Thursday, May 19, 2011

Looking for Slack in All the Wrong Places

In Bob's mysterious absence, we shall continue our exploration of the origins and development of slack.

Yes, we realize most of you don't care about this subject, but perhaps you don't realize that we don't care that you don't care. For if we did care, it would diminish the very slack we are trying to cultivate and maintain.

Or, to put it another way, we care very much about you and your slack, but slack is often at odds with one's own perceived self-interest. Slack is no respecter of persons, at least in the anonymous sense. Slack is, however, a great respecter of individuals, and in many ways one could say that individualism is slack lived.

What I mean is that if you are not yourself -- if you are living a lie in one form or another -- then you have no slack. Where 1 cannot be 1 self, 1 is a kind of zero, or Ø.

Therefore, the first rule of slack is to become who you are, or at least to stop pretending to be what you are not.

Sadly, many people are so immersed and invested in the Lie, that there is no turning back. Not surprisingly, such a person is heavily defended, so it is difficult to penetrate his dense farcefield and storm his hidden slacktuary.

If your home is not a peaceful and loving I-land of slack in an Øcean of general slacklessness, then you're probably not going to find it. Yes, your religion is here to deliver you from slacklessness, but for most people, family is the field in which this becomes most operative and apparent.

Naturally, the ingression of slack affects other areas -- e.g., intellect, creativity, and social relationships -- but there is a good reason why family is so central to Judaism and Christianity -- why marriage is a sacrament, why children are a gift, and why the family in general is a laboratory of trinitarian Love.

Some form of monasticism also works -- either exterior or interior -- but to the extent that we are drawn down into the world drama, we will probably lose ourselves.

Don Colacho has many perceptive aphorisms along these lines, for example -- and this is a big one -- Few people do not need circumstances to complicate their souls a little.

It should all be so simple: man woman, hungry eat, tired sleep, mind learn, spirit truth, freedom play. But truly, most people cannot handle the simplicity. Complexity inevitably creeps in, which then requires a constant output of slack in order to maintain. Complexity is the way of anti-Slack; conversely, unity, or communion, is slack's seal and crown.

In the end you will lose, because Death is the most dreadful form of slack removal awaiting you at the end of all the complications. Death is so simple! He cuts you down to size, whoever you are, and renders you as simple as a date on a headstone.

If Death is simple, so too must be its "adversary." This occurred to me yesterday while reading a passage by then Cardinal Ratzinger. For the Christian, Jesus has transformed death itself into the ultimate slack, freeing us from its icy grip. Therefore, there is no need to construct elaborate psychic defenses against it. Life is no longer a project of death denial.

Freud had a saying about the purpose of psychoanalytic therapy: where id was, there ego shall be.

What he meant by this is that our psychic world expands as the personal conscious mind colonizes and transforms more of the impersonal and unconscious "it" within (id is German for it). In other words, in each of us is the I and the It, in a dialectical process of gradual transformation.

As you watch your child grow, you can see more of his It becoming I. But most people, as they mature, have to leave a lot of unresolved It behind, only to be unwillingly dealt with later in the strangest and most inconvenient places! For example, residual It from one's relations with parents may haunt a marriage.

Look at a couple of recent examples, the political actor and the socialist predator. Both were waylaid and overtaken by their It.

When the It is roaming free, it always feels like slack. But it is false slack unless it is unified with, and personalized in, the higher self. Look at the fine mess Strauss-Kahn's It has gotten him into! His false slack has been abruptly foreclosed, and all of his power cannot retrieve it.

Such complicated lives those two must have been leading. For a secret life is a complicated life.

We all have a public life, a private life, and a secret life. The public life is our persona with which we negotiate the Conspiracy and get through the day. Our private life is where we are free to be ourselves without reserve.

However, the more of one's private self can be expressed in public, the more content we will be. In other words, you don't want your public life to be too much at odds with your private life. To take the first example that comes to mind, if you are the type of person who cherishes truth, it would be quite painful to be a trial lawyer.

Likewise, the more of our secret life we can get into our private life, the more fulfilled we will be. This is where true intimacy arises -- where there are no secrets, and each can give him- or herself to the other without reserve.

We have all felt this vast realm of slack at one time or another. For example, when we first fall in love, one of the reasons why it is so blissful is because of this expansive feeling of intimacy: of two private selves in communion.

But what happens? The It! It is commonly the case that, to paraphrase Freud, people have a hard time loving the person they desire and desiring the person they love. These two are split apart into an I of love and an It of desire. The goal, of course, is their union and marriage.

This is why most relationships do not just passively "die." Rather, they are actively killed. There is a chilling book about this subject, Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance over Time.

Many partners unconsciously seek security over intimacy, and accomplish this by covertly undermining the intimacy, which drains the relationship of passion. The relationship feels "dead," which then makes it easy to imagine that the passion is elsewhere. Rinse and repeat.

This "is not intrinsic to the nature of love itself but is a degradation, a defense against the vulnerability inherent in romantic love" (Mitchell).

Of note, the secret life isn't really so secret unless one is oblivious to its absent-presence. It is always picked up on in one way or another, especially by children -- who won't know what to call it -- resulting in the internalization of the family It.

"The parents' secrets are often a palpable presence in the household, even if, sometimes especially if, they remain unarticulated" (ibid). The secret It-self can become "alluring, forbidden, and mysterious." It is imbued with temptation, which holds out a promise to the It that is always broken.

Life and intimacy are always dangerous and unsettling, which is why most people draw back from the abyss of love and look for slack in all the wrong places.

31 Comments:

Blogger JP said...

Bob says:

"To take the first example that comes to mind, if you are the type of person who cherishes truth, it would be quite painful to be a trial lawyer."

Suing insurance companies for benefits denials isn't too bad.

As long as you take cases where the person is actually entitled to the benefits under the contract.

5/19/2011 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...Jesus has transformed death itself into the ultimate slack...

Jesus jujutsu-ed death.

5/19/2011 08:04:00 AM  
Anonymous The SlackMeister said...

We kid our trial lawyer friends. Or do we?

5/19/2011 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous The SlackMeister said...

Apparently, it takes an average of seven years for the It to destroy a We.

5/19/2011 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

I'm more of a litigator than a trial lawyer.

That means that I deal with judges and mediators, not so much juries.

5/19/2011 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"Yes, we realize most of you don't care about this subject.."

I care.
Sorry haven't been commenting. Just...short on slack lately. Hope it doesn't get too lately.

Anyway, haven't missed a post, Bob. Not a one. That goes fur all you mugs, too.

Back to the postTM...

5/19/2011 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous The SlackMeister said...

Bob?

5/19/2011 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Wow! Great post, Bob!

"if you are the type of person who cherishes truth, it would be quite painful to be .."

...around those who don't.

I believe Frankl was right when he said he suffered greater pain by injustice than the torture and starvation or any of the other physical pain he suffered.

5/19/2011 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is OT, but I am curious about earlier comment you made cocerning intellectuals, and psyche and spirit.

I am not really interested in the problem with intellectuals, but rather in your usage of psyche and spirit and the dichotomy you seem to be suggesting. I am curious because you seems to be using a somewhat eccentric meanings here. It seems to neither correspond to the classical psychological usage, the traditional christian one, or even standard philosophical or theological ones. Ths might just be a misreading on my part and so ask you to clarify.

Do you mean to contrast soul and spirit, or "personality" and soul, and if the later do you mean to say that soul is different than spirit? Just what do you mean when you say psyche, personality, soul and spirit?

It confuses.

5/19/2011 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous The SlackMaster said...

We mean the local and horizontal ego vs. the nonlocal being that is more oriented to the vertical. It is also the intellect properly so-called, as employed, for example, by Eckhart. Or, it is that into which we are born when we are born again in spirit. But we do not believe in "ascending" from personal ego to impersonal spirit; rather, our approach is to divinize both mind and flesh, which we believe to be the (or a) true message of Christianity.

See Ken Wilber's Eye to Eye, where he documents this pattern in every tradition, i.e., the empirical eye of science, the rational eye of the soul, and the spiritual eye of higher self.

5/19/2011 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Somatic Magenta Violet Ray said...

The post is a superb meditation on the central meaning and the problems of life, with an emphasis on marriage.

I must commend the blog author for superiour work; there is none quite like him.

To address Anon's questions regarding the definitions of soul, psyche, and spirit, the SlackMaster referred him to the cross-hairs where the vertical and horizontal axes of life meet.

I will offer a different interpretation. I would discontinue the use of all three of these terms and change all vertical references to the "psychic being," the true being.

This variously colored item, about the size and shape of the human thumb, rests in the chest cavity behind the heart in every person, however in a non-material dimension.

It is the true self, many many lives old, that has been slowly accreting. It has access to its own past-life history. However, it is not in direct or good communication with the rest of the being.

It does control the big things in life. It has decided when, where, and why to be born and live. It tries to guide by intuition or influence, more or less successfully.

It is the real you. The more you can hear and express your psychic being, the more Slack you have.

The psychic being is also in direct and continuous contact with God and is completely pure and egoless.

Your true self is in fact a perfect thing of truth and beauty however it cannot fully express iteself in a liveng body but it tries over and over, learning more each time. Each life becomes more Slack filled and authentic.

That's why life is such a beeyotch. It's a training session, every time.

By living, a psychic being progressively grows in power, complexity, and beauty. It is growing, a work in progress on an infinite progression towards perfection. This God does for his own inscrutable purposes but probably for the joy of it.

OR so said the Rishis. Draw your own conclusions.

5/19/2011 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous flunky said...

Live yourself, and let live themselves.

I’ve tried to cut the bad people slack. But I think they’re made that way. They seem to love controlling everything - good, bad or ugly don’t matter. And then Jesus says “forgive” and Buddha says “karma”. But I find forgiveness is a dessert best eaten after serving the cold dish. And karma needs help. It’s important to know where to draw the line. Or circle. To protect the slack, yaknow.

5/19/2011 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I'm trying to break my dogma from chasing karma.

5/19/2011 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous flunky said...

There was a hotshot Tibetan Buddhist once who cried when Mao died, because he actually empathized with the karmic debt Mao was gonna owe. Then there are others would’ve nuked Mao into oblivion, consequences be damned.

I’m somewheres between the two - Nobody slaps Mother Theresa on my watch.

5/19/2011 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"What he meant by this is that our psychic world expands as the personal conscious mind colonizes and transforms more of the impersonal and unconscious "it" within (id is German for it). In other words, in each of us is the I and the It, in a dialectical process of gradual transformation."

Ah...the illuminItI. :^)

Mushroom: LOLOL! Whatever you do, don't chase the yougo karma.

5/19/2011 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Of note, the secret life isn't really so secret unless one is oblivious to its absent-presence. It is always picked up on in one way or another, especially by children -- who won't know what to call it -- resulting in the internalization of the family It."

And we all have a cousin It (or uncle, aunt, brother, sister, niece, nephew, etc.).

5/19/2011 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"The secret It-self can become "alluring, forbidden, and mysterious." It is imbued with temptation, which holds out a promise to the It that is always broken."

This It is the same thing the left yearns and lives for: their "Itopia."
Of course It's really the Lie and it will always be a broken promise.

But the vast majority of those who fall head over heels for this promised Itopia will fail to see It for what It is and blame us lovers of life, liberty and the pursuit of slack for It's failure to materialize.

Falling for this Lie places one in deep shIt.

5/19/2011 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Or, to put it another way, we care very much about you and your slack, but slack is often at odds with one's own perceived self-interest. Slack is no respecter of persons, at least in the anonymous sense. Slack is, however, a great respecter of individuals, and in many ways one could say that individualism is slack lived."

Well said! We seek to cultivate and maintain Slack, while the leftists seek to cultivate and maintain Lack.

But they also seek to force everyone else to live their LackLuster, pathetic, and Satanic Itopian hell.

5/19/2011 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Yes, we realize most of you don't care about this subject, but perhaps you don't realize that we don't care that you don't care."

Fortunately, I don't care that you don't care if I care, I'm just along for the ride. It's just fine with me if you want to continue going where I like being.

Carry on.

;-)

5/20/2011 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"However, the more of one's private self can be expressed in public, the more content we will be. In other words, you don't want your public life to be too much at odds with your private life."

To be at odds... not just being selective about what and how much of your private life you make public, but to be at odds with each other, to be in conflict with your self, to be lying about yourself, isn't that withdrawing you, from your own life?

What is it that is left in your public persona, without you in it?

Damn zombies.

'... Zombies and Slackpires and leftists, oh my!'

5/20/2011 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Expanding today's, now yesterday's, theme --THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF "WE"

A quote from that longish, but worthwhile read:

In Siegel’s recent books, Mindsight and The Mindful Therapist, he emphasizes the regulatory role of the mind, which can both monitor and modify what’s happening. Step by step he explains how the lens of the mind can be trained to see the mind in oneself and others. “Relationship is key,” he emphasizes. “When we work with relationship, we work with brain structure. Relationship stimulates us and is essential in our development. People rarely mention relationship in brain studies, but it provides vital input to the brain. Every form of psychotherapy that works, works because it creates healthier brain function and structure.… In approaching our lives, we can ask where do we experience the chaos or rigidity that reveal where integration is impaired.  We can then use the focus of our attention to integrate both our brain and our relationships. Ultimately we can learn to be open in an authentic way to others, and to ourselves. The outcome of such an integrative presence is not only a sense of deep well-being and compassion for ourselves and others, but also an opening of the doors of awareness to a sense of the interdependence of everything. ‘We’ are indeed a part of an interconnected whole.”

5/20/2011 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

""The parents' secrets are often a palpable presence in the household, even if, sometimes especially if, they remain unarticulated" (ibid). The secret It-self can become "alluring, forbidden, and mysterious." It is imbued with temptation, which holds out a promise to the It that is always broken."

As Tolkein said in his Mythopoeia, 'There are monsters in the dark'.

5/20/2011 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

This too:

"I have learnt that all men live not by care for themselves but by love. It was not given to the mother to know what her children needed for their life. Nor was it given to the rich man to know what he himself needed. Nor is it given to any man to know whether, when evening comes, he will need boots for his body or slippers for his corpse."

-Leo Tolstoy

5/20/2011 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Regarding Siegel, I have long recommended his work. What he doesn't know is that he is talking about the trinitarian nature of man.

5/20/2011 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Mizze quoted " Step by step he explains how the lens of the mind can be trained to see the mind in oneself and others. “Relationship is key,” he emphasizes. “When we work with relationship, we work with brain structure. Relationship stimulates us and is essential in our development."

Excellent. Relationship is key to knowledge itself, the depth and integrity of the relationships in your knowledge defines whether or not what you know is worth knowing, it's far more important than the simple expanse of data you might have collected. The person who see's a direct and vital relationship between their word, their life, love and happiness, has a wisdom more profound and worthwhile than the professor who knows all but cannot detect a relationship between any three bits of data infesting his grey matter.

5/20/2011 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

An awesome 1950 song from The Blenders, ho.

(Rated X, for X marks the spot.)

5/20/2011 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well that was about a clear as mud, your collective response to my request for clarification. (Let me point out that I was really addressing the proprietor here, but, of course, all responses are welcome.)

I really do not think that you have so far grabbed the ring.

Certainly, I think it has nothing to do with reincarnation, if that is what one of you is saying (though I may have just misunderstood your poetics here).

GB put out a "dichotomy of psyche divorced from spirit", tp praphrase, so the vertical and horizontal "crosshairs" do not not illuminate much either. They are perforce separated to some degree or another. By definition there cannot be a unity here, or a unity of equals in the sense of a "communion". There as to be some of heirarchy here, some sort of "ascension". otherwise it is just a form of chaos or "spiritual schizophrenia".

But again, I am not really interested at the moment in his comment about "Intellectuals" as it apples to "ntellectuals" per se; I think that there are a lot of concepts floating around here: "the individual", "psyche", "soul", "spirit". etc., and lots of implied (and not so implied) background: "Life", "morality", "being", and "the cosmos", obviously. Terms such as "psyche", "soul", "spirit", "self" are so burdened with so may meanings that I do think some clarification is asking too much, particularly when they are presented as a dichotomy or in apposition or opposition.

For exaample, in the Classic World, Psyche meant "soul". In Christian metaphysics, Soul and Spirit are rather different things and the term psyche rarely comes up--it is certainly not the same as "soul".
Here, the classical meaninng is somewhat elided between soul, self and spirit. There are also differeces in Confessions. In modern psychology, "psyche" means yet another thing--in fact they mean different things here depending on whose concepts you are discussing.
(For example, Jung makes a structural distinction between psyche, spirit and psychic--not that I am some sort of deep Jung scholar or even a fan, mind you).
Infamously, in philopshy these terms have all sorts of meanings.


I am not arguing anything here, I just want a little clarity, and I do not imagine that your "definitions are written in stone. The various responses i got show that this is needed, I would say.

Again, that dichotomy presented of psyche divorced from spirit comes to mind. This sounds true, but is a rather fuzzy statement to me when I drill into it, and I am far from obtuse or "horizontal". Again, I am look for clarification, not argument.

5/20/2011 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous ingestion question said...

Anon:

Rather than try to define the various terms, it is better to collapse them into a singularity.

Try to come up with one term that encompasses soul, spirit, psyche, and psychic, and mind.

They are all varying gradations of consciousness, rather than separate entities.

5/20/2011 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anon:

Actually, no definitions will resolve your issue, only experience. Begin with two variables, (•) and (¶). Now fill them with experiential content. Then we will have something more tangible to discuss.

5/20/2011 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GB: This is even mudder, and purposely so, it would seem.

You misunderstand and misjudge me. I was not looking for "spiritual guidance", or for you to advise me on my path along "The Way".
I was asking you to explain yourself. If I had "an issue" to "resolve" it was merely this. This you have failed to do.

And perhaps I have misjudged you as well. Really GB, you surprise me here--that was a meager and evasive response. It is not worthy of you, or so I would have thought heretofore. Must be a slack day or somethin'. It comes off as so much New Age poppycock. I am calling you on it.

Clairity on such weighted terms obviusly essential to understanding. To imagine otherwise in just sheer imbecility, and you know it, else you would not have bothered to write a book about it in the fisrt pace. concoct your peculiar symbology or create a blog. Your position is absurd prima facie.

Shirking this responsibility on some bizarre dodge of "filling with experience" and a false and uncalled for dictacticism is beneath you, and rather juvenile--suprizingly so coming from you. It smacks of the worst sort of Gnosticism and antinomianism, not to menation vanity. As you well know, this all has long been chewed over before any of us where ever born. Do you really think that you stand outside that great an ancient conversation?
(I find this hard to believe).

This is what one expects but of liberals and not from you. Surely you see that you have the responsibility to explain yourself (and to have the decency not to assume some sort of experiential or "spiritual" superiority).


My questions still stand unanswered. Just explan yourself like adults do and do stop assigning homework. Honestly, you lately spend so much tome preaching to the choir that you are in danger of becoming obscure.

We all are not in some "Amen Corner', you know. I would think that you would fear such a thing. If you do not then you should fear it.

5/21/2011 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Since I cannot help you, you are off the hook. Good luck with your question.

5/21/2011 09:28:00 AM  

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