TGU — What would Mr. Jefferson say?

Wednesday July 19, 2006

Well—in answer to Marilyn’s suggestion—what would Mr. Jefferson say to attempts to force a boy to use chemo when he doesn’t want to and his parents support him?

Mr. Jefferson would not be a bit surprised at the attempt, and would of course be quietly vehement in his opposition. If government may dictate to us the care of our bodies, the nutrition we must give it, the medicines and treatments we must employ even if they outrage our values or are inappropriate to our situation – what greater proof do we need of which is master and which is servant?

We haven’t needed much demonstration of that, these past 50 years!

Evidently the demonstrations have not been sufficient, so you may expect more, and greater. If an alarm bell does not rouse the town, perhaps exploding cannon or bomb will. If not these, perhaps earthquake and famine. If not these, God help you.

It has been a long slide.

Remember that it has been a long century of cumulating emergencies, but in the long term it is response to emergency that clarifies values, as one throws away first that which one values least. Do your work; that is your best response. Do your proper work, not merely filling your time, but exerting yourself in the manner you came here to do. Remember friend Henry’s bean fields, and friend Waldo’s “pretended siege of Babylon.”

Yes. Thank you.

Wilhelm Reich on tension and fascism

Sunday June 4, 2006

I am reading Wilhelm Reich on therapy and realizing/remembering/suspecting that I am deeply crazy. Not a new thought, but persuasive. But what can I do about it? If we are irrational, if we are systemically flawed, or malfunctioning – how do we get out of it? How can anybody find the way to wholeness and sanity from within fragmented insanity by using tools that – insofar as they seem to him sensible – are that much the more to be distrusted, because they seem, to the malfunctioning person, to be trustworthy? How does a crazy man realize that he is crazy? How does a mostly sane man recognize the areas in which he is not sane? How can someone who is hedged by unseen filters find a way to clear vision? But this is becoming rhetoric instead of real.

Dr. Reich, I have read enough of this book of your selected writings to sense that you were an honest man who came to conclusions that were dangerous to the forces running society. And the fact that merely reading about your work has reminded me that I am severely neurotic in ways I cannot know tells me that your work is important. I have no idea what you thought of Dr. Jung, and I have no real idea what your overall ideas are, though like so many people I have heard of orgone, and bions, and all. I don’t have a specific question for you – don’t know enough to form one – but I invite you to join the conversation. It seems to me that our time is in need of your insights, and I have the strong feeling of being prompted to bring you into this.

Yes. Well. You are attracted to my work because I offer the scientist a link between biology and society and so-called inorganic chemistry. Not all of this will be evident to you, but you are enough of a link to get the thought “out there” as you say – in other words to objectify it, to have written words for people to stumble upon.

The link in your time to my work is that again, as in the immediate aftermath of the breakdown of authority following the World War, fascism is everywhere in the ascendant, and democrats are everywhere disarmed and leaderless. The reasons for this have nothing to do with circumstance and everything to do with the objective situation.

In America the 1960s produced or revealed vast chaotic energies boiling just beneath the surface of the body politic. The assassinations, the Vietnam war, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the free love and free speech movements, the surge of what was called the New Left – which meant liberalism untainted by connection to Marxism – all came at once. There was New Math and new ways of looking at everything. There was great upwelling of discontent with accepted ways of looking at, judging, things.

This period has been demonized by traditionalists and glorified (and distorted) by anti-traditionalists. Systemically it amounted to an upwelling of repressed content. The vast number of middle-class college kids who seemed to be rejecting their backgrounds and even their economic interests was perhaps the most striking thing, and, to certain societal elements, the most dangerous symptom of social psychosis.

This ferment terrified a significant percentage of the citizenry, and called forth – created – the means of its repression. But the genie could not be put back into the bottle. Repressed material once brought into consciousness has consolidated a life of its own, one might say. It may be forced underground, but it cannot well be forced back beneath consciousness. It takes enormous energy to hold repressed materials, and the exertion creates unendurable tension. The resulting irrational actions and attitudes are rarely connected to their cause in the repression of unacceptable content – and so the tension is explained away as the result of resistance to malign forces external to the body repressing the content. Hence, Negro dissatisfaction is the result of outside agitators. Hence, student dissent from a meaningless and destructive war is the result of communist influence.

Now you are at the point, after a generation of meaningless and chronic warfare between irrational ideological extremes, where fascism is prevailing, as it must prevail in any situation of tension prolonged long enough, for the very tension creates fascism. Note, this is regardless which ideology or party takes power – for power has to do with the execution of the state machine’s purpose (which always centers on perpetuation of its being). Liberal fascism is not so different from conservative fascism; the difference will be less in means than in ends. It was liberals, not conservatives, who put me into prison, after all!

In Germany’s case, fascism began immediately after 1918, grew through the chaotic ’20s, took full power in the 1930s, and destroyed itself by calling in overwhelming force against itself, as, indeed, must always happen in such cases unless all organized counter-force has been destroyed. Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, all called into being counter-forces that otherwise never would have formed. And so in the United States government in your day. Fortunately for the world, you have Russia, China and Europe as counter-forces. They are all out-gunned – which is why your government feels compelled to continue piling weapons systems upon weapons systems – but there are more ways to resist force than armies. At some point the fascism gripping America will implode, as it did in Russia. But – what will follow? This is the key question.

Liberals are no answer to state fascism, and neither are conservatives, because the root of fascism is not in issues but in unbearable tension. Remove the tension, you remove the seeds of fascism.

But how is this to be done? It can only be done by removing the cause of the tension. In an individual this would mean penetrating to the underlying cause, then bringing that cause to consciousness and assisting the ego – the consciousness – to deal with the cause in a productive rather than automatic and destructive manner. Can one successfully psychoanalyze society?

Well, perhaps it can be done – but it should be clear to you that the effort must involve both conscious and unconscious components. To put it into your terms, it involves work both on your side of the veil and on this side. To state the same thing a third time, it involves external stimuli such as expressed ideas, and internal nudges resulting in receptivity to certain ideas and defense against the contagion of others.

Do you begin to see the thrust of what you are doing? And do you see why Jesus said “resist not evil”? Adding to the tension must produce added neurotic symptoms – fascism, in this case – unless it leads to recognition and cure. But given that no one can cure a society’s neurosis, in effect heightened tension can only lead toward further neurosis. Or rather, I should say the deliberate or incidental heightening of tension by individuals on your side can only lead to a worsening of the situation. Work from our side, however, can be much more carefully directed. This is what your “guys upstairs” would describe as them pushing a situation toward a desired result.

So, the result is this. You do not have the data or the ability to judge the results of actions that heighten social tension; hence cannot productively use such tension. But what you can do – and clearly this means not any one individual but all who will do the work, together and separately – is work to bring yourself and any willing others to greater consciousness. You speak of the shadow. Well, absorb the shadow. Don’t project it and don’t encourage others to project it. Absorb it, and encourage others to absorb it; this is real work, and productive.

I assume you don’t mean don’t speak up against fascist tendencies and actions.

No, of course not. But any actions may be taken from more productive or less productive attitudes. An attitude of “standing at Armageddon and battling for the lord” is very different from an attitude that says “we are all in this mess together, and the fascists among us are not more guilty than we are.” Fascist tendencies, actions, legislation may all be fought vigorously and more successfully by understanding and disarming than by condemning and putting on the defensive.

 

Mr. Lincoln on faith, and fear, and our dark times

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Election Day. Another step closer to the abyss? A step back? Stay tuned.

I realized, writing to John King, that the stuff I have been given, this past year, is to a point. It was very clear – I lost it again – good thing it is in print, or on phosphors, or whatever.

Very stirred up, of course. Nothing to be done but vote – for whatever that is worth – and see. I have never felt so helpless at that level.

A good reminder, that – for I have never felt more in control. internally. We may have to write off political and economic “freedom” – and then? It can’t be seen, any more than Lincoln could see ahead.

Mr. Lincoln – thinking of you – what can you say to us in the 21st century?

You yourself are learning that when all else fails you, you find yourself dependent upon providence. It isn’t that you become dependent upon providence, it is that you realize it, if you didn’t realize it before, and you realize it more earnestly, more deeply, if you had. You have read the saying, “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” You mustn’t think of it as God lying in wait ready to pounce, but as God waiting patiently for your life to bring you to the point where you see how small a thing any one man is and how great the overarching power that fashioned and maintains what you call the garden.

You are in dark times, and darker times are probably ahead for you. There are brighter futures and darker, but the chances are many times to one that you have yet to experience the worst. Now here let me use your own life as an example for people in general. You will remember times when you were caught in circumstances that seemed to grind you down, and the grinding went on for many years. It was only after you escaped these circumstances that you realized that even what you do not desire, what you can scarcely stand – has value to you. Every place is a particular window on the world, and perhaps one window is as valuable as another. If you are in a particular fix, at least explore it with diligence. It may be worth more to you than you know.

Now, you must understand, I have more sympathy with George Bush than you do, for I have been in his place. No one not in that place can know the reality of it. You would do better to pray for him than to revile him. Remember what you read of General Lee, who prayed for his enemies, including me, every night. That did not stop him from fighting with all his strength, but he did not fight from hatred.

Yet the thought of General Lee is instructive as well in another regard. His cause was wrong. Doubly wrong in that it was integrally bound with a giant evil, and in that it was founded on a bad theory that could not have maintained itself, but would have wrecked itself in short order. Is this not the case today? Your people – who of course are still my people, yet very different from the people I knew, very alien in beliefs, habits, thought, values – your people are dividing ever more cleanly on questions that boil down to love or fear, your Course in Miracles duality.

The people are dividing. Looking at it as a choice between love and fear, the division is cleaner within individuals but even there is not consistent. How much more confused and confusing, then, to look at the external results of so many individual civil wars.

If there were not so much fear, there would not be so much anger or fanaticism. If less anger, there would be less cheating in order to win at all costs. If less cheating, there would be more reliance on established procedures and traditions – leading to less fear, as the process reinforced itself. You move toward fear or away, continually. There is no standing still.

Do you think it coincidence that the country is so evenly divided between incompatible visions? It is the doing of providence, rather. This eliminates the possibility of a majority disregarding and squashing a minority – there are only minorities in play, neither set having a comfortable margin over the other.

The only way through it to transcend these differences. They cannot be forever papered over, and one will not prevail over the other without maiming the body politic. If the nation cannot survive half slave and half free – and it could not – how less likely that it will survive half fearful and half love-filled? Fear will conquer all, or love will. Can it be any other way?

Saying that love will conquer all is not unrealistic or mystical or absolutist. It is merely one way of saying that they that live in hope may spread their habit of thought, their way of being, so that it sets the tone for the entire country. Or – failing that – fear will drag everything down to the level of control.

What doomed the South, it might be said, is that slavery assured that those who ran society would act always from fear. The North, on the other hand, greatly hoped. It had its machinery, its trade, its vigorous new settlements and – except for the drag of slavery in it southern portion, which then threatened to become national in scope – it faced the future with optimism.

Now, in your time, your two cultural and political sides divide the hope and fear between them – which is why the long stalemate. The thing – the only thing – that will decisively tilt the balance is the issuance – or the non-issuance – within a certain time of an emancipation proclamation.

Joseph explained to you that the issues of states rights versus federal rights were morally balanced; the question of whether free government was possible if parts of it could secede at will was a vital question, but not a moral one. What made the Union cause predominate was that the emancipation proclamation threw into the balance the question of slavery or freedom.

So today you need to peer into the mists of so many issues contending. Find the moral issue that is at state. Throw that onto the pile and you will see the crisis resolve.

Notice I do not claim that it will resolve smoothly and evenly, nor necessarily without bloodshed. The Emancipation Proclamation did not prevent Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and Vicksburg and all the terrible fighting of 1864. But it made victory possible, and made it meaningful.

What principle, turned into practical reality, would make your struggles not only worthwhile but in fact a triumph for America as a whole and humanity in example? This is your puzzle to solve, but some thought should make it obvious enough.

My assumption is that it is a more profound definition of freedom, a clearer statement of the fact that

1) people are more important than abstractions,

2 governments are supposed to serve, not command.

3) “individuals” do not, cannot, exist in isolation but in community.

Yet this does not come clear. I feel like I need a key that I cannot find, though it is probably in front of my face.

Have you not been pursuing a deeper connection for the past 15 years? Can that not be a part of the new equation you are attempting to decipher?

Yes, this very communication process is part of it. And it has given me a different way of thinking about providence and our connection to the other side, which some think mere superstition and others think merely a matter of following orders.

Does not fear stem largely from the belief that you on the physical plane are alone and on your own? Does that not add desperation to the emotional makeup of the contenders?

It adds ruthlessness, for sure.

Churchill, Roosevelt, many of the armed forces leaders firmly believed in providence and believed that so long as they fought for good, they would be aided. It is a powerful assistance, and is not in any way illusion. Of course it carries with it a responsibility to continually examine you conduct to assure that you are doing the will of God, as best you can discern it, rather than merely your own.

This you see is the hidden dimension. This is why a God-fearing people have an advantage over those who do not value or perceive such a connection. It has nothing to do with God being pleased to be recognized, I believe. God doesn’t need our recognition. It has to do, rather, with men being able to put themselves into the right attitude to do the will of God – which will be the best for them. If they know it, they live in a very different world from those who do not.

And perhaps you can see that the question of a belief in divine providence is among the issues that have fueled your culture war. They that believe in God and seek to do his bidding as best they discern it may go very far astray in fact but as long as they seriously question and stoutly attempt to live their faith, they will have a strength denied those who attempt to live as if they were only humans with no greater, more transcendent, connection. Here is the fire that fueled what you call the religious right. They could have been easily countered had their adversaries believed, whatever the specifics of their belief.

One man connected to the other side (one might say) is as a mighty host, and one relying only on his own resources is puny by comparison even if his cause is objectively right.

That is as I see it.

Thank you, Mr. Lincoln. I will send this around – to many who will agree with little or none of it – and we will hope it reaches some who may profit by it.

TGU — About that question of “why?”

Sunday May 28, 2006

(9 a.m.) [My friend Charles Sides] asks, sincerely, if I will ask why. Why are we here, what is life all about? He lists several of the things people say about it – and people don’t seem to be shy about pretending to know. He’s looking for a purpose to the 3D world, a question he and I often pursued in our Sunday morning discussions back when he was a neighbor. As it happens, I think I’m beginning to know, and I think that what is wrong with so many schemes that tell us what we’re doing is a false idea about who we are. But I don’t seem to have the energy to write it out at the moment. Maybe later.

(And BTW that is interesting in itself, because when somebody comes in, fatigue is not a factor until I run out of steam, usually at least an hour later: It is never a matter of looking forward and saying, geez, that’s going to be a lot of work.)

(12:15 p.m.) Okay, let’s see if we can do this. I’ll start and hope someone chimes in at the appropriate time.

As I’m beginning to see it, the 3D world is an integral part of the non-3D world. Whether 3D always existed or was created, I don’t know. Whether, if created, it was created once for all, I don’t know. Whether 3D creation comes into being repeatedly – that is, one creation appearing, living its lifespan, and disappearing, to be succeeded by another creation (as Hindus apparently believe) I don’t know. But for our purposes right now, we know that 3D exists, regardless whether it is ultimately illusion, and regardless whether (as is very likely) its true nature is quite different from our ideas of it. Some think that 3D is the only thing that exists, but to them I have nothing to say, nor would they listen if I did have.

It seems clear that a major distorter of our ideas is the spatial analogy that sneaks into everything. Thus we think of 3D as being “here” and non-3D being “there”; elsewhere. I prefer to think of everything being a matter of frequency, of vibration (though that is analogy as well, which is hard to remember) so that there is only one “here” and it encompasses all that is; physical, non-physical, whatever. Now granted, it is an extensive here; still, it is the only game there is. We in 3D can’t experience non-3D with our senses but can experience it otherwise. If we can remember that it is right here we eliminate or minimize one source of error, the spatial analogy.

Another distortion arises from our belief in what the guys call the “convenient fiction” of individual existence. Believing that we are individuals, we carry that belief over to our ideas about the other side. Thus we think (if we believe in reincarnation) that one life is a rebirth of another, as if any of the lives in 3D were a unit. Thus “I” am a reincarnation of “Joseph” or “John” or “Katrina.” But – am I? In what sense? Instead, it appears that the soul is created at birth (or conception, or somewhere thereabouts; whenever spirit hooks into body) and continues another sort of existence after the death of the body. That soul’s attributes may well share inheritances, via spirit, of other past souls – but it is not a straight re-run of those lives, and should not be thought of as a continuation of them except in the sense which we may think of ourselves as continuations of our physical ancestors. So – the individuality analogy as source of error.

Given that we are here to choose (that is, accepting what the guys have said), our choices in 3D somehow influence the other side by changing what we become. It is as if we in our lives are voting on values, and the votes are being continually tallied on the other side. The vote is not what we think so much as what we are.

When the voting becomes final, so to speak, or even if it ever does, I have no idea. But they have made it pretty clear, at least is seems clear to me, that

[nteresting. I interrupted myself by letting my mind stray while I was writing out that “at least” clause, and now I have no idea how I was going to end the sentence. I suspect that it’s time for a word from our sponsors.]

How’d I do so far?

You show a pretty good working understanding of what we have been telling you. You haven’t mentioned delayed consequences as a sort of explanatory device – making sure you absorb the results of various decisions, you know – but otherwise unexceptionable.

Still your question remains: Why do you do this; why does the universe exist; why is there a God or a box of corn flakes, and what are they to you.

You used to say to Charles that you are in the position, while in 3D, of being a fish at the bottom of the sea trying to imagine a man on the top of a mountain watching television. Nice analogy, and still true.

“Why is there air,” Bill Cosby used to ask as part of a comedy routine. Nothing wrong with asking the question, as long as you remember (or realize in the first place!) that there can be no answer divorced from the interests of the questioner. “To blow basketballs up with” is logical, accurate, and germane, if that is where your interests lie. “To provide an exchange medium for plants and animals” would be equally true – but no more true, merely from a wider perspective. We could continue but, we assume, there is no need. “Why” is a question whose answer is always improvised according to the nature of the person responding. In our view “why” does not rank with “how.” You may never know why you live, but you probably should give thought to how. Naturally the two questions are related, but either question is more meaningful in connection to the other than standing alone; that is why we bring “how” into the discussion.

Thank you very much. I’m tired now, but I get that you’re finished anyway.

For the moment.

(12:50 p.m.)

Carl Jung on exploration

Tuesday May 16, 2006

(7:50 a.m.) Dr. Jung, can you provide some context for what is going on here? I’m beyond suspecting that I am “making this up” except that the more I think about it the less I have any idea what’s really going on, how I should really be looking at all this. I’m not really simple enough to take all this at its face value either as legitimate contact or as construct of my own mind. No, that isn’t the way to put it. I mean to say, I am not simple enough to be sure of anything! So, I would appreciate how it seems to you – even while recognizing that asking your opinion is like – well, anyway –

You are in deep waters, and you prefer to be able to stand firmly on the bottom.

Boy that’s the truth!

And yet you want to go sailing. Very well, if you wish to sail and you cannot swim, it is well for you to not fall out of the boat, or else go sailing wearing always a life preserver! But life preservers are not much fun, so you must learn to swim, or be sure to not fall out of the boat, or stay ashore.

Staying ashore does not appeal to me.

Of course, or what would you be doing out of sight of land? And you do not quite know how to swim – although, you float quite vigorously! – and so you are confined to your boat and in fact are confined a bit in what you dare do in your boat lest you fall off.

But enough of analogy. “Your boat” really refers to the concepts you use in order to make sense of your experiences. This is necessary if you are to sail farther and acquire even newer experiences. Otherwise you are swimming alone and the strangeness could overwhelm you.

Robert Monroe’s strength was in allowing himself to be led to new experiences regardless that he had no concepts to fit them into. This made him a good explorer. But what made him a good map-maker is that when he returned to a mundane frame of reference he did not seek to reconcile his experiences with existing material, but instead pieced it together himself. This does not mean that he produced accurate maps. It means that he produced first-hand maps.

Your strength is somewhat the same, but your context is very different. You are immersed at a broad but shallow level in many connections. You have read extensively in areas he had not encountered – including books that became possible only because of his journeys and books and technology and [TMI residential] programs. So your map-making differs from his not so much by experience – though here too they are profoundly different – as by temperament and context.

For example, Monroe had no theology, and he saw no value to theology. He respected science and wanted to function as a scientist. Much of what each of you lives among is terra incognita to the other.

I’m not sure I’ve got a very good connection here. The feel of this fades in and out and I wonder if I am putting in words to fill blanknesses.

Breathing. Settling in. Slowing.

Thanks. Better.

Yes. All right then –

Your question is, what is going on? Who are you talking to? What is the process? You had a working hypothesis. Why do you feel the need to abandon it or modify it, and why use me rather than yourself?

Well surely it is obvious. I don’t know if my explanation is right – and how can I find out by asking part of the manifestation if it is what it seems to be!

Precisely. So – nevertheless you ask. Having called spirits from the vasty deep you ask them if they are really spirits, and if they are really from the vasty deep, or if you are making the whole thing up.

And it’s ridiculous, I know. It is exactly like asking somebody if they exist outside of my own mind. In the nature of things, the answer is inside the frame of reference. I don’t suppose we could ever really prove that anybody else exists, really – because all the evidence that seems to be sensory has been processed by our own mind.

And so you should ask yourself, why does this question remain important to you? Regardless what the answer is, the fact that you are presented with is that the question exists and is real for you and important.

And for someone else, it might not be.

That’s right. Your questions define you much more than your answers do.

I have been working on the assumption that this experience is for the sake of others, not just for me. The fact that I am willing to experiment in public is – I take it – one of my qualifications for the job. Well, if this is true, setting out my doubts and problems is a good thing, surely, so as to encourage others to begin or continue. But it seems to me that some tentative structure is equally important.

Yes, but anyone doing something by following another person’s example has a pitfall to deal with that the first person does not. The very fact that you have recorded your experiments makes them more real, more objective, gives them greater weight, to the person reading of them or hearing of them. It tempts followers to assume that you know more, can do more, are more, than they.

Yes I see that all the time now. And I see how I have done just that.

Of course. It can scarcely be avoided. Perhaps it shouldn’t be avoided, for in its own way it can be an encouragement. But wrongly used – or rather, revered instead of being used – it becomes a pitfall.

Revered?

Well, you know, when you read of another’s efforts and you sympathize with them, there is a temptation to set the experimenter higher than yourself in your estimation. Were you not told that too much admiration sets a distance between people that hampers communication?

Yes. I see. So do you think it would be a bad thing, or say a useless thing, to try to make a structure to contain this in?

Why should you wish to contain it? To contain it is to confine the ship to the harbor. You know the saying about ships and harbors.

Yes I do. Ships are safe in harbors but that isn’t what ships are made for.

So?

So how about it we at least sketch out the structure of the ship itself?

To reassure the sailors, presumably.

Well, sure, that. And to give – no, I guess that’s what it amounts to.

Very well, look at it this way. You are a consciousness, a part of which is confined within a body and the body’s experiences. To the degree that you restrict your awareness to that part of your consciousness only, you will live in a world of senses and, perhaps, thoughts. But that world will be haunted by dreams and the irrational. Things will occur that are seemingly external to you, seeded from chaos. Life may become a struggle for sanity.

Religions were created for many reasons, not least of which to provide a formal social acknowledgement that the consciousness of the senses is not the end of the story. The idea, you see, is just what you were proposing – by giving people a framework, perhaps they would feel more comfortable, exploring.

But not everyone needs religion for that purpose. Some find their consciousness ranging far and wide beyond the body, and some find this exhilarating and some find it frightening and some don’t think much about it, taking it as natural. In this difference in reaction you may see a difference in types, as I studied long ago.

In a time in which religion is alive to people and they do not overspill it – that is, in a time created within the religion – anyone’s imaginings, dreams, experiences, visitations, apparitions, communications are fitted into the framework the religion provides, and thus they make sense, pretty easily.

These are not the kind of times you live in – or wish to live in, or you would be living in other times! In your times, the old religion – the old way of linking up, which is what the word religion means – has lost its vitality. New myths, new containers, are being shaped, as you live through the process. Your great-grandchildren will live within a new myth that more closely matches their psychic reality. There is nothing wrong with the process, neither the making of myths nor the outgrowing of myths. How else is chaos to be contained, save in form? How else is growth to occur, save in the breaking of form?

Living as you do – as I did, but in an earlier phase – in which the old gods have left the forms that society had become accustomed to, you have a transitory freedom of exploration that has its advantages and disadvantages.,

No one can see God’s unshielded face, religious tradition tells us. What does this mean? One meaning is simply that the created cannot comprehend that which created it. Another meaning is that the consciousness while confined within form cannot comprehend the formless, but immediately and inevitably attempts to confine the formless in some sort of definition that consciousness-within-form can grasp. You know the Sufi saying, it is very true: “Words are a prison. God is free.”

Well, if you cannot really see the infinite as it is – not from want of will or want of intensity or want of depth or want of sustained effort but in the nature of things – then you must resign yourself to the knowledge that whatever glimpse you get is precious, but incomplete; infinitely valuable, but misunderstood and not very communicable. In times between eras, times between myths, times between religions – in times when the Gods have left their former habitations and have not yet had new houses built for them by man – in your time, in other words, you can see this inability to comprehend the infinite. The times between gods (if you care to look at it that way) allow people to see between the cracks and remember how little we ever see. Later, when we are worshipping the gods in these new houses, we will find it easier to forget that still we do not see them face to face.

Now what does this have to do with Mr. Robert Monroe, and you who use his tools of exploration? This should serve as a reminder that the fact that you do not know is actually a good thing, for it merely means that for the moment you are awake to a reality that persists but is forgotten. You can never know at any absolute level. Given that you cannot know if pink looks to your neighbor as it does to you, can you expect to compare visions of the formless? There is no harm, and much use, in making such comparisons provided that you remember the limits to your certainties. But it is precisely this remembering that you will find very hard to do. The continual recurring temptation will be to fall into certainty or to cease to explore.

Thank you very much. (9:05 a.m.)

Joseph Patrick Kennedy (2)

Monday May 15, 2006, continuing

(8:10 pm) Mr. Kennedy can you tell me who killed John F. Kennedy and why and how?

You aren’t going to win any friends by putting this on the internet.

I don’t care. I feel like they ruined the lives of millions of people and I would love to be able to say so.

You just are not even remotely aware what you would be doing. You still assume that there is an abstract justice and far play that would protect you, and there isn’t. If Bobby couldn’t tell people the truth with the protection his circumstances gave him at the time why do you think you could get protection just because you are unknown and helpless? It’s a beautiful catch-22, you see. If you know and remain unknown, you are no threat. If you know and you are known you can be discredited. There isn’t a need to murder everybody who knows, and in any case there are different ways to murder people. Ask Clinton about assassination by reputation.

I see the point. So what are we to do?

Do? Live your lives with your eyes open. Naming names can’t bring back Jack, and it can’t bring you back to 1963, either. Your life is lived as it is, not as it might theoretically have been.

So forget it?

No! Not at all. But you know the saying “revenge is a dish best served cold”? Wait. They always go too far, just as you say.

They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves.

Sure. And they’re going to wind up like flies on a carcass. They think their best bet is to keep people numbed and sedated with bread and circuses. How well did that work out for the Romans?

I don’t think of myself as particularly blood-thirsty but I’d like to see the bastards suffer.

Dig two graves.

[An old saying says, when you go to seek revenge, dig two graves.]

I know the saying. And I agree with it. But –

Nobody gets away with anything. It isn’t up to you to control the world any more than it is to them, though they think so. Nobody can control it, it’s too big – you know all this.

It seems sort of shameful to sit doing nothing even if it isn’t my family or my fight. It was my life, though.

What’s the point of getting into a fight you have to lose? You’d help nobody and you’d either have no effect at all or you’d get squashed like a bug. What’s your percentage?

If you had been well and vigorous, would you have taken it sitting down?

Bobby was the toughest guy I ever met, including me, and he had to take it.

It’s funny, this isn’t what I ever would have imagined your reaction to be.

Then, maybe you aren’t making it up. My reaction is just realism. It’s the difference between being a combat veteran and being somebody who has seen a lot of war movies. There isn’t any comparison. It’s real life versus make-believe. It’s the way things are versus the way things ought to be. I can hate, but what good does it do to turn hatred into self-destruction?

Even after they’ve systematically whittled down your family like Nero and Germanicus?

People get killed in war; they get killed by tyrants. There’s a difference between recognizing what is and agreeing with it or approving of it. If somebody stole a million dollars from me and did it legally and I couldn’t get it back, what was I supposed to do? What is there to do but remember and wait for an opportunity? But maybe the opportunity never comes – should I throw my life away brooding over the million bucks or should I just go on?

I understand. It does make sense.

The truth about it has been told long ago, and eventually it will be sorted out from all the lies that were planted around it. But you know what, it still won’t bring Jack back, it won’t bring 1963 back, and it won’t bring back what they broke, right out in public, though it took a while longer for people to realize it had been broken.

People withdrew their support of the government

People’s blindness! There’s nothing going on now that hasn’t always gone on, except that the illusion is gone, and so people are sitting it out, and that changes the game. When these people come looking for citizens to ride to their rescue against the invading huns, who’s going to be stupid enough to saddle up? Some will. Some will do it to try to protect their families or even their idea of what America was supposed to become. But mainly people are going to say one thing: “You own it, you protect it.” That’s when you’ll get your revenge, but it may not taste very sweet.

Surely you wouldn’t advocate our defending these bums?

You see? In your reaction you show the effect it had. In 1962 you would have said “defend ourselves.” Now you say it would be defending “them” because you know it isn’t your country in any meaningful sense, no matter how you loved it. When the majority comes to feel that way, there’s the end waiting to happen. That doesn’t mean you will necessarily like the following act, though.

Here is my scenario – critique it? Then nobody can say I said you said it. It seems to me the Mafia or part of it had to be involved, and the Secret Service or part of it, and probably the FBI and intelligence agencies – one of them – part of them in both cases, as few as possible. I’ve never seen Johnson as a prime mover even though he was a prime beneficiary. But Nixon was in Dallas the day before, and I’ve always wondered why. HL Hunt was in Texas, and the Bush family. It seems clear that Nixon was never high enough to be the prime mover. The Hunts and Bushes and I don’t run in the same social circles so I don’t know their place in it if any. Beyond that I can’t go.

That isn’t bad. What else do you need? The underworld, the Secret Service, at least part of one intelligence agency, and an unknown prime mover – who by the way probably did not decide to do this on a whim or without consultation. So what would be the use in going farther?

Well, I’ll name one for sure: J. Edgar Hoover.

Oh he was aware, but only in a deniable way. You can bet on it that Edgar wasn’t going to put his head into a noose if things went wrong. But he could outlast Bobby for another five years or until he died if need be. Edgar would be silently cheering them on, but only from way out in the sidelines.

Hence some of Bobby’s guilt? That between Hoffa and Hoover he’d given two powerful figures reason to kill his brother.

Bobby knew better. He knew it wasn’t Johnson either. Bobby could hate, but he could hate and think. He didn’t have to chose one or the other.

Didn’t Bobby see it coming if he ran for president in 1968?

Of course he did. He saw it as a threat but he figured he’d be safe until November anyway. They outthought him on that one.

He was being reckless?

He was taking a chance because he really believed he could help the country change, and he believed only he could do it because people would trust him, as Jack’s friend and heir. He couldn’t accept that there wasn’t anything he could do. His whole life told him different.

Well, I don’t know if I could talk to him. You know what I feel, just please pass the message on. By the way, do you communicate? Does a family act as a family over there? When you’ve formed such strong bonds here, do they continue to affect you there?

[Different “feel” enters here.]

[RFK:] The thing you’re feeling about contacting me should make you see what it was for Jack and me – for all of us – growing up with dad.

The wariness, you mean?

Yes. You love me or your image of me and at the same time you remember my reputation and you wonder if I’m going to swat you. That was life with dad!

Well, I did love you, it’s true, and I did feel that hesitation. The middle class gets pretty thoroughly versed in being snubbed by those who have more money or position of whatever. But God bless you for really caring about the poor.

Except for my family, that was the most warm satisfying part of my life. That all these strangers who had nothing next to what I’d always taken for granted as my right should love me – at first I said it was for Jack, because the idea overwhelmed me that it could be for me. When I finally got to believe it, it was a new day for me, a second life. I know you will believe that, but I’ll bet not many of the people you show it to will.

You underestimate your own impact, I think. We loved you because you loved your brother as we did, but we came to love you even more when you came out of that enforcer shell and showed us that you really could see – like the time you went to Mississippi. You broke fully as many hearts as your brother did and for the same reason. Not only the cutting short of so much promise, but there was a sense there, that grew with time, that you got killed just because you were trying to turn America from violence and hatred to what we were supposed to have been, and maybe still could become. So – thank you. Tell me, is it a burden – and if so, how does it manifest? – to have people love you after you’re dead?

It’s a matter of definition, really. If we stay with the soul we are impacted, if we move on, we aren’t. I’m not the person to ask about all this.

All right. Do you entirely agree with your father’s views on what’s going to happen or do you think it could be turned around?

I believe in miracles, but I believe miracles happen because people work for them. I think it would be a shame if people gave up on America just because two more people got killed for trying to do what they thought was right.

Okay, but things look pretty bleak from here. They seem to have everything all sewed up.

That’s an illusion. That’s what the East Germans thought too, but once the threat of Soviet intervention was gone it took what, three, four, five candlelit marches a month apart and the government collapsed. When they lose the ability to run things by money, there will be an opportunity. I hope it won’t be wasted in guns and rioting. What you’re doing could be an immense help, so don’t quit.

No, I’m actually starting to take it for granted, between times when I startle myself by saying – I could talk to him! In any case I can’t think what else to do.

The effective technique will involve imagination and the creation of forms.

Thank you.

 

Joseph Patrick Kennedy (1)

Monday May 15, 2006

Yesterday I found a book of Rita’s – Winter Kills by Richard Condon. A roman a clef, sort of, but mostly his idea on what has happened (as of 1974) to the country. The John F. Kennedy assassination and cover up and various sequential contradictory cover stories – as a means of confusion. There are clues to what he thinks for those who can recognize them – Don Carlo Fortunato, for instance, of Naples, formerly of New York. Charlie Lucky, in other words: Lucky Luciano. I read all of Winter Kills feeling pretty sure that the big surprise ending was going to be a revelation that the father had killed the son. Got talked out of it for about a chapter. Sure enough. But great stress on the first eleven months of the presidency – eleven months from the inauguration takes us to Joe Kennedy’s stroke. Joe Kennedy’s life reveals the corruption of his times. Say –

Well, Mr. Kennedy, do you have any interest in talking to me?

Joe Kennedy’s view of the world

Because you’re nobody, you mean? Well, there isn’t anybody in my old world who’s more nobody than a dead man. So join the club.

You want to know what – how I felt? What made me tick? I can see your judgments about me. I won’t say you’re wrong, you’re learning. I had a clearer view of what’s what than you do, that’s all. I had a better seat and I made sure I kept it. The world I grew up in wasn’t for softies, and I wasn’t about to be left behind.

You know how much pious crap is spouted by society – it’s all so much pretentious horseshit. You know, yourself – you’ve said it more than once – that what people really take seriously are money and death. You don’t put it that way but that’s what it amounts to. Well – I always knew it. I didn’t buy the bunk. Roosevelt and all those guys that were born rich – could they have done what I did? And I made sure my sons could have done it too if they’d had to. I wanted them tough and strong and wide-open-eyed, and by God that’s what I got. Teddy the least of course, but that’s because he was the baby, and it didn’t seem to matter so much then.

Young Joe and Jack

Life is funny. It takes you places you never thought you’d go. I figured Joe would be the success of the family. I expected to spend twenty years making him president. Looking at it now, I can see probably he wouldn’t have made it. Another Joe Kennedy by name wouldn’t have helped, for one thing. And he didn’t have what Jack had. People might have been dazzled by him but they wouldn’t have been bowled over. If his life had gone the way Jack’s did and he’d been killed in mid-career, I don’t see how his picture would be on the walls of poor people all over the world. Of course I didn’t see it then, nobody could and who would have guessed any of it?

Nobody stops to think what I thought when Jack got killed. At most they think what would Joe have thought? And Bobby. It might have been easier if I’d been over here when they went – but maybe I needed to experience it there, I don’t know.

Family

Well, what did you think? I was thinking you’d died before either one of them was killed, then I remembered that you hadn’t.

No. that book you just read, I know it was fiction but it’s a lot of crap. The guy thinks I’d put anything in front of my family, that just says more about him than me. That’s like saying I’d put something in front of my right arm. Sometimes you have to, because it’s the only way to save something and you have to choose what to lose, but you don’t lop off your family for the theoretical chance to make more money. Jesus Christ, what is money for? It’s so you can have a good life and give your family a good life, and have enough to protect yourself. And of course the more you have the more you need to protect, but it isn’t the same as saying that you want more, more, more for its own sake. Not unless you’re a horse’s ass or you can’t think of anything else to do but keep playing the game as if the game was life.

A red-headed Irishman

You remember somebody wrote that I was playing classical music and my [“employees?” “friends?” I couldn’t decide which was the right word] didn’t like it and I said “the trouble with you bastards is you don’t have any culture.” They told that story figuring that my saying the word “bastards” showed that I didn’t have any culture. That says worlds about them. I had culture; what I didn’t have was WASP manners. And that’s a whole different thing. A manner is a way of fitting in and showing certain others that you fit in. I got through Harvard all right. I could fit in when I needed to. But what I wasn’t, and what I had no interest in pretending to be, was a WASP. I was a red-headed Irishman, likely to kick the pillars down if I was crossed, and I didn’t let them forget it, and I’ll tell you why. If I hadn’t, they wouldn’t have let me forget it! It’s like laughing at yourself first except I wasn’t laughing, I was stopping them from putting me into an ethnic box by putting myself half-in, half-out.

Now, my boys, they might have been English, especially Jack. I raised them to come from the right schools and meet the right people and I was prominent enough and rich enough and colorful enough – and don’t think I didn’t work at that sometimes! – that I got them a sort of exception. They were as Irish as Aunt Bridget when it was convenient, and as English or as upper American as Macmillan when it was convenient, and neither thing was entirely true or entirely false. What they were, and you’ll understand this from your feeling about your own family, what they were was Kennedys first and everything else got tacked on.

Making your own rules

Made their own rules? Hell yes, and who do you suppose taught them to? In this world, I’d tell them, you have to make your own rules or live by somebody else’s.

Now, there isn’t any use pretending or fooling yourself into thinking that other people’s rules were made for anything but the convenience of the people making them. Like laws, like the rules of a club, like social etiquette – anything you can think of including morality and the ten commandments that everybody refers to and nobody can name or follow – it was all made up by somebody for some reason. I don’t mean exactly that one person made up any one rule, even laws. But there just isn’t and can’t be an impartial body that makes up rules that don’t favor anybody and come out for everybody’s benefit. Maybe God could do it but he doesn’t seem to have done it. So you’re on your own, really, and the main thing is whether you realize it. That’s what I taught my boys and I’d say they turned out all right, wouldn’t you?

So – when you saw them killed?

Reacting to Jack being killed

I didn’t actually see it, that was a mercy. What did I think? What did I feel? Well, here I am beyond the grave, I suppose there’s no harm telling.

I don’t know if you realize it but I was a very emotional man. I was in touch with myself very well. I know people think I was cold as ice, but they’re confusing cool judgment with lack of passion. Jack, same way. Well, you can see it maybe in stories about my temper – people don’t always think to connect a strong temper with strong feelings, I don’t know why. Yes I do: They think the temper comes out of an ego being blocked. But that’s too simple. And – people forget, and of course whose who never knew me don’t know it – I had enormous self-control. When reason and judgment said I had to sit on it, I sat on it, and maybe it showed and maybe it didn’t, but I was in control, not my temper. Even if I blew up, I didn’t blow up in a way to ruin anything, you understand?

How do you think I reacted? First of all, he was my son. Just like Joe, all that preparation, all that careful molding of character and experience, all that pride I had in how he’d turned out – and he was gone. It’s a bitter thing for a man to bury his children. Jack had opened a side of himself to me after my stroke that I hadn’t seen since he was a very little boy. He had been openly loving and affectionate again without what I suddenly realized was a caution, a reserve. I guess he’d spent his whole life a little bit in fear of me, or of my disapproval, anyway. And once that was gone – once there wasn’t anything I could do or say – that soft side of him came out to me again. I hated for that to be killed, too.

People think I might have been devastated that a Kennedy wasn’t in the White House any more, but that just shows that they don’t understand anything. With Jack gone, why bother? We had done it; we were at the peak and Jack’s martyrdom – for what else was it? – had sealed it. Every ambition I had had for the family I had fulfilled on January 20, 1961. Everything after that wasn’t aimed at achieving anything; it was aimed at what it would do for them to achieve it, if you see the difference. If Bobby could have gotten my opinion and I’d been up to it, I would have told him not to run for president in 1968 or ever. There wasn’t any need, and it wouldn’t do any good. But Bobby probably wouldn’t have listened anyway; that isn’t why he ran for president.

The purity of Jack and Bobby

Here’s a theme for you. My stroke liberated Jack; Jack’s murder liberated Bobby; Bobby’s murder liberated Ted, though people don’t see it. That is the downside, as you call it, to family expectations. The reason I bring it us is that after 1963 Bobby got moved farther and farther toward total rejection of the unfairness of the way things were. I could have told him that no one man can change things much, and that if he did start to change things he wouldn’t last. But Bobby probably wouldn’t have listened. He was awfully strong-headed.

I was awfully proud of what Jack had accomplished because you know it was pretty much against his grain. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if one reason people loved him as a politician was because he didn’t seem like a politician. Well, he wasn’t, not really. He learned the game and he played it as well as anybody could, but without me in the background he never would have gotten too far because he was too pure. And Bobby was even purer.

You don’t think so? Well, think again. Those boys had been to Harvard after exclusive prep schools and life as a prominent public figure’s son. They fit in, in a way I hadn’t been able to because I was the son of saloon keepers. Jack, especially, was an intellectual by temperament. He loved reading and he loved thinking about things you might not credit if I told you. He was like the second son in royalty, you see, and he could afford to be his own man. And then came the war, and his whole life there was all that sickness. It wasn’t the same kind of life I’d had at all. He didn’t need to do those things, because I had done them for him! For him and his brothers and sisters. What would be the point in my educating him into the seamy side of things when I’d made more money than he would ever need?

And Bobby, you know, seriously thought about becoming a priest. There is a famous picture of my family that shows Bobby at age 10 or 12, I think and that picture says it all. If he had been really set on being a priest I wouldn’t have stopped him – you can always use a cardinal in the family! – but I was glad he went a different way. He was a very passionate boy. What he would have done in a celibate society escapes me. Well, I don’t suppose he’d have been able to stand it. Or maybe he would have been able to sublimate it all, I don’t know. But I was still glad he didn’t go into the church. Jack needed him, for one thing.

Thank you. Loads of questions, but I’m tired now. (11:50)