Thursday, December 04, 2008

They Only Come Out at Night (12.22.11)

UF next discusses the "mystery of the star" that guides us on our night journey back to the Self. If you do not realize that it is late at night and that it is dark.... well, let's just say that the sun can't help you. The star can never be seen in broad daylight, which should be a lesson to you-know-who, but it won't be. In any event, each person must seek out and locate this star for himself, for you won't hear about it on television, in college, or from science. You cannot purchase a map to the stars from some dirty hobo on the corner, unless that dirty hobo is Cousin Dupree hawking some stolen copies of my book.

We must follow this star without reserve, for "a whole world is at stake," the resurrected world of our interior being. UF cites the example of Jung, with whom I have some problems, but who nevertheless, it is true, followed his star "all his life, and followed the 'star' alone." He was no slithering Deepak, that's for sure. It's just that he ultimately confused his star with the sun, but we won't get into that.

The point is, the star should lead to the sun, not be an end in itself, for then you are dealing with narcissism or idol worship. For example, in the case of the three mages from the east, the star led them to Jesus. They did not worship the star, nor did they presumably elevate themselves for being such fantastic astrologers and open up a psychic shoppe on Melrose.

In fact, UF agrees that he is not personally satisfied with the results of Jung's work, but that his method had much in common with the way of the Raccoon, in that it partook of "concentration without effort" (i.e., playful free association), "interpretation of dreams and spontaneous fantasy," cooperation between "the fertilizing sphere (outside of and beyond the normal consciousness) and fertilized consciousness," "the amplification of immediate data from the manifestation of the unconsciousness by means of alchemy, myths, and mysteries belonging to mankind's historical past," using the unconscious (I would say "supraconscious," or just vertical consciousness) "as guide and master," and most importantly, "not identifying oneself with the superhuman forces of the archetypes -- not allowing them to take possession of the individual consciousness (so that the latter does not become a victim of inflation."

That paragraph was a mythful to digest, but I think that you could reduce it to the idea of sincerely playing in that expanding transitional space between O and (n), but with the fixed archetypes of tradition, which are not arbitrary or accidental, but as objective as the night time sky. Nevertheless, each person necessarily has a slightly different view of them.

Interestingly, UF also cites Teilhard de Chardin as someone who was unwaveringly faithful to his star, even while remaining faithful to the Church. I say "interesting," because Teilhard was one the the stars I followed in writing my book. As I have mentioned before, I kept a photo of him (and a few others) over my desk, very much like a star above my head.

And it wasn't that I literally wanted to follow Teilhard or his star, but his example of someone who faithfully pursued his star wherever it led him, despite the consequences (which in his case were quite painful -- cf his biography; The Phenomenon of Man could not be published in his lifetime. In my case, the only consequence was a book that will not sell in my lifetime).

Mainly, I wanted his breadth of vision, which was truly cosmic in its scope -- both in time and space, both interior and exterior. See if this sounds familiar: Teilhard "followed the 'star' on a long voyage: through the paths of the universal evolution of the world throughout millions of years. What did he do, properly speaking? He showed the 'star' above the universal evolution of the world, in a way that the latter 'is seen to be knit together and convulsed by a vast movement of convergence... at the term of which we can distinguish a supreme focus of personalizing personality." In short, Teilhard recognoused the star above mere Darwinian evolution, demonstrating how science and religion are fully compatible -- which they obviously must be.

In a way, the pursuit of my star was completely self-interested, in that I wanted to know how this vast universe resulted in... Bob. Not just me per se, but the very possibility of a me, or what Teilhard refers to above as the "personalizing personality," by which he means an area of increasingly complex and centrated subjectivity.

What I really wanted to understand was the how the expanding human subject fits into the whole existentialada, and in just what kind of cosmos is such a bizarre development as me possible? I focused on that mystery with all the passion I could muster, which threw off the sparks that resulted in the book. Whatever else the book is -- appearances to the contrary notwithstanding -- it is also a very personal "journal" that chronicles my attempt to bring together all the loose threads of my life. I am fully aware of the fact that someone else would do it differently, even though I am always aiming at a "universal" solution.

Of course I would like my ideas to be universal, but even if they were, it would nevertheless be necessary for each person to write their own book -- to perhaps use me as I used Teilhard, as a kind of inspiration -- a minor star, but certainly not the sun. I made reference to this at the outset of the book, on page 23, with the idea that we must all compose a symphony out of the fragments of our life, and no one's fragments are identical. It is even a kind of "metabolism" that results in the growth of a nonlocal body -- which is none other than the form of your soul.

But that is what we are after: ultimate coherence of inner and outer, time and eternity, spirit and matter, faith and reason, intelligence and wisdom, science and religion, for that constitutes peace. And one way or the other, that coherence can only come from the top. Any alternative is a non-starer. Or maybe a "twin" persecutory and vengeful flaming star that haunts and pursues you into the dust.

33 Comments:

Anonymous Ray Ingles said...

"...for you won't hear about it on television, in college, or from science. You cannot purchase a map to the stars from some dirty hobo on the corner,..."

If that is true then what exactly is Rocky Mozell doing on the radio with The Star Registry?

Huh? Huh? Huh? Answer me that one Mr. Smarty Pants!

12/04/2008 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Well, "Flaming Star" has certainly cured the "Good Vibrations" earworm although I can't imagine why Elvis is singing about Liberace.

12/04/2008 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, if I may paraphrase, it seems that you are saying all elements of the person--thoughts, emotions, actions, goals, and will, should be organized and subordinated around one shining point, that is the aspiration for, pursuit of, concentration on, devotion to, O.

This single-pointedness towards O would then be the best way to organize one's life, in fact would define what it means to live well.

The main sypmtoms caused by this harmonization and coherence of teh total being would be peace, lightness, ease, wideness, plasticity, and joy.

Do I parse you right?

BTWIMATRL.

12/04/2008 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Flaming Star said...

ease, wideness, plasticity,

But enough about your ass, Troll.

12/04/2008 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Having an ever-fixed point only serves its purpose if you're going somewhere. It's assuring that it is there, in the night of our soul, but it does beckon us to move toward it, or use it purposefully in our travels. Maybe that's why it is necessary that it be outside of us, drawing us away from mere navel-gazing and into the active exploration of the biggest questions... and ultimately back to ourselves.

12/04/2008 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In case you're wondering, the post was that good, not that bad. It's also a mythful, and some of us (well, me anyway) are trying to finish chewing and swallowing before discussing. 'Cuz otherwise, we might start spraying partially masticated and undigested idea fragments about willy nilly, and that's just messy.

12/04/2008 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"The point is, the star should lead to the sun, not be an end in itself, for then you are dealing with narcissism or idol worship. For example, in the case of the three mages from the east, the star led them to Jesus. They did not worship the star, nor did they presumably elevate themselves for being such fantastic astrologers and open up a psychic shoppe on Melrose."

Mushroom had left a comment at QP's regarding a Van Gogh painting "Starry Night Over the Rhone", that seems relevant here:

"Those are the lights of Arles, in southern France. Supposedly from where he was standing, Van Gogh could not have seen the Great Bear. But he wants us to be looking north -- the direction of God. That is indicated by the church steeple as well. The couple has turned away, but the light of the Plough blazes, as if calling to them, silently."

12/04/2008 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Like Julie, I found this one very evocative ... but, of what? It seemed intensely "personal": about you, first of all; but also because, as you said, we all see and sense the star -- when we do -- from our own angle. And while there's the most to say about such essential subjects, I feel strangely still about expressing it.

I've read that sometimes the mind shuts down when it encounters data that threatens it -- but in this case, I think it's more that the subject strikes me as ineffable.

Just don't be thinking that nobody's reading.

12/04/2008 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I'm glad you said still, Walt. My first attempt to think on it was as though I had heard a still, small voice and so wanted to retreat for a bit.

12/04/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Mainly, I wanted his breadth of vision, which was truly cosmic in its scope -- both in time and space, both interior and exterior. See if this sounds familiar: Teilhard "followed the 'star' on a long voyage: through the paths of the universal evolution of the world throughout millions of years. "

I'll second Julie, Walt and Joan here, it is one of those topics that just seems to slip right by the tongue (or fingertips as the case may be).

But forcing them to speak anyway, there is that sense of a star that sought for, draws you upwardly inwards, Truth becomes something more palpable than a factual conclusion, and in that pursuit, going ultimately subjective and beyond where we can bring evidence out for consideration, there is for me the sense that the slopes of that upwardly/inward pyramid cross at an internal doorway at the reaches of consciousness and the sharp tippy toppermost of the Truth quest crosses into the top half of the "X" and expands through my inwardness, outwardly into something vast... and Bright... giving illumination to our night.

I suppose it is beyond where words reach well, or at all.

Very sparkly though.

12/04/2008 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Yep. Shiny!

12/04/2008 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor."

I Cor 15:41 (TNIV)

Most stars look pretty much the same to me, but Paul and science tell me different.

12/04/2008 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, I think Still is correct - like when you're sitting outside at night, someplace where the light pollution is almost non-existent, watching the stars emerge and begin to twinkle. Naturally, voices lower to whispers and murmurs. Watching the firelight or watching the starlight, either way it's reverie.

12/04/2008 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Deepak gets ass kicked by little old Jewish lady.

12/04/2008 07:02:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Dorothy Reginawitz

12/04/2008 10:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

I gotta still, too.

12/04/2008 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"We must follow this star without reserve, for "a whole world is at stake," the resurrected world of our interior being."

Nothin' like a bit of pressure to motivate ourselves! This is crucial!

12/05/2008 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"...the amplification of immediate data from the manifestation of the unconsciousness by means of alchemy, myths, and mysteries belonging to mankind's historical past,..."

I'm tryin' to grasp what he means by "alchemy" in this context.
Without success thus far.
Any ideas on this, Bob? Anyone?

12/05/2008 12:26:00 AM  
Anonymous The porcupine said...

Jung wrote extensively about alchemy as the transformation of the psyche with the help of certain symbols. He saw the alchemical tradition as a precursor of psychology more than chemistry.

12/05/2008 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ben said "I'm tryin' to grasp what he means by "alchemy" in this context. "

Ben, I'm guessing from the previous line "the fertilizing sphere (outside of and beyond the normal consciousness) and fertilized consciousness", it may mean something similar to how fertilizer performs a sort of alchemy in combining chemicals to spur growth, in our unconscious we take the world around us and combine it with myths and mysteries to promote the growth of spiritual truth within us.

It's a book that's still on my wish list, but not on my side table, so I don't know first hand, but there's my guess.

12/05/2008 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I would think, and this is just from my experience reading fantasy and the like, that alchemy is generally the notion of making more from less - qualitatively. Thus a lot of scientific stuff we do is a kind of alchemy. In that way, alchemy is a kind of magic - but a specific, 'earthy' kind. So also alchemy always refers to transmuting substances - which is in reality, combining or separating things to bring out heretofore hidden qualities of their natures.

A great kind of alchemy is cooking, wherein we take things that have certain qualities and produce something with a greater quality - that of being delicious.

Yum.

12/05/2008 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

... and turning something ordinary into something precious and valuable, lead into gold, interpersonal relationships into Love, etc

12/05/2008 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Isn't "alchemy" also an apt description for the "magical" transformations that God is able to perform on us and through us using the very meager raw ingredients we provide - when we let Him?

Evolutionary.

12/05/2008 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Exactly, Van. I seem to think UF actually does explain how he uses the concept of alchemy, basically as being purely symbolic, but I don't have time to look it up at the moment. In other words, he uses it the same way he uses the Tarot - as a way of thinking about spiritual transformation.

12/05/2008 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Play video games as spiritual, symbolic 'texts' for a different effect. Especially the game 'Doom'. Descending into Hades and all that...

12/05/2008 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

An inspiring essay on recovering the "art of constitutionalism".

While there is still time.

12/05/2008 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Finally watched the WSJ video - Dorothy Rabinowitz is my hero.

12/05/2008 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Woof?

12/05/2008 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Thanks for the Hillsdale link Nomo, looks like a goodun'

12/05/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

(Psst! Dupree... rattle the trashcans, I think Bob overslept)

12/05/2008 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Alchemy in this context just means transforming the lead of the ego into the gold of spirit.

12/05/2008 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks guys! That clears things up! :^)

12/05/2008 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Did you say Gold?!

12/05/2008 06:48:00 PM  

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