiced daily.  For my own purposes, I developed what I am calling Microactivation.  Microdosing LSD is apparently an area of some interest in some quarters.  I am simply borrowing the metaphor.

You can do this simply by exposing yourself to stimuli and allowing/facilitating a reaction.  H.R. Giger is an obvious example.  I bought myself Max Ernst's "Une Semaine de Bonte" for this purpose.  I had previously found it incomprehensibly violent and weird, but realize that a lot of this would qualify as Matrix 3 in the Grof paradigm, and that in their inchoate way--in their post WW1, traumatized, searching way--perhaps they were partially on the right path. (the bird-headed man, by the way, who takes the woman away in Eyes  Wide Shut, is right out of Ernst).  I bought myself a "graphic novel" (bound set of comic book) for this purpose.  Hawkeye.

And I have been isolating and emphasizing a negative inner voice that has been there, I believe, since before I could walk.  As I think I shared, in what was for me a very emotional post, my "spiritual guide" is a set of buzz saws, five of them, arrayed in a wedge.  I have read enough that I listened.  I am taking it at its word.  I am using it.  Over the past few weeks or month, I have visualized being killed perhaps fifty or a 100 times a day, in every possible way.  I walk into the buzz saw of course, which goes through my chest and cuts me in half, but am buried alive, beaten, my throat slit, decapitated, dismembered, burnt, dissolved in acid, crushed, dropped from height, drowned: everything I can think of, everything which comes to me.

And it occurred to me that what this is, is a sort of hook which is baiting the actual traumas.  A man whose life and work I admire greatly--Jack Schwarz--described this process in the perhaps quaint or even silly term psi-phoning, which encapsulates both the process of psychic resonance/connection, and the siphoning of poison out of wound.

This morning I had a very powerful experience from early childhood, of being feeling abandoned by my mother.  It was extraordinarily unpleasant, but what I have learned is that if you develop the habit of leaning into these sorts of experiences, of embracing them, of pulling them in, rather than them forcing their way in--intruding--in to you, their duration is short, as indeed this one was.  And I felt better, much better.  I am becoming calm, to my core.

And it occurs to me that with my apparent self abuse, my weirdness, my "My god this guy is fucked up", my process, I am practicing welcoming negativity and unpleasantness into my life.  Here is the thing: it was THERE, it was secretly infecting and directing all sorts of maladaptive behaviors, but without my awareness.  Now that I am aware, my full self can make more informed decisions.

I would offer this analogy.  You know someone, but not well.  You are not sure if you like them or not, but you go on a trip with them, you get to know them well, and now you KNOW you don't like them or want them in your life.

I will give you another name: Roberto Assagioli, who created a process he called psychosynthesis.  His thesis--as I understand it, my exposure to him being limited to an essay in Stan and Christina Grof book "Spiritual Emergency"--was my experience, which is that people have multiple "selves" which are often in conflict with each other, unconsciously.  The process of psychological and then spiritual growth lies in contacting these "selves",and reconciling them.

Return to the chemical meaning of "sublime".  It means converting a solid to vapor and back to a solid.  You make all these "selves" vaporous, and bring them back in a new, more useful form.

Well, this is not time wasted, but time I should have spent doing "daylight" work. That will have to do for now.

Peace.

Actually, I will add, this is a lot of highly personal stuff.  I prefer not to think about who all may be reading this.  At the same time, my conviction is solid that in the end, when we understand it all, we will realize there was never any hiding anyway, and my sense is that these musings and these de facto confessions might benefit someone, spark an idea, a project, a personal renewal or other worthwhile and useful activity.

Use your time today well.  Learn something, feel something, see something, and see someone.  You will never be better than you are now, and there is nothing that will remain when the spiritual flames are done.  I don't understand this, but contradictions make life more fun.


The "Oedipal Complex"

In "The Assault on Truth", Jeffrey Masson detailed how Sigmund Freud early on stumbled upon nearly incontrovertible evidence that the sexual abuse of children--particularly young girls--was very common, even among Viennese elites.  He saw clearly the relationship between early unprocessed sexual trauma and hysteria, which had been his focal topic of interest.  He wrote a paper called the Aetiology of Hysteria (note how short the citation is) which he presented, and which was more or less greeted with silence.  No doubt many guilty men sat in the room.

Being fundamentally a vain and ambitious man, he realized, on some level (this is Freud we are talking about), that this work was a path to career suicide.  Thus, again on some level, he concluded that the patients must be fantasizing about such abuse, and we the modern Western world were eventually introduced to the idea that very small children have sexual fantasies about their parents, and not the converse.

Masson's book was ground-breaking, and led in short order to a generalized awakening about the pervasiveness of child sexual abuse.  When it was published in 1984, the shocking revelations about a conspiracy in the Catholic Church to hide and protect pedophiles (as I have discussed, his role in covering up such crimes--and the discovery of his role--is likely why the last Pope resigned, in an historically unprecedented fashion) was years in the future. Altar boys were still being molested, and not believed when they reported their crimes.  This is not directly relevant to the point I'm about to make, but ponder that, and also ponder how in most of the world, there has been no such awakening.  It remains my strong belief that in the Arab world in particular, with its heinous and emotionally abusive segregation of and violence towards women, child sexual abuse must be endemic, both father-child, and brother-sister/cousin.

Here is the point I actually wanted to make: why not posit an inverse "Oedipal" dynamic?  Logically, if many children were in FACT sexually abused, were not many more simply looked at as sexual objects, in ways they could not understand, but readily felt?  What sort of introject is created when a parent expresses--perhaps unconsciously--sexual desire, but does not act on it?  Should we not have a name for what opposite sex parents feel when their children reach puberty and young adulthood?  Of course.  As a culture, we are imbeciles, primitives.  We feel and see almost nothing that matters.  We have iPads, but we do not understand love.

It is really a global tragedy that Freud both attained such influence, that he was clearly a genius, and that he abandoned nearly at the outset almost all of his most useful ideas.  My next post will be on Abreaction, which is a word I like the more I use it.

Gollum

I am making progress.  I have said that a number of times, and it has been true.  I have had many, many, many miles to cover.  When I do things, I do them correctly and completely.

This week I have been noticing a "Gollum" voice and puzzling over it (to be clear, I am not hallucinating, but rather paying close attention to what I suppose I could call inner psychological moments.  I have a CD created by Paul Ekman on lie detection through what he calls "microexpressions", which are facial expressions that for a split second betray true emotions, prior to being covered up.  There is an inner psychological process similar to this.)

As I analyze it, it occurs to me that it is an expression of self loathing IN TANDEM WITH a sense of some external perfection. Very early childhood wounds can create this emotion, but the mind needs reasons; and by mind I mean that mind/heart synthesis which in Hindi they call Mun.  It seeks reconciliation, and like water it flows by the easiest path, which quite often is not the correct path.  It does not necessarily, and in fact frequently does, describe truth.  Truth might be that your mother was a thoughtless uncaring bitch, but that is a hard truth to accept.

So your relatively Unconscious creates a perfection against which you have failed, and against which you will always fail.  You cannot hope to succeed, which means that you will never have to honestly explain your feelings of self hate.  The more Gollum hated himself, the more beautiful the Ring became.

And consider Sauron himself.  I have described evil as the inner acceptance of self hatred.  Can we say that power itself is the perfection against which such self loathing is measured?  That such people seek power precisely because they hate themselves unconsciously, and yet semi-consciously fight against this?  That they are in a conflict between justifying their existence and execrating themselves?  I think this gets at something very deep.

Remember, Sauron's very existence--his soul, his self--was tied with the Ring, and hence the unrealizable ideal of perfection.  We have this common sense notion that, as Bruce Springsteen put it, (in what used to be one of my favorite songs) "Poor men want to be rich/ Rich men want to be king/ and the king ain't satisfied 'til he rules everything."  And at that, ruling everything would not be enough either, because in the end power was not actually the goal.  The justification of existence was, and the self loathing only increased in the process of doing all the evil things it takes to win and keep power.  The process is inherently contradictory.

In my own case, I have wondered what used to drive me to debate so hard and long on the internet.  I used to spend hours every day arguing with people, being insulted relentlessly (this is what leftists do: I state this clinically and as a matter of extensive empirical validation), and it seems to me it was simultaneously a desire to be abused, and a desire for power, both deriving from unprocessed emotions I have finally figured out how to process. That is why I can say this.

William James commented 100 or more years ago, that psychology really only has three tools: introspection, measurement, and a combination.  Clearly, when we want to generalize our own emotional processes, there is the risk that we projecting.  At the same time, many of us clearly share many life experiences, feel the same things, and this fact creates the possibility of connection.

Peace be upon you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Evil Simplified

The attempt of people suffering from grotesque emotional wounds to maintain psychological stability in an unhealthy and ultimately self destructive way.

Crimea

Can we call it what it is?  An Anschluss, without the anti-Semitism.  Austria was not what should have precipitated war.  The Rhineland was, particularly when combined with his audacity in stating his objectives openly.

Even I get a bit foggy, but most people have never been any other way.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ukraine

Our sole national interest in this region is staying the hell away and avoiding a war.  If the Europeans want war, let THEM wage it.  Fucking assholes.  They want us to do their dirty work, but have never paid for any of it.  Our soldiers are too good for this shit.  Let Putin have the Crimea, and if Russia and Ukraine go to war, so be it.  If Putin wants to keep marching, then we can think about it, but from where I am sitting, he is reacting to what he no doubt perceives as a Western sponsored, anti-Russian coup in the Ukraine.

Put another way, we started this.  Why, I don't know.  We don't need anything over there.  It likely has something to do with the bankers who rule the world.

It would gratify me to see him put my financial plan into action.  He can do it.  Increasingly, I view the world through a prism of a fundamental conflict between the people of the world and the bankers, and the intermediaries through whom they act.

If someone can name me one strategic interest we have in the Ukraine beyond some amorphous concept like "credibility", I will take this all back.  Hell: we elected Obama twice.  Why shouldn't any right-thinking human being view us as a nation of gullible and weak imbeciles?  I do.

Corporations

It's a constant source of amazement to me how people will blame evil corporations for all our woes, then in the next breath call for more government of precisely the sort they just claimed the corporations had bought.  The situation is simple: large corporations buy politicians, then use the weapon of government to enrich themselves, not least by damaging competing small businesses.  Does anyone think Obamacare will hurt the Proctor and Gambles or GE's--both of whom donated heavily to Obama--at all?  Of course not.  It will hurt small restaurants, mom and pop grocery stores, small retail franchises, car parts distributors, roofing companies, and EVERYONE WHO WORKS FOR THEM.  This is the plan, and voting Democrat does nothing but further it.  Yes, voting Republican has more or less amounted to the same thing over the past decade at least, but we are at least trying to change that.

The simplemindedness on display PARTICULARLY among allegedly educated people is breath-taking and jaw-dropping.

Watching

Aside from the constant intrusion of unwanted emotions and images, I think a core result of unprocessed trauma is a sensation of watching and not participating in life.  You can mouth the words, and do the things, but you're not really there.

This is, I think, one of the reasons for self abusive behavior, whether through persistently bad decisions, irresponsibility, or outright self abuse, as through overeating, alcoholism, sexual addiction, drug abuse, or in extreme and literal cases, cutting and suicide attempts that are not serious: all of these, by bringing back pain, bring back a sense of presence.  You are once again a participant in at least  SOMETHING.

The hierarchy of spiritual development I have seen is relaxation, mindfulness, concentration.  But I think anyone who has experienced trauma cannot even achieve the first properly, without preliminary work.  What happens as you relax is the demons start to come out, you sense their advent, and pull back.  You have to deal with them first.

Let us call this stage purification, until I change my mind.  Preparation would also work.  Right-sizing, head straightening, delunaticism, Sanification, blending, mixing (light and dark): I'll have to smoke on this a bit.  The best time might be the other side, which I think is approaching.

Interesting question

In what ways would the psychological/emotional lives of women be different if they never menstruated?  In what ways does it improve them, in what ways (beyond the obvious) does it lessen them, and what is interesting in this regard to speculate about (de Bono PMI)?

In what ways might human society have evolved differently if many if not most social orders (men) had not feared this process?

Flight 370, yes, I'm still on it

If the plane lost cabin pressure, and someone was at the controls--pilot or passenger--would not a rapid descent to lower altitudes be one of the first things they did?  One which was not "radar evading", but oxygen preserving?  And again, if the electronics were scrambled and they either didn't know where they were, or how to read the instruments (if the pilots lost consciousness and one or more passengers were trying to fly the thing) you would see both a rapid descent and an erratic trajectory that leads, ultimately, to a crash, either from losing fuel, or from misjudging altitude, all while trying to reach someplace safe.

And what if most but not all passengers were killed in the initial decompression?  Perhaps some remained conscious, but not those whose cell phones were called.  Or what if the survivors panicked and tried to broadcast relentlessly on a broken plane radio and forgot about their cell phones?  I read once about someone who died in a parachute jump because they gave him a left handed parachute, and all he thought to do was paw relentlessly where the pull cord would have been on a right handed parachute.  They could see the marks. 

If the plane was hijacked, it serves no purpose to fail to announce by whom and why.  No terror is achieved.  Even if it was a coordinated attack, and failed due to terrorist pilot error, there would be people who could anonymously announce their "success".  This is their way of operating.  Nothing is achieved by mystery.

Julienne Davis' take

I listened to this interview on Eyes Wide Shut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inLfK535oxs

It occurred to me this morning I should likely find interviews with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, but I tend congenitally to look more for background characters.  I tend to trust janitors more than CEO's.

Be that as it may, she tried twice to share her view of what the movie was about, but I think the interviewers--as seemingly always happens with her in these interviews, which she warns them of at the outset--were more interested in her as a conduit to get to stories about the Master.

She says that in her view the essential scene is that in which Nicole Kidman admits to spending a pleasant day with Tom--Dr. Bill (and I will say that even I noticed the pervasive symbolism of the wallet, his badge of authenticity and importance, and money)--but still thinking about her Navy officer the whole time.

She was interrupted (it was a poor interview), but here is where I think she was going: we all of us are split in some ways between our social roles, our place, our mask, our persona, and our inner reality.  Kidman, there, was admitting to being simultaneously dutiful wife and what we would call a lustful slut.  She is saying, effectively, that women are just what Tom Cruise accused men of being.  They are no different.  Men have inner fantasy lives, and so too do women.  And these fantasy lives, even if they are not acted on, matter.

What both learned, what opened both of their eyes, is who they really were, how much larger and unconfined, and simultaneously vulnerable and free.  Fucking is what Kidman felt would finally close that circle, and complete some part of the process, put a stamp on it.

Alice starts the trip down the rabbit hole.  She admits to Dr. Bill her lust.  He in turn is startled to see expressed feelings he too has--he was clearly enjoying the attention of those two models, and it was unclear where it was going--but not fully brought into consciousness.  This is what women do better than men: feel consciously.  Cruise did not think about what he was doing at the party, but certainly it was inappropriate for a married man to be both flirting so aggressively, and consenting to receive such more or less open invitations to sex.

So we have the public, pious role, and the shadow licentiousness that rejects all limits--Kidman was willing to lose everything for a man she had never even spoken to (now: this is a fictional story line, and I can't say how many women might actually feel this way, but the story comes from SOMEWHERE, and I have heard enough crazy stories to believe this may be how it actually works on strange, weird, inexplicable occasions).

Dr. Bill goes liminal.  He does eventually leave the gates of the city, to be received in another set of gates, but before that he meets someone whose ROLE is lust.  That is her point and purpose.  She is not trying to be someone else.  She is not split in any way, at least for the purposes of this analysis (prostitution is no doubt very emotionally demanding, and a profession likely largely populated by survivors of various forms of abuse).  Domino, as I have said, is the only person I like in this movie, other than Nick, who I will get to in a moment.

Domino represents a kind of way point, between role and the reality of lust.  Dr. Bill satisfies his role with her--he gives her money, as an attentive and responsible benefactor--but never fully meets his lust.  He does not integrate them, or even fully admit them.  Since he was quite prepared to spend the night out--based on his subsequent behavior, his primary concern was not with worrying his wife by staying out late--he could have slept with her, and in my opinion that may have been the honest thing to do.

But he doesn't.  He meets his friend, whose eyes are to be shut by a blindfold, and who mediates the world of the orgy and the world of Dr. Bill's role.  Nick goes into the party as himself.  He is the only one who does not wear a mask.  But his eyes are wide shut.  He cannot see, literally or figuratively, just what he has gotten himself into.

For his part, Dr. Bill, ironically, puts on a mask--symbolizing a role--where the role is the satisfaction of lust.  And as I have said, making sexual gratification a point and purpose also misses something.  Making it a role misunderstands its arbitrary nature.  Can this fundamental split be FULLY healed even within a carefully constructed ritual context?  I don't know.  I don't know.

Coming full circle--and the symbol of the magic circle plainly means something, and likely multiple somethings, in the childrens department store--Dr. Bill and Alice are left living in the liminal zone, processing it, while trying to fulfill the role of parents.  Alice, being more aware, sees that Dr. Bills experience has to be consummated, with her, within the space of both of their roles, and that for the time being everything will be OK.  I suspect they will get divorced later, though, as indeed Kidman and Cruise did.

I am thinking out loud, but there may be something here.  I will add that Davis, when asked if the filming was the first place she met Kubrick, said something like "Oh no.  I had lived in Britain at that point for several years."  Now, I could live in Britain for decades and never meet anyone famous.  Implicit within that statement was the idea that she--as an attractive model "with great tits"--went to parties where people like Kubrick could be found.  What else that implies, I can't say.

Here is a video of her singing what in 2007 was her latest single: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB6g66OYoKI

I put off seeing Eyes Wide Shut, because I knew I would react how I am reacting, and at that time, I was unsure how to make creative use of it.  Now I know how.  This is all good for me, even whatever nonsense I am writing.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Julienne Davis

Here is an interesting fact: the actress in Eyes Wide Shut who played the OD'd hooker, and the corpse in the morgue, was NOT the same actress as that in the mansion, whose name was Abigail something.  The two apparently got in a bit of a cat fight, this being likely the most significant film either will have been involved in in their careers.

Here is my take: what if Kubrick wanted to dangle the illusion of an overarching order--something tangible at the end of the rainbow--but take it away? Davis, in an interview, said she somehow hurt herself in the circle, which is why the other gal took over in those scenes.  But why not suppose the change was demanded by Kubrick himself?

There was no murder.  I am increasingly convinced of it.  Both times the girl warned him, men in masks were easily close enough to overhear her.  Add this to the fact that even though Davis was apparently present in the orgy somewhere, that she was not the girl warning him, and what you have to conclude is that it WAS a charade, and that even though it was NOT the same girl who warned him who died, that Ziegler saw no reason to dissuade Dr. Bill from that possibility, since they wanted all the leverage they could get for him to keep his mouth shut.  And it worked, more or less, since the fear and confusion caused him to break down when he saw the mask, and even if Nicole Kidman has been the one who secretly found it and left it out to see how he would react, she did not say.  She loved him, I think I might say, convulsively, not patiently; reluctantly and perhaps by force of will.

And Kubrick, in the end, was saying there is no order at all.  Good people like Domino get diseases, everyone else is running around chasing sex and things, and there is not even a despotic order ruling the whole thing: just a bunch of prurient and odd rich people with strange tastes they indulge from time to time, out of ennui and perhaps long-standing habit.

It is an odd joke, one he perhaps felt well content to make his last.

Abreaction

There has to be a better word, but I do like that it contains the word reaction, as there is something chemical--alchemical?--at work, an interplay of elements whose aftermath leaves something qualitatively new.

Abreaction is leaning into negative emotions, embracing them, emphasizing them, enlarging them, experiencing them more fully--for the first time, if this is a truly unresolved trauma.

I have been doing a lot of this over the past several weeks.  We hear about positive self talk.  Fuck that.  I'm doing negative self talk, about how I hope I fail, that everyone hates me and wants me to die, that nothing I will ever do will succeed, that I should be ground into the dirt.  .  .etc.

And this is working.  What it is doing is bringing up latent emotions, and what might be termed non-verbal dialogue, which has been in my consciousness substantially all my life, but largely unrecognized, and to the extent it was, fought.  "You say I need to die, but I say I want to live", back and forth, endlessly.

There is no conclusion to this.  Each "side" achieves momentary victories, but always there is a loss of energy, of enthusiasm, of connection with the inner self, of vitality.

So I decided to give this voice free rein to verbalize literally anything it wants.  What has been happening is that my chronic anger is subsiding, I feel more calm, and I can think more clearly.

What I am realizing is that when I get angry over "nothing"--today, for example, the fact that cancelling a print job on my printer yields roughly 10x as many pages of gibberish as actually printing the document would have--is that the anger--the defensiveness, the sense of being under attack, the sense of needing to justify myself, the need to strike out--was already there.  It was induced by the voice.  I suspect most people with chronic anger issues--and I do want to be clear this is not a major issue for me, but it is an issue--are the same.  They are fighting battles in their heads by proxy, and I think sometimes it is the very concreteness of the proxy--the bad driver, the IRS agent, the thoughtless coworker--that makes them attractive.  At least they know WHAT they are angry at.  The alternative is an emotion without a cause or object, which is very confusing.

Stan Grof talks about traumas of commission and omission.  I believe these are his words.  It is clear enough how to abreact actual abuse, but how neglect?  How lack of love?

Ponder a parent who watches a child in pain, struggling helplessly with something, who watches the child, while the child is watching him or her, begging with their eyes for help, and who walks on without doing anything.  Is the net content of this interaction, in which nothing has apparently been done--no one hurt or helped--neutral?  Of course not.   A clear message has been sent: you don't matter.  I don't care whether you live or die.  It might actually be more convenient for me if you died.

This would technically be a trauma of omission--love not given--but I would argue that in important respects all traumas are traumas of commission, in that somewhere, somehow, love that could have been given, understanding and help that could have been granted, was not.  Certainly, there are limits to how much, say, the workers in an orphanage can provide love and comfort to all the children.  But has "society" still not chosen to care, also?  I think this is the way it works.

So a trauma of omission gets abreacted as self loathing, self hate, a feeling of helplessness, violence towards a self which seemingly deserved it--how else to explain these lacks, these gaps?

What I am trying to process, what I have been trying to process all my life, is the fact that not only were my parents incapable of empathetic, nurturing love, but that at many points in my life they more or less rooted for my failure, watched me flail around helplessly, and did nothing.  They just moved on, without emotional involvement or connection.

Now, as I have often said, I don't feel sorry for myself, and I don't want this to be a Daily Me.  At the same time, we as a society are so inured in some ways to one another's inertia and anomie and disconnection, that I think truth telling is warranted and useful at times.  It tells us what is out there. 

And my feelings go through a sort of one way valve, in which I can express myself honestly, but need fear no blowback or emotional aggression.  You  can't get to me.  I have far, far too much practice surviving emotional assaults, having endured them daily for most of my formative years, and in internal dialogue since.

I think clinical, therapeutic psychology, in the long run, will need to turn to teaching and eliciting deep emotions from people in emotional distress.  It will need to teach them not to hurt less, but to hurt more until they hurt less.  The solution to PTSD is Hell.  But is one large Hell that ends not vastly preferable to daily small ones until the end of a life blunted by a dependence on emotional pain killers or one sort or another?

Stan and Christina Grof's book "Spiritual  Emergency" was very useful to me in this regard.  It broadened by horizon tremendously as to how much emotional pain someone can take, and my ideas about embracing difficult emotions come from them and Barry McDonagh's "Panic Away" series;  primarily from them, though.  It is a focus of that book.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Eyes Wide Shut, again

This movie definitely works on the mythic level.  Kubrick, who in some respects dealt in myth his whole career, considered it is best film.  I have been reading reviews, detailing the vast quantity of latent symbolism, like the luminescence of Christmas lamps, the theme of Rainbows, etc.

I'll keep processing for a while, and as always reserve the rights both to contradict myself and to be stupid at length.

Few thoughts for now: many of the robed figures at the "mass" were likely women, likely wives.  They participated by watching.  The whole thing had little to do with sex, and everything to do with social solidarity.

The funny thing about psychology is that when you choose to transgress some line in your self, in your soul, you are driven almost inexorably to rationalize it, to justify it.

Doris Lessing talks in one of her books about the process of breaking a woman to become a prostitute.  The idea is simple: persistently, over a period of time, take her over a line she has drawn, then pull her back.  Force her to go farther than she wanted or intended, then reintegrate her.  Then do it again.

Over time, the boundaries and lines disappear, and she decides it doesn't matter.   This is how children are "seasoned"--I believe the term is--for pedophiles.  Many are apparently very meticulous about it.

This raises the interesting question: is participation in these rituals voluntary?  Can you be given an invitation and refuse?  Certainly even if one rejects the idea that violence was an ordinary part of the process--that Mandy did in fact overdose, and that the mask was actually found and placed on the pillow by Alice, as apparently was explicitly the case in the book upon which this movie was based--would there not still be cultural and social and political and business sanctions? 

So, in important ways, it seems to me these people were also ".  . . just prisoners here, of our own device", as the relevant song Hotel California puts it.

Power constricts, too.  It is unfree.

The other point I wanted to make is that the only place in the movie where I felt real tenderness was with the prostitute, Domino. In the midst of all this sex, where was there solace, genuine commitment, genuine peace?  Nicole Kidman wants to fuck at the end, but as I think about it, it almost feels like a way for her to express anger at Tom Cruise while simultaneously pulling in as far as she is willing to.  She feels gratitude they pulled back from the precipice, but the word "forever" doesn't feel right.  It looks like it is giving her a headache.

The phrase "loveless fascination", from a song by the Church I have always liked, comes to mind.

What is the purpose of life, besides rutting, besides what we might call "goatism"?  In what way does Kubrick's vision grant new hope, new dispensation?  As critics at the time apparently objected to, his sex is not even very sexual, it is not even animalian.  It is perfunctory, ritualized, as one assumes the sex between Kidman and Cruise will be when they get home.

It is worth keeping in mind Kubrick was an atheist.  He died five days after the completed film was delivered.  Some have seen in this conspiracy, but my final conclusions are both that that scene was nothing to kill anyone over; and even if it were, the time was before the film was done, not after.

No, I think he watched his completed movie several times over, watched his completed vision, looked at life as he saw it, realized that his creative work was done, and his life energy just left him.

For a vision of a more spiritual sexuality, watch Andrei Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev", where such sexuality is attacked by a Christianity obsessed with pain, suffering, and self denial, likely all in direct contradictions to Christ's actual teaching.  There is a scene in there with a naked woman swimming strongly across a river crossing paths with a boat filled with monks that is among my favorite visuals in any movie.  She is unstoppable and innocent.

Flight 370, again

They now are saying that it is most likely to have been hijacked.  Here is my question: how many runways exist in the areas where it could have gone which could handle the landing of such a plane?  It cannot be more than a few dozen, I would not think.  Can their activity not be checked?

And if a runway was built just for this plane, we are at a whole other level of conspiracy.

I don't like this scenario.  It is to my mind quite sinister: no ransom has been demanded, no claims of responsibility have been made.

There were no claims of responsibility made on 9/11 either. Could this be a prelude to some global, qualitative increase in the command and control apparatus unknown parties seem to be trying to create?

Alternatively, could we posit that most people were killed, and those trying to fly the plane were passengers unequipped to pilot effectively?  Still, it would seem they could perhaps have made radio or cell phone calls.  I don't know the logistics of this.  According the radio expert, oxygen would not last as long as the flight, although exactly how long--when most people were not breathing and thus conserving oxygen for the rest--it could last for a much smaller number of people is unclear.  Could they have turned off communications accidentally?  How certain are experts that a catastrophic failure could not have caused the same effect?

Would it be possible to create a computer simulation that mimics what was seen--the sequence of communications failures, including the transponder--in which people are in fact piloting the plane, but poorly, and in the wrong direction?  We have all been lost on country roads.  Can it not be hard to know where you are and what direction you are going, when you understand nothing in front of you?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in coming weeks and months.  My gut is that this plane, wherever it went, will never be found.

Edit: I will pass along another idea I saw someone else propose: what if the electronics on the plane were so scrambled that the pilots remained at the helm, but could not tell where they were, what their altitude was, or what direction they were heading?  This would account for seemingly random direction and altitude shifts.  And what if efforts to fix one electronic system damaged another?  This would account for systems going down at different times.

I reiterate: the hijacking explanation does not make sense to me.  Every historical hijacking that I know of has been done for a reason.  I will add, that whatever the facts of the case, we can expect global elitists/feudalists, to do what they can to exploit the situation.
 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Eros and Thanatos

That piece also reminded me to point out that Stan Grof's 3rd Perinatal Matrix contains both sexual and violent elements.  Blood and body fluids, sexual ecstasy and war.  Walpurgis Night, and ritual cults.

I will note that he used LSD in his therapeutic practice.  He was a psychiatrist, and under controlled circumstances he would prescribe specific amounts of LSD in the same manner any other drugs would be prescribed.  He would of course sit with his patients, through their experiences.

And the idea for the Perinatal Matrices came about simply because certain thematic and cathartic elements kept showing up over and over and over.  People remembered their births, both figuratively and literally.  It may be that the brains of infants can't form memories right away, but in my own view clearly the field which contains them, which is the root of life, does.  Logically, if newborns can't form memories, then it would not matter in the slightest how they were treated upon birth; that we place importance on getting them nursing quickly shows that common sense and experience indicate their early experiences do matter.

And to be clear, entering into these non-ordinary states, letting this content come up, proved to be of enormous therapeutic value.  People felt better.  They were freed from negative emotional patterns that in some cases had haunted them their entire lives.  That fact alone indicates value in this idea.

Aleister Crowley

I don't know much about him, but he came up in this piece: http://vigilantcitizen.com/moviesandtv/the-hidden-and-not-so-hidden-messages-in-stanley-kubriks-eyes-wide-shut-pt-i/

This movie is extremely evocative, and gets at deep realities about what it means to be human, specifically to be sexual. Nicole Kidman's performance was amazing, I thought.  It just seemed honest to me when she was simultaneously fantasizing about the naval officer, and feeling tender towards Bill.  Emotions get all mixed up like that, in both men and women, with the difference that most women spend far more time feeling and processing them.

Crowley, it seems to me, was an idiot.  He took what was a wonderful system for perfecting Goodness and all of the open joy that comes with it, and degraded it to sex and power.

Tantra means web, and I interpret this as meaning connection, that we are all connected with one another, and also that our experiences flow together, harmonize, congregate, cluster.  What it builds is an openness to ALL experience.  Everything good in it can be done without sex, and sex alone confers nothing.   It is neither necessary nor sufficient.

As far as power, it seems to me that there is far more resonant potential spending a pleasant afternoon with someone you love deeply, than in ruling the entire Earth.  There is nothing interesting there.  It is dull, boring, insipid.  Power mongers are inherently insipid.

What power mongering is, is a contraction of the soul, of experience, of mind.  It is a permanent spasm, one that never ends.  We see rituals like the one in Eyes Wide Shut as aberrant because they are the solution to this spasm.  They are the antidote to the steam brewing up in human beings tied in knots.

In the past week or two, I have provided all the ingredients for the so-called Left Handed Path.  Everything.

And being emotionally shallow, even if intellectually gifted, Crowley missed it all. One hopes it is not true that people of power and influence have mistaken his tricks for anything of substance.

Eyes Wide Shut

What happened to the girl, Mandy?  Was she killed?

I've been pondering this all day.  The conclusion I've reached is that the explanation his friend gave was the best one.

When Tom Cruise showed up in a taxi, they knew he didn't belong there.  But he knew the password, and they had no way of knowing what else he knew, so they decided both to show him what they were doing, and also to scare him into silence, as they presumably wanted the very existence of these events secret, and he did not know, then, how badly he had erred.  Between the gate and the time he pulled up, they looked at his picture, and realized who he was.

They decided to let Mandy warn him, because it was just possible he would recognize her by her breasts, which differ in details woman to woman.  He would also have reason to believe that she was sincerely trying to help him, as she would have a motive, since he had helped her.  They did their charade, and at the end of it she was so emotionally exhausted, she completed the suicide she had been half heartedly trying to commit for some time.

And his friend was quite sincere in saying they wanted to scare the shit out of him: hence the mask.

That movie is perhaps the best movie I have seen delving into the erotic instinct.  It is on display in many contexts, in many ways.  It drives so many people mad.  It is also holy.  Above all else, it is powerful, both in expression and repression.