Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Dream of Gagdad, Gagdad Dreams of Madonna

The ? in the margin tells me that this must be a place where I depart from Schuon. Either that, or it signifies an idea which requires further interrogation.

Hmm. Last night I was interrogating Madonna. In my dreams! No, really, in my dreams. I blame Drudge's headline that she had FALLEN HARD during a recent performance. In the dream she stuck out a leg and tried to trip me as I walked past her in the course of my cross examination. I jokingly raised the back of my hand toward her, and she smiled.

I remember about twenty years ago, reading something about a book that collected people's dreams of Madonna. Turns out I wasn't dreaming: I Dream of Madonna: Women's Dreams of the Goddess of Pop. Rather, a nightmare: "Lustily [?] conceived like a Dada art object... the dreams of fifty women reveal their nocturnal encounters -- by turns moving, bizarre, and erotic -- with the Material Girl and are accompanied by original collages that help illustrate the dreams."

Good news for me: the authors argue that Madonna has invaded our collective psyche "as a symbol of fearlessness, sexuality free of shame, and self-realization." So I got that going for me.

However, I'm not sure that shamelessness and self-realization covary. Indeed, if I were a psychologist, I might venture to say that exhibitionism is a primitive defense mechanism against shame.

I don't know if I have sufficient fearlessness to check out the reviews; or, if I can handle the vicarious shame. But I will summon my inner Madonna and forge ahead anyway!

Proving that a man with a Ph.D. in anything other than a hard science is 1) easy to obtain, and 2) hard on the rest of us, Dr. Trivino says the book "captures the inner perspective of so many devotees to this pop icon," leaving "no taboo unturned and yet expos[ing] an innocence of a different time.... The dreams and devotionals in this book will make you want to pull out your Madonna tunes and celebrate the angst of a time when anything was possible."

Celebrate the angst of a time when anything was possible. Except angstlessness, I guess.

Another so-called man writes that "in a world where traditional spiritual & mythic images have lost much of their power for so many people, new ones arise to fulfill the same function. And why not a figure like Madonna, who embodies sexuality, creativity, individuality, and the spiritual through her songs & ever-changing public persona?"

Really? Why not? Why not build a religion out of Madonna? It's like he's never even heard of Obama.

Here's a thought. Given how easy it is to end up in someone's dream, I'll bet you anything that more than one of you has had a dream in which I appeared. Next time it happens, leave an anonymous comment describing it. Eventually we'll have sufficient material to produce a book called I Dream of Gagdad: Raccoon Dreams of the Titan of the Internet.

Okay, back to the ? at hand. Schuon actually draws a distinction between the Absolute and God, suggesting that the former "has no interlocutor." Rather, he is eternally all by his (l)onesome.

First of all,

Second, I think I've caught Schuon in a rare contradiction, for he writes that "God is Divinity that personalizes itself in view of man," thus becoming "a partner or interlocutor" with us.

Excuse me, but "personalizes itself?" Isn't that a soph-tautology? For what is a self if not a person? In the Christian view, the OneGod is person, or, more to the point, three persons, for there can be no person -- or self -- without the other. Self-and-other are built into God, or rather, vice versa (same difference). There is no prior non-personal something that needs to somehow personalize itself.

Having said that, is it possible that there is something of the non-personal in God? Or better, how do we account for the millions of souls who not only claim that ultimate reality is impersonal, but have had the experience?

I would suggest that what they have actually experienced is anOther side of their own selves; note that this is a side, not the ground, for the ground is divine personhood.

However, I am of the belief that there must be a "dark side," so to speak, of this personhood, otherwise eternity would be a very tedious place.

In other words, surprise, creativity, novelty, etc., all emanate from this dark side, or rather, from the complementary and fruitful play of the divine persons. If "other" is built into God, then it is also built into us. As such, it is incorrect to suggest that creativity is an outcome of our engagement with some unconscious cauldron of primordial urges and instincts.

Rather, creativity results from our own trinitarian nature. It is very much as if there is another person or two down there. To cite one particularly obvious example, our Dreamer is not the same as our conscious self, and yet, it clearly behaves like a very creative, perceptive, and even weird person. It wasn't me who inserted Madonna in my dream, but there she was.

To be continued...

24 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Awesome title.

I'm pretty sure nobody ever could have predicted those words could come together in such a way.

2/26/2015 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of surprises...

2/26/2015 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Welcome to my nightmare.

2/26/2015 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

In other words, surprise, creativity, novelty, etc., all emanate from this dark side, or rather, from the complementary and fruitful play of the divine persons.

Peek-a-boo. Or just, Boo! It is kind of amazing how much we enjoy frights and things coming of "nowhere". The natural man of evolution ought to prefer no scares.

2/26/2015 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Gagdad,
I dreamed of you, Gagdad.
We were sittin' in one of those all night diners. Looked like it was at a truck stop.

Everything was goin' good. We were talkin' n' eatin', occasionally drinkin' some java, and every once in awhile you would throw in a wise crack that was hilarious.

Then I realized this was a session, with me as the patient, but I was cool with that.
Why not have a session with your online psychologist/rodeo clown/meta physicist at a diner?

As I recall, you were giving me a metaphysical which, thankfully, required no checking of my prostrate.
Well, maybe the prostrate of my mind, wherever that is.

Anyways, I was at ease, and it felt more like jest two bros shootin' the metaphysibreeze.
'Specially when we finished our joe and ordered a beer.

Then you said, "see, this proves you are not a
coca-cola cowboy, Sk...i mean, anonymous fellow raccoon bro."

And I remember thinkin', that's so profound, you know?

To be continued...

2/26/2015 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's what I'm talkin' about.

2/26/2015 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"In other words, surprise, creativity, novelty, etc., all emanate from this dark side, or rather, from the complementary and fruitful play of the divine persons. If "other" is built into God, then it is also built into us. As such, it is incorrect to suggest that creativity is an outcome of our engagement with some unconscious cauldron of primordial urges and instincts."

That makes sense to me. I can't imagine the impersonal without the complementaries. Not the Christian/Judeo God that is.

2/26/2015 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Six or seven years back, I had a dream where I made my way laboriously through some kind of labyrinthine place, like the inside of a pyramid. When I reached my goal - the headwaters of a stream of living water which, now I think of it, was a bit like the start of a water slide - I was all set to climb in and go for a ride, but the way was blocked. Bob was standing there. As it turned out, even though I wanted to go solo, it was clear that I could only shoot the chute with Gagdad. I seem to recall being annoyed by that at the time.

2/26/2015 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I hear that one all the time.

2/26/2015 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think it's about the angst of a time when anything was possible.

2/26/2015 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It just occurred to me that we never dream about ourselves, as if we are an other. And yet, there is some Other who pulls the strings in our dreams and kind of treats us like an object. Somehow we retain our sense of subjectivity in the dream, and yet, this subjectivity seems to be situated in a much larger subjectivity. Maybe it's analogous to the person-God relationship...

2/26/2015 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a time. Hard to know what is coming next, or the older. I think sometimes the stuff that is kept in the head can leak mostly all over. Of course, that is not kept in polite company. Just feral, or walled up. Hard to stay put, even trying to not get erased again.

Probably does not work without wanderings with deserts and mountains. Staying put is a kind of bleeding out.

2/26/2015 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So then we got to talkin' 'bout the wisdom of Looney Tunes, the non-PC versions.

"I've learnt a lot from Looney Tunes, Doc. Does that sound crazy?"

Doc Gagdad chuckled and said, "yeah, crazy good. You see, there's nothing wrong with crazy good. I would be concerned if you liked the PC version of Looney Tunes."

"No way. The PC versions were tedious, unfunny and borin' as hell," I said.

"Precisely," Doc Gagdad said. "Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Wile E., and the other, lesser known characters are more therapeutic than the infertile eggheads masquerading as psychiatrists and psychologists that infest the mental health profession today."

"That's what Cousin Dupree was tellin' me!" I exclaimed.
"'Cept he wasn't using the same words you did. As I recall, he said "the old toons rocked, but the new toons are shit," which I heartily agree with."

"I reckon there ain't much difference 'tween the academinuts and those muslim savages that go apeshit over real creativity and freedom of speechifyin'."

"I'll drink to that," Doc Gagdad said as we toasted and drank our beers.

"Thanks, mate. We oughtta do this more often," I sez.

"Glad I could help. I'll see you in the funny paperless papers," Doc said.

Now I got me a paper n' pen, next to my rack (rack means bed in seatalk. I didn't mean rack in the sense of boobs or nothin') cuz next time I dream of Gagdad I wanna get all the details.

2/26/2015 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"It just occurred to me that we never dream about ourselves, as if we are an other. And yet, there is some Other who pulls the strings in our dreams and kind of treats us like an object. Somehow we retain our sense of subjectivity in the dream, and yet, this subjectivity seems to be situated in a much larger subjectivity. Maybe it's analogous to the person-God relationship..."

That explains why sometimes, in my dreams, I actually see myself in the third person.
Sometimes I can make conscious changes to my dreams but there is still unseen boundaries akin to music. Or parameters, if you will.

Usually I just go with it though.
Say, is it normal to be conscious that I am dreaming, most the time?"

2/26/2015 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob, do you mean we never dream we are someone else, or we never dream we are outside of ourselves watching ourselves?

Just curious; if you meant the first I'd have to disagree, as it seems like I've been other people at least a few times. But never other people who interact with me.

2/26/2015 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

lol - Ben, you just provided the other experience.

2/26/2015 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

To clarify, when I do see myself in the third person I don't think of me as another person, if that makes sense.
And at the edge of my awareness I definitely sense someone else there that is both familiar and mysterious.

2/26/2015 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ha ha! There's that serendipity again, Julie. :)

2/26/2015 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I personally can't remember seeing myself in a dream, as if I were another person. But maybe. I'll have to pay more attention. It's possible that it has happened... Then again, I suppose we do kind of see ourselves, or at least we see ourselves afterwards, when we're thinking about the dream. But our consciousness seems to hover close to the image. I don't ever remember a clear-cut split between Bob-as-object and Bob-as-mind....

2/26/2015 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I remember someone saying that we don't actually dream as if we are looking through our eyes, but rather, that we do see ourselves. But again, that may occur afterwards, when we're thinking about the dream...

I'll be on the lookout tonight.

2/26/2015 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or look-in, rather.

2/26/2015 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Now that the seed has been planted, I wouldn't be surprised if it happens for at least one raccoon in the next few days.

2/26/2015 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

It kind of goes back n' forth in my experience. Kinda like a film, when you get different camera angles,
That makes sense, however that maybe it's only my conscious mind interpretating it that way, particularly since it's the action sequences.

2/26/2015 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger chandler said...

I would gladly dream of you, but in dreams begin responsibilities.......LOVE your blog and ALL your writing....you have no idea

2/27/2015 09:26:00 AM  

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