Friday, January 25, 2019
5:15 a.m. I see that today’s blog post is from April 12, 2006, and is Carl Jung explaining how we are societies of societies. A pretty valuable session, actually.
As I look back on my life, it seems to me I didn’t stay conscious enough. I rarely turned the inner spotlight on me, even though in another sense that is all I ever concerned myself with. It’s hard to express. A sort of self-centeredness that was not egotistical, or a sort of self-awareness that was not introspective. I was there, doing (or usually reacting), but I wasn’t there thinking about what I was doing or reacting to. I couldn’t learn from experience, because I wasn’t altering my reactions from having thought about past reactions.
I’m not getting it expressed clearly, which suggests to me that I may not be conceptualizing it very clearly. Guys?
You might consider yourself to be a society without regulation. Rather than amending your by-laws, or even living by them, it’s always ad hoc adjustment for you. “How do I feel right now?” This isn’t necessarily a fault or a virtue, but it certainly is a condition and a predicament! It opens some doors and closes others.
I can see that. In the same way that openness to experience opens doors.
And closes them. Remember Danial Boone’s life was as bounded as anybody’s, only of course for everybody the bounds are different in nature and extent. If one travels extensively abroad, another travels extensively inward, as Thoreau pointed out long ago. And beyond this difference, which is still an internal difference regardless of the fact that it plays out in the outer world, there is a deference in what one does with what one lives. And this may take some spelling-out.
So take Bob Friedman, quietly influential over a long lifetime. Not his external career but his career is all but invisible except to those with eyes to see, either from a close vantage point or an affinity of nature. In the same context, consider Colin Wilson.
The commonality being that they liked to think about psychic experience but didn’t particularly want to have it.
Not quite, though not wrong, either. They wanted to maintain.
Are you contrasting it with my wanting to transform?
Slowly, now. Both Bob and Colin were thinkers in a way that you are not. That is, they reflected. They pondered. They learned from experience considered. This doesn’t mean that what they learned necessarily was right; we are concerned here with the nature of their process. Someone considering something new in the light of past conclusions may end up merely adjusting new perception to not contradict older conclusions. But on the other hand, they may learn something.
Well, I think I get that. I see people who seem to live their life by a rigid code; it can be an admirable result. George Marshall. George Washington. But, maybe George Patton!
It is the difference between rigidity and suppleness, only without an implied judgment that one is good and the other bad. Different ways of living produce different crucibles within the 3D crucible.
Can we make this plainer?
The defects of one’s qualities.
Yes, I get that. But, beyond that generalization?
There isn’t any “beyond that generalization.” That generalization is the key. Like all generalizations, it is – general. But “general” is not “useless”; nor even “misleading.” It is a summing-up in brief.
So if Bob and Colin are intending to live their lives from a stable platform that will allow them clear observation (and of course this is not all they were doing, but it is one way of looking at their lives), you cannot expect them to want to jettison that stable platform just when things get interesting. Instead, by not moving, they get the effect they wanted: They get front-row seats.
And from those front-row seats, they were able to describe the view to others (although this, too, is not all they were doing, but only one aspect).
And I by contrast?
You by contrast are more like a raft on a lake, or sometimes a river, occasionally on the open seas. You are a moveable platform – or, better, not so much a platform as a set of water wings. What you know is an idea of yourself shaped by your reaction to your surroundings. You are aware of “external” changes, you think of yourself as changing and unchanging, and what you chiefly have to report is your own process, your own journeying. Only, can it be called journeying when it is more like being rafted along?
It is true as time has gone by, I have had a greater sense of my own journey being all I had to offer by way of instruction or commentary or even encouragement.
Well, triangulate, for greater clarity. Like Colin, you report on your mental journeys, like Bob you
Came up short, there.
It’s because the parallelism stopped you, as it sometimes does. Try again without it.
So I am formulating the parallelism?
It is inherent in the way you are accustomed to structure language, largely beneath your conscious choosing – that is, seeming the natural and obvious way to structure things, it occasionally gets in the way. Nothing to worry about, though.
You share with Colin the reporting of what you think and do – in other words, your experience. Bob did not do that.
To put it mildly!
Well, you share with him your own vivid intense inner life, poorly communicated, often misunderstood or unsuspected.
The three of you delighted in assisting others.
That’s true. Publicly and privately, Colin was very generous with his time for unknown writers and thinkers. Bob set many an author in print. And I am like them both, in that.
Of the three of you, Bob was perhaps the most self-aware, in that he did not live in a continual whirl of mental and physical activity like Colin, and did not lose his inner compass by throwing himself into new circumstances (inner or outer) like you. He was the quietest of the three of you.
And Colin the noisiest?
Certainly the one who made the greatest impact, by far, in the short term (meaning, in the span of one’s life).
James Joyce said history was a nightmare from which he was struggling to wake up. I sometimes think my life is a nightmare, or anyway a dream, from which I am struggling to wake up.
That isn’t quite what you mean. It is more like, your drift is the lack of direction from which you are struggling to become aware enough to overcome.
Rita’s words about your lack of introspection were the beginning of a different understanding of your life, were they not?
I need to think of this.
But, you see, the very thought of thinking about it drives you to think of doing something else – Netflix, perhaps, or another novel.
Yes, I recognize that persistent drive to escape. It feels like self-sabotage.
Think of it as true north, and see where that brings you.
Huh! You mean, maybe what I’m seeking is the very thing I must not find?
No, what you are doing is not at all what you think of yourself as doing. That’s a very different thing.
So, in practical terms, what can I (ought I) do?
If toward the end of your life you can live a summing-up, it will be well. It is a gathering of feathers, as your friend you’ve never met put it.
Hmm. Well, I guess we’ll see.